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tv   MSNBC Investigates  MSNBC  October 23, 2011 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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ounts. are you getting the coverage you need... and the discounts you deserve? for an agent or quote, call 800-my-coverage... or visit travelers.com. viewer direction is advised. you are about to become a witness. >> get on the ground. on the ground! >> captured on camera. since they were first used in the mid-1980s video cameras in cop cars have not only been used as a training tool but they've given us a glimpse into the real world of police work. from unbelievable acts of violence to incredible acts of heroism. >> $137.50.
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>> you are [ bleep ] crazy! >> from every day verbal abuse -- >> get down! get down! >> to officer's abuse of power. >> black and blue marks across her body, her torso, upper torso, her legs, her arms. >> get out now! on the ground! on the ground! >> virtually anything cops say and do can be caught on video. >> it's on the tape. there's no disputing that it happened. >> but even with this hard evidence, situations aren't always as they appear to be. msnbc investigates. cops caught on tape. police departments across the country are adding video cameras into their arsenals. they provide visual evidence of traffic stops, even shootings. sometimes they help catch bad cops in the act.
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but they also reveal just how dangerous even routine police work can be. we want to warn you, some of the videotape you're about to see may be disturbing. >> carthidge, texas, 5:30 p.m., officer michelle jeter pulls over a speeding van. what should have been a routine traffic stop turns into a life or death struggle. police say jeter finds marijuana in the van and tries to arrest jorge. >> daddy! >> but, already out on parole, he doesn't want to go back to jail. >> get in the car. baby, i can't go to jail. >> his 8-year-old daughter watches as her father beats jeter, striking her in the face, knocking her to the ground, leaving her unconscious. >> by the time i turned around and come back, he had done whatever he was going to do to
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her and was speeding away. >> are you okay? are you okay? help, officer down! >> a passer-by stays with jeter. another driver calls 911 from the cell phone and follows arosco until police officers stop his van and arrest him. officer jeter is taking to a hospital. her injuries are serious. >> i have four titanium plates in the left side of my face. of course, it broke my nose. i had stitches inside my mouth and my left eye. >> come on out southeast luke. hurry up. >> can you tell me what happened? >> she doesn't remember the attack but because of her patrol car camera it is caught on tape. >> get a supervisor out here asap! >> on february 17th, 1988, jorge pleads guilty to the charge of aggravated assault of a police officer.
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he is now serving a 60-year sentence. michelle jeter now owns a car dealership in carthidge. she has left the force but remains a reserve officer. do you have any i.d. on you? >> no, sir. >> another traffic stop, this time in garrison, texas, another violent confrontation. constable darryl lunsford decides to check the trunk for drugs. it will be the final act of his life. >> what? >> how about this here? >> do what? >> the suspects stab constable lunsford as they struggle for
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his .357 magnum and shoot him and run. they might have gotten away with murder but a video camera in lunsford's own patrol car videotapes his own death. when the case comes to trial, the video is condemning evidence that leads to the conviction of all three defendants. not only that, but the darryl lunsford case and cases like it, convince police departments across the country to install video cameras in patrol cars. jim is a texas prosecutor who trains police on the use of mobile video systems. >> there's no one involved in the criminal justice process. that does not believe in the videotaping, whether it be defense, prosecution, police officers, judges, because it gathers truth. and that's what court in the courtroom is all about.
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>> today, a decade after lunsford's death, hundreds of police forces use cruiser cam systems. they come at a cost, from $2,500 to $4,000 apiece. more and more departments consider it money well spent. >> the value of the documentation that we get from these cameras as far as evidence and the events that happen, you can't really put a price on it. >> hang tight. >> i think they'll find over a period of time that the man hours spent in court will decrease. the conviction rate will increase and the system will well pay for itself in the first year. >> you're under arrest for violation of georgia code. >> cruiser cameras provide evidence for court and provide a record of police action, especially during traffic stops. even when they record tragedy,
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they are a valuable tool. today, police cadets across the country study these tragic videos to learn what went wrong. >> mobile video has spawned a whole new training field where officers sit down and examine, not only the tapes of their department but neighboring departments across the united states to learn from the mistakes of other officers. >> nothing can bring back police officers whose lives are lost but their legacy is the lives these videos have saved. when texas state trooper andy lopez is caught in a situation similar to lunsford's similar encounter, he's able to escape and shoots one assailant during the gun fight. >> he sees something that could be a dangerous situation, an individual making some kind of movement that leads you to believe he's going for a weapon, you've got to do something. >> lopez credits the lessons he learned from studying lunsford's video with saving his life.
