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Toddler Part of the `Thug Cycle`?; Miracle, the Only Hope for Jahi McMath; Climate Change; Detroit`s Stray Dog Epidemic

Aired January 7, 2014 - 19:00:00   ET


JOHN QUINONES, ABC NEWS: I`m John Quinones with ABC News. Please join us next time for another edition of "WHAT WOULD YOU DO?" on HLN.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, coast-to-coast outrage over a disgusting video. Adults cursing at this little African-American toddler, who is wearing only a diaper. Ordering the child to repeat profanities. Teaching him words so X-rated, we have to bleep them. And there are a heck of a lot of them to bleep.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live tonight. An uproar over the fact that the Omaha, Nebraska, Police Officers Association posted this video, and labeled it "The Thug cycle." Watch.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put them to test.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re a bitch. Bitch.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: The police union posted a statement with the video saying, they have an obligation to educate the public about the, quote, "terrible cycle of violence and thuggery."

Here is the video of this toddler giving the middle finger as adults gleefully cheer him on. Here`s my rant. What these adults are saying to this kid is horrific. It`s obscene. It`s revolting. Call child services, absolutely.

But there`s another part to my rant. Bad parenting and child abuse cross all socio-economic and racial boundaries. It happens in families that are rich, poor, black, white, every income group, every ethnicity.

I believe it`s racist to single out this one dysfunctional family and say, "Hey, these people are the problem."

We`ve got a slew of images of parents of various racial and ethnic backgrounds doing very questionable things with children on camera, like sadistically taping their kid to the wall with duct tape. Or how about adults who egg their kids on to beat each other up, and they even get in on the fight?





VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about that thuggery? So I ask you, is posting the dirty word diaper video, courageous? Or is the police union smugly stereotyping African-Americans?

What do you think? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to our fantastical Lion`s Den debate panel. They are ready to rumble tonight. We`ve got Willie Hamilton, president of the Black Men United, as well as attorney J. Wyndal Gordon facing off against two feisty females, deputy D.A. Wendy Patrick, and Rolonda Watts of Blog Talk Radio. Rolonda`s my buddy. Why do you think it`s OK and even good for the police union to have posted this video?

ROLONDA WATTS, BLOG TALK RADIO: I applaud the police union for doing it. I think it was a responsible thing. I think it was the appropriate thing and I think it gives us a peek into some extreme dysfunction.

If you have a family that is vilely disrespecting the weakest, the purest link in society, I think that the union that is there to protect and serve the community must let us know if you are teaching children this, and children are growing up under this type of atmosphere, and you teach your children like that, then the rest of us aren`t safe at all. Much -- I`m sure the police are feeling that way.


WATTS: The level of disrespect was so vile.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Willie Hamilton, president and founder of Black Men United, you -- go ahead. Take it.

WILLIE HAMILTON, PRESIDENT/FOUNDER, BLACK MEN UNITED: Yolanda [SIC], I agree with some of the things that you said. But I think the police department missed a teachable moment here.

Instead of posting the video on Facebook, why didn`t they contact us or other organizations within the community to be able to try to assist the family?

We already have a distrust, when it comes to the police department. And what do you think this is actually doing?

I believe this was racist. I believe it was insensitive for the police department to do this. And I believe it crossed the line.

I don`t know what community you live in, but in the community that I live in, it is very much a distrust atmosphere. And this is some of the things that the police department use to be able to put pressure...

WATTS: I think whatever community you live in, that is vile to do to a child. Vile to do to a child. I don`t care what community it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. J. Wyndal, jump in.

J. WYNDAL GORDON, ATTORNEY: I`m at a loss for words. For someone to believe that this is proper police work. This is child abuse. And the police department is continuously re-abusing this child over and over again.

This child doesn`t have a chance. He is a victim in this case. To use him as if he`s some poster child for the thug cycle is absurd and ridiculous. And for someone to say that this is OK, I question what they consider in the grand scheme of things as racism or not in this particular situation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, again, the union claims they posted this video to educate people, to educate them about the growing violence that they`re dealing with in Omaha.

And, you know, the other controversy is that, if you -- we blurred the child`s face. The union did not bother to blur this child`s face. So now everybody in the community knows who this kid is. And the family -- I don`t worry about the adults. I worry about the kid.

