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CNN NEWSROOM

Online Date Sites To Screen For Predators; Outrage Over Florida Teen's Death; Florida Deadly Force Law In Question; New iPad: Too Hot To Handle?; 10,000 Syrians Die in a Year; Youngest Victims of War; Giant Boulder Crashes into House; NFL Suspends Saints Management; Tornado Warnings in Deep South

Aired March 21, 2012 - 14:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Don Lemon. Brooke is off today.

We're going to get you caught up everything making news this hour "Rapid Fire." So let's go.

At this hour, the NAACP calling for the resignation of the police chief in Sanford, Florida. That's a town where a neighborhood watch volunteer shot a 17-year-old African-American, claiming self-defense. More than 800,000 people have signed a petition calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. And a congresswoman made the same demand on the House floor just today. There will be much, much more on this story in just a few minutes here on CNN.

We're closely monitoring a standoff between French police and a man suspected of gunning down three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French soldiers. French police have surrounded an apartment in Toulouse where the suspect is holed up. French authorities say the suspect is a jihadist who traveled to the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan to train with al-Qaeda.

The NFL showing no mercy today, suspended New Orleans Coach Sean Payton for one year without pay for his role in a so-called bounty program. The general manager, Mickey Loomis, was suspended for eight games. And former defensive coordinator Greg Williams was suspended indefinitely. Saints players were rewarded for purposefully injuring opposing players. The Saints will also lose two draft choices.

President Barack Obama is ready to announce plans to speed up construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, but only the southern part, from Oklahoma through Texas. In January, he denied a permit that would have allow construction on the northern part. The president is kicking off a tour -- a four-state tour to talk energy today.

Mitt Romney sounding confident after his convincing win in Illinois yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Each day we move closer, not just to victory, but to a better America. Join us. Join us. Together we're going to ensure that America's greatest days are still ahead. Thanks, you guys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Republicans are still fighting to see who will be the GOP nominee. The magic number of delegates need is 1,144. And right now Romney has twice the number of any other candidate. Rick Santorum is second. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul trail far behind.

Hollywood a-lister Robert De Niro apologizing today after a joke he made at a fundraiser didn't go over too well with some folks in the GOP. The first lady was in attendance at the Obama campaign event in New York when De Niro joked that America wasn't ready for a white first lady. Newt Gingrich called the joke inexcusable and said President Obama should apologize for the actor. De Niro said the comment was made in jest and not meant to offend anyone.

For those of you trying to buy or sell a home, we have got some mixed news for you right now. Home sales are up from last year, but they're still near a 10-year low right now, and dipped again just last month. The median price of homes sold last month was just over $156,000.

Boy, that's a lot of good looking people in that group right there, because that's the cast of "Mad Men." They're ringing the opening bell. The New York Stock Exchange. They did it this morning. And you can see here that the AMC show, actors like January Jones, Christina Hendricks, and also the character Don Draper, all good looking folks there. The new season of "Mad Men," by the way, premiers on Sunday.

Chanting "where's your green card" at a Kansas state player. A Kansas state player will cost five members of the southern Mississippi pep band their scholarships. I want you to listen closely and then you can hear them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see Mills trying to come over and draw the charge?

CHANTING: Where's your green card?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rodriguez has already let the ball go and --

CHANTING: Where's your green card?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a freshman, but he's about as cool as they come right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, the incident occurred during the NCAA basketball tournament. The chant was aimed at Angel Rodriguez, a Kansas state player born in Puerto Rico. The students also were removed from the band and will be required to complete a cultural sensitivity course.

Talk about too close for comfort. Nokia is patenting a new kind of tattoo that vibrates when you get a call, a cell phone call. "The Los Angeles Times" reports users would be able to customize the Nokia tattoo like they now do with ring tones. The technology uses magnetic waves similar to Bluetooth.

We've got a lot more to cover in the next two hours. So, stay tuned.

Millions of Americans look for love online. Now, a new rule protects you from those looking for more than just a date.

A mysterious phenomenon is baffling and, quite frankly, scaring a town. Strange noises, explosions, booms. What the heck is going on?

