Return to Transcripts main page
Justice for Trayvon Martin
Aired March 28, 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.
Politicians, and everyday Americans are sounding off on the Trayvon Martin case. What effect is this having and is he being victimized all over again?
Plus, what caused a JetBlue pilots very public, very disturbing outburst mid-flight? There is an explanation.
Let`s get started.
PINSKY: Welcome this evening. Wherein cries for justice are mounting for slain African-American Trayvon Martin. And tonight, questions swirl around the man who shot and killed him.
Neighborhood volunteer watch captain George Zimmerman has been vilified by much of America. He has not been charged or made any statements about the tragedy. 911 calls give us some idea about the events that happened that night.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CALLER: It sounds like a male.
DISPATCHER: And you don`t know why?
CALLER: I don`t know why. I think they are yelling for help. But I don`t know.
Just send someone quick please.
DISPATCHER: Does he look hurt?
CALLER: I can`t see him. I don`t want go out there. I don`t know what`s going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you`re calling the cops.
CALLER: They`re sending them.
DISPATCHER: So you think he`s yelling help?
DISPATCHER: All right. What is your --
(END AUDIO CLIP)
PINSKY: Joining me: Mark Geragos, criminal defense attorney; Tanya Acker, also an attorney; and Daryl Parks, he is an attorney for the Martin family.
Daryl, have Trayvon`s parents -- here`s what I want to ask about that call we just heard. We all listened to that and trying to understand it and breaking it down. Trayvon`s parents, how are they reacting? They`re listening to their son`s last moments.
DARYL PARKS, MARTIN FAMILY LAWYER: It`s very difficult. You know, I think the father says it best when he`s asked to describe of how he learned of his kid`s death and how the -- when the policeman came to his home after he had made several calls to the department. And when the detective learned the facts and told him to wait one moment, came back, and showed him a folder with a picture of his son, shot, lying on the ground, it was just totally, just hurt.
PINSKY: Wow, that is the first time I heard what the parents actually went through. That is awful.
Now, moments after the gunshot was heard, another 911 call, someone from Zimmerman`s gated neighborhood reported a man in a white t-shirt alleged on top of another person. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CALLER: The guy on top had a white t-shirt.
DISPATCHER: What do you mean guy on top? Did you see a fight?
CALLER: I don`t know. I looked out my window and there was a guy on top of the white t-shirt.
DISPATCHER: A white t-shirt. Did you see what kind of pants?
DISPATCHER: OK. He`s on top of what?
CALLER: I couldn`t see the other thing. I couldn`t see the person he was on.
DISPATCHER: But he was on top of a person?
CALLER: Mmm, hmmm.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
PINSKY: Mark, what if Zimmerman was wearing that white t-shirt, what if we can connect those dots?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the thing that`s inexplicable about this case and why people are so outraged. I do a fair amount of criminal defense work for 30 years, I can`t think of a single case that I`ve ever had where there`s a dead body and it`s not a police man who did the shooting, where a person wasn`t arrested.
Having said that, you want them to do a good investigation. Nobody is saying you don`t. But the problem is, is that they never do what they do here, which is not arrest somebody first.
Usually, you arrest first, you ask questions later. That`s always a complaint.
And if in fact that is him with the white shirt, that`s not a good fact. Some of the other stuff that`s coming out, you can see now why the state attorney`s office is having some issues. They want to investigate this.
PINSKY: But the local police recommended arrest, it`s my understanding.
GERAGOS: The local police had the ability to just arrest. They didn`t have go to the state attorney`s first. They could have arrested, taken the file over to the state attorney, and said, here, now, it`s your lookout. They didn`t. That`s highly unusual.
PINSKY: And is that a function, Tanya, of this "Stand Your Ground" law or is this the subtle operation of racism as people are thinking, or not so subtle?
TANYA ACKER, ATTORNEY: I think the police would say it`s a function of the `Stand Your Ground" law. The authors of the "Stand Your Ground" law would disagree.
But I do think, you know, going back to Mark`s point, I mean, what is so outrageous about this case, is that you have police officers, showing up on a crime scene assuming the dead person is a criminal and the shooter is telling the truth. I mean, where do we get making those assumptions?
PINSKY: You`re shaking your head. That`s the issue. They`re making assumptions based on stereotype and race.
ACKER: And that`s why this case resonates and that`s why people are interested in it, that`s why people are following it.
PINSKY: And, Tanya, you mentioned the originators of the "Stand Your Ground" law. If my controller would help me out, I have some comments from Jeb Bush, who originated this particular law.
And, Daryl, I`m going to ask you to comment on this.
Can we get that for me up there?
