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Did Police Officers Go Too Far in Detaining Suspect?; Terrence Howard`s Secret Dark Side

Aired September 4, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. Shock and controversy over a police beating caught on camera. This violent arrest was posted on YouTube and immediately went viral. You can hear witnesses reacting as they watched this unfold in Long Beach, California.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Cops say the suspect was out of control, boozing and repeatedly kicking offers. To subdue him, they hit him with their batons and Tasered him multiple times. And tonight, I`m coming to you live. Was this a case of cops brutally beating somebody or was this justifiable use of force?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re supposed to help us, not hurt us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they went overboard. They abused their powers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The officer is trying to get this individual, who was combative, who was irrational.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kept telling the police, "He needs help, he needs help, he needs help," and they wouldn`t do anything. And then they turned around and beat him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The suspect, 46-year-old Porfirio Lopez, is in the black T-shirt. Cops say he was fighting over a beer can. And from the looks of this surveillance video, Lopez started throwing objects and punching a group of guys outside a liquor store. Cops say he was drunk and later told them he was also high on meth.

Cops also say Lopez threatened officers and hit them when he was already on the ground resisting arrest. But take a look at this. On this video, taken on a witness`s cell phone, you see officers strike Lopez, and they do it six times as he`s lying on the ground. The witnesses complained cops took it too far.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was way too much. I felt like he was drunk, so they could have easily gotten him down enough, with how many of them there were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re supposed to help us, not hurt us.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s watch again the suspect is beaten by an officer`s baton at least six times while on the ground. Let`s see. All right.

Tonight, the suspect is in the hospital, charged on four counts, including battery on a police officer. Did the suspect`s action before and during the arrest justify the amount of force, or is this a case of cops abusing their power?

We`re going to look at the video repeatedly. You`ll be able to see it from beginning to end, in terms of that controversial period where the baton strikes are occurring six times and that`s it.

Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

We have an incredible panel tonight in the Lion`s Den, including retired police captain C.W. Jensen. And we`ve got some television hosts, radio hosts Michael Billy and my dear friend Dorothy Lucey, social commentator. We`re also about to hear from the Long Beach Police Department themselves.

But first, straight out to KTLA reporter Christina Pascucci. Set the scene for us, Christina. What was going on?

CHRISTINA PASCUCCI, REPORTER, KTLA: Well, Jane, it was Labor Day on Long Beach. Police were called to break up a fight. That was where Lopez was reportedly outside of a liquor store. The fight was supposedly over a beer can. And witnesses say that he threw punches at people who were outside of that liquor store, started to fight with them. Things escalated. That is when witnesses called police.

When police came, they said that Lopez was combative. He was fighting; he was yelling at them. So they took force. They used Tasers to get him down. After they used Tasers, he say he kept kicking them, even kicked one of the officers in the wrist, kicking the baton out of his hand, kicked another officer reportedly in the face. So then that`s when you see that video, which is really hard to watch, as they hit him with their batons over and over. Not one, not two, not three, but up to six times.

People who were watching say his head was bloodied. He was cut in his head. I spoke to his wife today. He`s at the hospital. And I spoke to her while she was at the hospital, waiting to see her husband. She said that the cut on his head was so bad he needed stitches. He needed stitches on several other parts of his body, and his bones were broken in his wrist so badly on his right arm that he had to get surgery. That`s the latest we`re hearing right now.

But police are saying that he has a history of using meth. He has a history of running into the law and that this is just what they had to do to get things under control.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, thank you for that report.

And we have Sergeant Aaron Eaton from Long Beach Police Department with us on the phone right now.

Thank you for joining us. Sergeant, look, I never want to second guess the police, because I actually took a course as part of being a journalist many years ago, and I was told, "You will never be a police officer," because my adrenaline was going and boy, I was doing all sorts of things that I wasn`t supposed to be doing.

But let me ask you, sir. There are people who are saying that the six baton strikes after he`s on the ground is excessive force. What are you saying in response?

