Return to Transcripts main page
Trayvon Martin Murder Case
Aired March 26, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
Do we know all we should about Trayvon Martin? Has an entire country rushed to judgment about the teen and the man who killed him? And should it matter?
Plus, why was a 7-year-old put in a straitjacket in his own home? And could his grandfather be -- get this -- his father?
Let`s get started.
PINSKY: It`s now a month ago that Trayvon Martin was killed. And tonight an enraged nation insists that this death was racially motivated and that the gunman, neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, should be arrested and charged with murder.
Today, Trayvon Martin`s father spoke emotionally at a town hall meeting in Sanford, Florida. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRACY MARTIN, FATHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: Zimmerman took my son away from me. Not only was he my son, he was my best friend. He meant something to me, he meant something to all of these people out here. He meant something to these 2 million ballots.
For the Sanford Police Department to feel as they were going to sweep another young black minority`s death under the rug is an atrocity.
This family is hurt. This family is torn. And the Sanford Police Department needs to be held accountable.
George Michael Zimmerman needs to be arrested. He needs to be put on trial. He needs to be given a sentence by a jury of his peers.
We`re not asking for an eye for an eye. We`re asking for justice, justice, justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: As the Martin family and the nation continue to demand justice, we`re hearing and learning more about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. And asking, how and why did this tragedy happen?
Joining me to discuss this: Judge Karen Mills Francis, host of "Judge Karen`s Court." Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney. And Rowland Martin, a CNN analyst.
Roland, you`re in Sanford tonight. Can you give us the atmosphere down there?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN ANALYST: First of all, a tremendous number of people out here marching earlier. I actually moderated a community forum with lawyers, as well as other folks as well, talking about all the facts of this case, extremely emotional. Lots of folks clearly demanding justice. African-Americans but also whites out here as well.
And so, certainly, a racially mixed crowd. Again, trying to get answers but also asking -- how can someone gun down a child who wasn`t armed and that person still walk free? That`s the question folks still want answered. That`s what they`re demanding to the Sanford City Council inside.
PINSKY: And, Roland, that wouldn`t happen in another state, would it? I mean, that "Stand Your Ground" law. One of the travesties that have caused this tragedy is that law. Is that accurate?
I mean, the second issue I think is this subtle form of racism that a lot of people were not aware of. But I think the "Stand Your Ground" law really, let`s say, caused this thing.
MARTIN: Actually I think what you have here are several layers here. First and foremost, why did George Zimmerman make a decision to call Trayvon Martin suspicious? That`s first.
The second thing, he`s driving along, 911 says, "Are you following him?" He says, "Yes." "Sir, we don`t need you to do that."
If he had stopped doing that, then there`s no issue. Why did he get out of his SUV? If he stays in this car, we don`t have this problem here.
And then you get to the actual confrontation that took place and the problem is, according to the statute, the "Stand Your Ground" statute, you are granted immunity from criminal prosecution or civil prosecution if you say that you did this, utilize and stand your ground.
But here`s the problem, Dr. Drew -- George Zimmerman`s attorney has said, we`re not using that reference, we`re using the self-defense. And so, the law is all over the place, and it`s a problem. Prosecutors are saying here in Florida that we don`t know what`s going on and the number of justifiable homicides has dramatically increased since 2005 when this law was passed.
And the problem, Dr. Drew, some 23 other states now have "Stand Your Ground" laws. So, the question is, what do those laws look like in those states?
PINSKY: Yes. I absolutely agree with you.
Judge Karen, I want to go down to you. You`re in Miami.
The rest of the nation kind of shaking its head. Is this just another -- is this Florida again? Do we have to have all this stuff go on in Florida?
I mean, I almost -- all right. You answer that question first, because to me, I don`t want to lose sight of the fact that there is a racial issue here at its core but ultimately we`re looking and shaking our head at Florida.
JUDGE KAREN MILLS FRANCIS, HOST, "JUDGE KAREN`S COURT": I think too much has centered on the racial part of it. I think what maybe a lot of black people are feeling is that the way the police handled this has some sort of vestiges of the past in the way race relations were in the past. Because if Mr. Zimmerman had been arrested and charged that night, none of us today, most of us today, would not know who Trayvon Martin is.
What is also upsetting to people is, I have two nephews and a niece who attend the same high school in Miami that Trayvon Martin attended. As a matter of fact, one of my nephews knew Trayvon Martin.
MILLS FRANCIS: And my nieces and nephews are honor students.
And guess what? They`re always wearing those hoodies. It`s almost like a uniform. They were over at my house this weekend and want to go up to 7-Eleven.
And all I`m thinking of is anything can happen to you now. You don`t have to be getting into any trouble. You could be a straight-A student. You cannot be armed.