Here we are. He`s the one who actually signed the "Stand Your Ground" law into law in 2005. He told reporters that the law doesn`t apply in this incident, he himself, he said, I`m going to quote this, "Stand your ground means stand your ground, it doesn`t mean chase after somebody`s who`s turned their back," unquote.
Daryl, how do you respond to Jeb Bush`s comments?
PARKS: I think, clearly from the 911 tapes, it`s clear that Trayvon was being followed. I mean, Mr. Zimmerman calls the 911 operator, reports a suspicious person there, says he is following him. She instructs him not to follow him and he does so anyway.
In addition to that, he also goes out and he follows Mr. Trayvon Martin. Now, he`s demonstrating vigilante justice at its worst in America, and this is why so many people are outraged here.
PINSKY: And, Tanya, what do we know about I guess domestic violence for Zimmerman and the issue that he was not tested for drugs and in the court opinion now, we have (INAUDIBLE) madness raising its ugly head, as it pertains for Trayvon, God forbid, traces of cannabis, Mark.
PINSKY: Traces in a plastic bag, that explains everything.
ACKER: The last I heard, this is not cause for being shot down in a street. But, you know, what we do know about Mr. Zimmerman is that there were allegations of domestic violence against him, a former partner got a restraining order against him. He also got one in return. There were allegations that he was involved in a physical confrontation with a police officer.
PINSKY: And he needed some alcohol counseling, I`ve heard.
ACKER: He needed alcohol counseling.
So, the great irony about all that is, look, you know, it`s not to crucify this guy in the media.
PINSKY: You`re not interested in crucifying him.
ACKER: I`m not interested in crucifying him. But what I am interested in is pointing how wrong the police were in assuming --
PINSKY: I think Tanya is on to something here. This has been my point. People, you know, as we produce these segments, people are like, what`s next with Zimmerman. What do you find out of? I kind of feel like, I don`t care. I don`t care.
GERAGOS: That`s why I said yesterday, all the reports that were coming out, where there`s witnesses who say, well, I saw this or saw that - -
PINSKY: It doesn`t matter?
GERAGOS: That doesn`t matter because the issue, and it goes back to what we first started talking about, it`s what resonates, everybody who has any experience with the police and whatsoever and unfortunately those in this minority community have a lot more experience with the police, knows that if the roles were reversed, the police would have arrested first. It`s incomprehensible.
PINSKY: Well, it`s incomprehensible. And it`s bringing to light -- I say this night after night, and I say this night over night, it`s bringing, Daryl, it`s bringing to consciousness something, and unfortunately your clients, Trayvon`s parents have to carry this crucible, he`s had to die to raise our awareness.
Are they aware that`s what`s happening in this country?
PARKS: Well, they`re rather clear and why they went to Capitol Hill yesterday to testify. Think how hard it was. I stood next to her yesterday as she testified before the committee. I stood next to her as she was in the press conference.
And I could feel the tension on his mother. And yet, she is being such a soldier to go through this just to get simple justice for her son. That`s all.
And I agree. Had it been reversed, you know, he would have been arrested on the spot. For whatever reason, Mr. Zimmerman is given more than the benefit of the doubt in this situation.
PINSKY: Daryl, would you please send his parents our regards? You know, I think as much as anything for me, this is a story about parents in America and we can all unite around that one issue, is that we have a group of parents that have to worry about this special thing, about the color of their skin.
It -- we`re going to talk about the hoodie thing coming up, too. But the fact that we have parents that are our peers, our colleagues, our friends that have to worry about this particular issue when they`re worry about when their kids go out at night, please send them our regards and support, will you?
PARKS: I sure will. Thank you.
PINSKY: OK. Thank you for joining us, Daryl Parks.
Next, what if anything does a string of burglaries have to do with this case? Find out when we come back.
PINSKY: And welcome back.
According to police records, there were eight burglaries in George Zimmerman`s gated community in the past 14 months. He`s the man, of course, who killed Trayvon Martin a month ago, sparking national outrage. Zimmerman called 911 at least once a month, the preceding months prior to the shooting death of Martin. He called a non-emergency number 46 times since 2004.
Joining me is Crystal McCrary, attorney and author of "Inspiration." And, of course, Mark and Tanya stay with me.
Crystal, did -- is this gentleman a cop wannabe, an overzealous sort of -- cop wannabe? Let`s call it what it is.
CRYSTAL MCCRARY, ATTORNEY: I`m not sure if he is a cop wannabe or highly paranoid or if he has too much time on his hands. But, certainly, in his perception of Trayvon Martin, there were racial biases, there were some sort of biases.
