Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Children and Guns; Tasers in Schools; Jury Recommends Death Penalty in Carlie Brucia Murder Case

Aired December 1, 2005 - 20:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Paula has the evening off.
Tonight, kids with guns, and some people say, it's perfectly all right.



O'BRIEN (voice-over): Are these kids too young to be hunters?

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What did it feel like the first time that you held a gun?

DANIELLE FAECHNER, 12-YEAR-OLD HUNTER: It was kind of scary, but then you get used to it.

O'BRIEN: Are they just carrying on a family tradition or endangering themselves and others?


O'BRIEN: Tasers in school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My whole body just flexed. Like, my neck flexed back.

O'BRIEN: Who is out of line, the student who swore at his teacher or someone who used a 50,000-volt stun gun to quiet him down?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don't do something you shouldn't, we don't have to worry about any of them.

O'BRIEN: We will dive into this high-voltage controversy.

And what would you do? Police wanted help finding a bank robber.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those pictures, I had no doubt that it was our father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went instantly cold.

O'BRIEN: His own sons turned him in. (END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Tonight, we're going to start with a story that has some images that many of you may find disturbing. Four families tonight in this country are grieving because, in the last week, each has lost a child in hunting accidents.

A 14-year-old boy in Wisconsin was killed on Thanksgiving Day. His 12-year-old cousin accidentally shot him in the back. Another 14- year-old boy was killed Sunday in North Dakota while hunting deer with his father. Also on Sunday, in Florida, a 10-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed a 13-year-old while they were hunting with a group of adults.

And, Monday, in Ohio, a 15-year-old boy accidentally shot his 12- year-old brother. They were hunting deer.

Now, hunting, of course, has been a part of American culture from the start. And most hunters never get hurt, of course. But what you may know is that fewer children are taking it up. That has the hunting industry worried, and, in -- in fact, trying to recruit more kids to carry guns and join the hunt.

Here's Jonathan Freed.


JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before dawn on the plains of Montana, it's cold, and so is Danielle Faechner. She's a bit sleepy, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go right down the fence line. There's two deer standing down there.

FREED: But it doesn't matter, because Danielle is being driven by the excitement of a rite of passage. She recently turned 12 and can now hunt legally in the state, along with her father, Steve, and her 13-year-old sister, Serena.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See the deer. You see the white spot?

FREED: They are stalking deer.

(on camera): What did it feel like the first time that you held a gun?

D. FAECHNER: It was kind of scary, but then you get used to it.

FREED: Scary "Oh, my God, I have a science test that I didn't study for"?

D. FAECHNER: Different kind of scary, like knowing that that could kill something.

FREED (voice-over): The Faechner girls are serious about hunting. It provides food, lets them spend time with their family and connect to its history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, let's take this box.

FREED: The girls use their great-grandfather's guns.


FREED: This time, it's big sister Serena who ends up making a kill...


FREED: ... and gets to pose for the trophy photo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look right over here.

FREED (on camera): There are a lot of people who, you know, their -- their biggest thing that they are waiting for is to get their driver's license. That's next, I'm guessing, for the two of you.

SERENA FAECHNER, 13-YEAR-OLD HUNTER: I want that, too, yes. It would be nice.


FREED: But if you had to choose between the two?

S. FAECHNER: I would choose hunting.

D. FAECHNER: You can't eat a car. You can eat a deer.


FREED (voice-over): The guy with the video camera is Kevin Hoyt. He's a friend of the family and a crusader for the cause of hunting.

KEVIN HOYT, THE FUTURE OF HUNTING: We're fighting a losing battle. We're in the 11th hour. And we have got to do something now, if we're even going to have a prayer of trying to save and preserve this wonderful sport.

FREED: Hoyt says hunting is in crisis because not enough families are like the Faechners, passing the sport down to their kids.

During the 1980s, about 17 million people called themselves hunters. But the hunting industry says the number of hunters in America is now dropping and that hunting could virtually vanish from America by mid-century if something isn't done to save it.

