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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Family Angry at Police Over Missing Woman
Aired October 1, 2009 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, seismic developments in the mystery in Malibu. We now have exclusive footage from the crime scene, just hours before Mitrice Richardson vanished at an elegant oceanside restaurant. She was arrested and then released by cops in the dead of night with no car, never to be seen again.
ISSUES now has exclusive video from this Malibu restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This is ground zero for the entire case. So what can we learn from the surveillance cameras? Was this woman acting crazy? Should cops have handled it differently?
Plus, blood-boiling new excuses in the NYPD drunk-driving case. A cop accused of killing an innocent woman while allegedly drunk driving behind the wheel. But his lawyer is describing him as a sober hero. He claims this off-duty cop wasn`t drunk at all and tried desperately to save this woman`s life. Are you kidding me? Why did this guy fight tooth and nail against a breathalyzer test, and why did it take more than seven hours to finally take his blood?
This cop`s lawyer may call him a hero, but I can tell you one thing. Mayor Bloomberg won`t be giving him a key to the city any time soon. The mayor wants an investigation.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news. An uproar in Malibu over the sheriff`s department`s handling of the case of a missing woman. More questions, more confusion over what exactly happened to this woman who simply vanished in Malibu two weeks ago.
Mitrice Richardson`s family believes she is still alive, and they claim police have completely, completely screwed up this case. Here is Mitrice`s heartbroken mom, speaking out late this afternoon at a news conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LATRICE SUTTON, MITRICE`S MOTHER: This is my daughter, Mitrice Richardson. My daughter, a citizen, was failed by the authorities who are hired to protect and serve us. They are not simply here to enforce and arrest us, but they also have a duty to protect us, to protect us from harm, harm from ourselves and to others.
And clearly, they knew that something was wrong with her. When I called the police department, before she was even taken into the facility to be booked, I spoke with the deputy. I told him, "This is not my daughter. This is not characteristic of her. She does not drink. She`s always the designated driver. Something is wrong with her. She seems to be in some type of crisis."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, that mom was talking as part of a wide-ranging, extremely volatile news conference. We`re getting tape in from that news conference as we speak. We`re cutting those sound bites, as they call them, and we`re going to play them for you tonight throughout the show.
We`ve got the attorney making some really amazingly -- I would say -- intense charges against the Los Angeles County Sheriff`s Department. You`ve got to hear it for yourself. We`re going to play them as they come in. Quite a news conference there.
That and tonight`s big issue. Should police have known the 24-year- old was not in her right mind, and should not be released into the wild, as it were, alone in the dead of night? No phone, no purse, no ride, no car.
Now let me welcome my fantastic panel: Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels; Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; Michael Cardoza, noted criminal defense attorney, as well; retired NYPD officer, Mike Gaynor; Terry Lyles, crisis expert and psychologist; and joining me on the phone, Geoff Peterson, owner of Geoffrey`s restaurant, where this all began.
Bur first, Carla Hall, reporter for the "Los Angeles Times."
Carla, this was a highly volatile, emotional news conference. It went on and on. It was the family and their attorney, Leo Terrell. What are the headlines coming out of that news conference?
CARLA HALL, REPORTER, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, I`m not sure what I can say the headlines are coming out of that news conference, but I think this continues to be a really sad and mysterious story.
The Los Angeles Police Department, which is in charge of looking for her, has two detectives assigned to it. I talked to one of them a couple days ago. He didn`t seem to have any leads.
There is a man who was dining at a restaurant called The Abbey in West Hollywood last week, and he is convinced he saw a woman who seemed to be Mitrice. The detectives are now looking for video footage from that restaurant that might give them a better sense of whether it was really her and, if it was her, who she was with.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I can tell you that I watched that news conference as it came in, and the thing that really struck me was Leo Terrell, the attorney for the family, essentially accusing the Los Angeles County Sheriff`s Department of a cover up, saying that they were finally given the police report. And correct me if I`m wrong, Carla, but I believe he said the original police report had no sign of a field sobriety test. And then there was a supplemental report that did talk about a field sobriety test, and essentially saying that she passed it.
This is important, because the whole point of the family is she was reportedly saying that she was from Mars, that she was there to avenge Michael Jackson`s death. She was talking gibberish in some kind of made-up language. And their point is, given that she was not in her right mind, she should never have been released in the middle of the night, because she was a danger to herself. And so it`s very crucial, this field sobriety test.
And the idea, Curtis Sliwa, that the family is claiming that there was a cover-up and, to quote Leo Terrell, that this -- the original report was followed by a phony baloney cover-up field sobriety test report, is pretty astounding.
CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: Well, there`s no question that, if in fact he`s correct, although you know that Leo, his whole -- his whole method of operation has been to be a bomb thrower for years. He`s not a healer. He`s not a conciliator.
