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Chemical Spill Leaves 300,000 Without Water; New Revelations In Christie Scandal; Getting Buzzed At The Golden Globes; Was Officer Justified in Killing Teen?; Death Threats Over Rhino Hunting Permit

Aired January 10, 2014 - 19:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Next, breaking news, poison water.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not drink it. Do not cook with it. Do not wash clothes in it. Do not take a bath in it.


LEMON: Hundreds of thousands of Americans warned not to drink their water. The situation getting more dire by the hour.

Plus, new developments in the Chris Christie bridge scandal, a huge paper trail. More than 2,000 pages of documents released today, but is there a smoking gun?

And the so-called thug baby, the child's mother speaks out for the first time.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were worried about the video because he had a clean diaper, the house was clean and like they say, kids cuss. Every kid does it.



Good evening, everyone. I'm Don Lemon in for Erin Burnett. We are going to begin with breaking news tonight, a state of emergency in West Virginia and people there getting more desperate by the minute. Imagine at this dinner hour not being able to drink your water, to take a bath or even wash a dish. That is the situation right now for 300,000 people. Their water supply has been potentially poisoned by a dangerous chemical and there is no water to drink. It is all sold out.

Grocery store shelves, empty. People are forced to melt ice for water. Restaurants, schools, closed. Sounds like the end of days. Tonight the company that may be responsible for the chemical spill, Freedom Industries, has been issued a cease operations order.

In a tense press conference, the president of the company didn't offer many answers even walking away from reporters abruptly at one point.


GARY SOUTHERN, PRESIDENT OF FREEDOM INDUSTRIES: It's been an extremely long day. I'm having a hard trouble talking at the moment. I would appreciate it if we could wrap this thing up. I will --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We actually have a lot of questions. It has been a long day for a lot of people who don't have water. Are there no systems in place to alert you of a leak at your facility other than a smell?

SOUTHERN: At this moment in time I think that's all we have time for. Thanks for coming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have more questions. No, no, we're not done.


LEMON: Our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen is in Charleston right now. Elizabeth, a dramatic press conference, the company clearly under some stress right now. What a mess?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Don, it is a mess. I was just talking with the governor of West Virginia. He said, look, this company is not being cooperative. First of all, when you have a spill the company is supposed to call a telephone number, a spill line. They never called that spill line.

Then the state went to them and said, come on, guys, let's cooperate here. The governor said they were not cooperative. He said they had to be convinced to work with the state and try to make this situation better. So you have an uncooperative company and hundreds of thousands of West Virginians without water.

LEMON: Yes, and I said, imagine, at this dinner hour, 7:00 here in the east, you can't take a bath, wash a dish, people are cooking dinner. You can't do that without water and the health problems on top of that. What sort of health problems, Elizabeth, could this chemical cause?

COHEN: Eight. We've been told that about five people have been admitted to the hospital with relatively minor problems, nausea, vomiting, so, so far we haven't seen a lot of people getting sick thank goodness. Now this chemical, Don, if you -- if you swallow it, it's hazardous. If you touch it, it can be an irritant to the skin or to the eyes. However, people are not being exposed to it at full force.

Of course, it's being very, very diluted because it's going through the water system. So again, so far no real major health problems, but of course it's worrisome that people might have been exposed to this.

LEMON: Elizabeth Cohen, our senior medical correspondent, will be following this story for us. Thank you, Elizabeth. This is a major crisis in West Virginia. It all began when a giant tank at Freedom Industries leaked a chemical used in coal processing. It spilled into the Elk River contaminating a water treatment plant in Charleston. Gary Southern, the president of Freedom Industries, says his company is working with authorities to handle the situation.


SOUTHERN: We are very, very sorry for the disruptions in everybody's daily life this has caused. We worked through the night last night to remove all the material from our site. The material is no longer here.


LEMON: Drilled down a little bit more on this story, the potential health risks and on and on. With me now is the mayor of Charleston, West Virginia, Danny Jones, whose town is at the center of this scare, and environmental activist, Erin Brockovich, who is team is now headed to West Virginia.

I can't wait to talk to you about that, Erin. But first to the mayor, Mayor Jones, people are told that their drinking water is only good for flashing toilets, 300,000 people without water, your town must be desperate right now. They can't cook, clean, shower. This is a horrific situation.