But another point I`d like to make, Dr. Drew, is that everybody is looking at this "Stand Your Ground" law from the perspective of Mr. Zimmerman. Why not look at it from the perspective of the victim? Because guess what? Trayvon Martin was exercising his right to stand his ground. It`s a dark, rainy night.
MILLS FRANCIS: You`re walking down the street. An unknown assailant is following you in an SUV.
MILLS FRANCIS: You think you`ve lost him. Now he`s gotten out of his car. He`s following you. He has a gun.
So the question should become, was Trayvon Martin exercising his "Stand Your Ground" rights?
MILLS FRANCIS: Why this is important is because there`s a Florida statute and then there is the standard jury instructions. And the standard jury instruction in a self-defense case says that if you provoke the attack against yourself, you can`t argue self-defense.
PINSKY: All right. I understand. I`ve heard that argument.
And we got a defense attorney here.
Mark, what are you going to do with that if you`re trying to defend? Is everyone making an appropriate point here?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. Now, personally I don`t disagree with anything that`s been said. I think he should be charged. What the defense lawyer is going to argue are these new facts that came out released by the "Orlando Sentinel" via law enforcement, apparently corroborated by witnesses that Trayvon Martin allegedly punched the Zimmerman in the mouth, apparently he had blood to show the cops. He also allegedly got on top of him -- hold on --
PINSKY: Yes. But, Mark, what if that was him standing his ground?
EIGLARSH: Hold on, hold on. Listen to me.
PINSKY: I`m listening.
EIGLARSH: I`m not saying that I agree with that. I`m saying those facts are coming out.
Now, what would preclude Zimmerman from prevailing I believe is a statute known as 776.041. Karen Mills referred to it. If he was the initial aggressor, it wouldn`t apply. And number two, if he was committing a forcible felony.
If he came out with his gun and assaulted Martin as he`s simply walking down the street, then that would take him out of the protection of "Stand Your Ground". So, I don`t think it applies.
I don`t think the problem is the "Stand Your Ground" law. I think it`s how it`s being applied. It`s being misapplied.
PINSKY: And, Mark, thank goodness you brought up 776.041. Thank goodness.
EIGLARSH: Had to pull that out sometime. Yes.
PINSKY: Tonight, I want to bring something else up. Tonight, CNN confirms that Trayvon was apparently suspended from school for the 10 days in the weeks proceeding this horrible incident. An empty plastic bag found in Martin`s book bag tested positive for pot, marijuana, apparently.
Rowland, is any of this relevant?
MARTIN: So what?
PINSKY: I know it`s creating a lot of news. Is that relevant at all?
MARTIN: So what?
PINSKY: So what is what I say. I`m asking Roland now.
MARTIN: Here`s what I`m trying to figure out because previously, I read a report through the "Miami Herald" and Kansas City newspaper where the principal there said Trayvon Martin was suspended not for doing anything illegal but for being found in a part of the school building that was unauthorized. And so, this whole idea of this bag or whatever, the question is, where is it actually coming from?
And simply I want to know -- but here`s the deal. Here`s the deal. It doesn`t matter. The reason now -- I`m not excusing anything -- the reason it doesn`t matter is because that has nothing to do with the shooting on that particular night.
The question that any prosecutor, any special prosecutor, any grand jury, any jury has to say is, wait a minute, what took place on the night of February 26th? Not what happened when he was suspended at school. Was he doing anything illegal? That`s the question. Was he trespassing? Was he --
PINSKY: Guys, I have to go to break. I have to go to break.
But you realize how silly the implication is here. Oh, if he`s smoking pot, he`s a bad kid and he`s going to do bad things. Reprimand this guy, reprimand this, I`m telling you.
MILLS FRANCIS: Blame the victim.
PINSKY: It`s so ridiculous.
MILLS FRANCIS: Blaming the victim.
PINSKY: Blaming the victim is the part of the problem I`m really concerned with above all else. We`re going to continue this conversation after the break, so please stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FATHER MICHAEL PFLEGER, PRIEST: Let that be the spark that ignites us to say around this country, we`re not going to tolerate violence in the murder of our children anymore. We`re not going to tolerate it.
MACK JULION, JR., WORE HOODIE IN CHURCH: I`ve been stereotyped, I`ve been called a threat just because of the tie I wear, and so I do feel like this is an issue I had to stand firm on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And tonight we`re continuing to cover the Trayvon Martin case. All across the country, peaceful rallies are taking place in support of the young man. He was shot. The man who shot him remains free, but in hiding.
Many are asking, who is George Zimmerman?
Here now is the 911 call just before this tragedy happened.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Hey, we`ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there`s a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he`s up to no good or he`s on drugs or something. It`s raining and he`s just walking around looking about.
Now he`s coming toward me. He`s got his hand in his waistband.
