Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Search Completed For Indiana Tornado Survivors; Escaped Texas Death Row Inmate Back in Custody; Unrest in France Enters 12th Night

Aired November 7, 2005 - 20:00   ET


Thanks for joining us on a night when so many people are still stunned and in shock, after one of the deadliest tornadoes in decades.


PHILLIPS (voice-over): Panic in the dark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole house just exploded.

PHILLIPS: After a monster tornado tears through the Midwest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had a lot of guys that saw a lot of death and a lot of agony.

PHILLIPS: Tonight, calculating the human cost.

Painful lessons, with 50,000 volts that can bring you to your knees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's probably the worst pain you could probably ever feel.

PHILLIPS: So, why are these weapons being used in hundreds of schools?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it really justified to use that much force on a kid?

PHILLIPS: Struggle to survive -- a 4-year-old has to fight a rare disease and his HMO.

KIM ZEMBSCH, MOTHER OF 4-YEAR-OLD: We know where hope is for our child, and we can't get it.

PHILLIPS: How his battle could affect your family's health.


PHILLIPS: And we start tonight in Indiana, where searchers have finished looking for victims of tornadoes that shredded parts of the Evansville area. Those storms struck early yesterday morning, killing 22 people, 18 of them in one trailer park.

Dan Simon joins me now live from Evansville. DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, I'm standing on the edge of that trailer park, and there's just so much devastation behind me -- as you mentioned, 18 people dead in this one community alone -- an overwhelming sense of grief here.

But, amid the sorrow, there have also been incredible stories of survival.


SIMON (voice-over): One by one, firefighters pluck dozens of people out of the rubble here at the trailer park, most within minutes after the tornado hit. That's what makes the rescue of 8-year-old Noah Donner (ph) truly incredible, found trapped in a ditch 12 hours afterwards. But, for his family, it's not a time for celebrating.

(on camera): The two of you lost a son and a granddaughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. And our grandson is in intensive care.

SIMON: We spoke with Tina (ph) and David Donner (ph) at the hospital about their grandson, Noah (ph), in intensive care, banged up, but expected to recover.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something hit him right here in the side of the face and sheered off part of his ear. And he has a deep puncture wound in his hip. They went in and surgically, cleaned that out yesterday. So, he's resting comfortably.

SIMON: Noah had a special request for his doctors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When he first got to the hospital...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wanted Mountain Dew.


SIMON (on camera): He wanted Mountain Dew.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wanted Mountain Dew from the time he got here.

SIMON (voice-over): Noah's survival is what's keeping the couple going. Their 26-year-old son, Jesse, Noah's father, died, as did their 6-year-old granddaughter, Emily, Noah's sister. Noah's mother did survive, but was too upset to speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is devastating. I -- I don't know what to -- there's no words to put to it, unless you see what a person goes through, through a tornado.

SIMON: Those who made it through the tornado call it pure luck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I felt wind. The next thing I know, the trailer started tumbling, and I started rolling. And then I'm on the concrete.

SIMON: Sixteen-year-old Aaron Crowley (ph) says his trailer was obliterated. His parents weren't home at the time. And Aaron found himself alone in a pile of debris. He says he climbed out and found a little boy trapped, calling for help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He was crying and shaking, because it was raining. All he was in was a long T-shirt.

SIMON (on camera): You saved that little boy's life.

(voice-over): We are likely to hear more stories of dramatic rescues in the days to come. But perhaps none will be as bittersweet as the story of Noah Donner (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a silver lining, you know?

SIMON: A silver lining amid so much death and devastation.


SIMON: Kyra, on the other side of the trailer park, there's a pond. And, today, crews were draining it. And that's where they found the 18th victim there. And, again, it's just incredible, what you are seeing out here. We're seeing people's personal effects.

And, at this point, authorities are telling us that 20 people are still unaccounted for. They are optimistic, though, that those people just haven't checked in and told authorities of their whereabouts -- Kyra, back to you.

PHILLIPS: Dan Simon on a tough assignment -- thanks, Dan.

Well, tonight, death row escapee Charles Thompson is on the way back to Texas. He appeared in court today in Louisiana and waived an extradition hearing. Thompson set off a nationwide manhunt on Thursday when he just walked out of jail in Houston.

Here's Keith Oppenheim on how the law finally caught up with Thompson.


KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He wasn't even hiding when he was caught and given how clever his escape was, no one thought capturing Charles Victor Thompson would be easy. In a way, it was.

Last night, law officers got word Thompson was in Shreveport. Sure enough, they found him standing in plain view in front of a liquor store, talking on a pay phone. Next to him, he had a bicycle. And police say he was drunk. MICKEY RELLIN, DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL: I asked him who he was three times. And he didn't answer me. So, finally, I nudged the badge up closer to his face. And I asked him. And he looked up at me and he says, are you a member of the U.S. Marshals Strategic Task Force? And I said, what do you think? And he said, OK, you got me.