I just think you have to go based on the facts that we already have. The restaurant could have ended all of this by just taking the credit-card number of the grandmother, running it through and not waiting for a fax. That`s ridiculous. Nobody has faxes any longer.
And secondly, could have told the family, "We really think you should send someone here to pick her up, because she just doesn`t seem to be in control of her mental faculties."
We do know, though, that the L.A. Sheriff`s Department offered her to stay in a cell, offered her to stay in the lobby, and she...
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is a misdemeanor.
SLIWA: ... insisted that she be released. That she be released.
WEINTRAUB: We`re talking a misdemeanor here. This is something, as Michael and Curtis will tell you, this is something that she could have been given a summons to appear. She didn`t even have to be booked and arrested. It`s a discretionary call by the police.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
WEINTRAUB: That`s No. 1.
But No. 2, Jane, what`s really important to me in looking at the police conduct, would they let their sister or their wife or their mom walk out the door in that area at 1:30 in the morning, unescorted, knowing that they have no transportation, because the car was impounded? Come on.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to get -- I know Geoff Peterson`s here. He`s the owner of Geoffrey`s. He`s graciously agreed to appear again and tell his side of the story.
But let`s listen to the claim and the charge made by the attorney for the family, Leo Terrell, just a little while ago. We just got this sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEO TERRELL, ATTORNEY FOR THE FAMILY: In the original report that they conducted on the 16th and 17th of September, they do not mention one thing about a field sobriety test. That`s quite significant. They did a supplemental report a day after our press conference, and guess what`s in the supplemental report? They conducted a field sobriety test. Yes. I spoke to two officers last night, and something is seriously wrong in Denmark.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Geoff Peterson, you`re the owner of Geoffrey`s. Did you see law enforcement give a field sobriety test to this woman at Geoffrey`s?
GEOFF PETERSON, OWNER, GEOFFREY`S (via phone): I was on the phone and I could ask one of my managers. I don`t -- I can`t get that for you today. If you want to talk to me tomorrow, I can tell you that.
But I think something that`s being missed here, because everybody says I should let her pay and let her leave. I can`t do that. It`s wrong. But the family turned down the opportunity. We said we would stay here all night if they would come down and pick Mitrice up. They refused to do that.
And the mother said, then, she`s been hanging out with the wrong people; she needs to go to jail. That`s not being reported. And it`s frustrating to me, because they`re throwing bombs now at everybody and not taking personal responsibility for their actions.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Geoff, I just want to make sure I understand you correctly. You`re saying that, while the woman was still at the restaurant, you not only got in touch with her great-grandma, but you talked to her mother, or she talked to her mother, somebody talked to her mother...
PETERSON: The manager talked to the mother.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the mother was aware that she couldn`t pay her tab. And you said you would wait there, or your staff said they would wait there for her to pick her up, and the mother refused to pick her up? Is that what you`re saying?
PETERSON: Yes. And the mother said she`s been hanging out with the wrong people and she needs to be arrested. This will be good for her. And she`s not saying that now. And of course, they wouldn`t say it now because her daughter`s missing. And we haven`t talked about that, because I don`t want to be hurtful in this moment.
But if they`re going to throw bombs at the sheriff and going to throw bombs at us, we need -- the truth needs to be out there. And they have -- they could have picked her up at Geoffrey`s. They could have gone to -- and even could have picked her up at the station. But they chose not to.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
WEINTRAUB: Can I ask Geoff a question?
WEINTRAUB: Was her demeanor noted in your -- in your restaurant. And of course, that`s of no, you know, consequence or fault of yours. But, I mean, if anybody noticed that she was not acting in her right mind or slurring speech, like sometimes...
PETERSON: She wasn`t -- she wasn`t drunk. It wasn`t slurred speech. It was more she was out there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but did you tell -- did anybody tell the cops that? Because the cops are claiming they gave her a field sobriety test and she was fine. That`s why they let her go.
PETERSON: The cops -- the cops were -- the sheriffs were aware of some of the situations. I`m not sure of every story, if they heard every story, but they were aware that she was a little bit -- something was -- we didn`t, drugs, alcohol, mental state, we didn`t know what it was.
WEINTRAUB: Well, did she drink any alcohol there? I mean, she didn`t seem to be drunk, was she?
PETERSON: She had one drink. She had one drink, so I don`t think she was drunk.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think if the cops were aware that she was talking in a gibberish language and saying she was from Mars and wanted to avenge Michael Jackson`s death, that should have been a factor in consideration when they decided to let her go or perhaps they should have kept her. But I wasn`t there.
We`re trying to get to the bottom of this incredible mystery. And we`re going to have more on the mystery in Malibu in just a moment. We are also taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Plus, later on, a New York cop accused of pounding some beers, getting behind the wheel and killing an innocent civilian. His lawyer says we got it all wrong; he was a sober hero. Others call that claim an outrage.
