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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Teacher Cheating on School Tests; How Being in Baggage Part of Flying Plane Was Possible; Clinton's Start of Presidential Campaign; 360 Bulletin. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 14, 2015 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, thanks for joining us.

Tonight, new dash cam video, and we should warn you right now it is graphic video. An armed suspect, a shot fired, and then this.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): The police department involved is arguing that what you see here actually saved the gunman's life, the police care slamming into a man who had fired off one round. We'll ask our criminal justice veterans if that makes any sense to them. We'll show you more of the video.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER (on camera): Also tonight, the educators behind a massive school cheating scandal and the judge today who threw the book at them.

(BEGIN VIDEOLCIP)

JERRY BAXTER, FULTON COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: Everybody in the education system at APS knew that cheating was going on and your client promoted it.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER: We'll have more on what the judge said.

We begin, though, with that dash cam video. Police in the Tucson, Arizona, suburb of Marana released it today. The incident happened February 19th. Now, a suspect in several violent crimes on the run, allegedly armed with a stolen rifle. Police say he had already threatened to use it on himself.

Then, as you'll see and hear, a shot is fired by the suspect and the police car comes screaming right at the guy. Again, it's graphic. You'll see it from two angles, including from the dash cam on the cruiser that actually hit the man.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh! Jesus Christ, man down!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's down, he's down!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unit (unidentified), standoff, standoff. The gun is loaded. Unit on (inaudible). Stay off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christ! Man down.

COOPER (voice-over): Now, as you might imagine, with all the other stories about police using deadly force out there lately, this one is raising questions.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER (on camera): We'll bring in our panel shortly, but first, Miguel Marquez joining us with all the details behind this just- released video.

So, what do we know about what led up to this?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the one critical bit that we don't see in the video that you just showed was the gunshot (inaudible). This is a 36-year-old Mario Valencia, fired off as police were telling him to put down the gun.

He fired it into the air, not at police. But there were other police cruisers coming at him. His crime spree, as police call it, started at 6:45 in Tuscon, just south of Marana. He robbed a 7-Eleven about 6:45 in the morning then he set fire to a church just after that. He went to a home and broke in then stole that homeowner's car, drove that car to Marana just north of the city. That's where he went to a Walmart, stole a 30-30 rifle and ammunition, broke the lock off that rifle while a officer from the store was in pursuit, was walking down what police say was an, a business park toward a business where 3 to 400 people were working, and that's when those police officers say they had to take action.

Anderson?

COOPER: And the police chief there spoke out about the incident. What did he say, particularly about hitting the suspect with the police cruise?

MARQUEZ: He's taking a pretty aggressive stance. He's saying, look, we're not going to Monday morning quarterback this. This is a guy who was clearly having mental issues. He had failed to follow any of the police officers' directions. And here's a little more of what the police chief had to say in Marana.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

CHIEF TERRY ROZEMA, MARANA POLICE DEPARTMENT: If we're going to choose between maybe we'll let him go a little bit farther and see what happens, or we're going to take him out now and eliminate any opportunity that he has to hurt somebody, you're going to err on the side of -- in favor of the innocent people.

(END VIDEOCLIP) MARQUEZ: The officer who ran him down was a one-year -- had been on the force there at Marana for one year. He had also served on a police force in Tuscon and New York City. At this point, there are no charges pending against that officer.

COOPER: And the suspect, he survived, where is he now and what charges --

MARQUEZ: Amazingly enough, he did survive. He's facing 15 different charges. He was in the hospital for a time. He is now out. He's been seen by a judge already. His next court appearance is in May, I think May 18th.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): And he has a slew of charges, being held on $25,000 bail. It'll be some time before he is out. His lawyer saying that there was no reason for police to do this, that they didn't take into account his mental state and that this is just as bad as shooting somebody in the back. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Miguel Marquez, appreciate it.

I want to bring in our panel, Harry Houck and Dan Bongino, both former members of the New York police department, also criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.

Harry, I mean, this is a guy who had fired off a shot into the air, clearly had a record that the officer seemed to know about. They said it was a crime spree, in the words of the chief of police.

Was this justified to hit this guy with a police cruiser?

HARRY HOUCK, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: Let me tell you what's going through the officer's mind at the time this is going on. You have a suspect who, we already went through the precursor of everything that had occurred. He already the weapon up to his own head, might, you know, threaten to kill himself. All right, so we already know the guy doesn't care much about his life.