OPPENHEIM: In 1998, Charles Thompson murdered his ex-girlfriend, Dennise Hayslip, and her boyfriend, Darren Cain. He received the death penalty, but a state appeals court granted him a resentencing hearing, bringing him from the state prison to the county jail in Houston.

Days after the hearing, police say he smuggled civilian clothes into an attorney-inmate meeting room, conned deputies into believing he worked for the attorney general's office, and walked out the front door. For 78 hours, Charles Victor Thompson was a free man.

LIEUTENANT JOHN MARTIN, SPOKESMAN, HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: We -- we do think that people helped him, again, if for no other reason because we found his clothes back here behind the other jail facility. So, that's a pretty strong indication that he did have some help.

OPPENHEIM: Yesterday, after Thompson was arrested, he was taken to a jail in Shreveport. At a hearing, he waived extradition, agreeing to go back to Texas. For relatives of his murder victims, it was the end of three anxious days.


OPPENHEIM: Devon Donaghey, Dennise Hayslip's brother...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They -- they have -- they just -- they have got him.

OPPENHEIM: ... wasn't surprised Thompson rushed to find alcohol after his escape, which he said was a pattern in the years he's known him. After he heard about Thompson's capture, he spoke with his mother, Wynona Donaghey, on CNN.



WYNONA DONAGHEY, MOTHER OF MURDER VICTIM: And tell your sister we did it one more time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, we did.

OPPENHEIM: They were celebrating, mourning, and wondering. How could a death row convict find a way to walk out of jail?

(END VIDEOTAPE) OPPENHEIM: Kyra, we hope to get an answer to that question. There are six internal affairs investigators that are looking into what went wrong in the jail and how they can fix it.

In the meantime, Charles Victor Thompson is being transported from Louisiana back here to Houston. He will be here tonight. He may be transported -- be transported back to death row tomorrow or Wednesday. One of the interesting things about this case is that authorities here don't really see much point in charging him with escaping from this jail, in large part because he's going back to where he came from, awaiting execution on death row -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Keith Oppenheim, thanks so much.

Let's talk about one of those investigations. We're going to move on to that big question of how a death row inmate could just walk out of jail.

Joining me now is the highest ranking official on duty that day Thompson escaped from the Harris County Jail in Houston. He's Chief Deputy Danny Billingsley of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Chief Deputy, thanks for being with me.

You were on duty that day. You are in charge of this investigation. What have you found out? What went wrong? How did he do this?

DANNY BILLINGSLEY, HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Well, you know, we had a certain number of procedures in place. Some of those procedures were not followed, which allowed him to reach the first floor and -- and walk out of the jail.

PHILLIPS: What were those procedures...

BILLINGSLEY: Having said...

PHILLIPS: ... sir?

BILLINGSLEY: Well, you know, number one is, all the inmates that are in that cell block coming in and out should be searched and -- going in and should be searched coming out. That didn't happen in his case.

And one of the other things, each one was to be leg-ironed. And he was not leg-ironed. And a third procedure was that he was to be locked inside the attorney's booth, and he was not locked there, inside the attorney's booth.

PHILLIPS: How did he get out of the handcuffs? He was handcuffed, correct?

BILLINGSLEY: He -- yes, he was handcuffed. And -- and we assume at this point -- we don't know for sure, but we assume at this point that he probably had a handcuff key that he had hid -- hidden on his body somehow. PHILLIPS: Do you think that somebody inside that jail or outside of that jail helped him escape?

BILLINGSLEY: Well, we're sure that somebody helped him, at least somebody outside, inasmuch as we found the clothes that he escaped in behind one of the nearby buildings here.

Now, as far as people inside the jail, we certainly hope that's not the case. However, you know, we won't know all that until the investigation is complete.

PHILLIPS: So, how is this changing your security procedures right now? What are you doing differently?

BILLINGSLEY: Well, number one is, immediately following this, they started to harden the building.

This -- this particular jail facility has a huge amount of traffic, civilian traffic, in and out. There's a lot of civilians that work inside the jail, chaplains, MHMRA personnel, medical personnel, and so forth.

Immediately, the procedures were starting to obtain identifications on all those people before they entered the jail, which they would have to pick up prior to leaving the jail. That is just -- that is just one example of the attempts to harden this facility.

PHILLIPS: Chief Deputy Danny Billingsley, thanks for your time. Keep us posted, will you?

BILLINGSLEY: Yes, ma'am. We will. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Appreciate it.

Still to come, fire and chaos.

Scenes like these are happening right now. But what's behind this explosion of violence in the streets of France? And why can't anyone stop it?

Also, a situation every parent dreads -- where do you turn if your child has a chronic illness and your insurance company says it won't pay for the treatment?