(on camera): What would be missing from society if hunting, as it's been...

HOYT: Stopped?

FREED: Stopped. HOYT: Discipline, patience, respect. There's a number of things that come from hunting. When you spend time with a kid in the woods, it's the perfect time to talk to your kids about sex or drugs or all the other important issues out there. And it's -- it's an opportunity for your kids to talk back.

FREED (voice-over): Hoyt also insists, the demise of hunting would damage the environment, because most conservation money comes from hunters through the sale of licenses.

HOYT: We're the ones that are saving and protecting and restoring habitat. We're the ones transplanting endangered species and reintroducing species to -- to make sure they are here for our future.

FREED: So, he's on a cross-country mission to inspire young hunters and their parents. His tour includes classrooms.

HOYT: Why would we possibly hunt?

How about in the back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hide for clothing or something?

HOYT: The hide, sure.

FREED: In schools receptive to his message.

Kevin Hoyt may travel solo, but he's not alone in his concern. Anxious that tradition could fade away and worried about losing the economic benefits of this $20-billion-a-year sport, politically active pro-hunting groups are also seeing children as the solution to keeping hunting off the endangered species list.

RICK STORY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES SPORTSMEN'S ALLIANCE: About half the hunting population, roughly 45 percent, are between the ages of 35 and 54. That's older than we would like it to be.

FREED: Rick Story is with the United States Sportsmen's alliance, a group that has joined with other pro-hunting organizations to fund youth recruitment drives and to push for the loosening of state laws limiting children's participation in hunting. Story says the biggest obstacle to recruitment is the 20 states that are keeping kids out of camouflage by setting minimum-age requirements, many at 12 years old.

Story calls it arbitrary.

STORY: For some children, you know, it may be 7 or 8. You know, for other children, it might be 9 or 10. But shouldn't it be a parent, and not the government, that makes that determination?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Want to get a big one?

JONATHAN WEICHMAN, 9-YEAR-OLD HUNTER: Yes. FREED: Jonathan Weichman is only 9, and he's out hunting for the first time during a youth hunting weekend put on by the state of Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead there, buddy.

FREED: He's revved up and ready to go.

WEICHMAN: I like sitting here waiting to see a deer come up, and then taking the shot, and just -- it just makes me happy to see it go down.

FREED: Studies show, the younger hunters start, the more likely they are to stick with the sport.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do you take your safety off?

WEICHMAN: I'm getting ready to shoot.


FREED: Supporters insist it's safe.

HOYT: Ping-Pong has more injuries than hunting does.

FREED (on camera): Yes, but if an accident happens in hunting, it tends to be larger than a Ping-Pong accident, no?

HOYT: That is very true, but, because of guys like myself, the thousands of volunteer hunter education instructors spread all across the country, hunting incidents are at an all-time low right now.

PRESCOTT: Children and young adolescents lack the emotional maturity to be able make that split-second decision of when to fire a gun. These are all pretty much hunting accidents that have taken place.

FREED (voice-over): Heidi Prescott of the Humane Society of the United States argues that, if we have age limits for driver's licenses, we should have them for a sport involving firearms, and it should be at least 15 or 16 years old.

(on camera): Their argument is that younger hunters are statistically the safer hunters because of the supervision.

PRESCOTT: Even one hunting accident is one accident too many. And, already this year, there's been hunting accidents where youth were involved. So, it's -- it's not a safe sport.

FREED (voice-over): Despite predictions by anti-hunting groups that the sport is doomed, no matter what's done to try to save it, the hunting industry is determined to encourage the next generation.

Nine-year-old Jonathan didn't bag a deer on his first day out, but he did spot a doe. He fired, but the animal escaped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good job, Peter. FREED: Five other kids in town were successful shots, like 11- year-old Tina (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You shot it with what?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-gauge shotgun?

FREED: Who named her 200-pound buck Bob.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't matter if it's big or not. It -- it just matters that you had fun and you got your first deer.