Something`s wrong with him. Yep. He`s coming to check me out. He`s got something in his hands. I don`t know what his deal is.
These (EXPLETIVE DELETED) always get away. (EXPLETIVE DELETED). He`s running.
OPERATOR: Are you following him?
OPERATOR: OK. We don`t need you to do that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
PINSKY: Boy, a lot of this revolved around that fateful call. If you just not done, if you`d only done what the police asked him to do, and that call according to RadarOnline.com had been sent to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., to determine if Zimmerman actually used a racial slur in that call.
The FBI`s Tampa office tells CNN, quote, "We cannot comment on specific investigative details at this time," unquote.
A new CNN poll says three quarters of Americans surveyed believe that Zimmerman should be arrested.
Back with me to continue this conversation, Judge Karen, also CNN analyst, Roland Martin, and executive editor at Politic365.com, Jeff Johnson.
Now, Karen, you said your niece and nephew know Trayvon, went to his high school. Can you tell us what they say about, first of all, what kind of kid he was and how the kids at that school are being affected by all this?
MILLS FRANCIS: Well, it`s one of my nephews who knew him for the last couple years. He said they hang out, they hung out. He was always a cool guy. He never knew of any problems.
He just never had -- he never had anything negative or otherwise to say about him except that he just was a kid in school. No troublemaker that he knew. And I actually asked him specifically about that.
But the kids at the school have been very traumatized by this event. They had a rally --
PINSKY: I bet.
MILLS FRANCIS: -- on Friday. They had another demonstration today because it`s been very upsetting. Of course, now, the press is hanging out outside the school I guess trying to interview some of the students. I`ve heard at least three different reasons why this child was on a 10-day suspension.
Today was the first time I heard about some residue of marijuana found in his book bag. That`s the last thing I heard.
PINSKY: It`s reprimand (ph), I`ll tell you, Karen.
Jeff, I want to go to you.
To me, as an addictionologist, the fact cannabis comes into the conversation I find bizarre. But, Jeff, I want to go to you and ask you -- Reverend Jesse Jackson was on this program on Friday. And he was advocating a -- to reinitiate another civil rights initiative of some type.
What do you -- what do you think needs to be done about this?
JEFF JOHNSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, POLITIC365.COM: Well, I mean, I think Roland mentioned it in the last segment. There`s a multilevel way that this needs to be attacked. First and foremost, it is attacking those laws in the states that have passed them.
But there`s a bigger issue here, because the question African- Americans in particular are asking now is, is this going to be a moment, a movement, or a lifestyle? And there are people in local communities all over the country that have been charged up by this, but there are young men dying every day in communities and nobody`s saying a mumbling word.
And so, the question is, can those folks begin to mobilize where they are? Not just talking, not just having rallies, not just having marches but addressing those issues and challenging folks? That`s the real question.
And I think that`s what people are beginning to ask right now, is this just going to be another Troy Davis where people are mobilizing, they`ve got their Troy Davis t-shirts on?
Troy Davis was put to death then there are people who are still on death row that are presumably innocent that nobody`s talking about. That`s the real question.
MARTIN: Dr. Drew, there`s a very simple phrase I`ve been using for the last several years. And that is, will this be a moment or lead to a movement? And that is the moment means once it`s over, then folks just simply go back to business as usual.
The reason we remember Emmitt Till because that wasn`t a moment. That was 1955. That sparked the civil rights movement -- `55 was Brown vs. Board of Education; `55 was Emmitt Till. Montgomery was `56.
Then, of course, you had Voter Rights Act, Civil Rights Act, yet, all of that taking place, keeps talking about Emmitt Till.
So, the question will be -- not just African-Americans -- will Americans care about social justice and begin to say, equality under the law? That`s the real key.
PINSKY: OK. And I`m glad to hear that. And, again, this is about bringing people together, not rupturing, I think creating any ruptures.
Trayvon`s parents were actually alongside of Al Sharpton and spoke to the media today about how their son is being portrayed in the media and their concerns about that. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON`S FATHER: Even in death, they are still disrespecting my son. I feel that that`s a shame.
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: He would try to make your son a junkie, a thief, an assaulter, and everything else before this is over.
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER: They`ve killed my son and now they`re trying to kill his reputation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Karen, you mentioned blaming the victim. Is that`s what`s going on here? We`re making the victim`s reputation, putting his reputation on trial rather than staying focused on the issues? Karen?
MILLS FRANCIS: Once you have, you`re in the face of the media, the media, everybody else is going to start looking into your background. It`s fair. Once we heard this boy was suspended from school, it`s fair to say, why was he suspended?
And even if it was for the marijuana, the question was, they had his body for three days. They did an autopsy on him. Did they find marijuana in his system? That would be the only reason why -- the reason behind his suspension is relevant.
