tv Caught on Camera MSNBC May 16, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
they're on the front lines of right and wrong. >> cops need some help. >> and right in front of the camera. >> okay. i got a bag full of drugs here. >> police officers doing their dangerous jobs, confronting cold-blooded killers. >> officer in trouble. shots fired. >> getting caught in shootouts. and sometimes going over the line. >> yeah, i hit him. i was trying to hit him. >> when they go to work, the camera rolls. capturing heart-stopping moments.
real cops. >> dude, one more time -- >> real life. >> i've been shot. >> "caught on camera, the thin blue line." it happens thousands of times a day on roads and highways across the country. police officers turn on their lights and pull over a driver for speeding or talking on a cell phone or maybe a broken taillight. most often, the officer writes a ticket or gives a warning. but any local cop, sheriff's deputy or state trooper will tell you not all traffic stops are routine. and when things go bad, the confrontations are dangerous, often caught by police dashboard cameras. he was in it for the long haul, or so he thought. >> i loved the job. this was my career. >> at age 25, steven rankin has
seven months under his belt as an officer with the crisp county sheriff's department in georgia. in the predawn hours of february 2nd, 2006, everything is about to change. deputy rankin is following a driver who is blasting his car radio. >> i really thought he was a dui. i mean, with the loud music and the way he was kind of erratic driving, i figured he was a dui, especially at 2:00 in the morning, coming from the city. >> with the police video camera on in the patrol car, the deputy walks up to the driver. >> all the windows are pretty tinted. even with my lights, i couldn't really see into the car too well. i leaned in to the driver's side door to speak to him. and i thought he'd roll the window down like most people do. but he just opened the door up. all i saw was a flash, the bang. and that was it. i never saw a gun. all i saw was a blast. i hit the ground. but i thought i had died. >> as the officer lay bleeding, deputy ben bray is already on his way.
>> i heard like -- we call it breaking squelch. it was just like a static. he never said anything. i just heard that come over the radio. and a chill come over my body. and i knew that something was wrong. >> at the crime scene, the gunman jumps out of the car and tries to shoot rankin again. but when his gun jams, he pistol-whips and kicks him. the gunman tries to grab the officer's gun, but rankin isn't giving up. >> all of a sudden, i felt like a jolt, like a rush of energy. >> rankin pushes the shooter away and runs to his car. that's when the suspect takes off in his own vehicle. >> i just felt this rage come over me, just this pure rage of this coward just shot me. got over the top, you know, beat me and everything else. and now, i'm ready to -- i'm
standing up to fight back. and now, he's running. it really just pissed me off. and i shot 16 rounds at his car, and 15 of them hit his car. and one of them actually hit the headrest of his car. >> deputy bray arrives at the scene. his dash cam shows rankin on his hands and knees. the adrenaline rush is gone and he's bleeding profusely. >> he was hollering and screaming and said that he'd been shot. he'd been shot in the face. >> rankin is amazingly coherent, enough to give a description of the vehicle and the suspect. bray examines the deputy's injuries. >> he said his face was hurting. he felt like half of his face was gone. >> some of rankin's teeth were on the ground, as well as shell casings and his pistol. >> i remember asking him, is my face gone? i still couldn't feel nothing in the face besides just pure pain. >> within minutes, an ambulance arrives and takes deputy rankin to the hospital. that same morning, officers find the suspect's car. it's riddled with bullets from deputy rankin's gun. and by 9:30 that morning, police arrest 35-year-old ben westbrook for the shooting. westbrook had once served prison
time for aggravated assault. westbrook pleads guilty to nine charges, including aggravated assault and battery. he's sentenced to 63 years in prison. officer steven rankin testifies at his sentencing. >> i wanted to testify to, basically, testify to him what he did to me and testify to the courts to let them know that he needed to be punished for the max. >> this ordeal takes an enormous toll on rankin. for 18 weeks after the shooting, he's in a neck brace. the bullet blows out 70% of his jawbone and all his teeth on the top right side. the bullet still sits in his spine. >> i can feel the bullet in my neck. every once in a while, it will pop or it will send like shots of pain up through the neck and into the head. >> steven rankin knows he is a lucky man. he attributes his survival to divine intervention in the form of his father, mike, who died in 1994 when steven was just a teenager.