We have a man walking down the street who has a weapon. Police are following him by. He could have dropped that weapon at any time, but he did not. Now, what if that man walks into somebody, you know, maybe taking a potential hostage, maybe just shooting somebody, then he fires the gun in the air.

Now, one, the officers are thinking, okay, what do I have to do? Are we going to surround him with radio cars and get in a possible gun battle, getting a police officer killed, who else can get killed by bullets flying around. This officer decided the best way to take this guy out, all right, was with a car. I'm 100 percent behind what he did.

COOPER: Dan, what about you? When the police says this tactic of hitting the suspect likely actually saved his life, does that make sense to you? Would hitting a suspect be justified if you saved their life doing it?

DAN BONGINO, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: Yes, Anderson. I mean, it's easy for me to Monday morning quarterback it in the chair, but I have to question this tactic a bit. I think setting up a secure perimeter and at least making some attempt to negotiate may have been far more efficient.

Here's another, you know, angle to this. The officer who hits the suspect there also looks what -- hits what looks to be a cinder block wall. So, he's creating a danger for himself, too. So I think on balance, it probably would have been far better to establish at least some kind of perimeter and, like I said, at least attempt to negotiate.

COOPER: Mark, to Harry's point, though, you know, securing a perimeter, you risk him just turning around and taking, you know, firing on an officer. They're not, you know, behind bulletproof glass or anything. Their cars are probably within range of that pistol. What do you make of it?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What I make of it is I can't even believe what I'm hearing. You see what this officer did. You see this windshield crash. You see him drive straight into a wall, which under any other circumstance would look like a fast and furious 8.

I mean, this is not a police tactic. This is no tactic. In fact, you hear what the other policeman says in the first camera, which is, don't go there, don't go there, he's got a gun.

Just as easily, the suspect could have turned around and started firing because he sees the car approach. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

HOUCK: It saved lives.

GERAGOS: You have no idea. The officer who is coming in and hitting the brick wall, he doesn't know if there is kids playing on the other side of that wall or anything else. This is insanity.

HOUCK: This saved lives. He could have walked into anybody on that street, somebody might have came out of the house, he could have shot them. All right, forget about what this guy's mental capacity is, who cares right now because right now he's putting lives in danger.

COOPER: But he could, to Mark's point, he could have heard the car screeching toward him, turned around and decided to fire. I mean, just as he could have taken a hostage, he could have hurt the officer who made this decision.

GERAGOS: And the cop could have killed himself driving into a block wall.

HOUCK: And the police officer could have killed himself -- could have been killed by shooting it out with this guy. So, you don't know. So, the officer thought that this was the best thing that he could do at the time. I'm 100 percent behind what this officer did.

COOPER: Dan, the fact that the police officer didn't announce, you know, over the radio to the other police officers what he was going to do, I mean, to Mark's point, you hear the officer on that first recording clearly surprised that this police car -- this cruiser that was behind him suddenly swerved around and went right for this guy. I mean, aren't you supposed to at least inform other officers? Again, this is all Monday morning quarterbacking, but aren't you supposed to inform other officers what you are about to do?

BONGINO: Yes, it seems a little strange. It appears that, the initial video you showed, that the one officer seems to be exercising some amount of tactical control over this scene through his radio. And then he seems clearly frustrated that the other officer who he's asking to stand down is not even talking, or we don't hear him talking, and then seems to just bypass any kind of an order or a command. In doing, you can you hear the frustration in the initial over's voice where he says something like, Jesus Christ, man down. So, yes, I don't think these tactics here would be something we'd be teaching in a police academy.

COOPER: Dan, would you be arguing differently if, I mean -- is there any difference between if the police had shot this guy as he was walking down the street after he discharged the weapon or hitting him with the cruiser? In your opinion, is there any different?

BONGINO: Yes, it's a great question. I'm strictly arguing the tactic, not the fact that the suspect had to be engaged. There is zero question from a reasonable person's point of view that this suspect presented danger of a serious personal injury or a death to someone else. He had to be stopped, Anderson. I just don't think the tactic of hitting him with a vehicle was appropriate in this, given the circumstances.

COOPER: But, I mean, is this, Harry, is this a tactic they teach in the police academy?

HOUCK: No, it's not a tactic they teach in the police academy.

BONGINO: Of course.

HOUCK: But, you know, I mean, the tactics that you use out there, you know, in the academy, they teach you for specific situations. All those situations are different now. They can't teach you for each and every type of situation that you can be put in.