You know, I want to say, his friend who has been defending him.
PINSKY: Yes. He attacked me for suggesting God forbid there was a paranoid streak in Mr. Zimmerman.
MCCRARY: Well, listen, you know, his friend says George Zimmerman is not a racist. You don`t have to be a racist to racially be biased against someone. And that, I believe, is what one of the issues is here.
PINSKY: Well, Crystal, I think, for me, it`s a big issue because it showed those of us who didn`t think we had racial bias that we do.
PINSKY: And I spent the last days, I was telling you guys during the break, looking at psychology research, and it shows very clearly that images of African-American, people will have hostility biases. And when they encounter somebody like that, and they have that expectation of hostility, will evoke hostility. This is an experimental setting. And that operates at an unconscious level and this tragedy brings this now all to consciousness.
And we can`t let it go. We have to keep at it because it`s something -- it`s the next layer of expunging racism from this society, right?
MCCRACY: Well, absolutely. I think a lot of people don`t even realize --
PINSKY: It`s unconscious.
MCCRARY: Unconscious, subconscious.
PINSKY: But I think my African-American friends were aware of it and I sort of dismissed. Tanya, you`re laughing at me. I was going come on, come on.
MCCRARY: You`re not a black person. If you haven`t walked in the shoes of a black man or black woman. You don`t understand it.
I`m the mother of an 11-year-old black boy, who happens to be big, who happens to be rambunctious and an athlete. I remember when he was in second grade at a private school, by the way, I received a phone call home from his teacher while he was in chess club telling me my 11-year-old son had committed vandalism -- sorry, at the time he was 7 years old -- that my 7-year-old son had committed vandalism.
PINSKY: He threw his dish up or something?
MCCRARY: I`m thinking, right, right. Well, I`m thinking --
PINSKY: How interesting she used the word "vandalism."
MCCRARY: Don`t you lack the mens rea to commit vandalism at 7 years old. Let`s start there.
I was getting beyond the legal misclassification of what he did, I found out he had scribble scrabbled with pencil on the desk, something that was not even discernable. But yet the biases built-in in the perception of African-American boys causes so much of society to cringe up and think of them as a threat or suspicious.
PINSKY: What is that like as a mom?
MCCRARY: Just horrible as a mother. I mean, I live in fear. Even though my son is 11 years old, walking around our neighborhood in New York City and we live in a, you know, quote-unquote, "nice neighborhood" of Manhattan. When I first let him walk to the park alone wearing his hoodie, which he frequently does because he plays basketball, and I love that by the way, the LeBron James hoodie, with all the Miami Heat, we are Trayvon Martin.
I said, listen, I have to get (INAUDIBLE), if you get stopped by a police officer walking -- it was in the front of my mind. I was like, this is what you say, yes, sir, no, sir, I live at this address. Let him or her know immediately, that you live in this community and you belong here, even though they may think you don`t look like you belong here.
And that`s something that -- it`s a terrible feeling as a mother and many black mothers or just mothers of black sons go through this everyday.
PINSKY: Speaking of this, let`s bring our caller in, her name is Sandra, she has experience with this. And, by the way, the hoodie issue, our buddy Geraldo said that your son shouldn`t just wear hoodies. And then Russell Simmons had a really interesting response to it. He said, oh, so women shouldn`t wear dresses because they`re asking to be raped if they had a skirt? Come on.
ACKER: Classic blame the victim.
GERAGOS: Did you ever -- it shows here, I had no idea a hoodie had any of this connotations.
PINSKY: I wear hoodies almost every night when I do my radio show. I`m white. It doesn`t matter to me. You didn`t know. See, you`re racist. This unconscious level of racism, we didn`t know, we didn`t care. We need to care about this.
PINSKY: Well, hold on -- Sandra, go right ahead. You`re in Florida, tell us what this is.
SANDRA, CALLER FROM FLORIDA: Hi. I`m going through exactly what you`re talking about. My sons are 21 and 24. I am a white mother of two adopted black children. Since birth, I have gone through this. I mean, what can I say, this horrible tragedy, I wanted -- for years, I have wanted to bring this to the forefront. I`m a mother --
PINSKY: And let me ask you -- Sandra, hold on. Let me ask you. That you wanted to bring this to the forefront for your non-African-American friends because they`re the ones who really didn`t get it.
PINSKY: Everybody seems to have gotten it all along. We didn`t get it.
SANDRA: No. Even my family and friends do not understand what I go through every time my children walk out the door.
PINSKY: So what do we do to keep this top of mind? This is the thing I want to get at with this story. I don`t care if George Zimmerman has domestic violence. I don`t care if he`s wearing white t-shirt.