>> as soon as i blacked out, i saw my father. so, like i said, i thought that he was kind of welcoming me into heaven. to me, looking at it now, i realize that he was completely protecting me. and god was just kind of keeping me moving, keeping my heart rate pumping until i was mentally capable of starting to perform again. there you go. >> in april 2007, steven leaves the sheriff's office for good and moves to a suburb of atlanta. >> across and back down. >> he starts a new career as a physical fitness trainer. and while he still needs constant medical care, life is good for him. and he believes his faith has kept him going. coming up -- gunned down on the side of the road. and crossing the line. when "caught on camera, the thin blue line" continues. ♪
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april 26th, 2004, perry, georgia. officer chris sutcliffe is in his patrol car overlooking the interstate when he notices a pickup truck making a sharp turn off the exit, going way too fast. seconds later, he sees another police car going after it, sirens blaring. officer sutcliffe doesn't think twice. he makes a quick but fateful decision to follow the speeding police car and join the pursuit. >> i initially just told my dispatcher, i'm going to be here for backup in case he needs it. >> the chase lasts only a minute or two. the truck, racing at incredibly high speeds, crashes into a telephone pole. by the time officer sutcliffe arrives on the scene, officer chad payne has three suspects, teenagers, out of the truck and on the ground. >> you know, i was thinking, stupid kids out joyriding,
getting scared. >> sutcliffe and payne have no idea what they've just walked into. sutcliffe approaches the passenger side of the truck and sees a young woman. >> as i was giving her commands to get out, she couldn't open the door. she had her hands up in the air. she looked dazed, probably like the accident had dazed her a little bit. >> the door is jammed. sutcliffe notices payne going back to his car. he's getting his first aid kit out of the truck and calling ems for help. at least one of the four suspects is bleeding, badly. >> i knew we had a bad head injury and i needed to stop the bleeding. >> sutcliffe walks around to the driver's side to make sure those three suspects out of the camera's view stay down. >> i actually had my gun out. as i rounded the tailgate on the driver's side, i could see two of them on the ground. and i could see their hands. but the third person, he had his back to me. he was on his knees. and i could tell his hands were in front of him. i thought he was looking for something on the ground. i thought maybe he was looking for his eyeglasses.
>> over the loud sirens, sutcliffe yells out to him. >> keep your hands where we can see them. >> i'm holding my gun out in the low ready position, gun out, hand on the trigger. but you're not actually pointing it at anybody. >> all of a sudden, the suspect turns. and in what seems to sutcliffe like a slow-motion movie, he fires. >> before i could do anything or say anything, i just felt my arm fly up in the air. and then my ear started ringing, and i realized i'd been shot in the arm. >> sutcliffe's gun falls to the ground as he rolls backwards. the teen, continuing to shoot at him. the gunfire startles officer payne and he starts returning fire. and now the teen has turned all attention to officer payne. >> officer in trouble. shots fired.
i need backup. as i'm shooting at the guy, you know, he's continuously shooting back at me. and he's got cover behind his vehicle. the only cover i have at this point is the door of my vehicle, which is really not cover at all. >> the bullets are flying back and forth in rapid succession. sutcliffe realizes he's helpless to do anything, lying defenseless and bleeding badly on the ground. he only hopes the gunman won't turn on him. >> i look down and realized that i had a lot of blood squirting out of my arm. and i maybe only had three or four minutes before i might pass out. i've been shot. i need assistance. i'm bleeding badly. >> at this point, another officer arrives at the scene. officer payne's partner, eric burnett. >> and my partner runs up to the vehicle and squats down behind the tire and looks under the vehicle and looks over the top of it. and he sees the guy, and he starts shooting. and he looks underneath the vehicle and just lays down a massive amount of gunfire.