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>> i remember viewing that tape and telling myself -- to me. >> having the cameras has been a valuable tool for us. it does give you that much more, as far as documenting evidence. it's indisputable. it's on the tape. there's no disputing that it happened. when we come back -- >> on a new jersey interstate, police pursue a fleeing motorist. the chase ends with 11 seconds of terror. i'd race down that hill without a helmet.
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on a new jersey interstate, police pursue a fleeing motorist. the chase ends with 11 seconds of terror. 25 bullets in all are fired at one unarmed man. what happened in the early morning hours of june 2nd, 1999, is caught by a video camera in one of the police cars. as sometimes is the case, the video raises more questions than it answers. all that can be said for sure is that stanton crew, the man who led the police on that chase died that night. why he died is far from clear.
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stanton crew was a 32-year-old account executive at a computer firm in morristown, new jersey. >> stan was fun-loving, happy go lucky guy. if he could help someone that he knew, he would. >> he was working at home late that night when he received a phone call from a friend in a bar requesting a ride. according to court documents, police say crew was driving erratically. they say they thought he was drunk. dover, new jersey patrolman barry young later testified he signaled crew to pull over. crew ignored him and instead led police on a 15-minute chase on interstate 80. it isn't until other police departments join the pursuit that it's captured on video.
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the cameras in a new jersey state trooper's car. >> if all police cars had video cameras, all of mr. crew's driving on that particular evening would have been recorded for all to see. unfortunately it was not. >> boxed in by the police and a tractor-trailer truck, crew makes a desperate u-turn across the grassy median of the interstate and heads in the opposite direction. >> he's cutting us off at the median, going westbound. >> 47 going west. >> after a 16-mile chase, crew finally pulls over onto a sloped, grassy shoulder. but he continues to move his car back and forth in what police say is an attempt to escape and
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run over one of them. then, all hell breaks loose. it is difficult to tell what really happened that night because the police who opened fire on crew are not visible on the videotape. in fact, the officer with his gun drawn in the center of the picture never fires a shot. john whipple is the lawyer for the new jersey officer, william underwood who did fire two of the bullets that hit stanton crew. >> the officer fired first in protection of himself as the vehicle was heading towards him. my client fired three shots to protect the life of the parsippany officer whose life he
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thought was in danger. >> in just 11 seconds police fire 25 bullets. >> they just stepped out of the car and started firing. and they said he tried to back up and run over them. move. you can't get out of the way? why are you standing in back of the car with the person still in the driver's seat? they haven't asked him to step out or anything. you're going to stand in back of the car and start firing? >> if deadly force is being used by mr. crew, using his car in an attempt to run over a police officer, your training tells you to make that split-second decision to shoot at mr. crew to stop that threat. >> get oust the car! put your hands up! >> it is only after the shooting stops that we hear the police yell for crew to get out of the car. he has been hit by four rounds and dies at the scene.
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>> there were no verbal commands after boxing the car in. you can clearly see this on the tape. there's no verbal direction to turn the car off or exit the vehicle. hands up. there's just a barrage of shots. >> crew's family doesn't just question the shooting. they also question why the police wanted to stop him in the first place. >> there was an issue of him driving erratically. that was their initial statement. for getting behind him in the first place. we don't know how he's driving and there's no visual depiction of it. >> the state autopsy shows stanton crew wasn't drunk as the police suspected. he had no alcohol or illegal drugs in his system. but seven months after the shooting, a new jersey grand jury finds insufficient evidence to charge the police officers with criminal wrongdoing or racial bias. a federal investigation also concludes that the officers did not violate crew's civil rights. >> officer underwood always maintained that he made a split-second decision to use deadly force to save the life of
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a parsippany police officer. he always felt terrible about having to do what he did, however, he always felt that he accomplished what he was trained to do. >> there are officers right up on him, shooting him. this is not a shootout. it's not an exchange of bullets. it's a shootout. >> for crew's family and friends, many questions linger. was crew a victim of racial profiling? did he pose a threat? and why did he flee in the first place? >> he was driving on a suspended license. perhaps that was his reasoning for not pulling over as soon as he should have. i do ask myself the question of why didn't he stop? why didn't he pull over? i can't answer that. i don't know. >> no matter how many times anyone looks at the tape, it does not tell the whole story of why the officers shot and killed
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stanton crew. >> you can clearly see that there was poor judgment exercised on both parts. but fatality was not the answer. and there was 16 miles, 16 miles, to truly and clearly figure out an alternate means of apprehending stan. there truly was. 27 shots does not apprehend or subdue. it kills. >> police declined to be interviewed for our original report. since then, crew's mother filed a federal lawsuit against the officers involved. it was settled with $1.5 million going to the estate of stanton crew. when we come back -- >> cameras in the police cars were first use for drunk driving to allow the jury see exactly what police officers saw on the side of the road when they made an arrest of an intoxicated person. >> is there any way we can settle this with sex? look, every day we're using more and more energy.