And just days after hitting the shelves, there's a problem with the new iPad. Find out who's at risk.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: It might not be any easier to find Ms. or Mr. Right, but looking for love online could be a little safer today. Two of the biggest names in online dating are agreeing to try to screen out characters and con artists looking for more than dinner and a movie. Under an agreement with California's attorney general, match.com, eHarmony and Sparks Network, the company behind JDate and Christian Mingle, promised to screen for sexual predators by checking members' names against National Sex Offenders Registry, looking for financial scammers hiding behind fake profiles, institute of rapid abuse reporting system for uncovering potential fraud or safety problems, and provide online safety tips for members. The companies are urging other online dating sites to join the fight.

The agreement was prompted by a case we have covered right here in CNN in which a southern California woman was sexually attacked by a man she met through match.com. She later searched the Internet and found he'd been convicted of an earlier sexual assault. Carole Markin sued the online dating behemoth. She joins us now.

So, Carole, it's good to see you. Can you tell us what happened to you and where is the attacker now, Alan Paul Wurtzel?

CAROLE MARKIN, ASSAULTED BY MAN SHE MET ON MATCH.COM: Well, the attacker's in jail right now. What happened to me was, on our second date, he raped me. And I didn't realize that he was previously convicted of sexual battery six times. And I found that out on the Internet and then reported him to the police.

LEMON: How are you doing today, Carole?

MARKIN: I'm doing good. I'm really excited that the attorney general has followed our lead and taken the -- made it safer for online dating all over the place.

LEMON: When you sued match.com, you didn't ask for any money, you simply wanted background checks to screen for sexual predators. So I imagine the agreement -- I would imagine the agreement that was made with the online dating sites, it's good for you, as you said, but does it go far enough, do you think, or is this just the beginning? MARKIN: Well, I think it already elevates the level of dating and safety that's on dating sites. And it's a big step. What we did was just the beginning and it has had a domino effect and I think it will have an effect throughout the whole industry, which is what we want. So it will be safe for everybody.

LEMON: Often times when you step out front on issues like this, on a story like that, other people will come to you and say, hey, something similar happened to me. Did that happen to you? And were you surprised by the number of people, if they did come forward, who came forward to you?

MARKIN: Yes, they did, because, you know, I originally was a Jane Doe and when I came forward it changed the case and made it more personal. So people did come to me and tell me their stories.

LEMON: Were you able to start dating again after this happened to you?

MARKIN: I have, but I haven't done online dating.

LEMON: You haven't done online dating. And has it paid off? Are you in a relationship right now? Is there good news that you'd like to share or are you still looking now?

MARKIN: Still looking for love, but I'm confident I'll find it. But mainly --

LEMON: And you're looking for love in all the right places now, right?

MARKIN: Exactly. Exactly. Well, now I can go back online because it's safer.

LEMON: Yes. Any advice for people who are considering online dating, because it used to be taboo to do it. People would keep it a secret. Now, I mean, it is the thing to do and people tout it. They say, hey, you know, I have a profile online. If you know anyone, show them my profile. Do you have any advice for folks?

MARKIN: Well, I think you just have to be cautious a little bit. Like, you know, don't give out too much information right away. And go slow. And make sure that the person, you know, meets you in a public place and, you know, if you can get their last name, you know, Google it to make sure. But it's hard to get people's names right away because people always reveal stuff slowly, like peeling an onion on online dating.

LEMON: Yes, you can't be too careful. And Carole Markin, thank you very much. Hey, proof, everyone, that one person can make a difference. Again, thanks to Carole.

Big, new developments in the Trayvon Martin case to tell you about. The city is now talking to the people in the neighborhood about the many, many questions in this Florida teen's death. We'll tell you what they are saying. That story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: It is the case that is consuming the nation right now. A neighborhood watch captain shoots and kills Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman says he fired in self-defense. It was back on February 26th. But this gathering of protesters in Florida last night shows that many people do not believe Zimmerman. The NAACP organized a forum today calling for anyone to step forward who feels mistreated by the Sanford Police who have yet to arrest Zimmerman. And now the NAACP leader is calling for the police chief to resign. We're talking about Ben Jealous. He's the president of the NAACP. He's going to join me here next hour. Make sure you tune in for that. Eight hundred thousand signatures and counting on this online petition demanding Zimmerman's arrest. That message has made it all the way to Washington. I want you to look at this video. That's Florida Representative Frederica Wilson holding up a sign. And it reads, "Trayvon Martin's murderer still at large. Days with no arrest, 25."