PHILLIPS: Right now, in France, nearly 10,000 police are deployed. Authorities plan to impose curfews. And government officials are promising to do whatever is necessary to restore calm. So far, none of it is helping.

Even as we speak, rioting is under way. And the violence has claimed its first life, a man who was beaten into a coma last Friday. He died today.

Chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour is keeping an eye on the situation in Paris.

Christiane, what's it like right now?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you say, it is about 2:00 a.m. Right now.

And, in fact, up until now, the reports of violence around the country are much fewer and much less than they have been over the last 12 days, since this first erupted. We understand that there's been an incident in Toulouse, in the southern part of France, where an empty bus was torched, and also in Lille, in northern France, where a couple of cars were torched -- but, on the whole, much less violence than -- than has been over the last nearly two weeks now -- still shocking.

And it has really shocked many people in this country. The prime minister went on television this evening and said that local governments, mayors and local authorities, would be empowered to call curfews whenever they thought that would be necessary -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Christiane, looking back at 1968 and the student uprising that took place then, taking a look at this situation, do you see a movement here? Do you see it becoming more organized? Could it become bigger?

AMANPOUR: Well, that's a question that I have really been grappling with.

Obviously, in '68, there were specific demands for education reform. Then, the unions and -- and others got into it and wanted all sorts of economic reforms. And there were certain results that came of that. Here, so far, it's been real sort of mayhem in many parts of this country, some of it copycat, some of it just frustration boiling over.

And while there are legitimate grievances from these people in the suburbs, who live very disadvantaged lives -- they have much less opportunity than people who live in the big city of Paris, for instance, where I am.

Most of them are African and North African immigrants, mostly Muslims, where unemployment in those projects are four times the national average. So, it's -- it's hard to see where exactly it's going to go. But there are certainly legitimate grievances.

PHILLIPS: Christiane Amanpour in Paris, I know it's going to be a long night for you. We're going to see you again in a couple of hours on "ANDERSON COOPER 360." Thank you.

And with the rioting in the news night after night, you may have wondered about root causes of the trouble.

Well, as Jim Bittermann now shows us, the answers are not hard to find.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this tough Parisian suburb, the electrical substation where days of rioting began, two teens, thinking they were being chased by police, ignored warning signs and hid here. They were instantly electrocuted.

Eleven days later, many who demonstrated against the senseless deaths of the teens are now demonstrating against the senseless violence that followed. A school and a community gymnasium have been destroyed by fire, as were hundreds of cars. Twenty-year-old Antoine Marna doesn't like the police presence everyone here complains about, but he doesn't like the destruction either.

ANTOINE MARNA, FRENCH CITIZEN (through translator): The gymnasium and school have nothing to do with what's going on. People should not have burned them.

BITTERMANN: The police pretty well know who is causing the destruction. Of the thousand young people they have arrested so far, the vast majority are teenagers. Half of them have been in trouble with the police before.

The rationale some give for throwing Molotov cocktails and torching cars is that, while they are the sons and daughters of African immigrants, they have been born here and have French nationality. They should have the same opportunity as others. Yet, the unemployment rate for young people in some of the neighborhoods runs as high as 50 percent. Numerous governments have tried to change things. And the current one says it will, too.

On French channel TF1 tonight, the prime minister said he will improve educational programs, give more money to community associations and more power to local mayors.

(on camera): The problem for authorities so far, though, is that none of the traditional methods have worked. Islamic leaders issued a religious decree against the violence, even though, now, many Muslims say they never should have done it.

Community and educational leaders have been mobilized, even though, now, many say that those who were doing the rioting are not easily reachable through schools and community associations.

(voice-over): Youth leader Mark Nadaud says that nightly rioting is certainly not going to make things better for those who feel excluded from French society.

MARK NADAUD, YOUTH LEADER: We can't reply violence through violence. We can't do that. You know, there is a -- a lot of people who want to do something good in this city. Now, and -- and now I think it's going to be very hard.

BITTERMANN: And so, in the community that touched off rioting that has now spread across the country, there are many who wish it would just stop.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PHILLIPS: That was Jim Bittermann.

And, by any tally, the rioting has been devastating. In the first 11 nights of rioting, 4,700 vehicles have been burned, at least 1,200 people have been arrested, and at least 77 police officers have been injured.

Well, coming up, a story that will make any parent's blood boil: Who decides whether your child gets life-saving treatment, the doctors or an insurance company?


K. ZEMBSCH: Every time, it's like a knife being stabbed into us. We know where hope is for our child, and we can't get it.


PHILLIPS: Next, a family takes on its HMO in a battle that could affect you.

Plus, disturbing pictures, a law-and-order controversy that may be as close as your neighborhood school. Are kids getting so rowdy that Tasers are the only answer?


PHILLIPS: Tonight, a very sick little 4-year-old boy is fighting for a chance to grow up and live a normal life while his parents fight their HMO. The struggle to get what you need from your health plan is something millions of us can relate to.

