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Killer of Boy, 17, Remains Uncharged

Aired March 19, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live from Los Angeles.

Outrage is building after 22 days pass without an arrest in the shooting death of a Florida teenager. Trayvon Martin was armed with this. Skittles and an iced tea. Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman had a loaded gun, and he says, well, the shooting was self-defense. Does that sound like a fair fight to you?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911. Police, fire or medical?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police. I just heard a shot right behind my house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My heart is broken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon Martin was visiting family in a gated community when he walked to a nearby convenience store. Zimmerman had called police to report a suspicious black man in the neighborhood and even though dispatchers reportedly told him not to confront the teenager, he did. They got into a scuffle, and Zimmerman shot the teenager in the chest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This man took this baby`s life. He needs to be incarcerated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a fully complete investigation that is fair and will be presented to the state attorney`s office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just said he shot him dead. He`s laying on the ground. My God.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight secrets spilling out in the shooting death of a 17-year-old teenager, gunned down by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer. Cops have finally released the 911 tapes but only after the boy`s family threatened to sue. So what were cops so afraid we would hear? And why was this neighborhood volunteer carrying a loaded gun?

Trayvon Martin was shot dead 22 days ago after making a 7-Eleven run for Skittles and iced tea. And cops still have not filed charges against the shooter, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, who was patrolling a gated community in Sanford, Florida, as a volunteer when he spotted Trayvon Martin in the dark. The teen was wearing a hoodie and holding something. Zimmerman claims he was acting in self-defense.

Tonight, we`re going to ask, did cops blindly accept the shooter`s explanation? But how can that explanation hold water when the teen who was shot dead didn`t even have a weapon?

Half a dozen residents called 911 when they heard Martin and Zimmerman arguing. Listen to this 911 call, and you will also hear the deadly shots.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he`s yelling help?





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You heard gunshots?





VELEZ-MITCHELL: And witnesses who saw what happened said there is no way this shooting was self-defense.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we heard, what we saw that we believe in our hearts 100 percent it was not self-defense. I heard the crying of the little boy. As soon as the gun went off the crying stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to know that regardless of what happens, there are still good people in this world.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Zimmerman violated the national Neighborhood Watch program guidelines by carrying a weapon. So this begs the question: when does a legitimate Neighborhood Watch program cross the line into vigilantism?

I want to give you a chance at home to weigh in on this. Call me: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. I want to hear from you.

Straight out to Natalie Jackson, the attorney for the dead teenager`s family.

Thank you so much for joining us, Natalie. Why do you believe cops seem so eager to believe the shooter, George Zimmerman`s, version of what happened that night, as opposed to treating him like the suspect?

NATALIE JACKSON, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: I think that they unofficially adopted George Zimmerman as one of their own. I think that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying that -- go ahead.

JACKSON: I think that you get to the scene. And here`s a person that you know to be a good guy, who is volunteering to patrol a neighborhood. And you see a kid with a hoodie on that`s dead. And the good guy tells you it was self-defense, you know. They did something that, you know, George did when he saw Trayvon. They profiled and they said, "Our friend is the person that we`re going to protect."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have so many burning questions. But let`s start with burning question No. 1 tonight. Why was this guy, George Zimmerman, a volunteer for a Neighborhood Watch program, carrying a loaded gun?

Listen to what Zimmerman told the 911 dispatcher about how the victim, Trayvon Martin, was acting.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, VOLUNTEER FOR NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH: These (EXPLETIVE DELETED) always get away. This guy looks like he`s up to no good or on drugs or something. Something wrong with him. Yes, he`s coming to check me out. He`s got something in his hands. I don`t know what his deal is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We don`t need you to do that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: "The Miami Herald" reports that Zimmerman had a history of calling police all the time: 46 times between January 1 and the night of the shooting and that his particular focus on his patrol watch was black males.

Now, Zimmerman`s dad says, well, his son is Hispanic and not acting racist. Well, first of all, listen, racism has nothing to do, in my opinion, with the color of your skin. Anybody can have the attitude of racism, so it`s not about who he is. It`s about what was in his mind.