And the city of Sanford is feeling the pressure, too. Today, the city manager, Norton Bonaparte Jr., released a letter responding to the firestorm. So, follow along with me. He writes that the police chief Billie Lee provided the answers, right? The first question, why was George Zimmerman not arrested the night of the shooting? And this is important. So, again, follow along with me as I read this. "When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene," he says, "of the incident, Mr. Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self-defense, which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony. By Florida statute, law enforcement was prohibited from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time. Additionally, when any police officer makes an arrest for any reason, the officer must swear and affirm that he/she is making the arrest in good faith and with probable cause. If the arrest is done maliciously and in bad faith, the officer and the city may be held liable."

CNN's John Zarrella live for us right now in Sanford.

So they are responding. And as we understand, John, there is a hush -- you're down there. You know -- going on in the entire area in Sanford. Law enforcement not doing a lot of talking. People are quite, except for the neighbors and the people who are outraged here. So as I read that letter to you, you've been looking over, you've seen the whole thing. Is there anything that stands out to you about this letter?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, Don, when you read that over, there are -- the one that you pointed out, absolutely. I picked that up right away as well. I thought that was pretty significant. And also, what was it that Zimmerman was saying was his self-defense? Well, if you read in there, Zimmerman claims in his statement to police that he was walking back to his truck to await police -- the arrival of police. He says he had already called police at that point. He had gone back to his truck to await their arrival. And he claims that is when he was attacked by Trayvon Martin. That is his defense. That is his self-defense claim. And this is really about, in the body of this letter, the first time we'd actually been hearing exactly what Zimmerman is claiming was his self-defense.

Don.

LEMON: And that's in the letter. But George Zimmerman, no one has heard hair nor hide of him. The police department, I guess, are the only people who have spoken to him. And reporters, no one. He's gone dark. Any other response from him except for what you saw in this letter?

ZARRELLA: Yes, that -- no, none at all. And that is true. In fact, we talked to someone today who lives in the neighborhood there and I asked him, I said, have you talked to Mr. Zimmerman? He said no. He said -- I said, where is Mr. Zimmerman? He says, I don't know. He's gone underground is the way it was put to me. So we assume, Don, that the police can get to him very quickly if need be. But no one as far as I know has spoken to him and no one out in the general public know where is he is.

LEMON: No spokesperson, no attorney representing him saying -- you know, standing up for him, nothing.

ZARRELLA: No, not at this point.

LEMON: OK. All right.

ZARRELLA: We have no indication that he has legal representation.

LEMON: Let's talk about this, because I've heard other news organizations play it, enhance it, and there are some people who have some pretty strong stances on this particular thing that I'm going to talk about. There's a report -- there are many reports -- about a racial slur heard on the 911 call that Zimmerman made to police the night of the shooting. OK. Let's talk about that and talk about what we are doing as well as a network as it comes to that. So tell us about that comment, alleged comment on the 911, John.

ZARRELLA: Within the body of the 911 call, some people are saying and reporting that there may have been a racial slur uttered by Mr. Zimmerman during that call. CNN has had all of its -- half a dozen of its best audio people listen to that 911 call, listen to that excerpt, and there is nowhere in there that anyone can really, clearly say what George Zimmerman actually said.

LEMON: OK, John, John, John, John, John, John, let me stop you there. Let me stop you there. No one there can clearly say --

ZARRELLA: Yes.

LEMON: Can clearly say that, in fact, he did say this comment, which is f-ing rhymes with boom, right? Twice apparently.

ZARRELLA: That's correct. That's correct.

LEMON: So we've heard it. But there have been --

ZARRELLA: And the police -- LEMON: But there have been reports of other networks who said they have sent them to analysts and that is, in fact, what it has said. Again, that's not our reporting, because we are not able to confirm that's exactly what he said.

ZARRELLA: Right. That's correct. And even the police department, CNN asked the police department here yesterday and the police department said, look, we do not know exactly what was said there in that portion of the tape that's been brought into question.

LEMON: Right. Right. And it's out there. And so I just wanted to say that. But again, cannot confirm. He says it under his breath allegedly, but policed missed it in the beginning and said we didn't hear it, so we weren't trying to cover anything up. And again, we can't confirm. We've had lots of people listen to it and no one can make it out. But there are reporters of other networks saying that they have -- they sent it to an analysts and they believe that's what he said.