FREED: Back, in Montana, the Faechners are dining out...


FREED: ... on their children's shooting success. They have put venison on the table. And it's food this family does not take for granted.

(on camera): Is this something that you want to pass down to your kids?

D. FAECHNER: Definitely.

S. FAECHNER: Yes, definitely.

FREED: Really? You know that already?


FREED (voice-over): Jonathan Freed, CNN, Havre, Montana.


O'BRIEN: Joining me now to debate the issue of kids hunting, rock star Ted Nugent, who is an avid hunter, has written extensively about it, and one of the people we just heard from in that piece, Heidi Prescott of the Humane Society.

Ted, let's begin with you.

What is the appropriate age. It's 16 for driving, 18 to vote, 21 to drink. What about hunting?

TED NUGENT, GUN RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Well, I started the Ted Nugent Camp for Kids charity, Miles, many years ago.

And we have proven, statistically, what the report just said on your show there, is that it's safer for kids to go hunting than to go skateboarding or camping or canoeing or skiing or any number of sports that are out there. Ultimately, the decision should be in the hands of the parent. The parents are in tune with their children.

In my own experience, we have taken children out 5 and 6 and 7 years old. You -- you hear me right, 5, 6 and 7...

O'BRIEN: And that's safe? You think that's safe?

NUGENT: ... who have a wonderful quality family experience.

O'BRIEN: At 5, 6 and 7?


NUGENT: I don't think anything.

I was there.


NUGENT: I was -- I was with a 5-year-old child in a blind in Texas at the Y.O. ranch, and he got a beautiful deer with his rifle, supervised...

O'BRIEN: I would think the...

NUGENT: ... which all the laws that we support...

O'BRIEN: I would think the gun would knock him over, Ted.

NUGENT: ... we support -- well, that's because you are ignorant about guns, obviously. No, the gun did not knock him over.

O'BRIEN: Well, no, it's got quite a bit of kickback.

NUGENT: The gun knocked over the deer.

O'BRIEN: All right.

Heidi, what -- what do you think about this? What -- what is an appropriate age?

PRESCOTT: Well, obviously, we have laws in this country stopping children from driving cars. We believe it should at least be that minimum age.


And what -- what happens at 16? I mean, it -- it -- the difference here, of course, is, we're talking -- in the case of Ted, we're talking about supervised activities, right?


O'BRIEN: Driving, 16, we -- we let the kids loose on their own.


PRESCOTT: And, tragically...

NUGENT: Yes, and, Miles, I think we all know that kids are taught...


O'BRIEN: Well, let's let Heidi go first.


NUGENT: I'm sorry.

O'BRIEN: Let Heidi go first.

NUGENT: Go ahead. You...

PRESCOTT: I mean, tragically...

NUGENT: I'm not hearing you real good.

PRESCOTT: Tragically, there are already five children dead this year. Obviously, we need to have laws in this country to stop children from being out in the woods under the age of 16.

O'BRIEN: OK. But, you know, you -- you say it's unsafe. But, if you look at the statistics, the thing that is most unsafe for kids to participate in is football, by a long shot.



O'BRIEN: Look at the -- look at the acts -- injuries per 100,000 participants. It's more than 3,000 for football. Down at the bottom, below Ping-Pong, as we said, is hunting. So, it really is safe, statistically.

PRESCOTT: Well, statistically, you are looking at accidents.

We are talking about fatalities as well. When you're -- when you have accidents with Ping-Pong or with football, children don't lose their lives.

O'BRIEN: Well, OK, but, sometimes, they -- they get paralyzed in football. I mean, we can talk about injuries. There -- there are serious injuries that are associated with football.

Ted, when -- when you hear about these -- these terrible incidents we just talked about at the top of the program, what do you say about that? Because, I mean, that -- that's a tragic situation. And you don't want to see that kind of thing happen. And she -- she does have a point. We're talking about lethal weapons here with very young people.

