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tv   Nightline  ABC  July 29, 2017 12:37am-1:07am EDT

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♪ one by one, one by one this is "nightline." >> tonight, fatal crossing. a teen smuggling liquid meth across the border. do these customs officers encourage him to drink what turned out to be a deadly concoction? and these two sisters say they were forced to strip down. >> he told me to take off my bra and he started touching me. >> hundreds of allegations of serious and sometimes even deadly misconduct against the very people protecting our borders. plus, bieber whisperer? ♪ sorry after saying sorry for canceling his tour and make headlines for hitting a paparazzo with his
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swirling about justin bieber's spiritual life. did his rock star pastor tell him to take some time off? we're inside the church that celebs are flocking to. and shark attack. >> i felt it grab me and pull me down. >> the mother of three who fought off an attack by a great white. >> it wasn't a curious bite. this was an attack bite to kill. >> across the nation from celebrity sightings to close encounters, shark frenzy is heating up this summer. but first, the "nightline" 5.
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number one in just 60
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good evening. thanks for joining us. tonight the video the government didn't want you to see, showing a disturbing encounter between two u.s. customs officers and a teen from mexico. within hours the teenager dies and the video appears to conflict with what officers say led to his death. it's an exclusive abc news investigation, and abc's chief investigative correspondent brian ross starts us off tonight. >> reporter: it's 6:21 on a monday evening at the san ysidro, california border crossing. and the man in the white sweatshirt is a smuggler. a 16-year-old high school student by the name of cruz velasquez, with drugs hid nen two bottles in his shoulder bag. >> cruz was
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believe, as a mule. here, we'll give you $100 or $200 if you just take these bottles across the border. >> reporter: over the next one hour and 38 minutes this video obtained by abc news will show in gripping detail just how far u.s. border officers will go, encouraging or at least permitting this teenager to prove his innocence by drinking from a suspicious bottle, an encounter that will end up as a matter of life and death on the border. >> there is a clear history of agents and officers engaging in what i believe was serious misconduct. >> reporter: and our abc news investigation conducted with the non-profit investigative fund found that despite more than ten suspect deaths and hundreds of other allegations of misconduct and threats border officers and agents are rarely prosecuted or even punished. >> within that large
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believe they're held to a different standard and won't be held accountable for engaging in misconduct. >> reporter: often misconduct reported by young people, children and teenagers traveling without parents whose complaints are given short shrift. >> translator: he told me to take off my bra, and he started touching me. >> reporter: just last year knees two siste these two sisters who had fled guatemala to seek asylum in the u.s. say they were violated one after the other by a u.s. border agent supposedly searching for contraband. >> translator: the agent came back with my sister and then said to me, "it's your turn." then he said "pull down your underwear." he reached his hand out and put his hand in between my legs. and the worst was when he told me turn around, bend over. and i bent over.
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>> reporter: but their complaint like scores of others according to the aclu was quietly closed when the agent simply denied he did anything wrong. he said, they said, and he was the one who was believed. >> they just take the agent's word for it. >> that's correct. >> reporter: mibda works in the aclu's border program in san diego. >> if the agent says i have no knowledge of this? >> that's it. >> that's it? >> i don't remember that. >> these are just some of them. hundreds and hundreds of complaints filed by unaccompanied minors to your own agents. >> reporter: gill karlakowski, the commissioner of customs and border protection under the obama administration, says the complaints only involve a small number of officers and agents. >> these don't trouble you? >> well, the number of complaints that come in are high. but i'd say under my watch we've increased dramatically our ability to do these investigations. >> so you don't see any cover-up of
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in this agency? >> i don't see any cover-up especially by me. >> reporter: in the wake of our questions customs and border protection now says the complaint filed by the two sisters is not closed but remains under investigation. which the aclu says will make it a first in over 100 cases their lawyers have analyzed. >> as far as i can tell, there hasn't been a single complete investigation on any of the allegations that i've seen. >> reporter: in the case of cruz velasquez, his encounter with customs and border protection went bad almost immediately as he came face to face with officers adrian peryoung on the right and valerie baird on the left. the young man appears nervous, and the officers start to examine the two bottles in his bag. >> so they know that there's something funny, there's something fishy. >> reporter: what's in the bottles is highly concentrated methamphetamine, dissolved in liquid. and instead of doing
