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International Manhunt On For Two Convicted Killers; Female Prison Worker Questioned in Prison Break; Obama Admits "No Complete Strategy" for Iraq; Protests Over Cop Pulling Gun at Unarmed Teens; Graham: Caitlyn Jenner is "Welcome" in the GOP. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired June 8, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:09] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. An international manhunt underway for two brutal convicted killers. They staged a prison break you thought you would only see in the movies. Tonight, investigators questioning a prison employee they say that could have helped them get out.

Plus, a police officer pulls his gun at kids at a pool party. Was this because of race? Well, a man who was there saw the whole thing and has a very strong point you view. OUTFRONT tonight.

And we have got exclusive video, ISIS, Iraqi troops and a fierce firefight. Our correspondent there under fire. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. International manhunt. A massive search underway at this hour. At least 250 officers searching for two convicted killers on the loose. Killers who staged an escape that sounds like a Hollywood plot. And authorities tonight say they have no idea where the men are.

Also tonight, officials questioning a female prison employee. They say she helped the two men. And a source tells us that she knew both of them very well. We'll have more on that in a moment.

Richard Matt and David Sweat are the two men, they broke out of a New York maximum security prison that haven't had an escape since the civil war. Officials including the state's governor Andrew Cuomo baffled at how the two prisoners got their hands on power tools, used them to cut through brick and steel, climbing through small pipes and shafts and finally emerging out of a manhole about a block away. The two suspects described as extremely dangerous and desperate. Richard Matt, 49 years old doing 25 years to life for beating and then dismembering his former boss. David Sweat, 35 years old, serving life without parole for murder. He shot and killed a sheriff's deputy at least 15 times. And in a moment, I'm going to speak exclusively to the brother of that sheriff's deputy.

We begin though with Jason Carroll, he is outside the Clinton correctional facility in Dannemora, New York. And Jason, this manhunt intensifying. It's incredible they were able to get out. They haven't been caught so far. What are your sources telling you?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are 300 members of law enforcement on the ground right now as we speak. Much of this investigation now seems to be focused on this woman who worked inside the prison with these two men. She apparently worked with them, tailoring clothes. She knew them extremely well. Unclear at this point Erin what type of help she may have provided but what is clear to investigators, they had some sort of help from the inside.


CARROLL (voice-over): Cars stopped at checkpoints on roads leading to and from the Clinton Correctional Facility late Monday. Police looking for any clue as to the whereabouts of escape inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat. This as investigators are trying to find out if the two had help breaking out of the maximum security prison. A woman who works inside the prison has already been questioned as a possible accomplice. Both Matt and Sweat discovered missing early Saturday morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We are leaving no stone unturned. They could be out of state. But they still could be hold up here in Dannemora.

CARROLL: The inmates escaped from the Upstate New York prison. It's the stuff of a Hollywood screenplay both in side by side cells. They used power tools to cut through steel walls. Maneuvered down a catwalk, crawls through two foot wild underground pips finally emerging out of a manhole to freedom.

(on camera): You get a sense of exactly where that manhole is located. All you have to do is look right up here on Barker Street. You can see there a few prison guards standing right next to the manhole which is located just about a block or so away from the outer wall of the correctional facility.

(voice-over): Matt and Sweat stuffed their bunks with clothes as a decoy to fool guards, also leaving behind this note, a racist cartoon with the words, have a nice day. New York's governor given a tour of the duo's daring escape route.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: They needed equipment that they wouldn't have had. And they had to have the assistance of someone.

CARROLL: Chuck Ruger agrees before he retired, he worked at the prison as a guard and inside the facility's machine shop for nearly four decades.

JACK RUGER, RESIDENT: Got to have a lot of people there somewhere.

CARROLL (on camera): Is it you're thinking they may have had help from the inside or the outside or maybe a combination of both?

RUGER: Probably a combination of both. You don't cut through steel wall without somebody hearing it.

CARROLL (voice-over): One point is clear, the inmates are extremely dangerous. The search for them are searching from Canada, just about 20 miles north of the prison, all the way to Mexico. Some 300 members of law enforcement in the manhunt which includes search dogs and going door to door. Tessa Lopez Prolux less blocks from the prison and had her home and garage searched this weekend.

