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Source: FBI Assisting Christie Scandal Investigation; Can Christie Survive The Bridge Scandal?; Was Teen's Shooting Death Justified?

Aired January 09, 2014 - 19:00   ET


STEPHANIE CUTTER, CNN ANCHOR: The debate continues online at as well as Facebook and Twitter. From the left, I'm Stephanie Cutter.

S.E. CUPP, CNN ANCHOR: From the right, I'm S.E. Cupp, join us tomorrow for another edition of CROSSFIRE. Erin Burnett "OUTFRONT" starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Next, Chris Christie's mea culpa, apologizing for his staff's role in the New Jersey bridge scandal.


GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution, and I am stunned.


LEMON: Was it enough to keep his presidential hopes alive?

Plus, a North Carolina teenager shot and killed just 70 seconds after an officer arrived on the scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did that officer yell for help or ask for someone to shoot this man?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir, did not.


LEMON: An exclusive interview with the officer's attorney tonight.

And you've seen this disturbing toddler video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You a bitch. You throwing a fit right now?


LEMON: But police just told me obscene language was the least of this baby's problems. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. A lot of news for you tonight. I'm in for Erin Burnett. We are going to begin with breaking news, a law enforcement official tells CNN that the FBI is now assisting federal prosecutors investigating the unfolding political scandal surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

But for one hour and 48 minutes in front of a sea of TV cameras, Christie denied today that he knew about his top staffers shutting down the country's busiest bridge as political payback.


CHRISTIE: I am who I am. But I am not a bully.


LEMON: Christie also fired two people in his inner circle who are at the center of this scandal. Chris Christie was defensive, defiant and apologetic. Here he is tonight in his own words.


CHRISTIE: I come out here today to apologize to the people of New Jersey. I apologize to the people of Fort Lee and I apologize to the members of the state legislature. I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. There's no doubt in my mind that the conduct they exhibited is completely unacceptable and showed a lack of respect for their appropriate role of government and for the people that were trusted to serve.

I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution. And I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover, this was handled in a callous and indifferent way and not the way the administration has conducted itself over the last four years and not the way it'll conduct itself over the next four.

I'll do everything in my power to assure the people of New Jersey that. And I thank them for their willingness to consider my apology on behalf of this government. In the end, I have 65,000 people working for me every day. And I cannot know what each one of them is doing at every minute. But that doesn't matter. I'm ultimately responsible for what they do.

All I can do is apologize for the conduct of people who worked for me. I can't do anything else. I can't reverse time. If I could, believe me, I would. But I'm just going to apologize. I think that's all you can do. I am a very sad person today. That's the emotion I feel. A person close to me betrayed me. A person who I counted on and trusted for five years betrayed me. A person who I gave a high government office to betrayed me.

I probably will get angry at some point. But I've got to tell you the truth, I'm sad. I'm a sad guy standing here today and very disappointed. And that's the overriding emotion. Someone asked me that before. That's the overriding emotion. And I know that because of my bluntness and my directness that people think, well, of course, he must get behind that door and be a lunatic when he's mad about something.

If you asked the staff, it is the rare moment in this office when I raise my voice, the rare moment when I raise my voice. I reserve it for very special times. And I will tell you the last time I did. Four weeks ago when I had them all in that office and I said if any of you have any information about this I don't know, you need to tell me, Kevin or Charlie now.

That was the last time I raised my voice in that office and so, no, I didn't break anything, didn't curse anyone out. It is a sad day for me. I'm doing what I'm obligated to do under this job because it's the right thing to do.


LEMON: Joining me now, the woman who ran against Chris Christie in the 2013 re-election bid, Democratic New Jersey State Senator Barbara Buono along with CNN chief national correspondent, John King, who was at the Christie press conference today, and CNN political commentator, Kevin Madden.

Senator, to you first, listen, I have been following his career for a long time. I've never quite seen him this way. I'm sure most people haven't. You just saw him apologize. He fired the aides involved. He said he didn't know. Do you believe him?

STATE SENATOR BARBARA BUONO (D), NEW JERSEY: Look, as Nelson Mandela has said, resentment is like drinking poison and hoping your enemies die from it. I think we all should forgive one another. I think it's good that the governor is being contrite. He, at the very least, he needs to be contrite. He's trying to reinvent himself. But the fact of the matter is, there are people that were hurt, put in jeopardy, and the governor needs to take responsibility for it.