But first, where is Mitrice Richardson? The family demanding answers from law enforcement, as they desperately search for this young woman, missing in Malibu.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUTTON: We want our daughter found. We feel that there`s not been enough efforts to locate her. All we want is our daughter home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RHONDA HAMPTON, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: She sat down with a table of six people whom she did not know. She began talking about being Mother Nature and being at one with the universe. She began talking about their astrological signs and giving predictions, I guess, of their astrological signs. She began talking about being from Mars. She began speaking in a very incoherent language, and they were very -- the patrons at that restaurant were very, very concerned with her.
And that information was provided to the officers involved in the case, and they knew that information prior to taking her down to that jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was clinical psychologist Rhonda Hampton, who says she`s a mentor and friend of the missing woman, talking during this wide-ranging news conference late this afternoon. Again, we`re bringing the sound as we get it cut.
And Terry Lyles, psychologist, the bottom-line complaint of the family is if somebody`s talking in gibberish language, clearly, they`re a little crazy and shouldn`t be released into the night, common sense. Somehow, that happened.
TERRY LYLES, PSYCHOLOGIST: Absolutely. I mean, as the story is developing, as we`re listening, it sounds like the family, there had to be some track record here. It doesn`t sound like she just had an episode. I mean, there must be some past record of mental illness or something that`s going on. I don`t know that she just flipped out.
So there`s almost like a passing on of responsibility. The family passed. The restaurant tried to do the right thing, it sounded like, from what we just heard. But then when somebody goes into custody, that means to be cared for. So the last of the custody was in the police force`s hands, and they released her in the middle of the night. As a woman, that`s concerning and disconcerting all at the same time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, let`s -- go ahead.
MIKE GAYNOR, RETIRED NYPD OFFICER: If I can inject a thought here, if I may, Jane.
GAYNOR: As a former police officer myself, I just have to be an apologist here for the police department, who`s getting all this horrible blame for doing their job. They responded to a larceny and what turned out to be drug possession.
The woman was arrested. She was brought to the police station, as routinely done. When it was found that she was appropriately identified and that the crimes were going to be considered misdemeanors, she was released. She had an opportunity to make phone calls. She did make phone calls.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, let me ask you about this.
LYLES: Wait, there`s something else.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I want to ask about this, because this is what struck me. Leo Terrell is claiming a cover-up.
Now, Michael Cardoza, do you remember...
MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... the scandal in 2006 involving Mel Gibson, where he had an anti-Semitic rant that he later apologized for. TMZ broke the story, charging the sheriff`s department, and we`re talking about the same one...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... the Malibu Lost Hills Station was involved in a cover-up of Gibson`s alleged anti-Semitic tirade, detailed in the deputy`s first arrest report. Quote, "TMZ has learned the Los Angeles County Sheriff`s Department had the initial report doctored to keep the real story under wraps."
Interestingly enough, the same L.A. County Sheriff`s Department spokesman who told us last night there was no cover-up, they`re doing everything they can, is the exact same sheriff`s department spokesperson who said that the reports of the cover-up in the Mel Gibson case were absolutely not true.
CARDOZA: Isn`t it amazing what we learn about our police departments? Believe me. I`m not usually defending police departments, but Jane, let`s take a look at this case.
We have a woman, college graduate from what I understand. She was a 4.0, straight A student.
CARDOZA: She goes to a restaurant. She gets arrested for not paying the bill, not paying the food bill. Then she has some marijuana on her. So they have a choice at that time. We can cite her out, give her a ticket, or arrest her. They choose to arrest her.
I find it interesting what the restaurant owner said, that, "Well, we phoned Mom, and Mom said, `Look, she`s hanging with the wrong people. Night in jail might do her good`." What`s that tell all of you? The daughter has a drug problem. So Mom says, "Look, I`m going to try and cure her." That`s probably what a lot of parents might do. Give her a taste of what it`s like being in jail.
She goes to jail. If, in fact, she`s talking gibberish and doing those type of things, and she had a psychotic break, absolutely the sheriffs are wrong. They should have kept her. But remember, they...
GAYNOR: They`re sheriffs, not psychiatrists. How could they determine if the gibberish is a psychotic episode?
CARDOZA: Now, come on. Come on.
GAYNOR: There`s a lot of gibberish out there. Come on, be real.
SLIWA: Come on.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Guess what, everybody? We`ll be back in a moment.
Meantime, we have an exciting addition to our prime-time lineup. "The Joy Behar Show" premiered this week. It airs every night at 9 p.m. Eastern right here on HLN. Here`s a quick little taste of what you`re going to get. It`s her "not for nothing" commentary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY BEHAR, HLN HOST: You know, not for nothing, but my show has been on the air for, what, like two minutes, and already, I`ve been called every name in the book. I`ve been called stupid, pushy, dumb, a loudmouth and a Marxist. I take exception. I am not a Marxist. I own property. OK, it`s in foreclosure, but still.