ZARRELLA: That is correct.

LEMON: John, stay on this story. Great reporting. We'll be getting back to you. Thank you very much.

ZARRELLA: Sure.

LEMON: You know, this -- Trayvon Martin's death has intensified the criticism of the stand your ground law which permits someone to use deadly force in self-defense. I want to go to Beth Karas. She's a correspondent for "In Session" on truTV and she joins me now.

First, let's talk about the basics of this case, which is the stand your ground law and what it says. And if you look at what the city manager says, he says, listen, in order to arrest someone, there has to be a certain number of circumstances there. And this didn't rise to that level. And part of that, I would imagine, is the stand your ground law.

BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: Right. And, good afternoon, Don.

Stand your ground is really just self-defense. But it takes it outside the home and the rules for not having to retreat to safety if somebody comes into your home and attacks you, outside of your home. It takes what's called the castle doctrine, your home is your castle, outside the home. So wherever you are is your castle at this point. You don't have to retreat to safety if you are not engaged in an unlawful activity. That's why the city manager said he's licensed to carry a gun. It would have been unlawful if he wasn't licensed to carry a gun. He would have had this defense available.

Second, you have to have a right to be where you are. Now they're taking issue with the fact that the dispatcher said, you know, you don't have to go after him. You don't have to pursue him. You can wait for the police to arrive. And, third, your perception that deadly force is being used against you, or whatever force, has to be a reasonable one. Let's just say, Don, for the stake of this discussion, that what John Zarrella just said, who reported about Zimmerman's statement, that Trayvon Martin attacked him, he was retreating to his car and Martin attacked him. Let's just say that happened. I don't know that it did. Zimmerman claims it did. It may -- there may be evidence to the contrary. That doesn't mean he can turn around and shoot him.

LEMON: Right.

KARAS: You can only meet force with the force that is being used against you. So he better be darn reasonable in his perception that Trayvon Martin was meeting him with deadly force, otherwise we'd have people getting in fistfights and somebody can shoot them and that's OK. You cannot do that.

LEMON: That's what I want to ask. So from what you know about the shooting, and I think that's what you're saying here, do you believe that George Zimmerman had the grounds so shoot Trayvon Martin?

KARAS: I don't know that he did. The police did. The police apparently believed that there wasn't enough evidence to charge him. And the case was going away. But after the release of the 911 tapes where people said, wait a second, there's another story here. Oh, now other law enforcement authorities are involved and they're calling for a grand jury. Which is what usually happens in a shooting situation like this. You go to the grand jury with it. You let that body of citizens put people under oath, talk to witnesses, let them be the investigative body, not just let it sit with the police department. Not that the police can't do an adequate job, but especially when you're crossing racial lines here and there are, you know, allegations of bias, it is much safer to go into the grand jury. And that's what this grand jury will do. They will do what the police did and more.

LEMON: Well, that's just -- that's what I want to ask you, just hearing a lot of people talk about it. And, listen, people talking about it personally are even more outraged than the people you hear on the air, African-Americans especially. I mean, everyone is riled up about this. But when -- having conversations among themselves, African-Americans are like, I can't believe it. I can't even talk about it without getting upset. Or, I mean, or that sort of thing.

So let's just -- so let's bet -- strip away the racial component here. I know that's hard to do, right, but let's strip that away. I have seen cases, and I'm sure you have in many others, where, you know, a man will, you know, abuse his wife, domestic abuse, the wife kills the man or what have you. The woman is taken in and arrested and then goes through the process, as you have just mentioned, and then faces a judge or whatever body and they will say there is no evidence to charge Ms. Karas or Ms. Lemon or whatever with the crime because the husband had been abusing her over years. Charges are dropped. You're free to go. I think that's what people are not getting here, why is that process -- why hasn't that happened?

KARAS: Right. And -- right. And, actually, I've been talking to lawyers who are defense attorneys in Florida and they actually have been saying to me, I don't know why Zimmerman wasn't charged. They actually think it will be manslaughter or second degree murder coming out of the grand jury, but we don't know if that's the case. But why he wasn't charged at that point.