SGT. AARON EATON, LONG BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT (via phone): Well, I want everybody to see that that video that we see there is a very small portion of the overall incident. Taken into context, what the officers see at that moment when they`re making those decisions to use force, comes into play that earlier the individual had been irrational, had used language like, "Please kill me" or "kill me." Eventually he takes swings at the officers.

He also is not doing what they`ve asked him to do and is sweating, and he is bloody at that point. These are officers who are in that moment at in time making a decision that they want to get this person into custody and do it as safely as possible. At that point, they used the Taser. The Taser didn`t work effectively enough for them to keep him from kicking them.

They also used the batons to try to gain compliance. At that point, this is an individual who`s laying on the ground who has gone through several baton strikes, the use of a Taser, and still adamantly is refusing to roll onto his stomach in a position so the officers can safely handcuff him. So at that moment, those officers are presented with that information.

We have a review process. We`re going to look at the video, look at the officers` reports, witness statements and eventually the chain of command, and our command staff will be able to look at that in its entirety. It`s just difficult to watch that in the small clip that we do see on the YouTube video.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and actually, it was shot by somebody who happened to be standing there with a camera, a cell-phone camera, which now everybody who has one of these is a journalist potentially. They press play, and they`re recording something; and perhaps the officers weren`t aware that that was being recorded from that angle, because it`s -- On YouTube, you can see the person is, like, looking through a little hole in the wall, essentially, or some kind of small window with their camera.

But I have one other question for you, Officer. And I thank you for coming on and giving your side of the story. Some have wondered why the officer who`s striking with the baton remains on active duty during the investigation. Can you explain that, sir?

EATON: Well, we don`t have a policy that is similar to what most law- enforcement agencies have, when an officer is involved in a shooting. There are many agencies across the nation that take their officers off for a period of time.

In this case, the officers used force. They believed it to be reasonable at the time. There is a review process for that. There`s a sergeant that responds to the scene, conducts the initial investigation.

Again, we are still continuing today, even, to go out into the neighborhood, look for videos, with the public`s help, and to gain all the evidence that we can so that we can put the puzzle pieces together to make sure that, when this is viewed, it`s viewed from a wide perspective and we know exactly, or at least the best we can, to see exactly what those officers were seeing when they made those decisions.

You know, again, this is an individual who, you know, was communicated through by the officers, both in English and Spanish, that -- that was under the influence of alcohol and later, admittedly, said that he had used methamphetamine. We don`t have any information that the officers knew this individual before they got there or that he was -- had any mental illness issues.

But they were presented with somebody who, at least had pounded his fist on the floor or the asphalt several times, had his shirt off, and took several swings as the officers were trying to take him into custody. So from that wide perspective, it gives the context of the video that we see in that YouTube clip.


EATON: You know, a different view, and that`s what we want to make sure that we see.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s why we thank you for joining us, Sergeant Aaron Eaton of the Long Beach Police Department.

And now let`s go right out to the Lion`s Den. We`ve got an incredible panel. We`ve all seen the various videos now. And as we go out to the Lion`s Den, I want to start with Michael Billy.

What do you say, Michael?

MICHAEL BILLY, TV PERSONALITY: I call absolute bull-oney. I mean, I`m sorry, but I think -- I`m not going to be polite on this one.

What do we need to review here? I understand due process.

But first of all, including meth and including the fact that he was drunk, they didn`t know he was on meth for a fact when they did this. When you look at the video, explain the scene. The man is on the floor; he`s not doing a thing. He`s laying on the floor, and he`s being beaten six times, plus a Taser. I can`t understand that a Taser wouldn`t effect somebody the same way when they`re high on a substance. Totally understand that.

But there is no rhyme or reason for this type of abuse. You can even trust the people that are witnessing this event, who are yelling in the background during this whole thing. It`s just -- it`s disturbing, and it`s not something that can be explained.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. That`s your side. C.W. Jensen, retired police captain, what say you briefly?

C.W. JENSEN, RETIRED POLICE CAPTAIN: Well, I would just wonder if Michael, except for maybe a playground pushing match, has ever been in a violent fight, because I`ve been in hundreds.