COOPER: So Mark, we know the guy who was hit was facing multiple charges, is facing multiple charges, serious charges. Do you think he has cause to now file a lawsuit? I mean, anybody can file a lawsuit, but against the police department?

GERAGOS: He's obviously going to file a lawsuit against the police department. Whether he prevails on that is a completely different matter. But, you know, back to this idea of this being some kind of a tactic, not only would they never teach this in a police academy anywhere or in any kind of a police setting, but actually what they would tell you is that the first officer who is narrating what's going on was doing the appropriate thing.

He was the one who was approaching with caution. He was the one who was announcing that the shot has been fired. He didn't fire the shot and to approach with caution. The second officer who does the ramming, you know, they talk about the first guy, the suspect or the defendant doing suicide by cop, it's almost as if the second cop was trying to commit suicide. I mean, this idea of driving straight into a brick wall is insanity.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But Dan, I mean, haven't police tactics on active shooters changed dramatically. I mean, we've talked about this, we talked about this with Harry just last week. It used to be you set up a perimeter, you wait for a tactical unit, you wait for the SWAT to come in. Now it's first officers who respond, you try, you engage with the shooter, you deal with the shooter because you don't want more lives to be lost or the potential for lives to be lost.

BONGINO: Yes. Bingo. You hit the nail on the head right there. After Columbine, Columbine changed everything. Of course, the tragic school shooting. The idea before Columbine, pre-Columbine police tactics for uniform officers at the scene was stop, set up a perimeter, allow for the special weapons teams, the SWAT teams, the emergency services team, to come in and handle the problem.

After Columbine, police tactics change completely. You had to actually bypass people who were injured to stop an active shooter right away. I'm wondering if in this case that wasn't in the back of this officer's head. Again, trying to get in his head is tough, but I'm just having a hard time wondering why he ran his car

COOPER: Right.

BONGINO: -- over a curb and into a brick wall. It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

COOPER: Final thought, Harry.

HOUCK: I'll tell you, Anderson, you know had this guy, when he was dilly dallying walking down the street and the cop's not taking any action, had shot and killed somebody on the street, we'd be talking about how come that officer didn't take any action earlier.

COOPER: Harry Houck, good to have you on, Dan Bongino. Mark, stick around because there's another story that I want to get you involved in.

Coming up next is that Tulsa volunteer deputy who killed a suspect turns himself in. I want to get Mark's take on the psychological theory that his defenders are now using to explain why he fired his revolver instead of his taser. One criminologist calls it junk science, another expert says it's a winning argument in court. We'll talk to both of them ahead and Mark.

And later, sentencing in what's being called one of the biggest school cheating scandals ever. We're not talking about students cheating, we're talking about administrators, teachers being forced to pass students along who are not getting the education they deserve. We're joined by the man who led the investigation next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, the volunteer deputy in Tulsa who shot and killed a suspect, apparently by mistake, turned himself in today.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): Robert Bates is his name, he's also a wealthy to the department and a close friend of the sheriff. He surrendered this morning and then immediately made bail and left. He's charged with second degree man slaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris, the fleeing suspect in a gun buying sting.

Now, someone is heard on the video shouting, "taser, taser" when the suspect is already down, then Bates fires his revolver once, fatally wounding the suspect.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER: It's not clear if it was Bates himself indicating that he was about to use his taser. His likely defense that when he grabbed the gun instead of the taser his muscle memory made him fire. Now, that's the theory, and as you'll see shortly, not everyone buys it. Whether you buy it or not, though, this is not the first such incident, as our Randi Kaye explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 2009, on a train station platform in Oakland, California. 22-year-old Oscar Grant gets into a scuffle with BART transit police. Officer Johannes Mehserle and another officer tried to subdue Grant. At some point, Officer Mehserle announces, "I'm going to tase him," then fires. The trouble is, he didn't use his taser. He had mistakenly grabbed his semi-automatic handgun, firing one shot into Oscar Grant's back, killing him.

Protests erupted. How could a police officer have made such a fatal error? Perhaps because of something called slips and capture, a psychological stress phenomena experts say causes a person to slip from their intended path only to be captured by a stronger response that takes them in a different direction.

Greg Meyer testified for the defense at the trial of Officer Mehserle.

CAPT. GREG MEYER, LOS ANGELES POLICE (RET.): He's mentally trying to draw his taser which is in a cross draw position over in front of his belt, but his hand is on his side arm. He raises himself up and then fires the one shot, and then immediately reacts, you know, oh, my god.