But, for this family, it's a life-or-death battle.

Here's Ted Rowlands.



ROWLANDS: Four-year-old Jack Zembsch is way too busy having fun to know it, but he is caught in the middle of a fight that could save his life.

K. ZEMBSCH: We just feel like we get slapped in the face every time. It's like a knife being stabbed into us. We know where hope is for our child, and we can't get it.

You got it.

ROWLANDS: His parents say Jack always has a smile on his face, but he suffers from a very rare form of dwarfism called metatropic dysplasia. His organs are growing faster than his ribcage. His spine is slowly bending forward. Eventually, his lungs and heart will likely be crushed.


ROWLANDS: Dr. William Mackenzie is the country's leading physician when it comes to treating this disease -- that's according to Jack's parents -- and his primary physician. Mackenzie has examined Jack. And he says he would like to treat it.

MACKENZIE: I can help Jack. We have had a lot of experience treating these children. And we will do this with a combination of -- of surgery and bracing.

ROWLANDS: Jack's parents, Mark and Kim Zembsch, are convinced that Dr. Mackenzie represents Jack's best chance for survival. While Jack's pediatrician agrees, his HMO does not. A family request to Health Net incorporated to allow Jack to be treated by Dr. Mackenzie has been repeatedly denied.

MARK ZEMBSCH, FATHER OF 4-YEAR-OLD JACK: We have appealed now four times after the original submission. And what we get is responses that just make your blood curdle when you get them back.

ROWLANDS: Dr. Mackenzie is in Delaware. The Zembschs lives in Northern California. Health Net says there's a doctor in San Francisco who can do the job. The Zembschs disagree. This morning, their lawyer filed a lawsuit demanding that Dr. Mackenzie be Jack's physician.

ARNOLD LEVINSON, ATTORNEY FOR ZEMBSCHS: We're just saying that he has the experience and, therefore, the ability to make judgments that the doctors out here don't.

ROWLANDS (on camera): Today, Health Net released a statement saying it would still like Jack to be seen locally here in San Francisco. But it says it will allow an independent review board to decide this case. And, while a decision is being made, it will allow Jack to see Dr. Mackenzie for consultation.

(voice-over): Jack's parents say they have already made a decision.

M. ZEMBSCH: We will figure out how to pay for it. We have got credit cards. We're going to get out to see Dr. Mackenzie.

ROWLANDS: Ahead for Jack Zembsch is a lot of uncertainty is ahead. If all goes well, Jack could live well into his 30s. By then, his parents hope medical advances will keep him going longer.

M. ZEMBSCH: He's had physical challenges his whole life, but I think he's the happiest kid I have ever known.

K. ZEMBSCH: He is sunny side up. He was born that way. He's always been that way. That is who he is. He addresses challenges with an optimism that I am just astounded by.

He -- he may not be able to push a tricycle -- or ride a tricycle with his friends, but he will push it, so he's in the middle of the action and right in there with every kid. I know he will find ways to do that.

M. ZEMBSCH: He's like -- he's like the poster child for, you know, don't worry, be happy, because he is just always happy. He's a happy kid.


PHILLIPS: That was our Ted Rowlands.

And joining me now, Jack's parents, Mark and Kim Zembsch.

Great to see you both. Thank you so much for being with me.

M. ZEMBSCH: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: It's a bit of a confusing situation, as we talk about Health Net and the doctor, they are saying is qualified enough to treat your son.

I have been reading about Dr. Mohammad Diab there at UCSF. Do you feel comfortable with him? Health Net is saying, he's an experienced doctor that can treat your son.


M. ZEMBSCH: Actually, Dr. Diab, we -- we love Dr. Diab. We have seen Dr. Diab a couple of times. And Jack loves Dr. Diab. The last time we were in to see Dr. Diab, when Dr. Diab walked in the room, Jack looked up and said, "Big doctor, hi."


M. ZEMBSCH: And ran up. And -- and that's Jack. We have a great, great amount of respect for Dr. Diab. And we envision, you know -- it would be Dr. Mackenzie's call, but we envision Dr. Diab being very involved in Jack's care.

We don't want to go out to Delaware every time there needs to be a diagnostic procedure or -- or something along those lines. As long as Dr. Mackenzie is managing the care, from everyone else we have met out here, Dr. Diab would be wonderful for our family.

PHILLIPS: And -- and, once again, just to point out, in case we -- we weren't clear, Dr. Diab is -- is covered by your insurance, by Health Net. Dr. Mackenzie is not.

So, do you think there is some negotiating that will take place, Kim, where Dr. Mackenzie can be involved, maybe oversee Dr. Mohammad Diab's surgeries. Would you feel comfortable with that?