MAYOR DANNY JONES, CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA: It's -- excuse me, it's a disaster and it's caused us more problems than you can imagine. We can't wash our hands after we go to the bathroom. You can't wash your clothes and you can't drink the tap water. You can't cook with the tap water. So it's caused us all kind of grief and it's a prison from which we'd like to be released.

We hope that the company behind us, West Virginia American Water, can come up with a solution to this and come up a solution soon because at the press conference they had today, that was the question that I asked, do you have a time line? They had no time line. So it's caused us a lot of problem.

LEMON: Mayor Jones, the U.S. attorney is investigating this situation. What can you tell us about that? Could there be criminal charges involved in part of this chemical storage facility where these chemicals supposedly came from?

JONES: Well, I met with the president of the company this afternoon. I had not met him before. He told me he had just been with the company nine days. I don't know if that's true or not, but he was the individual that you featured at the beginning of the -- at the top of the hour. So I'm not sure how good a handle he has on the company. I asked him how did the chemical go over the wall or how did the chemical get in the river because they have a wall? He said he didn't know. I had a friend who had a picture of holes in the wall. The chemical went through the wall.

LEMON: Goodness. JONES: And then he admitted that he knew that. So it's going to be a problem. The U.S. attorney, we have a very good United States attorney so I wouldn't want to get caught in those cross hairs.

LEMON: OK, we're going to speak to the U.S. attorney in a minute. Mayor, thank you. I know you have a lot of residents to get to and handle so we appreciate you joining us. Erin Brockovich, your team headed there right now. I think I heard you when I said will there be criminal charges, did you just whisper saying, there should be?

ERIN BROCKOVICH, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: I did. I didn't know anyone saw that but, you know, I think it's something that it's high time we address. I mean, I woke up this morning and heard the situation and it was almost I'm not surprised and I can't believe here we go again. I don't know when we're going to figure this out. We've seen it happen with BP. We've seen it with Texas Brine and the sinkhole.

We've seen it with TVA, the coal ash breach. We've seen it here again today where safety is constantly being compromised for the sake of more money. We have to save time and it's too expensive to do it now. We need to start looking at when this happens, when would we file criminal charges?

LEMON: Speaking of looking at it though, I want to know what your team will be looking for. You can finish your thought.

BROCKOVICH: Thank you.

LEMON: Should we file criminal charges. What will you be looking at to file criminal charges?

BROCKOVICH: Well, that's not the first thing that we're going to look at. You know, I am aware that lawsuits have already been filed, but a lot of stuff is going to unfold in front of us. This is an immediate disaster. I think the first thing we have to look at, answer, address, try to assist in doing is getting potentially 300,000 people clean, potable water immediately. They can't go too long without water.

When there's a disaster like this I'm usually flooded with e-mails from the community so our job is to go to assist, advice, and help them in any way that we can. We'll take a look at the site, see possibly ourselves how that breach did occur and then go from there. And so as the disaster's unfolded I'm getting more and more e-mail so we will get on the ground, work with those communities, hear from those communities and begin an investigation.

LEMON: Erin Brockovich, appreciate your time and your expertise.

BROCKOVICH: Thank you.

LEMON: We want to get now with to Booth Goodwin. He is at the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia. He is at the scene now. Mr. Goodwin, good evening. Not so good evening for the people there.


LEMON: Will there be criminal charges filed here?

GOODWIN: It's really too early to tell. That's -- that is the purpose of an investigation. I mean, we have already been on the ground. We're looking at what actually occurred here and, you know, really too early to tell whether criminal charges should be brought.

LEMON: The question is it took a smell of liquorice to alert the people that something was wrong there. What took so long to figure out that there was a problem?

GOODWIN: No one really knows at this point, I don't think. I believe that it was a fairly considerable smell that was concentrated early in the morning. But I don't think it exhibited itself until that point. Obviously we're going to want to get into these matters. We're going to want to figure out just exactly what occurred and when it occurred, but right now obviously what we're trying to do is get people's water back on.

LEMON: We talk about potential charges here because, you know, the mayor said we can go to the bathroom, but we can't wash our hands. There are people in hospital and as I understand there are certain orders in hospitals, but if this goes on for much longer, the potentiality for criminality and for bigger charges to be brought, I think they probably loom even larger.

GOODWIN: Well, you know, certainly it is a more significant matter, no question, but, you know, what's occurred here is what we're trying to figure out. What happened? How did this occur? Even a negligent release of this kind could be a criminal violation. We just don't know yet. That's the purpose of these investigations.

LEMON: Booth Goodwin, thank you very much. Appreciate your time on this Friday evening.