I want to know what we as Americans have to do to keep this top of mind. Crystal, you address.
Sandra, you first.
SANDRA: All I can say is people of every color are people. I mean, there is no difference. I`m 52 years old. I am a tomboy. I wear torn jeans and a hoodie all the time. I`m white. Nobody questions me.
My children walk out the door and they are harassed by the police and my neighbors.
PINSKY: Yes. Sandra, thank you. I`m going to ask Crystal to answer this. And I`ll give last comments from you guys.
Go ahead, Crystal. Real quick.
MCCRARY: Well, if there`s a ray of light at the end of the tunnel for all of this, I think it has opened and honest discussion, hopefully, and the issue of profiling, which has been going on for years and years.
And you think about after the Emmitt Till case in 1955, when -- this was, of course, the case everyone knows of the young 14-year-old black boy who whistled at a white woman and then was lynched and the four men that were charged with it were acquitted. And that set off a firestorm of protests and boycotts. And we saw a great deal of change then.
So, if I were to say what my hope was out of this, obviously, I want justice for Trayvon Martin. I want George Zimmerman arrested and I want the discussion to continue so we can stop this profiling.
PINSKY: Tanya. We have about 10 seconds for each of you. I`m sorry.
ACKER: I`m just really taken by Crystal --
ACKER: -- and by these parents, who on the one hand, are telling their kids beware of strangers, get away from strangers. But, now, you have to present yourself for inspection and identification to a stranger to not get shot?
GERAGOS: I just want a thorough investigation.
PINSKY: Thank you, guys. Crystal, Tanya and Mark, thank you for being part of this interesting panel.
Next up, entertainers gather to honor Trayvon Martin. We`ll hear about their tribute when we come back.
Stay with us.
PINSKY: Joining our nation`s cry for justice for Trayvon Martin is a growing list of celebrities, music producer Nia Hill and actor Boris Kodjoe recently joined other artist for remake of Chaka Khan`s "Super Life." Take a look at this.
(MUSIC VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Boris, you decided to do this, I assume, to try to keep this going in a more unifying direction. There`s a lot of divisive forces out there. How do we keep this thing going in a positive direction?
BORIS KODJOE, ACTOR, ACTIVIST: Well, when we first heard from Chaka that she wanted to do something, one thing we wanted to do was express our outcry and express our outrage about what happened. But we really wanted to accomplish with this was to symbolize that under our hoods, we`re all the same. There`s more similarities about this than there`s differences.
And to remind people that we have a right to live a life without fear and to get back to what this is really about.
PINSKY: Nia, you`re shaking your head vigorously. You also mentioned that not a life without fear for yourself but fear for your kids.
NIA HILL, DIRECTOR, TRAYVON MARTIN TRIBUTE VIDEO: Yes, and our families and your kids.
PINSKY: Yes. And you`ve raised children and had the talk with them?
HILL: Still having the talk.
PINSKY: I didn`t know about the talk until all this happened. But I`m glad I know about it now. But it`s really sad.
KODJOE: It`s tremendously sad. It`s really, really sad. You know, there`s many issues about this. There`s the actual case that I don`t want to speculate on because I`m not an attorney, I`m not a prosecutor.
And then there`s the issue of racial profiling obviously is very apparent.
PINSKY: But it`s -- I think this is subtler, this is unconscious profiling for some people. And that`s what we need to really raise the awareness of. You guys are aware of it. You`ve been the object of it.
KODJOE: Well, if you look at the whole picture. I mean, Trayvon Martin is a black 17-year-old that got killed. There`s over 3,000 of black teenagers that got killed every year. And that`s the real tragedy here.
Of course, we want to lend a voice to Trayvon Martin`s family to make sure that they get the proper investigation done. But we have to really look at the whole picture and say we have to stop this madness.
PINSKY: Very quickly, I want to show you a story about an Illinois representative, Bobby Rush, who donned a hoodie during a speech in the House floor as he spoke out against this very issue.
Take a look at this real quick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BOBBY RUSH (D), ILLINOIS: Racial profiling has to stop, Mr. Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum. The Bible teaches us, Mr. Speaker, in the Book of Micah 6:6 to 8 --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The member will sustain.
RUSH: These words --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The member will sustain.
RUSH: These words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: I don`t understand why they interrupted him. He had lost a son a shooting in 1999, been a strong advocate of victims of gun violence. You guys are really scaring me right now, I think you shouldn`t speak in your House with hoodies. I would don a hoodie but it misses the point. I can`t do it.
KODJOE: I don`t think it misses the point at all.
PINSKY: I`ll wear one.