K. ZEMBSCH: You are saying if Dr. Mackenzie could oversee Dr. Diab's doing the surgery?


K. ZEMBSCH: The -- the issue really is that Mackenzie needs to be making the -- doing the surgery and making the judgment calls, because Jack's bones are not like anybody else's bones.

And this is a case with -- with -- with this particular issue and -- and maybe with some other issues, too, but definitely with Jack, that his bones are so different, that it is going to take a specialist that could open up and say, oh, I can see the complications from this or that or the other thing, so, we're going to have to do this.

It's going to happen right there on -- on the surgery table, that you need somebody with experience there doing it.

PHILLIPS: So, Mark, what about this independent board that is going to take a look at, OK, we are -- we're going to look at all the doctors, all the availability here, and, if, indeed, we find that Mackenzie is the only doctor that can treat your son, then we will pay for it; we will take care of that? Are you comfortable with -- with the board going forward and making that decision for you? Is that where this stands right now, and, therefore, you would not file a lawsuit, if, indeed, a board said, OK, fine, we will pick the doctor for you?

M. ZEMBSCH: Kyra, we haven't seen anything along those lines at all. We haven't actually received any communication from Health Net.

What -- where we were four weeks ago was at the end of the most frustrating process I could ever imagine any parent going through, 15 months of following every rule and every denial that Health Net placed in front of us. We -- we met the conditions on the next appeal, only to be denied again.

So, four weeks ago, Health Net summarily denied our last appeal, told it -- told us clearly that Dr. Mackenzie was not an option as the -- as the referral -- referral specialist. And we immediately did two things. We called Dr. Mackenzie and have placed ourselves -- placed Jack in his care.

And then we called the best lawyer in this area in dealing with these -- just the health insurance matters. And we have turned this -- that matter over to Arnie Levinson. So, if Arnie...


K. ZEMBSCH: If Arnie...

PHILLIPS: So, as it stands right now, you're going to go forward with the lawsuit and pay for Jack's care yourself, not using insurance money, but your own money, so you can have Dr. Mackenzie, the -- the doctor you feel is the only one that can treat your son, no matter what your insurance company says?

Is that correct, Kim?

K. ZEMBSCH: Yes. That's correct.

I mean, we haven't heard the things that you are hearing, but we need -- after the experience that we have been through with this health insurance company, and all of this frustration, somebody needs to stand up and do the right thing and tell the insurance company that they can't do this to individuals.

You know, this is Jack. This is a real boy. And there are other real boys and real girls out there that deserve not to be treated this way.

PHILLIPS: Of course, Mark and Kim Zembsch, you always want the best care -- care for your child, especially when you are struggling with something as unique as this disease.

We sure appreciate your time. We will follow up on what happens and follow up on your little boy.

Thanks, again, for your time.

K. ZEMBSCH: Thank you.

M. ZEMBSCH: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: It's time now for Erica Hill at Headline News to update this hour's other top stories -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS: Kyra, a major story developing. Australian police say they have stopped a major terrorist attack with the arrest of 17 suspects all around that country. Police also have seized bombmaking chemicals.

Four American soldiers killed today in a car bomb attack at a checkpoint south of Baghdad. Now in the meantime, the U.S. military says five soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment have been charged with mistreating Iraqi detainees.

In Sarasota, Florida today, the trial under way now for the man accused in the kidnapping and murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia. Prosecutors say Joseph Smith raped strangled the girl whose alleged abduction was caught on camera.

Pete Rose Jr. could get up to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking. Rose Jr. pleaded guilty in Nashville in a six-year investigation that involved the sale of a potent sedative and sexual stimulant to baseball players.

And the Philadelphia Eagles star wide receiver Terrell Owens won't be back. That coming to us from the front office. He's recently been criticizing the team and was also in a locker room fight. The NFL Players Union, Kyra, says it is, though, going to fight that decision.

See how that one turns out. Back over to you.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Erica. Well, coming up, schools with stun guns. Is that completely over the top or a necessary precaution? Stay with us for what's literally a shocking controversy.

I'm Sibila Vargas in Hollywood with Tyra Banks who is looking absolutely fabulous. But what if Tyra looked like this? We'll have more when PAULA ZAHN NOW continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, a company that makes taser guns says that it's going to start selling them with built-in cameras. The gun will record video and audio whenever someone fires it. The company hopes that that cuts down on the public outrage in controversial cases like the tasing of a 6-year-old boy in a Miami school last year. Now schools more and more are arming security officers with stun guns. And some people are wondering whether that's leading to using tasers to discipline kids. Here's investigative correspondent Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is surveillance video inside Pinellas Park High School near Tampa, Florida last February. An ordinary day that's about to get ugly for one student.

DOUG WALKER: One was here. One was here. And he said, you know, put your hands behind your back.

GRIFFIN: You can see two school police officers approaching 18- year-old Doug Walker. Police say he started swearing at them.

