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Zimmerman's Defense; Police Sentence for Danziger Bridge Shootings; CNN Special Focuses on Children and Race

Aired April 5, 2012 - 08:00   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: We have been talking, of course, about George Zimmerman's defense. It is our top story this morning. Here's what his new defense team is saying.


ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FATHER: It's clearly him on the tape. There's absolutely no doubt about who it is.


O'BRIEN: His father and his defense attorney telling the version of events from George Zimmerman's perspective the night that Trayvon Martin was shot and killed.

Family circles where interracial dating is still considered taboo. Anderson Cooper and I talked to kids whose parents are not so thrilled about it. We're going to show you what they say straight ahead, as we continue the special report that "A.C. 360" has been doing.

Plus, the Augusta National is still just for men this morning. The Masters tournament is getting underway, but a female CEO of a key sponsor could force their hand on that issue. Could the club's gender barrier finally be broken?

And blonde ambition. There is now a woman in the race for the White House, and she wants to make it her dream house. That's a hint of who it is.

It's Thursday, April 5th. And STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome, everybody.

Let's introduce you to our panelists this morning. Oh, I should mention John Mellencamp, "Jack & Diane." John's playlist.



CAIN: Right over here, sister.

O'BRIEN: Will Cain, wow, talk about profiling.

CAIN: What did you profile, I'm curious?

O'BRIEN: Country music, men from Texas. Usually you do all the country music. That's all. That's all.

CAIN: Surprise you.

O'BRIEN: Yes, you do, every day.

Stedman Graham is joining our panel this morning. He's the chairman and CEO of S. Graham and Associates. He's also the author of a new book called "Identity: Your Passport to Success." We were talking about it in our last hour.

John Fugelsang is with us as well. The teleprompter is like we're going to skip the other in the panel. But, no, I won't. John Fugelsang is with us. He's a political comedian.

Will Cain is with us, from

Nice to have all of you with us this morning.

We're starting with George Zimmerman's father who's been telling his son's version of events the night Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. Listen.


ZIMMERMAN: He was walking back to his vehicle, Trayvon came from his left side and asked him, did he have -- did he have a problem. George said no. At that point, Trayvon said, well, you do now. He punched him in the nose, knocked him to the concrete and started beating him. George was there yelling for help for at least 40 seconds. It's clearly him on the tape.


O'BRIEN: Also we're hearing from the new attorney, Hal Uhrig is now representing George Zimmerman and he says this is what happened that night.


HAL UHRIG, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: The reason that Trayvon Martin is dead is not because he was black or because he wore a hoodie or because he was walking in the rain. It's because that 6'3" young man made a terrible decision and a bad judgment and he decided to smacked somebody in the face and break their nose, jumped on him and smacked their head into the ground. And in doing that, put him in reasonable fear for his safety. You're going to find that there was a dispute as to what happened with the gun, he was absolutely entitled to defend himself and that's why Trayvon is dead, not because of racial profiling.


O'BRIEN: So, I think this gives a clear sense of where this case is going to go, right? I mean, we have a consistent story this is George Zimmerman's side of the story. He was, in fact, attacked. He was, in fact, according to his father and clearly the lawyer, he is the victim in the case and he was defending himself as the way their story goes.

I'm curious to know what role does race play in that. You heard the last thing he said there, was this is about this race, this is not about racial profiling.

FUGELSANG: Well, that's very nice to say. I mean, it's been about race ever since people who are on the money kept black people as livestock. I'm afraid, no matter what, this is about. It's a biracial man. There are racial slurs on the tape. I'm sorry. But punks doesn't rhyme with spoons.

O'BRIEN: You know, analysis does not confirm that.

FUGELSANG: OK. But there's no way that race won't be a factor in this. However, that particular network that interview was given, with a very, very supportive interviewer, keeps breaking it down along racial lines, which I think is a big mistake. And the NAACP and Urban League run a risk of feeding into that narrative.

O'BRIEN: What do you mean?

FUGELSANG: Because there's plenty of Caucasians outrage, there has been no arrest. It was a biracial man who committed the shooting. It's not broken down along racial lines. There's plenty of white folks who are outrage about this and want to see a trial.

CAIN: Well, there's undoubtedly racial issues that are very ever present in this country, as John has alluded. We have a racial history. We have racial divides. We have a conversation we need to have over racial profiling.