And still to come, a 2,000 page paper trail in New Jersey in that bridge scandal. We have the documents. We're going to tell you what Chris Christie didn't, did and didn't know.

Plus, last month a plane slammed into the water off the coast of Hawaii. For the first time we get to see the video shot by one of the passengers who survived.

And the 2-year-old told to thug in his diaper. His mother speaks out for the first time.


LEMON: The Chris Christie paper trail, more than 2,000 pages worth, e-mails, text messages and other documents released today by the New Jersey State Assembly Committee investigating why access lanes to the country's busiest bridge were closed. Is there a smoking gun showing the New Jersey governor new his aides were orchestrating a political vendetta or is Christie finally vindicated. Joe Johns joins me from Washington. Mr. Johns, what's in the documents? JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Don, we've heard a lot about Chris Christie's inner circle this week and the paper trail shows so far that at least one other member of Governor Christie's senior staff who has not been publicly named was forwarded an e-mail detailing the extent of the problems on the George Washington Bridge. However, we don't know whether that staffer actually read the document and there was no indication that she was involved in any alleged political retribution.

The e-mail originated from the account of the Port Authority executive director who was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Cuomo appointee was expressing outraged at the way the lanes were closed calling it ill-advised and abusive. Also, there's another document that says the mayor of Fort Lee was telling people that he was being blamed for the problem with the bridge.

He wrote that Port Authority police were blaming him. He wrote a letter complaining about it to a top official of the Port Authority, Bill Barone who has since resigned. He was drawing the conclusion that this was done to make him look bad. There were, he said, punitive overtones associated with it. That was on September 12th -- Don.

LEMON: But Barone has been saying it's a traffic study. So my question is, is there anything that you've come across that would help vindicate Christie and his team. There are a lot of pages and we may not have been able to go through all of them.

JOHNS: I got to tell you we haven't found anything that suggested the governor played a role, but nor have we found anything that expressly clears his name. It would be pretty extraordinary, of course, to find something like that either way. Now he said he didn't know anything about the alleged motivation behind the bridge closures and so far there's simply nothing to contradict that that we've been able to find -- Don.

LEMON: Thank you, sir. Happy weekend to you. Appreciate it.

JOHNS: Same to you.

LEMON: Joining me now, Shawn Spicer, the communications director for the Republican National Committee. Good to see you, sir.


LEMON: Two thousand pages and nothing we have seen yet, you heard Joe Johns, that really vindicates the governor or his staff so the scandal continues for another day at least. Does that concern you, the longer it goes on, the more it may damage Christie's brand?

SPICER: Well, first, I wanted to make clear I'm not here as a Christie spokesman, but I do think that the example that the governor has exhibited is one that is frankly refreshing. Mistakes do get made. We all acknowledge that and how you handle that mistake is what matters. What the governor did yesterday is what I think a lot of Americans are tired of politicians who don't follow that example, which is he got out there, he accepted responsibility, he took accountability.

He made clear actions that righted the wrong and he made it clear that he's going to continue to get to the bottom of it. It was the kind of leadership we want and expect from our politicians and should be seeing more of it. Frankly, as a spokesman for the Republican Party, I would say scandal after scandal that we've had in Washington, D.C.

Whether it's Benghazi, the GSA, the IRS, et cetera, et cetera, we're not seeing that same kind of behavior from Democrats. I mean, Governor Christie stood out there for 108 minutes yesterday taking every single question from every single person in that room. Governor Christie, the time that he spent at the podium was probably longer than the time that Democrats have responded to all of those other aforementioned scandals combined.

LEMON: And that was the strategy behind that I'm sure to exhaust the media meaning to get all of the questions out of the way at one point so that it wouldn't continue to dog in as much as it can. You said you're not a spokesman for him, I understand that, but he is very important to the Republican Party. He is head of the Republican Governor's Committee and so very important to the party, of course, 2016 potential.

Let's just say that he is vindicated and he knew nothing about it. What does this say though about his management style and what does that bode, if anything, for 2016.

SPICER: Well, think it says that he is fallible. Mistakes will happen on his watch. That people will do things that he didn't, but he will be a man of action and a leader that will take things seriously, take immediate action and correct them and be forthcoming with what happened and try to get all the facts out there. So I think that we continue to see that among our Republican governors going in who face problems or look at solutions and take them head on and have an honest and fair dialogue with their constituents and voters. Explain problems and deal with it like adults, which frankly is something that we've been lacking from the other side of the aisle in terms of how they address their problems.