Now the police are saying, we didn't have probable cause. We didn't have enough evidence at that time. We don't know the extent of their investigation. Did it end that day. But the more prudent thing one could argue would be to take whatever you collect that night, go to the state attorney, their prosecutors, you know, in the country, and say, look, you know, maybe you should make a decision whether or not there should be a grand jury investigating it, calling in witnesses and wait for the autopsy report and get toxicology on everybody involved and do a more thorough investigation. I just -- I don't know the extent, frankly, of the police investigation, but it seems like it was closed pretty quickly and it should have gone through the process you're talking about. If not an arrest, at least the grand jury investigation. And if they indict, that indictment would serve as an arrest warrant and he, you know, would be arrested on that.

LEMON: OK. Another point here, Beth. So in the city manager's letter, one of the questions was, what about media re-enactments of the shooting incident? And so it's not really been re-enactments. Everyone -- and we have to agree, it is speculation. Everyone is sort of saying -- trying to figure out what happened. Put the pieces together.

But the reason that many people are doing that is because there's been so little released, so little information released that there's not a lot to put together except for what witnesses are saying what Trayvon Martin's family is saying, what neighbors are saying. So that's how this is being pieced together. So, media re-enactments or what have you, that's an interesting part of it.

But we don't know. The investigation has to play out. But there have been -- I would imagine, and you can correct me if I'm wrong -- even on people who have been convicted or have been arrested on even circumstantial evidence far less than the evidence from witnesses and from what we're hearing about this case so far.

KARAS: Well, you know, Anderson Cooper had a couple of ear and eyewitnesses to at least parts of this on the air last night. Were they spoken to by the police? Frankly, I don't know. I don't know everybody the police spoke to. I don't know how through --

LEMON: Those two women -- those two women spoke out very -- they were on Anderson last night. They spoke out very early on. Even this weekend we had them on. They're saying that the police wouldn't even talk to them and barely had any time for them and didn't, you know, didn't take what they were saying into -- and that's just according to them. Again, we're not trying this case here, but go on.

KARAS: OK, so that's -- so that's why people are upset, that the police perhaps were not thorough enough. They said that they made their decision at that time based upon what they had, but one has to question whether or not they could have done a little bit more. Obviously more is going to be done now. It's not too late. It's not as though years have gone by. It's a month. It may be too long for the parties involved, but, you know what, justice will prevail. And maybe justice is Zimmerman isn't charged, but there will be the thorough investigation they needed done. However, they won't ever have toxicology on Zimmerman.

And, frankly, you know, you said take race out of this discussion, but it is a part of this case. And the African-American experience in this country is one that you cannot understand unless you are African- American.

LEMON: Oh, I can understand it, yes.

KARAS: And I was a prosecutor here in New York and I know -- I know the experience and I know what it's like in the inner city. So, the bias element will be something that will be hard to ignore if, in fact, a racial epithet was uttered on that 911 tape.

LEMON: And you, again, you don't know. Sometimes people are hyper sensitive about race. It's not always race in these cases. But many times it is and we sort of, you know, dance around it because we want to be over -- completely, you know, oh, we don't want to take a stand about it. But sometimes it is what it is. It just is what it is.

KARAS: Yes.

LEMON: Beth, thank you. Appreciate it.

KARAS: My pleasure.

LEMON: Three million new iPads sold over the weekend, but now there's trouble. Some people say they are overheating. Up next, find out if it's bad enough to be dangerous or just an annoyance.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Is this you? I'm talking to you. Are you one of the millions of people who snapped up the new iPad? Come on, be honest. You may want to think twice about using it on your lap.

A lot of users are saying the new iPad heats up way too much. "Consumer Reports" ran a video game on it and measured temperatures as high as 116 degrees, 13 degrees higher than the iPad 2, but Apple says it's, quote, "Well within our thermal specifications."

I want to bring Lance Ulanoff now. He's the editor in chief for "Mashable." Lance, these iPads not only burning a hole in some people's wallets, but also in their laps maybe? Is it -- do you think it's hot enough to be dangerous?

LANCE ULANOFF, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "MASHABLE": No, I really don't. I've been looking at technology for a very long time and what I understand about it is that when you put faster components inside anything, they're going to generate more heat. That's kind of the nature of them. You know, some years ago, we were talking about laptops and there being so hot they would sterilize you, but it was a concern but it wasn't a reality. No one got actually scalded.

No one got third degree burns. With the iPad, actually the temperatures are generally lower. Other sites had temperatures around 95 degrees. So I think that this seems to have more heat than substance.