NUGENT: Yes, but, still, the statistics do prove, irrefutably, Miles, that -- that the death rate is higher in many, many other -- other activities.

Remember that these kids get to hunting camp in vehicles, in high-speed vehicles on highways using gasoline and hunting camps and knives at the -- at the kitchen table, that we will never be able to protect each other from ourselves. There's always going to be accidents. And they are always tragic and they are always heartbreaking.

But, as you saw in the report, hunting is at an all-time safe level right now, with the fewest accidents, the fewest injuries, the fewest deaths in the history of the shooting sports.

And let's be perfectly clear. Heidi Prescott and the Humane Society of the United States, they are on record to ban all hunting. So, I think she's quite disingenuous in her claim that she wants to change the age. She wants to ban hunting. It's come out of her mouth hundreds of times. And it's her official policy. So, let's call a spade a spade here.

O'BRIEN: Heidi, you -- you want to say it again tonight?

PRESCOTT: Well, again, you know, the Humane Society of the United States, obviously, considers hunting not part of a humane world. But, tonight, we're talking about...

O'BRIEN: So -- so -- I'm sorry. Let's get that straight. You -- you would like all hunting banned?



PRESCOTT: Again, you know, we -- we consider...

NUGENT: Heidi? Heidi-ho?

PRESCOTT: Is that Ted asking me?

Ted, we have got an -- an opening for a hunting manager at the Humane Society of the United States. You're probably not going to be a contender for that position.

O'BRIEN: A -- a hunting manager?

PRESCOTT: Yes, for -- for...

O'BRIEN: What -- what does the hunting manager at the Humane Society do?

PRESCOTT: Well, we -- we actually actively campaign against canned hunts, Internet hunting, which Ted Nugent is on record as supporting, contest kills using animals, any type of egregious form of hunting.

O'BRIEN: All right, Heidi Prescott, Ted Nugent, we are going to have to leave it there. Thank you both for your time.

Coming up...

NUGENT: Merry Christmas.

O'BRIEN: Same to you.

Coming up, the story of an extraordinary young man who turned his life around and took on much bigger responsibilities than learning to hunt.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just don't find too many children with the initiative and the responsibility. You don't. He's like -- he was a diamond in the rough.


O'BRIEN: At only 18, he was working, going to school, and raising a baby daughter, a remarkable story. But why would anyone want to kill him?

Later, watch out. You will be glad you weren't sitting at a meeting in these offices.

And, if you could get a face transplant, whose face would you want? Better yet, would you give someone else your face?


O'BRIEN: Major developments tonight on a story we have been following for the past few weeks, the shocking killing of 18-year-old Terrell Pough. He was the young father from Philadelphia whose drive to build a better life for his daughter earned him recognition from "People" magazine. Pough was shot to death last month on his way home from work.

Tonight, two men are in jail, charged with his murder.

Adaora Udoji has the story.


ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Growing up in tough Philadelphia neighborhoods, Terrell Pough defied all the odds, and the quiet young man never would have imagined how many people he inspired in his short 18 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all should take his advice and try to live our lives a little bit better than what we're doing.

UDOJI: Terrell never knew his father, started working at 14, and became a father himself at 16. And that, says his uncle Richard Nesbitt, was a turning point.

RICHARD NESBITT, UNCLE OF TERRELL POUGH: I think Diamond changed his whole life.

UDOJI (on camera): His daughter. NESBITT: Yes.

UDOJI: Because?

NESBITT: Because it was unconditional love.

UDOJI (voice-over): Terrell loved his daughter, Diamond, so fiercely, he fought his ex-girlfriend for full custody and won. Their days together started at dawn and ended near midnight. Terrell got Diamond to day care and himself to school, then a full-time job as a night manager at a fast-food restaurant.

When they heard about Terrell, the editors of "People" magazine were so impressed by his passion to succeed, they named him an outstanding father. After that, the Philadelphia 76ers honored them at a game. And ordinary Americans donated money, toys. A New York man even gave them a car, the very car that prosecutors say is at the center of Terrell Pough's murder two weeks ago.