This name calling doesn`t bother me. You think it bothers me? I`m used to it. Bill O`Reilly once called me a pinhead. Yes, he`s mature. And a Christian columnist named Eric Rush actually called me a fatty bomblattie. Which version of the Bible does he read, the King James or the Dr. Seuss?
Let me say nothing to these nattering negative nabobs. I am a mature woman capable of intelligent discourse. I love to engage in cogent debate and partake in well-informed conversation, OK? I relish the thought of sitting down with all of my adversaries.
So Glenn, Rush, Bill, I invite all of you to come on the show and discuss things like rational adults. Even if you are a big bunch of doody- heads.
But that`s just me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The show is a riot. You can catch "The Joy Behar Show" at 9 p.m. Eastern right here on HLN. I`m going to be watching. That`s for sure.
Coming up, more on Mitrice Richardson, missing in Malibu. An outrage about an alleged drunk driver cop who killed a woman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUTTON: I believe she is still alive. And I will not give up hope that she is alive until we have her safe in our arms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was Mitrice Richardson`s mom, understandably emotional, at a very dramatic news conference just a short time ago.
Back with my expert panel. Phone lines lighting up.
Sharon, Florida, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Yes. Is it possible that maybe someone slipped this young woman into a drink, or she maybe suffered a silent stroke because the way she`s acting?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Terry Lyles, psychiatrist, what do you think?
LYLES: Well, I mean, at this point, anything`s possible. I mean, there could have been some illicit drugs; she could have just had an episode. There could have been a lot of things. We don`t know that. Maybe, you know, if she`s found, hopefully, alive and well, we`ll be able to determine that.
But that`s the point. When something`s wrong, I think we have to have enough public awareness. You don`t have to be a mental expert to say, "Hey, there`s something wrong here, that we got to do something."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I got to say this.
CARDOZA: There you go.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m trying to put the pieces together, Michael Cardoza.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There had been a published report earlier this week that quoted law enforcement sources as leaking the fact that this woman`s family was allegedly upset about this young lady`s sexual orientation.
Now, when I hear that she`s supposedly spotted at the Abbey, I lived in L.A. for 18 years. That`s a very prominent top gay hangout on Robertson Boulevard. So I`m trying to put the pieces together.
Is there a possibility -- I have no idea what this woman`s sexual orientation is, the prime thing is to find her. But is there a possibility that she could be hiding out because of a dispute with her family? Is that something we have to consider?
CARDOZA: Of course. I mean, look at the runaway bride. Remember that one down in Georgia? She takes off from a wedding. Everybody thinks she`s dead. We`re blaming the groom, and all of a sudden, she pops up. Of course it`s possible.
But let`s talk about the motive of the police. Let`s go back to her at the police station. The police tell her, "Look, you can stay if you want. Call whoever you need to. The police aren`t babysitters."
WEINTRAUB: And they never checked on that, Michael.
WEINTRAUB: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. They let her go. They say, "If you want to go, go. If you want to stay, sit here until somebody comes and picks you up."
What motive do they have, if she`s had a psychotic break not to just take her off 5150, which means...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Laziness would be a motive. And I`m not saying it`s true. But -- but what people are saying -- hold on. What people are saying, Jayne Weintraub, is that sometimes cops don`t want to go through the hassle of doing a 5150. You`ve got to go to the hospital, I guess, and you`ve got to go to...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because they`re lazy. Let`s be honest. It`s 1 in the morning, and the cops were being lazy. They sure weren`t doing their job. And they`re still not doing their jobs.
GAYNOR: Is that being honest or is that just guessing? It`s Monday morning quarterbacking.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold it. The man with the red cap. The man with the red cap. I want to hear from the man with the red cap.
SLIWA: Listen, I -- I am the only one here who has been in lockup more times than probably you`ve represented clients. Crazy people are in lockup, people who are drunk, people who are on drugs.
But if you`re sober enough to insist to the lockup officer, "Oh, no, I don`t want to stay. I don`t want to stay in a cell. I don`t want to stay in the lobby."
And she made two phone calls. I would bet if the person at the restaurant is telling the truth, the manager, she might have called one of her relative, who then said to her, "You need to learn a lesson."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, I got it. Just wait a second. Wait a second. Geoff Peterson, quick, if you could do it all again, would you do it exactly the same way?
PETERSON: I would have to, because everything that we did was by the book and to take care of hr. And, you know, on a side note, everybody, when we...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you hang on, Geoff?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to go to a break, but we`re going to stay on top of this dramatic story. And we`re going to bring you the very latest on this cop, allegedly drunk driving, killed a woman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRELL: There was a call to the station at 6:30 in the morning. It was by a resident. He said he saw a woman and she fit the description of the missing person. Please go there and ask the sheriffs department when did you go to that home? We have witnesses who will testify that the sheriffs department did not go to that home until later that afternoon, hours later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. That was the attorney for Mitrice Richardson`s family, alleging a cover-up by the police, but we spoke to an L.A. County sheriffs` spokesman last night on ISSUES and we asked him about that. He said they responded in about 20 minutes.