The answer to your specific question, what does it have to do with this case right now? I still firmly sit in the seat of I don't know.

And John and I had an interesting conversation a moment ago, John saying, don't we need a trial? Doesn't everyone need a trial in this case?

And my answer to that is I don't have all the evidence or all the information that a prosecutor has right now to determine, do I have enough to go to trial?

FUGELSANG: I would say, the trial is already in progress in the court of public opinion. And we're not waiting for --

CAIN: It's not the court I'm talking about.

FUGELSANG: Well, it's already happening.

O'BRIEN: You know, history has shown us sometimes that when, I think especially for people of color, that's often there's got to be a lot of yelling and screaming before cases are brought to light. I mean, I think that's fair to say that this case would have completely disappeared if people hadn't said, rightfully or wrongfully, there's been an injustice done here and we want someone to take up a closer look at that. And that is really what -- it wasn't a police officer saying we're waiting to get information out. It was people who were really, really angry who said justice is not being done and they made a lot of hoopla about it and brought the media attention, et cetera, et cetera.

CAIN: You're right if the ultimate conclusion is that there was an injustice done. We don't have that conclusion yet. If the prosecutor sees there was not enough evidence to go trial, that seems to be where we started the story.

O'BRIEN: Well, ultimately, somebody who is unarmed and was found with an iced tea and a bag of Skittles, was shot and killed walking to his father's girlfriend's home, so is not fair to say -- big picture --

CAIN: By a man who brought a .9 millimeter --

O'BRIEN: Big picture, an injustice was done. A teenage kid was killed who as far as everybody knows not armed in any way.

CAIN: I guess when you distinguish I guess between injustice in the great societal sense and injustice in a legal sense. And I'm certainly not saying that George Zimmerman -- I'm not on here advocating that George Zimmerman is a good guy, or did the right thing. What I'm telling you is, was an injustice done because there was no arrest? We will find out when we all have conclusions.

O'BRIEN: How do you move this story past race? Or does it ever move past race.

STEDMAN GRAHAM, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, S. GRAHAM AND ASSOCIATES: Well, I think it's like I said, indicative of a larger problem. I toured Cook County jail and 99 percent of the prisoners in there are young black men. And like I said, there's a 16 percent graduation rate in one state of black men.

O'BRIEN: Do you think the focus should now be on that conversation, sort of not about the individual Trayvon Martin? We heard Marc Morial say I don't want to lose the focus on this kid who was killed.

GRAHAM: Where people are tired of these young black men being killed and also not being educated and being marginalized and not being able to get a job. So they're just tired and this is just an indication of where the country needs to go to make sure all young people are educated, but particularly black men because they have such a failure right in the educational system.

O'BRIEN: I don't think you're going to be able to take apart this case from -- I don't think it's a separate case that doesn't involve race, I clearly don't.


CAIN: But clear, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is, we'll know in the end. We don't know right now. We'll know in the end.

O'BRIEN: And I'm saying -- people can yell and scream about racial injustice potentially, we would never have known because the issue would never have been raised.

FUGELSANG: That's a good thing. This outrage makes me proud to be an American because no one covered the case until there was the outrage. When the lawyer, the new lawyer for Mr. Zimmerman comes out --

O'BRIEN: Hal Uhrig.

FUGELSANG: Yes, Mr. Uhrig implies that this panoramic splendor of racial harmony up until these outside instigators came in, there's a lot of folks in that town that might disagree with that statement.

O'BRIEN: That is correct.

We've got to get to Christine. She's got the look at some of the other headlines this morning.

Hey, Christine.


Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is due in court in less than an hour. Sandusky faces 52 counts for sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. Sandusky's attorney is asking the court to dismiss many of these charges. He says accusation of abuse are vague and the statute of limitations has run. Sandusky has pleaded not guilty, is currently, of course, on house arrest.

The JetBlue pilot who suffered an apparent mental break down during a flight, he may every face a court. Captain Clayton Osbon will undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine he's competent enough to understand the charges against him. A detention hearing that was set for today has been postponed until after doctors get a chance to examine him.

It's the last word now on the death of singer Whitney Houston. The L.A. coroner's office releasing its final autopsy report. It says Houston drowned facedown in a tub of hot water one foot deep. Investigators found white powder and a spoon with white residue in her hotel room.