(on camera): Terrell came home from work just after 10:00 p.m., his uncle says, to run a quick errand on his way to picking up his daughter. But, before Terrell could make it inside, he was shot.

(voice-over): He died an hour later at the hospital. Prosecutors say 18-year-old Saul Rosario and 20-year-old Antoine Lee Riggins, with whom Terrell went to high school, shot him while trying to steal the car. They were arrested Wednesday.

NESBITT: The first thought, we were elated. You know what I mean? And I thought it would bring a lot of closure to us. But, after really hearing about it, it still kind of leaves that question mark in your head.

UDOJI (on camera): Which is?


UDOJI (voice-over): In court today, they were arraigned on murder charges.


UDOJI: Earlier this week, the people who gathered to mourn Terrell celebrated his life and his legacy.

T'LIA MCCOY, SISTER OF TERRELL POUGH: I'm pretty sure that my brother didn't realize that Thursday would be the last morning that he would see his daughter. So, I'm asking all of you today to make each day count.

UDOJI: And, as the program came to an end, Diamond got the last word.


UDOJI: Those who knew him believed that's the way Terrell would have wanted it.

Adaora Udoji, CNN, Philadelphia.


O'BRIEN: Police say Terrell may have argued with the suspects the night of the killing. A judge today ordered the two held without bond.

Still ahead, police were looking for a bank robber. Then three men looked at this picture and immediately knew who it was. Could you turn in your own father?

Plus, some pictures you won't be able to take your eyes off of, and, believe it or not, there are people riding on that thing.

Right now, though, it's time for Erica Hill at Headline News to update the hour's top stories.

Good evening, Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Miles. Nice to see you.

A convicted murderer in North Carolina could become the 1,000th prisoner put to death since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S. nearly 30 years ago. The Supreme Court tonight rejected an appeal by Kenneth Lee Boyd, who is scheduled to receive lethal injection in just a few hours. Boyd was found guilty of shooting his wife and his father-in-law.

The U.S. military reports three troops were killed in Iraq. Two were Marines hit by small-arms fire during combat operations in Fallujah. The third was a soldier shot north of Baghdad.

Meantime, a shooting at a Texas military base today, leaving three sailors wounded, it happened at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth. A sailor who was apparently trying to commit suicide shot and wounded himself and two others during a struggle for the gun.

And thousands of students marched in Montgomery, Alabama, from the site where civil rights hero Rosa Parks made history -- that history made 50 years ago today, when Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated city bus to a white man. Parks died in October at the age of 92 -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, Erica.

Coming up, a string of bank robberies that were unsolved, and then the awful shock of recognition.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything we hoped and believed was shattered, you know, in -- in just an instant of a mouse click. (END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Coming up, the story of three sons who learned the difference between right and wrong, and wished their father had, too.


O'BRIEN: Breaking news out of Sarasota, Florida -- live pictures now in a courtroom there, where the jury has reached a decision as to whether to recommend execution or life in prison for the man convicted of abducting and killing 11-year-old Carlie Brucia.

The jury has -- does not have to make a unanimous decision in this case. It can be a majority decision. The judge is not compelled to accept whatever decision they make. That's Judge Andrew Owens there.

And, in this case, however, they are -- he is obliged to give the jury's decision great weight. As we say, the jury has entered in. And the defendant there stands, Joseph Smith, who awaits the decision of the jury as to whether he will spend his life in prison or face execution in Florida.

Should we listen in for a moment?

The jury is coming in right now. You will remember this case from February 1, 2004. And you will probably remember it most from that dramatic piece of surveillance videotape near a shopping mall in Florida, when Joseph Smith went up to young Carlie Brucia -- there you see it -- and went up to her, grabbed her, and took her away, and then, shortly thereafter, killed her.

Let's listen to the judge for a moment.