So you`ve got these wild discrepancies, Jayne Weintraub. Leo Terrell, the attorney for the family, saying it`s hours, took them hours to respond. The sheriffs` department saying no, we responded in 20 minutes.
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Number one, my money`s on Leo and because I know him. And number two, I can also tell you, Jane, that what bothers me, the police confirmed today in an AP report they still had not followed up and checked out the two phone calls that Mitrice made.
Wouldn`t that be the very first thing you do here? Isn`t anybody worried about her well-being? Does anybody else want to see anything happen to anybody out there? Of course not.
So the first thing you do as an investigator is you look for her. It doesn`t seem to be to me that they`re looking for her, which just adds on to their laziness.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Gaynor...
MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.
CARDOZA: You know what`s going to be interesting as in most of these, the police may, underscore the word may, may have not done anything wrong. They may have made a bad decision, but heck, who doesn`t. Sometimes the police do. But the cover-up, if they did, is what`s going to sink them. The cover-up is always worse, isn`t it?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely worse than the crime. But I find that if in fact they have not checked the two phone calls that she made, because this is what Leo Terrell said, Mike Gaynor, in his news conference. He said they went there; the family went to the station and said she made two phone calls.
Did you find out who she talked to and did you get the information, what was exchanged on these phone calls? And Leo is claiming that law enforcement said no, we haven`t had time to go through that yet, and Leo was also claiming that since they impounded her car, she had diaries in her car and they haven`t had time to read them yet.
I don`t know if it`s true but if it is true, I think that`s incriminating.
MIKE GAYNOR, retired NYPD: Leo said a lot of things. So far we`re finding out that not everything he said turned out to be true. He may be guessing...
WEINTRAUB: Hold on a minute.
GAYNOR: Go right ahead.
WEINTRAUB: Jane, Detective Stephen Igucci (ph) confirmed Tuesday Richardson`s calls were not yet traced. That was an LAPD person. That is somebody in the -- I mean, in the LAPD.
GAYNOR: Very good. I heard you. The calls haven`t been confirmed yet. But do you think...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. Mike Gaynor, how do you explain that? How do you explain that they haven`t checked the calls yet?
GAYNOR: It doesn`t happen 15 seconds after you decide you`re going to check a phone number. You have to get subpoenas, you have to go through the phone company.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s been missing two weeks.
GAYNOR: Perhaps they have information they haven`t disclosed yet as well.
Let me tell you something. This woman, you show me one lawyer in the country that would stand still, one defense attorney that would stand still for a client being held in custody for talking gibberish after drinking and smoking pot. And tell me one psychiatrist in the country that would sign a commitment letter for the same thing. I don`t think you would find that.
The woman was an adult, she was free to go. She was free to make those phone calls. It was probably dozens of phone calls...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say something. I`ve got to say that I really hope that this is all overblown. I pray, I pray to be called a fool, that she is found somewhere in West Hollywood partying it up and decided she was going to, you know, teach her family a lesson.
GAYNOR: Just think about what her mother said to the owner of the restaurant.
CARDOZA: Jane, Jane...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Michael.
CARDOZA: I have a real simple question. Do they have video cameras in that police department, in the jail cells, and if so, why haven`t somebody looked at those or have they, to see what her demeanor was like at the time? That would clear an awful lot up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do we still have Jeff Peterson on the phone, the owner of Geoffrey`s?
JEFF PETERSON, OWNER, GEOFFREY`S RESTAURANT: I`m here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You very graciously last night on the show, when the family was saying Geoffrey`s wouldn`t give us the videotape, you said nobody asked us. I said hey, we would like to see the tape. We went over and picked up a bunch of tape, we went through hours of it, of the tape from your restaurant. We couldn`t find Mitrice on it -- anywhere, at the bar or anywhere. How do you explain that?
PETERSON: Well, our tapes, our cameras are more set up for our own security on the back doors and into the office. We actually have a lot of celebrity clientele so we don`t put them towards -- there`s one sliver of the bar that you can catch. It`s easy not to catch a patron because that`s what we try not to do.
They could be there with ...
WEINTRAUB: Where`s the surveillance from the jail, Jane? That`s the issue.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think I read a report that said that the surveillance camera wasn`t working outside the jail.
CARDOZA: What about in the jail?
GAYNOR: There you go.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lost Hills. Lost Hills.
CARDOZA: They`ve got them in the jail. They`ve got them in the jail. They put them in the jail to watch prisoners. They`ve got them. Who`s looked at that tape?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Something doesn`t make sense here, Curtis Sliwa. If she was talking gibberish and making up languages and saying she was going to avenge Michael Jackson`s death and that was like something around 8:30, 9:00 in the evening. And they release her at 1:30 in the morning.