>> barnett, protected only by the tire of a truck, starts firing at close range. but the suspect has additional ammunition. he grabs officer sutcliffe's handgun, the one he dropped on the ground when he was shot. the suspect and police continue to exchange gunfire. finally, payne's partner fires one last time. payne sees the suspect's gun fall to the ground. >> so, i communicate to eric, you know, he's thrown the gun. it's all clear. >> the two officers run over and arrest the suspects. it's only at the end of the fight when the fear settles in. >> it's at that point, when you really get scared, you know, because you start thinking, you know, what if? >> paramedics arrive to take the injured to the hospital. the four teens survive. they were on the run after stealing that pickup in ohio. the shooter, 19-year-old charles brutus wright, is sentenced to 107 years in prison. as a result of his injuries, officer sutcliffe has permanent nerve damage. a plate and 12 screws keep his
arm together. >> the worst part about having the plate and screws is i've lost the mobility to turn and twist my arm. the bullet -- actually, there's a little tiny divot, that's what i call it, on my little bull's-eye right here in the arm. that's where the bullet went in. when it went in, it shattered the arm pretty bad. >> sutcliffe and payne watch the video and find themselves fortunate to have made it out alive. but they see several mistakes they made. >> by the time i see the gun, it's too late. so, i told new, young officers, don't do that. tell them not to move. lay down on the ground and put their hands out. because if i'm telling you to turn around and show me your hands and you're doing it, i'm expecting just to see your hands. suddenly, it's a surprise when it's a gun. the reason why we made the mistakes was because we were more concerned about their injuries and helping them than our safety. >> in fact, the video of this shootout is often used by police training academies as a cautionary tale.
when it comes to police work, always expect the unexpected. >> i've been in multiple chases, you know, where they either end where the suspect gives up or they crash. and the repetitiveness of that happening makes you complacent because you think that's what's going to happen in this situation. and it wasn't. coming up, a texas trooper under attack. and an entire police department under investigation. when "caught on camera, the thin blue line" continues.
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>> it's right downtown at boston's back bay station. and as he rounds the corner, sergeant colombo realizes he's been spotted by the alleged car thief. >> i asked him, come on. show me your registration. prove your side of the story. and that's when i reach for my radio to tell the station where i was, what i was doing -- >> the suspect smacks the radio out of colombo's hand and starts throwing punches. >> i tried to trip him up. at one point, i took him. and i had him by the back and scruff of the neck. and i actually rammed him like you would ram down a door with a battering ram into a car. and the guy went down. >> but the attacker just pops back up. >> when he got up, i was a little concerned, you know, that maybe this guy is on drugs or something. >> get on the ground now! >> on the street, people are passing slowly by as sergeant colombo finds himself in a full-on brawl. >> i could see the people looking. i know they want to help. but i'm getting the feeling that
they're a little bit scared. i don't begrudge any of these people for standing by. >> and close by, a woman who just happens to have her camera catches the fight on tape. >> this cop needs some help. god. >> this guy, he's feeling no pain. at one point, i had my elbow on his head and his head was on the ground. and i was squishing his head into the pavement. that's when he was grabbing my genitals and squeezing. and i said to him, just stop. i said, i'll stop if you stop. >> but he doesn't. >> tried to get the handcuffs on him. and when i did attempt to do that, he's, you know, trying to thwart me. and that's when i -- i had him in a pretty good head hold, head lock here. get on the ground, now! >> colombo goes for the jugular and cuts off the would-be car thief's oxygen supply. >> back up. back up. i squeezed like a boa constrictor. i just squeezed with all my might.
and i knew that he was not breathing at that point. and it was just a matter of time before he would succumb. when i was doing this, i asked the people standing there, i said, hey. if you want to help, give me a hand. >> after more than a minute into taping, the woman capturing all this calls 911. >> i'm in the city of boston and there's a cop fighting a guy and he could sure use some backup. >> by that time, the eyewitnesss from the street grab all four limbs, while the sergeant handcuffs the man, who is later identified as ruben delgado.$gm sergeant colombo, unharmed, then realizes the brawl's been caught on tape. the tape is invaluable. it's more than enough evidence for a judge to sentence delgado to a two-year prison term. as we've just seen, some people resist arrest by trying to fight off a police officer. other criminals try to fool cops with a good story. you've got to see this next encounter to believe it. listen closely and you be the judge. pollock, louisiana, april 5th,
2006. a convicted murderer escapes from a federal penitentiary, and a massive manhunt is on to capture him. the fugitive, richard lee mcnair, is a dangerous criminal, a highly intelligent martial arts expert who's escaped from two other prisons in the past before being recaptured. this time, he hides in a mail truck. he's the first prisoner to escape from a federal maximum security facility in nearly 15 years. hours after mcnair's discovered missing, an officer with the ball police department sees a man running on the railroad tracks and gets out to question him. >> what it is, we've got an escapee. >> oh. where from? >> a prison. >> is it the man he's looking for? >> when i crossed the tracks down there, i saw you running. and i said, well, how lucky can i be?