He says he is. But the fact of the matter is these are individuals that are close to him. And I find it incredible that to think that the governor's distancing himself from his deputy chief of staff, his campaign manager, someone like his alter ego.

LEMON: Senator, the question was, do you believe him?

BUONO: And I'm answering your question. I said it's wonderful for the governor to be contrite and we want to forgive him, but the fact of the matter is, he needs to take responsibility for this.


BUONO: The fact is, this is a governor that runs his administration very -- really like a paramilitary organization. To suggest he's distancing himself from those in his most -- in the closest orbit too him I think is incredulous.

LEMON: I don't want to be rude, but I have very limited time. I have a lot to get in. Chris Christie went to Fort Lee to apologize to the mayor. The man who Christie's staff allegedly had the vendetta against and to the people who live here, here's what the mayor just told our Wolf Blitzer.


MAYOR MARK SOKOLICH (D), FORT LEE, NEW JERSEY: He came up. He was gracious. He was apologetic. We believe sincere. But it's an ongoing investigation. We're concerned there are more stuff and more issues to deal with. But we are appreciative here in Fort Lee that the governor came up here to apologize.


SOKOLICH: I take him for his word. Listening intently to the press conference today, I mean, there was no in between, no -- nothing but unequivocal statements he had absolutely no knowledge. He repeated those statements during the course of our interview. I viewed it as productive.


LEMON: And, again, Senator, I don't mean to be rude, we have very limited time. If he is willing to believe Christie and accept his apology, shouldn't you?

BUONO: Well, that really isn't the issue what Barbara Buono accepts. The fact is, people were put at risk, abuse of authority, may have been some crimes that were committed. And that's why I think it is my responsibility, and I owe it to the people of New Jersey, I would think you agree with that and the people of the United States of America to call upon the federal prosecutor to determine whether or not there were crimes committed.

LEMON: OK. John King, you were at this news conference today. I want to play part of your exchange with Christie, then we'll talk.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, I'm just asking, what do you ask yourself? They either thought this is what the boss wanted, or as a group, they were willing to go rogue and do this and cover it up and then lie to you?

CHRISTIE: Listen. I'm obviously -- I said earlier, John, I'm heartbroken about it and I'm incredibly disappointed. I don't think I've gotten to the angry stage yet. But I'm sure I'll get there. But I'm just stunned. And what does it make me ask about me? It makes me ask about me what did I do wrong to have these folks think it was OK to lie to me? And there's a lot of soul searching that goes around with this.

You know, when you're a leader of an organization and I've had this happen to me before where I've had folks not tell me the truth about something. Not since I've been governor, but in previous leadership positions. You always wonder about what you can do differently. And believe me, John, I haven't had a lot of sleep the last two nights, and I've been doing a lot of soul searching. I'm sick over there.


LEMON: Soul searching, sick over it. You believe him, John, being in the room?

KING: Sure, in that sense, I do believe him, Don. I'm not taking his side, and we'll see where the facts take us over the next coming weeks and months to see if there is any evidence that what Chris Christie said today doesn't match up with the fact about this role in this. But is he soul searching? Of course, he is. He's about to begin a second term as governor of a big estate. He just came out of a landslide election thinking he had a clear mandate and the wind at his back, now the wind is in his face.

He's about to hit the national stage as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He is critical to his party's chances in 2014 and wants to use it as a spring board for a campaign 2016. You can't do that unless you have a political staff at home and a national campaign organization that you trust.

Yes, we'll do your dirty work for you, but not petty work, not illegal work, your tough work but not potentially criminal work. You bet he has to think about what did I do hiring these people and who do I need to fill those places with new jobs coming up?

LEMON: Kevin, it does beg the question, if he did know about it and had some involvement in it, why would he double down on this considering the possibility of 2016? You know, it seems your party isn't --

BUONO: That's what Chris Christie does. That's what he does.

LEMON: -- South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley stuck up for him. Saying I watched my friend, Governor Christie, work through a difficult situation today. He did the right thing in taking responsibility in the tough situation. That's the kind of leadership that earned him the huge level of trust he has in New Jersey. Is this your party aligning themselves for 2016?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, no, I don't think so. I mean, 2016, first of all, is a long ways away and we don't have a candidate field yet. But I think the Governor Christie that stood there at 11:00 today and answered all those questions for close to two hours, that was the Governor Christie that voters overwhelmingly re- elected in 2013.

