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Excessive Police Force?; Woman Blames Xanax for Mowing Down Husband; Did Pediatrician Waterboard His Daughter?

Aired August 10, 2012 - 19:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck to you for the weekend. JANE VELEZ- MITCHELL starts right now.

ISHA SESAY, HLN ANCHOR: Have a good weekend everyone.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Breaking news tonight. We just learned that an attempted murder trial centered around shocking surveillance video has just ended in a mistrial. The footage shows a man being mowed down by an SUV driven by his estranged wife. The latest next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, bizarre twists and turns in the case of a Utah woman accused of running down her estranged husband with her SUV. The 36-year-old claims she took a handful of the powerful anti- anxiety drug, Xanax, and doesn`t remember what she did. Is this another case of prescription drugs run amuck? Or is she using this as an excuse because she was in a rage over her ugly divorce?

Then shocking allegations. Cops arrest a nationally known pediatrician after his 11-year-old daughter tells them Dad waterboarded her as punishment. The young girl says she thought she was going to die and claims her mother stood by and didn`t stop the alleged abuse. Tonight, you won`t believe what this doctor is famous for.

Plus, did a school strip search a 15-year-old female student for no reason? That`s what one outraged mom says. And now she`s suing the school. Do schools have a right to frisk a teen if they think the student has drugs? What can you do to protect your child? I`ll talk to this angry mother tonight.

And has actress Brigitte Nielsen hit rock bottom? Pictures of the model sitting in a park with a bottle of vodka shocked fans. But now she says she`s getting back to sobriety. Can Brigitte get it together?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. Those stories coming up in a moment.

But this just in. Shocking new cell-phone video from our Dallas-Ft. Worth affiliate, WFAA, and YouTube that shows a police officer, well, according to critics, body-slamming a 15-year-old girl to the ground.

Take a look at this YouTube video. You see the girl in the red shirt gets slammed so forcefully that she is completely airborne before hitting the ground. You`re going to see it a couple of times. We`ll show you so you can get it in slow-mo.

Now, tonight authorities say they are doing an internal investigation.

This all happened after a fight allegedly broke out in a dance hall in Arlington, Texas, near Dallas. Cops say five people including the young woman, who by the way, is 15 years old, so it`s a 15-year-old girl who was slammed to the ground that way, they were all arrested including her.

Straight out to criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Holly Hughes. You`ve just seen the video. What do you think? Is this a case of excessive force, or is this just a police officer doing his job and making an arrest?

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, Jane. This is extreme excessive force.

If you look just that split-second before he picks her up and slams her to the ground, she`s standing still. She`s not attempting to run. She`s not trying to get away. She is a 15-year-old girl. And from what we see in the video a petite girl. She`s not doing anything to cause him any concern for his safety or harm. And he just snatches her up and slams her onto that concrete pavement.

This -- this is one of the worst I`ve ever seen, Jane. This is outrageous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa! OK. Well, I have the feeling we`re going to have a little debate here. Let`s look at it again from WFAA and YouTube.

Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst, what do you make of this video?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You know, we don`t see what happened right before this. You see a woman right there, who you know, was she the one who was fighting and he was separating the two? We don`t see what happened that led up to this. That`s the whole thing.

Everybody calm down. Whenever you have an arrest, it`s not pleasant. If he had Tased her, we`d be complaining about that. If he`d an asp (ph) or pepper spray, oh, that would be horrible also. Let`s wait for the investigation to run its course before we jump to any judgment.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: After the video was posted, the Arlington police announced a full investigation. They are asking anyone who witnessed the event to come forward. You can see there are lots of people there. Listen to this.


SGT. CHRISTOPHER COOK, ARLINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: Let the investigation run its process. I`ll assure you that the Arlington Police Department investigates use of force very, very seriously.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Walsh, psychologist, one thing I`ve learned is not to armchair quarterback police. I took a course once as part of a story, and I failed everything. I shot people I shouldn`t have shot. It`s easy for us to sit here and judge what`s happening. But, boy, your adrenaline is running. And you never know when something can turn out of hand. We`ve seen so many stories where it starts out as a routine traffic stop, and the next thing you know an officer is shot.