KAYE: Officer Mehserle was convicted of involuntarily manslaughter, the jury finding he'd acted recklessly, but not intentionally. KAYE (on camera): Slips and capture can happen when officers rely on

old habits and when training is limited. In the Bart case, Meyer says the officer had only drawn his taser about ten times during training, yet had drawn his firearm about 50 times each week. Plus, without enough tasers to go around, the officer was using a completely different holster configuration every night.

KAYE (voice-over): Slips and capture has come into play before. In 2002 in Madera, California, a suspect was shot with a gun after trying to kick out the window of a police car. The chief said the officer meant to grab her taser. The suspect died, the officer was never charged.

In 2008, in Nicholasville, Kentucky, a suspect was shot when an officer tried to break up a fight with his taser but pulled his firearm instead. The man survived. A grand jury chose not to indict the officer.

In all, Meyer knows of ten cases in the U.S. and Canada which he says involve slips in capture, all of them include what he calls the strong hand.

MEYER: The hand that they normally use for their handgun is the same hand that they also use for their taser because of the way the holster configurations were.

KAYE: Meyer sees that as a recipe for disaster and is working to get police departments to change the holster configuration, separating the taser from the handgun.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, as we said, not everyone buys into the slips and capture theory. Joining us now is Phil Stinson, he's a professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University. Also, Bill Lewinski, a behavioral scientist with the Force Science Institute. He testified at the Bart trial and has been retained as a consultant with the attorney in this case as well as with the Tulsa County sheriff's office. Back with us also is criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.

Phil, let me start with you. We had you on the program last night, you said this whole idea of slips and capture is junk science. Explain.

PHIL STINSON, CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROFESSOR, BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, it is junk science. It's not accepted in most courts in terms of expert testimony. There is no testable theory, it has not been subject to peer review. We don't know the error rate and it's not generally accepted by the scientific community.

Now, that being said, I do think there is a place for this type of psychology and that would be if it helps us to learn what happened, then it would be appropriate for that purpose. You know, Anderson, the National Institute of Justice, which is the research arm at the Department of Justice, is funding research into sentinel events in the criminal justice system.

Sentinel events are errors, systematic errors, and by studying those errors we can reduce mistakes, whether it's in wrongful conviction or in improper police shootings. So, for that purpose, I do think that slips and capture might be appropriate psychology, but it's not scientific evidence.

COOPER: Bill, you disagree clearly. I mean, to those who say this is junk science, what do you say?

BILL LEWINSKI, BEHAVIORAL SCIENTIST: Well, we can go back to literature sources like Shakespeare who includes verbal slips and captures in many of his plays. We can look at Freud with psychopathology of everyday life who refers to slips, and there has been a fair amount of research on Freudian psychology over the last century.

Or we can look at the last 60 years of research that specifically looks at slips and capture errors in the medical world, the aviation industry. In fact, I have a journal article that we're dealing with taxonomy of medical errors and we're using it as a model for taxonomy of errors in the police world.

There's 45 citations only dealing with how we categorize these type of errors dating back to the 1960s. So, Professor Stinson might not be aware of the literature source, which is extremely vast and literally covers thousands of journal articles. In fact, the national --

COOPER: Let me ask Phil about that, because, I mean, Phil, are mistakes that are made, or so-called slips in the medical world, are they relevant? Can you apply that to the policing world?

STINSON: Well, from a standpoint of industrial psychology, absolutely. But the problem here is that slips and capture in terms of it being admissible in a court of law as expert testimony, that's just a completely different story. And, you know. Dr. Lewinski's own website says that his research in this area has been published in law enforcement publications and on websites. That just doesn't cut it. It has not been subject to peer review.

COOPER: But Mark, Mark Geragos, let me bring you into this because, I mean, even if there's not enough science on the police side to back it up in Phil's opinion, I mean, a judge can still allow slips and capture in a trial. I mean, it was allowed in the Oscar Grant shooting.

GERAGOS: Well, Phil is right in this perfectly legal sense. You have to get over a hurdle. You have to get over what's called the dalbert hurdle (ph). You can't just put out -- and he's using the right term, the legal term, which is junk science and judges are the gatekeepers. Do you allow in this or do you now allow in this? And you have pretrial hearings on this. And the judge will decide, is this something that is accepted in the scientific community? That's one area of it, will the judge allow this in as some kind of scientific evidence? The other kind of aspect of this is, well, are you still going to get

this in? Somehow I made a mistake, thought I was reaching for the taser and got the gun in. Well, yes, you can always get that in. You can get it in through the defendant testifying, and that's generally why these cases end up with no conviction or an involuntary manslaughter, because generally, especially if there is just one shot, generally juries are going to find for the cop in that case.