LEMON: So you said when you put all this stuff, because it's faster, that's why it's heating up. I guess, maybe, the technology is going too fast for the size of the compartment that it is. But was it? Is it a bigger battery? Is it graphics chip?

ULANOFF: Well, OK, so, you know, what's really interesting about the new iPad, iPad third generation is that the design is essentially the same as the iPad 2. But inside of it is an A-5x dual core chip, Quad Core graphics processing and of course, the LTE, 4G LTE and of course, the retina display.

Retina display is the super high res screen that actually has more pixels than the human eye can perceive. Now if you do all of these things, each and every one of them works harder, does more and will ultimately generate more heat.

I mean, they can do everything possible to try and ameliorate that and make sure that it's not overheating, but it's kind of a natural thing. And because Apple didn't change the chassis, the question is, should they have changed the chassis to accommodate that --

LEMON: All right, you said that it's more heat than substance, so you believe it's being blown out of proportion a little bit. But the interesting thing is, it's all about customer service and the customer is always right.

You know with Apple that's, you know, that's their motto, right? Not only they do great technology, but the customer service is supposed to be great as well. Do you think the company is going to have to provide a fix for this even if it's blown out of proportion you say?

ULANOFF: Well, OK, so we know Apple came forward pretty quickly. You know, we really should look back at the last big controversy, which was called antenna gate, which was really about the attenuation of your phone.

You hold it too tightly and call connectivity drops down. Apple eventually kind of addressed in a design way with additional updates to the iPhone 4S on the way they designed the outside of it.

But I want you to remember something. People did not line up to return their iPhone. They sold millions of them, and there were not tales of people lining up, just the way they lined up to buy them, lining up to return them.

I'll come back in a few months and we'll talk and I'm telling you, we will not see people all returning their iPad 3s or whatever you want to call it. I don't see it happening. You know, yes, is it hotter, it's measurably hotter. Yes, it's more powerful. Is it something that ruins the product? No.

LEMON: All right, you're on fire today. Thank you, Lance Ulanoff of "Mashable." Appreciate it.

ULANOFF: My pleasure.

LEMON: The slaughter of children, we're talking about the crisis going on in Syria right now and it doesn't look like it's going to get any better anytime soon. That story is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Ten thousand people dead in the past year alone, that's according to a Syrian opposition group. Syria's uprising has been full of bloodshed. We're talking men, women and children.

Today alone, at least 60 people have died and we now have new pictures showing the force of the Syrian government. This shows armored vehicles outside a hospital. The arrows show them surrounding the building on two sides. And this picture shows an intact bridge on the left, the picture on the right, just three days later, destroyed.

But the most tragic stories of this war, the children wounded and killed in heavy killing by Syrian's military. I have to warn you here. This is a warning for you. The video that you're about to watch contains very graphic and disturbing images. So here's CNN's Arwan Damon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Doctors try in vain to revive this little boy identified as Omran Edris. He has a head injury. Is this child part of the armed gangs, Bashar Al Assad? The doctor asks angrily? Is this your response to Kofi Annan and calls for peace?

It's an utterly hopeless effort. The life drains from Omran's body. Other children shriek in pain. A little girl with a leg wound cries out for her father. Lying next to her, another child. She has a wound to her arm that is too gruesome to show.

Most of it has been blown off. She says I just want to go home, have dinner and watch TV. She said she was playing with three other children when an artillery round struck. These are scenes from close to the Syrian-Lebanese border over the weekend.

Earlier this month, video obtained by CNN showed rebel fighters in and around the town with meager and faulty weapons and a population on edge. Knowing a full-on assault was imminent, but with nowhere to go.

Government forces now seem to have temporarily pulled back, allowing for activists to film images of the aftermath which they then post to YouTube. Just in (INAUDIBLE), but in some parts of the city of Homs itself.

This boy is from the neighborhood of (INAUDIBLE). He says his name is Abdallah. He was in a mosque when the soldiers came in. Not even the children were spared.

They lined us up against a wall they started shooting. There were 15 of us. Some were my relatives, some were my friends, he says. Some were even younger than he. For days the town was under heavy shelling.

Army raids drove rebel fighters out. Rescue teams were unable to enter. When they finally did, they say, the streets were littered with corpses. There were bodies that were burnt completely as if someone poured gasoline on them and set them on fire he recalled.