These officers did absolutely nothing wrong. If you look, their responsibility is to take this violent person, who`s already tried to fight people. He`s supposed to do what they say. I bet if some officer told you to do something, you`d do what they would say, and nothing would happen. The reason they Tased him, he wouldn`t get on his belly. They then struck him with a baton.

Why do you think they give us batons? The reason is, you use them to try to get compliance.


JENSEN: Thankfully, no wonder the officers have to pig pile people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are just getting started. You can see everybody is absolutely dying to jump in. We`re going to take a short break. We`ve got callers. We`ve got more of this -- we`re just starting. Stay right there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kept telling the police, "He needs help, he needs help, he needs help." And they wouldn`t do anything. And then they turned around and beat him for nothing. That isn`t right. That`s not right.







VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. It was caught on a cell-phone camera, went on YouTube. Now it`s gone viral, and we`re debating it tonight.

This incident in Long Beach, is it appropriate use of force by the Long Beach Police Department or is it excessive force?

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. We`re just getting started. All right, Ashleigh Merchant, civil rights attorney, criminal defense attorney, what say you?

ASHLEIGH MERCHANT, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: This is extremely excessive. I mean, this guy, first of all, they have pepper spray. They could have pepper sprayed him. Pepper spray the man, disable him, get the handcuffs on him, hog-tie him if you have to. Put it around his legs. There are so many different ways that they can subdue him.

I mean, you even see the officer take a step back to get a good shot. I mean, if he`s able to get a step back, they`re going to be able to subdue him.

The other thing that bothers me is if we -- if we looked at this video, if we saw this video without police officers in it, if this was just a group of people and this was a man on the ground doing this, would we feel differently about it? We would be just as appalled, if not more. And the police officers would probably have charges brought against them. They would probably be having to defend themselves in criminal court.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, Kelli Saindon, former prosecutor, as I said before, I very much hesitate to second-guess police officers, because I took a course many years ago as part of being a journalist, and I failed everything. There was a movie where I was supposed to shoot people. I shot. I was -- I was reacting. Once you go into reaction mode, it`s very -- it`s very hard to put on the brakes.

But looking at this, is that what they`re trained to do, put on the brakes?

KELLI SAINDON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, actually, I think it`s the reverse. I think that a couple of these police officers were reacting, and instead of using their training and their skill, and instead of using their best judgment, I think they got caught up in the moment. And that`s why I think it was excessive, in my opinion.

Because I think that the drunk guy, the guy who was on meth, he was out of control, but he was easily disabled. And I think this was hey, we`re mad and you`re making us more mad. You`re not listening to us, so I`m going to get an extra lick in. That`s just how I view the video.

I try not to second-guess police either, but I have had some excessive force cases, because occasionally officers make mistakes, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dorothy Lucey, social commentator, you live in Los Angeles. So you can see this from the perspective of somebody who lives there.

DOROTHY LUCEY, SOCIAL COMMENTATOR: Jane, it`s kind of odd. I was in Malibu at the beautiful beach for Labor Day, and there was somebody who wouldn`t stop for the cops. And all of a sudden -- I mean, it wasn`t even a slow speed chase. It`s Pacific Coast Highway. There was so much traffic, there was nowhere to go.

But all of a sudden, three cop cars, cops jump out with guns bigger than me pointed at this person. And, you know, there were so many kids around there watching, I thought, "That`s a little excessive."

But let me say, you know my dad was cop. My dad was the chief of police in the town I grew up in, and I think he would say one of these officers was kicked in the head by this guy. How do you react when somebody kicks you in the head?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Dr. Tiffanie Davis-Henry, I want -- I want to go to you. We have a very large and fantastic panel. Feel free to jump in, everybody, but let`s get Dr. Tiff.

DR. TIFFANIE DAVIS-HENRY, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, if someone kicks you in the head, I think your first response is to protect yourself and react. My thing is, this guy was on the ground already. Could the cops not have flipped him over himself? If they thought he was drunk, if they thought he might be intoxicated, he wasn`t really the brightest candle on the cake. That`s already been established.