America's Choice 2012, fresh from his primary hot streak this week, Romney laser-focused now on attacking President Obama. Romney accused the president of being hypocritical and disingenuous with the American people.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He wants us to re- elect him so we can find out what he'll actually do. With all the challenges that the nation faces, this is not the time for President Obama's hide-and-seek campaign.


ROMANS: Romney also called the stimulus the mother of earmarks and says he offers real choice and a new beginning.

Meantime, it's looking like Pennsylvania or bust for Rick Santorum. A Santorum advisor says the candidate needs to win the primary in his home state to push forward with his presidential campaign. The Pennsylvania primary is on April 24. Santorum is still fighting, though, warning Mitt Romney supporters that negative attacks won't work in his backyard.

A chilling new memoir on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy claims First Lady Jackie Kennedy tried to save a part of her husband's skull after he was shot. The book claims Mrs. Kennedy leaped on to the back of the presidential limousine, in a failed to grab a piece of the skull. She then climbed back in to her seat cradling her husband's head in her arms, crying, quote, "Jack, Jack, what have they done to you?"

The author of the book is 80-year-old, a former Secret Service agent who was in the presidential motorcade during the assassination.

Soledad, I was flipping through some of the pictures in there, too. You know, all these years later, it's still just so sad, the whole thing. A really interesting book.

O'BRIEN: So, she was grabbing his head trying to --

FUGELSANG: Which is what we've always seen, of course, the film that she was doing. But this just gives verification for what in shock she was clearly appearing to do.

O'BRIEN: Oh, my gosh.

Christine, thanks for that update.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT: she's been a dentist, she's been a doctor, she's been a paratrooper, she's been a lifeguard. Now, she would like to be president of the United States. Who is this model candidate?


O'BRIEN: Or can hold 130 careers.

Also, we'll tell you if a woman is going to finally get to put on the green jacket as a member of golf's premier Augusta National Club. Women are not allowed in that club. But there's a female CEO who might get a chance.

Here's John's play list, the Rolling Stones, "She's a Rainbow."

You're watching STARTING POINT.


O'BRIEN: The Masters golf tournament starts today at the Augusta National golf tournament, and since the club started in 1933, it has never admitted a woman as a member.

The club, though, has traditionally given membership and those iconic green jackets to the CEOs of the three companies that sponsor the tournament, which would be IBM, ExxonMobil and also AT&T -- except for maybe this year. That is because one of those CEOs of one of those companies is a woman.

Virginia Rometty of IBM -- yes, awkward, as my 11-year-old daughter was saying -- awkward. The chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club says, listen, he doesn't want to hear it, the issue is a private matter.


BILLY PAYNE, CHAIRMAN, AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB: Well, as has been the case, may -- whenever that question is asked of me, all issues of membership are now and have been historically subject to the private deliberations of the members and that statement remains accurate and remains my statement.


O'BRIEN: Meaning none of your business, I'm not going to tell you what we're going to do. So joining us this morning is professional golfer Hollis Stacy, a former LPGA champion, also a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Nice to see you; thanks for talking with us. Give me a little perspective on this as a Hall of Fame member. H2ow important is this dilemma, this conflict, if you will?

HOLLIS STACY, LPGA CHAMPION: Well, you know, Soledad, it's a horrible situation. YOU KNOW I lived it, I grew up in Savannah and it's not pretty, you know? The Augusta National is in a -- they're in a pickle. So I see it as no relevance to me because I lived it and I think it's a false standard --


O'BRIEN: How do you mean?

STACY: -- that women should think that -- well, I think that -- I don't think that women should expect this to happen, yet, you know, IBM is in a pickle because they're a publicly traded company, they have stockholders, they have board of directors and you know, we have -- you know, we have our ways of having a social conscience.

You know, we buy their products. So, you know, I say, you know, women, you know, you voice your own concern.

O'BRIEN: So back in 1990, they really ended racial discrimination at -- was it Chill Creek -- because they didn't allow African-Americans and you know, they discriminated at that particular club. So advertisers pulled out.

It seems to me a little bit odd -- and maybe I'm wrong on this -- but that 12 years later that we're having a conversation about women not being allowed in the club. It seems so -- I don't know, it just seems like, really? Still today? Do you think that the chairman has a point when he says, listen, it's a private club, we can do what they want.