He was contrite. He was very direct and most importantly he was accountable. And I think he welcomes this level of accountability and quite frankly, he's going to have to get used to it. He has now raised the bar for him and his staff. Every single step now through this entire process, through whatever investigations that come out of it.

He is going to have to meet that level of accountability and meet that level of contrition as he works to repair the trust between himself and his constituents. And then also, I think, with some of the voters that may be looking at him for 2016. That's a long way away.

LEMON: Thanks to all of you, thank you, John King. And still to come tonight on CNN, Governor Chris Christie blames a bridge scandal on his staff. But which staffers are involved and did Chris Christie wait too long to apologize?

Plus, did a police officer need to shoot and kill a mentally ill teen armed with a screwdriver. A lawyer representing the detective explains why the officer believes he has no other choice.

And later, a story we have been following very closely for you. You won't believe this update I just got from police. A viral video shows a toddler being encouraged to make R-rated comments by his parents. What we just learned tonight about the family.


LEMON: We're talking about Chris Christie in crisis mode. The New Jersey governor spent nearly two hours today apologizing for his aides who punished a political rival by orchestrating the closing of several lanes on one of the world's busiest bridges. Christie insists he knew nothing about it. But can he survive this political crisis?

Tonight, Lanny Davis, he is the author of "Crisis Tales," political analyst Steve Adubato is here and then a constitutional lawyer, you know him, Alan Derschowitz. He is the author of "Taking Stand." Thanks to all of you.

Let's just talk here about whether or not -- you know New Jersey politics, Steve. You've been following it forever. Do you believe the governor didn't know about this?

STEVE ADUBATO, POLITICAL ANALYST: I take the governor at his word. I've interviewed him many times as a broadcaster on public television and as a human being. I think I know his body language very well and another practical issue. You do not name the campaign manager, name him to be the chairman of the Republican State Committee of New Jersey, do not name him to be your point person with the Republican Governors Association nationally. That's his point person.

You do not name him to those positions, just recently, a few days ago, right? If you know that is the guy who was in those e-mails. The governor's not stupid. That is why -- and plus, just having a sense of him, you do not do that plus leave no wiggle room. If Chris Christie was lying today, you'll find out very soon he's not stupid. I do not believe he would've done that. And just instinctively watching him today for two hours, I believe him.

LEMON: Lanny Davis, apologized for two hours, is it enough and you can follow up on what Steve said, as well.

LANNY DAVIS, AUTHOR, "CRISIS TALES": Well, first of all, I take him at his word, as well. I speak as a crisis manager only. I don't intend to second guess or be critical of Governor Christie. I'm a Jersey boy from Jersey City, New Jersey and I actually like Governor Christie. But I would say as a crisis manager, he made two fundamental mistakes. I give him credit for what he did today. He did a great job.

He didn't answer two important questions, which is what we crisis managers try to anticipate. One, when all that traffic jam was going on, why didn't you ask why? There are public safety issues involved in that traffic jam. Where were you when that traffic jam was occurring and why aren't you addressing that today in your press conference?

And two, why did you rely on a one-hour semi-official investigation internally by two of your highest aides? Why didn't you call in an independent investigator and go through the e-mails yourself with an independent investigator? Because you had warning that friends of yours were responsible for this.

Now, those two questions he should've answered himself today. They're going to be asked and I'm not sure what his answers are. But as a crisis manager, I'd advise him to answer those.

LEMON: Real quick.

ADUBATO: Lanny, here's my view, some of that may be true. The governor took responsibility. He fired his campaign manager, his top political adviser, fired the deputy chief of staff within 24 hours of the e-mails.

DAVIS: I know that.

ADUBATO: That's a lot of action.

DAVIS: I agree with that. But he didn't answer my questions and neither did you and I'm saying a crisis manager would say to a client and Alan Dershowitz --

LEMON: I want to talk to Alan.

DAVIS: You better be out front and answer the two questions I just asked and there are going to be others --

LEMON: It appears here from what you're saying, Lanny, is he appears to be asleep at the wheel. He appears to be asleep at the wheel. He didn't know about the traffic problems when it was happening. He didn't know about his staff. There are a lot of legal questions here, you know, the 91-year-old woman, the heart attack, all of these things. Governor Christie, does he need to lawyer up and could he be held responsible legally?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: He needs to have Lanny Davis to be his crisis manager and his lawyer. The other question he didn't answer is why would these aides have shut down the lanes unless they believed he would approve it? Clearly, they had to believe that. Now, the two aides are in serious trouble because they created a traffic jam that may have led to the death of a woman, may have led to missed appointments, missed school days.

