this is "nightline." >> tonight, race and justice in america. it's a flash point across the country. the fury echoing from ferguson's protests to new york city's die-in. as police and civilians clash, our byron pitts takes us on a personal journey beyond black and white to his hometown of baltimore, where police encounters cross the racial divide. plus, british invasion. a royal tour. from president obama's white house to ja-z's home turf in brooklyn. a star-studded whirlwind 72 hours for prince william and duchess kate. bull why is an ambulance part of the royal entourage? and that seemingly fearless conservationist fails to get eaten alive. after offering himself up at snake bait for a giant anaconda. why fans are saying he didn't go
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protect. with questions of race and i equality swirling at the center. but the answers are not always black and white. our byron pitts delves into these thorny issues with a personal journey to his hometown of baltimore for the first installment of abc's week-long series, race, justice in america. >> reporter: once again tonight, as temperatures fall across america, tempers are rising. protesters scream. parents pleading. the mother of that black 12-year-old boy killed in cleveland, gunned down by a white policeman who mistook the child's toy gun for a real one. the moment caught on surveillance. >> what would you like to see happen right now? >> that the police be accountable for what they did to my son. >> reporter: die-ins for new york's ere garner. hands up, don't shoot for michael brown. sports stars like lebron james making their own statement in these cases and others, the
optic optics reopen wounds. today, the president weighed in, this time on black entertainment television. >> i want my grandsons to be treated like anybody else's grandsons. >> reporter: but is it that simple? eric garner's widow said no on "meet the press" sunday. >> i don't even feel like it's a black and white thing, honestly. >> reporter: what has our nation convulsing from new york to l.a. is more complicated than race. no place is it more complicated than baltimore, america's 26th largest city. the police cat and powerful passers by in the comfort of fast-moving trains. my beloved hometown, known for the inner harbor, the orioles, crab cakes. and for better or worse, hb o's "the wire." an edgy police drama, supposed fictional look at a city ravaged by crime and corruption, after all those with means to leave did. much of what "the wire" portrayed is real. >> this is the area i grew up
in. my old high school is over there. >> reporter: i go home to baltimore often. what role does race play in the dynamic here in baltimore? >> you have to let race go. we joke that nobody's white, nobody's black. we're all blue. >> excuse me, excuse me. >> i did ask you a question, flight. >> reporter: distrust between the public and police is palpable. >> they just see the uniform and see a police officer. >> reporter: we spent several dales and nights with comes on the street. a call goes out for a cop in need of backup. plain clothes and uniformed officers speed to the scene, guns drawn. turns out, it was one teenager stopped on possession of drug possession. that show of force made neighbors livid. >> the pedestrians that want to stand around and walk through, we get harassed the most. >> there's such a police presence in this area. you didn't need 20 police officers there, but everybody came. >> reporter: that's lieutenant joel fry. this is his unit. >> you make no apologies for that show of force? >> absolutely not. our safety is paramount.
i mean, i've seen plenty of police get hurt and even killed because we didn't have that show of force. i'm not going to apologize it for. >> reporter: lieutenant fry is white. bat mogs baltimore is a predominantly black city. the police commissioner and the mayor here both african-american. look at this. one of the many cameras set up across the city captures a black police officer punching a black man. the officer was charged with assault and is now on leave. the latest in a series of questionable encounters. the city of baltimore has paid out $5.7 million in the last four years to settle more than 100 cases of alleged police brutality. is it black and bhilt white or versus blue? >> i think it's a little of both. >> reporter: the legacy of race still is there. >> it does. the level of trust has increased but it continues to take dips down. >> a lot of people are doing the sort of things that need to be done. >> reporter: like me, he grew up in baltimore.