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field test the officers will make a decision that the family lawyer gene iredale calls outrageous as he takes us through the video. >> cruz now points at the bottle and she's saying, okay, drink it. and she makes the gesture that we associate with to drink. now, watch the male agent. he says drink another one. you see them exchanging glances and smiles because they know what's going on. this is a game in which he's being played with by these officers. they want to see what his reaction is. >> reporter: velasquez knows he is in trouble and not just with the border officers but also with the ruthless bosses of the cartel who paid him and do not tolerate failure. >> in his mind the
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worse than the u.s. agents. >> reporter: former fbi agent steve gomez, now an abc news consultant. >> a lot of times they don't even want to hear the excuse. they'll just kill everybody and make an example. >> so he's in a bad place. >> a very bd placad place. >> reporter: now at 7:07 p.m. two minutes after the first drinks it happens again and again. >> two more sips. and you see the smile. >> reporter: a total of four swallows in all of the highly toxic solution. something the officers will later say under oath the teenager volunteered to do with no prompting from them and before they had any suspicions about what was in the bottles. >> i never asked him to. he volunteered to. and i believe i gestured to him to go ahead. >> you told him to go ahead and drink on more than one occasion, did you not? >> no. >> you're sure of that? >> i'm
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>> reporter: but the government video obtained by abc news seems to contradict that. now taken in handcuffs to a security office velasquez can barely stand. sweating profusely, upsetting officer valerie baird. >> i noticed some labored breathing, and he was shaking a lot. i remember putting my hand and just told him to like relax. >> reporter: it will be more than 35 minutes after the first drink before officers call for a team of paramedics. a fateful delay. >> because the drug's making the heart beat so fast, the heart needs more oxygen. it essentially can't get enough oxygen. as a result the person develops chest pains. very similar to if they were having a heart attack. >> reporter: now at 7:51 a san diego fire department team of paramedics does
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a trip to the hospital. his temperature rising to 105 degrees. his heart racing at an incredible 220 beats a minute. >> what do you think he's feeling at this point? >> abject terror. >> abject terror? >> absolutely. >> reporter: according to the san diego county medical examiner, 16-year-old cruz marcellino velasquez acevedo died at 8:57 p.m. of acute methamphetamine intoxication, less than two hours after he first drank from the suspicious bottle. >> you felt guilty that mr. velasquez died, didn't you? >> no. >> no? didn't you cry? >> i did. yes. >> did you not feel guilty that he was dead? >> no. >> he's not without fault. he was doing something he ought not to have been doing.
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the issue is in such a circumstance is the death penalty and a death that was so quick and cruel, is that deserved? he cooked within his own body, and he died in terrible pain. >> reporter: but within hours of his death the official report prepared that night with input from the officers' colleagues said the manner of death is an accident and that velasquez voluntarily took a drink from one of the bottles. actually, it was four drinks. despite what the video appears to show, the officials at customs and border protection apparently believed the claims of the two officers instead. >> officer perallon, was any discipline ever imposed upon you for the events that occurred on the 18th of november, 2013? >> no, sir. >> even as a result of the death of cruz velasquez acevedo
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you, was it? >> no. >> not even a reprimand? no. not even a reprimand? >> i've never gotten a reprimand. >> no. >> the two officers remain on duty to this day. >> so what's the message that sends to other agents? >> well, it's a very simple lesson. do what you want. so long as the person who's hurt doesn't have political power or juice, doesn't speak english, from a foreign country, have a good time. >> reporter: earlier this year the government paid the family of cruz velazquez $1 million to settle the lawsuit they had brought. there was no apology and no admission of any wrongdoing. for "nightlin
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news, san ysidro, california. up next -- ♪ you give me purpose is justin bieber finding a new purpose? we're with the pop star's pastor, who's been ministering to a growing number of young celebrities. and the family birthday at the beach that almost turned deadly. meet the mother of three who fought off a great white shark. this is crabfest at red lobster. and right now, we're serving up more delicious crab than ever. classic favorites like crab lover's dream. and new dishes like southern king crab and dueling crab legs with delicious dungeness and sweet snow crab. it's all happening at crabfest. and crabfest is only happening at red lobster. now this is seafood. keep your hair strong against styling damage... ...with pantene 3 minute miracle daily conditioner. a super concentrated pro-v formula makes hair stronger*...