And if they are prosecuted successfully, they may well turn on the governor and say, we're not taking this full by ourselves. We were led to believe this was what you wanted. You wanted to take revenge on this mayor. Maybe you left it to us how to take the revenge. But it reminds me of Henry II when he said to his knights, who will rid me of this troublesome priest and they went and killed Thomas Beckett. So I don't want to make analogies here between killing and --

LEMON: No hyperbole here.

DERSHOWITZ: But I do think that there are real legal problems here. The law works backwards. It says there's a dead person, missed appointments, what caused it? And there's a concept of wilful blindness. If he told his aides, I don't know, don't tell me, just take revenge.

LEMON: I want to make it clear. The 91-year-old's family says it wasn't the cause.

DERSHOWITZ: But they voted for him.

ADUBATO: That's not a legal question. That's political conjecture on your part and you're connecting that to a legal case. That's totally irresponsible.

DERSHOWITZ: What I'm saying is it doesn't matter what they believe, the medical examiner will determine whether the missed three or four minutes might have allowed them to restore her heartbeat when she had heart failure. It's not for them to decide.

LEMON: Lanny, hold on, this question is for you. Chris Christie said he's doing a whole lot of soul searching. He's trying to examine it himself, what would lead people to lie to him and these sorts of things. Here's the question, when you see the type of behavior he has in press conferences. A lot of people like Chris Christie, but they don't like that he has this sort of personality.

And possibly, Lanny, could this be because people in his administration and because of his antics, they may think they're above the law? That they don't have to answer to anyone because Chris Christie will shoot you down, Mr. Reporter, Mr. Anchor, whomever you are, in a press conference, Lanny Davis?

DAVIS: Look, I take him at his word and I admire what he did today. But he did too little, too late about the big, big question. And it is that he knew about the traffic jam when it was occurring and why didn't it concern him? And I do want to know why he didn't hire an outside counsel to independently go through e-mails and not rely on a one-hour survey within his office and say today that's what assured him to go out and say that nobody knew. Those two things I would say he still has to explain.

LEMON: All good questions. I know you're chomping at the bit. It's a conversation we can continue forever, but unfortunately we can't. Thanks to all of you, gentlemen.

Still to come, Governor Chris Christie apologized for the behavior of his staff. But should the buck stop with him?

Plus, an update on the murder mystery of a former beauty queen, a major announcement involving the case.

And the day after Dennis Rodman exploded during an interview with CNN. The former NBA star admits why he did it.


LEMON: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said today what we have heard from so many politicians before, the buck stops with him. But it's some of his top aides who have been implicated in a growing political scandal that could upend Christie's administration. So who are these key players and how close are they to the governor? Joe Johns takes a closer look.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, as one figure at the center of the bridge scandal couldn't stop talking.

CHRISTIE: I come out here today to apologize.

JOHNS: Another had no interest in even starting.

DAVID WILDSTEIN, FORMER PORT AUTHORITY OFFICIAL: On the advice of counsel, I assert my right to remain silent.

JOHNS: In a nearly two-hour press conference, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced the firing of a key aide, said he would no longer work with his former campaign manager and assigned much of the blame for the scandal to this man, David Wildstein, one of Christie's appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

CHRISTIE: Clearly Mr. Wildstein played a major role in it.

JOHNS: Even as Christie spoke, he was in the building next door refusing to answer questions at a legislative hearing about e-mails, which implicate him in the September lane closure. Wildstein had been seen by some as the governor's eyes and ears inside the Port Authority. The two men go back a long time, even attended high school together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very loyal to the governor, extremely loyal. But I would say a lot of people felt afraid of him because his direct line to the governor's office.

JOHNS: Today, Christie painted a vastly different picture of that relationship.

CHRISTIE: I could probably count on one hand the number of conversations I've had with David since he's worked at the Port Authority.

JOHNS: Christie also used the presser to distance himself from another confidant, his deputy chief of staff saying he had no idea she ordered the bridge lanes closed.

CHRISTIE: This morning, I've terminated the employment of Bridget Kelly effective immediately. I've terminated her employment because she lied to me.

JOHNS: Something those who know her say is out of character.