What are police going through psychologically when they arrive at a scene like this? And you can see it`s a melee.

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes. There are lots of people and lots of potential dangers for these police officers. And they`ve got to choose who they`re going to sort of restrain or stop first and foremost.

And when you do look at a snippet of video like this that is so outrageous, that causes such a visceral reaction in us, Jane, you have to remember it`s a snippet. It`s like when you see a snippet of someone parenting in the restaurant not the kind of parenting you would like, you can`t judge all parenting, you can`t judge the whole arresting of these police officers. So this investigation does, I agree needs to be complete before we find out what really went on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Danny Cevallos, criminal defense attorney. Here`s the thing. She`s 15 years old and she`s female. And the police were not responding to an armed robbery. They were responding to a dance hall brawl. What are your thoughts?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That looked like a brawl to me from what I could see on the video. I`m going to side with Detective Brooks on this.

We don`t know what happened right before. We know she`s 15. Police can arrest 15-year-olds. They can arrest 14-year-olds. They can arrest all the way down if a 6-year-old can hold a weapon, they`ll arrest them. So the fact that she`s 15, if she was doing something that necessitated an arrest immediately before being slammed, like taking a swing or reaching for a bulge in her waist, then that may have required that kind of force. It`s possible.

We don`t know at this point. We have no idea what happened in the few seconds beforehand. We have no idea what her behavior was like beforehand. We`ll find out when they interview witnesses.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Holly Hughes, here`s what kind of bugs me. The police officer seen on the video is reportedly still on regular duty as this investigation progresses. Good idea or not?

HUGHES: Well, as far as the police department`s concerned, he hasn`t been convicted of anything. And they`re still opening an investigation, looking into it. So, you know, I would put him on desk duty honestly with this type of an event.

I don`t have a problem with the fact that she`s being arrested, Jane. That`s not what upsets me here. What upsets me is that there is a way to do a safe takedown of a perpetrator without body-slamming her. Her feet come as high as her head. That`s the problem. It`s not that he used force. It`s that it seems extremely excessive based on what we`re seeing here.

So when you`ve got an allegation like this, go ahead and pay him. Put him on paid administrative leave. But put him on a desk. Don`t leave him out there on the street. Because you`re also opening him up to more complaints that may be fabricated based on what people see in this video.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Psychologist Wendy Walsh, what`s fascinating to me is all these stories are coming out now because of video. Because everybody with a cell-phone camera is a potential journalist in today`s world.

WALSH: There are potential journalists, and they`re a potential juror, it seems. It seems that we are being able to evidence -- gain evidence of everything by video. It reminds me of George Orwell`s "1984," where neighbors are turning in neighbors and there`s evidence everywhere. It`s good and it`s bad. Because I feel safer, frankly, walking in a world with more video cameras in public places.

But on the other hand, yes, it can be misleading. Because just because you`re seeing the pictures, you really don`t know what went on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to give Mike Brooks the final word.

BROOKS: Don`t rush to judgment. Let the investigation play out. You know, walk a mile in any cop`s shoes. If you haven`t been out there and done it and done this kind of thing, confronted with any kind of this -- these kind of things, like I have, take a deep breath and wait for the investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Up next, the Xanax defense in an attempted murder trial? That`s next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A woman plows through an office building lobby in her SUV, mowing down her estranged husband. And it`s all caught on tape. And now she says, "I blame the Xanax."

The jury never got to weigh in, because a mistrial was just declared a couple of hours ago.

Thirty-six-year-old Brenda White was charged with attempted murder. She admits this video shows her running over her husband back in 2006 inside a Salt Lake City office building. The victim, Jon White, suffered two broken legs and needed 63 stitches over his legs, arms and face.