And to me -- and I want to bring in my dear friend and attorney Lisa Bloom with the Bloom Firm. To me, what is disturbing about this is that this Zimmerman approaches this with a preconceived notion that there is something suspicious about this young, African-American male because he is in the neighborhood.

LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Right. And this is something we hear a lot. What was his crime? Walking while black? Just like African-Americans are frequently pulled over for driving while black, right?

We know that African-American males are the most likely in this country to be victims of gun violence. In my opinion, too many guns. And here we have a gun in the hand of a guy who clearly did have some issues with African-Americans who sees them as just suspicious merely for walking around the neighborhood with Skittles. I mean, this is really a problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to illustrate something. And you can come to me on camera. I`m going to put on a hoodie. Right? Because this young man was supposedly wearing a hoodie. So what? I was wearing a hoodie last night here in Los Angeles. Because it was cold. Look. Put on a hoodie. I`ve got Skittles, and I`ve got Arizona iced tea. And take a look.

Now, the false assumption is that this guy is up to no good because -- what? He looks suspicious? Why? Because he`s dressed like this? If we learn one thing from this terrible tragedy, it`s to stop making assumptions about people and who they are based on how they`re dressed. It`s to stop stereotyping and saying bad guys look this way, but good guys look this way.

I want to go out to Dawn Neufeld, an actress and attorney who has been tweeting about this and who I understand is all fired up about it.

Dawn, isn`t this...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... a fundamental lesson that our culture can learn from this horrific tragedy is that you can never assume. It`s the first rule of journalism. It should be the first rule of a Neighborhood Watch. It should be the first rule of anybody with a conscience. Do not assume you know who somebody is, what their background is, where they`re heading, whether they belong or not based on the color of their skin or how they`re dressed.

NEUFELD: I think one of the first things I tweeted after I heard Zimmerman`s 911 tape on Saturday was, "News flash. It is not a crime to be black. It is not a crime to be an African-American man." But we`re reminded once again in this unfortunate situation that, for some, it apparently still is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The other thing that gets me is that it appears to me that this guy, George Zimmerman -- and by the way, we reached out. We don`t think he has an attorney. And we certainly don`t want to convict him. If he wants to come on our show, I would invite him on any time to hear his side of the story.

But apparently, he has a history. He has a history, and it involves an alleged, what, assault on a police officer. And the record was expunged? This is extremely disturbing to me.

David Mattingly, CNN correspondent, you`ve been all over this story. Tell us about the history of this particular so-called Neighborhood Watchman.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jane, that incident you`re talking about was back in 2005. He was at a bar. There was some sort of incident. He got into a scuffle with a police officer and got arrested. Well, eventually -- excuse me -- those charges were dropped.

But in recent years he has been a volunteer captain of the Neighborhood Watch of his neighborhood. That`s been going on for a couple of years. He volunteered at a meeting of the residents who live there. The residents voted on this. And we are told that they were very happy that he was willing to step up and take charge of this.

Technically, everybody who lives in this neighborhood is a member of the Neighborhood Watch, but they voted and were happy to have him as captain. Now, at no time did anyone we talk to ever thought that he was carrying a weapon.

But throughout the time that he`s been doing this, there`s been a couple of different perceptions of him. One, homeowners who say he`s been very vigilant. They feel like he`s been good at keeping crime down in the neighborhood. They`ve had a history of break-ins recently. And one resident actually told me that he feels that George was responsible for keeping his house from being broken into. Now there`s some other residents that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just want...

MATTINGLY: Go ahead, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to jump in for one second, because we`ve got to go to break. But I have a question. OK. Battery on a law enforcement officer in 2005. Resisting arrest. But this was expunged. I`m kind of wondering why was that expunged?

I mean, it seems odd now that the cops are not -- are accepting his word blindly for what happened. And now we find out, oh, he had battery on a law enforcement officer in 2005, but it was expunged. I`m not trying to be a conspiracy theorist here. I`m just trying to ask questions.