TESSA LOPEZ PROLUX, RESIDENT: Some people said we were crazy living up here. I never felt in danger. I actually felt safer.

[19:05:15] CARROLL: And your thoughts now?

PROLUX: I'm actually with all of the added security, police, corrections officers, everyone looking everywhere, I really feel safer than we have ever felt. Even with them at large. Yes, it's a concern. But I don't think they are anywhere around here right now.


CARROLL: And despite their violent past, both of these inmates were housed into prison's honor block, this is where Erin they house prisoners who have had good behavior. They have extra privileges, they have access to TV, access to washers and dryers and things like that. And for that reason, investigators have to operate on the assumption because they worked with this woman inside the prison and had access to tailoring, that type of clothing, because they also had access to washer and drier, they have to operate on the assumption that these two men may have changed their appearance and changed their clothes as well -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Jason, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT now, the Broome County Sheriff David Harder, his office is assisting with the search. I want to mention David Sweat murdered a Broome County sheriff's deputy in 2002. So, this is a personal story for you Sherriff Harder. And I appreciate your time. I know you are helping with the search. Your agency is on the lookout. It has now been more than 60 hours since David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped. Where are you focusing your search right now?

SHERIFF DAVID HARDER, BROOME COUNTY, NEW YORK (on the phone): Well, what we're doing here locally is interviewing all the people that were involved in the case 13 years ago. We're interviewing his own relatives, any acquaintances. Trying to track any leads down that come up.

BURNETT: And so do you think that they are together or that they separated? I mean, what is your gut about where they are?

HARDER: My gut feeling is that they're still together for a while. They can figure out where they are, how to get out of the Dannemora area. It's in the middle of the Catskill Mountains. You have to find a way out if you don't have a vehicle.

BURNETT: So, you think they are still together? And you think that they are still in Dannemora?

HARDER: Well, it's a quick guess.

BURNETT: Yes. HARDER: We don't have any other reason not to believe that at

this point. There's been no stolen cars reported, anything like that.

BURNETT: All right. That, you know, important. And your gut on this is important. I mean, no one noticed they were gone for seven hours, Sheriff. When you look at this now, as you are desperately hunting for these men, how much did that seven hours set you back in trying to track them down? They got a seven-hour head start.

HARDER: Well, I think -- I'm not sure how long it took to cut through all the walls, the pipes and to get to where they are. So, let's say it took them two or three hours. That only gives them three to four hours to the head start. It's quite a lead but still something to go on.

BURNETT: David Sweat was convicted of murdering one of your deputies. So, you know how dangerous these men are personally. What is Sweat capable of?

HARDER: Yes. He's very dangerous because he mowed down a deputy, ambushed him. The deputy was still alive and he went over to the deputy, took his gun away and then shot him right in the head. And then he ran over him with a truck.

BURNETT: All right. Sheriff Harder, we appreciate your time tonight. Thank you, sir.

HARDER: You are welcome.

BURNETT: Sherriff Harder as we said on the manhunt for these two convicted killers.

OUTFRONT now, Bill Stanton, former NYPD officer and private investigator. They're on the run. We don't know if they have food, we don't know if they have money. You just heard the sheriff. He said, his gut is they are still together. They are still in that area near the prison. Which is a pretty isolated area in the middle of the mountains. What do you think?

BILL STANTON, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: I think this is going to be a fascinating case to study after they are apprehended. I think this has been planned on for months if not longer. I look at this as two phases. First phase, get out of the prison which they did effectively. It would be remiss to think they haven't already planned to the meticulous every I dotted and T crossed what they would be doing after they escaped.

BURNETT: Right. So, you think that they planned this you said for months or even years?

STANTON: Possibly, yes.

BURNETT: I mean, the nature of this escape is so precise.

STANTON: And I think they are separated, because everybody is looking for two. Count on these guys looking nothing like they look in these pictures. These guys are vermin, they are filth, but they are smart. They probably may be wearing wigs, costumes, et cetera. They're even out of the country or they're hiding in place.