REPRESENTATIVE BILL PASCRELL (D), NEW JERSEY: But if you think she is the engineer of all of this mess, I cannot believe that.

JOHNS: Also kicked out of the inner circle, long time adviser, Bill Stepian, once slated to be the next head of the New Jersey GOP. Among his e-mails, one calling the Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich an idiot.

CHRISTIE: Reading that, it made me lose my confidence in Bill's judgment and you cannot have someone at the top of your political operation who you do not have confidence in.

JOHNS: Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


LEMON: Still to come, other stories we are following tonight. A teenager shot and killed by a police officer in front of his family. We have an inclusive with the officer's attorney tonight.

And that disturbing video of a toddler caught on camera making obscene comments, you've got the court documents. We're going to tell you all about this child. The dangers he faced. Other children in the home, and all about the family. You will not believe the explosive details.


LEMON: Now to some of the other stories we are following for you tonight.

Developing story in West Virginia, Governor Earl Tomlin is warning residents in five counties not to use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing. The five impacted counties are Boone, Lincoln, Konawa, Jackson and Putnam. The warning came after a chemical spill at a factory along the Elk River.

Venezuelan police believe they have arrested seven people in connection with the murder of a former Miss Venezuela. Monica Spear and her ex-husband were gunned by the side of the country road on Monday night. The couple's 5-year-old daughter was also shot but survived.

The head of Venezuela's national crime investigation agency says the investigators think the motive for the attack was robbery. They say four other suspects are still on the loose, including the man believed to have the murder weapon. Investigators say Spears' camera was a key link that helped track down her killers.

Dennis Rodman who is still believed to be in north Korea is apologizing for an outburst during a CNN exclusive interview earlier this week.

Here's just a taste of what he had to say.


DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: No, no, no, no. No (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think. I'm standing here looking at these guys. Look at them.


LEMON: In a statement released by his publicist, Rodman said he was stressed and he had been drinking prior to the interview. Rodman apologized to his teammates and the family of Kenneth Bae and an American in prison in North Korea. The Bae family accepted the apology saying, "We acknowledge he is human and we all make mistakes."

Conflicting stories tonight on what led a North Carolina police detective to shoot and kill a schizophrenic teenager in his home right in front of his family. Two officers arrived at the home of 18-year- old Keith Vidal after his stepfather said he'd been acting erratically.

Well, Vidal's family says the situation was under control until a third officer arrived on the scene. Seventy seconds later, Vidal was dead. That officer first said he fired to defend himself.

But in an exclusive interview with CNN's David Mattingly, the officer's attorney told a different story.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shortly after he shot and killed 18-year-old Keith Vidal, we could hear Southport police detective Byron Vassey on the radio saying he was defending himself.

BYRON VASSEY, SOUTHPORT POLICE: I don't know if you've been advised or not, but shots fired. I've had to defend myself against the subject.

MATTINGLY: Apparently suffering through a schizophrenic episode and holding only a screwdriver, Keith Vidal had been hit with stun guns and was on the floor of his home, restrained by two officers when the detective Vassey shot him in the chest.

Vassey's attorney now tells me why.

(on camera): You're telling me this young man was not subdued and he was fighting back?


MATTINGLY: He was actually taking that screwdriver and stabbing one of the officers multiple times?

PAYNE: In the abdomen area, yes, sir.

MATTINGLY: But not causing any injury?

PAYNE: Apparently, he had not. Again, apparently the officer had a bulletproof vest on.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Just 5'3", and maybe 100 pounds, the smiling teen in these pictures according to Vassey's attorney had become such a threat to the safety of the one officer that Vassey had no choice but to use deadly force.

(on camera): Did that officer yell for help or ask for someone to shoot this man?

PAYNE: No, sir, did not.

MATTINGLY: Then why did the detective feel like he needed to use deadly force at that moment?

PAYNE: Because the stabbing motions traveled to an exposed part of the down officer. And he was not being subdued.

MATTINGLY: The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association agrees, the legal support group calls the situation dangerous. Calls Keith Vidal's screwdriver a deadly weapon and says detective Vassey used authorized law enforcement action.

The aggressive and threatening picture described is in sharp contrast to the family's belief that Keith Vidal should not have died.

MARK WILSEY, VICTIM'S BROTHER: Why would somebody shoot a 90-pound kid with two full-grown officers on top of him with two tasers deployed inside him? There's no reason.

MATTINGLY: Was that the only option here to pull a firearm and pull the trigger?