PINSKY: Boy, even I, Karen, not even I, as addictionologist, I would have to take good care -- marijuana does not make people more violent. If anything, it goes the other day, and I don`t think it has anything to bear, as an expert.
Let me --
MILLS FRANCIS: Dr. Drew, I don`t agree with that, though.
MARTIN: Dr. Drew, here`s the problem: they did not -- here`s the problem: they did not test George Zimmerman. He wasn`t drug tested.
PINSKY: Didn`t test -- yes, I agree. That could be an issue.
MARTIN: Don`t you think you`d run a test on the shooter?
PINSKY: I would think so.
Guys, I got to take a break. Thank you all, gentlemen. Thank you, Karen.
I`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA COREY, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, TRAYVON MARTIN CASE: Trayvon`s parents deserve answers. And we`re going to do our best to give them those answers in a timely fashion.
We do believe that when we`re done with our investigation, the family will know all of the facts and details as will the public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: CNN analyst Roland Martin wrote a blog on CNN.com about the Trayvon Martin case. It`s been receiving a great deal of buzz tonight.
And, Roland, in that blog, you say that African-Americans spend their lives accommodating others and still come up short. Can you explain that?
MARTIN: Right. Yes. What that means is that we have to sit here and change how we dress and how we walk and how we talk in order for somebody else not to see us as threatening.
And so, the same thing when somebody says, you know, I got this whole thing, Geraldo, don`t wear a hoodie because that`s a criminal deal when I see white kids across the country wearing hoodies. We`re tired of accommodating bigotry, accommodate racism.
The problem is not a piece of clothing, as you said earlier. The problem is consciousness. The problem is somebody saying, oh, I see that black guy over there and so, I`m scared. Are we saying black folks have to walk around in three-piece suits all day so we don`t look like we`re criminals? That`s nonsense.
PINSKY: You know, I`ve always heard about it as something of a profiling that law enforcement do, and that seems to be a public conversation.
MARTIN: That`s real.
PINSKY: I was not aware that my friends and colleagues have to feel like they`re evoking that kind of -- it`s racism. It`s a subtle form, but there it is -- from their peers and other people as they walk through life.
MARTIN: Dr. Drew, you don`t understand. We have to do this in corporate America. Literally. Literally in terms of if you`re an African- American male, you can`t actually express yourself in a way in the corporate environment because all of a sudden, somebody`s going to say, "Oh, that`s the angry black man," or, "Oh, that person is volatile or that person is angry."
I mean, that`s real. So, you see African-American whose dreams have been crushed because somebody, again, racially profiles them based upon stereotypes. All I`m saying is, the problem is not a piece of clothing. The problem is a stereotype that somebody has that, oh, I`m threatened, I`m scared of you. That to me is crazy.
PINSKY: You know what, you`re saying stereotype. I think it`s deeper. Stereotype is being too kind to what this is.
It`s a consciousness problem. We have to be aware of this. If nothing else, this has brought that up.
MARTIN: It`s called code switching and also called having to wear the mask. And trust me: you talk to many African-Americans, men and women, for years, that`s how they`ve had to behave in corporate America. So, imagine if you`re a young black man with jeans and tennis shoes on. That`s a whole different world because they don`t even have a suit on.
PINSKY: Now, let me finish this conversation back with Mr. Zimmerman. People are saying he`s not racist, he was a good guy. And, Roland, maybe it came at him first.
What`s your take on all that news, so to speak, that`s coming out today?
MARTIN: My concern is not calling him a racist. It`s why did he call Trayvon Martin suspicious? Why did he then call 911 and follow him? Why did he get out of his car?
See, I`m not wasting my time with, is he a racist, is he not? Did he have black friends, didn`t he? Did he mentor kids or not?
The fact of the matter is, the kid is dead. He admitted to shooting the kid. So, the problem there is, what are the facts surrounding there?
If he doesn`t get out of the car, we have no problem. If he doesn`t follow Trayvon, there`s no problem. If he doesn`t call 911 and call him suspicious, there`s no problem.
PINSKY: Thank you so much, Roland.
And something to be learned here for my viewers, follow the police`s recommendations when they tell you to do something.
Next up, your questions, my answers.
And later, a child in a straitjacket. And worse: what in the world is going on here? Stay with us.
A child in a straitjacket.
PINSKY: Coming up, several generations of abuse. Get this, the cycle of cruelty has surfaced in a Texas family. A grandfather is the father of his own child, his own grandchild, and child. It`s just too sick to think about. And that`s not all. His seven-year-old escaped a straitjacket. They were holding him in a straitjacket.
They managed to blow the whistle on what was going on, tell cops, and they went and found this family. And it`s something else. A neighbor is here to tell us why nothing could be done until now.
All right. You`ve been saying a lot about Trayvon Martin, so let`s get right to the phone. We`re going to the on-call section. Here is Cat in Florida. Go ahead, Cat.