Brenda testified she was suffering panic attacks and took a handful of Xanax pills on the way to meet her estranged husband that day. She says she blacked out when she heard her ex say "I love you" to somebody else on the phone.

The next memory she claims she had, according to her testimony, is just after she ran him over. Brenda testified, quote, "It was not me. Jon was my husband. He was my best friend, my lover. I would not want to hurt him," end quote.

The couple was in the middle of what police call an ugly divorce. Jon testified Brenda came to his workplace earlier that day and made chilling threats against him. Will prosecutors once again try to convict her of trying to kill her husband?

Straight out to psychologist Wendy Walsh. I`ve heard of the infamous Twinkie defense, but the Xanax defense? Do you buy it? Could a handful of Xanax pills make somebody drive through an office building and run down their estranged husband in a blackout?

WALSH: OK. Well, this medication that`s used for panic disorders and anxiety and sort of as an anti-depression -- depressant more often calms people than excites them or activates them more. So it calms and resets the central nervous system and the more common side effect is drowsiness. Sleepiness, Jane.

But we all know the one 2-year-old that you give Benadryl to who`s supposed to go to sleep when they have a cold suddenly gets amped up because somebody`s neurochemistry is a little different than what the study groups say.

On the other hand, Jane, a few Xanax tablets? A handful before she went? Was she under a doctor`s care? Did she take the prescribed dose? How long had she been using it? Did her body have tolerance or not?

You know, I know with everything you know about addiction, Jane, you can blame it on the alcohol, but it was your own arm that raised the glass to the mouth, right? And in this case she could blame the Xanax, but also she`s responsible for how she used it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly. Nobody forced her to take a handful of Xanax. And nobody shoved those pills down her throat.

I`ve got to ask, do you think the jury was buying, before this mistrial was declared, into the extreme emotional distress defense? This video, it`s so powerful. It`s hard to imagine to me that the person behind the wheel could have been completely blacked out because of the target. Because it`s not just driving through an office building. It`s this guy.

Now, you know, he was running on adrenaline. It was later learned that he -- Danny Cevallos, criminal defense attorney, both of his legs were broken, and he needed 63 stitches.

CEVALLOS: Yes. Very serious injury.

Look, she`s charged with attempted murder. That`s a specific attempt crime. She has to have intended to cause his death. The thing with Xanax and benzos, if it canceled out that intent, it is a defense. In Utah, Utah recognizes a defense, the specific crime of attempted murder.

However, she`s not off the hook yet because of other general intent crimes, like say this negligent-type crimes. She won`t be off the hook for that. So if a jury believes or if they would have believed that that negated her intent to kill him, that she blacked out, if they buy that science, then it may actually be a defense. She`s got a chance with this one.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It seems like anything is a defense these days. No matter what you do, given all the prescription drugs, all the booze, all the other things that are mood-altering out there -- like I said, somebody once used, infamously, the Twinkie defense.

Now the victim testified that hours before the incident, Brenda, the defendant, played a really chilling song on a loop as they talked. We want to play this song, "Angry John" {SIC] for you. Listen to the singer Poe brainstorm ways to kill her lover as she wears a target practice T-shirt.


POE, SINGER (singing): I can do it in the water. I can do it on dry land. I can do it with instruments. I can do it with my own bare hands. But either way, by the way, you know where it stands. I want to kill you. I want to blow you away.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yikes. Now, her estranged husband, Jon White, testified that as those lines played, "I want to kill you, I want to blow you away," her -- his estranged wife, Brenda, put her hands together like this and made a shooting motion. He also claims she said, "You`re a parasite and I`m going to wipe you off the face of the earth."

So, Holly Hughes, if that was said to him before this incident where she essentially drives over him, doesn`t that say that she knew what she was doing?

HUGHES: Oh, yes. There goes your "I didn`t have the intent" argument right out the window.

