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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 29, 2014 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

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-- captions by vitac -- i'm ashleigh banfield. thanks for joining us and have a great weekend. ""ac 360" starts now. i'm jake tapper filling in for anderson cooper. islamic terrorism embodied by isis. the terror threat level is raising to the top. more on that in a moment. as of now, the u.s. department of homeland security says it is not aware of any specific credible threat to the united states, but officials at all levels of government have been saying for weeks now that isis is not to be taken lightly. barbara starr joins me now. >> barbara, the u.s. has chosen
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not to raise the u.s. terror threat level even though the uk raised their s. is there a difference between the threat the uk faces versus the kind of threat the u.s. does? >> jake, it appears it does right now. the british government sees a very direct threat to the safety of the british people. they say 500 or so britains traveled to this conflict zone, may have come back. britain sees it as much more direct europe, much closer, transportation in and out of europe, much closer to people with jihad intent can move around very easily. there are some restrictions in place, of course, but the worry is it's not enough, so they are taking these steps. the u.s., officials will tell you they do not see a direct threat to the homeland at this point. they don't think. that's what isis has on its mind. they do have concerns that there is the loan wolf scenario out
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there. there are about 100 americans that traveled to syria and iraq to fight there with militant groups, maybe a dozen or so that joined up with isis being tracked closely by u.s. law enforcement. a lot of concern they could return home, that they could conduct loan wolf attacks here. right now, no specific information, we're told. >> that's right. isis is an organization but islamic extremism is an ideology. we're going into a travel weekend, do officials have more heightened concerns than normal? >> it's interesting. labor day weekend and very rapidly this country comes up on the 9/11 anniversary. this is a time of year when law enforcement and count terrorism says there is a heightened state of concern and alert because of these two events. so many americans on the move
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traveling by air, by road across the country visiting family, visiting friends, going on the last summer vacation. there is a lot of awareness. as we stand here tonight, officials say again, they have no specific information about any plot for a homeland attack, jake? >> have a great weekend, thank you. >> sure. >> cnn international correspondent joins me from london on the ramped up threat level there in the jk. carl, good to see you. the uk threat level is raised to severe which is defined as quote an attack is highly likely. is there intelligence that there is a specific threat against the uk? >> well, jake, this is the highest threat level there has been in britain for more than three years. when we talked to david cameron, we asked that. he said he had no specific intelligence to suggest any attack was imminent.
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he's basing raising the threat level with his security agencies on the basis that more than 500 britains may now be fighting with isis and jihad groups in syria and iraq and any of those could return to britain at any time to create havoc. that of course, isn't a new threat. we've long known of britains in syria and iraq and before that out in afghanistan and then when mr. cameron went on to describe how he would combat this ideology he said it could be a generational battle, a wabattle that could take years or decades. >> that's curious he chose this moment this raise the level. it was stressed people should continue to go about our lives in the normal way. did he give any details about what steps he plans to initiate to mitigate this threat? >> there are several things that he wants to do here on the home
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front in britain. he says he's considering withdrawing passports from britains that tried to travel or coming back from conflict zones where they may have fought alongside jihad groups. he's considering travel bans for those to try and stop them before they get into trouble. that he says is going to put to parliament next week and something your average britain will notice is from tomorrow the police said they will step up patrols at airports, rail way stations and also on the streets we might see armed police patrolling with guns. we're not really used to that on the streets of britain, jake. >> thank you so much. joining me, our cnn nargs nrksn security analyst and former u.s. ambassador, director for international college. what is it that has prime minister so fearful, the isis
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fighter on the james foley video? something specific? >> they are worried about foreign fighters that have come back. another thing they are worried about is sympathizers within the uk who might want to act up because there is so much in the press right now about isis and they may want to show they can act, too, and that they are getting off their fences and really taking charge and then finally, you know, it's just the fact that this is really a consuming issue at the moment and they are probably worried that all that focus on the foley execution caused a lot of stir among people with radical sympathies. >> bob, something like 500 br british citizens have fought with isis. do you think the threat is greater with the uk or is it equally as concerning here in the u.s. even though there is no
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apparent plan to bump up the united states level? >> it's much worse in britain because you do have a large south asian community. they are alienated much more. they are a class system in britain which excludes them and, you know, they are forced into ghettos, the ghettos around east. they are more likely to respond because they are not integrated and if there is an attack, we will see something of it in london. >> daniel, how worried should americans be about an isis attack in the homeland, in the united states itself? is that a primary goal how it was for al qaeda? >> no, i don't think so, jake. i think there is a certain amount of hyper ventilation at the moment. the long-term threat is serious. when you have a safe haven like
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syria and iraq, you have a real problem that has to be dealt with over the long term. this is a group that has no track record of plotting terrorist attacks outside of its own area. we may again see sympathizers here in the u.s. who want to act up and carry out an attack and there may also be a returning foreign fighter, although, we have pretty good intelligence on travelers and i think that that's a threat that we can manage pretty well. >> let's talk about how good our intelligence is when it comes to travelers. bob, when you think about the american jihad from florida, he actually flew back from syria. he was in florida. then he returned to the battle field and then he died in a suicide bombing. why are people like him or at least why did he, why was he able to go undetected? >> well, it depends whether on
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social networking. they will come up and be flagged at the fbi. let's don't forget the boston bombing. we were told by the russians that these two were a problem and they in turn fell through the cracks. this could happen again. the fbi is not a political police. they can't catch everything and yes, they can track people leaving the country and when they come back but you can't track them when they cross the boarder into iraq or syria, can't do it. some could go to turkey for six months. if you stay off social networking, you could probably fly under the radar and get away with this. you know, it's a chance alone, wolf, coming out of nowhere, a chance of someone going to syria and getting combat trained and never come up on the radar, absolutely. >> stay with us, next, i want to get your take on this, it's being called the laptop of doom.
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journalists get their hands on secret files from an isis laptop, documents basically a manuel on how to destroy the world. how journalists got it and what they found coming up next. if you don't think seize the trip when you think aarp, then you don't know "aarp". get inspired with aarp travel. plan and book your trip online and get hot travel tips from the pros. find more real possibilities at for over 19 million people. [ mom ] with life insurance, we're not just insuring our lives... we're helping protect his. [ female announcer ] everyone has a moment when tomorrow becomes real. transamerica. transform tomorrow.
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welcome back. it's an indication what isis may be plotting. it's called the terror laptop of
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doom and with good reason. on it was a treasure trove of documents, tens of thousands of hidden files detailing everything from how to make bombs and rockets to how to weaponize the plague. joining me is our guest. is a threat specifically to the homeland, the plague is possibly in the arsenal is stunning and according to files on the laptop, i would like to know how would they create and launch such a weapon? >> difficult to say. they have a manuel for it. we found it on the laptop. what i think is important is three elements. we have basically a national, chemistry student who traveled to syria, joined isis and who carries this manuel of biological weapons on his laptop who has an interest in trying to
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develop it. these three factors make it very worriso worrisome, how far they are? we don't know. maybe the guy, owner, is dead. we don't know. there is a certain interest among isis people with a science background into developing these kind of terrible diseases. >> the laptop includes an islamic ruling from a radical saudi justifying the use of the plague or weapons. what more can you tell us about that? >> this explains if you cannot beat the unbelievers in some kind of way, you eventually can use weapons of mass destruction against them. have they developed it? i don't know. are they currently developing it inside syria? i don't know. >> how specifically can you come
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into possession of such a treasure trove of files on isis on this laptop? >> we found it through a rebel commander who commands moderate syrian rebels. they fight against the asod regime but radicals of isis. they attacked an isis safe house. eventually, we convinced the commander to give the laptop to us or better he allowed us to make a copy of it on an external hard drive and we got 146 gigabyte of material and thousands of documents, 35 thousand documents and, you know, some were really worrisome. >> is there more you have yet to read or have you gone through all of the documents pretty much? >> we've gone through more or less all of the documents. there are other documents in like how to steal cars, they are all kind of related to jihad.
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so it's like how to steal cars, how to make rockets, how to make bombs, basically how to destroy the world in short. also, we found documents of how to get fake passports, how to travel from one jihad hot spot to another without being called by the authorities. so yes, for sure very interesting laptop that we got. >> how to destroy the world, a chilling summery. thank you so much for your time. >> you're welcome. back with me now our cnn national security analyst and officer bob bear and former u.s. ambassador at large daniel benjamin. so bob, let me start with you, this isis fighter, a trained chemist is looking how to prepare a biological weapon. how concerned are you by this news? >> jake, today when i heard the news of the plague sounded a bit strange to me and i called up an expert that works for the
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pentagon and he said forget bubonic plague. it's fleas spreading this is very remote. what they are looking at today is ebola, you know. you simply put somebody, a victim in a center fugue, get the liquid, atomize it and spread it around in a transportation system. that's what has them scared. it's very easy to do and something they are aware of. it's extremely alarming and it's very unlikely to happen but it's a possibility. >> dan, it's one thing to research this kind of thing, al qaeda has been trying to stage an attack like this for 20 years but quite another to actually put a plan into action and succeed, right? >> oh, it really is. there are a lot of different points at which a plot like this can break down and also, you know, the terrorists groups, i
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think understand after all these years of experimentation that to do this right is going to require a great deal of investment, resources, and management by senior leaders. that is something that discouraged al qaeda. so isis has to think about how much it wants to dedicate to the effort when again, it's really been very much focused on the insurgency. there is no question the why-end threat, the biological weapons, radio device, chemical weapons, these are what worry people in washington the most and that's what they are most worried about. the chemical attack in tokyo in
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the 9 '90s, they devoted a lot money to get that right, money that even would be hard for isis to scrape together. >> bob, the one thing so many policy makers here in washington find truly concerning is isis does have serious money and they are spread out across the world and cities, not isolated in remote areas like afghanistan and pakistan. is this why so many counterterrorism officials and people like hagel seem so alarmed and concerned? >> well, they are alarmed on a couple levels. one is isis is much bigger than the 10 to 15,000 people we keep hearing. they are supported by the tribes and eastern syria by the tribes, not all of them, some of them and by the sunni middle class. we're seeing a sunni rising. they are going to use them until
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they don't need them anymore. additionally, they have seized gold. they have got the old fields. they have got wheat production. they are part of a tigerous river. they are self-sustaining. if we think isis will go away in six months, i think we're badly mistaken. if we have to go in and destroy them, which is possible, our military can do it, will they take revenge against the united states and i think it's almost certain, although they don't have a track record so far of international terrorism. >> thank you so much. just ahead, did president obama misfire with his messages when he said he doesn't have a strategy for going after isis in syria. the white house still trying to set the record straight today putting the blame on reporters.
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britain's decision to raise the terror threat level because of the growing threat from isis
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comes less than 24 hours after president bush said he doesn't have a strategy for going after isis in syria. here is what he said exactly in case you missed it. >> we'll continue to consult with congress and i think it will be important for congress to weigh in and that our consultations with congress continue to develop so that the american people are part of the debate, but i don't want to put the cart before the horse. we don't have a strategy yet. >> now, shortly after president obama said that, the white house made it appoint that clarified the choice of words saying that he wasn't talking about his overall strategy for responding to isis, just the part of the equation dealing with going after isis targets in syria. still, to a lot of people that suggests the commander in chief may have misfired with his messaging. today when the spokesperson revisited the issue, jim accoos
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pressed him on the point. >> he was asked a specific question whether or not the president would seek congressional authorization before ordering military action in syria. and the point the president made is that's putting the cart before the horse. the president hasn't yet laid out a specific plan for military action in syria. and the reason for that is simply that the pentagon is still developing the plan and he's still reviewing them. >> i don't mean to belabor it, but the fact you came out so quickly and tried to explain what the president had to say suggests that what he said was not what he intended to say, or are you saying that just the rest of us took it the wrong way? >> the reaction that we had at the white house yesterday was not in response to the comments but in response to the way it was being reported. >> they didn't like the way it was reibeing reported.
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this evening president obama mentioned the crisis in the middle east and said if you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart. the world has always been messy, we're just noticing now in part because of social media. joining me now is david and gloria berger. the white house is basically still doing damage control on the comments from yesterday and the president saying look, it's not as bad as it looks, it's just social media makes us see this up close. >> so it's twitterer's fault or the media's fault. of course, that's the world in which we live, jake. that's the world in which the white house lives because when it serves their interest to tweet or blog or the president going to the podium as he did yesterday to spread the word, then they will say it's okay.
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in this particular instance, he's saying calm down. i would say it's not the medium, it's the message or lack of a message. >> david, as far as his comments yesterday on syria, forgetting even, if you want, the question about the strategy, the comments he made about the strategy, a lot of people wondered why did he go out there and speak when ultimately whether or not the strategy comment was a gaffe, there was no plan whether it came to isis or ukraine. >> not clear. what is clear over the last two days including the comments from tonight, the report, jake, the president seems to be off his game. i think the white house needs to be rattled. any time white house aids rush to the phones and i've been there and done it, i've participated in this, you call out to reporters, here is what the president meant to say. we paid a mistake, it's not a big deal, what the really big
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deal is we don't have a frat stra strategy. that's what we ought to be talking about because there seems to be disagreement within the president's team about what is the ultimate goal here? is it to rollback isis, contain isis or destroy isis? there seems to be conflicting views on that question. >> let's stay with me, david, because we heard secretary of defense chuck hagel say isis is an imminent threat and the comment they must be destroyed and i can go on and on about the high-level figures but then president obama said that right now all they are doing is trying to keep their folks, keep the united states personnel out of harm's way in northern iraq and that is the very focused goal and i don't know if it's a reflection of people in the cabinet who are trying to encourage president obama to do
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more, or just some bad wording by president obama, but it seems like people see the threat very differently, david? >> i think that's absolutely right. there is one group that seems to be very hawkish and wants to destroy isis, clearly secretary of state is in that camp. samantha powers is in that camp and another group much more cautious, the president seems to lean more to their view and that is the roll here of the united states is to keep iraq from falling through isis but not to get too involved in syria. that's an understandable goal. he hasn't articulated and it's causing lots of confusion and then in the midst of this confusion, nine days after secretary hagel said isis is beyond anything we've seen, the president said look, the world is tough but it's about social media being inventive and inventing the sense of threat. i don't get that and i'm sure a lot of other people don't,
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either. >> gloria, there is breaking news about mitch mcconnell in the middle of a tough reelection campaign. the campaign manager jessie benton announced he was resigning, this has to do with an investigation into whether or not the ron paul campaign and others paid for an endorsement in iowa in 2012. do you see this effecting mcconnell's reelection campaign. the campaign manager resigning with the cloud over his head? >> that's because the campaign manager worked for ran paul. what we've seen tonight in this breaking news is that the mcconnell campaign has run away from this as fast as they could. benton resigned. mcconnell accepted his resignation and refused to comment any further on this saying of course, they had nothing to do with the iowa caucuses back in the 2012 campaign so they didn't know more about it. mitch mcelderry colin --
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mcconnell is a pro. it will become an issue. by the way, he needs someone to run the campaign. >> that's right. gloria berger, david have a great weekend. >> just ahead, outrage and calls for justice after an unarmed los angeles man is shot dead by police, two days after michael brown, the names of the officers who killed him were kept secret for more than two weeks but we have more details coming up.
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crime and punishment. details in the shooting death of easel ford, he was shot and killed two days after michael brown was shot in st. louis, missouri. like brown, he was african american and unarmed and witness accounts are dramatically different. the los angeles police
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department released the names of the officers who shot ford. stephan stephanie has more. >> reporter: as ferguson, missouri continues to grapple with the shooting death of michael brown by a police officer, another family and community is mourning a similar loss of another unarmed young black man. >> we had own own michael brown, ford gunned down right here. >> my son was a good kid. >> reporter: neighbors say 25-year-old ezell ford was well-known in the community. >> everybody in the neighbor hood took care of ezell ford. >> reporter: police mistrust boiled over before. the riots in 1992 and some residents on edge. >> they are in fear of the police department. >> reporter: it was just after 8:00 p.m. on august 11th when two officers from the los angeles police department confronted ford as he was walking in his neighborhood. they said he made suspicious movements and looked like he was trying to conceal his hands
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before grabbing an officer. >> a violent altercation ensued where the suspect attempted to grab the officer's gun. >> reporter: police say ford and the officer fell to the ground in the struggle before both the officer and his partner fired their weapons at ford. ford would later die at the hospital. harris who allegedly witnessed the situation unfold from his apartment saw things differently. >> the police jumped out on him with the guns drawn out. he put his hands up. they wrestled, one shot went off and two seconds went by and another shot went off and i seen the other officer told him to shoot him again and he shot him again in the back while he was on the ground. he couldn't fight back, two big cops were on him. they let ezell die. >> reporter: 12-year veteran and antonio viegas. in the days since, the community organized marchers to protest
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police brutality. >> how do you explain when you have to level of deadly force against those not accused of committing a crime and not even armed. >> reporter: lapd says the community should not rush to judgment as the investigation is on going. >> it's important that we be transparent and open and kem strait as much as we can in terms of the viability of the investigation because the public's trust is at the forefront. >> justice. >> justice and answers. >> several people in the neighborhood for the family and that lawyer on behalf of the fords. >> if a case is eventually presented against the officers involved in mr. ford's death and the officer involved in the
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death of michael brown for that matter, the outcomes of both cases could be decided by legal president set by another man's altercation with police. this man. his name is dehorn gram. he was in need of orange juice. he entered a convenience store and left because the line was long and got back into his friend's car. a police officer saw gram exit the store and thinking a crime had possibly occurred pulled over the car. the officer called for back up after erratic behavior from gram. they believed he was drunk, not diabetic and in the parenthesis of restraining him, they broke his foot, bruised his forehead and cut his wrists with handcuffs. gram survived and sued for excessive force and it went to the supreme court where it was ruled, believe it or not, that officers acted perfectly lawfully. let's bring in the legal panel to explain how that case
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affected everything from the rodney king trial to court proceedings involving michael brown. joining me is general counsel for the st. louis police officer's association. in this supreme court case, the reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene rather than 20/20 vision height sight. did this decision set the barlow for police officers when it comes to proving fear of death of imminent bodily hard? they get a lot of leeway, yes? >> no, not low. it's an appropriate bar. what we have to do is look at it in the eyes of the police officer. we have to look at it through and look at the things that he or she would have seen at the time she took the action involved and that standard is
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important. when we look back in 2020 vision, again, we have facts and we have information that the officer probably didn't have and we have the opportunity to analyze it and think about it and mull over it whereas an officer confronted with these situations often in a split second has to make that decision. so no, i don't think the bar is low. i think the bar is a reasonable one because we have to give the officers that benefit of doubt. we're asking them to cdo a toug job. >> it's lower than a non-police officer whether in his or her use of force? >> well, actually n missouri that's not the standard. the standard in missouri is that you can do whatever is reasonably necessary to protect yourself from the use of force. so again, that same standard would apply whether you're a police officer or not and that's across the board. so again, we'll look at it through the eyes of what you
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would know. note, this is important, these are defenses that you can implement if you're actually charged in a criminal case. so again, it becomes the duty of a defendant to actually inject this issue in the case. so you don't really want to be in a position where you have to raise the defense but we hope when the analysis is done, when people look at this after the fact, that they are looking at it through the eyes of the police officer as they would have seen it at the time. >> mark, in another case, tennessee versus garner, the court decided an officer can, can shoot at a fleeing person that poses in the office's mind a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to others and this is the standard that's now applied to police. it was interesting, i read what you wrote that suggested that we stou should -- as a society we should question is this the right standard. explain what you meant. >> it's a tough call. we told cops to do a difficult job and arrest people,
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particularly arrest felons because we consider felonies to be more serious offenses. so now, we look at it and many laws, half of the states say you can shoot a fleeing felon. it's the garner case that came out and said no, you can't just shoot. you have to have a fear of reasonable harm to you or others. what i said is look, we're either going to give cops the responsibility to do what they can and make the moe men tar mo decisions or say holster your weapons and let every felon go. the downside is felons know all they have to do is outrun a come and commit whatever felonies they want. that's probably a worse situation than trusting the people we entrust to do things right and if they do it wrong, we hold them to task. >> people would know they are not going to get shot so they might as well run. >> when it comes to the officer's state of mind,
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referred to reasonableness, we're talking about decision making in a matter of as you noted a second or two. does changing the rules for police make it more difficult for the officer to determine when to shoot? >> yes, the difficult part is we need a clear standered and need to be able to say look, this is what you have to do. this is how your behavior has to be directed. if you don't have a clear standard, then that officer at the scene is going to hesitate and maybe, maybe that hesitation is going to cost him or her her life. we want to make it clear and train to the standard. it's not just a standard but then we train to it. those things are really important and i read in mark's op ed and it was excellent and said we have to constantly review the standards and we do. this is an assessment we have to go through all the time. every time we hear of a tragic loss of life, we ought to look
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and say are we doing everything we can do and the right way? >> in fact, i think there is one thing that came out of the most recent tragedy with michael brown is people now know a little bit more about what police are allowed to do in terms of self-defense. mark, neal, thank you. >> up next, for the first time, an emotional tony stewart talks about killing a fellow nascar driver during a sprint car race. stay with us. our best-ever pricing on mobileg plans for business. run the numbers on that. well, unlimited talk and text, and ten gigs of data for the five of you would be... one-seventy-five a month. good calculating kyle. good job kyle. you just made partner. our best-ever pricing on mobile share value plans for business. now with a $100 bill credit for every business line you add.
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nascar driver tony stewart spoke publicly about the incident he killed a fellow racer. >> reporter: an emotional tony stewart showed remorse in his first public comment since this august 9th accident when his car struck and killed 20-year-old driver kevin ward jr. during a dirt track race. >> this is been one of the toughest troutties i ever had to deal with professionally and personally and this is something that will definitely affect my life forever. this is a sadness and a pain
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that i hope no one has to experience. >> reporter: steward a three-time champion spent the time since the incident in sec colluding. he received clearances to return to racing. >> once tony decided to come back, we then had to go through the policies and procedures and the steps that we've historically built over time to make the absolute most correct decision we could make. >> i've taken the last couple weeks off out of respect for kevin and his family and also to cope with the accident in my own way. i want kevin's father kevin senior and his mother pam and his sisters christi and kayla and caitlyn to know that every day i'm thinking about them and praying for them. >> since ward's death, nascar
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implemented a new rule requiring all drivers to remain in their cars following an accident until safety crews arrive unless they are in immediate danger. steward says his return to the track is part of his healing process. >> i miss beiing back in the rae car and i think being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time. i'm here to race this weekend. and i appreciate your respect and there will be a day i can sit here and answer the questions. >> reporter: steward has two races remaining to qualify for nascar's version of the play-offs. >> just ahead, helping kids with cancer feel better by keeping them connected with their friends. stay with us. you can get a $1,000 turbocharged reward card
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diagnose nosed with cancer, lieu coup -- leukemia. his father came up with an idea to combat his son's loneliness. he reconnected his son to his classroom using web cameras. this was 2002, long before skype. could be what it was like before you first connected with your class? >> when i first connected, the internet connection was slow but it flicked on and right when it flicked on, it was like an internal soul flicker. >> reporter: sharing ups and downs with classmates made treatment easier. >> i had steroids and my face got puffy and i look in the mirror like this isn't me but when they saw me on the camera, they saw me for me. >> reporter: the hope matt felt was the inspiration for hope cam, the charity his dad started
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a year afterma matt's diagnosis. they pay for everything. hope cam connected over 400 children with cancer to their classrooms in 26 starts. including ava, in 20 11 when she was just two and a half, ava was diagnosed with leukemia. she needed chemo and lots of rest but it helped her stay in touch with her friends in preschool. >> we listen and learn. we dance and sing. i get to see my classmates and teachers. >> reporter: today, ava is in remission and starting kindergarten in the fall. >> no one thinks about the mental health of the child and that's what hope cam does, fills the empty void and connection that is so often overlooks. >> reporter: he raised over $300,000 for the charity by come
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me peting in a bike race. last year, he and his son claimed more than 19,000 feet above sea level matt raised more than $25,000 for hope cam on that trip, and honored a different child each day. >> it's hope cam for a reason. it gives them hope again. it's truly, truly amazing. >> reporter: randi kaye. thanks for watching. "death row stories" starts right "death row stories" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- on this episode of death row stories, a white woman is brutally beaten. >> the crime scene was unbelievable. >> and a black man is arrested. >> his fingerprint was found. there were a number of hairs on