Andrea, Michigan, your question or thought? Andrea?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. My question is did he have a license to be carrying a gun in this gated community? Is there a gun law there or in their community?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently, he was legally entitled to carry a gun, but the distinction is when you`re involved in a Neighborhood Watch program -- and we`re going to talk to the leader of the national Neighborhood Watch program on the other side of this break -- you`re not supposed to be walking around with a gun. You`re not supposed to be packing heat.

We`re just getting started on this. We want to hear more from you. We`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Later, was a swimsuit model the mastermind of a worldwide drug ring? But again, next, an unarmed teenager visiting his family shot dead all because he had, what, iced tea and Skittles and was wearing a hoodie? What is going on here?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now three witnesses have said the young man crying out for help before George Zimmerman shot him in cold blood. They are just beyond grief.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who`s that crying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon`s crying!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon`s crying!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon`s crying!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who`s that crying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon`s crying!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon`s crying!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon`s crying!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He could so easily have been any one of us. I feel like the reason you all are out here is because you are affected the same way I was affected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all should expect better service from our public servants. The stand-your-ground law has to be changed. I think that needs to be a long-term focus of all of us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen as another resident calls 911 to report a fight and eventual shooting of Trayvon. And then a witness describes what she saw after the shooting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just heard a shot right behind my house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just said he shot him dead. The person is dead. He`s laying on the grass.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we came up to the body, we realized the boy was face down. His face was in the grass. His body was not in an upright position. He was shot in the chest, and he was face down. Therefore he was not helping the kid.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go out to Chris Tutko. He`s the director of the national Neighborhood Watch program and a retired police chief.

Listen, I love Neighborhood Watch programs. This isn`t about attacking Neighborhood Watch programs. I`ve had one in the area that I lived in for 18 years. But there is a point at which a Neighborhood Watch person going rogue will cross a line into vigilantism. What did this guy do wrong, in your opinion, Chris?

CHRIS TUTKO, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM (via phone): Neighborhood Watch, the first rule of thumb is to use common sense. You`re the eyes and ears. You don`t want to get involved in any kind of incident whatsoever. You want to call the law enforcement and let them do their job.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And in fact he called law enforcement, and they said, "You don`t need to follow."

They said, "Are you following him?"

And he said yes.

And they said, "You don`t need to do that."

So the fact that he continued to pursue this guy, as opposed to the peeling off and going back to his home, was that a mistake, Chris?

TUTKO: Absolutely. Absolutely. Again, it`s a situation that anybody adds to the -- to the incident when they do that, because they can become another victim. It just gets worse. And the first rule again is to let law enforcement do their job. You`ve done yours by making the phone call.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to say, "Huffington Post" is reporting this, and I think this is fascinating. Just earlier this month, at an emergency homeowners association meeting, one man had to be escorted out, because he openly expressed his frustration, because he had previously contacted the Sanford Police Department about George Zimmerman approaching him and coming to his home.

And he wrote an e-mail to Huff Po, saying it was made known there were several complaints about George Zimmerman and his tactics in his Neighborhood Watch captain role.

So I have to go to Dawn Neufeld on this. I think we all know the type. OK. I`m not -- this is my hypothesis. You know, George Zimmerman, you`re invited on any time to tell your side. But we all know the type of a guy who`s looking for a fight. Looking for a confrontation. Too much time on his hands. He`s a busybody. Working overtime. Snooping.

And clearly, from a psychological standpoint, those people are often, Dawn, people who are angry about something, and they`re just looking for an excuse to vent, right, Dawn?

NEUFELD: Well, absolutely. And I think his bias was clear when he says in the 911 call, "Those people always get away." His bias was so clear. He should not have had a gun, and he should not have chased down that young boy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And my problem with all this is that, if the police had taken him back to the station house, done a drug and alcohol test on him, interrogated him on camera, and pursued the investigation as if this guy was a suspect, I wouldn`t -- I would say, "OK, they`re pursuing it."