The problem with this is it`s directly on point. It goes to her state of mind. So a couple hours before she mows him down with a huge SUV, she threatens to kill him. She says, "I want to wipe you off the face of the earth."

She`s got a couple other problems, Jane. Right after the accident she talks to the police. And she does recall certain details of the crash. She admits it.

And then she further goes on and says, "Well, the thing that really made me mad was that I heard him tell another woman over the telephone `I love you`," so therefore, she has put herself in the suit. Because now she`s saying, "Oh, I don`t remember. I blacked out." That`s inconsistent with what she told the police directly after the crash happened.


HUGHES: And we all know -- right.


HUGHES: And we all know intent can be formed in an instant and instantly regretted.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go out to the phone lines. Lynn Ann, Arkansas. Lynn Ann, your question or thought.

CALLER: Hi, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, how are you doing?

CALLER: My thought is being on Xanax is no defense. People are responsible for what they do, period. You put it in your body. You took it. You`re responsible. But do we know how many other people potentially could have been hurt in that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s exactly what prosecutors said. Mike Brooks, this was an office building.

BROOKS: Right. And look, you saw the one woman who saw it coming and then she went to go get out of the way. And over in the corner there`s another person.

I mean, as I said, the prosecutor said there are people coming out of the -- could have been coming out of the elevators and they were victims, too. I mean, that one woman -- it`s a good thing she got out of the way or else she would have been -- she would have took right on -- she would have been a hood ornament. I mean -- I`m serious. She would have been a hood ornament.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I know. You`re right. You`re absolutely right. And I`ve got to say, as far as this mistrial, well, a witness heard, supposedly, a couple of jurors talking about the case in the elevator.

Hello. You wasted taxpayer dollars. Everybody who`s seen at least one court show knows you do not talk about the case if you`re jurors unless you`re in the jury deliberation room. So now the prosecution has to decide whether to try this woman all over again.

Up next, a mother filing suit, saying her daughter was violated.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First the shocking accusations of waterboarding. This time not against a terror suspect but an 11-year-old. An 11-year-old girl is accusing her father, who happens to be a pediatrician, of doing just that.

Police say all the while mom stood by and watched.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just this week when the daughter was brought in for additional questioning by detectives, that is when she allegedly told them that her father had waterboarded her, sticking her head under a water faucet with the water running.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a nationally known pediatrician and his wife accused of a shocking crime. Their 11-year-old daughter told cops that her dad waterboards her as a form of punishment. And cops say the mom stood by and watched and allegedly did nothing to stop it.

We`re talking waterboarding, as in torture, when water is poured on a person`s head.

This father, Dr. Melvin Morse, is a respected pediatrician who even appeared on "Oprah" and on the Larry King show.

The little girl told police her dad held her face under the running water faucet for several minutes at a time, causing the water to shoot up her nose and over her face.

Neighbors are in shock.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going overboard, dragging a kid and trying to drown a kid, that`s -- that`s too far. That is too far. And in my opinion, the guy should be locked up without bail.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police say Dr. Morse is also accused of grabbing the 11-year-old girl by the ankle and dragging her across a gravel driveway and spanking her.

Dr. Morse was arrested, and that`s when the girl told them about the alleged waterboarding.

Want to go to Holly Hughes, former prosecutor. Just when I thought I couldn`t be shocked, another mind-boggling alleged horror.

HUGHES: Absolutely, Jane. And this case highlights the difference between discipline and abuse. And if what this doctor is accused of doing actually happened, this is abuse. You do not almost kill a child.

And, Jane, the frightening thing is, when the police talked to him about this, he made comments in court -- it is part of court documents, "Well, she could be under for five minutes and still survive." What does that tell you about his mindset?

And let`s remind our viewers this is a man who authored a book about children`s near-death experiences.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. I want to get to that. This is unbelievable.