I saw five slaughtered children. They slashed their eyes and faces with knives. Among the piles of dead, evidence of dozens of wounded children. Abu Fedah was also part of the rescue mission. They committed a big massacre. We found 32 children many with their forefingers cut off.

Gunshot wounds he says. I mean, they were young, all under 15 years of age, he continues. This boy was one of them, with a gunshot to the chest. Both his tiny hands bandaged. More victims of violence no one can comprehend and no one seems able to stop. Arwa Damon, CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right, I want you to take a close look at this house. It's in Athens, Ohio. That is a boulder you see there, right? It smashes at a house around 10 last night and all of the other huge rock damaged the house.

It's smashed a car. It took out some power lines and it hit a water main. A couple of houses had to be evacuated while crews for the cleanup and remove that giant boulder. Can you imagine that?

News today for fans of the New Orleans Saints, Coach Sean Payton has been suspended for one year without pay for his part in a bounty program run by the Saints over three seasons.

Now, players were rewarded for targeting certain opposing players and knocking them out of the game. Ed Lavandera is following this. He's in New Orleans for us.

So Ed, what's involved in this NFL action? And it goes far beyond just the suspension of Sean Payton?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the punishment could have been handed down here, Don, are extremely severe. I think many people here in New Orleans and across the NFL community knew that these punishments were going to be severe.

But I think even for most people who have been following this closely, they still find this as a shocking surprise, the level to which many of the people involved in this have been punished.

Essentially the New Orleans Saints and all of these is going back to this bounty problem. The NFL says it has investigated the last. Almost three years have found that Defensive Coordinator Greg Williams had conducted this paid for performance program.

That included paying some players up to $1,500 for knocking a player out of a game or $1,000 for hits that would have other players carted off the field on a stretcher.

The New Orleans Saints have been fined $500,000. They lost the second-round draft pick in 2012 and 2013. Their head coach, Sean Payton, a beloved figure here in this town of New Orleans suspended for a year without pay.

Some reports say that will cost him as much as $6 million to $8 million for his pay this year. The general manager of the Saints, Mickey Lomos suspended without pay for the first eight regular season games.

And the man at the center of all this, Greg Williams, the defensive coordinator who ironically enough is no longer with the Saints. He's now with the defensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams. He has been suspended indefinitely and the commissioner will decide what to do with him after the season.

And also an assistant head coach suspended without pay for the first six regular season games. The reaction across New Orleans, Don, as you might imagine incredibly intense. And Drew Brees, the quarterback of the Saints, another beloved figure in this town tweeting out just a little while ago saying that I am speechless.

Sean Payton is a great man, coach and mentor. The best there is. I need to hear an explanation for this punishment, which really kind of comes close to what we've been looking for the last several weeks, Don.

Many people across the NFL who are former players -- and I've been looking into this. We're working on a special for this weekend called "Bounty Hunters." It will air Sunday night at 8:00.

Many people wondering what is the big deal? Players are paid to hit others hard and violently. We spoke with one of the legendary kickers in the NFL. A man by the name of Morten Andersen who used to play here in New Orleans for the Saints and he told us the story about how he was once knocked out of a game because of a bounty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORTEN ANDERSON, FORMER NFL KICKER: All I feel is a helmet in my rib cage and I go flying the other way 10 yards. And we were running the tape on Monday. Now you see him, now you don't. I'm decleated.

My shoulder is separated. I have a concussion, I'm out. My ribs are bruised and I just remember waking up and I'm staring out of the ear hole of my helmet. His job was to put me out of the game there's no question in my mind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Ear hole of my helmet, what are we learning more, Ed, about who was targeted and how?

LAVANDERA: Well, in the statement the NFL put out today, they said that there were four quarterbacks in particular that were targeted. You had Brett Favre back when he played for the Minnesota Vikings, Aaron Rodgers, the Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, as well as Cam Newton and as well as Kurt Warner.

One interesting thing I should mention about the Morten Andersen sound, Don, is that he also told us two years later, that player was traded to his team. He says that that player told him he was paid $1,000 to knock him out of the game.

We've been trying to track down that player and so far he's denied being paid that money, but he did say that he was told to knock Morten Anderson out of the game, but denies the payment part of it.