BURNETT: Yes. Interesting that you think that they may be separated, which is an interesting angle to this. I'm curious what you think about whether they can pull it off. I mean, it has been what, 60 hours now. Do you think they can pull it off?

STANTON: Well, as I said, they are either hiding in place, which I would consider doing. If they had the resource and money and people were helping them outside, they may be in a basement or some apartment doing an Anne Frank hiding for month. A new cycle goes quick. They could walk away instead of run away. Or they are already out of the country.

[19:10:09] BURNETT: All right. What do you think about that note, the have a nice day with the racist Asian eyes?

STANTON: Right. That was a little middle finger to the system. You know, and now they are in cinematic history. That's why this is so compelling and interesting. But I guarantee you, their back story isn't really as romantic as the once we've saw in the movies.

BURNETT: All right. Bill Stanton, thank you very much.

STANTON: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, one of the men police are hunting for is said to have metal teeth. Police say he has a history of cutting himself. He does not flinch when he breaks a bone.

The warning to the public is that this men are capable of anything. You just heard the sheriff say, he agreed.

Plus, exclusive video. Our Nick Paton Walsh under ISIS fire on the front lines today.




BURNETT: And presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham surprising reaction to Caitlyn Jenner.


[19:14:23] BURNETT: We're following the breaking news. A massive manhunt at this hour for two killers Richard Matt and David Sweat on the run after an unbelievable escape from a maximum security prison this weekend. We are now learning that the man who saw he was cell wall and tunneled their way to freedom were in an honor program. That means they had a clean discipline record and were given special privileges. They are on the loose tonight, extremely dangerous, convicted murderers who authorities say could act again.

Brian Todd is OUTFRONT with amazing new details we are learning about these two.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forty nine year old Richard Matt is by all accounts very distinguishable. His front teeth are reported to be metal, knocked out by prison guards in Mexico. He has got a Marine Corps insignia tattoo on his right shoulder. Heard shaped tattoos on his chest and left shoulder. David Sweat, 35-years- old may blend in a little more. But both men are stone-cold killers.

(on camera): How dangerous and desperate are these guys?

ARNETT GASTON, FORMER COMMANDING OFFICER, RIKERS ISLAND: They are most dangerous. And clearly, their activity clearly indicates they are extremely desperate. Both of them carelessly killed people. One of them dismembered his victim. They will stop at nothing.

TODD: Richard Matt is serving 25 years to life for kidnapping and beating to death his former boss William Rickerson whose body was found dismembered. The murder took place in 1997 in North Tonawanda, New York. Matt fled to Mexico to get away, served nine years there for killing a man in a bar fight, then was extradited to the U.S. to stand trial in the Rickerson case. A detective from that case described Richard Matt as psychotic. David Bentley told "The New York Times," quote, "I have seen him inflict wounds on himself, cut himself, break his collarbone and not seek any treatment. He is just totally, totally fearless and doesn't respond to pain. And this isn't Matt's first escape. In 1986, he broke out of a jail in Erie County, New York. For those who dealt with David Sweat's case, the knowledge of his escape is equally chilling.

UNDERSHERIFF FREDERICK AKSHAR, BROOME COUNTY, NEW YORK: An event like this with Sweat escaping of course tears open old wounds if you will, really thugs on people's emotional strengths.

TODD: Sweat was serving a life sentence for killing Kevin Tarsia, a sheriff's deputy in Broome County, New York. Tarsia was reportedly shot 15 times and then run over as he approached Sweat and other burglary suspects near a park in 2002. Arnett Gaston, former commanding officer at New York's Riker's Island prison says, the detectives who worked on both cases especially Richard Matt could be in danger.

GASTON: I should say, they should be very, very careful. Let me say, you don't escape just to escape. Certainly freedom is sweet and that's one thing they want to do. But once you're out, then you start thinking about, it's payback time.


TODD: In fact, one former detective who worked on Richard Matt's case told me, police contacted him and warned him of Matt's escape shortly after it happened. Another detective who put helped Matt away told "The New York Times," he is prepared to defend himself if Matt comes after him -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Brian Todd, thank you very much.