>> nope, nope, nope, nope. i'm not no prison escapee. >> the police only have an old, blurry photograph of the prisoner they're looking for. and the officer can't tell if the person he stopped matches the description. so, he asks the man some questions. >> do you have any form of identification on you? what's your name? >> robert jones. >> robert jones? >> uh-huh. am i not supposed to be on the tracks? >> no, that's not the problem right now. what's your address? >> i don't have an address. i'm at the hotel. we're working on houses and stuff like that, roofing. >> the police officer seems to believe the man's story, that he's a roofer staying at a nearby motel. but he's not 100% sure and questions the man further. it turns out the man is mcnair, the exact person the police are looking for. but the smooth-talking criminal is able to fool the cop. the man tells the police officer that he has a brother who can back up his claims. >> call my little brother, man. >> all right. let me just verify.
he says his brother is staying at the motel. let me verify that. if so, i'll just cut him loose. all right, thanks. >> but the officer never checks, and instead, seems to take a casual attitude. >> you know the bad thing about it? you're matching up to him. >> that sucks, doesn't it? >> yeah. >> the officer notices the man's legs are scraped. >> did you go through a brier patch or something? >> yeah, roofing. i always roof in shorts. got my scratches up on the roof. >> that's why your knees are all cut up? >> yeah. >> do you all wear pads? >> it's too hot. the pads rub the back of your legs. >> it seems mcnair has an answer for everything. but when the officer asks him his name a second time, mcnair gives a different response. >> what's your name again? >> jimmy jones. >> he says his name is jimmy jones. but the first time, he said it was robert jones. >> what's your name? >> robert jones. >> but the police officer doesn't pick up on it and almost apologizes for detaining the
man. >> put yourself in my position. >> well, yeah. but i'm not -- >> i know. i'm not throwing you against the -- >> you think i'm an escapee? >> hey, you wouldn't believe what the guys do. i mean, they've got years and years to think about how they're going to do it. >> after a few minutes of discussing his jogging route, the officer lets the wanted man go with a wave and a smile. >> be careful, buddy. >> thank you. >> all right. >> mcnair killed a man during a robbery in 1987. he's listed by federal marshals as one of the country's most-wanted criminals and eludes a nationwide manhunt for nearly two years. he's captured in canada in 2007 and is extradited back to the united states. coming up -- >> get in the car! >> outgunned on the side of the road. police getting in trouble. >> sit down! i'm not a dude. >> and an airport nightmare. when "caught on camera, the thin blue line" continues.
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here's what's happening. watching severe weather this weekend. tornado warnings for texas, oklahoma, nebraska and kansas throughout the evening. the man accused of shooting at george zimmerman is out on bail. he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and other charges. zimmerman who was acquitted on charges after shooting and killing unarmed teenager trayvon martin. back to "caught on camera." tyler, texas, march 22nd, 2006. a state trooper's viciously shot on a dark highway, and it's caught on his dashboard camera. >> get in the car! get in the car! >> the incident begins when
steve stone with the texas department of public safety catches a pickup truck speeding. it takes a bit longer than usual for the driver to pull over. >> he didn't want to stop for me. you can hear me in the video saying he didn't want to stop for me. it's just something i took note of but it was nothing that would cause me to be on alert immediately. >> his dashboard camera begins recording a bone-chilling incident that the highway patrolman still can't believe he survived. >> and i thought, you ain't going to make it through this. it was very scary. >> it begins as a routine traffic stop. >> how you doing, sir? >> all right, sir. did i do something wrong? >> you were a little bit over on your speed. >> i was just behind that truck. >> well, you were going faster than that truck. you were gaining on him. just need to see your driver's license and insurance. >> trooper stone can sense that something isn't right. >> he was very nervous when i was talking to him in the vehicle. go ahead and step out of the truck for me. he stops at the door. and he's doing something with his hands. that did not make me very comfortable at all. come back here, sir.