JUDGE ANDREW OWENS, 12TH CIRCUIT COURT: Please hand that to the bailiff.

Madam clerk, would you please publish the verdict?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial -- I'm sorry -- in the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit in and for Sarasota County, Florida, State of Florida vs. Joseph P. Smith, 2004 CF-2129, the advisory sentence, a majority of the jury, by the vote of 10-2, advise and recommend to the court that impose the death penalty upon the defendant. So say we all, this first day of December.

OWENS: Do you want the jury polled?


OWENS: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm going to ask each of you individually concerning this advisory sentence.

It is not necessary that you state how you personally voted or how any other person voted, but only if the advisory sentence as read was correctly stated.

Do you, juror number one, agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence that you have just heard read by the clerk?


OWENS: Juror number 11, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence that you have just heard read by the clerk?


OWENS: Juror number 17, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence that you have just heard read by the clerk?


OWENS: Jury number 30, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence has just been read by the clerk?


OWENS: Juror number 31, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence that has just been read by the clerk?


OWENS: Juror number 49, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence just read by the clerk?


OWENS: Juror number 66, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence that you have just heard read by the clerk?


OWENS: Juror number 79, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence just read by the clerk?


OWENS: Jury number 83, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence that you have just heard read by the clerk?


OWENS: Juror number 83, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence that has just been read by the clerk? Juror number 83, do you agree and confirm the majority of the jury joining the advisory sentence that has just been read by the clerk? Juror No. 83?


UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Juror No. 90, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence that you have just heard read by the clerk?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Juror No. 96, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence that you have just heard read by the clerk?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Juror No. 117, do you agree and confirm that a majority of the jury join in the advisory sentence that you have just heard read by the clerk?


UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: The jury has now been polled. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, on behalf of everyone involved, we thank you very much, and at this time I would excuse you to the jury room.

O'BRIEN: There you have it. By a vote of 10-to-2, it does not need to be unanimous, the jury in Sarasota has decided that Joseph Smith, 39-years-old, will face death by lethal injection in Florida.

The judge ultimately makes the final ruling on this, although in Florida, it's very unusual for a judge to go against a ruling of a jury, particularly a strong ruling like that of 10-2. Thirty-nine- year-old Joseph Smith, who was convicted last month in the kidnapping, sexual battery and first-degree murder of Carlie Brucia, an 11-year- old girl.

And there you see the emotions of the family, Carlie's mother Susan Schorpen embracing. And we will track this case for you as it progresses. But as we say, highly unlikely for the judge in this case, Judge Andrew Owens to reject that jury's recommendation.

Back with more in a moment.


O'BRIEN: There is new controversy tonight over tasers. The company that makes the stun guns is facing its first product liability case. Of the trial in Phoenix, a former sheriff's deputy says a shock from a taser during a training incident fractured his back and ended his career.

And today in Orlando, police shocked a suspect twice and he died. Stories like that are keeping tasers in the news, and under scrutiny, even as more and more schools are arming security officers with stun guns. And some people wonder whether that is opening the door 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 tasered 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.

WALKER: 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?


O'BRIEN: That was Drew Griffin.

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

Now, one of the most fascinating stories of the week is the first ever transplant, a part of a person's face. Lots of folks know about it, and they are talking about it. So in a little bit, Jeanne Moos will see if anyone wants to be a face donor.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sean Callebs in downtown Denver. A life and death drama plays out high above a crowded city street. Scaffolding workers, more than a dozen stories up in the air, bounced around by high winds. Broken windows and shards of glass remain. Just how did the workers fare? We'll have their complete story when PAULA ZAHN NOW continues.


O'BRIEN: Just a few minutes away from "LARRY KING LIVE." Good evening, Larry. Who is the guest tonight?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Good evening, Miles. You don't look like Paula, but I like the look.

O'BRIEN: Thank you very much.

KING: I like the tie, I like the shirt, I like everything about it. Nice (INAUDIBLE)...