But as a purely practical matter, slip and capture is not a generally accepted form of science or accepted in the courts on any general basis.

COOPER: Bill, let me ask you, because just the other day I was actually practicing taking a gun out of a police holster with the police department. And what I hadn't realized is that there are safety mechanisms built into the holster. You can't just pull a gun out of a holster. Different holsters have different mechanisms. Some you have to push the gun forward in order to pull out, some you have to twist, push down.

Is the same safety mechanisms built into a taser holster, do you know, and are they the same mechanism that's used for a gun holster? Because I would think that would be one way to try to, in the future, avoid, if slips and capture is legitimate, to at least have one more obstacle for a police officer to realize, wait a minute, what I've just pulled out of a holster, I'm pulling it out in a different way than I would pull out my taser?

LEWINSKI: Anderson, whether we look at errors in the -- and I'll get to your question just in a second. Whether we look at errors in the medical community, which have been very well researched, peer reviewed, well documented, in the atomic energy, in the aircraft industry. In fact, National Transportation and Safety Board uses this very concept as a fundamental foundation for research in crash investigations involving airplane crashes, and it's used internationally as the foundation.

COOPER: So, you're saying it is legit. Okay. Do you know on the holster situation, is it the same mechanism, do you know?

LEWINSKI: Well, the issue comes to this, if the behavior has a common original starting point and is similar, you can get these errors particularly where there's inattention. If you have a different holster configuration, then you get a directed attention toward the process and you minimize the chance of an error.

However, it is much better, as Greg Meyer was talking about, to use an entirely different limb, which then makes you less susceptible --

COOPER: To using --

LEWINSKI: -- to the slip and catch error.

COOPER: All right. It's good to have you on. Bill Lewinski, I appreciate it. Phil Stinson, as well. Mark Geragos, as well. Coming up next, the lead investigator in one of the nation's school

cheating scandals. If you haven't heard about this, you really should. And again, we're not talking about students cheating, we're talking administrators, a massive conspiracy, the judge who sentenced some of the culprits to a very long prison time. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

BAXTER: There were thousands of children that were harmed in this thing. This was not a victimless crime that occurred in this city.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: This next story hits a lot of hot buttons, because simply put, it hits home. It's about educators inflating the test scores of some of the most vulnerable students to protect their own jobs and their paychecks. Eight Atlanta public school educators sentenced to prison today on racketeering charges, charged (INAUDIBLE) associated with mob bosses for their part in what was a massive cheating scheme. All eight refused to take plea deals, three of the eight, these three, top administrators in the Atlanta public school system drew the harshest punishment. 20 years, seven years of which will be in prison and the rest on probation. As for just whose hot button this hit, well, you can include Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter on the list.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE JERRY BUXTER, FULTON COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: I'm giving my sentence based on your client in both similarly situated -- Sharon Davis Williams and Mr. Pitts were at the very top of this scandal, at the very top. And everybody in the education system at APS knew that cheating was going on and your client promoted it. There were thousands of children that were harmed in this thing. This is not a victimless crime that occurred in this city.

From 2001, there was whole-scale cheating going on in the Atlanta public schools and these kids were passed on and passed on and had no chance to begin with because of where they lived, who they parents were, who their -- you know, just their situation. And the only chance that they had was the school to get an education.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Quite a day in court. Obviously, quite a scandal. Martin Savidge joins us now with more on the dimension of it. What happens next to convicted educators? How exactly did the administrators and the teachers orchestrate this widespread cheating?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this only goes back initially to like 2001, it is when it first believed to have began. But essentially, what it was -- it's that the educators, and we are talking about principals, we are talking about teachers, we are talking to people in the education administrator, apparently all conspired, according to the prosecution. Not everyone in the system, but a number of them, to change the test results. In other words, these were standardized tests, given to Georgia students. My kids took these tests. And what they were doing was they were going back and correcting the wrong answers to make the results look better and make the students look better and thereby make the educators look better for the bonuses and the benefits and the raises they got. So it was basically a group of teachers and administrators that corrected or gave the students the right answers, but regardless, it is cheating.

COOPER: And the judge offered them one last chance to take a plea deal. How many took it and basically accepted responsibility? How many actually took it?