i take a bladed stance. i put my hand back on my weapon. and i try to peek around the truck to see what's he doing? >> when he goes back to close the door, he finds a bottle of liquor and asks the passenger in the vehicle to hand it to him. >> open container of alcohol in the vehicle. >> the driver says he hasn't been drinking but appears nervous and fumbles with his documents. >> got a driver's license? >> yes, sir. >> concerned with his own safety, trooper stone asks about weapons. >> you don't have any weapons on you, do you? >> no, sir. >> no pocketknives, guns, anything like that? >> yeah, i got a pocketknife. >> you got a pocketknife? where? i blade myself again. and i take a stance. go ahead and put it on the bumper for me. >> the pocketknife is just the beginning. >> you sure you don't have any weapons on you? >> the experienced law enforcement officer soon finds a stash of drugs. >> what is that? what's in there? >> weed.
>> what? >> weed. >> weed? >> yeah. >> it kind of caught me off guard. normally, they make you drag the answer out of them. so, i asked him again. i said, is it weed? he said, yes, it's weed. and i set that down on my patrol car because he's going to be under arrest for possession of marijuana. okay. i got a bag full of drugs here. >> the situation grows tense as trooper stone places the driver under arrest. >> turn around. place your hands behind your back. you're under arrest. stop. >> but before he can get the handcuffs on -- >> stay in the car! >> the passenger door opens. trooper stone reaches for his weapon. >> when that door first came open, the look on that man's face as he was first getting out
of that truck, i'll never forget. stay in the car! get in the car! >> the driver and passenger both pull guns. >> the driver was able to use his free right hand -- i never did observe a gun. so, that tells me it was further down and hidden from my view. and in the video, you can see him dig down in there and pull a semiautomatic pistol out of his pants. >> they both unload their weapons. trooper stone falls down an embankment before he can fire back. >> it's believed they took about 20 shots at me. so, they fired until the guns were empty. >> they flee the scene, leaving the police officer for dead on the side of the road. >> they just wouldn't stop shooting. in my mind, every round they fired was hitting me. >> somehow, some way, he's still alive. his bulletproof vest helps but barely. >> i was struck twice in the chest, once in the back, came out the top of my left shoulder.
and then i was struck three times in the neck. and i also have an impact wound on the chin. >> he screams out. >> you hear me yelling out "help, tyler." we call our communications center here at this district office, they're known as tyler. that's their call sign. >> but his cries for help go unheard. he doesn't have a radio on him. and the dashboard camera is recording audio, but it's not being transmitted to anyone. >> so, i actually did not have a body mike on that could transmit to tyler. they can't hear my video or anything else. tyler! tyler! it was an instinctive reaction. no one could hear me unless they just happened to be within earshot of my voice. >> he's in intense pain and bleeding profusely. he struggles back to his patrol car where he can radio for help. >> i was able to reach in and grab the radio and make a call out for help. tyler, help! i've been shot! help, tyler! help, please!
>> this time, police were able to hear him and help is on the way. his breathing becomes heavy. he's close to death. >> i actually had an image of my wife waving, after we had just had dinner earlier that day. and i was thinking about my little girl back at home. >> he summons the strength to relay critical information on the suspects. >> 1414, can you give me any kind of vehicle information? >> tyler, it's going to be a blue pickup truck with two hispanic males. >> help arrives within minutes as cops begin a hunt for the blue pickup. trooper stone is still conscious but in critical condition. >> it felt like my shoulder exploded and the only thing holding it together was the skin. it hurt very intensely. it was also during this time that i realized i had been shot
in the neck. >> thanks to his speedy description, police spot the blue pickup within a half hour and a high-speed chase ensues. then, the car crashes. the two men inside severely injured but alive. police recover several weapons in the car. >> that rifle right there, robert. >> the driver was an illegal immigrant. and he had been criminally deported from the united states two times prior to the day he shot me for weapon and drug offenses. so, this would have been his third strike. >> after barely surviving the car crash, the two men plead guilty to several counts of aggravated assault on a public servant. they're sentenced to life in prison. despite the torrent of gunfire, the 29-year-old former military police officer survives. >> it's just a miracle that they didn't pierce anything vital, any of the major blood vessels. >> but his recovery takes nearly two years. and it's not 100%. >> i still have some mobility issues with my left shoulder. i guess i think about it most when i'm playing with my little girl.