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higher purpose? here's my "nightline" co-anchor byron pitts. ♪ is it too late now to say sorry ♪ >> reporter: pop idol justin bieber had to say sorry for calling off the rest of his "purpose" tour. citing unforeseen circumstances. but now tmz is reporting those circumstances may have something to do with this man. >> he will heal you in places you didn't even know you were broken! >> reporter: mega church minister carl lentz nicknamed the rock star pastor whose hipster congregation has included the likes of kylie and kendall jenner. >> we reach everyone from the faceless to the famous. >> reporter: tmz writing the decision came after bieber decided to rededicate his life to christ and long talks with lentz, said to be a trusted spir sweerlt adviser. >> we heard from sources he was exhausted and really wanted to focus on himself and was spending time with his church friends and his pastor and focusing on his spirituality. >> reporter: justin appearing to be a tru
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during this hillsong interview. >> this issy love carl more. >> reporter: the one-time bad boy of pop's decision comes amidst a spree of other controversies. ♪ i want to on monday the "cold water" singer found himself in hot water after being banned from performing in china for past bad behavior. and wednesday he accidentally hit a photographer. >> oh! >> he's okay. >> back up. >> reporter: he stayed on the scene offering help, and no charges were pressed. hillsong denies having a role in bieber's decision-making telling abc news in part, "the recent announcement by justin bieber and his tour does not involve hillsong church. we wish justin the best for his future." lentz's celebrity circle doesn't stop there. ♪ you're looking at the truth bieber isn't the only one. ♪ i'm the one yeah >> puts it up! >> reporter: the pastor is also reported to have nba all-star kyrie irving's ear. the two pictured here on his instagram page. tmz says irving huddled with lentz before making his surprising demand to be traded
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cleveland cavaliers. >> cleveland is a city of champions! >> reporter: they won a championship together in 2016. no one is saying lentz told him to make the move. >> when we first moved here it just seemed so big. >> reporter: but when we caught up with lentz in 2014, his influence in the nba was clear. he baptized kevin durant and was even connected with the knicks. ♪ it's the heart-thumping music. >> tonight we celebrate in your house. >> reporter: and scripture-rich sermons that have made lentz a big name in his own right. >> god will bless you in areas you didn't even know you wanted to be wlblessed. >> reporter: focusing on basic biblical principles. the church which originated in australia now has locations from london to paris, kiev to capetown. >> music has an incredible ability to break down walls and to reach people's hearts. >> it felt like i was backstage at a concert. >> less groupies, though. >> reporter: but if our conversation was any indication, the powerhouse pre
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his rising fame. glue can't fake who you are. you are who you are. so -- >> who are you? >> i love people. >> tell me what's up. >> i really want to have the same heart for people that jesus did, which is to not see what everybody else saw but try to dig a little bit deeper. i feel like that's how i was reached. >> reporter: pastor carl may have given a glimpse of his humanity, but he soon shut it down with humor. >> don't show this, byron. this is fake. this is all for show. >> reporter: no one but lentz, bieber, and irving may ever know if his role as a career counselor is actually for real. but the one job that is real for lentz -- >> this is awesome. >> reporter: -- is the one he says is the most important of all. leading people to jesus. no matter if it's at the club, on the court, or right here in church. >> has to
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>> reporter: for "nightline" i'm byron pitts in new york. up next, the great white fright. we're meeting the mom who mustered up the courage and the strength to beat back an attack by a great white shark. take the zantac it challenge! pill works fast? zantac works in as little as 30 minutes. nexium can take 24 hours. when heartburn strikes, take zantac for faster relief than
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finally tonight, despite popular perception, shark bites and attacks are still pretty rare. roughly 100 or so a year. but for one family in san diego one close encounter with a shark was definitely one too many. abc's nick watt caught up with a mother of three who fought off a deadly great white. >> that's all that was left. >> reporter: teeth marks. >> it's almost like a cartoon chunk out of your leg. >> yeah. that's the image my mind gave me, was a cartoon. >> oh, really? >> the shark was hunting that seal that was in the water with us. so it wasn't a curious bite. this was an attack bite to kill. >> someone got bit by a shark. >> are they still in the water? >> yeah. they're dragging them out right now. >> reporter: saturday evening april 29th this year leeann and
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>> i felt it grab me and pull me down. >> reporter: that's how great whites hunt. drown the prey, then eat. >> i felt like i was digging out a cup of jell-o. >> reporter: that was the shark's eye? >> yeah. >> reporter: nine weeks in the icu and eight operations later leeann is defying the odds. >> so how much does it cost to get bitten by a shark? >> millions. >> reporter: her mom has set up guy fund me page. >> it's brought you closer, you think? >> yeah. he saved my life. i mean -- >> reporter: that's a lot of points in the bank. >> i would have done it for you too, buddy. >> reporter: i'm nick watt for "nightline" in san diego, california. >> that is one tough mama. thanks for watching abc news. and as always, we're online at and our "nightline" >> hey, everybody, it's getaway week, and today our contestants are not just playing for themselves. they're trying to win the money they need to send a very special person in their life on a long-overdue vacation. but don't you go anywhere, because from bally's las vegas, it's time to play "who wants to be a millionaire."
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[dramatic music] ♪ hey, everybody, welcome to the show. it's getaway week here on "millionaire." [cheers and applause] today's returning contestant came to win a trip for his mom, who worked hard to raise three kids on her own. now he's back to add to his own bank account. from crown heights, new york, please welcome back devin landin. [cheers and applause] devin, how you doing? >> how you doing? ♪ >> so it's getaway week, and you already got a trip for your mom. >> yep. >> $5,000. you've reached that threshold, but it was also that trip. why did you want her to win so bad? >> well, my dad's a casualty of war. he died when i was seven. i have a younger brother and a younger sister. my mom's worked her whole life to make sure that we had the start that we needed, and i'd like to just be able to give her something back. if i win a million dollars, i can give her more. [applause] >> and if you--you're at


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