Here`s another clip. But we`ve got to warn you that this clip is very disturbing. Listen once again to this child.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pose for the camera, dude. (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Say I`ll take you with my diaper on, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Say I`ll take you with my diaper on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Wendy Patrick, you`re a prosecutor. And you`ve prosecuted a lot of cases. Here`s what I find disturbing.

I don`t know if the police union contacted child services, but I think that they should have. These parents are speaking to these -- I don`t know if they`re parents; they`re adults. And the video was posted originally by a relative, according to published reports. But these adults are speaking to this child in a sexual fashion about sexuality, about sexual issues that I cannot repeat here.

Is this child abuse? Should these adults be charged with child abuse? Should child services come in and take these kids away?

WENDY PATRICK, PROSECUTOR: You know, that`s a great question. One of the things that`s so just shocking about this video is the fact this is all going on with responsible adults in the room.

And one of the things that was pointed out, by the way, by the police department, was while nothing was criminal, they posted it in order to raise public awareness.

While there are exceptions, it is undeniable that things like this, the environment in which a child is raised, is linked with adult criminality, with adult anti-social personality, with criminal behavior. And that was the intent of the police department.


PATRICK: As a society, we often learn through shock value.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, but -- but here`s the thing. You know, if you want to talk about in the bad parenting department, my gosh, do we cover examples every day here. And you know, of course, Lindsay Lohan comes to mind immediately.

But let`s get some more (ph) here. Take a look at former president Bill Clinton. His stepfather, the guy who raised him, was described as a violent alcoholic, addicted to gambling. The idea that this child is destined to become a gang member because of bad parenting, I think is -- is deeply offensive to the notion that we all, not only are capable of redemption, but we are not destined to repeat the horrors that our parents may have inflicted on us.

I think that that`s called free choice, and that`s called growing and evolving as a human being. So I honestly think that -- I find it a little offensive to assume that this kid is going to become a, quote unquote, "thug."

And I`ll toss that to Willie Hamilton.

HAMILTON: And that`s a stereotype that a lot of folks actually put on our -- on our community. And to put that label on a 2-year-old child, before that child is even grown up. It`s wrong. Not only as -- for our community, but as a country.

I think we as a race, as community leaders, should be outraged that these individuals are using a child as a political venue, if you will, to be able to put this rhetoric out there, that all our kids who talk like this are going to end up being thugs.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let`s go out to the phone lines. I want to get to Shannon, Omaha, Nebraska. That`s happening in Nebraska, and you`re from Nebraska. What do you have to say, Shannon?

CALLER: Well, the Omaha Police Officers Association Web site is not the official Omaha Police Department Web site, first of all. And I don`t think -- I don`t think they`re associating one with the other. Because it does cause a distrust between the officers that are on the street and the officers that are making the statements like this.

But, you know, as far as the situation goes, some of that parenting is they just think it`s cute. They think it`s funny when they see a kid doing that. And it`s not. They don`t realize that when they grow up like that - - I mean, I don`t know what the rest of the household looks like.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shannon, I think you`ve made some very good points. We want to stress that we did not say it was the police that put this up. It was the police officers` union.

J. Wyndal, do you want to address her thoughts, though, mainly that we`re kind of confusing apples and oranges here as a police union that did this; this is not the police department itself?

GORDON: Well, it`s a representative of the police department. And I think people associate that video with the police department.

And again, this video is not showing thuggery. What it`s showing is a child being a victim of some very harsh language. The child is not engaged in any violence, so it can`t be used as something to stop the promotion of violence.

What you have is a half-naked child who`s being taught -- very intelligent child, too. He`s being taught this very -- this very bad language that`s not going to fare him well in the future. And it`s disgusting.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this is what I would have done if I were the police union or the police. I would get child services out there to investigate this family. As opposed to trying to make this poor child, who is doubly victimized by making him a poster child for future thugs, which I think is a completely false notion. And I do feel that it contributes to stereotyping.

But I also condemn what these adults are doing. Shame on you! Shame on you! For what you`re doing to this kid.