LEMON: Sean Spicer, appreciate your time, sir. Have a great weekend.

SPICER: Thank you.

LEMON: Still to come here on CNN, the money and power of award season. We give you a sneak peek at one of Hollywood's biggest nights and disturbing new information about the Target hacking scandal. Millions more customers' personal information was exposed than we originally thought.


LEMON: Tonight's money and power, it's a fun one. We're talking about celebrities from the big and small screens will come together on Sunday for the 2014 Golden Globe Awards. Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, once again will take up hosting duties for this year's ceremony, which has gained a reputation as a place for A-listers to cut loose and check their inhibitions at the door.

Rob Shuter is a showbiz columnist and a host of "The Gossip Table" on VH1. I DVR it.


LEMON: I love the Golden Globes. They're fun. You know why? Everybody is hammered. Celebrities get drunk. Am I wrong?

SHUTER: One year I was working with J. Lo. People are drinking at the Golden Globes. The bar is open. It doesn't close for the whole show. People are having a really fun time.

LEMON: It's more about the party than the awards, right?

SHUTER: That's what's so interesting. With no disrespect to the award, it is not the Oscars.

LEMON: This is an early indicator of the Oscars?

SHUTER: It isn't. The actually voting for the Oscars closed on Thursday. It will have no implication on that. It's the awards show where you go. It's almost like the People's Choice Awards. Yes, it's lovely to win one. However, let's remember the tourist did win so it's not exactly the most credible show. It's a party. People love to go. What's fascinating about it to me is some of the biggest stars in the world are catching up with their friends. They're taking out phones and taking selfies.

LEMON: We go to the Beverly Hilton because it's close to the CNN bureau. I go the week before, a week after and I end up with the souvenir keys. I never get to the party. Can you give me some predictions here? Best dramatic film, do you think "12 Years a Slave."

SHUTER: I think so. There are a lot of foreign actors in this movie. Outside of America and Russia, space is not the priority.

LEMON: It is the final frontier though.

SHUTER: Only in America.

LEMON: Let's go to best comedy musical, "American Hustle" versus "Wolf of Wall Street."

SHUTER: There are no musicals this year. The one at the moment looks like it's going to be "Hustle" however "The Wolf" is biting at its tale. They love some Leo.

LEMON: And then "Breaking Bad" will take it.

SHUTER: Probably. Pleasure. I love watching yours.

LEMON: Thank you.

SHUTER: The gossip table. LEMON: CNN has a special presentation on the Golden Globe hosts "Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, First Ladies of Comedy." It airs at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time tonight right here on CNN of course.

Still to come, a story we have been following all week. A teenager shot and killed by police in front of his family. The victim's family talks to CNN.

A disturbing story out of Texas, Safari Club offers a permit to hunt and kill one of the world's most endangered species.

And a story we have been following very closely here, a 2-year-old's obscene rant caught on tape. The mother of the child speaks out for the very first time.


LEMON: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT.

The hack at Target is worst than originally reported. As part of their investigation into the breach, Target discover hackers got their hands on names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mails of 70 million past shoppers. The retailer said 40 million customers had their debit and credit card stolen.

David Kennedy, CEO of security firm Trusted Sec, tells us these hackers could make several billions of dollars, and with that kind of pay day we could see retailers hit by hackers.

After a plane hit the ocean, Ferdinand Puentes grabbed the GoPro camera. And now, he is sharing the images. One person was killed in the December 11th crash. Of the remaining passengers, one person swam ashore. A Mali fire department helicopter picked up four. And a coast guard helicopter rescued three including Puentes. Puentes told CNN affiliate KHON that he was able to stay afloat by wearing a life vest and hanging on to a seat cushion.

Now, a story we have been following all week, the controversy surrounding a police shooting in North Carolina. Eighteen-year-old Keith Vidal ended up dead after his family called 911 seeking help for the teen who suffered from schizophrenia. Vidal was hit with stun guns and was apparently being restrained by two officers, when a third officer shot the teen in the chest.

Our David Mattingly has been breaking new details on this story all week long. On Wednesday, he spoke with Vidal stepbrother, Mark Wilsey, who said the officer had no reason to use the gun.


MARK WILSEY, VICTIM'S BROTHER: They had the situation completely under control.


WILSEY: The third officer is 100 percent in the wrong. 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.


LEMON: Then, last night, David spoke exclusively with the attorney for the officer who fired the fatal shot.