>> he returns to the job and becomes an investigator. and he says he cherishes life more than ever. >> i didn't want my little girl to grow up without a father. you know? i didn't want my wife to have to explain to her why her father is not around. help! help! help! help, tyler! coming up -- >> sit down. i'm not a dude. >> a skateboarder gets busted and roughed up. a taser tragedy at the vancouver airport. cops hitting hard. when "caught on camera, the thin blue line" continues. [ screaming ] rate suckers! [ bell dinging ] your car insurance goes up because of their bad driving. people try all sorts of ways to get rid of them. [ driver panting ] if you're sick of paying more than your fair share...
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...you want to eat, who wants to (woman) you weat... eat... (dog) do i want to eat? yes, i want to eat. (woman) do you want to eat? (dog) do i want to eat, yes. that's like nine times you've asked...yes. i mean it's beneful. i can actually see the meaty chunks and carrots right there...look at it. it's beautiful. mmmmmmm, thank you so much... but you know tomorrow night... ...how 'bout we just assume i do want to eat... ...you know speed things up a little. (vo) beneful chopped blends, a healthy blend... ...your dog will love. made with real beef. plus carrots and barley that you can see. beneful. healthy with a side of happy. welcome back to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. police have come to rely on
video as an important law enforcement tool. the squads have dashboard cameras. bystanders have camcorders. and that video catches criminals in the act, helps prove cases in court. and then, sometimes is used as training video to help prepare cops for the dangerous situations they'll face every day. the cameras can also catch cops behaving badly. police officers are expected to uphold the law. so, these images can be especially shocking. >> how old are you? >> in baltimore, maryland, a 14-year-old is skateboarding illegally and is confronted by a cop who doesn't like the boy's attitude. >> i'm not your father. you give that attitude to your father. you give it to me, i'll smack you upside the head. >> i don't have a father. >> shut your mouth. i'm talking. >> a friend captures the argument on a cell phone, as the officer becomes enraged because the boy, eric bush, calls him dude. >> give me that skateboard. >> the officer puts eric in a headlock and wrestles him to the ground. >> sit down. >> dude!
>> sit down! i'm not a dude! >> he takes the skateboard. but then eric drops the dreaded "d" word one more time. >> i didn't do anything, dude. >> the officer turns around. >> don't call me dude. >> this time, he gives the boy a lecture. >> first of all, you disrespected me, this badge, and my department. you understand me? when i'm talking to you, you shut your mouth, and you listen. >> and a vocabulary lesson. >> stop calling me dude. a dude is somebody who works on a ranch. >> when eric's mother sees the video, she's outraged and files a complaint with the police department. >> sit down. sit down! i'm not a dude! >> if he thinks that eric did something so bad that he felt he needed to attack eric, he should have arrested eric. i would rather he arrested eric than attacked him. >> the police officer, a 17-year veteran of the force, is suspended. a more violent episode of police crossing the line in missouri. it starts as a high-speed chase. several police officers pursue a
suspected drunk driver who has a toddler onboard. it's the pickup truck with the flashing lights. the high-speed chase exceeds 100 miles an hour at times. finally, the fleeing suspect stops. an officer's dash cam rolls as the sheriff's deputy approaches the car. the driver comes out, hands up. the deputy throws him to the ground, steps on his back, then kicks him. he looks in the truck, where police say a 3-year-old is sitting without a child seat. the deputy turns around and kicks the man in the groin and then steps on him again. the deputy resigns after an internal investigation. in south carolina, a collection of shocking and disturbing dashboard videos leads federal authorities to investigate alleged misconduct and civil rights violations by the state's highway patrol. a man is on the run after fleeing his car during a traffic stop. >> driving down homer street.