O'BRIEN: I don't have the braces on, but...

KING: No, but I like the look. It's you, Miles. It's you.

O'BRIEN: Thank you.

KING: Anyway. Tonight is Leeza Gibbons, with an extraordinary story of her mother and Alzheimer's, and her fight against Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's, the long goodbye. Leeza Gibbons at the top of the hour, and we'll include viewer calls, Miles.

O'BRIEN: It's so hard for the loved ones who have to deal with it all. I'll be interested to hear that, Larry. Thank you very much.

KING: Thanks, Miles.

O'BRIEN: Now, you're going to see some astonishing and terrifying video that had us all glued to our screens today. It involves a high rise in Denver and two window washers. Here's Sean Callebs.


CALLEBS (voice-over): The high drama started with the high winds. Two window washers were working on a high floor when gusting winds in downtown Denver suddenly sent their scaffolding slipping down and swaying out of control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For like about five, 10 minutes, they were just, like, holding on for their life. And then what I saw was they were going with their fingers doing 911. So at that time, I hurried up and got to my phone and I called the police.

CALLEBS: With glass from the broken windows raining down on a busy street, 911 emergency calls began to pour in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got some window washers that are breaking windows and the thing turning on them up in all kinds of ways. Get somebody over here quick.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, Lord.

CALLEBS: Firefighters got there within minutes.

(on camera): When crews initially arrived on the scene, the scaffolding had stabilized against the side of the building. But by the time they reached the 12th floor, their luck had run out. They said it appeared the window washers were riding a wild amusement park ride, and their immediate concern was the possibility the scaffolding could come crashing down.

(voice-over): Police closed the street. By this time, firefighter Carlos Garcia, a nine-year veteran, was inside the building and able to make eye contact with the window washers.

CARLOS GARCIA, DENVER FIRE DEPT.: They were sitting there, you know, holding on to both sides, as low as they possibly could be. Their eyes were, you know, filled with terror. And they wanted off. CALLEBS: As firefighters wondered how to corral the out-of- control rig, a corner of the scaffolding suddenly came crashing through a window. Garcia instinctively grabbed it, and held on to the metal structure long enough for crews to secure it.

GARCIA: If we wouldn't have grabbed it at that time, it would have just bounced off and might have went further down.

CALLEBS: The terrified window washers were ushered away without having a chance to say anything to the rescuers.

The two don't want to be identified and are said to be fine now. Garcia says the firefighters are relieved as well, after a once-in-a- lifetime rescue operation that couldn't have turned out better.

Sean Callebs, CNN, Denver.


O'BRIEN: Quick thinking by firefighter Garcia there.

You might wonder why window washers were at work in 40-mile-an- hour gusts? Well, as often happens in Denver, the weather turned nasty in just a matter of minutes.

Coming up, Jeanne Moos has a doozie of a question. Would you want somebody to wear your face after you're done with it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would anyone want to go through life with this face?


O'BRIEN: Next, a question that medicine and technology has only now made possible. Would you be a donor for a face transplant?



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Just three days after 9/11, he stood at the left hand of a president and squarely in the hearts of Americans.

BUSH: The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.

ZAHN: Retired firefighter Bob Beckwith arrived at ground zero on September 14 determined to help in the search for survivors and just happened to help the visiting President Bush get up on the burned remains of a fire truck. BOB BECKWITH, FIREFIGHTER: I started to get down. He said where are you going? I said I was told to get down. He said, no, no, you stay right here.

ZAHN: Beckwith became the symbol that helped rally a city and a nation. He is now 73 and has become a kind of ambassador for firefighters, travelling the country and the world making appearances and raising money for the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation.

BECKWITH: I just go and I tell them my story of how did I get to be with the president.

ZAHN: Beckwith has visited the president in the Oval Office and is immortalized in the Presidential Wax Museum near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. He lives on Long Island with his wife of 48 years, Barbara. And he's a father of 6, grandfather of 10. But in his heart he will always be a fireman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A fireman is a fireman. You're in a family of great people.