JAMES PAYNE, BYRON VASSEY'S ATTORNEY: Having to step into the shoes of the officer to make that judgment call, he had to make it in that split instant and that's what he made.

MATTINGLY: Was it the right decision?

PAYNE: Yes, sir.


LEMON: David is with us now with new information.

David, what did the family say today?

MATTINGLY: Well, Don, throughout this entire week, the family has not waivered one bit in their belief that if there was any justification for deadly force to be used in this case. Early in the week, the day after this happened, they were outside the D.A.'s office, holding signs using very blunt language, saying that they believe their son had been murdered by the detective who fired the fatal shot. Well, today, a brief release was brought out by the attorney representing the family.

No language at all like that in that. Instead they appeared to be more patient asking that there be time for the investigation to take place.

Here's an excerpt from that saying, "At this time, the family has all the faith in the judicial system and the D.A. to investigate and evaluate this case and reveal the true facts surrounding the tragic death of their son."

They only acknowledged that they had heard that there had been people speaking out in support of the actions of the officers involved. They did not argue with that at all. They said they're not going to engage in this argument in public anymore, asking though for time to make sure there is a very, very thorough investigation here -- Don.

LEMON: All right. David, I want you to stay with us. Stay right there, because I want to bring in now, Dennis Root. He is a Florida private investigator who testified as an expert witness in the George Zimmerman trial last year.

You may remember him. He was seen reacting to attorneys from both sides, as they demonstrated on a dummy arguing whether deadly force was need in Zimmerman's encounter with Trayvon Martin.

So, Dennis, thanks for joining us. From what we know about this, does it sound like the officer was justified in firing his weapon?

DENNIS ROOT, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Yes, that's a much more complex question than most people might actually understand. The reality is an officer that's faced with a deadly force threat is considered objectively reasonable in the application of deadly force.

However, all the variables involved in this case, at least as they've been presented to me thus far, through the media reports, I've been able to read, they lead me with more questions than they do actual answers. And because of that, they should be thoroughly investigated and should be ensured that all the variables involved in this case are looked at closely to make a determination as to whether or not this use of force was really objectively reasonable or not.

LEMON: And as we learned from the George Zimmerman trial last year, the devil is in the detail with a case like this. What specific aspects of this incident will the investigation be looking into?

ROOT: Well, I think one of the most important things is developing the credibility of the threat that was being posed against the officer. Comparing information that's related to law enforcement, both by the witnesses, the families present, as well as the officers and the officer that was involved in the shooting itself. Anyone has to take into consideration the weapons system that was being used, as a threat, because it was mentioned it was a screwdriver, what type of screwdriver, size, close proximity, all of those things have to be considered when trying to form a real opinion about whether or not the officer's actions were objectively reasonable.

LEMON: All right. Mr. Root, stand by. David Mattingly, what's the next step for the family of this deceased teenager?

MATTINGLY: Well, sadly, the next step will be the funeral services for Keith Vidal, which will be held here tomorrow, and talking to the family and talking to young people who knew him as well and were growing up with him. I get the same response from everyone, that they knew him as a very fun-loving kid, someone who was a talented musician, someone who loved to play his drums, who dreamed of one day perhaps going into the music business. Of course, all of those dreams ending with that gunshot in the home.

And now, as he's being put to rest, the young people and the family as well will be thinking about that one question that so far has no answer. Why did he have to die, Don?

LEMON: David, does it appear to you after all of this that police are doing anything to change their strategies, their tactics, their training, anything like that?

MATTINGLY: Here on the ground, every police department that was involved is going about business as usual right now. They're all waiting to see how the investigation turns out. It's been taken out of the hands of the local investigators here. It's being handled by the state. Everyone now waiting to see what the state and the district attorney decide to do.

LEMON: All right. David Mattingly, Dennis Root, appreciate your time.

The FBI is looking into death threats against a Dallas safari club for auctioning off a rare permit to kill an endangered black rhino. The auction will be held at the club's annual tomorrow night and the chance to hunt one of the rare rhinos could fetch up to a million dollars.

Ed Lavandera has the story for you.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Coming this close to a black rhinoceros is rare. There are only about 5,000 left in the world. In the country of Namibia in southern Africa, there are only 1,700 still alive. Thousands of miles away in this convention hall in Texas, the Dallas safari club says it has a way of helping save this ancient beast. The group will auction off a permit from the Namibian government to hunt and kill one black rhino.