Joining me on the phone now, Steven Tarsia, the brother of the sheriff's deputy Kevin Tarsia, who was so brutally murdered by David Sweat back in 2002. You just heard of the sheriff talking about that horrible murder. And Steven, this has got to be something that is awful for you and your family. When you heard that he had escaped, what went through your head?

STEVEN TARSIA, BROTHER MURDERED BY ESCAPED CONVICT: (On the phone): I was surprise and I couldn't believe that he got out.

BURNETT: And we are learning tonight, Steven, that these two men were being held in what's called an honor block of the prison, which I understand basically means they got liberties for good behavior. So, you know, late night recreation, maybe additional time to watch TV. Were you surprised at that?

TARSIA: Yes, I was. I was under the assumption that they would never get anything. Their life would be miserable and awful. That's what we wanted.

BURNETT: So when you look at the other details here, right? That they had some kind of a power tool, they were able to saw through these tubes. They were able to get out of that manhole. They also left behind that yellow sticky note with the words, have a nice day. As the brother of someone who was so brutally murdered by one of them, when you saw that sticky note, what did you think?

TARSIA: I was pretty disgusted. Who would be in the right mind to help them do this? They can go out there and do it all over again.

[19:19:08] BURNETT: So, your brother was shot at least 15 times from what we understand, Steven. And I know this is making you relive it, having to go through all this. Do you believe these men would commit the same violent crimes again if they felt threatened now?

TARSIA: If not worse. They don't have no -- nothing to live for. They don't care about anything or anybody. They won't go back. I don't think they will go back without a fight.

BURNETT: If not worse. I mean, you know how dangerous David Sweat is. What is your message to the public tonight?

TARSIA: Call the police and be careful and stay away from them. And all the cheers be careful.

BURNETT: All right. Steven, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you, sir.

TARSIA: Thank you very much.

BURNETT: Sawing through that cell wall, crawling through pipes, it sounds like Shawshank Redemption.

Alina Machado is OUTFRONT.


ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the manhunt for Richard Matt and David Sweat intensifies, their elaborate escape from a maximum security prison in Upstate, New York is drawing parallels to fictional hit film Shawshank Redemption. In which a convicted killer spends 17 years digging his way out of prison using a rock hammer.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Like I said, in prison a man will do most anything to keep his mind occupied.

MACHADO: The main character crawling through prison walls and to waste pipe to escape, much like Matt and Sweat who used power tools to cut through steel walls. They also left decoys in their beds to trick guards into thinking they were asleep. So did the three prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz in San Francisco in 1962. John and Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris dug through prison walls and made rafts out of rain coasts in a bold escape. Their story the subject of another movie starring Clint Eastwood. The escaped convicts whereabouts still unknown to this day. But in most high profile escapes, authorities eventually catch up with the inmates. In 1984, six death row prisoners took over a housing unit at Mecklenburg Correctional Center in Virginia before stealing uniforms and making a daring escape.

All were captured within three weeks. In 2000, it took authorities nearly a month to track down the Texas seven, a group of convicted murderers and violent felons who gun down a police officer after making their escape. The reward for their capture reaching $440,000. Authorities in New York are offering $100,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Matt and Sweat, two convicted killers who authorities believe may have had help with their escape. Much like Reynaldo Rapalo, a serial rape suspect who broke free from the Miami-Dade County jail in 2005 using a rope made of bedsheets after crawling through a vent.


Now, Rapalo was captured about a week later. And he wasn't brought back to this facility. He was taken to a different one while he waited for his trial. His escape though left people in this community on edge much like the people in New York right now -- Erin.

BURNETT: Alina, thank you.

And next, video you will see only OUTFRONT. Our Nick Paton-Walsh in the middle of an ISIS firefight.


WALSH: Still, as you come here, ISIS are very close.


BURNETT: And disturbing cell phone video. A police officer pulling his gun on unarmed teens, many of them in bathing suits, many of them black. Someone who was there who saw it all is OUTFRONT.


[19:27:27] BURNETT: Breaking news. Exclusive new video tonight from the frontlines of the war against ISIS. Our reporter under ISIS fire. That's Nick Paton Walsh and he is live tonight back in Baghdad. And Nick, what you experienced, pretty stunning. I know we are going to show it to viewers in a moment. But you saw ISIS going all out.