STACY: You know, and they can do what they want to do. You know, and getting back to the member at Augusta, 22 years after Martin Luther King was killed, wasn't that nice they put an African-American member in there? And yet I think it was just to appease the PGA, it made them look very bad playing on a golf course that discriminated against men and women and African-Americans.

So, you know, it makes everyone look horrible, it makes IBM, it makes ExxonMobil, AT&T and the PGA look very bad.

O'BRIEN: So what's the solution? I mean, is the solution to go ahead and let in this one female member? Is the solution to say, it's a private club. Everybody just shut up and mind your own business? What's the response?

STACY: No, no, I think that the sponsors of the tournament -- IBM, ExxonMobil, AT&T -- you know, they should make a decision after the event, just as the president of Augusta National said he's -- they're going to have comments. It is a private matter. You know, they put in Donald Trump as a member this year.

So, you know, it just is -- it's not a pretty scene right now. Here we are, 2012, talking about whether or not a woman should be a member.

CAIN: Soledad and Hollis, I would love to help -- help you guys distinguish this. Are we proposing there should be no all gender- based clubs in this country? For example, Justice Sonia Sotomayor belonged to an all-women's networking club.

When and when is it not appropriate to have clubs that are exclusively men or exclusively women?

O'BRIEN: I'll let Hollis answer that.


STACY: Well, you know, I don't think there should be a -- yes, I'm sorry. I don't think there should be a problem having an all-men, all-women's course.

But, you know, when you're -- when you have sponsors that are promoting -- well, the members -- Augusta is promoting itself through this membership of CEO sponsors, and when you're having these CEOs, who have board of directors and stockholders, you know, it's -- they have to answer to their stockholders.

So, you know, the membership -- and Billy Payne is absolutely right, they can do whatever they want. But, you know, it's a pickle right now when they have these corporations as members.

O'BRIEN: Hollis Stacy joining us, she's a former LPGA player and also inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame back on May 7th. Thanks for talking with us. I think she's exactly right, it has nothing to do with being a private club, it has everything to do with sponsorship.

CAIN: I'm shocked that there's elitism in golf. I just -- what it --it's overwhelming. But while it's true, you're right, that they have a right to do it, women have a right to protest it and to take this fight to the companies --.

I'd argue it's not about any of that. It's about sponsors. It's about what do the sponsors want to be representing at the end of the day. That's it. It is do whatever you want in your private club. I fully support that. If you're a sponsor, do you want to sponsor that? That's the question.

Anyway, ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, Army investigators are getting their very first look at the scene of that Afghan massacre, this morning Afghan military leaders, though, are accusing the U.S. of getting in the way of the investigation.

Plus Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard says she may have been winning gold medals, but she was secretly crying in the pool. She's got a new book out, and it reveals years of struggle.

If you're about to head to work, don't worry about missing our show. You can go to our live blog on our website, which is

From Steadman's playlist this morning, Billy Stewart, "Sitting in the Park." You're watching STARTING POINT.



O'BRIEN: OK, I love Barbie, she's blonde, she's beautiful, she's curvy. She's had an amazing career since she first started working -- hoo-hoo-hoo -- in 1957. She's been a dentist, she's been a doctor, she's been a surgeon, she's been a nurse, she's been an aerobics instructor, 130 careers for Barbie over the years since 1957.

One job, though, she has always struggled with, becoming president. Five times Barbie has tried to be president, starting in 1992, but my girl does not give up. She has -- continues to try to make a play for the Oval Office. And there's no difference this year. Mattel has teamed up with the nonpartisan White House project for 2012: Barbie for President, yay, yay, yay. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) Gloria Steinem (inaudible).

O'BRIEN: I think this is the cutest thing ever. And I believe -- look, kind of a long skirt, a lot of the Barbies that I had when I was growing up were a little shorter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Careful, now, this is a family show.

O'BRIEN: And -- hey, and she can stand on her own. Look what she's wearing, very fashion forward. Here, I'll pull it up a little so the --


O'BRIEN: Let me show you. I'm trying to show you the wedgies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it makes (inaudible), quite frankly.

O'BRIEN: There we go.


O'BRIEN: Because she can stand on her own two feet in her pink outfit. So this is the newest Barbie that they have -- this is actually a very big deal, because it was kind of annoying that Barbie couldn't stand up, you had to hold her when she was kissing Ken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, big deal that she can stand, not run for president. I thought that was what you were saying.