LEMON: And that's why we're doing the story, "Bounty Hunters," Sunday 8 p.m. Ed Lavandera in New Orleans, thank you very much.

Severe weather in parts of the United States right now. Speaking of down south, New Orleans, we have seen tornado warnings. There's a tornado warning right now in Mississippi, correct? We'll have that for you right after the break.

Flooding in Louisiana. Chad Myers joins us. A tornado warning I'm told in Louisiana. Don't go anywhere. Chad Myers on the other side of the break with this breaking news.

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LEMON: All right, tornado warning right now in Louisiana. Chad Myers here from the CNN Severe Weather Center.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: St. Tammany Parish, there's a rotation on the radar, nothing on the ground that we know of just yet. But I'll tell you, this has been a day where tornadoes are on the ground for 3 minutes and the warnings -- then they're gone.

So this is a day where things could really spin up quickly. You may not have time to get all the things you want to get done. So get prepared now.

There are watches in effect, but the warning means that this piece of paper is printed out. There's enough rotation on the radar that there certainly could be tornados -- Don. I know you know it very well. This is where you grew up. The little country here all the way down to Pakamins Parish and then now eventually moving into southern Mississippi here in the not so distant future here. Another problem is going to be flooding today. This rain is not moving very quickly. So just inches and inches of rainfall coming down across parts of the Deep South all the way from St. Louis all the way down to New Orleans.

Here's what it looks like for the next 48 hours. The rain -- Don, I would like to see some rain here to wash away some of this pollen. We're going to see six inches into the north east of New Orleans and also into the southern counties there of Mississippi. Not even a drop here in Atlanta for the next couple of days.

LEMON: We were talking about where and you said we were trying to figure out Natchitoches, Louisiana. Look at that. There's been so much flooding and so much rain. I spoke to mom this morning. She said the wind was really kicking up and the rain was coming as well. So be careful.

MYERS: I know, Don, we've seen 12 inches of rainfall in 24 hours in some of these counties and parishes across the Deep South from Texas to Louisiana. No place can handle a foot of rain in one day.

LEMON: Natchitoches. Courtesy of our affiliate, KSLA. Thank you, Chad Myers. Appreciate it.

All right, legendary actor, Robert De Niro jokes about the fact that America, quote, "Wasn't ready for a white first lady." It, of course, set off a fire storm and now he's backtracking. That story right after a very quick break.

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LEMON: Anytime there is a warning, we want our viewers to be aware of it because it actually save lives. It's been, you know, report it. We save lives when this happens in Louisiana.

MYERS: People will say a lot, how do you feel about this? We can make people make better decisions. We know they're in some type of trouble. We had a lot of damage earlier today when a tornado just south of town went through, knocked down a bunch of buildings and roofed.

Today is going to be one of those days we could see severe weather on and off all day long. The watches will be posted for the rest of the afternoon. The warnings will too for St. Tammany Parish. It's the only warning I have right now, Don.

But the watch box, and I want to get to this for just a second. Take a little bit of time here and draw it. This red box means tornadoes are possible inside that red box. I believe we'll probably get more red boxes today.

So that means that this weather is going to charge ahead. Also something else is going to pop-up here. Back in Oklahoma, there's going to be hail that comes down. You want to make sure the pets are inside. You want to make sure the kids are inside or the car for that matter.

But you know what, I think people, you know, they leave the pets outside because they go to work. Well, don't do that. Make sure that they're protected. Make sure they have some place be. The garage is a good spot. You won't have to worry about them getting hit on the head with the hail.

We will see the weather come all the way up even toward Memphis later on today and as we get east to about mobile up through Jackson and maybe as far as east as Tuscaloosa. People are gun shy with tornadoes from the last year what they say.

That certainly the weather could certainly cause more problems later on today as the sun heats up. Remember, this is not really the warmest part of the day. Don, we talk about what's the most dangerous part of the day?

That's 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 in the afternoon because that's where the sun has been able to heat up the ground. The air goes up like a big bubble, like a hot balloon and that's when the most severe weather can occur.

LEMON: All right, so careful out there. Got some bad weather in the area now and more heading your way further to the east. Can we go to the Midwest now?

Because I understand that you're going to be talking to some (INAUDIBLE). Yes, we're going to be downstairs in a little bit. We're going to be down with the Indiana team. They're playing Kentucky in Atlanta.