he's seen the city from many vantage points. a high school dropout and gang banger, he went on to graduate college, becoming a u.s. congressman and national president of the naacp. i've never been to a city in america where there seems to be as much animosity as there is between the sit essentials of baltimore and the police. how do you explain that? >> we had some tough police commissioners that would bust your head, through you in jail, lock you up for no reason. >> this area is gorgeous. >> reporter: a big part of the police commissioner's job is to change that narrative. the former police chief of oakland, he came to baltimore two years ago. >> i think in certain parts of the community, we're seeing. we have to be honest and open about that. we have to change that. what i have to do is give the officers the skills and the ability to start changing that. opening up conversations, communication and you hear me say this a lot. an listen. and listen to the people. >> reporter: he was hired by
stephanie rollings blake. a native baltimore yan, she sees the connection between crime and public mistrust, but also a shrinking city and shrinking resources. in the past 50 years, baltimore has lost nearly one-third of its population. you drive through baltimore, it is heartbreaking what you see. how do you explain that? >> it's not rocket science. we've had years of disinvestment, years of flight. it should not matter what neighborhood you grow up or your parents live in. that should not determine your ability to go to a state of the art school and that's what we're going to have for baltimore's kids. for now and in the future. so, we have to do that in order to attract families and make sure families stay in baltimore. >> reporter: economics and education aside, public safety is still her biggest worry. >> there's some things you get a do-over, and with the homicide, you don't. if you lose a life, that life is gone. and i know what it's like. my family's been impacted
personally. mip cousin was killed last year. >> adult male shot in the back of the head. >> reporter: there have been 200 home sides in baltimore this year. most often the victim and the perpetrator are black. during our ride along, it didn't take long to come across our first murder scene of the night. a man shot to death at a gas station. >> trying to get witness statements to find out what happened. >> reporter: not far away, another man shot in a park. the victim's brother showed up. >> we don't know right now. >> reporter: their voice is rarely heard on the national stage. instead, they seethe in small community hearings. here, a family grieving over a relative killed in police custody lashes out at the mayor and police chief. the anger, not over racial bias, but a perceived abuse of power. to a proud son of this city, the discourse is heartbreaking. and there is so much work to be done. but i see hope in the smallest
of ways. which is your house? i met dale. we graduated high school the same year. after a career in the military, he moved back home. what do you make of what's going on here? >> i like it. i think it's a long time coming. we worked hard on trying to get developers big and small. it's been very successful. i know some people still have misgivings about it. >> reporter: but he proudly welcomes his newest neighbor. 37-year-old shea fredrik is an engineer. he brought his house for $9,000. >> this is going to be a big master bedroom. >> reporter: it's an investment that will help make change. >> this is likely a drug house. >> probably took a good five gallon bucket of crack vials out of this house. i found a double barrel sawed off shotgun in the wall just back there. >> reporter: in the wall? usable? >> ah -- rusty, but i imagine it could have been. >> reporter: like many corners
of america, my hometown has its own troubled history with race sand justice. but there is a sense here things are improving. the racial divide still exists. just not as wide. nor as deep. for those who would say, there are deserts in baltimore before you got here, there will be deserts when you leave. >> hopefully when my time comes, it's a better police department serving the community in a better way and it will grow and the next person comes and they will build up on that foundation. hopefully in the next 20, 30 years, i get to prove you wrong when we come back, you say, i don't think baltimore can do this, i can say, your baltimore, where you were born, has done this. >> reporter: in baltimore, i'm byron pitts for "nightline." up next, prince william and duchess kate are sitting courtside on their first official visit to new york city. and later on "nightline," what's it like to get eaten alive? [ rob ] we weren't always the most adventurous couple.
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you know, new yorkers are a famously hard to impress bunch the. celebrity walking down the street? who cares. but all belts were off today, when the duke and duchess of cambridge arrived in the city for their first official visit. prince william took a dee tour to meet political royalty at the white house, while kate met hip hop royalty in brooklyn. and their jam packed agenda has only just begun. here's abc's amy robach. >> reporter: tonight, the hottest ticket in town was the nets game at brooklyn's barclays center. but the main attraction wasn't at center court. it was on the sideline. the royal couple's new york city
takeover is in full swing. all eyes were on william and kate as they arrived at halftime to watch the nets take on the cleveland cavaliers. at one point, even stopping to chat with american royalty, jay-z and beyonce. they even chatted with the king, king lebron james, that is. their whirlwind 72-hour sojourn kicked off yesterday. "nightline" dispatched a team of royal experts all over the city to cover every beat of their jam-packed schedule. the couple flew across commercial, later on, arriving at their royal palace away from home, here at new york's carlyle hotel. this morning, the couple had different items on the agenda. prince william awoke early, boarding a us airways shuttle to reagan international airport, that's right, the shuttle. the prince travels just like the rest of us. >> the royals do not take private jets. >> rebecca english has been
following their every move. >> when you consider where he was going, to pay a call on president obama at the white house, that might surprise some people. >> reporter: in d.c., he met with president obama inside the oval office. during their conversation, will let the president in on a fun little secret. during the drama of kate's baby delivery last year, he forgot to ask her the gender of their baby. >> so, you forgot to ask? >> actually, it's a boy in the end. >> reporter: it was off to the world bank for its third annual conference. >> i'm determined not to let the world's children grow up on a planet where almost iconic and endangered species have been wiped out. >> this is probably his most important speech to date. certainly his most high profile. >> reporter: back in manhattan, kate started her day in harlem. accompanied by new york city's first lady, visiting a youth development center. where fans of all sizes were waiting to meet kate.