O'BRIEN: Oh, that, too. Yes, yes. But I also meant --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can all agree that Ken will make a great first lady.


O'BRIEN: They say that she has a glampain.


O'BRIEN: It goes on -- whoever wrote the press release for Mattel is absolutely brilliant. It's like 10 pages long, and it is the funniest thing I have ever read. Barbie, by the way, costs about $13.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will give Sarah Palin credit for breaking the presidential lipliner ceiling in Barbie.

CAIN: I'm going to give Mattel a lot of credit because this is Barbie's fifth run, and she still gets press coverage having lost four races from '92 to 2008.


O'BRIEN: (Inaudible) hammer you, Barbie. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's like Lyndon LaRouche in pink heels.

O'BRIEN: That's right. The lamestream media will attack you, Barbie. I love this (inaudible). I'm excited about it. Three boys on the panel (inaudible).


O'BRIEN: Blah, blah, blah. All right. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT we're going to wait for the jobless numbers to come out, they're due out in just a few minutes. Going to have those for you straight ahead.

And then we'll tell you what has happened in one of the biggest investigations in New Orleans, what happened at the Danziger Bridge, the officers have now been sentenced for a shooting that occurred -- a terrible shooting that occurred in the days after Hurricane Katrina.

We're going to talk to the brother of one of the victims of that shooting. You're watching STARTING POINT. We are back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: And welcome back to STARTING POINT. This is just in to CNN, the weekly jobless numbers. Christine has them for us. Hi, Christine.

ROMANS: Hi, there. This just in, 357,000 jobless claims, Soledad, were filed for the first time last week. And 357,000, it's pretty much in line with what economists were expecting. Anything under 400,000 is seen as a sign of a healing labor market. That means that the jobless line is getting a little bit shorter. And the big jobs report for the month is tomorrow. So that the really important one here.

Let's take a look at some of the other headlines we're watching. Stock futures, a little bit lower here this morning, Dow futures pointing to a lower open. Markets were down for the second day in a row after news that the Federal Reserve may be leaning away from more stimulus from the economy.

Army criminal investigators have now completed their first visit to the remote outpost in Afghanistan where Staff Sergeant Robert Bales served and the two villages he allegedly massacred. The decision to have Bales tried here in the U.S. has further strained relations between the two countries. Afghan military officials accuse their U.S. counterparts of impeding the Bales investigation.

Officials are permanently sealing off the upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia where 29 people were killed in an explosion exactly two years ago today. That blast was the deadliest U.S. mine disaster since 1972. The new owners of that mine say they will seal it off with concrete by summer.

A new U.S. Treasury Department report find Solyndra's $535 million federal loan guarantee was rushed by the Energy Department back in 2009. The Treasury report says the Energy Department raced to sign a deal with the solar panel company so it could issue a press release. The Treasury claims it was not properly consulted on the terms of the loan in 2009 or again in 2011 when the loan was restructured. Solyndra went bankrupt last September. It was the first company to be awarded a federal loan guarantee under the president's green energy stimulus program.

Trekkies everywhere can count one of the free world as one of their even. Take a look. Nichelle Nichols, who famously played Lt. Uhura on the original "Star Trek" series, she had this pic snapped of her and President Obama each giving the Vulcan salute, "Live long and prosper." Nichols, who is 79, met with President Obama back in February after speaking at a NASA event. Besides being a "Star Trek" geek, the president also had a thing for Lieutenant Uhura back in the day. After they met Nichols tweeted "Months ago President Obama was quoted as saying that he had a crush on me when he was younger. I asked about that and he proudly confirmed it."

Soledad, one of my proudest moments was meeting her, and I asked her about the story that she was going to leave the show after one year, and it was Martin Luther King Jr. who came to her and said no, you're doing more for African-Americans and for black sciences than anyone else ever could. You need to stay. So she decided to stay on the show, and the rest is history.

O'BRIEN: She was hot. And at 79, she looks amazing.

ROMANS: And she's devoted to getting girls involved in STEM, science, technology, engineering, math.

O'BRIEN: And she's hot and she's 79. That is great looking woman. We all should be so lucky. All right, Christine, thank you for the update on that.

We are going to talk this morning about a notorious case that happened in the wake of hurricane Katrina back in 2005. It was the shooting at Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. Police were called to the bridge, drove on to the bridge guns firing. And in the end two people were killed, four people were injured. It turned out the people were just crossing the bridge to find food and medicine. And no one had returned fire on the bridge.