WALKER: Then all of a sudden they both grabbed me by the arm and slammed me to the ground.

GRIFFIN: He's then hand-cuffed.

WALKER: They grab the chain in my cuff. Yanked me up to my feet.

GRIFFIN: He's then taken to the principal's office where the videotape ends, but Walker says his nightmare doesn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Walker decided that he was going to flee.

WALKER: I didn't even get two steps when they ran up behind me and slammed me to my face again.

GRIFFIN: According to the police report, he used excessive profanities and continued to thrash and kick while being held down by three officers. He was still in handcuffs.

CAPT. SANDFIELD FORSETH, PINELLAS PARK POLICE: He was kicking, flailing around, being told to quit. He wouldn't quit. So the officers used the weapon like this.

GRIFFIN: The weapon was a taser, a stun gun that temporarily numbs your body with 50,000 volts of energy. Police used it on Doug Walker's back.

WALKER: My whole body just flexed. Like my neck flexed back.

GRIFFIN: Police say he continued kicking. And for that reason was tasered for a total of three times. The first time for five seconds, then two more, one-second blasts.

WALKER: It's probably the worst pain you could probably ever feel.

GRIFFIN: Walker was charged with resisting arrest. School officials won't talk with CNN saying it's a police matter.

FORSETH: He was a threat to the officer's safety and possibly the safety of other people nearby.

GRIFFIN: So why did police confront Walker in the first place? The police report says he threw a book and swore at a teacher saying "get the F away from me. And don't F'ing touch me."

John Trevena defended Walker against the charges.

JOHN TREVENA, LAWYER: Here he have police officers who are zapping a guy with 50,000 volts repeatedly because he's mouthing off to them?

STEVEN WALKER, DOUG WALKER'S DAD: It's hard to understand. Is it justified to use that much force on a kid?

GRIFFIN: A number of similar incidents have raised concerns about the use of tasers on teens and kids. Police used a taser on a 6-year-old boy in Miami. In Central Florida, a mentally challenged girl was tasered five times. And in Chicago, the tasering of a 14- year-old sparked debate about the safety of tasers on minors.

According to the makers of the device, Taser International, 1700 school police officers were carrying tasers as of last year. The company refused to be interviewed by CNN for this report, but did tell us in an e-mail their product is safe. They also say police in 49 states have used the device effectively for years. Only New Jersey has banned them.

So how does it work? The shock of the taser causes loss of muscle control for up to five seconds. It can either be used from a distance of up to 21 feet or at close range, pressed against the body in what's called a stun or touch mode.

SHERIFF DEAN KELLY, PUTNAM COUNTY, FLORIDA: You'd simply pull the trigger. And it cycles for five seconds. Now, if you were using the air cartridge, it would be plugged in in this fashion.

GRIFFIN: When the trigger is pulled, two probes connected to the gun by wires fire out. The sharp probes can penetrate through two inches of clothes and into skin. This Taser International training video shows how those probes pierce the skin. When removed, there's a chance of bleeding and scarring.

Police departments across the country have told CNN many lives have been saved because officers used a taser instead of a real gun. Still, some parents fear school police might use the taser just to keep students in line. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The potential is there to have situations where it's misused, misapplied, and someone ends up getting tasered that should never have been tasered.

GRIFFIN: CNN examined a dozen police reports from cities across the country where students were tased by police. These were the reasons listed for officers using a taser: students ran away from police, mouthed off, argued with a teacher or got into a fight. King Downing is with the ACLU.

KING DOWNING, ACLU: Most of these cases, these are behavioral issues and not really crimes.

GRIFFIN (on camera): But police on campus say they are not replacing a deadly weapon. The taser for them replaces literally the strong arm of the law.

SGT. STEVE BAUM, NEWARK, OHIO POLICE: This is an option for officers to use instead of either macing them, hitting them or hitting them with a nightstick.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): That's what happened in this case at Newark High School in Ohio. A police officer used the taser to break up a student fight. It's the only time a taser has been used on a student there and school officials supported the decision.

SUPT. KEITH RICHARDS, NEWARK CITY SCHOOLS: I'm not going to put my judgment in place of our police officers. They've made the decision that a taser is an appropriate law enforcement tool.

GRIFFIN: Keith Richards is the city school superintendent.

RICHARDS: The most important salient point here is if you don't do something you shouldn't, you don't have to worry about any of them.

GRIFFIN: But some parents say it may not be that simple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Teenagers do not react like adults. They aren't as mature. They don't know how to handle things sometimes.

GRIFFIN: In an e-mail to CNN Taser International told us that the taser device has been shown to be medically safe when used on children based on independent medical tests.

We asked to see those medical tests, and the company e-mailed us this study. In it, there is no mention of use on children or teens, but Taser International says pigs between 66 pounds and 257 pounds were tasered for the study without problems meaning it's safe to tase humans in that same weight range.