HUGHES: Yes. This is crazy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me get into that. Here`s the strange thing. Dr. Morse is a well-known pediatrician who specializes in near-death experiences in children. He wrote a book, as Holly said, and also talked about this subject to Larry King in 1991. Listen.


MORSE: I have interviewed well over 100 children who have a lack of oxygen to the brain who are treated with all kinds of medicines, who also are mechanically ventilated and in scary intensive care units, but were not near death.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos, do you see a connection between the crime he`s alleged to commit, waterboarding, and his specialty?

CEVALLOS: Sure. I think you see that a lot with experts. A lot of experts actually have an interest, a personal interest in that in which they end up becoming experts in.

But look, in this case, I mean, we accept as a society -- and legally parents have a right to discipline their children reasonably. Society`s view of discipline has changed a lot over time. What`s acceptable today -- or what was acceptable 50 years ago certainly would not be acceptable today.

But I think under almost any standard, except maybe the military`s standard, waterboarding is not an appropriate way to discipline.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And even in the military it was hotly debated by the entire nation whether that was torture, because that`s what a lot of people felt it was.

Some people have asked why a father would do this to his young daughter, allegedly. Listen to one very disturbing theory from a psychoanalyst on "NANCY GRACE" last night.


DR. BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: I think this guy has a weird perverse fetishized interest in children and death. And it`s important to note that sadism is one of the five sexual perversions. So you put all of these facts together, and what was this guy`s fantasy life like? I would be looking at his computer, see if there`s child pornography and if it has a bondage and torture aspect to it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We reached out to Dr. Morse`s attorney repeatedly. We have not heard back. He is invited or his attorney or his wife or her attorney, anybody who represents that side, on the show any time. What a bizarre case.

And up next, I`m holding in my hand a lawsuit filed by a mother who is infuriated saying her daughter was touched inappropriately. Next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just extremely embarrassing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: May have been strip-searched, but they didn`t strip her of her desire to fight this to the end.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something needs to be done, because no one`s rights should be violated like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This search was quite different from the search of her purse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need the flexibility to act immediately and effectively when they reasonably believe that a child`s health and risk are at issue.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a mother jumps to her daughter`s defense after she claims faculty at her former high school forced the girl to bear her breast. The then 15-year-old student says it all started when another student made up a fake story that she had drugs on her because the two girls like the same boy. That`s when faculty members stepped in.

But what happens next is the subject of heated debate. In the mother`s lawsuit, which I`m holding in my hands, the girl claims the school performed a, quote, "unreasonable strip search"; that her daughter told two members of the faculty she felt uncomfortable removing her bra or showing anybody her breasts. But that she was coerced into lifting up her shirt and her bra and exposing her breast. She claims that a faculty member, quote, "placed her hands on her breasts"; and the girl was visibly upset during and after the strip search.

But the Turner School District in Kansas has a totally different story. They told us this was not a strip search because the student was never asked to take off any clothing other than her shoes. Instead, she was asked to, quote, "pull her bra forward with her shirt untucked but otherwise fully clothed so that any contraband hidden in her bra would fall out", end quote.

They also say all this took place in the privacy of the school nurse`s office with two female school employees present. They want the lawsuit dismissed.

Joining me now is the mother who is suing the school, Amanda Sandidge. Amanda, what did your daughter tell you about the precise incident where you`re in the nurse`s office? What did she say happened?

AMANDA SANDIDGE, CLAIMS DAUGHTER WAS STRIP-SEARCHED: She explained to me that the nurse had her pull her shirt out with her bra. And she was physically touched on her breast. And then when they did not find anything that way they told her that she needed to pull her shirt and her bra up and give a full frontal exposure to both of them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what we have here are two totally different stories. If you hold on for one second, Amanda -- Holly Hughes, if indeed the school, somebody from the faculty, touched her breast, that is, I think, outrageous. The school is claiming that, no, they just asked her to pull out her bra to shake it out to see if anything fell out. Now, it`s a he said/she said except it`s a school said/student said.