WALSH: Absolutely. The place we just come back from is Havania (ph), which is the key military base where Iraqi pro-government forces are supposed to be amassing. In order to lead that counter attack gains Ramadi, that vital Iraq especially that ISIS to cover just weeks ago now. But instead of them leading an assault against ISIS, we saw them very much on the receiving end of ISIS' fire power.


WALSH (voice-over): Under fire near Ramadi, ISIS just across the river.


The Iraqi army lead to south. Their stronghold where they speak who have readiness and glory to come, yet seem busied by an enemy far too close. Here it is the Iraqi army along the northern edge of their base who were in a vicious fight with ISIS. ISIS have blocked the dam up stream to lower tides and help them attack.

(on camera): It's minute by minute here. The situation can change. And that riverbed very much the front line. They have been using water from the lake to keep its levels high but still as you can hear, ISIS very close.

(voice-over): They see and watch ISIS daily but say they are overlooked by coalition air strikes.


They are supposed to give us some support now for your plane, he says. We're in control of the ground. All we need is air support. Here caught between the ISIS towns of Ramadi and Fallujah, they face a thousand ISIS they think. But here he says he sees only a few with long beards and a flag here.


WALSH: Now, Erin, we also learned vital information about what exactly will be in that counter attack for us to retake Ramadi. Yes. You saw Iraqi military there. Well, they are in reasonable number but not really the amount I think they would like, it's fair to say. There are many Shia militia fighters, too.

But Washington wanted this badly. There aren't that many Sunni fighters. Remember, they are refighting for Anbar, which is a Sunni heartland, and they definitely want Sunnis part of the Iraqi sectarian divide to assist in that fight. One Iraqi official told me that on paper, they have 2,000 Sunni fighters, but in reality, only 500. That is a severe flaw in the Iraqi plan that will certainly be getting in the White House concern -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT tonight, the White House communications director, Jen Psaki.

Thank you so much for being with us, Jen.


BURNETT: Now, we just saw that exclusive report. Our reporter under fire today from ISIS near Ramadi. Of course, Secretary Kerry three weeks ago said ISIS would be defeated in Ramadi at that time, he said within days.

Why hasn't that happened?

PSAKI: Well, Erin, we've always known this would be a long road. Ramadi is an area where ISIL has obviously come back. They have come back and they have been fighting hard.

You saw that President Obama met today earlier today with Prime Minister Abadi, to talk about not only what we can do but what they can do to continue to improve the capabilities on the ground. But this is going to be a fight that we're going to have to keep at over the coming months, not just in Ramadi, and the area around that, but all across Iraq.

BURNETT: And you talk about months. I mean, as you said, the president did meet with the Iraqi prime minister. You know, he also talked about fighting ISIS in Iraq specifically. And here is what President Obama said.


OBAMA: We don't yet have a complete strategy, because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis.


BURNETT: And he doesn't have a complete strategy. Ten months ago, of course, he said he didn't have a strategy for ISIS yet.

How is there still no strategy? Why don't do the U.S. --


PSAKI: Well, Erin, I think it's important for anyone to look at the full context of his remarks. What he is referring to is that we're constantly evaluating how we're going to increase and ramp up the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces. Obviously, in Ramadi, as I think you've reported on, and CNN has reported on, this is an area where Iraqi security forces there did not benefit from the training that we have been doing in other parts of Iraq.

One of the pieces that he spoke with the prime minister about was about the need to increase recruitment, do Baltimore outreach to Sunni tribes. They're a key part of this. And in order to be successful, we need there to be more unity among all of the factions in Iraq.

BURNETT: Now, at the G7 today, there was an awkward moment. We will show it to our viewers. President Obama sitting at a bench, talking to the Italian prime minister and the head of the IMF, walking over and sitting next to him is the Iraqi prime minister sits down, waiting to the talk to the president. The president at one moment appears to turn his head, continues his conversation that he's in the midst of.

While then about 40 seconds passed, finally, the president gets up to leave. The Iraqi prime minister gets up, too, looks at his watch. His translator throws his hands in the air, sort of -- it appears very frustrated. Everybody walks off.