I don`t think mental illness or substance abuse gives them the right to do this. This does seem excessive to me. And if they know that he is not working on all cylinders mentally, then I think they have to -- especially if they already know that he`s drunk and they know that he`s a little out there, they need to really handle that situation with care.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian Claypool. OK. Go ahead.

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, I`m not Sergeant Eaton was watching the same tape as I was watching. I saw four police officers standing right next to this man when he was on his back, down. He was disabled. All they had to do is go in and handcuff him at that point.

I prosecuted civil rights cases against the Long Beach Police Department, as well. And I will tell you this. The law in California is as follows. The suspect has to pose an immediate -- an immediate threat of serious bodily injury at the moment that police officer deploys a Taser or hits him with a baton. And clearly, in this case, that never happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. C.W. C.W. Jensen.

JENSEN: Delusional, delusional. These officers didn`t kick him. They didn`t punch him. They used things to get compliance.

DAVIS-HENRY: They can hit him with a baton?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They used a weapon to punch him.

CLAYPOOL: C.W., excuse me, I`m sorry, but if you`re not calling this excessive, then it`s normal behavior. You`re telling me the Long Beach Police never come in contact with somebody who`s drunk and disorderly or possibly on meth?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang on, we`re going to continue this on the other side. Stay right there.

CLAYPOOL: This guy was a human pinata.







UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was way too much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt like he was drunk, so they could have easily gotten him down, with how many of them there were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re supposed to help us, not hurt us.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: A controversy tonight after a caught-on-tape police arrest, and here`s the suspect acting out earlier, and there were reports that he was punching people. There you see him in the black T-shirt. And kicking at various people, including the officers.

But the controversy arises because somebody with a little cell-phone camera -- let me see, where`s my cell-phone camera -- videotapes the cops through a window. And one officer hits him six times at least with a baton after he`s down. Is that justified? Is it excessive force? I don`t have the answer. We`re debating it with our panel.

Let`s go to the phone lines. Adeline, Ohio, your question or thought? Adelyn.

CALLER: Yes, it`s -- I don`t -- never heard any (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on this case, but I do not believe that they were justified in the least for the simple fact that this man is laying on the ground, basically trying to cover and protect himself, and they`re standing there taking turns is all they`re doing. And how is that right?

Now, he started the fight, yes, and had the guys that he was actually fighting in this maybe got the better of him, then it is what it is. You started it. But laying on the ground with four police officers just protecting yourself, and they`re just taking turns. How is that right? I don`t understand it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s go out to C.W. Jensen, retired police captain, who is saying that this is actually appropriate.

JENSEN: Well, people are lucky, unlike 30 years ago, officers don`t have to pig pile people, hit them with their fists, kick them, do all the things we used to have to do. This was mellow. And remember...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a second. How is this mellow?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A baton and a Taser?


BILLY: I would hate to see a bad day in Long Beach.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mellow is not the -- not the word that I would use.

JENSEN: I was on this panel.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ashleigh Merchant.

SAINDON: Do the words "Rodney King" mean anything to you? Rodney King. He was on the ground. Just jump in and that`s OK?

MERCHANT: What upsets me the most...


MERCHANT: The officer...

JENSEN: He had his hands behind his back and nothing else.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but he`s drunk and high on meth. Listen, I lived in L.A. for many years. You know, beach towns, there`s a lot of partiers. I lived on the beach. I saw a lot of drunk people. In fact, more than 18 years ago, I was drunk until I got sober 18 years ago. What I`m saying is, it`s not like this is an armed robber. Sure, he could have hurt somebody, but drunk people are a dime a dozen in the beach communities of Los Angeles. Brian, you want to say something, or Billy?

CLAYPOOL: Jane, this is -- these officers are trained to deal with situations like this. You and I aren`t, but they are. Their job is to go in, defuse the situation, and not beat somebody up who`s disabled. Plain and simple.

BILLY: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Michael -- Michael Billy.

BILLY: It`s to your point, Jane. You said it yourself. You went through training yourself for this type of -- for this type of interaction, and you wouldn`t survive because you wouldn`t act like that.

I go back to this point. I`m sorry, to call this non-excessive is to say that these -- that this is the type of behavior we should expect with every drunk and disorderly person.