All right. A North Carolina family says a cop killed their mentally ill son in cold blood, but did police have a reason to shoot him dead? We`re going to talk to one of the victim`s family members on the other side. He`s outraged and says it was murder.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See this kid? This is my son. This is my flesh and blood that they murdered.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t care if you have a badge and went to an eight- hour class and you`re a cop. Murder is murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just wants to fight his mother. He`s not right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn`t shoot my son. I`m protecting my officers. There was no reason for deadly force here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s happened again. Tonight, I am investigating another accusation of police accused of crossing the line. This time, gunning down a mentally-ill teenager.

A North Carolina family devastated tonight, charging a cop killed their son in cold blood, right in front of them, shooting him at point-blank range while responding to a 911 call. Even though the situation, they say, seemed under control. Why, they asked?

The family originally called the cops out to their home saying 18-year-old Keith Vidal was schizophrenic and armed with a tiny screwdriver, threatening his mom. Listen to the initial 911 call.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you send an officer over here? We have a son that has schizophrenia, and he`s not doing very good. We need to get him someplace.

He wants to fight his mother. He has a screwdriver. He`s just -- you know, he`s not doing good. She`s scared to death of him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: His stepdad says two cops came to the house first, and they got the situation under control.

Then then they say a third cop showed up from a different city, and things went downhill in just over one minute. The third officer allegedly said, quote, "We don`t have time for this. Tase that kid now." And when the teen tried to run, he was Tased, and then shot. Although there are conflicting stories about exactly what happened.

The family says this was cold-blooded murder. There`s the young man who`s dead. The cop says, "Hey, it was self-defense. Who is right?

Straight out to the lines. We`ll talk to the stepbrother of the dead young man in a moment. But I want to start with Lisa Lockwood. You`re an investigator. You`re the author of "Undercover Angel." What do you make of this situation on its face?

LISA LOCKWOOD, INVESTIGATOR: Well, it`s an interesting scenario. Because with use of force, it`s based on the escalation of the situation. Was death imminent? Did he have the screwdriver in his hand? Was he about to puncture somebody in the head or in the heart? It doesn`t appear that that was the case. They were attempting to Tase him.

If he is fleeing, nobody is under any type of duress at that moment. For the police officer to make that statement, saying he was protecting somebody, when it was clear that the young man was fleeing, it`s just not going to tread any water in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Keith`s family said they witnessed the entire altercation from the moment police arrived to when their son was allegedly shot in cold blood. Listen to the family`s version of events. And then we`re going to talk to the stepbrother who arrived moments later.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything was going good. Then this fat cop from Southport walks in the room, walks around the corner, and says, "We don`t have time for this. Tase that kid now. Let`s get him out of here." The Tasers hit him. He fell back. Two officers, you know, on top of him. He`s got the little screwdriver. I mean, I would have went and got the screwdriver from him. I went to help and I hear a shot.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, that is the father, and now we have the son, Mark Wilsey. This is an exclusive interview with the dead teenager`s stepbrother.

Describe your stepbrother. Because we`re going to play the 911 call in a second. And first of all, I want to say, and I said this during the break, my heart goes out to your family. My deepest condolences. I know this is a hellish experience. We want to get to the truth.

But describe what led to this. Because apparently it`s happened before. Why did your stepbrother have a tiny screwdriver? Why did your family call 911? And what do you think went wrong?

MARK WILSEY, STEPBROTHER: Well, he was just the type to -- if he wanted to do something, he just wanted to have it himself. You know, that screwdriver was in no way, shape or form in any danger of his family, or any police officer that was on the scene. He just wanted to have his screwdriver, sleep on the floor, minding his own business, wasn`t trying to have any altercation with anybody at all. So, you know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, let me play the 911 call, and then we`ll revisit it. Because, again, this is just a search for the truth. I just want to find out what happened. And it`s disturbing. I mean, he`s apparently something like 90 pounds. 5`5", and 90 pounds?

WILSEY: He is every -- 90 pounds soaking wet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So he`s a small -- he was a small guy, not a giant, you know, very threatening type of person. And the screwdriver he was holding was very small. It wasn`t an average-size screwdriver. It was one of those mini screwdrivers.