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s exactly what it`s going to boil down to, Jane. Because the United States Supreme Court has already looked at this issue. In 2009 there was an Arizona student`s case who went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. And they said, hey, look you cannot have a student expose themselves like this unless there is a risk of student safety.

So this is the exact same type of thing where the tipster who we later found out was lying, said, "Oh, she`s got a little bit of marijuana." A little bit of marijuana is not a huge risk to student safety. And this behavior if it bears out to be true, if this goes to a jury and the jury believes the student over the school administrators, this is absolutely an unreasonable search and seizure. And the student will prevail.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amanda, I want to ask you, how was your daughter impacted by this experience? What has been the fallout in her life?

SANDIDGE: She has been traumatized. I had to pull her out of school after this. She has lost the trust that should be there in an educational institution. These people as violated her. She feels very violated, humiliated. She is just not the same child that she was before this happened at all.

And, you know, I want to see her get back into the education system somehow, you know, someway. But as far as going back to school, she is just so anxious and gets so upset about even considering going back into another school.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Amanda, I think one of the reasons is that when - - people have sort of a boundary. They have a line around their bodies. And they can feel violated if that boundary is pierced in any way.

There`s been so much controversy about pat-downs and strip searches in general especially in this era post 9/11. Many of them involve the TSA allegedly purportedly touching, going too far. You remember this from YouTube.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You touch my junk I`m going to have you arrested. I don`t understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not considered a sexual assault.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be if you weren`t the government. I`d like only my wife or maybe my doctor to touch me there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And he made that line famous. Junk -- you`re touching my junk.

Danny Cevallos, why is it that people feel so violated when somebody that they`re not intimate with touches them in an area that is a private area?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, look, we`re talking about students. Remember, students have a diminished expectation of privacy. It`s not like adults. Your little snowflake when they`re in school can be searched on a reasonable suspicion. It`s a lower standard.

So although these searches are very intrusive, the question will ultimately be what kind of search was this? Was it just a pat-down? Was it the kind where you pull the bra out and you pull the shirt out? Or was it a full strip search? If it`s anything involved touching the breasts or the buttocks, something like that has to be justified at least by something more than just the report that we got that was unsubstantiated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, one of the things, Holly Hughes, criminal defense attorney, in this lawsuit it says that this young lady, this 15- year-old did not have a history of drugs. She didn`t associate with drugs. She hadn`t been in trouble when it came to drugs.

It would be one thing if somebody was a troublemaker and a known bad apple. But if this girl never had a problem, does that weigh-in?

HUGHES: Not really. Because let`s face it, every criminal has a first time, Jane. So if in fact this was a legitimate tip, then they would have been absolutely correct to search her locker, search her backpack and do an outside pat-down and maybe say shake your clothing.

What puts this over the line is when, you know, if what the young lady alleges is proven out in court that they made her expose herself, that`s what takes it into the area of unreasonable search and seizure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And my final question to Amanda, we have very little bit of time -- very little time. But apparently in this lawsuit you say that somebody from the staff allegedly according to you threatened your daughter with suspension if she told anybody about this strip search?

SANDIDGE: They sure did.


SANDIDGE: They sure did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No names, please, for legal reasons. But you`re saying somebody -- a staffer told your daughter, if you tell anybody about this strip search, what?

SANDIDGE: They pulled her out of class after they spoke with me and told her that if she were to repeat this to anybody that she would be kicked out of school. She would be expelled.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, again, Amanda, I want to thank you for joining us. I know you`re trying to do the very best for your daughter.

The school system is invited, the district, on to tell their side. They deny this. They want the suit dismissed. We`re going to stay on top of it and find out what happened.

Today -- shocking video that will really get your blood boiling. Watch this as a man snatches an unconscious woman`s purse inside a North Carolina Wal-Mart. The woman had a bad reaction to some medication. And she`s clearly not doing well when this guy steals her purse. He never even stopped to see if she was ok.