but it turns out some of the children mistook her for a different princess. >> you remember who is coming to visit you today? >> princess! >> you know, they think you're out of "frozen." >> reporter: yes, apparently real lifl prin else ises still don't hold a candle to the likes of "frozen" elsa. >> i think people, when they see her in the flesh, there's lots of cheers, lots of wooing and shouting. i think it's a fantastic reception. probably not since the days of princess diana have we seen this kind of reaction. >> reporter: the rollout of the red carpet, reminiscent of diana's splashy trips to the city. patrick was princess diana's chief of staff. >> once she arrived, you woke up and realized what a star she had. >> reporter: she was born to be a princess. >> well, actually, you know, amy, i would say, she was born to be a queen. >> reporter: diana famously changed the perception of aids
at a harlem hospital nearly 25 years ago. there were very poignant moments on that trip. holding that baby. holding that child who had aids. >> just a simple gesture, just by picking up a baby, hugging it, diana was able to send a very important message. >> reporter: and william and kate will pay a visit to the same charity princess diana supported 25 years ago. >> whenever you left the palace or the hotel, there was a sense that around you, a great big show was about to start. it was curtain up. >> reporter: and today is no different with william and kate. patrick, 25 years ago, you walked through these doors with princess diana. what was it like? >> it was fantastic, like it is now. it's a wonderful, happy place. >> reporter: and she was the bell of the ball. the carlyle hotel, one of diana's favorite hideaways.
>> he was setting up his magazine and he asked the princess to be on the cover of the first issue. she said, well, that's a very big honor, but really what i'd like to do is be on the cover of your 50th issue. >> reporter: wow. >> sadly, as we know, for neither of them was that possible. >> reporter: this is the couple's first ever trip to new york city. and unfortunately for kate, the busy schedule means no shopping. >> kate would have maybe like to shop. she loves shopping. she does it in london. i think it's highly unlikely she'll do that here. i think she's here to work. they are doing the official stuff. >> reporter: after being separated for most of the day, will and his wife met up once again as they joined hillary and chelsea clinton for a conservation reception. kate wearing this glamorous coat with jeans for this aechevent. tomorrow, there's a trip to the september 11th memorial and a big event at the iconic
metropolitan museum of art. isn't this the way to play when you're in the city that never sleeps? >> there is a touch of the new yorker about them in the sense that they are quite straight talking. they, you know, they do get down to business and i think there are things that people in the city will like about them. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm amy robach in new york. up next, not many meals live to tell the tale, but this daredevil wanted to show us what a feeding frenzy is like from the inside. so, what went wrong? (vo) nourished.
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just the phrase eaten alive is enough to stop you in your tracks. especially when the thing doing the eating is a giant anaconda and the item on the dinner menu is a human, who is hoping to send a dispatch from the belly of the beast. though, things didn't go exactly according to plan. here's abc's tom llamas. >> i'm just trying to stay calm. >> reporter: you're looking at an anaconda trying to swallow paul rosolie. >> i can't feel my arms. >> reporter: while sunday night's much hyped special mr s promised to show him get eaten alive, it left some viewers hungry for more. the two-hour even taking viewers deep into the amazon. >> get the helmet on. >> reporter: he even had a special carbon fiber suit built for the stunt, made to protect his rips so they would not be crushed. >> she's just tightening up. >> reporter: at one point,
rosolie thinks his arm is going to break. >> you guys need to get in here. >> reporter: in the end, no meal to be had. his team rushing in to free him before he was eaten. >> get the head! >> reporter: viewers on social media exploding. some upset no one was really eaten alive. tweeting, "two hours of my life i can't get back." and "this dude's a quitter." discovery telling us in a statement, it was his absolute intention to be eaten alive. but the experiment had to be called when it became clear that paul would be very seriously injured if he continued on. but rosolie says despite the provocative concept, he's trying to shine a spotlight on some of the problems the rain forest is now facing. and it worked. despite all the snarking on social media, 4.1 million viewers devoured sunday night's program. for "nightline," i'm tom llamas in new york. >> and the snake went to bed hungry. thanks for watching abc news. tune into "good morning america"
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