The club's executive director Ben Carter says sacrificing one animal for the greater good is smart conservation.

BEN CARTER, DALLAS SAFARI CLUB: It's going to be able to raise more money than any other way you can do it to help provide for all the conservation needs that we know from the black rhino.

LAVANDERA: The auction has sparked death threats which the FBI is investigating along with a vicious debate over how to save this endangered species. Critics call the auction a sad joke.

(on camera): Marcia, tell us where you're joining us from?


LAVANDERA (voice-over): Marcia Fargnoli is CEO of Save the Rhino Trust and works with the Namibian government to protect the rhinos.

(on camera): Do you agree with this tactic, the way they're doing this?

FARGNOLI: I personally don't agree. This is actually saying that one rhino is worth dead much more than it is alive.

LAVANDERA: The black rhino hunting permit will be auctioned off Saturday night. It's a closed event. You got to have a special ticket to get in. No cameras will be allowed inside, organizers say it's to protect the identity of the bidders. The Dallas Safari Club estimate the permit could sell to as much as $250,000, even up to $1 million.

(voice-over): The Dallas Safari Club says all of the money will be donated to Namibia's conversation efforts to save the black rhino and that the government has picked the handle of rhinos that can be targeted by the hunter who wins the auction. CARTER: They've already picked up two or three black rhino males that are old, not breeding males. They're not contributing to the population anymore. In fact, black rhinos are very territorial and they're very aggressive. And they actually are detrimental to the population when they get old like that. They are like a cranky old man.

LAVANDERA: But animal conservation groups say it would be better to keep the rhino alive and raise money through tourism, selling the opportunity to see these animals up close in the wild.

JEFFREY FLOCKEN, INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE: I can't state how strongly enough how perverse this is to say that killing these animals is the best thing. It is a critically endangered species.

LAVANDERA: The black rhino is in the crosshairs of controversy and both sides say they're doing what's best for this wild beast.

For OUTFRONT, this is Ed Lavandera, in Dallas.


LEMON: Still to come, a story we have been following for days, a 2- year-old coaxed to say obscene things on video. His mother says he was well cared for, but the video seems to contradict that.


LEMON: We are back with tonight's outer circle.

Tonight, we go to India where a luger is hoping to capture the country's first ever winter Olympic medal.

Sumnima Udas hit the streets of New Delhi to find out what locals thought of their Olympic competitor.


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, from the Himalayan foothills to Sochi, Indian luger Shiva Keshavan is hoping to become the first Indian ever to win a medal at the winter Olympics. Now, luge is an unknown sports here in India.

And when we hit the streets of New Delhi to find out if anyone heard of him or the sport people were completely perplexed.

Shiva Keshavan?


UDAS: Have you seen this sport?


UDAS: No, he's not Michael Schumacher.

Do you find it strange that he's participating in the Winter Olympics and no one has heard of him here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe when time comes, people will get to know about him.

UDAS: Still, he will be competing for India. And if he wins he will be making people here very proud.

Back to you, Don.


LEMON: Tonight, the mother of the so-called toddler breaking her silence claiming she didn't film her 2-year-old toddler spouting off words even adults shouldn't say.

The video went viral after the Omaha Police Union reposted from the family's Facebook page.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were worried about the video because he had a clean diaper, the house was clean. Like they said, kids cussed. Every kid does it.

So, he's a smart little boy and the only cussing he did -- he doesn't do that. The person that saw him do that, my son doesn't cuss like that. I'll let (INAUDIBLE).


LEMON: The video appears to contradict the mom's story.




A ho?


UNIDENTIFIED KID: You a ho bitch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's up then?


LEMON: The Department of Health and Human Services first got involved with this family back in June, worried that the children were unsupervised. The family was then moved to a new home in August.

Then, in October, there was a shooting at the same house. The 2-year- old child was hit by bullet shrapnel. Four others were injured including the mom who was then 16 years old. The family was moved again to a new home in November.

Then, in December, police raided a party at that home searching for a shooting suspect.

I hope you got all of that.

I'm joined by Sergeant John Wells. He's the president of the Omaha Police Union, the union which posted the video, and also attorney Natalie Jackson is here with me. Thank you.

I'm going to start with you, Sergeant Wells. You heard the toddler's mother defending herself saying all kids cuss and saying her baby is not a thug. How do you respond?