We`re trying people to -- we want people to send in their own videos. We have a Facebook page set up, which is Facebook/fearkills.loveheals. We want people to go there, record their own videos, put on their hoods, state their names as a solidarity to show that we`re all the same.
PINSKY: Done and done. Guys, thanks for joining.
HILL: Live a super life.
PINSKY: There you go.
Keep this going in a positive direction. Don`t let this rip us apart.
Your calls are next. And later, the possible medical explanation for a pilot`s erratic behavior midflight, we have footage that you`re going to want to see. It`s really scary for some people. It`s actually during the flight. We`ll hear (IANUDIBLE) reported after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Coming up, an experienced JetBlue pilot described by the company`s CEO as a consummate professional runs down the aisle, midflight, bangs on the flight deck door, and makes verbal references about Israel and Iran.
Passengers rushed to subdue him before it floors emergency landing. The company says it was a medical situation that became a security situation. I have some thoughts about what causes situations like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): Now, we`re going to take your calls and comments before we get to that story and before we even do those calls and comments, we`ve been talking about Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman`s friend is here to give George`s side of the story, but Joe, I guess our people contacted you.
And, I personally am not as interested in Mr. Zimmerman`s side of the story as your personal experience having been profiled. Have you ever gone out at night and felt as though you were treated differently just because of the color of your skin?
VOICE OF JOE OLIVER, ZIMMERNMAN`S FRIEND: Numerous times in my life. I mean, it started when I was a kid, when I first realized what prejudice was.
PINSKY: And Joe, I have to tell you that, you know, I`ve got tons of -- it makes me really sad to hear that. I`ve got lots of friends and colleagues, you know, they`ve always said there was something going on, I kind of dismissed it. And it seems to be something that operates on a very deep and almost unconscious level, even people that think they`re not racist.
You, Joe, a professional man, should have to go out and somebody looks at you funny in a Starbucks just because you`re wearing a hoody. Isn`t it important that we keep this conversation alive? Isn`t that really what this is about tonight?
OLIVER: Oh, that`s why I stepped up, Dr. Drew. I mean, you know, George Zimmerman is one of the finest men I have ever met in my life, and especially after talking to him, I know that there was going to be a death that night. It was going to be either Trayvon or George.
And the reason why I stepped up is because I am uniquely qualified to step up for him not just because I know him and respect him as a human being, but also because I am a Black man and I`ve grown up with the hatred and prejudice that everybody is protesting about.
I`ve gone on record and saying if I didn`t know George Zimmerman, I`d be out there with them because not only have I experienced everything -- can I finish, please --
PINSKY: Please go ahead.
OLIVER: Not only have I experienced what people are protesting and are outraged about, I have covered stories, all things that Sanford Police Department and their racial activities.
PINSKY: So, can we let the justice system kind of play out Mr. Zimmerman`s story, and hopefully, justice will prevail, but shouldn`t we keep this conversation really alive? I mean, we do -- without vilifying anybody, we have to keep this conversation alive, would you agree with me?
OLIVER: Again, that is my motivation. I`m uniquely qualified to be in this position. I didn`t ask to be in this position other than when I realized I had a personal stake in it, not just because of my relationship with George, but because I`m an African-American male. I love this country. My father served this country.
My uncle died for this country, ok? So, it`s vitally important to me that once this is done, that we keep this conversation going so we can eliminate the root cause of it all, which is fear.
PINSKY: Well, so, Joe, because you`re that guy, and I do appreciate you sharing this phone call with us tonight, what do we do? I mean, -- again, I`m not an attorney, I`m not a legal expert, I`m hoping the system will play out and justice will prevail. What do we do to keep this alive?
OLIVER: If I knew what we do, you know, I would think that I would have stepped, you know, made a suggestion beforehand. But, I think everybody realized that this stereotype that people are claiming is what motivated George, in the first place, is the stereotype that`s been built upon over years, years, and years, and years, particularly, in the media.
It started in our literature before we had electronic media. It started with how African-Americans were treated in the, you know, 1950s, 1960s, you know, colored bathrooms. As a child, I couldn`t take swimming lessons in the city pool with other White children, but I could not swim during the open swim, because I`m a black child. Those are the things that we`d ingrained in our country and we`ve got to find a way to remove it.
PINSKY: But Joe, I mean, you`re really talking about, I think, everyone agree a sick level of racism. What I think we`re trying to combat now is what some people call unconscious racism, which is, literally, guys like me who thought they weren`t racist because of this story realized, oh, my God, yes, if a scary guy came up to me in a hoody, I`d have a little reaction and maybe that reaction would evoke hostility from that guy. And that`s the subtle consciousness raising we`re trying to create here, I think.