But Natalie Jackson, the attorney for the dead boy`s family, that`s not what they did, is it?

Well, I`ll answer that question. That`s not what they did. They are seemingly accepting his word for it, and that`s not the way our justice system should operate.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: One man is dead. Another man is a member of a Neighborhood Watch program. But the question is, did he go rogue? Did he take the law into his own hands? Have police responded the way they should? On the other side, we`re going to tell you about another famous case.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this case, Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense. Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don`t have the grounds to arrest him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, this is what I don`t understand, OK. Cops say there`s no evidence that would dispute his claim of self-defense. Yes, there is. He was the aggressor.

I want to go out to Natalie Jackson, the attorney for the dead young man`s family. He was following this man. He has a gun. He was told by police, "Leave it alone." He continued to pursue this young man is my understanding.

JACKSON: Absolutely. you had motive and intent here. The intent was to get them, because they always get away. And you have a pursuit. George Zimmerman states he`s running away. You have a pursuit of George Zimmerman on this guy.

When the police says that there`s no probable cause, that`s a very disingenuous statement. Anyone who listens to George Zimmerman`s words on his nonemergency call, you see that there`s probable cause, which is a very low standard. It`s not the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s the scary part. This reminds me of a story I covered when I was more of a cub reporter in New York in 1984. It was the Bernie Goetz case. I think we have a photo of Bernie Goetz. And this -- all New York couldn`t stop talking about it.

This is a guy who shot four young men on a subway. He claimed they were trying to mug him. And he actually fired his revolver five times, seriously wounding all of the muggers and becoming the so-called subway vigilante. Now, he was ultimately charged with attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment and several firearms offenses.

However, Dawn Neufeld, attorney, actress, you`ve been tweeting about the other case. A jury found Bernie Goetz not guilty of all charges except an illegal firearms possession count. Are you concerned that, even if charges are brought, that really, at the end of the day this is going to be another Bernie Goetz, a guy walking free?

NEUFELD: Well, you`d hope not in 2012, but I think race is still obviously an issue. And there are going to be some things that come up that it could turn that way.

Look, Jane, in Florida their self-defense standard is pretty lenient, which is giving Mr. Zimmerman some leeway at all right here. You know, he doesn`t have a duty to retreat.

This is not about retreating. He was pursuing. I think he should be guilty. This is not an issue of self-defense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Dave Mattingly, we have to also put this in context of what was happening in that community. "The Miami Herald" dug up some crime stats for the community where this shooting occurred.

The cops were called to this particular area 402 times between January of last year and the shooting. There were 50 suspicious person phone calls. Eight burglaries. Nine thefts. And one other shooting.

But you know, what I find fascinating, David, is that the Neighborhood Watch program that George Zimmerman was supposedly operating under was never reported to the national Neighborhood Watch program.

MATTINGLY: This was a very much homegrown type of thing they had operating there. This is a very small neighborhood. And most people who have been there for a few years like George Zimmerman might be able to recognize the comings and goings of the residents who live there.

And in talking to one resident just recently who said that Zimmerman did notice someone who was casing his house. And he called police. Called the resident. And the resident completely attributes the fact that his house was not broken into to George Zimmerman.

There are people there who were fans of his. At the same time, there are people who thought he was too aggressive.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. Thank you, fantastic panel.

Bikini model next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A swimsuit model is in the headlines not for how she looks but for what she allegedly did outside of her photo shoots. Dealing drugs around the world. We have YouTube videos of Farrow.


Oh, sorry it`s me. I`m really lost I think. I`m (inaudible) going straight down now. (EXPLETIVE DELETED), blah-blah. Hello.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight, did a swimsuit model lead the ultimate secret double life trading in her bikini photo shoots for international drug deals?

Cops say this blonde bombshell, Simone Farrow, a.k.a. Simone Star, was running a global drug ring from her Hollywood apartment. Investigators claim she has 19 -- that`s right, 1-9 -- aliases to sell huge quantities of meth by hiding it in bath salts -- oh, how clever -- and shipping it to buyers around the world.