PAYNE: At the instant it occurred, again, having to step into the shoes of the officer to make that judgment call, he had to make it in the split instant.

MATTINGLY: Was it the right decision?

PAYNE: Yes, sir.


LEMON: David Mattingly is here.

David, has there been any reaction tonight from the family?

MATTINGLY: The family has been relatively quiet this week. They've hired an attorney. We've been in touch with that attorney. They are preparing a statement. They just weren't able to prepare it for today.

But they have been paying very close attention to what's being said by the other groups and by this attorney. You can bet that when they finally do have a statement, they're not going to be willing to conceive one second that their son need to die here.

LEMON: David Mattingly, thank you very much.

Let's talk more about this now with CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara, who defended George Zimmerman and his trial last year.

Mark, do you find it plausible that this detective had to fire his weapon that three trained officers couldn't subdue a teenager who weighed under 100 pounds armed with a screwdriver?

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I've said many times that cops are very difficult and very dangerous job. Having said that, the circumstances in this situation have to be looked at. They were called to a situation of not a dangerous, armed person. They were called because of a psychological occurrence with this person.

And they had to respond to that in mind. So, when they respond and subdue him, you have to look at the situation as not being criminal but as somebody who is ill. The way the third person came on the scene and seemed to have aggravated it makes no sense to me whatsoever. And we have to look at what cops are told to do.

They're given a spectrum of force to use. At the end of the spectrum is deadly force. Every other opportunity to resist using that deadly force should be employed, even backing up. Why not just back away from the situation and see what happens rather than using deadly force?

LEMON: All right. Let's talk a little bit more about the situation, because the officer who opened fire said he did so in self-defense. But as we just heard, his lawyer is now saying he shot to defend the other officer. I mean, how much does that discrepancy hurt his credibility?

O'MARA: I think it's going to hurt because the first thing that he said and almost the way he said it nonchalantly was I have to defend myself. You would think that the first thing he would have said to dispatch was he was threatening a fellow officer and I felt no other option but to shoot. Rather than, oh, I was defending myself, and then when thought through a little more because obviously the facts will no support that he, personally, was in danger, deadly danger, then it sort of changes to be defending others.

Again, if he believed the force was immediate, imminent and dangerous, he has the right to do so. But none of the facts, the seven or 90- pound 18-year-old with two 200-pound cops on top of him already suggest deadly force was the only option.

LEMON: Thank you, Mark O'Mara. Appreciate it, sir.

Still to come tonight, the classmate accused of raping Daisy Coleman enters a guilty plea in court. Why some feel justice still hasn't been served.

And the court documents in that toddler case in Omaha, Nebraska, I have gotten them. You will not believe what's in these court documents, a condition under which that little boy was living, and other children in the home. And what of the parents? You're going to learn about it, next.


LEMON: Today, the special prosecutor re-examining the case of Daisy Coleman, the young woman who accused her classmate of sexual assault determined there was not enough evidence to charge the older boy with rape. Instead, the former high school football player pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, a deal that not only disappoints Daisy and her family, but is sparking outrage, outrage across the country.

Kyung Lah is in Maryville, Missouri, with more.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nineteen-year-old Matthew Barnett walks off to the Nodaway County Court House to face judgment for his crime, what he pleaded guilty to, misdemeanor child endangerment for leaving then-14-year-old Daisy Coleman, drunk, freezing, and not wearing a giant outside her mother's house in January.

JAMES R. HOBBS, MATTHEW BARNETT'S ATTORNEY: The misdemeanor charge with Mr. Barnett pled guilty accurately reflects the conduct for what he should be held accountable.

LAH: What Barnett did not face: charges of raping the young victim. Daisy Coleman alleged she and 13-year-old Page Parker were raped by Barnett and another high school boy after a night of drinking. The case of the other boy who was 15 at the time was handled in juvenile court. Charges against Barnett who was 17 were dismissed.

Daisy's family claimed the real reason was Barnett's political ties. His grandfather was a popular four-term state representative.

Daisy and her family were run out of Maryville, a stark example they say of victim blaming.

A national outcry followed and special prosecutor Jean Baker was appointed to re-examine the case who says the justice system worked.

JEAN PETERS BAKER, JACKSON COUNTY PROSECUTOR: My job is to analyze evidence. In this case, it was -- there was insufficient evidence to go forward on a sexual assault.