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get cut the car off now! cut the [ bleep ] car now! roll the window down. >> a south carolina officer loses it after a woman fails to pull over fast enough after he puts on his lights. he draws his gun and drags her out of the car. >> get out now! on the ground! on the ground! >> when department supervises look at the videotape, the trooper is fired. >> i've been behind you with blue lights. on the damn ground! >> cameras in the police cars were first used for drunk driving to allow the jury to see exactly what police officers saw on the side of the road when
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they made their arrest of an intoxicated person. >> how much have you had to drink tonight? >> nothing. >> not a thing? >> not a thing. >> okay. >> as motorists fail sobriety tests, that evidence can be dramatic. convincing. >> can you say the alphabet? "a" "b" "c" "d" "h" "y" "z." >> and sometimes plain embarrassing. >> i think you're too intoxicated to be driving. >> i'm really not. >> is there any way we can settle this with sex? >> cruiser cams have also proven to be a life saver in defending the actions of police. these videos may look routine but they certainly aren't to officers who are falsely accused.
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>> you have a suspended driver's license. you told me that you didn't. >> i didn't think i did. >> a police officer in palm beach, florida, stops a female driver. without ever getting out of the car, she's issued a traffic citation and heads off. but later, in a videotaped statement she lodges serious charges against the officer. >> do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> yes. >> he accused him of taking her out of the car, sexually assaulting her and placing her back on the car. >> he had me on my chest up here and fondled my breast. i believe it was fondling. i don't believe it was frisking. he patted me on my stomach all the way down and over my dress. he caressed my vagina. i feel very, very, very violated. >> in a second taped interview, the police inform her that the
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entire traffic stop was shot on videotape and give her an opportunity to change her statement. but she declined. >> what if i told you that i have seen the videotape of this incident in its entirety from the time you were stopped, to the time you left the scene? would that change any of your statement that you just told me? >> no. >> they then accused her, of course, of lying and making a false report. finally she admits that she lied, she fabricated the story. >> why would you do something like this to somebody who didn't do anything except write you a ticket? >> i will explain why. if i would have been driving a jaguar or a mercedes or anything along those lines, i would have never been stopped. and i personally think he had a personal attack on me because of my character. >> without the videotape, it might have been hard for the policeman to defend himself. >> it would have been the
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officer's word against her word. and that's exactly what mobile video is for. that's what cameras in the police car are for. is to gather the facts. >> traffic stop. >> some police departments require officers to run cruiser cams through the entire shift. for others, officers activate cameras by either turning on the overhead lights, from a remote switch on their belt or by pressing a button on the console. the time and date are visible on the image and the tapes can't be erased or recorded over. the recorders are in a locked box in the trunk that only a supervisor can open. >> in chesterfield township, michigan, if the police didn't have video cameras in their
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patrol cars, two officers might have lost their jobs and reputation. the trouble starts the day after an arrest is made for illegal drugs at a traffic stop. >> the following morning, i received a phone call from the male and the female indicating that the officer had improperly touched her breast during the traffic stop and as a result caused injury to the female. >> the accused officer is caught off guard. >> my stomach just dropped because even though i did nothing wrong, just having serious charges brought against you like that, which could mean jail time, losing your job, losing everything you worked for, it's a really eerie feeling. it leaves you hollow inside. >> the accusing couple files a complaint, not knowing the arrest was caught by a patrol car video camera. >> it clearly showed that the officers acted properly. without those tapes, the officer may be awaiting trial himself for improperly touching a female. as a result we were able to file charges against the two people for filing a false police report. >> i could have lost my job, my house, everything i've worked so
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hard for. i mean, i've put a lot of years into being a good police officer. and i could have lost it with that one false police accusation. it's scary, to say the least. when we come back -- >> i'm not going to pull any punches. we are embarrassed at the actions of our officers that were caught on videotape. >> get down! get on the ground! on the ground! eakfast and got heartburn, third day this week. so i took my heartburn pill and some antacids. we're having mexican tonight, so another pill then? unless we eat later, then pill later? if i get a snack now, pill now? skip the snack, pill later... late dinner, pill now? aghh i've got heartburn in my head. [ male announcer ] stop the madness of treating frequent heartburn. it's simple with prilosec otc. one pill a day. twenty-four hours. zero heartburn. no heartburn in the first place. great.