President Obama must be really frustrated with the Iraqis.

PSAKI: I wouldn't put it in those terms. I mean, one, it's fun to always look at footage and evaluate and guess what's going on.

But I think in this case, this is much ado about nothing, Erin. I have to say that we think of the Iraqi team, the Iraqi government as a partnership on taking on ISIL.

Obviously, Prime Minister Abadi came in a year ago and really had a huge hole he had to dig out of it as it related to moral and preparedness. And the president talked today about how there is more than can be done.

But the fact is, he knows how challenging this is. Who knows what was going on during that video footage? I don't think it's any reflection of the president's respect or what he thinks about the prime minister's leadership.

BURNETT: All right. Jen Psaki, thank you so much, as always.

PSAKI: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And another stunning failure for the TSA tonight. A Department of Homeland Security report has found that the TSA failed to identify 73 aviation employees with links to terrorism.

Let me explain. These people were employed at major airlines and airports. They were all vetted by the TSA. They were cleared by the TSA to access secure areas. And they were on terrorism-linked watch lists.

The report also found the TSA lacked controls to keep people with criminal histories and illegal status from getting a job. This is an OUTFRONT investigation revealed how much of your tax dollars are wasted by the TSA. Go to to see our exclusive report. And OUTFRONT next, police called for a rowdy pool party. One

officer drawing his gun, hitting a girl to the ground, kneeling on her. We're going to talk to an eyewitness who was there the entire time.

[And a lion that mauled an American woman to death.

[19:35:01] A stunning new image from just literally milliseconds before this attack.


BURNETT: Breaking news at this hour: protests over a violent confrontation between an officer and teens at a Dallas suburb pool party.

We're about to show you the officer tackling a 14-year-old girl, pulling his gun out on a group of unarmed kids. Watch.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call my mama now. He hit me. Hit me for no good reason.

OFFICER: Get your ass on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call my mama. Call my mama. Oh God.

OFFICER: Sit down, sit down.

On your face.




BURNETT: The girl is clearly unarmed. She's wearing a bikini. And here you see the officer dragging her on the ground. Tonight, that officer is on administrative leave. Some are arguing his actions were justified.

[19:40:00] Nick Valencia is OUTFRONT.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, this is where you got hit?


VALENCIA: What happened?

(voice-over): Fourteen-year-old is still emotional about what happened to here. Seen here on cell phone video, she was one of the teens at a pool party in this Dallas suburb. She says the officer, who is now on administrative leave, struck her in the arm and face.

(on camera): What do you want to see happen to the police officer?

BAKARI: I really want -- I think he should be -- it shouldn't be a suspension. He should get fired.

VALENCIA: Sorry isn't good enough?

BAKARI: No, it's not good enough, because sorry, just couldn't say sorry, it could still happen again. He hit me in the face when I tried helping the girl. When two more guys tried helping the girl, he pulled his firearm out.

VALENCIA (voice-over): It's a memory she won't soon forget.

BAKARI: When he pulled that out, it was kind of like, that's the reason didn't run away because I was frozen. I was just like --

VALENCIA (on camera): You thought you were about to get shot?


VALENCIA (voice-over): The white officer who pulled his gun was one of a dozen officers who responded to reports of a fight at community pool. Bakari's father, Jahi, says there's only one reason why this happened to the group of teens.

JAHI ADISA BAKARI, FATHER OF JAHDA BAKARI: I think the only reason is because they were black. That's my only recourse.

VALENCIA: Jordan Gray, Bakari's cousin, was also at the party on Friday, he saw things a little differently.

(on camera): Do you think any of this has to do with race?

JORDAN GRAY, EYEWITNESS: This hasn't have to do nothing with race.

VALENCIA: What does it have do with then?

GRAY: This has to do with a group of teens, getting together, having a good time.

OFFICER: Get on the ground. I told to you stay. Get your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) on the ground.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Not everyone is angry at the police officer. Some are outright defending him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he deserves a medal for what he did.