And to answer your question, C.W., yes, I have been in a physical fight. Yes, I have been arrested. And yes, I have been drunk and disorderly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. We`ve got to go. Thank you. We`re going to let you know what happens with the investigation.

On the other side, movie star Terrence Howard involved in a tremendous controversy. It`s breaking news.


TERRENCE HOWARD, ACTOR: We met at a pool four years ago. He didn`t say below beyond that day (ph). And then we bumped into each other another -- about a year ago. And we were friends, and then she came to visit me in Prague as a friend and in four days, or five days I proposed to her.




HOWARD: This is one of the most incredible moments of my life right now.

We make our mistakes until we actually learn from them. And we wake up one day, and we`re human beings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just knew that she was that hard headed woman.

HOWARD: My hero is my father. My father taught me how to be a man. And he continues to teach me how to be a better man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does it ever get old for you -- all the adulation and the recognition.

HOWARD: I hope it doesn`t.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honey, sweetheart. Come say hi. I will pay for this later.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stunning new controversy tonight. Movie star Terrence Howard currently in the number one blockbuster hit "The Butler" is accused of violence and mayhem in jaw-dropping court filings where the star`s ex-wife claims the actor went berserk, claiming he physically attacked her and allegedly gave her a black eye, sucker punching and kicking her. Take a look at that photo. It`s in the court filing.

She also claims that he threatened to kill her and kill himself. Well listen, the timing couldn`t be worse for Terrence Howard. The shocking allegations are bringing scandal just as the Hollywood hotshot celebrates his number one hit movie out in theaters right now, the wildly-acclaimed "The Butler" with Oprah.


HOWARD: This is you, and this is me. Now, we seem like we don`t fit at all. We just crash into each other. But then when you line things properly, like that, then you`re next door to me, everything kind of works out. Even if you slow down, I got you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Terrence`s ex-wife Michelle Howard claims in court documents that the acclaimed actor has hit her on multiple occasions. During a reconciliation gone terribly wrong in Toronto, she claims an argument turned physical when Terrence allegedly grabbed her computer and threw it out the window and then she says directed his rage toward her, allegedly throwing her to the ground.

She claims Terrence grabbed an X-acto blade and put it to his wrist as if to cut himself and then allegedly threatened, "I`m just thinking if I should kill you first before killing me." After that alleged incident, she says the two parted ways and she claims she started getting suicidal text messages from the celebrity. In one, he allegedly says "If this is goodbye, then I hate everything and will now use my gifts to destroy mankind. I will become Satan himself. You are my last chance to love. I will now hate in all things and seek my vengeance upon humanity for all the wrongs ever done to me. The Antichrist is here."

Wow, that sounds like something out of a movie, doesn`t it? What the heck is going on with this very talented actor? We`re going to tell you what he has said, even though he`s not commenting officially tonight. But we want to try to be as fair as we can to get his side of the story out. And he`s invited on any time. We want to hear all sides.

Straight out to Jen Heger, assistant managing editor, RadarOnline -- what do you know, Jen?

JEN HEGER, ASST. MANAGING EDITOR, RADARONLINE: So this is a very serious situation. Allegations of abuse have dogged this couple from the time they got married. Michelle alleged just seven days after they got married in 2010 that he started beating her up.

Now, the incident in which the court documents were filed yesterday, that took place in Canada earlier this year in May. And she goes into great detail. There`s text messages between the two, of course, in which he says he`s going to kill her and then kill him. Yet they went on vacation together in Costa Rica in July, and that`s where we have these pictures of her with the black eye in which she came back to the United States and she alleged that he had hit her and punched her on that Costa Rican vacation and she got a temporary restraining order against him.

What is very clear is that these two have a very, very toxic, volatile relationship. And a temporary restraining order hearing has been set for September 28 in which sources tell that Terrence is anticipating to be there in court and fight the allegations.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we reached out to Terrence Howard for comment. We have not heard back. Again, he`s invited on our show any time. But according to the "New York Daily News" Terrence claims during the Costa Rica incident Michelle suddenly snapped for no reason and pepper sprayed him. He reportedly said when she left the house, she had no injuries and it`s no coincidence that she applied for the retraining order while he`s promoting this big hit "The Butler" because she has vowed, he says, to ruin his reputation.