CAT, FLORIDA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Cat.
CAT: I`d like to share another Florida stand your ground tragedy.
PINSKY: What is going on in Florida? What is going on down there?
CAT: Maybe, it`s the heat. A 21-year-old celebrated his birthday and became disoriented in his friend`s neighborhood.
CAT: He stumbled through an open yard after which the owner of the yard heard a noise, looked out a window, and saw it. He retrieved a gun from a safe --
PINSKY: Oh, boy.
CAT: -- left his shore home, went out into the yard and killed this young man. He had no weapons and carried only his cell phone.
PINSKY: Cat, I got to stop you. Is this another racially motivated situation?
CAT: No, it`s a White on White crime. It`s personal for me. It`s my cousin.
PINSKY: Oh, so sorry. But here`s my concern. The only -- the law is supposed to be based on one -- both people feeling threatened and one -- you know what I`m saying? How did we know when one person`s dead that he was actually threatened? You understand what I`m saying?
CAT: My thing on this is Sandy was invited to this place, and he met a stranger, the neighbor he`d invited (ph) to that was pointing a gun at him. Didn`t he have the stand your ground right?
PINSKY: Absolutely. And let me sort of twist this another way and say, if you have a medical problem and you walk around -- what if you`re like Jason Russell, you have a manic episode, someone`s going to kill you because you feel weird and threatening?
CAT: In Florida, that`s a distinct possibility.
PINSKY: Oh, man.
CAT: I`m a gun owner and I believe in protecting my home. But any person with sense wouldn`t go out where danger was. If you see a shark, you wouldn`t go in the water.
PINSKY: Yes. Right. There`s something wrong in Florida. I`m sorry. Maybe, it`s the stand your gun law, or maybe, it`s the amount of firearms. I don`t know, but I really appreciate you tell us the story, Cat, and I`m so sorry for your cousin. I mean, that just -- it`s not OK. Hopefully, all this will bring some light and some change down there in Florida, OK?
CAT: Thank you for the opportunity. Have a nice evening.
PINSKY: Thank you. All right. There`s a heated conversation taking place on our Facebook page between Joy and Amy. Joy writes, "Too much sensationalism surrounding this case and too much jumping to conclusions."
Amy writes, "The sensationalism around this case is the reason why there`s even an investigation right now."
And, well, let me go right to the caller. Maybe Ralette has something to say about this. Ralette, you`re in Arizona. Do you have an opinion about this particular issue? Oh, Ralette is not there. Well, let me tell you what I`m -- are you there? Ralette, are you there?
RALETTE, ARIZONA: Yes.
PINSKY: Oh, there you are. Good. So, do you have an opinion about this?
RALETTE: Yes, I do. I just think this is a tragedy for all Americans, Dr. Drew.
RALETTE: Whether you`re White, African-American or whatever.
PINSKY: Are you, yourself, African-American?
RALETTE: I am.
PINSKY: Ralette, let me tell you something. I`ve been thinking a lot about this case. Every time I talk about it, I get a strange tingle in my spine. And it`s sort -- I don`t know quite what the feeling is, but let me share something with you, personal, which is, you`re right. This is just a tragedy.
This is just a tragedy, and maybe there`s too many firearms in Florida, maybe it`s the stand your ground law, but this is a tragedy. But I do believe this has raised us to another level of understanding about racism. And the sort of the more subtle workings of it. Don`t you think? I mean, I have many African-American friends that would sort of complain about these kinds of thing.
I thought, oh, come on. Now, I think, oh my God, you really -- this is awful. I didn`t realize. I`m sorry. You know what I mean?
RALETTE: Absolutely. And we live this every day. And, you know, I really do have to commend you for your compassion and your kindness. It is a very crucial topic. We have to keep it in the forefront of America`s news. We really do, Dr. Drew. And it`s unnecessary for you to apologize to anyone.
PINSKY: Well, that`s very kind.
RALETTE: Trust me.
PINSKY: But you know what, I still feel like -- I consider myself, you know, insensitive to these issues and I missed it. And I apologize for that. I feel like I owe my friends an apology just, you know, because this is really a profound problem that has surfaced here. And I think -- I`m glad we`re having a conversation about it. But I think, Ralette, you`re right. It`s a tragedy.
PINSKY: All right. My dear, thank you for calling. I`m going to go to Megan in Florida. Hi, Megan. You got a question about something totally different. Is that right?
MEGAN, FLORIDA: Yes. Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Megan.
MEGAN: A good friend of mine has at least five or six double cocktails a day which is 10 to 12 drinks.
MEGAN: He doesn`t think that he`s an alcoholic --
MEGAN: -- because to him, you have to get in trouble with the law or have consequences to be considered an alcoholic.