VALENCIA: This McKinney resident witness Friday's incident, she says she's afraid to go on camera after neighbors who vocally supported the officer received death threats.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want everyone to know that that police officer along with everyone else, they were completely in the right and protecting everyone. He was not out of line. I completely support him drawing his weapon or a taser or whatever it was that he did pull, because he was being attacked from behind.


VALENCIA: Within the last 30 minutes, we received a statement from the police union here who said the incident we saw on Friday was absolutely not racially motivated. They go on to say that no police officers within the McKinney Police Department practice racial or bias-based policing.

Meanwhile, Erin, a rally is currently under way being attended by community leaders. Residents I spoke to just a short time ago believe the rally is on its way here -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Nick, thank you very much. It's a fascinating report.

I want to go to straight to Benet Embry. He's a local radio personality. He lives in the area where it happened. He saw it all happen.

Benet, you were just feet from this when it went down. Let me ask you, what did you see?

BENET EMBRY, WITNESSED VIOLENCE AT POOL PARTY: What I saw, ma'am, I think -- let me clarify. You cannot take a seven minute clip and use that for evaluation for a 30-minute incident. What I did see before the cameras or the video started going is that the teens jumping over the fence after security were telling them they can't come in to swim, not because they were black. It's because they didn't live in the community itself.

In our HOA, you can only have two people come to -- two guests come with you as -- two guests come with you to the pool. What happened is real simple. It was a pool party. It was a nice pool party. Everything was fine and decent.

But when the flyer got on social media, what happened at that particular point, people from outside the community started coming. Once they couldn't get access to the pool, that's jumping over the fence, that's the cursing at security guard, that's -- then the fights broke out. And then that's what the police caught.

This perception that my community and people that were living there said, oh, it's a black party, let's call the police, we don't want black kids in the pool is totally false from that particular point.


EMBRY: I'm sorry. Go ahead. BURNETT: So -- I was going to ask on this issue of race, you

heard the teen in the bikini, her father say this is absolutely about race. Then in the piece by our reporter, he spoke to a young black man who was there who said, this was -- had nothing to do with race, right? So, you have both sides there. It sounds like you are saying, this was not about race.

EMBRY: I do not believe that this was about race. What this was was a teenage party that got out of control. It was 130 good kids just having a good time. Out of the 130, predominantly African- American, seven knuckleheads ruined the whole thing for everybody.

That's what this is all about. I don't think -- I do not believe that officer showed up to the subdivision with the intention, I'm going to go out here and swing black kids around. I do not believe that. That is not the way the community is set up. That's not the community we live in.

So, amidst death threats that I have personally received and the banning of my radio show, you know, my neighbor Bryan Gesner (ph) had to send his son away because he is receiving death threats.

[19:45:06] BURNETT: And you are getting threats, because why, because you are saying this wasn't -- because they were black?

EMBRY: Right. Exactly, according to everybody else, I am an Uncle Tom now. Just like my friend Brian Gesner who was actually on the video helping break up the fight and even giving kids water, he is now a skinhead Nazi.

That's not what it is about. This whole thing has been sensationalized by social media types. They are looking for a story.

And as I said on my Facebook post, we as a community, the black community, have other issues to deal with other than flights of fancy and made up stuff that we -- we need to be addressing the real issues with our community, our society and our country versus just because, you know, somebody is mad.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Benet, I appreciate your taking the time and coming on and being so honest and blunt about what you think. Thank you.

EMBRY: Thank you very much, ma'am.

BURNETT: And next, Senator Lindsey Graham, his surprising message to Caitlyn Jenner.

And Jeanne Moos with American Pharoah's second act. Could he be the billionaire stud?


[19:50:16] BURNETT: Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham takes a big stand. The senator from South Carolina welcoming transgender Caitlyn Jenner to the party, after Jenner told Diane Sawyer she's a Republican. That makes Graham a standout in a pack of conservative Republicans don't exactly embrace being transgender.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Caitlyn Jenner has sparked a new culture war inside the GOP. When Bruce Jenner revealed his new identity on the cover of "Vanity Fair", President Obama and other Democrats hailed it as courageous.

Republicans are walking a finer line.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be a Republican, she is welcome in my party.