So I want to take a look at "The Butler" while we talk about this -- this wild hit. Of course Oprah is in it. It`s an amazing movie according to everyone who has seen it. And I`m going to see it this weekend.

Dorothy Lucey, I want to talk to you because you`ve covered the Hollywood scene for so long. How does this impact a movie where you have so many major stars and Oprah, and then this sideshow? It would seem to taint or create an embarrassment when this is such a wildly successful and important movie about something so important as the civil rights movement.

DOROTHY LUCEY, SOCIAL COMMENTATOR: You know, the movie has, of course, been doing very well, and Oprah was joking about her relationship with Terrence Howard before many of these allegations came out. She said he was kind of obsessed with her big ole bits as she called them. So they seemed to have had -- yes, and Oprah didn`t mind him looking at or even I think caressing a little bit of her big ole bits.

But this was before. Now, I don`t know if it will impact the movie, but I can`t imagine it`s going to be good for his career. You know, Jane, I`ve interviewed this guy a bunch of times. I don`t know if you`ve ever met him.


LUCEY: He`s very charming. He`s actually -- he`s very sexy. I don`t want to go too deep into this but he`s got those blue-green eyes. He`s a very sexy guy. But obviously he has a very scary, unsexy side to him because this is not an isolated incident. He has allegedly hit women before.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. And we have a whole back story here that is absolutely wild. And I agree with you when I look at him I see he`s very handsome and he has almost a gentle feel for him. In other words, I`m shocked because he doesn`t seem like some kind of big, you know, muscle- bound, tough, angry guy. He seems so gentle to me. So that`s why it`s hard for me to wrap my mind around this.

LUCEY: You know Jane --


LUCEY: I don`t know why this just popped into my mind, but I`m thinking about the last time that I interviewed him. And ok, it`s weird on one level, because he was playing guitar, and I don`t know if you saw it, but there was a story about an actress he met and he invited her up to his room, and he got completely butt and everything else naked and started playing guitar for her. And afterwards she said thanks and she left. That was that incident.

But in that interview, he also said to me that he liked to take it slow with a woman, in fact, he said, I wouldn`t have sex with a woman until I really knew her and until my heart was there. I wouldn`t put my bits there unless my heart was there. So he`s a romantic, but he beats women up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there you go -- contradiction in terms. How Hollywood.

Michelle Howard filed for divorce in January of 2011 after only a year of marriage. Listen to what Terrence said early in their marriage.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A very lovely woman. What is her name?

HOWARD: Her name is Michelle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you meet her and how do you two make your marriage work in the spotlight that is Hollywood?

HOWARD: Hour by hour.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, again, you can see the charming nature of his personality but there is his ex-wife claiming that he did that to her. Let`s go to the phone lines. Elroy, Ohio, your question or thought, Elroy?

ELROY, OHIO (via telephone): Hey, Michelle, how are you doing?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s Jane, and I`m doing great.

ELROY: One thing is, you know, I`m a big Terrence Howard fan. I`m from Cleveland. You know, he`s from Cleveland, but lately I`ve been hearing about, you know, these Cleveland men are supposed to be monsters. We`re no good. As you can see, I don`t know if you`ve been watching the guy that kidnapped the three girls and kept them for over a decade --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He just committed suicide, yes.

ELROY: And it happened to (inaudible) -- and now it`s Terrence Howard being crazy towards women. So it`s like, man, I can`t even get a date in Cleveland now because these girls think we`re all crazy. It`s sad. It`s so sad. I feel so bad for Terrence like he`s giving us in Cleveland a bad name. All of us guys out here in Cleveland aren`t bad guys --


ELROY: I just wanted to put that out there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me just say that I think that you are fabulous. You sound fabulous. And Terrence, you hear what they`re saying? They`re saying hey, you`re spiraling out of control and you`re making us look bad over in Cleveland.