SGT. JOHN WELLS, PRESIDENT OF THE OMAHA POLICE UNION: You know, unfortunately it seems that she might be a little tone deaf on this issue. Granted, given her age, it's understandable. I hope she gets the help and counseling she needs so she can see this isn't the way to raise a child. The number of known gang members coming to and from that house, the weapons, the illegal weapons.

It wasn't a healthy environment. It's not about a diaper and some language -- although the language is part of it. It's really about the environment that child was in.

LEMON: Natalie, good parenting, not a thug?

NATALIE JACKSON, ATTORNEY: I think we have to learn more of the facts. From what I understand, this was -- the people who filmed this incident were not the parents.

So, I mean, who did it? I think it's -- we've all jumped to assumptions that this was the parent that filmed it. So, if it was the parent, yes, bad parenting. If it's someone -- a kid in another room, these are all teenagers. I don't -- I can't judge the parent, I really can't.

LEMON: Natalie, this isn't just about this video. This is not just the video. You said you have to know, it's all there in the court documents. You heard what I just said.

Did you not hear what I said?

JACKSON: I read the court documents.

LEMON: The gang members, about the shooting. The kid is 2 years old. He's already been shot with shrapnel. Did you not hear that?

JACKSON: Don, I read the court documents and I read that the sister of the mother requested to move. She asked the state to help them move from this dangerous environment. So I on't know if we really know the true story yet.

LEMON: OK, the mom confirmed --

WELLS: Don, Don, can I jump in?

LEMON: Go ahead, Sergeant. Yes.

WELLS: In the Health and Human Services Department report that has been made available by the media here --

JACKSON: It should not have been made available.

WELLS: -- they talked about the known gang member frequenting this house on a frequent basis. And that's, again -- how the media got that, I don't know. I don't have access to that. It wasn't from me. It's not from anybody in our organization. That's a different agency.

However, all these gang members coming to and from the house, if they're so concern, they constantly moving, but yet, they let the same element in the house that cause these problems in the first place. It just doesn't make sense.

LEMON: OK. So, listen --

WELLS: This is what we talk about. We talk about we have to address the cycle of violence.

LEMON: OK. So, listen --

JACKSON: You said the cycle of thuggery.

LEMON: Hang on, Natalie. Let's address everything here.

It's public record. That's how the media got it. This is available to anyone. Anyone can go online to the Nebraska government website or they can go down to the clerk of court's office and get this information.

So, don't say it should not have been released. It's released everywhere.

JACKSON: It should not, it's minors. You're talking about minors.

LEMON: OK. So, listen, let's not get off track here. This happens though according to the sergeant, according to the police I've spoken to, not only in Nebraska but around the country, saying, hey, every case is unique. But this is not out of the ordinary for many families in America.

Do you disagree with that, Natalie?

JACKSON: It's not out of ordinary to live in poverty, to have family members who are criminals and to have family members over, no. So, I agree with you totally. It is not out of the ordinary.

LEMON: OK. Let's talk a little bit more about the mom. And, then, Sergeant, I want to follow up on that, on how we may be able to deal with this so-called cycle around the country. The mom confirmed what police told us last night, that it wasn't the video of the toddler that got them into protective custody, it was other incidents like the ones we told you about and this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody that thinks I'm a bad mother, I'm not. I'm a good mother to my son. I teach him a lot. And he's very smart.

It didn't come because of the video. They really came because of the gang violence saying everything that happened with us.


LEMON: Natalie, not to belabor the point. You have guns, gangs intermingling with babies and probably happens to a lot of other parents. She doesn't even realize that her home is not a safe environment. You don't think that that validates the police union's initial concern here?

JACKSON: No, I don't. I don't think it validates the police union reposting a video of a minor child instead of asking for protective services and asking for help and asking for the Facebook page to be taken down.

WELLS: Don, can I jump in there?

LEMON: Just jump in, Sergeant. Go ahead.

WELLS: First of all, we are as police association, we posted the video only after we notified the child victim unit to follow up on this. The CPS had ample time to act to remove these children. It's only after this video was posted that this -- that this investigation was fast tracked because it's been three days of us posting this video these children were removed.

These children would not have been removed from this house if it wasn't for us posting this video.


JACKSON: So you're saying Child Protective Services are not doing their job. They were already in contact with Child Protective Services, sir.

LEMON: So why are you outraged with the police department and you're not outraged with Child Protective Services?


JACKSON: I'm not outraged with the police department. I'm outraged with the police union and this gentleman's actions, by posting a video of a minor child you think is being abused. This is the same as posting a video of a child being sexually abused. It's the same act. If you thought the child was sexually abused --


WELLS: That is a different ballpark, a child being sexually abused. I mean, that's pornography. That's kiddy pornography.