SAVIDGE: Yeah, there actually had been a number of times that the plea deals had been offered to these people. And over and over, it was rejected. And finally, yesterday is when the sentencing was supposed to begin. And the judge said look, I'm going to give you -- I'm just going to give you one more try at it here. One more chance to accept this plea deal. There were two that finally came forward and said yes, they took responsibility. They took the plea deal. They got pretty lenient sentences. One served six months in jail, but only on the weekends and another one is confined to their home for a year, but only at night. But the other ones didn't take it and the judge was furious. Listen to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE JERRY BAXTER, FULTON COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: I was trying to give everybody one more chance and, you know, probably going to be - have tomatoes thrown at me. But, you know, nobody took it. Nobody took it. So, you know, things change. And all I want from any of these people is just to take some responsibility. But they refuse. They refuse. And ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May I say something ...

BAXTER: I am convinced that your client recruited those two retired teachers and cheated on that test.

[20:35:01]

COOPER: The top three administrators got seven years each, 13 years' probation and others got anywhere from one to two years in prison for cheating. Anderson.

COOPER: Remarkable. Martin Savidge, thanks very much. Joining us as well tonight, Michael Bowers, he is the former attorney general of Georgia who led the investigation of the cheating scandal.

Mike, you've known Judge Baxter for 40 years. What did you think when the saw the sentencing today?

MICHAEL BOWERS, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF GEORGIA: I was not surprised as all.

COOPER: Because?

BOWERS: Because I'd known him for a long time and I think he had given fair warning to these defendants as to what was likely to happen to them if they did not take the deal that had been offered to them by the district attorney.

COOPER: What is so incredible about this whole conspiracy is that the kids who needed help the most, the ones who were most vulnerable, didn't have other alternatives -- education alternatives, they were the ones who got hurt. I mean as the judge said, this was not a victimless crime.

BOWERS: That is absolutely correct. In fact, this whole mess, and I think it is fair to call it a true mess, is about the children. And these are the most vulnerable children in the state of Georgia. And it truly is heartbreaking when you consider that these children were robbed of an education. I'm a grandfather and I feel for them. And my heart just cries out for those children.

COOPER: And I mean, the damage that was done, it is not simply the years that these kids were in school that they got hurt, because they were allowed through the cracks like that, without an education, just kind of passed on. It reverberates throughout the rest of their lives.

BOWERS: There is no question about that. And it reverberates in the prison system and unwed -- children of unwed mothers, and it goes on and on and on for God knows how long and it is a tragedy beyond description.

COOPER: But you have no doubt that there are some people who were pushed along and ended up being pushed through the school system without learning as they should have, who have now ended up in the prison system, in the jail system, and part of -- part of that is because of what happened to them early on. I mean, had they at least had a chance at an education, there would have been a greater chance they wouldn't have ended up incarcerated?

BOWERS: Mr. Anderson, there is no doubt in my mind, there are a lot of people in the prison system who didn't get the right kind of education and as a result, resorted to crime at very early ages because they simply weren't able to read and write.

COOPER: It also -- I have got to say and I'm, you know, the judge really hammered this home. It seems like there are a bunch of administrators at the top of all of this who just have not accepted responsibility. In fact, you know, one of the attorneys I heard, you know, saying, well, my client didn't directly engage in any cheating -- that is not the point. If you are overseeing this stuff and forcing others to cheat, you are just as culpable, if not more so.

BOWERS: Absolutely. It is just like a military commander. Military commanders don't necessarily always directly observe what their troops do, but they are nonetheless responsible and the same sort of responsibility exists here. COOPER: Well, Mike, it's just -- I mean it's an extraordinary -- this

is an extraordinary sentencing and extraordinary series of crimes and conspiracy. Thank you so much for being with us.

BOWERS: My honor.

COOPER: Up next, we're going to show you how it was possible for passengers on an Alaska Airlines flight to hear a man trapped in the cargo hold banging for help. We'll take you inside the belly of a Boeing 737.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We are telling you we want to drill down on a story that we first reported last night. That Seattle airport worker who fell asleep inside the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines jet. Imagine his terror when he woke up and realized the jet had taken off. Now, everything turned out fine. He was unhurt. The flight crew and passengers heard him banging for help. You can actually hear it in this video shot by a passenger.