The company also says there is no harm in tasing someone more than once because you can reduce the length of a shock from five seconds down to one or two seconds, which is what the officers, who tasered Doug Walker said they did.

Here's what the company CEO Rick Smith told CNN about his product last year.

RICK SMITH, CEO TASER INTERNATIONAL: There's no cumulative effect of electricity. It doesn't stay in the body. Each pulse transverses through the body. It's out and it's gone.

GRIFFIN: Dr. David Nykanen is pediatric cardiologist at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando, Florida. He says nobody truly knows the danger.

DR. DAVID NYKANEN, ARNOLD PALMER HOSPITAL: I'm not aware of any studies that have been done in children.

GRIFFIN: And he says there's one more thing to consider.

NYKANEN: Emotionally, there's an effect that can't be underestimated.

GRIFFIN: Doug Walker knows that firsthand. He was suspended from school the day he was tasered, and never went back or finished high school.

If they would have came to me and said, hey, son, why don't we come into my office and talk? I would have walked with them and everything would have been fine. I doubt anything would have happened.

GRIFFIN: And who knows what would have happened had he behaved differently. Even so, the question remains, are tasers in schools right or even necessary?


PHILLIPS: And that was Drew Griffin.

No one keeps national records of how many times tasers are used in schools, could be dozens or hundreds of times. But we do know that there are no reports of children being permanently injured or killed by a taser used in school.

Straight ahead, we're going to change subjects when we come back. But before we go to break, we've got a pop quiz. Do you know who this is?

Come on, guys. You ought to. She's been on the cover of "Sports Illustrated."


PHILLIPS: Well if sky high gas prices have been driving you nuts, pay attention to the "Headline News Business Break."

Here's Erica Hill.

HILL: Stocks were up this Monday on Wall Street. And one reason for that, oil. The cost of a barrel of oil dropping below $60 today, while the average price of gas has come down 23 cents in the last two weeks.

Still though, when energy outlook warns prices will surge again if production doesn't keep pace with rising energy use.

The recording industry winning a major settlement with Grokster. Earlier the Supreme Court had ruled that free online song and movie swapping software like Grokster could be held liable for copyright infringement.

Grokster were hearing, though, could be brought back as a pay for play online service.

Flyeye, the parent company of Independence Air, filing for bankruptcy. But it says it will continue to fly. Independence Air began service just about a year and a half ago.

And Swiss drugmaker, Roche, plans to increase production of its anti viral drug, Tamiflu, over the next two years. Increasing that production 10 times in order to ease fears, Kyra, of a flu pandemic.

Seems we can't go a day without hearing about the possibility of that.

Back over to you.

PHILLIPS: Isn't that the truth?

Erica Hill, thank you so much.

Well, "Larry King Live" gets under way at 9:00.

Larry, who is going to be with you tonight?


Good show.

Ted Koppel will be with us. He'll be leaving "Nightline" November 22nd. We'll have a special half of the program with good friend Ted.

And then we'll take a look at an extraordinary story out of Indiana. A man killed his wife 15 years ago. He's scheduled to be executed next week. His four children are trying to get that changed to life in prison.

So we'll have the four children on right after Ted Koppel. All at the top of the hour.

Continue your magnificent work, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, I'll be watching you, too, and you know I love Ted Koppel.

KING: Go get them.

PHILLIPS: Thanks Larry. See you at the top of the hour.

Well, coming up, a woman who is used to people's comments and stares, but she's never been treated quite like this.


TYRA BANKS, ACTRESS/MODEL: As soon as I stepped off the bus, I saw three people turn and laugh right in my face. I was stunned.


PHILLIPS: Next, Tyra Banks goes from modeling the bare necessities for Victoria's Secret to, oh, about 350 pounds.


PHILLIPS: Model Tyra Banks is turning heads tonight not because she's shockingly beautiful -- that wouldn't be news, right -- no, she's getting attention for something else, something she did that aired earlier today on her TV show. Here's entertainment correspondent Sibila Vargas.


SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Recognize this woman? How about now? Lots of people didn't recognize super hot supermodel Tyra Banks as a 350-pound woman.

BANKS: As soon as I steps off the bus, I saw three people turn and laugh right in my face. I was stunned.

VARGAS: That's right. The first African-American model to grace "Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition," host of "America's Next Top Model" and one of "People" magazine's 50 most beautiful people in the world was treated like anything but beautiful.

(on camera): You said it was a heartbreaking experience.

BANKS: Uh-huh.

You're going to make me tear up. It just was heartbreaking because it was so in your face. You know it was so in my face. And I'm like, I couldn't believe it.

VARGAS (voice-over): Banks said she decided to put on the hefty fat suit and prosthetics and feel what it's like to be overweight.

BANKS: The most important thing for this to work was that the suit had to be me, only bigger, 200 pounds bigger.