What happened after that was, the prosecutors say, that realizing that they had made a huge mistake, police started bringing together a cover-up. So eventually the U.S. Department of Justice was called in and there was a conviction. Those who were convicted were given prison sentences that range from six years to 65 years. Lance Madison, the brother of Ronald Madison, who was shot and killed, says he hopes that this brings some closure to that day.


LANCE MADISON, BROTHER OF RONALD MADISON: It's been very traumatic, very devastating. We're still going through devastation, still going through problems dealing with this. And one day when this is all over with we'll be able to get back to our lives.


O'BRIEN: Ronald's other brother Romell joins us this morning to talk about this case. Thanks for being with us, we certainly appreciate it. The sentencing judge said this, that these looking glass plea deals, that it tied the hands of the court. There was a deal that would allow what actually happened on that day to come forward. So he was clearly frustrated. How do you feel about it today?

ROMELL MADISON, BROTHER OF RONALD MADISON: I didn't feel that it was justified. I feel that it had nothing to do with the plea agreements that were given in the beginning. If not for those plea agreements, a lot of the information, the truth may have never come out. So the other two families and my family fully supported the Department of Justice and the FBI.

O'BRIEN: Your brother was shot once in the shoulder and five times in the back. Tell me about your brother Ronald.

MADISON: Ronald was mentally handicapped, he had the mental capacity of about a six to eigth-year-old. He was very kind, very doting. He was really more introverted and he wasn't aggressive at all. So I don't see how they could have assumed that he was attacking them. As a matter of fact all the bullet wounds, two in the back initially, and then five more after that were all in the back. But he was really just walking away from them when they shot him the second time.

O'BRIEN: The cops maintained at the very beginning through this cover-up that they had been attacked. And I know that your other brother, they tried to pin some murder accounts on him. Tell everybody what happened that day as much as you have been able to piece together. I think people even outside of the city of New Orleans we remember this story well from what happened.

MADISON: OK, from what I understand, the family, the Bartholomew was crossing over the bridge to get to a Winn Dixie, it was used as an outpost to pass out supplies to people, give them water and whatever supplies they could get. My two brothers left their home to come to the west side of that bridge, which is right by my office. I have two offices in New Orleans and it was that office didn't flood, but they sought refuge at the office. My brother had a key to the office.

So they were headed back across the bridge toward the east, when the police pulled up in a U-Haul van or a budget rental van and jumped out and started shooting people. When the two of them saw that they were shooting people, they turned around and started running towards my office, and that's when they fired on both of my brothers.

O'BRIEN: I wanted to ask you a final question about closure, because as you said, your brother was hit and hit numerous times, and it was those bullets to his back that killed him. People often talk about close your in these kinds of cases. Do you think that ever happens? But this case is a notorious case for the NOPD and the community as a whole.

MADISON: There's closure in the fact that I feel the police department now know that they aren't above the law and that they can't just judicially hand out death sentences and expect to get away with it whether it's a mistake or not. The biggest problem in this situation that got them in trouble was the cover-up even more than the shooting.

O'BRIEN: Thanks for being with us. We appreciate you talking to us.

MADISON: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, kids on race, an "AC 360" special investigation. Today we talk to 13-year-olds about interracial relationships and dating.

And then even Olympic gold couldn't help a swimmer keep her head above water when it came to her self-image. Dr. Sanjay Gupta sits down with Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard coming in.

You're watching STARTING POINT. We have to take a short break. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: We have been talking this week about that special "AC 360" study about children and race. And we earlier began with six- year-olds and then we moved into the 13-year-olds. When you're talking about 13-year-olds, you're really talking about interracial relationships that can involve dating. So instead, Robert, of a racial divide, what we were able to see was a generational divide in some way. Kids said they would date someone of a different race, but sometimes their parents' reaction could send a completely different message. Anderson Cooper and I sat down with parents, teenagers, who had some pretty interesting things to say about dating.


O'BRIEN: Do people start dating in middle school?


O'BRIEN: Do you have a girlfriend?


O'BRIEN: If you were to have a girlfriend and she was a white girl and you brought her home, what would your mom and dad say?