How come over all the hours that followed, and watching on surveillance and arresting her and putting her in jail, she didn`t do something strange that made them think she`s crazy?
WEINTRAUB: Maybe she did but it doesn`t sound like they would have done very much about it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I asked Curtis.
CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: Jane, oftentimes you`re at a scene and the police arrive and then all of a sudden, you`re at your worst. And then you calm down, you`re in the squad car, they`re talking to you, you are with the booking officer. They showed her a jail cell, they say would you like to spend the night. She insists no.
Now, this is a smart woman, a 4.0 grade average. So all of a sudden, she had a little recovery and she`s insisting I know my rights, you can`t hold me, you know. You issued me a desk appearance ticket, I`m free to go, right? Yes, you are, but why don`t you stay in the lobby.
And she may well have called a parent or friend or family member. They apparently were in dispute with one another. Why do we keep blaming the cops when the problem might be internally with the family? Why is it the L.A. County sheriff is guilty when it may be a family problem?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re not blaming anybody. We`re asking questions.
I`ll tell you one thing I blame. I blame society. Given the escalating war on women -- that`s a big theme right here on our show, ISSUES -- we actually have to possibly start talking about special police guidelines for releasing females from custody, especially alone at night with no resources. It`s sad but maybe it`s come to that.
As Americans, we express outrage that there are women in other parts of the world who are forced to wear burqas yet given the level of violence against women in our country, aren`t we American women in a sense forced to wear psychological burqas when walking out of a police station in the middle of the night is almost suicidal. When walking alone by yourself on a country road is the equivalent of risking your life, when a woman walking her dogs alone in the park is considered a crazy risk taker? Isn`t that a psychological burqa?
American women live in constant fear of violence. And I think instead of further restricting our movements, it is time for us women to take back the streets and the roads of America. And Jayne Weintraub, we need to stand together as a gender and say enough, stop restricting us because of the violence directed against us and let`s start modifying the behavior of violent males.
WEINTRAUB: You are so right, Jane, because I`m telling you what, I said at the beginning, none of these cops would have let their wife, their daughter or their mother or sister go out at 1:30 in the morning alone without a car, period, end of story. That shows how much respect and caring these cops have.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I guess we got to hear from a guy. Ok, Curtis.
SLIWA: Are woman equal to men? If a man is released at 1:30 in the morning he has a right to leave a police station. So does a woman. You cannot forcibly detain them if all the paperwork has been done. What are you going to hold them on? What charge you going to hold them?
WEINTRAUB: First of all they shouldn`t have booked her to begin with.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Cardoza.
CARDOZA: Yes. It`s just as dangerous for us guys out there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, it`s not.
CARDOZA: I understand what you`re saying, Jane. What do you mean, no it`s not? Of course it is. There are a lot of men that maybe...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you going to be raped? Let`s say if you left that station in the middle of the night, would you be raped? No.
CARDOZA: No, but I could very well be kidnapped or killed. Just as easily.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are stronger. You can fight. They`re not going to attack you the same way they attack women. Every night on this show, all we do is cover women being...
CARDOZA: I`m not totally disagreeing with you but same thing can happen to men on a certain level. It`s not all women. A guy walks out of there at 1:30; he can do the same thing. Call a cab, call a friend, call the family. I`ll bet you if that mother said...
WEINTRAUB: When was the last time we had a case about a man being kidnapped?
CARDOZA: I`ve had many cases of men being kidnapped.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me see the panel.
GAYNOR: Men are more often victims of crime than women, period.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Mike Gaynor?
SLIWA: Excuse me, John Gotti Jr.`s on trial now for kidnapping, assaulting and attempting to murder me.
CARDOZA: There you go.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s leave the mob out of this for a second, all right? I`m not trying to beat up on men.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I`m saying is that women are not going out raping and kidnapping and killing at the same rate that men are. We all know that.
CARDOZA: That may be true.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Imagine for one day if you switched the world and all of a sudden, you had the local news with women being cuffed and paraded every day for doing all sorts of crimes, how would men react? They would be up in arms. We would be having Congressional hearings.
CARDOZA: What`s the answer?
WEINTRAUB: Jane, you know something?
CARDOZA: What`s the answer?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub?
WEINTRAUB: You know what bothers me the most here? Nobody took the time. Let`s stop talking about the blame game. I`ll give you that. But how about somebody, anybody, caring enough to realize something`s not right here; even Jeff at the restaurant...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. I`m going to get the last word because Jeff, it`s your restaurant and I`ve eaten there. It`s a great restaurant. It`s a beautiful restaurant. And you say you wouldn`t have done anything different.