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hey, everybody, i am alex witt. a declaration of the end of the war. and it's just three days after the death of long-time ruler, moammar gadhafi. and hundreds are believed dead in turkey after a powerful earthquake in the country.
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the 7.2 quake hit and more on that later. videotape in the past, some police officers viewed it as another tool for big brother to use against them. no longer. now, more and more cops find the use of video cameras in their cars and station houses to be another effective form of backup. they've helped save millions in legal fees and have been invaluable for taping reputations. but for officers who cross the line or lose control, video can be a powerful force against them. the march 1991 beating of rodney king in los angeles, caught on home video. the july 2000 beating of thomas jones in philadelphia, captured by a news helicopter. incidents like these have helped
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shape the public debate over police treatment of minorities. but they might have gone unnoticed if they weren't captured on tape. in april 1996, on this rural road in riverside county, california, the u.s. border patrol spots a pickup truck loaded with what are believed to be illegal immigrants. the driver refuses to pull over and the chase is on. 45 minutes later, the truck gets on the interstate, going speeds of 95 miles an hour. police say the occupants of the truck are pelting them with beer cans and worse. >> on at least two different occasions it came next to another car and purposely drove into that car, attempting to knock that car off the road. >> they go west on the pamona freeway.
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the camper top falls apart and reveals 19 people inside. the pick up finally pulls over. >> the truck came to a stop at the pamona freeway and peck road in the city of elmonte. all of the occupants got out and ran down the shoulder of the freeway. >> what happens next is captured by news helicopters from three los angeles tv stations. >> get down. get down. get on the ground! get on the ground! >> get down! get down on the ground! >> they're fleeing. that would be northbound. they have the driver in custody. >> one deputy, tracey watson, wields his baton like a baseball bat at two immigrants who offer no resistance. he clubs one man on the back and
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shoulders, even as he falls face down on the ground. when another passenger, alicia vasquez climb out of the window of the cab, deputy watson pulls her by the hair, beats her with the baton and pulls her to the ground. another officer joins in. >> black and blue marks across her body, her legs and arms and her back had a number of, what looked like, very deep welt marks. it was our impression and doctor's impression she had been hit more severely on the back than any other part of her body. >> i'm not going to pull any punches. we are embarrassed at the actions of our officers caught on videotape. >> but the questions remain, are the beatings a justified reaction by the deputies? the lawyer for deputy kurt franklin says yes.
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>> when you consider the strikes that tracey watson and kirk franklin did, kurt's strikes were within departmental policy. they were where they were supposed to be. they did not number more than he needed to do in order to gain compliance. >> but lawyers for the immigrants say the video clearly shows they offered no resistance. >> we're talking about a five foot woman who weighed about 95 pounds and a man who was 5'5", weighed 150 pounds, had already been subdued. the officers who beat and apprehended these two persons, not only acted excessively with great cruelty but were totally unrestrained in what they had done. >> as a result of the beating and the videotape, the two deputies are suspended. but after an internal investigation, franklin is reinstated, though watson is fired. the victims file a $10 million
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lawsuit against riverside county, california. but the case never gets to a jury. the two sides decide to settle and each of the victims receives $370,000. all because the actions of two policemen were caught on tape. >> i think without this videotape, it would have been very, very difficult to convince a jury in riverside county, that these people were beaten unnecessarily or that excessive force was used. i think it would have been very difficult. when we come back -- a bridal shower turns ugly. we're america's natural gas and here's what we did today: supported nearly 3 million steady jobs across our country... ... scientists, technicians, engineers, machinists... ... adding nearly 400 billion dollars to our economy... we're at work providing power to almost a quarter
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a bridal shower turns ugly. more than 40 deputies from the los angeles county sheriff's department respond. the deputies say they are attacked. >> several deputies injured. >> the partygoers insist it is
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the deputies who attacked them. >> they rushed me with batons, flashlights, they were hitting me with everything. >> it appears to be the case of the deputy's words against the civilian. what either side knows is that someone across the street is videotaping the incident. the party is a bridal shower for me linda dole. the music is too loud for a neighbor who calls the police. that's where the trouble starts. >> 415 edward hedda street and noran. >> two deputies pull up to the house, ask them to turn down the music and leave. 15 minutes later, the sergeant is calling for backup. >> it's a large group of very large samoans. i want to make sure we're going to take action before we go in, 10-4. >> a second caller advises they're still fighting with sticks and knives. >> when sergeant undland and deputies arrive back at the house they were con front by several individuals. including the bride's brother, david. >> david was standing in front of the gate, taking a combative