We got good news. We just found out that the purse snatcher was caught earlier today. Loser.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You voted on Facebook. Here is your "Viral Video of the Week". Look at this. This shows the love between a boy and his dog. So many kids need companion animals in their lives, especially if they`re only children.



BRIGITTE NIELSEN, ACTRESS: It was a bad day for me. And I would like to tell everybody that I am a recovering alcoholic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Model, movie star, Brigitte Nielsen rumored to have relapsed.

NIELSEN: I didn`t want to speak to anyone about the pictures that came out of me relapsing.

There were other disorders going on at the same time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brigitte had some photos taken of her last weekend that created international news.

NIELSEN: This can happen. It did happen but I`m fine.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An iconic beauty, one time movie star -- has she hit rock bottom? Slugging vodka from a plastic bottle face down in a public bar.

Brigitte Nielsen was perhaps the most beautiful woman on the planet some felt. Stunning Danish super model who exploded on to the Hollywood scene winning choice movie roles and marrying Sylvester Stallone.

But on Saturday, she was photographed out in the open in Los Angeles, wasted, virtually crawling on the ground while drinking from a bottle of cheap booze. Out of respect for her we are not going to show you the photos.

Brigitte is a recovering alcoholic. Let`s give her credit. She took full responsibility for her relapse on Dr. Drew. Check it out.


NIELSEN: It was that one day Saturday afternoon that I felt I had to be alone, do the wrong thing, didn`t call my sponsor, got a little something going. And of course the worst thing happens. Someone obviously followed me and took some very, very nasty pictures.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to Kim Serafin, senior editor "In Touch". Kim, listen, I am not one to ever pass judgment. I am a recovering alcoholic myself and all we have is today. But how much has this hurt Brigitte? She clearly acknowledged she fell off the wagon. Did copping her mistake help her public image?

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH": Yes, I think so. You play those clips of her on Dr. Drew`s show. She owned up to it. She explained what happened. She said that she is recovering. She`s a recovering alcoholic. She`s dealing with her sobriety every day.

And you know, she has been very open about her addiction over the past years. She of course appeared on that first season of Dr. Drew`s "Celebrity Rehab". So this is something that she`s always put out in the open for everyone to look at; have been very open about her own struggles.

So I think it was important that she did come forward because those pictures were pretty terrible and did make international news. And she was unrecognizable in those photos.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And many know Brigitte from her second career as a reality TV star. She actually became a reality TV couple with none other than Flava Flav and, of course, they had a hilarious courtship from a surreal life. I think we all remember this. Check it out.


FLAVA FLAV, SINGER: You can tell we were attracted to each other because we keep going near each other. We have a good friendship thing going on. How did these two come together? They`re night and day.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the two of them went on to have their own reality show together called "Strange Love". Now Flava Flav has also reportedly had a long public battle with addiction.

Kim Serafin, is that like playing with danger when you are deeply associated with somebody who also is struggling with addiction and then you`re throwing it all on TV for the world to see?

SERAFIN: I mean, we see this all the time with reality shows, with reality show stars. Some of them commit to it. And if they have the ups and the downs, they put it all on TV. Some of them only wanted the ups on TV, as a lot of people can relate to probably.

But Brigitte has made this career. She`s appeared on these reality shows like you just played with Flava Flav, but then also even the German version of "Dancing with the Stars" and I think also the German version of "I`m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here".

So she has made this a career. And I think you have to really respect her that she`s willing to put it out there when it`s good, when it`s bad and understand that that`s reality TV. And sometimes it does exacerbate some of these issues.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And as we --


SERAFIN: So, if we have a personality like that, maybe you should beware before you go on one of these reality shows where cameras are following you everywhere.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And listen, she`s a beautiful woman. She has owned up to it. As we leave you, let`s leave with Brigitte looking straight at the camera and acknowledging on Dr. Drew. This is a powerful moment. Check it out.