OLIVER: I understand that. Can I ask you a question?
PINSKY: Yes. Please.
OLIVER: Where do you think -- where do you think or what is the basis of that fear? What is that put that thought in your psyche when in your heart you don`t believe you`re a racist? It`s the constant exposure of African-American males as being aggressive. And yes, there is a large segment out there that has rightfully earned that reputation.
But unfortunately, it is reflected upon the vast majority, the overwhelming majority of African-American males out there, who are out there everyday, working hard if they have a job, to put their family -- keep their family safe and healthy.
OLIVER: You know? And it`s -- I mean, it`s easy to say, you know, it`s all the media`s fault, well, the media is just part of it, because we have to turn it on and buy into it, first and foremost, OK? So, if we -- we need to change this conversation not just about the fear, but we have to change the conversation so we can have an understanding as human beings regardless of our color.
PINSKY: Right. That`s right. I think it is about -- because the point you`re making, Joe, is that the residual is left on me from images even though I didn`t know it was.
PINSKY: And people keep talking about -- I think it`s about -- I really call this consciousness raising. I think what we`re trying to ask for here as a country. And, Joe, I know you`re there supporting your friend. I don`t know what happened that night, but help us -- you know, help me keep this from becoming divisive.
I want to make sure that we all stay, you know, together in this conversation. We don`t let it rip us all apart. So, I really appreciate you coming in.
OLIVER: That`s why -- I understand that. And that`s the other reason why I put myself out there because I love this country. I love this country. And what it`s done for me and my family. And I understand how this is ripping it apart.
OLIVER: And it`s something that has been building up. Keep in mind, this is not about George and Trayvon, George and Trayvon, they`re just the match. That fire has been -- we`ve been piling wood on that fire for decades.
PINSKY: Yes. I completely agree with you, Joe. And I think that`s where I`m hoping this conversation remains, because the system needs to figure out what happened that night, and hopefully, justice will prevail, although people are questioning, you know, the justice that has been handed so far to Trayvon.
OLIVER: Again, this is the worst place it could have happened for anyone under these conditions because of the history of the Sanford Police Department. Recent history.
PINSKY: So -- right. And so, again, I get your point of view. I appreciate it. More than anything else, I just appreciate you coming in and having this conversation with me. So, thank you. Take care.
OLIVER: Thank you.
PINSKY: Hopefully, I`ll talk to you again. All right, buddy.
Listen, we`re going to be -- I obviously dedicated the entire on-call segment to Mr. Oliver. I mean, this is an interesting conversation, and I think it`s what I want to keep the conversation focused on, and he`s helping us do that, I think. And he`s, you know, he`s a friend of Mr. Zimmerman, in the meantime (ph).
And we`re going to be talking about the FLDS tomorrow. I was going to do that today, but we`ll do it tomorrow to discuss a new development. A former Warren Jeff`s lieutenant has been convicted of bigamy.
Also, next up, I`m going to be taking on the JetBlue pilot who screamed at passengers to, quote, "say their prayers," unquote. We`re going to here from two men who actually tackled this man to the ground during the flight. So, stay with us.
PINSKY: "We`re all going down." That`s what the veteran captain of a JetBlue screamed yesterday after leaving the cockpit of his plane he was piloting on a flight from New York to Las Vegas. Passengers say he was shouting threats about al Qaeda, alluded to a bomb on board. Clayton Osbon has been charged with interference with a flight crew. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God!
PINSKY (voice-over): The pilot has a breakdown in the middle of a flight. His co-pilot got him out of the flight deck, slammed the door and locked him. The pilot then went wild in the aisle. He was screaming about Israel, Iran, and getting the plane down. Looking at these symptoms, I`m seeing either a bipolar episode or something related to do substances like alcohol.
Just saw something similar happen with the filmmaker behind "Kony 2012." One day he`s doing press for his documentary, next, he`s running naked in the street. Acute psychiatric syndromes like this are rather common and happen all the time in Hollywood. Catherine Zeta Jones shocked fans when she admitted she was bipolar and in treatment.
Bipolar, Demi Lovato was singing on the Disney Channel one day and punching a backup dancer the next. And he could forget Mel Gibson`s craze rants.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t you ever speak to him! Find your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) therapist.
PINSKY: And then, there`s always Charlie Sheen.
CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: Keep that in mind, (INAUDIBLE) patrols.
If I`m bipolar, aren`t there like moments when I crash in the corner, and like, oh, my gosh! It`s all my mom`s fault? Shut up! Shut up!