O'BRIEN: You can catch up on other one-time newsmakers this Sunday when Larry King hosts a CNN anniversary special, "THEN AND NOW," that's Sunday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern time right here on CNN.

This week, a French woman became the first person to receive a face transplant. The woman's face had been disfigured by an attacking dog and the procedure is intended only for extreme situations. Still, the news got Jeanne Moos thinking.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For once, being two-faced isn't an insult, it's a reality.

(on camera): Would you be willing to donate your face after you died?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure. I don't think -- hopefully nobody will want it by the time I die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would anyone want to go through life with this face?

MOOS (voice-over): Might as well face it. Movies like "Face/Off" are a little more science and a little less fiction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's a matter?

NICOLAS CAGE, ACTOR: Face sutures.

MOOS: Face transplantation is an itch surgeons have been dying to scratch, and now a French team has taken the chin, mouth and nose of a braindead woman and transplanted them onto another woman, whose face was mauled by a dog. It reminds this New York plastic surgeon of a headline in the semi-satirical "Weekly World News."

DR. STEVE FALLEK, PLASTIC SURGEON: Head transplant performed. And then at the bottom it said, donors in short supply. So we've gone from the "Weekly World News" to "The New York Times" in less than five or six years.

MOOS: Would donors be in short supply? It's one thing to leave your liver.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you give away your liver, your loved ones don't miss that. They've never seen it. But you give away your face and the face is still there on the mantle. It matters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think nobody would like my face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like your heart belongs to daddy, my face belongs to me.

MOOS: Maybe we've all seen too many horror films.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're losing him.

MOOS: For instance, Hannibal Lecter slicing off a guard's face to use as a disguise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The patient is on...

MOOS: .. or the French cult film, "Eyes without a Face," a doctor kidnaps young girls to steal their faces for his disfigured daughter.

(on camera): So If I were the donor and they gave my face to another woman, she wouldn't look just like me.


MOOS: She'd look like a combination of us.

FALLEK: Correct.

MOOS (voice-over): The bones on a recipient's face shape the look.

(on camera): You have good bone structure.


MOOS: Oh good, we'd make a nice hybrid.

(voice-over): Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic transplant faces of brown rats onto bodies of white rats. And look at this University of Massachusetts mouse growing a human ear. They implanted a mold with human ear cells growing on it, nourished by the rat's blood supply. Imagine the weird possibilities you could face with a transplant. Say she donated her face to me. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would be worse if you ran into someone who knew me before.

MOOS: And you could choose your new face?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Bruce Willis is OK.

MOOS (on camera): Then you'd need a hair transplant.

Would you be willing to donate your face?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would. I'm dead. I ain't got nobody to impress. Nobody coming to visit me. So I don't have to doll myself up for the grave.

MOOS (voice-over): If only it were this easy. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


SUSAN SCHORPEN, CARLIE BRUCIA'S MOTHER: He couldn't be dead fast enough for me. I want him dead. I want him dead now. My daughter's not breathing. She'll never breathe again. I can never hold her again. I've got to wait for appeals before he dies? It matters to me.

O'BRIEN: That's the mother of murder victim Carlie Brucia, 11- years-old, in front of the microphones on what she thinks of the jury's recommendation that her daughter's killer, Joseph Smith, 39, should get the death penalty. The jury announced its decision, as you just saw, a few moments ago. The vote was 10-to-2, did not have to be unanimous.

The judge has the final say, but it is very unusual for judges to go against a jury's wishes in Florida. Last month, the same jurors convinced Smith of kidnapping, raping and killing Carlie Brucia. The crime happened in February of 2004. The girl's abduction captured by a surveillance camera, as you have no doubt seen.

That's it for tonight. Thanks for joining us. Paula Zahn will be back tomorrow. Be sure to join Soledad O'Brien and me for "AMERICAN MORNING" tomorrow. Larry King is next.


© 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