JIMMY: Well, I don't know. It's just when I tell my parents what I did, I dated a white girl. And they said, they're not racist. They say why not your own kind? They're not upset that I like white girls, they just ask why. O'BRIEN: So they were not that excited about it?

JIMMY: I mean, it's not that they were like you need to choose a black girl; it's just -- they just ask me why I like white girls. No, reason; no particular reason.

O'BRIEN: Tell me about that conversation.

JIMMY, JIMMY'S FATHER: I know that conversation well. You know like you said, we don't care, but you know when you see your kid always steering towards a different race, you want to make sure that he -- he doesn't have a problem with his own race. And that's what it was basically why we sit and drill him and talking to him about, you know, you got a problem with your own race? Because we never seen him with a black girlfriend.

O'BRIEN: -- which brings us to Luke. We asked him also about interracial dating and here's what he said.


O'BRIEN: Do you think your parents would be fine if you decided to start dating a black girl and brought her home?

LUKE, SEVENTH GRADER: Honestly, my parents probably wouldn't be too happy because if I was to marry a black girl, you're connected to their family now and who knows what her family is really like.

O'BRIEN: So they probably wouldn't be that excited about it.

LUKE: Probably not.


O'BRIEN: Where do you think that comes from?

GARY, FATHER OF LUKE: We have an older daughter and she -- she came home one day and have informed me that she had started going out with an African-American or a black young man at her -- at her school. The young man that we knew we -- we liked a lot and it wasn't that we didn't so much want them dating because of race per se; we didn't know if she really thought about some of the cultural differences that they're may be in.

So we talked about it in that respect. In fairness and to be honest, I mean we do recognize that sometimes there are cultural differences. And we did talk about that, not that it's right or wrong, good or bad, but just different. And we -- we played the scenario out with our daughter in that respect.

We have several friends who are -- who are married that are in -- in interracial marriages. They have great marriages. They also have shared challenges at times. We try to be as open and honest as we can in talking about those kinds of issues again not to dissuade or to discourage but just to get it out there on the table and make sure that we've talked about those kind of things, because they're real. (END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Anderson and I thought that the parents were really, really brave to sit down and talk with us about their kid's thoughts on race "The Hidden Picture" it's on "AC360" this week at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

The take away we found was just conversations were a good thing, because the kids were picking up those conversations anyway, so actual sit down conversations was a really smart idea.

Still ahead this morning I'm going to sit down with Dr. Sanjay Gupta who's talked to the Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard. The public saw her winning gold medals, but in private she was a mess. This is from Sanjay's playlist, Robert Palmer, "Bad Case of Loving You".

You're watching STARTING POINT.


COSTELLO: I'm back, everybody. I've got some new video to show you just into CNN, the former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky arriving in court. This happened just moments ago.

Sandusky faces 52 accounts for sexually abusing ten boys over 15 years. His attorney says the accusations of abuse are vague he wants the court to dismiss many of the charges. But Sandusky has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Other news now, the story of a woman who debuted at the Olympics back in 1996 when she was just 14 years old. Ever since then Swimmer Amanda Beard has won seven Olympic medals and right now she's competing to land a spot in London this summer. Despite all her success though, Beard struggled with a negative body image, self destructive behavior years. She's got a new book now it's called "In the Water They can't See You Cry" and she talks about a lot of her struggles.

Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta had a chance to sit down with Amanda Beard.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This little girl always dreamed big.

AMANDA BEARD, FOUR TIME OLYMPIC SWIMMER: I was 10 years old watching the '92 Olympics and right then and there decided, that's what I wanted to do.

GUPTA: Only four years later, swimmer Amanda Beard's dream did come true. The 90 pound, 14-year-old walked away from the '96 Atlanta Olympics with a gold and two silver medals.

BEARD: After that I had a huge growth spurt, I grew to about 5'8 and then I weighed about 130. GUPTA: Her growing body sparked her struggle with a negative body image.

BEARD: All of a sudden I wasn't swimming very well and I blamed that all on because I got bigger.

GUPTA: Uncomfortable in her new body, she turned to bulimia. She began abusing drugs and alcohol. She struggled with depression. But despite her inner demons she continued to succeed in swimming.

Her emotional low triggered a dangerous new habit. She would hide in the bathroom using eye brow razors to slice small scratches on her arms or ankles -- it wasn't until her boyfriend Sasha Brown discovered Beard's self-destructive behavior that she began to seek help to overcome it.