PETERSON: No. I`m the only person -- listen, I cared about her and I cared about what happened to her. That`s why we didn`t let her go. The family should have picked her up. They didn`t pick her up.
It`s unfortunate, we pray that she`s safe, but I cared and that`s why I`m in this mess and that`s why I`m getting death threats from people calling us thinking...
CARDOZA: Now that`s crazy.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. That`s terrible. Thank you, Jeff, for participating.
CARDOZA: He`s not a woman.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t threaten Jeff. He has nothing to do with this.
Everybody stay right where you are.
Up next, the NYPD drunk driving investigation right after the break. I want to hear from you. Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, Error! Not a valid filename.Error! Not a valid filename.1-877-586-7297.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Blood-boiling new excuses in the NYPD drunk driving case. A cop accused of killing an innocent woman while allegedly drunk driving behind the wheel. But his lawyer is describing him as a sober hero. He claims this off-duty cop wasn`t drunk at all and tried desperately to save this woman`s life.
Are you kidding me? Why did this guy fight tooth and nail against a breathalyzer test?
Coming up: the controversial cop who was allegedly drunk when he hit and killed a woman now claiming to be a sober hero. Yes, a hero. More on that in a moment.
But first, "Top of the Block tonight: the saga continues. TLC basically fired Jon Gosselin from "Jon and Kate plus 8" but he`s not going quietly. No, no, no, no, no. He notified TLC that effective immediately, no TV crews are to enter his family home, his marital palace.
All of a sudden he is saying the show is detrimental to his children. Timing, coincidence? TLC fired back in a stunning statement, calling Jon`s behavior erratic and opportunistic. You know you haven`t heard the last from Jon or Kate on this.
Again, can they please remember their eight kids are going to read about all of this some day? That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Shocking and appalling excuses from the cop who was allegedly drunk when he got behind the wheel and killed a woman smashing into her with his jeep. Tonight, Officer Andrew Kelly`s lawyer is spinning. I`m not talking with the bicycle at the health club. He says this cop`s not a drunk driver, but he`s in fact a hero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARTHUR AIDALA, ANDREW KELLY`S ATTORNEY: Andrew is devastated by the accident that occurred, the tragedy that occurred. He`s done all he could. At the scene, he did everything he could to save her life. And it`s something, a burden he`ll have to suffer and live with for the rest of his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What? This is the guy who allegedly mowed down this woman after allegedly slamming beers all day. Kelly`s blood alcohol test conveniently came back 0.00, zip, nada, nothing, no alcohol in his system. His attorney, you just heard him there, tells "The New York Times," "He wasn`t drunk. This isn`t complicated."
Maybe he wasn`t drunk because it took seven hours and 20 minutes to test his blood alcohol level. Plenty of time to sober up, people.
Here`s Kelly`s attorney caught on tape, acting almost gleeful -- you decide -- over the bungled blood test that`s allowing him to make these very, very interesting arguments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us the status of the Andrew Kelly case?
AIDALA: Look what you`re doing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m just asking.
AIDALA: At this point, for us, the case is brand new. We`re investigating everything. We are not surprised; we knew what the blood alcohol results were going to be because we knew what he did that night or what he didn`t do that night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s not funny. A woman`s dead.
This attorney has the audacity to say his client wasn`t drunk and was a hero. Responding officers reportedly smelled alcohol on his breath.
The big question, was this a cop cover-up? The mayor of New York City vows an internal investigation. We`ll get to the bottom of this mess.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHALE BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK: It`s a tragedy that deserves the closest of scrutiny and if true, the allegations of a DWI hit and a cover-up are reprehensible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kelly`s lawyer insists he was treated the same as anyone else would be. Do you really think so? Seven hours and 20 minutes before they drew his blood? And it came back not one drop of alcohol?
Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Curtis Sliwa, what do you make of it all?
SLIWA: What a double disgrace. First off, the cop being drunk behind the wheel and remember, another cop who booked up, who left the scene of the crime, and then as you pointed out, this attorney like hey, we got over like fat rats. Look, that cop refused a breathalyzer, refused to have blood drawn...
WEINTRAUB: As is his right, Curtis.
SLIWA: He should have been hog-tied right there by his fellow cops and the blood should have been taken out and tested.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me see the panel. Jayne Weintraub.
WEINTRAUB: Curtis, we have constitutional rights in this country. We are not presumed guilty. We are presumed innocent. And maybe he refused, maybe because he knows how messed up these test results get on a regular basis.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe he refused because he was drunk.
WEINTRAUB: But you can`t assume.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He didn`t want anybody to be able to prove he was drunk.
GAYNOR: Jane, don`t draw conclusions.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on.
Michael Cardoza, I think you`re the voice of reason. I predict.
CARDOZA: I hope so.
GAYNOR: Try me.