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(KNOCKING)

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COOPER: Now, after hearing that, the crew made an emergency landing. The plane was in the air for 14 minutes with the man in the hold. It is a bizarre story, for sure, and it got us wondering about a lot of things, including how it was possible for that banging to be heard inside the cabin and cockpit of the Boeing 737 and for that matter, what does it look like inside of that cargo hold? We sent our Gary Tuchman to find out and he headed straight for the Southern California logistics airport, where airlines from all over the world store jets that aren't being used.

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GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've been told they can't reveal the airline of this plane but we've been given access to this plane. It's a Boeing 737, and we are going to show you how the cargo compartment works and what it looks like. Usually three of four luggage workers who raise the door to have a ramp here normally, but because we don't have a ramp, I'll just simulate what they do. They throw your bags in the plane, try to take good care of your bags, not to break your valuables. Occasionally that happens, I suppose. And I'm going inside to give you a look what it looks like inside of the cargo hold. There are two cargo compartments on the Boeing 737. This is the one in the front near the cockpit. First class right above me, there's another one in the aft, in the back, it's the smaller one.

This is where all of your bags go. It is about 30 feet long, this bigger one, but eight feet wide. And you can see, if a luggage worker has worked a long day, he's waiting for bags to arrive, he could sit right here and have a soft bag as a pillow and maybe -- just doze off. We now want to conduct an experiment to see how likely it is that someone under hear would be heard by the flight crew and the flight attendants, by the passengers. With me here is Dave Snell. Dave is an aircraft mechanic here. When you heard this story, did it shock you?

DAVE SNELL, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LOGISTICS AIRPORT: Not really. Because, you know, being human after a long day, we could, you know, find a cozy spot and fall asleep.

TUCHMAN: So, it is not stunning to you?

SNELL: No. I mean it is not supposed to happen, but it does.

TUCHMAN: It can happen. OK. What I want to do, is we - these planes don't have fuel to operate the engines right now, so we want to replicate the noise. We can do with this very loud talk. Eric, how are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.

TUCHMAN: Can you turn on the tug for us and give us some noise?

[20:45:00]

TUCHMAN: So that is some noise to try to replicate the situation when the plane was actually flying. Dave, I'm going to go back inside - to show you how dark it is, because it is pitch dark, can you close the door when I get inside?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By all means.

TUCHMAN: OK. Give it a close. So now you can see it is pitch dark inside of here. Putt a flashlight on. There you go. And now you could see me, but can't see very much else. OK, so amid the noise, we're putting Dave in the cockpit to see if he can hear me.

This is the flight deck. So here I am stuck. The plane is rolling down the runway. We're in the air. And I want to get the heck out of here.

(KNOCKING)

TUCHMAN: Can you guys hear me? Hey, get me out of here! Get me out of here! You hear me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. I can hear - I can hear banging.

TUCHMAN: So Dave didn't hear me from up top. But if he didn't, if my life depended upon it, I certainly could have kicked harder. And you've only been louder. It is pressurized inside here, but it is very tight and very dark. If you are claustrophobic, this would be a very frightening place to be, particularly if you were in-flight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Gary joins me now. And passengers, I mean, said they heard screams coming from the cargo area. Do you know if the passenger could have heard you, if they would have been able to?

TUCHMAN: The answer is yes. And we know that firsthand, Anderson, because we relegated our producer, Isha Strata (ph) to a first class seat on the plane while I was doing the demonstration. And he heard me louder and clearer in the mechanic pit and the cockpit. And the main reason for that is I was directly under first class. But on a real flight you also have the situation where your pilots who are wearing headphones and talking, they are busy, so it may be more likely that a passenger in the front of the plane would hear knocking. So if you hear knocking, Anderson, or you hear screaming, and you are passengers by -- you should tell somebody about it.

COOPER: It really must have been strange for those passengers to hear some of this screaming and knocking and not to where it was. Gary, thanks very much.

Just ahead, Hillary Clinton kicking off her campaign in Iowa. What her day look like. Plus, could women propel her to the White House with their votes? How the numbers actually shake out.

Also, coming up at the top of the hour, our CNN special report, "Blowout," the Gulf Oil disaster -- five years after the spill. What's the truth about its effect? It's investigation you now want to see.

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COOPER: In Iowa, Hillary Clinton hit the campaign trail. Her first stop, a coffee shop in a small town fewer than 4,000 people. She bought a couple of drinks and said hi to some locals. Her next stop, a community college where she held a round table. It was an intimate evening outside the media staff and Secret Service, just 22 people were there. Here is what she told them.