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stance, challenging me to come in and make him leave the party. >> undland says he ordered the partygoers to disperse or be arrested. a few partygoers leave. but according to the deputies, many more remain and show no signs of moving. >> sergeant undland calls for all available deputies to respond and begins arresting the partygoers. david dole is the first. but undland says as he reaches for dole, he's hit with a barrage of rocks and bottles, scarring his helmet and knocking him unconscious. >> there are more units in the rear. taking rocks and bottles. several deputies injured. deputies involved in a fight. several deputies injured. >> deputies respond until the street is clogged with patrol cars and officers in riot gear. according to a court deposition, there is a police helicopter hovering overhead and no fewer than 54 squad cars, around 100 deputies, all to break up a
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party. as proof of the severity of the attack, a number of officers, including sergeant undland, say they are bruised, cut and scraped by everything from beer bottles to boulders. four days later, charges of riot and assault are filed against dozens of partygoers. the doles insist all along it is the deputies who instigated the violence. >> i didn't cuss at anybody. i didn't hit anybody. i didn't throw anything. the whole time i was just being beaten that whole night. >> dole says the beating left him with a broken hand and a deep head wound. he says he watched helplessly as his friends and relatives were assaulted, including his 62-year-old father who suffers two broken ribs. according to the doles, a neighbor's 17 minutes of shaky video shows the truth of what happened that night. >> they treated us, our family like animals that night.
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they didn't care if it was female or male. everybody was beaten and it was terrible. >> the tape reveals several instances of deputies clubbing partygoers who appear to be offering no resistance. here, a man is rushed out of the house, only to be collared by a club-wielding deputy. here, another man already on the ground is surrounded by officers pummeling him with batons. and as this deputy guards another partygoer on the ground, he lands a two-handed swing with his baton. the videotape is enough to convince a jury to acquit david dole and two others of the felony charges they faced and to convince the prosecutors to drop charges against 26 others. but the doles want an apology and more. >> we all knew we were right. we didn't do anything wrong. >> the doles file a civil lawsuit and now it is the
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deputies who are on trial. one after the other, dozens of deputies repeat the same story. the partygoers had started the riot, pelting them with a barrage that ended just before the videotape started rolling. patricia, kathleen keating, claude boeing and danielle hackney were 4 of the 12 jurors in the deputies' trial. >> patricia says i know how we can prove conclusively who's telling the truth. >> one of the officers in his testimony said -- not one of them, several of them, many of them, most of them, rocks and bottles, rocks and bottles, fearing for their lives. and he called in to the dispatch. >> get more units over here. we're taking rocks and bottles. >> the radio transmissions were blaring out from squad car
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radios and picked up on the videotape. the transmission are coded with the exact time of day. the jurors realize they can match the time of the radio calls with the videotape. they discovered that the video started rolling just a minute and a half after the frantic radio calls for help. the deputies say the rock and bottle barrage lasted as long as 20 minutes. the jurors say they saw no evidence of that on the videotape. >> we're hearing over the police airwaves, this officer yelling, screaming, saying they're being assaulted and they need backup because they're taking rocks and bottles and not a one. and the videotape goes on. >> and you don't see any? >> not a one. >> not a one. >> you don't hear anything hitting the ground. >> they would roll the videotape. what you'd see was this neatly manicured front lawn with no rocks or bottles.
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>> in the end, the jurors don't believe the deputy's story that they were the ones that came under attack. >> they were flat out lying. >> the jury finds for the doles on all counts, imposing at the time, the biggest police brutality verdict in history, nearly $16 million. and all because a neighbor heard a ruckus and turned on a home video camera. >> you can't beat the truth. that's what prevailed in this case. >> none of the deputies involved has been disciplined. the official reason, no one could identify any of the deputies accused of brutality. after ten years of delay, the doles received their damage reward which, with interest had grown from nearly $16 million to $24 million. for their part, the deputies from the los angeles county sheriff's department now shoot their own video whenever they
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have to break up what they believe is a disruptive party. when we come back -- >> the fine is right here, sir. it's $137.50. >> you are [ bleep ] crazy! [ male announcer ] nature valley sweet & salty nut bars... they're made from whole roasted nuts and dipped in creamy peanut butter, making your craving for a sweet & salty bar irresistible, by nature valley.