CARDOZA: Let`s look first of all at a state tat everybody makes fun of, California. Here in California, when you get stopped for a DUI, you get a breath or you get blood. You get a choice of those two. If you refuse, it`s a refusal, that refusal can be used in a trial against you. Why? Because if you are innocent, if Andy Kelly is innocent, then why wouldn`t he want proof of his innocence? He should be clamoring at the bit.
CARDOZA: Let me finish. He may -- not may -- if he`s innocent, he`s say take the blood, take the breath, I want to prove I`m innocent but no, that`s not what happens here. He waits.
They are part of the cover-up. Every one of those cops should be fired if they had any part in this.
Seven and a half hours later...
GAYNOR: I have to respectfully disagree with that.
CARDOZA: Give me a break. If they`re part of the cover-up they should be gone. They know darn well, seven and a half hours later, the blood`s going to register zero, zero, zero.
GAYNOR: But they don`t know that darn well.
CARDOZA: Oh, baloney they don`t know that.
GAYNOR: let me ask you a question Mr. Cardoza...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Guess what, guess what -- we`ve got to stop. I`ve got to keep moving. It`s called a commercial. Hold on a second.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: People across America are grappling with addiction and I`m one of them. In my new book "I Want" you`ll learn so much about my struggle with alcoholism and how I finally got sober 14 years ago.
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Everybody, stay right where you are. We`re going to have more on this alleged drunk cop and his lawyer calling him a sober hero right after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AIDALA: At this point we`re -- for us the case is brand new. We`re investigating everything. We are not surprised. We knew what the blood alcohol results were going to be because we knew what he did that night or what he didn`t do that night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was the attorney for the cop accused of killing a young woman while driving drunk. Of course he knew what the blood alcohol results were going to be. They waited seven hours and 20 minutes.
Tonight`s big issue, bold lies, question mark? They seem like they are possibly everywhere, even in this case, just as in the case of the soccer mom, who killed eight people, including herself after allegedly driving drunk the wrong way on the highway.
Are attorneys spewing bold-faced lies that are insulting to our intelligence? Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AIDALA: He did everything he could to save her life.
DOMINIC BARBARA, ATTORNEY FOR DANIEL SCHULER: She was diabetic.
AIDALA: Andrew is devastated.
BARBARA: She had a bump on her leg that was traveling towards her brain.
AIDALA: Andrew will be cleared of all wrongdoing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub, can attorneys say anything? Can they make up any kind of story?
WEINTRAUB: No, first of all they can`t, they shouldn`t. They are barred by the professional code of ethics and I think that this is just grandstanding. To make a statement on behalf of your client is one thing. What we`re seeing here sometimes leads to clowning around.
But the point I want to make, Jane, is the focus is on two separate things here.
WEINTRAUB: One is whether or not -- whether or not he was drunk. And/or are we assuming it`s just because he refused when he could have a good reason and is presumed innocent. And the second part of it is whether or not there was a cover-up.
So there are totally two different things to look at.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, well, let`s...
WEINTRAUB: ...and if there some cover-up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got some fact here I want to report.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brand new reports today in the "New York Daily News" a whole hour passed from the time a warrant was issued for a blood test on Officer Andrew Kelly because he refused to voluntarily take one to the time police took him to the hospital.
Now here is the timeline: 12:41 a.m. the officer refuses a breathalyzer and then you jump all the way to 6:00 a.m. by the time a warrant for the blood test is issued. Now here`s the new unexplained time lapse. Cops don`t bring him to the hospital until 6:57 a.m., an hour later. He arrives at the hospital at 7:08 a.m. He again refuses a blood test. Another hour passes before he gets his blood tested at 8:00 a.m.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Gaynor, seven hours and 20 minutes. How do you explain that?
MIKE GAYNOR: Well, probably you left out is that the doctor that was going to give the blood test had to check on his legal people to find out if he was ok. That was part of the delay as well.
But, look, the police commissioner himself, the honorable Raymond Kelly, got up on television and said this is not unusual. This man exercised his constitutional rights. He may have very well been advised by a PBA (ph) lawyer, not to take any test, unless a court order was issued. And he had the right do that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s not unusual for seven hours and 20 minutes to pass before a blood test?
GAYNOR: No, it`s not unusual at all.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Hold on.
Let me go back to Mike Cardoza for the last.
GAYNOR: And both attorneys that are here today, would probably advice any of their clients not to take any police test that are administered.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not talking about that. I`m talking about how long it would normally take...
GAYNOR: Well, I am -- I`m talking about this man enjoying the same rights as anybody else.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m talking about how long it would normally take. Every single day we do stories where we find blood-alcohol levels.
CARDOZA: Come on.
GAYNOR: We`re leaving a lot out, Jane. The man stopped drinking the day before about 9:30 at night.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, ten second, Michael Cardoza?
CARDOZA: Hey I`ll tell you what in ten seconds, if New York has to go get a warrant for a blood draw, they ought to change their laws. In California...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we are out of time. You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.