Within the last few weeks, there were also reports that he was a victim from his New York City apartment for skipping out on rent for more than a year. This 44-year-old actor allegedly, according to the landlord anyway, never paid $55,000 to his landlord.

Come on. We`re talking about an incredibly talented actor who`s getting lots of jobs. He`s even got a singing career. Check out this video of his song "Sanctuary" from Columbia Records.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Tiff, we need a psychotherapist. This guy should be sitting on top of the world, not fending off restraining orders and allegations that he`s not paying his bills and is violent.

DR. TIFFANIE DAVIS-HENRY, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Jane, it sounds like he shouldn`t be sitting on top of the world. He needs to be sitting on somebody`s couch, probably mine. There`s a lot going on here and it`s really sad, you know. Where there`s smoke, there`s fire and these allegations have been going on for quite some time so it leads me to believe that there is something that`s not quite right going on in that household.

I agree with what one of your guests said earlier that this relationship seems to be toxic. And if nothing else, they need to break up, be apart, leave each other alone, not try and reconcile and really take care of themselves. I would obviously recommend both of them seeking counseling. But they`ve got a long road to recovery here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But here`s the problem. His relationship with this woman is eerily similar to his relationship with his previous wife. There is a very ugly back story. We`re going to tell you about it, next.


HOWARD: We were never boyfriend or girlfriend. We were never intimate. I just knew that she was that hard-headed woman like Cat Stevens says.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a whirlwind. You just knew?

HOWARD: I just knew.




HOWARD: Without having God`s son adopt us, we would have no sense of hope. We would have no sense of future. No sense of belonging.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You know, this isn`t the first time or even the second time movie star Terrence Howard has been in trouble with the law. Many accusations against him over the course of his life, and we`re just looking at some of them. Again, these are accusations. He was accused of making terroristic threats, harassing, stalking, allegedly punching an ex-wife. This is not the one we were talking about.

2005, he allegedly attacked a couple he didn`t know in a Philly diner and he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in that case.

And then in 2011, his estranged wife Michelle Ghent obtained a restraining order against him after accusing him of abusing and threatening her. And so -- you know, the list goes on. Again, these are accusations and allegations.

And Jen Heger, that happens. That`s with the territory when you`re a movie star. Sometimes people make false allegations against you but, boy, that would be a wild coincidence that so many women over the years are saying similar things about him. And these are some of his mug shots.

HEGER: Right. We are clearly seeing a pattern of behavior with more than one woman. What`s interesting also about Michelle Howard and Terrence Howard`s situation is that at the time when she got her divorce from him, she had a restraining order out against him. It was a permanent restraining order that was taken out in 2011.

In their divorce settlement, it was agreed that the restraining order would be dropped. This would be the first retraining order, not the one that -- she has a temporary retraining order right now, so there`s two that she has gotten against him. And you know, it`s very interesting that that restraining order was dropped and she chose to travel abroad with him.

Again, you know, I`m not passing judgment at all on her. But these two have a very, very violent history together. Clearly he could benefit from some extensive anger management counseling and some sort of -- and there have been allegations from his first wife that he had a drinking problem. So maybe that is playing into it here also.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes, that often does. That`s often when somebody`s personality changes, speaking from personal experience. Michael Billy, TV and radio host, you can address that.

MICHAEL BILLY, TV AND RADIO HOST: Look, volatile people attract volatile people. I mean he`s got a history of issues with his spouses, and a history with violence, alleged or not. I mean it exists. It doesn`t exist in a normal person`s life. The question becomes now, hey, do you want to support this artist. Shouldn`t Hollywood kick him out? Do we want to love this guy?

Well, they keep putting him in great films, so that`s not going to happen. And far be it from anyone to judge, tell me the last time somebody didn`t dance to a James Brown song. I mean that guy also had a history of issues as well. I mean we`re big on going with the entertainment angle of and kind of forgiving these incidents as they go on.

And trust me, saying "incident" is putting it lightly. This is a major issue. A guy with huge problems --


BILLY: -- and he needs to take a break.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- you know what? I`ve got to say this. I think it`s maybe an attitudinal problem because Terrence Howard certainly isn`t the first big celebrity to get into trouble for domestic violence. Get this, right after Chris Brown beat up his then girlfriend, Rihanna, Terrence was asked to comment on is. And this is what he told -- very enlightening.