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down on the ground! on the ground! as the use of video cameras in and out of police cars explode -- >> take your hands out of your pockets. >> more and more cops are being caught on tape. >> down on the ground! >> it's opened a whole new window on what it's like to be a
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police officer. >> what? >> okay. >> whether they are doing something that is blatantly wrong or sometimes taking it on the chin -- >> put your hands on the car. >> most law enforcement officers are prepared for a physical altercation when they stop a motor vehicle. what they may not be prepared for is verbal abuse. listen to this videotaped exchange between a maine state trooper and a motorist pulled over for speeding. >> the fine's right here, sir. it's $137.50. >> you're [ bleep ] crazy! i can't [ bleep ] crazy! my wife took money out of her [ bleep ] to pay my insurance so i wouldn't get picked up. you're [ bleep ] crazy! >> if you don't pick this up, sir, i'm going to summons you for littering. >> are you [ bleep ] crazy? i wasn't even speeding you [ bleep ]. >> the officer lets the driver
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go with just a speeding ticket. >> jesus [ bleep ]. >> there's some more right there. >> i've never heard of a fine like that in my life you [ bleep ]. you [ bleep ]. >> but the rule of the road, which is captured every day on videotape is, expect the unexpected. whether it's being clipped by another motorist on the side of the road or saving the life of a child after a horrific tornado. >> -- issued a tornado warning. >> in may 1999 one of the most powerful tornadoes on record looms on the oklahoma landscape. >> this is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation. >> the killer storm bears down on tiny bridge creek, 40 miles outside of oklahoma city. >> get into a storm shelter if you have one. get into an enclosed closet.
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>> in their house, dead center in the storm's past is amy krago, her 10-month-old daughter aaliyah and the rest of her family, crammed into a closet and expecting the worst. >> we heard the tornado coming. it just started ripping the house apart. i thought i was going to die. it hurt so bad. you can't imagine how bad it hurts to be in the middle of a tornado. you're flying through the air like you don't weigh nothing. >> then in a matter of seconds it's over. >> i had this cut on my head. i had blood and mud all over me. i was looking and looking. >> unable to find her child or family, amy wanders through the rubble searching for help. a passing motorist takes her to the hospital. deputy sheriff robert jolly searching for survivors drives to where amy's house had been.
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hoping, but not expecting, to find anyone alive, jolly spots what he thinks is a doll. but as he picks it up, baby aliyah starts to cry. >> are you okay? >> these extraordinary and tender moments are captured by jolly's cruiser cam. >> you okay? >> basically all she wanted was to be held. she didn't seem to be hurt in any way. >> little aliyah is bruised but okay, thanks to an act of bravery caught on tape. >> you okay? >> in chesterfield township, michigan, peter deblock needs a miracle, too. he stops his car as he begins to pass out from a diabetic reaction.
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his last waking thought is shock as his van bursts into flames. when patrolman brian dowel arrives at the scene, the van is burning up. >> i could hear somebody yelling the driver is still inside. >> when i woke up again, the fire was really raging. >> the flames and smoke are so thick, patrolman dowel is unable to see into the van. >> i reached the driver's door and seen the fingers reaching out yelling, i'm burning, i'm burning. >> i tried to get my seat belt undone. i couldn't get the seat belt. it had melted. so i couldn't do the latch. >> dowel tries to pull deblock out but he can't. another officer hands dowel a knife. >> i cut the seat belt and we pulled mr. deblock out of the vehicle, falling to the ground. >> i was just happy to be out of there. and if it wasn't for that officer, i wouldn't be here. it was like i was taking my last
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breath and out i came. >> no matter how many times videotape shows how dangerous and challenging it is to be a police officer, there is no shaking the graphic images of police brutality they can reveal. at times, videotape may not tell the whole truth but it allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of the officers who make split-second, right or wrong, life and death decisions and make them every day. the bureau of statistics at the justice department estimated in a 2003 survey that 55% of local police departments use video cameras in their patrol cars. that number was just 10% four years before. and there's a move to replace problem-prone vhs systems with high-quality digital cameras. some wireless systems even allow officers to download photos

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