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HILLARY CLINTON, (D) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm running for president because I think that Americans and their families need a champion. And I want to be that champion. I want to stand up and fight for people so that they cannot just get by, but they can get ahead and then can stay ahead.

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COOPER: Well, Mrs. Clinton was vague on policy, her campaign aides said that more specifics will come later. Right now her plan is to crisscross key states at a series of small events, much like the one today. Senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar joins me now from Des Moines with more. Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anderson, the only specific policy proposal Hillary Clinton outlined today was one, to do away with what she referred to as unaccountable money, so the proliferation of those super-PACs and their big donors. Noteworthy, though, she didn't explain how that squares with the super --PAC that she's blessed to support her and her run for president. Otherwise, it was broad strokes with an appeal to the middle class and to women.

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KEILAR: It is a question voters might be hearing from Hillary Clinton a lot in the next year and a half.

HILLARY CLINTON: But don't you someday want to see a woman as president of the United States of America?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

KEILAR: During her first White House run eight years ago, Clinton downplayed her gender and focused more on her experience.

HILLARY CLINTON: I believe that I will bring a lifetime of experience to this job.

KEILAR: This time around expect a different message, one she hinted at as she exited the race in 2008.

HILLARY CLINTON: Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you it has got about 18 million cracks in it.

(CHEERS)

KEILAR: And when she showcased during her visit today to a Kirkwood Community College satellite campus in Monticello, Iowa, where she talked up becoming a grandmother last year.

HILLARY CLINTON: You know, my granddaughter - I don't know how many babies were born on September 26th last year, but I want every one of them to feel like they have the same opportunities that -- we are going to do everything we can to make sure Charlotte does.

KEILAR: Women voters represented a key piece of President Obama's coalition supporting him by double digits over Mitt Romney and John McCain, and early poll show Clinton could fair even better. In hypothetical match-ups against seven top Republican contenders, Clinton beats each of them, among women, by more than 20 points, according to a CNN/ORC poll released in March. One of Clinton's supporters, Kaela Weber, a Monticello High School junior, plans to cast her first vote for Clinton in 2016.

KAELA WEBER, IOWA VOTER: But I want to hear her talk about some of the views for women and view for smaller towns and like trying to help America's youth.

KEILAR: Clinton also holds a high favorable rating among independent women with 64 percent having a positive view of her according to last month's CNN poll, but that good will doesn't extend to Republican women with only 19 percent seeing her in a favorable light.

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COOPER: Do we know when we're going to hear policy proposals and what specifically she's running on?

KEILAR: Yeah, it seems like we're going to have to wait a little bit, Anderson. I was talking to one of her top aides today and I was told it's going to be about four to five weeks before she really starts putting the meat on the bones. This phase that she's in now is very much the listening phase. So I was told by this aid she wants -- Hillary Clinton wants to hear the ideas and the concerns of a lot of people before she starts addressing them. We do know, though, that her policy staff is starting to take shape today. The top three policy advisers, both for domestic and for foreign policy were announced. So they are in place now, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Brianna Keilar. Brianna, thanks very much.

Up next, Tom Hanks's wife Rita Wilson reveals a major health scare and confesses she's already undergone surgery.

[20:50:03]

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COOPER: Our CNN special report, blow out, the Gulf Oil disaster comes up at the top of the hour. But first, Amara Walker has a "360 Bulletin."

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anderson. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has unanimously approved the legislation that would require President Obama to send the final nuclear deal with Iran to Congress for review. The White House says it supports the bill as it stands now, but it could reject it if anything changes.

COOPER: Meanwhile, just days after President Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro, the White House recommends that Congress remove the island nation from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. The move would be a key step in normalizing relations with Havana.

In Nigeria capital, girls and young women marching to protest the mass kidnapping of nearly 300 school girls by Boko Haram one year ago today. About 50 managed to escape soon after, but it is feared the rest have been raped, enslaved and forced to convert to Islam.

Rita Wilson is battling breast cancer. The actor -- the actress and wife to the actor Tom Hanks told "People" magazine she had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. She said she expects to make a full recovery in part because she caught it early and got a second opinion. Anderson.

COOPER: She's a great lady and very talented singer. We wish you the best. Amara, thanks very much.

That does it for us. We'll see you again at 11 p.m. Eastern.

Up next on the five year anniversary of the Gulf oil spill CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin takes a look at the impact the BP disaster has had on the people and the environment. [21:00:03]

COOPER: Our CNN special report "BLOWOUT: THE GULF OIL DISASTER" starts now.