PINSKY: Breakdowns on claim seem like they`re becoming more common. Remember this guy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to lose your job?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than likely.
PINSKY: Is this just one more thing we need to worry about when we get on a flight?
PINSKY (on-camera): Alarmed passenger pinned the captain to the ground, another captain onboard safety landed the plane in Amarillo, Texas.
And a justice department affidavit revealed today the first officer said that Osbon -- I hope I`m pronouncing his name correctly, Osbon -- missed the crew briefing, made remarks about, quote, "an evaluation" and became rather incoherent saying things like "things just don`t matter." "We need to take a leap of faith." "We`re not going to Vegas," "a 150 souls on board.
Here with me to discuss this, actress, Mariette Hartley, co-founder of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She had been previously had some experience with bipolar disorder, was diagnosed with this condition. And two of the men who helped tackled the captain, Tony Antolino and former New York City police officer, Paul -- is it Babakitis? Is that how you pronounce your name?
PAUL BABAKITIS, PASSENGER ON JETBLUE FLIGHT: Correct. NYPD Sgt. Babakitis retired.
PINSKY: So, gentlemen, what did you first notice? When did you first realize something was really very, very wrong here?
TONY ANTOLINO, PASSENGER ON JETBLUE FLIGHT: Dr. Drew, thanks. The first sign, I was sitting in row 10. And the first visible sign was really as soon as he first exited the cockpit, he was agitated, behaving very erratic. That first kind of visual was him kind of having cotton mouth, just moving around erratically. The crew was talking to him.
He had tried to get into the bathroom. It was locked. He unlocked it. There was someone there in. So, it`s just things that you don`t normally see when a pilot or captain comes out of the cockpit. I think the second trigger was when the crew went to the off-duty captain, and apparently, were making plans to get him up into the cockpit.
I think the third thing was that confirmed what was going on, that there was a crisis. And I think then the final straw was the captain -- distressed captain made his way to the rear of the aircraft, and then, on his way back towards the cockpit, began running and trying to gain access - - tried entering the pin number into the cockpit.
That didn`t work, and then, he tried forcibly entering, kicking, and punching really hard at the door trying to get in. And, at that point, that`s when myself, Paul and two other guys just instinctually jumped up and grabbed him and started pulling him away from the cockpit door.
PINSKY: And Paul, this -- you know, you`re New York -- former New York police officer. This kind of behavior is not something, I`m sure, unusual to you. Did you have any suspicion what this was?
BABAKITIS: I did. And these new findings and developments in this case, I`m sure there`ll be more coming out once the FAA and the FBI do their investigation. Just further confirms my initial suspicions that this was a person that was deranged and who was not intending on landing this plane safely.
It`s chilling. I mean, his mannerisms, the way -- that look in his eye that I observed and how tense he was when I grabbed his arm, to restrain him, as well as the other passengers that experienced the same thing, with this guy just further confirms the magnitude and the importance that further checks should be done with people in positions where safety and security are bestowed upon them, such as pilots.
PINSKY: Well, Paul, I`m glad you brought that up. Mariette, you had an experience -- you had an ex-husband, I guess, that was a pilot, and he used to tell you how carefully this was all maintained.
MARIETTE HARTLEY, SUFFERS FROM BIPOLAR DISORDER: Yes. I think the FAA is very, very careful, and I think to a fault. I`m probably going to open up a whole can of worms here. But, my feeling as someone who`s in the mental health field as well as being an actor who`s witnessed a lot of this, and also, bipolar, PTSD and everything. I mean --
PINSKY: You got everything?
HARTLEY: I got it.
HARTLEY: Would you rather have somebody depressed and not taking medication and taking everybody down with them?
HARTLEY: Or would you rather allow them a small pill that will keep them balanced if we`re talking about depression, bipolar, whatever it may be.
PINSKY: This could be a possible manic episode which could be handled with anti-epileptic -- anti-seizure medicine which doesn`t affect some (INAUDIBLE), shouldn`t affect their responsiveness.
PINSKY: So, it`d be sensible. Now, the other thing, Mariette, you see if you agree with me on this. You know, this could be a bipolar episode, right, this sort of characteristic of people who have that condition. This also could be substance related or substance withdrawal related.
HARTLEY: Or could be both.
PINSKY: Right. it could be both.
HARTLEY: Because what I have found in my years and years of sobriety is that many people in support groups and, you know, various places where they get help, have some underlying biochemical disorder.
PINSKY: Psychiatric problem.
PINSKY: Yes. In addition to their addictions.
HARTLEY: Yes. I prefer to say biochemical, because I think psychiatric kind of separates people from it.