Police finally caught the alleged drug kingpin -- or should I say, queenpin -- 14,000 miles away in her native Australia two years ago but she was just called in again for skipping out on her $150,000 bail. The former Penthouse pet says she wasn`t running from the law but running to save her life. What does that mean?

Check this out from GMA.


SIMONE FARROW, ALLEGED DRUG TRAFFICKER: I had nowhere else to go. I tried to go to a friend`s house. I actually did this because someone was trying to murder me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Simone said "I`ve been in relationships with numerous underworld figures." I`ve got to give her an Australian accent, but I don`t know how to do that. "Or whatever you want to call them and I feel that maybe they feel threatened by my situation." Wow.

Call me, 1877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

And we`re delighted to have with us here, Dylan Howard, editor-in- chief of Buzz Media. What the -- this is really crazy.

DYLAND HOWARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BUZZ MEDIA: Well, Jane, it`s tantamount to a "catch me if you can". She was to appear in court and failed to appear and police allege that the reason she failed to appear was because she forged medical documents claiming that she went to hospital which was a complete ruse.

Indeed she traveled along the east coast of Australia from Sidney in the shadows of the Sidney Harbor Bridge right up to the beach coast of the Gold Coast where she was found in a shady apartment. She was on the run for about 30 days. She has now been apprehended and is well and truly behind bars. She says though she was fleeing to save her life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t understand that.

HOWARD: In court documents at one point she referenced the Bikie Gangs. And Bikie gangs -- as you can tell by my accent, I`m an Australian -- are significant in Australia. And the drug trade and the Bikies go hand in hand in Australia.

At one point in those court documents, she says that she working with the Bikies to put a hit out on someone in another state in Australia. So whether or not she was wanted by the Bikies as a result of this clandestine drug ring being exposed, time will tell.

Certainly police believe that she was attempting to flee Australia. She changed her name in November last year; her last name to Lawson -- one of those 19 aliases. So, police believe that she was indeed on the run and attempting to go again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Always a bad sign when somebody has 19 aliases. I don`t care how cute they are. Was Simone desperate for cold hard cash?

Here`s the cold hard reality of being a model. When you`re 37 and you`re a bikini model, are over the hill no matter how much you pump iron. She was already looking into trying to do the usual slash type things. You know, singer, actress, "slash" model, "slash". And she even had her own reality TV. Check this out from YouTube.


FARROW: Up. Up. Down. Up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honey do I have a gloss in here? Can I have a look? Do I have an (inaudible)? Can I -- can I get a little help. Thank you. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Let me in.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is not model behavior, ladies and gentlemen. Plenty of models make money just on their good looks. But you got to check this out. This is a Victoria Secret Fashion Show, really doesn`t have that much relevance to the story but we`re just throwing it in there because boy, the video is fabulous.

In all seriousness, Jennifer Gimenez, it`s a serious story although we have a little bit of fun with it because hopefully nobody has died at this point. Is it true that models can get desperate because their life span is so short? Their expiration date as it were is so quick and they are so young and they are used to living really high and then all of a sudden they are broke.

JENNIFER GIMENEZ, SOBER HOUSE: Absolutely. You know, for me when I was, you know, 16 they were saying by 19, 21 my career is going to be over. Today however, you last a little longer than that.

This girl, this woman actually, modeled in a different kind of class of modeling. It`s not the same as the Victoria Secret modeling that we just saw. She was doing Penthouse. So she`s in a different type of environment than the other types of high fashion models are in. So being exposed more to drug lords and what not and in that drug world, is more common. You know what I mean?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What you`re saying is that there`s a stratosphere of models. There are sort of classy models and then there are not so classy models. And the not so classy models would show more skin and be on the cover of a men`s magazine?

GIMENEZ: Well, you know, yes. In a "Penthouse" magazine it`s different than showing your skin and selling, you know --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It`s not xxx.