PINSKY: Yes, he will. It`s only a matter of time. I mean, let me tell you, as a physician, his doctor is going to be telling him soon, he`s having consequences. That`s one thing. And the other, I`m sure, level of denial he has which is, I can stop if I want to, I just don`t want to. I haven`t suffered a consequence yet.
And there`s some truth to that, Megan, which is alcoholics will not stop -- it`s still working too well for him. He will not stop until it stops working. And until his wife leaves him or his kids leave him or he gets in a car accident or has a legal problem or his doctor gets on his case. He is not going to change, I suspect.
I want to go to another story getting a lot of reaction. Bobby Brown speaking of drinking was arrested today after being pulled over for talking on his cell phone while driving. He then failed a field sobriety test. Toni says, "Well, it`d be interesting if he were rewarded for driving sober." Wow! My viewers have a sense of humor.
Michelle says, "He will just pay his way out of it like they all do." I`m not so sure about that.
Chris says, "We`ll be talking about his death next if he keeps going on this streak." Yes, that is the sad thing. Again, guys, I want to remind you, consume media in a more enlightened way. You`re watching a guy in trouble. DUI is somebody who is now -- you know, this is -- as the last call you heard, people can drink a lot of alcohol and then escape the law.
By the time the law or they work suffers, things are getting bad. So, let`s hope he gets some help. He`s been at this for a long time.
All right. Have you heard about this? The miss universe candidate organization has disqualified a contestant because she is transgendered. Organizers say they were just following the rules. Must be a rule book that says no transgenders like a cartoon. And that -- this is not an active discrimination.
Here`s what you were saying. "Celeste tweets, "That`s very wrong. She sees herself as a woman. She should be able to compete."
Then we have Kimberly saying, "Changing the gift wrap doesn`t change what`s inside the box. She still carries the Y chromosome." No, she doesn`t. She`s too -- oh, she (INAUDIBLE). That`s right. She says -- "this case has nothing to do with the equality and everything to do with the fact that she so-called chose to be covert and underhanded telling the truth." Oh, that`s very interesting.
Sandi says, "Oh, my God. Just let her compete. She`s gorgeous. She even had the surgeries. There is still so much discrimination. Pathetic." I got to tell you. I don`t have an opinion about this. I`m sorry to say. I didn`t really study this one. It really depends on what people want the contest to be.
Is it going to be the manifestations of female or do you have to actually have two X chromosomes in order to be someone who competes in these things? And, might it be better -- I don`t know -- might it be better to just femaleness competing rather than actually -- and by the way, then that throws open the possibility, what about X.O.?
People who have turner syndrome if they wanted to compete? Are they not female? And if you have XY but look female? What if you have testicular feminization? You have XY. You don`t respond to testosterone, so you convert to a female, which is another form, a genetic disorder with people look female but have XY chromosome, should they not be able to complete? It`s complicated.
And next up, a seven-year-old finally had enough, shedding a straitjacket. He escaped the grip of a controlling grandfather who may be his father. Stay tuned.
PINSKY: Last week, police found a seven-year-old boy by a crowded highway. He told police officers he had run away, understandably the police then called the boy`s parents. Mom and dad told police, quote, "we have no idea how he got out of his straitjacket," unquote. Police began an investigation that revealed a story of incest and allegations of abuse.
This seven-year-old boy`s father, apparently, his grandfather as well. The boy, his brother and sister were removed from the home. The parents, so-called, are jailed and charged with endangering children.
Joining me to discuss this, criminal defense attorney, Mark Eiglarsh, and on the phone, I have Diane Hofacket, I believe I`m pronouncing your name correctly, a neighbor. She says she had tried previously to tell authorities about this family. Also on the phone, Sheriff Stan Parker of Howard County, Texas.
Sheriff, I understand you can only stick with the facts. Can you explain the facts to us as you understand them? Did I review the case accurately?
VOICE OF STAN PARKER, HOWARD COUNTY SHERIFF: Yes. One thing you said is the little boy was fathered by the grandfather. That we haven`t determined yet. We have a two-year-old child in the house that was actually fathered by the grandfather that we know of right now.
PINSKY: By his -- again, my mind begins to bend when I talk about these stories. Fathered with his daughter.
PINSKY: Is that what we`re saying?
PARKER: That`s correct.
PINSKY: And so, he`s facing many different sorts of charges, right?
PARKER: Yes, that`s correct.
PINSKY: Can I ask something -- I mean, is there something -- some explanation? Are people impaired psychiatrically, neurologically, on drugs? Is there something to help us sort of understand this?
PARKER: Nothing that I can give you, because I don`t really understand it, myself. It`s not something that`s normal around here. And it`s -- I`ve been in law enforcement for over 20 years and this is the first I`ve ever seen this.