HOWARD: It`s just life, man. Chris is a great guy. He`ll be all right. Rihanna knows he loves her. They`ll be all right. Everybody`s got to get out of their way.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, he later retracted that statement and said essentially, well, you know, I was not aware of what he had been accused of. But I mean Kelly Saindon, former prosecutor, that kind of is fascinating to me that he sort of was saying that`s life, man, that`s the way it goes.

KELLY SAINDON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Right -- just very cavalier about it. Ok with Chris Brown beating up Rihanna. Kind of like none of our business, no problem. It will be all right.

So I think that is indicative of either his upbringing or his mental state in regard to domestic abuse. It seems like no big deal to him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ashleigh Merchant, go ahead.

ASHLEIGH MERCHANT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He keeps getting away with it time after time. So it`s not surprising that he doesn`t think it`s a big deal because nobody punishes him and there`s no repercussions. I mean he continues to have this great career, he continues to get remarried and get back with these women so he`s not losing anything.

SAINDON: She goes back to him, right.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa, Georgia, your question or thought, Lisa, Georgia?

LISA, GEORGIA (via telephone): Yes. Hi, Jane, love your show.


LISA: I just wanted to make a comment on Terrence and his alleged abuse. I really feel that these stars are getting away with beating on their women. I feel that at times it`s just (inaudible) -- as long as they have the money and they can get out, these defense lawyers get them off time and time again. And then what happens? Are they going to wait for somebody to die to take action, true action?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re going to debate that after the break. Is there a two-tiered system of justice, one for Hollywood celebrities and the other for the rest of us?

Stay right there. We`ll be right back.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the day. Send your pet pics to

Dudley, you`re not a dudley to me. You are fabulous. And Kiki, you are just -- I want to play with Kiki. And Miss Daisy -- you`re a little lazy Miss Daisy but I think you`re having a good time hanging out there on the porch. And look who`s out in the pool making the scene. Oh my gosh. Where`s that? The south of France?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who`s your man of the year?

HOWARD: My father.


HOWARD: My father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is that? Why is that?

HOWARD: You know, he worked so hard. He`s my man of the year every year. He`s still on the phone, hew blows me a kiss. He`ll say -- blow me a kiss on the phone. I`m 36 years old, you know. That`s love. That`s a man to live up to.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, when he was just two years old Terrence went to a department store to see Santa with his family. Standing in line his father Tyrone got into an argument with another customer, stabbed the man who died. Tyrone Howard was convicted of murder and sent to prison.

In fact this case is so well-known it`s referred to as the Santa Claus slaying. It got national attention.

Straight out to "The Lion`s Den"; got to go to Dr. Tiff. Does that really say it all, that, you know, dad had a violence problem, obviously?

DAVIS-HENRY: It says a lot. And that`s an early childhood problem that stays with you. Things like that you don`t forget. Many things that happened when we were really, really young, Jane there`s things that I don`t remember that my parents tell me about. But something like that is going to stick with you.

It also doesn`t surprise me what the ladies were saying earlier that he`s a lady`s man. That he`s very -- he has a swag about him -- very Casanova. That`s how most individuals in domestic violence relationships, the men will reel you in and suck you in for lack of a better word and then once you get into the relationship, once guards are down, once you really get to know them, you get the real. And I think that what we`re seeing now is the real Terrence Howard.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Is he in trouble with Hollywood? That on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Dorothy, you`re in Hollywood. What`s the fallout for Terrence in Hollywood?

LUCEY: You know Jane, he`s had some issues in Hollywood before. Remember, he was fired from the "Iron Man" movies. I think it`s going to be interesting to see if Oprah has anything to say about these latest allegations. I think he would be a huge star without his excessive baggage. But you know what, with all the baggage he has, he`s not doing too badly but I`m sure that`s because of that charm.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And we`re just about out of time but I want to thank my fantastic panel.

He is handsome. He`s talented. A great actor. Clean it up, dude.

Nancy Grace is next.