GIMENEZ: No. It`s not xxx. And you know, models they make a lot of money and then all of a sudden, don`t and they go "what do I do next"? And drugs, alcohol, you know, I`m over the hill at 28 come into effect. And really you`re not over the hill. That`s the thing is that this woman obviously had a lot of other issues going on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And obviously drugs -- when you are accused of selling them, you can sometimes use them. We don`t know if she`s sober or not. But it certainly would be an odd circumstance for somebody who is accused of selling drugs on this massive scale not to be perhaps indulging a little oneself.

Let`s take a look at these facts from the case. Back in October of 2009, the DEA raids Simone`s Hollywood pad looking for meth and documents about her alleged drug ring. Simone flees to her native Australia and she`s arrested Down Under.

Fast forward to February 2012; her friends post the $150,000 bail, Simone flees and goes on the lam. Then just last week, authorities found her at a seedy motel and re-arrested her.

How did they find her, Dylan?

HOWARD: Well, that we don`t know. Police hasn`t really confirmed that. But interesting you pointed out about the two friends that posted the $150,000 bail or bond. One of those was a doctor, a flamboyant doctor from New South Wales in Sidney, Australia, and the other was a barrister who put up -- ponied up $15,000 of his own money and subsequently gone to a court and said to the court "I made a mistake. I shouldn`t have bankrolled this woman" and that bond has been given back to him.

But that goes to show that this woman is essentially a fraudster, a con person. Someone who was able to convince two pillars of society, a doctor and a barrister -- and a lawyer -- to hand her $150,000.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I wonder how she did that. Let me see.

Now, we were talking about whether she was using or not. Just days ago Simone dubbed herself a drug free fairy -- whatever that means -- on her Facebook page. You have to wonder, was that a plea to stay out of jail?

Jennifer Gimenez, I go back to you. You`re one of those slashes; actress "slash" model. You`re also a recovering addict. Is there a connection between modeling and the drug use world?

GIMENEZ: Oh, absolutely. I mean the pressure of the modeling world puts on you that, you know, you`re too heavy in any way even when you`re tiny. Drugs come into effect and they actually help relieve the pain and help you lose weight; and alcohol. I mean it`s a fast paced life.

But someone that`s doing things like, you know, "Penthouse" and other things not to knock these girls down --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a slippery slope.

GIMENEZ: It`s a slippery slope. And you know, they`re connected to a lot of high-end, you know, international connections out there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One thing leads to another, right? That`s that the old song.

GIMENEZ: It goes hand in hand.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen. It`s a fascinating case. It just goes to show you on a serious note that again forget about your stereotypes of what a drug dealer, alleged or whatever, this woman is alleged. She hasn`t been convicted right, at this point. What an alleged drug dealer looks like because we`ve been dealing this entire show with stereotypes.

This kid, who was just walking around with the Skittles and the iced tea shot dead because he looked, looked a certain way. She`s wearing a hoodie but a lot of people would say because she`s pretty and she`s blonde and she`s white and she`s petite, she`s not a drug dealer; when in fact, she`s accused of being a huge, massive worldwide international drug dealer.

So again, the lesson here: get the stereotypes out of your mind and judge people without preconceived notions because those preconceived notions are usually wrong.

Thank you, fantastic panel; so glad to have you here.

Is drinking water making people in one South Carolina town sick? I`m talking flesh-eating bacteria. I`m talking blisters. It`s a story you have to hear because guess what? You probably drink water too, I`m going guess.

We`re taking your calls, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. Wow. Fourth of July.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s coming out again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s hard not being able to do what you love, even going to school.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Water spewing fire, mysterious illnesses that make young girls twitch and flutter and now some folks are claiming their water is making them really sick. Residents of Anderson, South Carolina, suing their water company after they say they experienced numerous health problems that they claim stem from the drinking water. Now, according to the lawsuit that they filed, the e Coli and other bacteria have contaminated the water supply and safety lapses are to blame. Residents say they have been plagued with things like flesh eating bacteria, blisters all over their body. One man said he needed a below the knee amputation. The infection was so bad they had to cut off his foot.