PINSKY: I`m actually glad to hear you say that. When the sheriff says I can`t make sense of this, I know we`re in a zone that`s, thank God, not something you see around there or anywhere else.
Now, Diane, you are a neighbor of the Whitt family. And from the first time you met them, you said you suspected that the father might be the father -- the grandfather might be the father to all three kids. Again, I need a dry erase board here. Why did you think that?
VOICE OF DIANE HOFACKET, NEIGHBOR OF EDGAR AND TAMARA WHITT: Well, I just never did see anyone else around as far as men, a husband, father to the children, boyfriends. I`ve never seen even a girlfriend over there. It was always him and her. And I don`t know. You just -- when you have that gut feeling that something`s not right.
PINSKY: You also -- I guess people have said the family`s without water since 2010. You said you saw the kids were dirty and they`ll kempt. Did you ever try to get help?
HOFACKET: Well, we tried to help them in several different ways. You know, they pretty much stayed to themselves, and there was times they really didn`t want help. If you did help them, for instance, buying the kids Christmas gifts, they would take them back to Wal-Mart and get the money for them. Bicycles, they would sell them. That type of thing.
PINSKY: And I want to point out that we here have called the Howard County CPS, and they had no one available to comment as to these allegations that might have been ignored or whether there were previous reports of abuse. So, they`ve not yet had a chance to ring in on this, but it sounds like these are people that carefully guarded their secrets.
HOFACKET: Oh, yes.
HOFACKET: They pretty much kept their story straight. You know, every time CPS come out here, I mean, they could only do so much. Same way with the Howard County sheriffs office. You can only do so much. You can`t do anything on suspicion.
HOFACKET: You know, they go with what they see.
PINSKY: And sheriff, what you finally did see were some pretty deplorable living conditions. Can you tell us what you witnessed there.
PARKER: Well, I really can`t go into the details of the house. I`ve kind of spoke with the district attorney, and he`s advising me to kind of stick with what we have listed in the media release, but, you know, basically, the conditions in the house were not suitable is basically what it boils down to, for children to live in. So, that`s part of the basis for our endangering of children.
PINSKY: OK, Mark Eiglarsh. You usually provide me with my Pepto Bismol. And God knows you and I have sat here and talked through some horrible stuff. Here we are again. How do you rate this one?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, this is abhorrent. Obviously, it`s not microwaving a child, but I`ll tell you this. It is really troubling for me. I feel so sad for these kids. The only thing that makes me feel a little bit OK is that they`re young enough to get them away from these abusers to finally have a happy, joyous and free life, hopefully, being adopted with someone who can shower them with love instead of hatred.
PINSKY: Oh, Mark, these things are so complicated. And by the way, when we talk about these deplorable environments, usually, when I come across these kinds of environments, not only are they disgustingly, they filthy, usually there`s animal and rat feces everywhere. Sheriff, was it that kind of thing?
PARKER: There`s probably a little bit of that. Yes.
PINSKY: Yes. It`s really worse --
EIGLARSH: Drew, Drew --
PINSKY: Go ahead, Mark.
EIGLARSH: What`s worse than dirt and rat dropping is that their own parents aren`t showing them love. See, that`s what`s going to turn them into the abusers. That bothers me more than a dirty household.
PINSKY: Mark, here`s how complicated these things get. You`re going to take away these kids from the mother who probably does love them who, herself, is the victim of the father. I mean, how do you untangle all this? How does the law untangle this? I know we have trouble when we`re treating this stuff.
And believe me, it takes years and lots of resources to get somebody to be able to even tolerate a normal life after being through this kind of thing, but how do you untangle it when you`re, you know, maybe that mother does love the child even though she`s the daughter of the grandfather, whatever?
EIGLARSH: It is fundamentally unfair to lump them together assuming they both aren`t responsible for this conduct. Factually, they would have to have evidentiary hearings and show, OK, he did this, he`s not suitable, she just was there, didn`t do it, ok, shows love. But I find it hard to believe when her kids are being put in straitjackets, even if she didn`t do anything, she is not a fit mom, in my opinion, at this point, for allowing that to take place.
PINSKY: You`re right. You`re right.
EIGLARSH: I don`t want to be right, Drew. I`m just saying. It just is.
PINSKY: Just get me my Pepto Bismol, Mark, will you? But what I was thinking of was that case of the woman that was kept as a captive and then fathered -- mothered all his children and we`re blaming the kids because they`re a product of that horrible incest or whatever it was. She was a captor, a sex slave, really. She loved her kids, you know, even though they were fathered by a horrible, horrible human being.
EIGLARSH: Drew, that`s an apple, this is an orange. This is a woman who saw her children in straitjackets and then did nothing. And yes, if she suffered abuse, I have some compassion for her, but that does not bode well for her as what kind of parent she is if she allowed that to happen.