LAH: Barnett was sentenced to two year's probation with no jail time. Maryville was quiet as Barnett left, but reaction was swift on social media. #justicefordaisy. The system has failed and sickening.

Baker read a statement from Daisy Coleman.

BAKER: "Today, I am grateful that the defendant took responsibility by pleading guilty to the charges. I am ready to move forward. To all of those who support" --

(END VIDEOTAPE) LEMON: Kyung Lah joins us now.

Kyung, this has been very difficult for Daisy, hasn't it?

LAH: It's been very difficult. And that's really the sad legacy of this, Don. Over the weekend, this young girl who is 16 now, she tried to commit suicide because she was bullied on Facebook after attending a party, something that normal 16-year-olds always do.

But after that bullying, she tried to take her life. Her mother said she decided to stay with her daughter at her bedside instead of coming here to the courthouse. Her mother did say that she braced for the outcome of this, that they had fully expected that this would happen and that they are trying to move forward.

But she maintains, Don, that political power was at play here in that first investigation.

LEMON: Kyung Lah, thank you very much. Appreciate your reporting.

LAH: We have some brand new information regarding the Nebraska toddler who unleashed an R-rated tirade in that controversial video. It's a story we've been following here on OUTFRONT. And tonight, we're learning the little boy along with four other children are in protective custody. It's five children now.

Authorities had to step in after the video of the little boy flipping the bird and cursing was posted on the Omaha police union's Web site.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what hood you from, blood?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say (EXPLETIVE DELETED) I'm from deuce nine (EXPLETIVE DELETED). What hood you from?





UNIDENTIFIED KID: You a ho bitch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's up then?


LEMON: I invite everyone to come sit and watch this story, especially those who say maybe this video should not have been shown. Maybe so, but take a seat and listen. Officials say they found nothing criminal in that video. But inside the home, police say there were kids, there were kids living with kids and raising kids. And they all ranged in age from 1-year-old to 19.

I'm joined now by Dr. Charles Sophie. He's a psychiatrist and the director of the Children Services for L.A. County Hospitals, and attorney Natalie Jackson.

Thank you very much.

I cannot get over the story. I hope this little boy is saved and the other children and other children around the country who are dealing with this, for situations like this.

Dr. Sophy, I'm going to go to you first. Police say the parents failed to provide -- this is according to the documents that I was able to obtain. They failed to provide proper parental care, safe, stable and/or appropriate housing. And because of that, the children were at risk.

Appropriate for authorities to step in and put these children into protective custody?

DR. CHARLES SOPHY, L.A. COUNTY HOSPITALS: Yes, absolutely. It looks it's horrific when we watch it and it certainly is. But we also have to have other things in place to be able to take the children out of the home and put them in a safe environment. Until we see really what needs to happen for that family.

LEMON: Other things in place like what? What do you mean?

SOPHY: Well was there drug addiction going on and that's what this behavior was about? Why are they not parenting? What else is going on in the ho house? Do they have jobs or food? Why were the conditions so bad?

LEMON: OK. All right. I'm going to talk to you more about that. But, first, I want to get Natalee in here.

According to the official documents, one of the parents continued to allow known gang members into their home and full access to the minor children in the home. You say that this is a breakdown of the family but police should not regulate this? Why?

NATALEE JACKSON, ATTORNEY: I don't think that police should regulate morality in general, Don. But I think what happened here in this case, this was a video that the police union -- let me make that clear -- got from the parents' Facebook page this. This video went viral because they posted the un-redacted video on their Web site.

They didn't offer this child protection. They didn't offer this child services. What they did was they exploited this child also.

LEMON: Perhaps they should have blurred the child's face, okay? This is according to the documents, all right? The little boy who was two years old, on October 2nd, 2013, there was a shooting with multiple gunshots near his home. This little boy, I have his name, I'm not going to read it, was struck in the right foot by shrapnel, treated and released. His mother, who is 16 years old, struck in the right shoulder, treated and released.


LEMON: Are you kidding me? Do you think this should not be brought to light and people shouldn't be made aware when a child is living in these conditions?

JACKSON: I think any child should be protected. I'm a child advocate and I think that children should be protected. I think they should be protected from the exploitation of police, too. So, that's what I'm saying.

I am saying that -- it's a really dangerous slippery slope when we go back and look for a pretextual reason to cover -- when the police saw that and look for a pretextual reason to do something, to cover some action that they did. And I'm happy that this child got services. I really am.