This is very alarming stuff. We`re going to try to sort it out. Straight out to my very special guests: we have Tracy Robinson, as well as Terry Handley. Now, I want to start with you Tracy; you`re one of the residents who filed this lawsuit against your water company. Tell us what you have experienced health-wise. Tell us -- give us your litany.

TRACY ROBINSON, SUED WATER COMPANY: Migraines, blisters, infections, flesh-eating bacteria, had to have skin removed and meat, colonoscopy, hair loss -- just feeling really sick and tired.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s very disturbing. I want to go over the ailments detailed in this lawsuit. You said residents claim they`ve been hit with flesh-eating bacteria, blisters and this below the knee amputation. But my question is how do you know that the water is the cause? I have to go out to the attorney, Tom Dunaway, the attorney for the six residents. Because all of the people suing live on the same block, if it was tainted water, wouldn`t it affect more people than those who are just on that particular street, sir?

TOM DUNAWAY, ATTORNEY FOR THE RESIDENTS: Well, one of the ways we confirmed that it was e Coli and (inaudible) worm was to have the water tested by a state registered water facility who confirmed the presence of that material. What we have determined from the use of an epidemiologist and also from our engineers is that one tank that supplies this street was the subject of contamination.

Once we contacted the water district, they in fact emptied that tank and dug new lines for the residents and went to complete another tank to supply them with water. The suspected water tank now stands empty for no apparent reason even though they deny any responsibility.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes. We did reach out to the water company. The Anderson Regional Joint Water System gave us this statement. We want to read it because we want to be fair here. "We sell water to 14 independently-owned and operated member agencies. They say their water meets or exceeds every industry state and federal standard; they do 127 individual lab tests every day. Water is free of contamination and safe for human consumption."

Going on and on, Lisa Bloom, you`ve covered cases like this. Somebody is wrong. Either the water is completely safe or the water has e Coli. And it`s interesting that the residents say now that the water tower in their neighborhood stands empty.

LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Well, that is very interesting, right? That`s called remedial measures after the fact. In other words they`re trying to solve this problem. This is a case that`s going to be a battle of experts. It`s going to come down to the science. But how can anybody explain all of these people sick in the same area?

You know, it reminds me very much of the Erin Brockovich story, remember that. Remember everything that she went through to prove it and what she was up against? And all the hurdles? That`s what these folks are up say. But I say hurrah for trial attorneys. You know, they get a bad rap but people like this will keep our water clean and keep us safe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And they speak for the voiceless because these people felt helpless, powerless. You said it reminds you of this Erin Brockovich case. And of course, that`s a clip that we have of the movie involving Erin Brockovich. I think it was played by Julia Roberts.

BLOOM: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: YouTube and Universal Studios. Check it out.


JULIA ROBERTS, ACTRESS: These people don`t dream about being rich. They dream about being able to watch their kids swim in a pool without worrying that they`ll have to have a hysterectomy at the age of 20.

I want you to think about what your spine is worth, Mr. Walker. Or what you might expect someone to pay you for your uterus, Ms. Sanchez. Then you take out your calculator and you multiply that number by 100. Anything less than that --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to say this. In our culture, and I wrote about this in my book, "Addict Nation". We are pouring so many toxic chemicals into our ground trying to make our gardens and our lawns so perfect and buying everything that seems like new and improved that we are poisoning our world in so many ways.

The average American woman puts more than 100 different chemicals on her body every day and has no idea what those chemicals are. We assume that the U.S. government is looking out for us. But the fact is that many, many chemicals that are banned in Europe and other parts of the world are legal here.

The big take away from this case is if you don`t want to be poisoned, don`t use or buy anything where you don`t understand the ingredients on the back of the bottle because these folks say that it`s water and maybe it is. They`re going to go to court. But maybe it`s something else. Maybe it`s what we`re pouring into our grass. Don`t use chemicals. They`re not necessary.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The "Kony 2012" breakdown in a minute. But first, I think we all deserve a laugh break.