HARTLEY: That means I`m really sick.
PINSKY: Well, but isn`t that the point? We`re trying to reduce stigma. You know, why should there be a stigmatization of psychiatric versus medical? It`s the same thing.
PINSKY: It`s a medical condition.
HARTLEY: But why I`m saying it that way is that people who get very frightened about the word psychiatric or psychiatrist --
HARTLEY: If they know that there is something inside of them, inside of their brain that is not functioning normally or so-called correctly.
PINSKY: It`s a brain disorders.
HARTLEY: Brain disorder, maybe, we can get more people into psychopharmacologies, psychiatrists, and get them on mood stabilizers and get the shame and the stigma away from mental illness, which of course, is my --
PINSKY: That`s precisely why I brought you in this evening, because we`ve had a lot of these stories in the news lately, and I`ve been trying to demystify them from people to understand. These are medical conditions. These are the kinds of things -- it`s similar to a seizure. That`s a medical condition. That`s a brain disorder, same thing.
HARTLEY: You know, take the same kind of medications that epileptics take.
PINSKY: For bipolar. That`s right. So, thank you, Mariette. And Tony and Paul, you guys are heroes. I want you on my flight the next time I fly anywhere.
HARTLEY: I`m glad I wasn`t on that flight --
PINSKY: I`m glad, too, but I take a lot of flights.
Next up, a former pilot is going to actually tell us about the FAA regulations that are in place with respect to drug screening and drinking. We`ll get into his reactions against this captain. Please stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: JetBlue 191 emergency, we`re going to need authorities and medical to meet us at the airplane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. They`re standing by for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: The JetBlue pilot who had an acute psychiatric episode yesterday was described prior to this as a consummate professional by the CEO of JetBlue.
Joining me now is former pilot and publisher of JetWine.com, Rob Mark. Rob, I have friends that are pilots. I have consulted for airlines as an addictionologist. I know that airlines go to great lengths to protect, shall we say, the ability of pilots to fly the aircraft. What do you think happened in this case?
ROB MARK, FORMER AIRLINE PILOT: Well, it`s a tough call, I think, until we hear everything. And of course, I think they`re also going to be listening to the cockpit voice recorders that will give them some idea what went on before that captain left the cockpit yesterday.
But this is a tough one because this has never happened, to my knowledge before, that a captain has essentially lost control to the point that the first officer locked him out of the flight deck. Again, I`ve never heard of that before.
PINSKY: Now, he mentioned, as the plane was taking off, apparently, that he had had some sort of evaluation. I wonder -- my first thing I thought was, I wonder if he had a drug screen the day before, that caused him to stop using whatever he had been using, and maybe, we`re seeing, you know, alcohol withdrawal here as what`s causing the agitation. Do you think that`s a possibility?
MARK: Well, usually, when you have a drug screen issue, they`re always random. And, you don`t go anywhere until the results of the drug screen are completed. So, that if they did do a drug screen on him and it showed anything, he shouldn`t have been flying that day. But, you know, again, there are probably so many different factors that we`re not aware of right now.
All we know is that the first officer did the right thing and that was probably a very, very tough call for a co-pilot to make, because if he`d been wrong, it would have probably been his job.
PINSKY: Yes. I can just imagine, it`s such a hair raising idea, notion of having to make these kinds of decisions in the heat of battle like that. I mean, it`s incredible everyone behaved as well as they did, and you know, this ended as well as it did.
In the last time, we were talking to a woman who had a pilot as a husband, and he, apparently, had some depression and she was saying the he wasn`t allowed to take anti-depressant medicine. And I have friends who said that, too, about being a pilots and being fearful of taking either mood stabilizers or anti-depressants. Is that still the FAA`s policy or is that changing at all?
MARK: Well, it`s been looked at, but again, right now, as far as I know, there is no change to that policy, because I think the feds are always worried. They`re always leaning on the conservative side, which I think everybody out there would believe they should, but they`re always worried what would happen if someone was on the medication and went off. Is that what we saw here? I mean, we don`t know for sure.
PINSKY: We`ve got less than a minute left, but help us sort of put this all together. You know, you have lots of expertise in this. What`s your overall -- is there a lesson to be learned here?
MARK: Well, I think the lesson to be learned is that we want to get to the bottom of the problem, and everybody is probably going to start calling for a fix for -- I heard one of your guests earlier mentioned that the people needed to be evaluated more.
But we don`t want to make a crazy decision and just start adding complexity to a problem that may not be there. We need to know what the problem is first before we can try to fix it.
PINSKY: Well, thank you for joining us. I appreciate information, and thank you all for watching as well. And we will see you next time.