>> the trooper is in hot pursuit. he strikes the man with his squad, flipping him over. the officer's dash cam records him telling another police officer that he hit the fleeing suspect intentionally. >> i nailed the [ bleep ] out of him. he went flying up in the air. i wish -- >> you hit him? >> yeah, i hit him. i was trying to hit him. >> after the man is hit by the car, he gets up and keeps on running. >> i don't believe that it's part of standard training to hit fleeing suspects on foot. >> the incident is investigated. the officer says he didn't set out intentionally to hit the man. his punishment, a three-day suspension. >> you hit him? >> yeah, i hit him. i was trying to hit him. >> this man flees his car after being stopped for speeding and is also hit by a south carolina trooper's car. but the chase doesn't end there. after being hit, the man continues running. the trooper follows. he jumps a curb, and incredibly
drives right through an apartment complex. at one point, children have to back out of the way. the pursuit continues until the suspect gives up. >> get on the ground! >> the videotape is reviewed. and in his disciplinary report, his boss writes, "your decision to continue a vehicular pursuit posed a safety risk to others." what happens? he receives what's known as level two reprimand and is ordered to take a stress management class. >> there are those who believe that that punishment was too light. >> these videos are obtained by the state newspaper in columbia, south carolina, as part of an investigation into problems inside the highway patrol. as the paper digs deeper, it discovers several more troubling incidents. >> power of an image on tape can be much more dramatic than what's written on a page. >> an officer points a shotgun at the driver of a pickup truck who had refused to pull over. then another officer is seen
poking a shotgun at the passenger as he drops to the ground. the passenger accuses the officer of hitting him in the face with the shotgun. >> the internal affairs reports indicate that he struck the motorist on the cheek with the barrel of the shotgun, causing it to bleed a little bit and his face to swell, at least according to that motorist's statement. >> the officer is demoted and reassigned. in another car chase, a vehicle that refuses to pull over finally comes to a stop. >> get out of the car! get out of the car! >> one officer drags out the passenger and appears to beat him as another officer stands over the man and a third walks slowly around the car to the scene. >> according to the internal affairs report, the passenger was not complying with the officer's orders to show his hands. you see the officer using his hand to strike the passenger several times but also using his flashlight to strike the
passenger several times, as well.@aáp >> the passenger eventually is handcuffed. after police question him, he's released because he is not wanted and did not violate the law during the pursuit. a truck driver's pursued for several miles on i-95. he weaves back and forth between lanes. he finally comes to a stop. his truck, smoking. the driver gets out, hands up, then gets on the ground. an officer comes running in, kicks the driver in the head, and continues to punch and kick him as the other officers move in and handcuff him. the officer resigns during an internal affairs investigation. all these incidents and others lead the u.s. attorney for south carolina, the fbi, the justice department, and the state law enforcement division to launch investigations. when we come back, airport confusion turns a family reunion seven years in the making into heartbreak. when "caught on camera, the thin blue line" continues.
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welcome back to "caught on camera." airport security has increased significantly since 9/11. tsa officials screen passengers. police officers patrol the curbs and concourses. and the people who keep travelers safe are trained to respond instantly to any type of disturbance or perceived threat. but in canada, one airport incident turned tragic when an apparently confused and irate passenger got himself into a dangerous situation. a distressing encounter at the vancouver international airport caught on camera by another traveler. it's october 14th, 2007. 1:28 in the morning. the royal canadian mounted police respond to a report of a
man acting strangely in the international arrivals area. >> how are you, sir? he speaks russian, and that's it. no english. >> the confrontation quickly escalates. officers order the man, seen through the glass partition, to move back into an open area. he puts his hands in the air and turns around. they surround him and appear to try to communicate. police say he has an object, later identified as a stapler, in his hand. one of the officers fires a taser gun. sending 50,000 volts of electricity into the man's body through two darts attached to a wire. he falls to the ground, screaming in pain. >> hit him again. hit him again. >> the man writhes on the ground in agony. officers pile on top and attempt to handcuff him.