JASON RUSSELL, DIRECTOR, "KONY 2012": The courts were overwhelmed and so excited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop the rebel group the LRA and their leader Joseph Kony.

CROWD: We`ve seen these kids. We`ve heard their cries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We worry. The rebels when they arrest us again then they will kill us. My brother tried to escape. Then they killed him using panga.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to stop them.

RUSSELL: It`s just really personal because I made the promise to Jacob.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Kony 2012" the movie was an instant Internet sensation, 80 million hits in two weeks alone. Non profit Invisible Children hoped the video would help make Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony a household name and take him down by the end of the year.

But the movies sudden success has caused the creator to have, well, some say a breakdown. Check this out from TMZ.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: A rambling Jason Russell was arrested and hospitalized after he was found running through the streets of San Diego naked, swearing and shouting incoherently.

I want to go out to Mike Walters, TMZ news manager, what do you know? This is just so bizarre.

MIKE WALTERS, TMZ NEWS MANAGER: After we obtained the video we found out that basically the cops came to the scene after several people called, obviously a naked man slamming his fists against the ground talking about the devil and different stuff that didn`t sound coherent.

The cops decided to hold him on a 51-50 for 72 hours instead of arrest him for being nude in public. We`re told he wasn`t intoxicated. His family went as far as to say that he never struggled with substance abuse or alcohol abuse and that this is just him after all the media pressure surrounding the "Kony 2012" video, dehydrated, exhausted and not having a lot of sleep.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, my heart goes out to this guy. I love the video. I watched it. I cried. And he was attacked. He was viciously attacked, and that can hurt.

BLOOM: You know Taylor Swift has a song now where she says people throw rocks at things that shine. This is a man who shines in the world, who is trying to do something positive and who has, thank goodness, raised awareness about horrible crimes going on in Africa that the American media generally does not cover.

Now you know for taking a stand on a lot of worthy issues, people will attack you if you take a stand.


BLOOM: And sometimes people aren`t prepared for it. I think he had no idea the kind of attacks that he would get; his little 5-year-old son would get. People are saying all kinds of mean, nasty things about him.

I still salute him for what he did for raising consciousness, for sticking his neck out for children half a planet away. And I`m sorry that he had this breakdown.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I`m really sorry and I totally relate to how you can really, really feel demoralized and almost like existentially depressed when you are trying to do something for the world and instead of moving it forward people turn around and attack you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And so when you`re a little too far ahead of the pack, sometimes you get taken down. I think the media was also embarrassed that they didn`t cover Kony the way we should.

BLOOM: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As soon as I saw this video I covered it. But I think maybe the media attacked him as well.

BLOOM: I think you`re right. But you know, 80 million hits on YouTube says to me that people care. That we still have a heart and we care about people half a world away. It doesn`t matter what color they are. And that`s what he`s shown us and I think that`s what we should remember in the story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jason Russell, if you`re watching or your family, we love you. We think you did the right thing.

BLOOM: Hear, hear.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re sorry you had a breakdown, if that`s what it was. Be strong because the world needs you. Your son needs you. Your wife needs you. We need you.

More on the other --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news on this trial in the Sheridan- "Desperate Housewives" trial. Nicollette Sheridan was suing for wrongful termination; she claims her character was killed off in the popular show in retaliation. She claims the producer Marc Cherry hit her on the head when she complained; they wrote her off the show. Cherry and ABC says nonsense, it was creative decision to kill off her character and the trial was seemingly made for TV.

Oh, my gosh. Singing witnesses on the stand. Suffice it to say it`s a mistrial and Nicollette Sheridan says she`s going to retry the case. And Lisa Bloom, I think Nicollette Sheridan herself, she should star in the made for TV movie about this case.

BLOOM: I love it. She`s bold. Very few actresses are going to sue a studio and will think they`ll never work again. She`s putting it out there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you`re very right when you say that they may never work again. You don`t go up against the studios. But she did and she`s going to do it again. So round two, the sequel.

"NANCY GRACE" is next.