Just when he started putting the neck on, I got emotional. I got emotional. And it wasn't that I got emotional like looking in the mirror and seeing myself and oh, that's not so attractive. It wasn't that. It was almost like a precursor. I knew. I had a feeling about what was going to happen that day.

VARGAS: Hidden cameras captured her experience for the "Tyra Banks Show" as she hit two trendy L.A. spots.

BANKS: The first door I walked into was a popular Celebrity Boutique. Walking in, I felt a bit uncomfortable. As I walked through the store, I felt the cold stares. And I even heard snickering from some people shopping.

VARGAS: And watch what happens as she meets one of three blind dates.

BANKS: I'm not sitting here desperate, but as you can imagine, I'm a big girl and I have to live this life being a big girl.

Oh, you don't have to imagine? What do you mean you don't have to imagine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can see. I have eyes.

BANKS: Yeah. Well, that wasn't nice.

The first guy had to take a shot. He sat down, he immediately ordered a drink and told me he had to take a shot to get through it.

VARGAS: Banks said the experience changed her life forever. And she now has a greater appreciation for what obese people live through.

(on camera): You could take that off.


VARGAS: But another person may not be able to do that.

BANKS: Another person cannot take it off. Not overnight at least not, like I could. Not in the matter of -- it took me a couple of hours to take it off, actually. They can't do that. They can't do that.


PHILLIPS: And that was Sibila Vargas. Joining me now is someone who fights for the rights of overweight people. Marilyn Wann is a civil rights activist and author of "Fat? So."

Marilyn, good to see you.


PHILLIPS: It's not just the gossip and the looks and the snickering as Tyra Banks talks about, but there are so many other forms of discrimination that overweight people deal with, right?

WANN: Well, it should come as no surprise to people in this culture that is so weight obsessed that fat people can be treated badly pretty much everywhere we go: on the job, if we are hired for a job, on the streets in dating, in our doctor's offices. That should be no surprise.

And the fact that people are only going to care about that when a thin person puts on a fat suit is exactly the problem.

PHILLIPS: Well Marilyn, what do you say to...

WANN: I've been talking about this stuff for 12 years and so many people have been raising the issue. So I'm ready for things to change.

PHILLIPS: Let me ask you this. Some people might say, wow, it's awful how people treat those that are overweight, but, you know, let's talk about getting healthy. Let's talk about losing weight. Let's talk about living longer. What do you say to those people that say, but there's so much more you -- you even heard Tyra Banks say, I can take the weight off, if I concentrated, I can loose the weight.

WANN: That's a big completely incorrect fantasy that everybody could look like Tyra Banks if they tried hard enough.

PHILLIPS: I agree with you on that one.

WANN: I'm a proud. I'm a proud -- and I don't want to. I enjoy looking like me because I'm a proud fat person. I'm not -- I mean, call me overweight if you want to, but that's a judgment. And when you look at me, you have no idea how I eat or how I exercise, which is incredibly well. Or how healthy I am, which is that I'm healthy. And the only thing you can predict by looking at a fat person is your own level of stereotype and prejudice.

PHILLIPS: So, how do you say to somebody, look, you've got to look past this. For example, how do you tell a man, look beyond the fact that I'm overweight. Look at me and realize I'm a...

WANN: I'm not asking people to look beyond the fact that I'm fat.

PHILLIPS: No, but people might come to you -- but you are very unique. You are very confident. You know you are beautiful. You feel fantastic about who you are and how you look. But so many other people aren't as confident as you. So how do you say to them, look, this is how you have to exude confidence. How do you say to people that discriminate against those that are overweight to stop judging, to stop discriminating?

WANN: My confidence comes from the fact that I refuse to buy a system that treats me badly. And the system of fat prejudice is treating thin people badly, too. It's judging them based on their appearance and it's making them fit into narrow little boxes that they have to worry about.

So I say to all of us that we have to demand respect. And when I was a kid growing up, I was inspired by the civil rights movement. There was a piece of graffiti near my house that had a big fist and it said black is beautiful. And what a silly thing to even ever have to say. It should be obvious. Thank goodness we have a little bit of an understanding about how black people are beautiful and how black people are people. And I am raising my pudgy little fist and I'm saying, fat is beautiful. Fat people are people. And we need to start acting that way. All of us.

PHILLIPS: Marilyn Wann, thanks for your time tonight.

WANN: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Well, stay with us. We're watching the situation in France. And chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour will have a live update tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on "ANDERSON COOPER 360." I'll be right back.


PHILLIPS: Well, that's all for tonight. Tomorrow, an astonishing disorder that affects millions of Americans. They look perfectly normal, some of them beautiful even. Yet they see themselves as horribly unattractive. "The Monster in the Mirror" tomorrow on PAULA ZAHN NOW. Thanks for joining us. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines