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tv   2020  ABC  October 4, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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tonight on 20/20. what happens when you go out of bounds? a trusted teacher ordering kindergarten students to punish a 6-year-old. >> everyone thinks i'm a bad person. >> is she a monsfor? >> cops caught breaking the law. gunning it up to 120 miles per hour. and not in the line of duty. >> one of those guys going at 80 miles an hour to a doughnut shop. >> we catch them red handed in the 20/20 speed trap. >> this guy is going 70 in a 45 right now. >> a high school senior went from leading cheers to leading the news. locked up all because of the high school romance with another girl, who was just 14. >> my daughter is in jail for
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having a high schoolgirl friend. >> i wonder if you feel you made a mistake here. >> out of bounds. here now elizabeth vargas and david muir. >> a lot of us remember our first serious romances in high school or what we thought was serious at the time. how many of us ended up facing up to 30 years in prison, because of them? >> in the last 24 hours a big decision in a florida courthouse, in a controversial case that's gotten national headlines. a showdown between love and the law. a love between two girls. here's matt gutman, with the exclusive jailhouse interview. >> reporter: on florida's treasure coast, sebastian river high, home of the sharks. "can't hide that shark pride" they say. but what was hidden in that teenage shark tank called high school, no one is proud of. a sex scandal. felonious love. kaitlyn hunt was a senior whose crush turned into a crime.
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her love improbably landed her in lockup here at the indian river county jail. >> a criminal relation never crossed my mind once. >> reporter: hunt was honor student, a choirgirl. and the teen you see tossed in the air by her fellow cheerleaders here, was also voted most school spirit. possessed of a big heart, ripe for love. >> we had lunch together. we just started hanging out in school talking. >> reporter: the cheerleader, fell for the jock. at first stealing kisses and then, sex in the school bathroom. >> i would say we had a really close relationship. we told each other everything. >> reporter: although kaitlyn was 18 at the time, the person she had sex with was just 14. but it gets more complicated because this is not a classic romeo and juliet story. it's a juliet and juliet story.
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the person 18 year old kaitlyn hunt says she loved and had sex with was a 14-year-old girl. >> the homosexuality aspect of it was involved. when you have a somewhat of a spiritual community, lots of churches, and a lot of very conservative people to be quite frank with you -- when that type of liberal activity comes to a community, it's the talk of the town. >> she's real funny. she was like that person you could go to if you were having a bad day. she would cheer you up in five minutes. >> she was just all around, just a good girl. >> reporter: kaitlyn's mother, kelley, says she knew her daughter was in a same-sex relationship, but didn't realize the other girl was so young. did you meet the girlfriend? >> mm-hmm, yep. >> reporter: what did you think of her? >> she was a sweetheart. i liked her. she was very sweet. >> reporter: did it ever dawn on you that the difference in age might be a dangerous thing? >> i did not know the girl was 14. i had no idea she was a freshman. she looks older than my daughter.
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>> reporter: something else she says she didn't know, the younger girl ran away from home one night and had a sleep-over with kaitlyn in her home. the next day they and their 14-year-old daughter were in the sheriff's office. >> their feeling was the relationship was unhealthy and inappropriate based upon the age of the parties. >> reporter: crimes-against-children- detective, jeremy shephard, with the parents approval, set a trap using the younger girl as bait. tell me how you decided to do this controlled phone call with the victim. >> that is a procedure that we often use in cases like this, in order to attempt to get the victim to get a confession from the suspect for us. >> reporter: this is where sweet love, soured.
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in the state of florida consensual sex between an 18-year-old and 14-year-old is illegal. kaitlyn was arrested. >> they had her in handcuffs in the driveway. >> reporter: put into a police cruiser, what's going through your mind? >> i was so shocked. you know, i was scared to death because she was so scared to death. >> well, the next thing i'd like to talk to you about is when your sexual relationship with her began. >> reporter: in an interrogation room, kaitlyn is questioned. asked about intimate details most people wouldn't want to discuss with their best friend, never mind a police officer. would you say the first time you all had sex was before christmas or after christmas? >> after. >> reporter: we met kaitlyn in the indian river county jail yesterday for her first interview. we expected to meet a bubbly teenager, but after two months in lock up, the high spirited girl was gone. this kaitlyn appeared stunned, nearly speechless, still a bit bewildered by the whirlwind that landed her here. so you literally didn't know you were breaking the law? >> no, i really didn't know. i wouldn't have wanted get myself in this situation.
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i wouldn't have continued, if i really knew what the laws were and if i knew what i was getting myself into. >> reporter: state attorney brian workman charged kaitlyn with two counts of lewd or lascivious battery. those are felonies. >> i don't think that either one of these girls thought that anything they did was wrong. >> i understand that kaitlyn is 18. you know i'm well aware that she's 18, but in no way, shape or form is that child an adult. >> reporter: after her arrest in february, kaitlyn was released on bail. the judge set a condition. she could not contact her young girlfriend. but the peppy cheerleader and choir girl who dreamed of studying nursing was now facing serious criminal repercussions for her forbidden romance -- a criminal record, registering as a sex offender, and going to prison for a maximum of 30 years. >> reporter: voted most school spirit, and then you're in jail. >> it's like something you think you would never go through. i feel like my senior year was like, ruined. >> reporter: did she ever tell you about her sexuality?
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>> not outrightly, you know not like "hey, i'm a gay" or "hey, i'm a lesbian," or "hey, i'm bisexual." we never had that conversation. >> reporter: her mother claiming the prosecutor and the younger girl's family were motivated in part by an anti-gay bias. on facebook she aired her daughter's shakespearean lament, writing of the younger girl's parents, "they were out to destroy my daughter. they feel like my daughter made their daughter gay." the family came up with this line. "stop the hate, free kate." >> i needed everybody to know what was going on, and for someone else to say, "you were right, like this is absolutely crazy and wrong." >> reporter: gay rights advocates and others grabbed this digital gauntlet and rallied behind kaitlyn and her family. supporters donated tens of thousands of dollars. a petition against the prosecution got more than 300 thousand signatures online, and this summer kaitlyn flew to new york to march in the world's largest annual gay pride parade. what does it feel like to, in some ways, become this icon of the gay community? >> it's pretty awesome.
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because you know, the support from the community is just -- it's overwhelming. but nice at the same time. scared of losing my life, the rest of my life and not being able to go to college and be around kids and my sisters and my family. if kaitlyn were kyle, how different would this be? >> my honest opinion is it would not be an issue. >> reporter: do you think that cs's parent would have gone to the police, had they not believed she was in a gay relationship? >> i believe that they would have gone to the police any time that they would have found out that an adult was having sex with their child, particularly at school. >> reporter: an adult, someone who's in high school with her? >> she is an adult. florida has a mandatory reporting law, and if they had not reported, they would have been committing a crime. >> reporter: even so, the prosecutor offered a plea deal. it included no jail time. she rejected the offer. insisting she did nothing wrong, she wanted a trial to prove her innocence. >> didn't want to give up fighting. >> reporter: what were you fighting for?
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>> equality. justice. >> reporter: but then a shocking reversal. 20 thousand reasons kaitlyn hunt landed right back in jail. >> reporter: parent's thrown into a tailspin over a phone >> reporter: behind bars and desperate. and what about the other parents? we'll hear how they have suffered and their surprising views about the relationship that became a crime. stay with us. see who does good work and compare costs. it doesn't usually work that way with health care. but with unitedhealthcare,
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20/20 continues with matt gutman. >> reporter: "free kate" became the nationwide rallying cry for kaitlyn hunt's army of supporters. the peppy florida high school
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senior had been arrested for having a sexual relationship with a 9th grader, a 14-year-old girl. did you love her? >> mm-hmm. yeah, i loved her. a lot. it was like my best friend. >> charged with having sex with a 14-year-old classmate. >> she's not a predator. she's not a pedophile. she's this beautiful, smart, talented girl. kaitlyn hunt's family and supporters complained loudly that anti-gay bigotry was driving the prosecution, bias on the part of the state and the younger girls parents. those supposedly bigoted, biased parents? jim and laurie smith. >> she definitely took our daughter's innocence away. in a way that should not have been done. >> reporter: when they were informed their daughter was involved with an 18-year-old, they say they don't even remember being told it was an 18-year-old girl. >> 18?
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my daughter's only 14. she's not allowed to date yet. >> i knew that my daughter wasn't emotionally mature enough for any 18-year-old. >> reporter: if kaitlyn had been a kyle, would it have made a difference to you? >> no. it wasn't the gender. >> if it was kyle, it still would've been wrong. >> reporter: for her part, kaitlyn hunt rejected plea offers that would have let her avoid jail, she and her family insisting that kaitlyn was the victim, targeted because of her sexual preference. >> you know, this thing is so wrong. i just want to do everything i can, everything i can to beat it. i think to win and get her -- have her life back, our lives back. >> reporter: the smiths want their lives back, too. they say it has been threatened in men sing phone calls. >> your involvement in the
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prosecution of kaitlyn hunt means that i'm going to have to come and murder you. >> what if your daughter came to you and said, "mom, dad, i'm gay." >> we've asked her that. and we've talked about it. and it's not really the issue for us. perfectly fine with who she is. >> she's our daughter. we're going to love her no matter what. we love her until the day we die. >> reporter: they told me today that they would accept their daughter, whatever her sexuality might be. do you think that's true? >> no, i do not. i think that's a lie. i've always thought it was a gay issue for them. >> reporter: and the time the young girl ran away and wound up, as they would later discover, in the bedroom of kaitlyn hunt. the girl's parents say, that was one of the worst days of their lives. laurie, of all the things that we've talked about, your daughter going missing seems to be the thing that is most painful to you. why? >> i thought someone had come and taken her, and my only
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thought was i should've been there. i'm supposed to take care of her. this is my baby. >> reporter: the smiths had not heard the laughter kaitlyn hunt. police say she was sending more than 20,000 texts and there was intimate physical contacts. i wonder if you feel that you made a mistake here. >> if i made a mistake? hmm. >> reporter: do you think you made a mistake? did you do anything wrong? >> i don't even know. i don't know how to answer that question, honestly. do i think i made a mistake dating someone in high school? that i went to school with and i played basketball with? no. i don't think i made a mistake. >> reporter: do you think you made a mistake by sending her
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20,000 text messages, including nude pictures of yourself? >> yeah, i think that was a mistake. >> reporter: why do you think that happened? >> yeah. i mean i think it goes back to having two teenagers who think or are in love. >> reporter: but you kept up the contact, even though you knew you shouldn't. why? >> i needed closure. i felt like i had none when it first happened, in february. you know, i was like forced to stop talking and forced to stop dating. and i just got wrapped up again. >> reporter: 20,000 text messages. nude pictures. videos. >> i think kaitlyn hunt forced our daughter to stay in this relationship when our daughter didn't want to be in this relationship relationship. >> reporter: the girl finds herself growing older as a
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jailbird. >> reporter: the judge ordered hunt to wait out the rest of her time before trial in the county jail. her hard times obvious during our interview with her parents in september when kaitlyn called from lockup. >> hello? yes? okay, relax, relax. tell me what's -- well, what happened? it's okay, calm down. i know. calm down, honey, calm down. >> reporter: kelley hunt says kaitlyn was upset, fellow inmates were harassing her. we were at your house with your parents when you called. >> i was pretty upset that day. >> reporter: someone was bullying you? >> reporter: the parents try to put on a brave face for their daughter, but afterward, they can't hide their pain. i'm so sorry. i don't think anybody can imagine what you're going through. >> you can't. i mean, you just -- i don't even -- i just can't really describe it. it's so hard. i mean, she's just a little kid, you know. >> reporter: do you think of kaitlyn hunt? do you think of her as a kid, like your daughter? or do you think of her as an adult? >> i honestly think of her as a child. i think that if she was an adult
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and she thought like an adult, then this would not have happened. >> reporter: do you think she loved you? >> that's hard to say now, after all this has came out and stuff. but i believed she did at the, before i got in trouble. >> reporter: do you still love her, now? >> mm, i love her, you know, as a person. i don't think i could ever, you know, be with her again. >> reporter: should it be legal for someone who is 18, regardless of sex, to be with someone who is 14? >> it's a tough question, and i don't know if there's a right answer. what i know is that two teenage girls in high school that consent to a relationship, they shouldn't be a felon for it. >> i mean i never really got educated on dating laws, the age differences or stuff like that so. >> please raise your right hand.
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>> reporter: she agreed to a plea deal. she'll be home for christmas, a gift for her heartsick family. although there will be two years of house arrest, and a long probation. >> as long as i'm home with my family. and i get to see everybody every day, then i think i'll be okay. >> reporter: the smiths says their daughter is doing okay, too. focusing on school work, and sports. a relationship called out of bounds, cost them so much. one lost her innocence. the other, her freedom. both lost their love. what do you think tonight? was kaitlyn out of bounds? should she have known the law? or was this high school love and parents who didn't like it? let us know on twitter use the #abc 2020. if you thought that was out of bounds, look what's coming up next, cops caught speeding in a 20/20 speed trap. stay with us. howdy partner. you're not linda.
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how is this for something that's out of bounds? police racing in their cars up to 120 miles per hour. and some were just going to the doughnut shop. putting us all at risk in the process. once again matt gutman with the 20/20 speed trap. >> reporter: so this guy's going well over 80 right now. so there i was, humming down the highway in a dodge challenger, trying to chase down a speeding north carolina state trooper. wow, you guys, this guy's going 70 in a 45 right now. howdy get here? all started when we saw this video. it's a florida state trooper in hot pursuit of a motorist flying up i-95 at speeds up to 120 miles per hour. but this is no ordinary speed demon. it's a miami dade police officer. >> it is a miami police -- >> reporter: the cop ignores the trooper's lights and sirens, and tears across lanes of traffic. finally, seven minutes later he pulls over.
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believing that only a criminal in a stolen car could drive so recklessly, the trooper approaches with gun drawn. >> put up your hands out the window right now! put your hands out the window! >> reporter: what's the big need for speed? turns out the cop was running late for his off duty job as a security guard. >> i had to get there by 7:00 and i didn't think i was going to make it. >> reporter: and we discovered, this guy isn't some kind of lone wolf. all around the country others have learned speeding cops can kill. to be clear not talking about police responding to an emergency with lights and sirens on. when cops gun it, the results can be lethal. look at this. it's 2:15 a.m. on this connecticut road. a milford police department car speeding in a 40 mile per hour zone. suddenly, another cruiser rockets past at 94 miles per hour and rams into a passenger car. killed in the accident were two 19-year old sweethearts -- ashlie krakowski, a high school
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hockey star with dreams of becoming a nurse and david servin, a talented musician who planned to go to business school. >> when we found out what exactly happened, it was unbelievable. >> did it make it hurt worse when you learned it was a police officer that hit them? >> you see them racing around all the time. and you know, this time they didn't get away with it. >> reporter: so why do cops speed? >> because they can. >> reporter: justin hopson is a former new jersey state trooper who wrote a book on corruption in his agency called "breaking the blue wall." and when they're speeding, where are they going? home? >> lunch. it's the mentality of hey, i have a badge, and the ability to go as fast as i need to go. >> reporter: it's gotten so out
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of handsome motorists strike back. catching speeding cops in the act. watch this. a caravan of hot rods races down a new jersey highway at speeds over 100 miles an hour. a new jersey state trooper suddenly appears. he's going to put a stop to this, right? wrong. he shoots ahead of them to lead the way. >> he's going to give them an escort by state police! >> reporter: that pied-piper of sports cars was suspended. this angry motorcyclist with a helmet cam turns vigilante and takes off after a fast-moving police cruiser just to prove how fast he's going. folks, don't try this at home. >> i'm going 20 miles an hour over the speed limit right now. >> reporter: but none of the highway video avengers can match ron carr of raleigh, north carolina. after getting his hair blown back by lead-footed lawmen once too often, carr rigged his vehicle with cameras to expose what he calls rampant hypocrisy. >> watch this guy. you or i would get a ticket for doing what he's doing right now. >> reporter: yes, they're fast and he's furious.
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>> who's policing the police? what does it take for an officer to be charged? >> reporter: carr's now posting his greatest hits on, what else, his own youtube channel. >> i figured the more videos that i have, then folks will realize that it is a common problem. >> reporter: but it's a problem that police departments seem reluctant to acknowledge. going back to that terrible connecticut crash, the officer involved was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. though he's currently free as he appeals. the families of those two young victims wanted to uncover the scale of the problem, so they sued the police, demanding to see all dash cam video from the previous two years. >> we wanted to know was there a culture of speeding? was this an isolated incident that you could forgive a little more easily? >> reporter: the families did receive 500 dash cam clips, including footage of an officer on a call racing at 113 miles per hour in a 45 zone. he was suspended. but then the milford pd claimed it accidentally deleted another
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2,000 dash cam clips. 2,000 clips, an accident? the family wasn't buying it. >> there appeared to be quite a culture of speeding to the extent that milford finally destroyed the tapes. they will not monitor each other. >> reporter: former trooper hopson says it's almost unheard of for cops to call each other out over speeding. >> if you do so, you're deemed a stool pigeon, and there's ramifications for doing that. >> get out of the vehicle! >> reporter: want proof? then turn back to that video of florida trooper donna watts. remember she'd pulled over a miami police officer who was later fired from his department and is now trying to get his job back. >> reporter: but watts says she was the one ultimately punished. after the incident she started receiving threatening phone calls and spotting strange police vehicles in front of her home. she's now suing, claiming the harassment made her life hell, prompting her to leave road patrol, even her home. >> miss watts feels betrayed.
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for some members of the law enforcement community to turn against her has torn her apart. >> reporter: we set up our own speed trap, chopper in the sky catching speeding cops led footed and red handed. we learned they weren't being pulled over for speeding. do you think it's hypocritical police officers go 80 miles an hour and they would pull somebody like me over. >> stay with us. (toy) my name is cinderella.
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we continue with 20/20's out of bounds. once again, matt gutman. >> reporter: north carolina, where tobacco is king and college basketball is a religion. go 15 miles per hours over the limit and it could mean jail time and a suspended license. but we wondered, do they actually obey them, too? to find out, we decided to turn the tables on the cops with our own "20/20" speed trap in raleigh, north carolina. our objective, not only to catch any speeding cops in the act,
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but to follow them to their final destination. our target location -- a stretch of i-40 near downtown raleigh where the speed limit is 65 miles per hour. we deploy our surveillance team, starting with ron carr. remember, he's the guy who's been documenting speeding cops in raleigh for months now. his job is to alert us of any fast-moving squad cars heading our way. >> white dodge charger, left lane. actually, he's running hot. >> reporter: to accurately measure how fast any suspected speeding cops are traveling -- >> three, two, one, mark. >> reporter: we set up two checkpoints. >> three, two, one, mark. >> reporter: the plan is if we confirm cops are speeding, we'll spring our trap, deploying my chase car to tail them to wherever they're going. even though we chose something with some hefty horsepower, we don't want to get busted for speeding ourselves. so in case we lose them -- we brought in the air cavalry, a 20/20 helicopter equipped with an aerial surveillance camera.
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those cops can run, they can't hide from our eye in the sky. >> reporter: the "20/20" speed trap is set, and it's not long 'til this cruiser flies by our checkpoints at 75 miles per hour. >> mark. >> reporter: that's 10 over the limit. no lights, no sirens. by the time the cruiser reaches us in the chase car, we estimate it's picked up even more speed. it's going at about 85. my chase car is left in the dust. but luckily our chopper team gets us right back on track. we're able to follow the car to its final destination and confront the lead-footed driver. i'm matt gutman from abc news. how you been? >> i'm good. >> reporter: good. we were watching you on i-40. >> okay. >> reporter: you were going about 85 miles an hour. i'm wondering what you think about that? >> i don't really have a comment. >> reporter: it's hardly an emergency. the officer is just dropping off evidence at the state crime lab.
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don't you think it's a little hypocritical that police officers go 85 miles an hour and they would clearly pull someone like me over? that would upset people. is that what you're supposed to do? to some extent, serve as an example as how people should drive? >> thank you. >> standby, this guy's movin'. >> reporter: astonishingly, the cops kept coming, zooming by us, smashing speed laws to take care of non-emergency business. >> reporter: like this sheriff's deputy who hits 85 miles per hour. that's 20 over the limit. we're able to follow the deputy all the way downtown, where we discover there was no emergency. she was just apparently late for an appointment at the courthouse. she is pulling into the official intake vehicles only. we can't do that. same story with another sheriff's vehicle that we clock at 82 miles per hour. he's going so fast. >> he was going 82. stay on him. chopper, stay on him. everybody, stay on him. >> reporter: he's moving too fast for me to keep up with.
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oh man, i lost him. fortunately, our trusty chopper again comes to the rescue and puts us back on his tail. the officer leads us on a merry slow speed chase through raleigh's downtown streets. i think he's trying to shake us. he finally comes to a stop at the federal courthouse. we're from abc news. we noticed that on i-40 over there, you were going about 82, 85. wondering if you were on an emergency call. we didn't see the flashers. >> i'm here to pick up a federal prisoner. take him back to edgecombe county. >> i know if i went 81 or 82 you'd probably pull me over. >> i would. >> reporter: do you think your superior would mind that you were goin' that fast? >> would he mind? probably. >> three, two, one, mark. >> reporter: but not all of the cops we caught speeding were on official business. check out this officer cruising by at 79 miles per hour. our helicopter crew tracks him as he exits the highway and follows him to -- you're not going to believe this -- a donut shop! and dunkin' donuts wasn't the
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only eye-opening destination we discovered over the course of our surveillance op. >> reporter: check out this highway patrol suv speeding at 75 miles per hour. i see him! by the time he gets to us in the chase car, we estimate he's going even faster. so this guy's going well over 80 right now. tearing across lanes of traffic to get to his exit. wow, he did three lanes at once. he just did three lanes without using his blinkers, ladies and gentlemen. we're able to catch up on a local road, but again he punches the accelerator. wow, you guys, this guy's going 70 in a 45 right now. we finally find out where the trooper was headed in such an all-fire hurry. incredibly, he was speeding just to get to the highway patrol training academy. this place even has its own test driving course. so we're doing a story about speeding cops, and we noticed you going about 80 miles an hour on the highway and then about 75 in a 45. we had a hard time keeping up with you. >> yeah, i was trying to get over here this morning.
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>> reporter: the concern is that police officers speeding, a lot of folks want to see you set an example and you're going about 15, 20 miles over the speed limit, might be some concern. >> i don't understand what you're saying. >> reporter: if you're wondering what subject this officer teaches here, take a look at his shirt. yup, that's right. he's a driving instructor. >> gentlemen, how are you? >> reporter: time to get some answers. we walk into the training academy with cameras rolling. >> let me -- can you just step inside? >> reporter: sure. but none of the supervisors on-site are willing to talk. you're not even curious about what your guys are doing, the guys who are speeding to get to work for you? >> sir, i'm not even at liberty to discuss this with you. >> reporter: later, after we've left north carolina, a spokesman for the highway patrol tells us they've launched an investigation into what we found. >> we went ahead and started looking into this matter, and we're going to handle it accordingly. >> reporter: do you find it outrageous that one of the people we found driving most recklessly seemed to be a driving instructor? >> that's not a good thing. it kind of paints the wrong type
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of message. we are dealing with that individual. >> reporter: in connecticut what we found during our operation came as no surprise to parents of teenagers ashley and david, who lost their lives because of a speeding cop. today, they rest side by side tragedy left their families deeply skeptical cops will crack down on their own. >> never in a million years will they do that. ever. >> reporter: would you say these speeding cops destroyed your family? >> yes. they did ours. >> they tore our hearts out. >> it could be anybody's kids, anybody's child. and it's the worst thing that could happen to you. >> our hears go out to those families. have you seen speeding cops? let us know on twitter use the #abc 2020. next the kindergarten teacher caught out of bounds when she
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had kindergartners go after the bully. we'll be back. this is so much faster than my old computer. i like that you can personalize it - that you can have the things that you like. it's an awesome price for what i am getting. i love the price and i love the layaway plan. free layaway is amazing! i want to take it home! (laughing) walmart has top brands of windows touchscreen computers powered by intel -- and you can put them on layaway today free with no opening fee. [ horns honk ] ...you want a truck that helps keep the outside out. [ horns honk ] chevy silverado delivers a quiet cabin that's second to nobody in its class. and by nobody, i mean ram and ford. put silverado to the test at the silverado vs. all event. [ male announcer ] just announced, trade up to the all-new silverado all star with $3,250 total value. see your local chevy dealer today. my electrolux french door with $3,250 total value. refrigerator has a perfect temp drawer that offers
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k at them with we co back in our day, that u-verse wireless receiver. we couldn't just move the tv wherever we wanted. yeah, our birthday entertainment was a mathemagician. because if there's anything that improves magic, it's math. the only thing he taught us was how to subtract kids from a party. ♪
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let's get some cake in you. i could go for some cake. [ male announcer ] switch and add a wireless receiver. get u-verse tv for $19 a month for 2 years with qualifying bundles. rethink possible. the mob has a phrase for it, ordering a hit. but that took on an all new meaning this past summer when a texas teacher was accused of
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ordering kids to literally hit a fellow student, a kindergartner. as john quinones lays out the story, who will you believe? the veteran teacher or the child? >> were you loud at the kids. >> i'm loud. >> reporter: some say she was just as infamous for a kind of ice water coarsing through her veins. were you tough on the kids. >> if they were in trouble, time out. >> now it's the teacher being given the time-out for the first time in her 11 year career for an incident that would not only cost her her job, but land her in a court of law. do you miss those kids in the classroom? >> so bad. >> all the kids were scared of her. >> she misunderstood what was appropriate in disciplining a child.
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>> reporter: how would you describe her? >> as having crossed a line that no teacher should cross. >> it just backfired on me. >> reporter: aiden neely may not look like a bully, but that's exactly how school officials painted him, when he attended kindergarten back in may of 2012. how are you. >> good. >> i'm john. when i recently met aiden, he was by all appearances a polite, poised, perfectly behaved little boy. when you grow up, what do you want to be? >> football player. >> reporter: back on that spring morning, aiden's teacher barbara ramirez received reports he was bullying other students. she took him to cynthia ambrose for a dose of tough love. >> he talked about how he had
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punched and kicked boys. i said, "do you want me to scare him?" >> reporter: in keeping with her m.o., she takes discipline to a whole new level. she stands aiden in front of the class, and makes an outrageous appeal to her students. >> i did say, "does anybody wanna show him what it feels like?" i was expecting my class to say, "yes." and i turned, "you see, would you want your friends to hit you? >> reporter: sure enough, a student took the dare, and suddenly six year-old aiden was under assault. >> it happened so frickin' fast that next thing i know, i hear this hit. >> reporter: aiden's mom amy is horrified by what she says happens next. >> miss ambrose took it upon herself to have her kids' line up and hit aiden. some in the face. some in the back. some on his head. he said some hit him twice. >> reporter: word spread, and ambrose suddenly found herself in the principal's office. >> he had to call h.r. and that's when i started crying
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because i knew i was done. >> reporter: and an angry mother, amy neely, hit back. >> the boy's mom says it is not enough. talking to any news organization who would listen. ambrose was ultimately suspended and left salinas elementary. but that wasn't enough for district attorney susan reed. >> we have not had a case like this before. and, i thought it was imperative that the state speak up about it. >> reporter: in june, ambrose was put on trial, accused of encouraging multiple students to hit aiden that day. but if you think ambrose was about to fall on her sword, think again. how many kids hit him? >> that i know of -- one. >> reporter: only one? that's a far cry from what aiden neely would tell a sympathetic jury. he was the prosecution's star witness. >> do you remember other kids getting up and slapping you in the back? >> yes. >> okay. do you remember how many kids
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did it? >> mm, i think like 21. >> reporter: then, the prosecution called the only other adult eyewitness, that teacher who brought aiden to ambrose's class that day barbara ramirez, with her own damning account. >> then that's when she asked, she said, "come on boys and girls, let's line up and let's bully aiden." >> did miss ambrose say anything when she saw the students hitting aiden? >> that's when she said, "come on, let's hit him harder." >> reporter: did you say those things? >> no, not at all. >> reporter: you were not expecting them to do that? >> no! >> reporter: are you sorry you said that? >> big time. i wish i could take that back. >> reporter: is cynthia now lying? >> yes. she scared him. she humiliated him. >> reporter: could it have been a misunderstanding by a kindergarten student? >> i think the misunderstanding was on the part of miss ambrose. >> reporter: during the trial ambrose said she visits the church adjacent to the
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courthouse. the oncen bending disciplinarian, on bended knee. >> everybody kept praying and saying, you know, "have faith in god. the truth will come out." >> reporter: but the truth, in the jury's eyes, took less than an hour to find. after only 36 minutes of deliberation, they found cynthia ambrose guilty of "official oppression," a class-a misdemeanor in texas. >> reporter: they didn't believe you were telling the truth. why should we? >> i just know i didn't order a hit. >> reporter: the judge didn't buy ambrose's story. >> this is the parents worst nightmare. they send their children to you and trust you >> reporter: in august, ambrose was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years probation, ensuring she won't be able to teach in texas for at least that long. >> i love what i do. i love. but it's not worth it.
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this has broken me. >> reporter: does aiden ever talk about what happened that day anymore? >> sometimes he'll come up to me and say, "mommy, why'd you leave me in that classroom?" >> reporter: and, because of that, amy says she pulled aiden out of salinas elementary school. he's now at a new school with new teachers and new friends. and people are nice in this school. >> yes. the other school -- people being mean to me. >> reporter: you've said that you want cynthia ambrose to never teach again? >> yes. she doesn't need to be around any children. >> reporter: is she a monster? >> i don't think she's a monster. i mean, i -- she just made the wrong call that day. member thos?
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