but a struggle ensues as airport personnel look on. officers continue to subdue the man. >> from what we know, they tasered him at least twice, possibly more. witnesses could hear the taser. worry, how are they still fighting him off? >> nobody knows why. he just speaks russian. nobody knows why. >> as the man loses consciousness, police switch from trying to control him to checking his vital signs. >> he's unconscious? i heard them say code red. >> i was thinking i will kiss him very soon, and i will hug him soon. >> tragically, robert zekonski, a 40-year-old polish man immigrating to canada, dies minutes later. how did such a misfortune come to pass? the heartbreaking story begins nearly 12 hours earlier at 3:12 p.m., when robert arrives from
poland via frankfurt. >> i was so happy. >> his mother sophia is supposed to meet him at baggage claim. they haven't seen each other in seven years. he's coming to live with her and start a new life. >> i was there. i was happy to meet him. but when i was waiting longer, then i start worry a little bit. >> she doesn't know that her only child, who doesn't speak english and has never flown before, is having trouble clearing customs and immigration. >> if you're coming from outside the country, you're supposed to be directed to what's called secondary customs so they can process your papers. >> robert apparently becomes confused by the process and spends several hours wandering around the customs area. >> until at least 10:00, no one had any real interaction with him. and as unbelievable as this sounds, there was a person walking around in an area where
security is at its highest, and he is not paid attention to for in excess of seven hours. >> at 10:00 p.m., after waiting at baggage claim for several hours by herself, robert's mother leaves, told by airport officials, she says, that there's no record of her son arriving. >> and she said, no, he's not here. you can go home. we will phone you. >> at 12:15 a.m., nine hours after arriving at the airport, robert finally makes it through immigration and is free to leave. he exits the international reception lounge, a secure area blocked off with plexiglas, but then returns through the one-way automatic doors. >> and i think when he got out into that public area and he realized that there was no one there, he got confused as to whether he was in the right place. and he tried to get back in, and ultimately, a chauffeur let him back into that secure area, a
guy with a security clearance. >> an hour later, the video begins. he holds up a table, speaking in polish. >> there's nothing wrong. there's nothing wrong. >> bystanders ask him questions and try to help. they say he's sweating profusely and looks pale. >> i'm kind of trying to calm him down by sign language, like shh, no, no, no, waving my hands. and he looked at me, and he put it back on the table. so i didn't feel threatened by him. >> he returns to the lounge and begins acting erratically. >> right in front of the cops too. >> he throws the table at the window. >> he was certainly in distress and he just didn't know what to do. he was looking for help. >> airport security try to communicate. the police arrive, quickly
surround him, and the grave scene unfolds. when robert stops moving, paramedics are called. he's pronounced dead at the scene. >> they say, i have very bad news for you. your son died. then i went in shock. i was crying. i was asking why. >> an initial autopsy finds no trace of alcohol, drugs, or disease, but fails to find a specific cause of death. >> he was not a sickly person. wasn't a diabetic, for example, or a person that required any kind of regular medication. >> the video is voluntarily handed over to police. investigators keep it for a month, but after legal action is initiated, it's returned and
released to the public. >> our number one goal is to do a truthful, fair, and unbiased investigation. >> the footage sparks a nationwide debate over the use of tasers and causes an international incident between poland and canada. >> everyone was in a state of shock when they saw this video. >> several investigations are launched. >> the government of canada assured us that they would do all their best to investigate this case and to give proper answers to the inquiry. >> vancouver airport officials reviewed the incident and made changes to the airport's customer care, communications, medical response, and safety and security department. officials say those improvements will make a passenger's trip through the airport easier.
that's it for this edition of "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. when the pressure is on. >> please get out here. >> i figured we were going to die. >> and your back is against the wall. >> oh, this is it. >> stand down. >> bad bit. >> do you run for your life. >> either going to fighter flight. they ran. >> or face fear head on. >> i was like game on. >> one man defends his business. >> when i swang the bat, i was like going for it. we'll see what happens. >> and anoth