But I want to know, would he have gotten services had not people been outraged that the police posted a video?

LEMON: Well, that's the issue. Nobody was outraged. Nobody was stepping in to help this kid when there was nobody --

JACKSON: Including the police, Don.

LEMON: Hang on, hang on. When the video was on the Facebook page of the relative, by the way, who I e-mailed today, and I said I want to talk to you. He goes, "For what?" That was his response.

Even when it was on his page there, was no outrage. It was cool. Oh, my gosh, this kid is funny. And finally when the police association put it up there, people were outraged not necessarily by the behavior of the adults in the video but because the video --

JACKSON: I think everyone is outraged by the behavior of the parents. I think that's not fair, Don. Everyone is outraged by the behavior.

LEMON: I agree. Everyone is outraged, but people are upset if you talk to people they're mostly upset saying oh, my gosh this was racist. This should never have been put up. No one is saying oh, my gosh this is horrible.


LEMON: It's not just about the black community. This happens in all communities.

JACKSON: No, it happens mostly in the black community. When you label someone a thug, this video was posted by the police union to label this child as a thug.

LEMON: The family labeled him a thug in the video saying "thug in your diaper".

JACKSON: The family did not. The policy did.

LEMON: Do we have the sound bite? Thug in your diaper. Who's labeling him a thug? Is it the police?

JACKSON: Who has the color of law behind them to arrest or detain, to take people's children, to take liberties?

LEMON: Police did not take the --

JACKSON: I'm not talk about all the police. Because obviously this was the association, not Omaha police.

LEMON: And it wasn't police who took him into custody. It was Child Protective Services. It was Health and Human Services who came in.

JACKSON: I agree.

LEMON: And let me read this one quickly.

JACKSON: And I'm so happy that they did.

LEMON: According to the police department said, hey, listen, Don, we want to make sure you understand that this video was not the reason the kids are being taken into protective custody. There was additional safety concerns. This is an opportunity to help the family, not to penalize them.

They have already -- people from Child Protective Services have already been trying to help this family. The family did nothing about it, did not change their ways. So, Child Protective Services had to go back in there.

SOPHY: That was my point.

LEMON: Go ahead.

JACKSON: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

SOPHY: That was my point. That we are in that home now because there are other things going on in that home that led us -- this video was only an entry point for us to get in.

This happens a lot in many homes. We don't see it. The only way we got in this time was because we had a viewpoint inside and we had a window. Otherwise, this family may not have been able to get the help they need.

JACKSON: This video -- that was not the purpose of the video. I think that's the problem. That's why people are outraged. It was not purpose of the reposting of the video.

LEMON: Listen, I agree with you.

JACKSON: The video was reposted to show what these police said that they go through on a daily basis. They reposted and they victimized this child. If you think the parents abused this child in that video, they re-victimized this child by posting the video instead of offering him services.

LEMON: OK. So, what I said is, they should not have identified the child. I agree with you on that.

But the ultimate good in this would be to help that child.

JACKSON: Thank God.

LEMON: So people should be more outraged by the conditions that this child was living under, whether or not this was racist by the police department. All that rhetoric is not going to help the kid.

So, here's what I want to say.

JACKSON: No, it's not about helping the kid.

LEMON: Yes, it is about helping the kid and helping other kids.

JACKSON: No, no, no, I agree with that. I don't mean that. What I mean is that the outrage is not about that. The outrage is the perpetuation of stereotypes.

LEMON: No, that was the outrage.

JACKSON: It's about the perpetuation of stereotypes and labeling a 2- year-old who doesn't even understand what he's saying as a thug. That was the outrage.

SOPHY: That's part of it. But it's also outrageous and very painful emotionally for anybody to watch what's going on behind closed doors.


JACKSON: Yes, I agree.

SOPHY: We all know abuse exists.

LEMON: Yes, listen. I want to say that police also say that subsequently that a family member put it on the TV. That's why they went to the home and it was picked up by national media. They mentioned CNN and one other network. They said they were referred as the toddler thug video because the family called him a thug in the video. They did not call him a thug themselves.

Thank you. We'll continue this conversation. I've got to go. We'll be right back.

JACKSON: OK. Thanks, Don.


LEMON: In 1987, 156 people died when flight 255 crashed. Four-year- old Cecelia was the only one to survive. Now, 26 years later she breaks her silence for the first time.

"Sole Survivor" airs tonight 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for watching.

"AC360" starts right now.