PINSKY: Mark, that`s exactly right. And sheriff, are we getting sort of the focus right on this case? Is that how it`s being approached in terms of its investigation?
PARKER: Yes, sir. We`re still trying to wrap up some other things on the investigation, but you pretty much got it.
PINSKY: And I know how my viewers are. They do not have patience with, Mark, you and I being sympathetic to somebody who`s a product of abuse being less than a parent, being abusive. They don`t have patience for that. And I assume the law does not have much patience for that either.
EIGLARSH: We`re not saying reward her. We`re not saying make her mother of the year. What we`re saying is, OK, we recognize that you probably had a really crappy childhood, however, you then can no longer be a parent to this child if you`re allowing this to take place. So, compassion and an outcome might be two totally different things.
PINSKY: Agree. Diane, last to you. I have 30 seconds left. How is the community responding to all this?
HOFACKET: They`re just like the rest of us. They cannot believe this happened right here under our nose. And, you know, I often think, how bad -- this little boy, seven years old, this is all he knew. How bad could it have been for him to sneak out, get out of his straitjacket, sneak out of the house, go into the dark, one o`clock in the morning, down a highway, not having a place to go, a plan, food, or anything else? How bad was it?
PINSKY: Well, one word tells us how bad it was. Straitjacket. He was kept in a straitjacket. And I will tell you in my world, dealing with abuse survivors, when they run away from home, they run away from home because there is abuse ongoing. Thank you to all the guests.
And when we come back, how does a child of incest grow up to try to lead a normal life? It`s something that only another adult incest survivor can really understand. We will hear from one, next.
PINSKY: Welcome back. We`re trying to understand how a seven-year- old, his brother and sister who lived their entire life in squalor and were put in straitjackets finally got away and how the system ill served them. One of the children, apparently, having been fathered by his own grandfather, maybe more than one.
Joining me is incest survivor, Sara Alvarez. Now, Sara, abuse is something that goes from generation to generation. You know, it`s something that -- it`s a cancer in our society, and you, unfortunately, have lived through this. How have you recovered?
SARA ALVAREZ, CHILD INCEST SURVIVOR: I`ve recovered very well. I have a normal life. I have a great relationship. I -- I feel like I am one of the few survivors that have recovered in a decent light.
PINSKY: Now, again, I want to give people hope for how far recovery can go. I want to read you something. You said you used to eat bread that was green with fungus and did not have basic needs provided for. So, it`s very much like what these kids were trying to survive, is that right?
ALVAREZ: Very similar to what these children are going through or were going through before the little one escaped. We were eating bread that was moldy. My younger brothers had diaper rashes that were sometimes bleeding down their legs. We were just in an environment that was not suitable for anyone.
And we did the same thing. My older brother went to the authorities and basically had to escape for us.
PINSKY: And I want to give people a sense of how resilient the human spirit is. So, how bad did it get, and then, how do you find recovery?
ALVAREZ: It got so bad, I went through, you know, incest when I was a child and sexual abuse, and then, my stepfather, who was the abuser, went to prison, and my mother waited for him and he, again, when I was a teenager when he got out of prison, he abused me again. So, I mean, on the other side of that, you can get out of it.
It just takes a lot of work. It takes -- in my case, it took a lot of therapy and a lot of -- I have a very strong will, and it sounds like this little boy had a very strong will, too, to get out of this situation.
PINSKY: But I would say, Sara, you can`t do it alone. You got to be -- some part of you has got to be willing to trust other people, does it not?
ALVAREZ: It`s very hard to trust other people. The first person I allowed myself to trust is my husband, and he`s helped me through a lot. He`s gotten me a lot of help and a lot of therapy, and I think that has been my saving grace, because without talking to someone and without professional help, I think, it`s going to be a hard road to get there.
PINSKY: I think it`s nearly impossible. Mark, I want to give some last thoughts with you. You and I both, you in your pr profession as an attorney, me a physician, we see lots and lots of these cases, and no resources -- I mean, it takes a lot of resources to get somebody through something like this. What are your thoughts?
EIGLARSH: Well, there`s to way to get on the road to recovery like your guest, unless, first of all, there are resources devoted, and then, the person has to do the work. She said there was work that was done, lots of therapy, getting on a spiritual path, understanding how you can take something so horrible and make it a positive. That`s lies in the heart of the individual, too.
PINSKY: Yes. I completely agree with you, Mark. And that spiritual path is a highly personal. It doesn`t mean the same thing for every individual, but it`s a key part of it. Sara, thank you for sharing your story. I really appreciate it.
ALVAREZ: Thank you.
PINSKY: I really do. And Mark, as always, thank you. And of course, to my viewers, this has been quite a ride tonight. Thank you all for watching. We`ll keep on top of these stories, and we`ll see you next time.