JACKSON: That's what you're saying this is. People are outraged about this video.

WELLS: We have to educate the public in order to address these problems. It is crazy. It is flawed logic to think that this is even in the same ballpark as posting a sexual assault video.

LEMON: OK. Sergeant Wells, you are not backing down from this issue. Just today a blog post on the union's Web site reads this, "Don't allow race, politics or emotion to distract us from the central issue. This is 100 percent about a criminal culture, a cycle of poverty, a cycle of lack of education, a cycle of lack of parenting, and dare we say a thug cycle. That is literally killing families and crushing the futures of innocent children."

You're not backing down.

So, what do you say to critics --

WELLS: Absolutely not.

LEMON: -- who claim this is about race and that too often the word "thug" is used to describe black males, black children?

WELLS: You know, the word thug at least around here is used commonly. The local media use it, the local paper. When we refer to violent criminal culture, I myself in various forms have been called a thug. Clearly, I'm a white guy. I don't know how that word "thug" applies. I've heard other police officers refer to that, other people that deal with police associations that.

That word "thug" is a general term for violent criminals. We are absolutely not backing down about this, because this child was removed from this dangerous situation because we posted this video. And quite frankly, we have to address these issues in new ways. If this saves at least one child, it was absolutely worth it.

JACKSON: Your own police chief said the posting of this video was disruptive to the community, because it caused a racial divide. And when you do things like that, we have a symbiotic relationship with the public and with the police. There has to be trust.

When there is anything tainted with violence or discrimination, there's a problem. I don't understand why you don't see there's a problem. This child could have been helped by you going to child protective services without posting a video.

LEMON: Go ahead, Sergeant.

WELLS: Natalie, I would say that trust comes through communication and finding that we have common ground to common problems and coming up with joint solutions.

JACKSON: Communication is not name calling. It's not --


WELLS: And we're not going to be able to solve these problems unless we know exactly what we're dealing with here. I would bet that most people in the community, not only in this community but across the country, have no idea that this goes on.

LEMON: Sergeant Wells and Natalie Jackson, thank you.

Still to come, is" thug" a racist word? We're going to take a close look.


LEMON: Welcome back, everyone.

I want to take a moment to talk to you about this baby, this so-called thug baby this week, the story that we found out about. I found out about this story as I was on the air one evening. Someone sent me a posting and saying, Don, have you seen this story?

I left work thinking about that child, went to bed thinking about that child. I woke up the next day thinking about that child and others like him. I came into work and told my team we have to do it, figure out how to help this child and other children. Then I would go back home and start the process all over again. OK?

So this has become a little bit personal to me, just because it's about saving children. And when police have told me that this happens all around the country -- every case is unique, but this one is not unusual.

So, let's examine here this word that we have been throwing around so much. The world "thug." It's been thrown around a lot this week. People were outraged that the word was used in a story about an innocent 2-year-old child saying it's racist to do it. But is the word "thug" racist? Let's examine it for a minute.

Lately, "thug" seems could have been co-opted by the black hip hop community, but the term did not start there. People from every possible race and background have been called thugs or refer to themselves as thugs for hundreds of years. There have been Indian thugs, Irish thugs, Italian thugs, French, British, and Asian thugs.

And the word "thug" has been used to describe all sorts of people in pop culture, in music, in art and even politics. Roll the clip.









UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You feckless thug.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm still a thug.





LEMON: So you get the point here. I don't have to belabor it, right?

So, let's bring it back to this 2-year-old child and his family. When the video was encouraged -- encouraged him to quote "thug in your diaper", right?

The outrage toward the police might have been more justified had the family not repeatedly egged the baby on to act like a thug -- thug in your diaper. They're calling police racist for posting the video of a black baby. Whether it's racist or not, listen, I'm not going to decide that. But imagine if police had not released this video. Then we would never have known what that little boy and many more children across the country go through every single day.

So, let's just say police motives were racist. I'm not saying they are. Let's hypothetically say that. Why not take the outrage you have behind that and use the energy for good to actually stop a detrimental cycle of any name? Why take ownership of thuggery?

There is nothing flattering or enticing about being a thug. And why get mad that someone calls you the very same name that you call yourself? If you don't want to be treated like a thug, or considered one, then don't act like one. That's the message parents should be passing to their children.

Anderson starts right now.