NIELSEN: Yes. I am a recovering alcoholic. This can happen. It did happen. But I`m fine. And I look at it this way, you pick yourself back up and life goes on. And you just have to stay faithful to your meetings and go for it.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: My favorite, our "Pet of the Day", Zoe. Oh, look. Cali, Cali, you rock it. Boo Radley -- Boo Radley is rad.

These are some wonderful pet pics -- Mars. You can send yours



VELEZ-MITCHELL: These chimps desperately need your help. Tell your congress members and senator, we don`t want our tax dollars used to torture these highly sensitive, highly intelligent cousins of mankind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything we know about chimpanzees now -- you know, it`s a lot like looking in the mirror. Chimpanzees are sensitive, intelligent individuals and it`s morally wrong to inflict pain and suffering on a sentient being.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A major victory for animal rights supporters wanting to end invasive research on chimpanzees. A U.S. Senate committee has just the Great Ape Protection Act. It now goes to the full Senate for a vote. We have got to get this passed. There are about 1,000 chimps still held in research and testing labs in the United States.

Now the 500 government-owned chimps would be retired to a sanctuary. Besides being the humane thing to do, this move could save us taxpayers about $300 million over the next decade. It`s so disturbing that such magnificent creatures are still being held in small cages and used as unwilling research subjects especially since medical experts say it`s not needed.

Last year, the prestigious Institute of Medicine concluded biomedical research on chimps is unnecessary. Most countries have halted testing on these close cousins of humans. Chimps and humans share about 98 percent of their DNA.

Straight out to Kathy Guillermo, the vice president of laboratory investigations for PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; Kathy tell us why the Great Ape Protection Act is so important? Why you want Americans to call in, e-mail their senators and congress members and urge them to vote for the Great Ape Protection Act?

KATHY GUILLERMO, VP LABORATORY INVESTIGATIONS, PETA: It`s crucial for Americans to act right now Jane because hundreds of these chimpanzees have been imprisoned, many of them for decades in tiny cages that are no larger than a phone booth. And they have lived year after year with hardly any space to move. Not able to enjoy the companionship of others of their own kind.

For the first time now, we`re looking at the possibility that more than 500 of the chimpanzees owned by the government can go to real sanctuaries, can live with other chimpanzees, have space to move. They can go indoors or outdoors. They can have a varied diet. This is the least we can do for animals, who have been caged and poked and anesthetized with a dart gun, pieces of their liver cut out, infected with disease and denied everything that`s important to them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: About a thousand chimps are being held in U.S. research and testing labs right now as we speak. Scientists found that chimps are ineffective as models for human disease. Again, the Institute of Medicine concluded that biomedical research is no longer necessary on chimps.

The Humane Society says life for laboratory chimps is miserable. That they suffer from depression, increased aggression, self-mutilation. The Jane Goodall Institute founded by, of course, Jane Goodall -- such a famous expert on apes -- she is calling for the passage of the Great Ape Protection Act and the end to this torturous research on chimps.

So on the other side of the break, we`re going to tell you about a chimp by the name of Wenka who has lived her entire life, more than 57 years without ever seeing the light of day outside a research facility. Stay right there. You can help.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Great Ape Protection Act. It`s a crucial time right now, we have got to get this passed. Some chimps have spent their entire lives in research facilities. You`re looking at one of several Web sites including; a whole protest movement is devoted to this one chimp Wenka who is reportedly the oldest living lab chimpanzee, over 57 years old. Critics say she`s being kept at the Yerkes Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta.

There`s been numerous demos -- we reached out to Emory University, did not hear back.

Ten seconds, Kathy, why do we need to free Wenka?

GUILLERMO: Because Wenka is an individual. Like everyone of the other chimpanzees in laboratories right now and deserves to be treated with respect and dignity for the rest of her life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Great Ape Protection Act. Pass it.