ZELENY: Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina surprised some of his fellow Republicans by embracing Jenner in an interview on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."

GRAHAM: I haven't walked in her shoes. I don't have all the answers to the mysteries of life. I can only imagine the torment that Bruce Jenner went through. I hope she has found peace.

ZELENY: The Republican Party's big tent is facing a new test of tolerance.

Rush Limbaugh and other talk show radio hosts have been scolding.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We should not be celebrating this. We should not be lionizing this. We should not be encouraging this.

ZELENY: But Scott Walker and other GOP candidates have declined to join in the criticism.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: It's a personal decision.

ZELENY: Mike Huckabee joked in a February speech that only recently resurfaced, he wished he could have been transgender in high school.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I'm pretty sure I would have found my feminine side and said, coach, I think I'd rather shower with the girls today.

ZELENY: By last week, Huckabee was eager to change the subject.

HUCKABEE: I'm running for president. It's not to, you know, entertain the masses with comments on the culture news of the day. So, I'll continue to focus on the things people are far more plugged into.

ZELENY: Even Rick Santorum told reporters last week if he says he's a woman, then he's a woman. My responsibility as a human being is to love and accept everybody.

Republican strategists say if the party is going to expand its appeal, it must show a new face of acceptance.

Their burden is doing so without alienating their base. In an interview on ABC News with Diane Sawyer, before his transformation was complete, Jenner said he was a Republican.

CAITLYN JENNER: I'm kind of more on the conservative side.

DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: Are you a Republican?

JENNER: Yes. Is that a bad thing?


BURNETT: Jeff, so could this backfire on Senator Graham?

GRAHAM: Sure. I mean, especially in a Republican primary where social conservatives hold so much influence.

But, Erin, the bigger picture what Republicans are trying to do to appeal to younger voters and women voters to be more tolerant, a more accepting party. And a bigger test is come up in the future here, the Supreme Court's rule on gay marriage. That gives the party a bigger thing to wrestle here with -- Erin.

BURNETT: A bigger one that affects more people.

Jeff, thank you so much.

And now, an update on the horrifying lion attack on an American tourist. For the first time, we have a photo of the moment before the mauling. This picture right here taken from the car right behind shows the lion is jumping up to the SUV's open window. She was almost as tall as the SUV, the lioness quickly forced her muzzle inside, biting Katherine Chappell in the neck. Chappell died moments later at the scene.

And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos with American Pharoah. Now that he's won the Triple Crown, his really hard work begins apparently. That's next.


[19:57:53] BURNETT: Tonight's "Money and Power", American Pharoah's next big win, a Triple Crown winner, set to rake in $7.5 million a year at least for decades to come. How?

Well, you'll see with Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: American Pharaoh is definitely a ladies man, when it comes to human ladies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unbelievably amazing.


MOOS: Hey, maybe the horse isn't the one who needs a cold bath, but mares are what will excite the Triple Crown winner.


MOOS: Destined to become a stud, breeding four times a day and making $75,000 to $100,000 each time, his owner told ABC News.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, when you retire, what you do is eat, play and have sex. So bad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could be worse.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sounds exhausting.

MOOS: Maybe to you, Dan, but the president of WinStar Farm says it comes natural to stallions. They enjoy it.

WAIDEN: Every now and then, you might have a horse say, hey, I'm kind of tired of this, but very rarely.

MOOS: I have a headache.


MOOS: American pharaoh's dad, Pioneer of the Nile, lives at WinStar Farm, and his stud fee made double, thanks to his offspring's Triple Crown success, from $60,000 to perhaps $120,000 per session.

Some horses take just a minute or two. Pioneer of the Nile takes his time, 20 minutes, to breed a mare.

WAIDEN: He doesn't come in and want to get the job done right away, and courts his mares, lick them on their flank, necker at them a little bit.

MOOS: Even a Triple Crown winner shouldn't expect privacy. Around four handlers stand by during breeding wearing helmets.

WAIDEN: You can get bopped in the head.

MOOS: They actually wear flak jackets?

WAIDEN: They do.

MOOS: Don't expect any Barry White music.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: If you survive that.

Thank you so much for joining us. Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch us any time.

"AC360" starts right now.