Now at 30 four-time Olympian Beard and photographer Brown are happily married. They're proud parents of 3-year-old Blaze.

BEARD: I went through all of these things, and here I am, happy, healthy, with a great family and continuing on and trying to make my fifth Olympics.


GUPTA: You know it's amazing, Soledad, just the response to Amanda. She's still emblematic I think of a lot of people who have struggles.

She's 14 years old. She's this champion swimmer, but her body -- she's going through puberty, her body's is also changing and those two things just led to this incredible struggle for her.

So she's got this nearly successful public and professional life. But just emotions just a wreck at the same time -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Well it must be terrible I have to assume that she's telling her story so that she could help all these young women. I mean to have, to feel like you don't control your body that's the thing that's directly correlated -- I don't need to tell you doctor -- to anorexia and all of those eating disorders. It's really that age where girls feel like that they don't have anything to control so they can control that one thing.

GUPTA: Yes and -- and when you're hyper successful it's almost harder to find a community of support around you, because people just don't expect you to be having these problems. And in her case when we hear this over and over again Soledad and I'm sure you've heard it as well, she had to essentially hit rock bottom, I mean she was cutting herself, she was self-destructive. And it took someone who ended up becoming her husband, who said, look, no judgment, I know you're hyper successful in your public life. This is an emotional devastating thing going on your personal life, no judgment, let's just get you help.

And I guarantee there are people right now who are in that same position who just need somebody with no judgment to come help them out.

O'BRIEN: What did she say, was the thing that sort of made her get better? Was it having that person next to her who could help her, was it hitting rock bottom? Was it being successful so she knew she could get back there? What was it?

GUPTA: I think it was hitting rock bottom and I pause a little bit before saying that because I think there's this belief, I think, out there among many people that you have to hit rock bottom in order to get better whether it's something like this or addiction.

I don't know if that's always true. It's a controversial point. In her case, it was true. She really did have to hit rock bottom. I mean she's a swimmer, right? So she has these bathing suits on and she's still cutting her arms and her legs. She wanted this to be seen.

And I think that, you know, it was a public cry for help in many ways but it was, you know, it was a terrible time for her.

O'BRIEN: How terrible to have such a public struggle. I mean something so awful and then have to do it while you're growing up and going through puberty in front of America. That must be very tough for her. We're rooting for her and in London as well.

Sanjay, thank you, nice to see you as always.

GUPTA: You've got it Soledad. You too.

O'BRIEN: All right. "End Point" is up next with our panel. Back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Interesting title for this song, Will Cain. Cory Morrow, "Big City Stripper", what's that about?

CAIN: It's just a love song.

O'BRIEN: Ok. Time to get to our "End Point" here. Who wants to start this morning? Mr. Graham, let's start with you.

STEDMAN GRAHAM, AUTHOR, "IDENTITY: YOUR PASSPORT TO SUCCESS": I would say my point would be, what I learned is it's not how other world defines you or other people define you, it's how you are able to define yourself.

O'BRIEN: And that's why the title of the book is "Identity: Your Passport to Success". We thank you for coming in and spending the day with us and talking about your book.

GRAHAM: Thank you so much.

O'BRIEN: We appreciate it.

What have you got, John? FUGELSANG: This weekend between shows in Albuquerque and Seattle, I got to watch TSA frisk an 80-year-old woman in a wheelchair because her leg brace was made of metal and somewhere in hell, Satan high-fived bin Laden.

O'BRIEN: I'm going to disagree with you on that one. I think that -- you're not annoyed with the TSA for that.

FUGELSANG: Because her leg brace was made of metal, she was frisked.

O'BRIEN: If a person with a leg brace going through, I got to tell you, I say check everybody and check everybody twice because bin Laden, exactly.

Will Cain, final words?

CAIN: Not a lot of substance coming from me right here at the "End Point".

O'BRIEN: What was your song again?

CAIN: Well, "Big City Stripper" --

O'BRIEN: "Big City Stripper".

CAIN: That's right. Cory Morrow, Pat Green, (inaudible) Texas country, check it out. Along with "Identity" by Stedman Graham. Please look out for it.

O'BRIEN: Yes, absolutely.


O'BRIEN: All right, guys, thank you very much.

We got to get to "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello. I'll see everybody back here tomorrow morning, 7:00 a.m. Hey Carol, good morning.