Now during the 911 call, your stepdad -- the dead teen`s stepdad makes it clear, your father and his stepdad. They make it clear on the call that these outbursts that they were calling 911 about had happened before. So let`s listen. Because that`s another aspect to the story.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eighteen. Just turned 18. We`ve had to put him in before. Getting pretty bad again. Won`t take his medication and stuff.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Dr. Judy Ho, forensic psychologist, it seems everybody agrees he was schizophrenic. What does that create? Can it create violence, that`s not really violence, but more like agitation that could be confused with violence?

DR. JUDY HO, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, Jane. Schizophrenia is a very misunderstood illness. I think a lot of people believe that schizophrenic individuals are dangerous, that they can harm others, and that`s not always the case.

Like you said, there is agitation involved. It sounds like they made the call because they were worried about him, because he wasn`t taking care of himself, not taking his medications, had his screwdriver and got into a little bit of a fight with his mom. But that does not mean he was intending to kill anyone or hurt anybody in any case.

So I`m really upset that mental illness is so portrayed in this way because people don`t really understand what it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, I want everybody to stand by. We`ve got some extraordinary audio we`re going to play on the other side. We`re also going to talk again to the stepbrother of this dead teenager.

But the audiotape is of the police officer who we think shot him, because he says as much. Why aren`t they identifying him? Why aren`t they saying who the individual is, police officer or not, who shot this young man? Stay right there. We`ll answer that question on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "What did you shoot my son for?"

"Well, I`m protecting my officers." There was no reason for deadly force here.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you send an officer over here? We have a son that has schizophrenia, and he`s not doing very good. We need to get him someplace. He wants to fight his mother. He`s got a screwdriver. He`s not doing good. She`s scared to death of him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The dead teenager, Keith, had just turned 18. His family says he suffered from schizophrenia. Here he is on YouTube playing the drums.

That young man is dead. Authorities say they are not officially naming the officer who shot Keith. But we have an audio call that the cop made to dispatch right after this deadly shooting. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know if you`ve been advised or not, but shots fired. I`ve had to defend myself against this subject.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: J. Wyndal Gordon, what do you make of that comment? "I had to defend myself against this subject."

GORDON: I always say this, when are they going to get some new material? I`m so sick and tired of these cops pretending like they have to defend themselves when they decide to engage lethal force.

This case is just another sad example of officers not being prepared to deal with the mentally ill, where there`s a lack of training, a lack of supervision, a lack of retention, a failure to exercise the appropriate care, and the appropriate use, and the failure to use the appropriate amount of force in any particular situation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Wilsey, again, you`re the stepbrother of this young man, who is dead. You got there a couple of minutes after. What were you told? Was the boy`s mother, your stepmother, there? What did she see?

WILSEY: My stepmother, and my father were less than three feet away when these two officers -- well, the third officer pretty much executed their son in front of them, you know. And there are certain questions that I cannot answer due to the ongoing investigation, not to jeopardize.

But there is something that I have written that I would love to read for you guys, for the nation, to understand what type of person my brother was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I know that he was an artist, because he`s a drummer. And I -- at this point we cannot read statements. We literally do not have time. But we`re going to post it on our website,

By the way, law enforcement invited on the show any time. We want to be fair.

Wendy Patrick, prosecutor, I just want to ask, why are they not releasing the name of the officer? I mean, if a civilian shoots someone, it`s not to say that they`ve committed a crime, but they say, yes, there`s a shooting. You heard the guy`s voice, the officer`s voice. Why wouldn`t they release his name?

WILSEY: It`s protection. And just so you know that from the time that that officer released himself from his car, walked into my parents` house, and from the time he went back to his car, and told dispatch that he had shots fired to defend himself, it was 70 seconds.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to -- thank you for that, Mark. I want to bring in Wendy Patrick, though, to answer the question.

PATRICK: Thank you, Jane. This is an ongoing investigation with one goal, finding out whether or not lethal force was justified. So it really boils down to, in a word, perception. What did that officer see, hear, know beforehand? What factors led him to believe that lethal force was the only option?

Officers don`t want to resort to lethal force. Having to kill somebody in the line of duty is the worst thing that could ever happen to a police officer. The ongoing investigation necessitates some level of privacy in order to gain the kind of perspective they need from all angles to solve this, to make the determination.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you one thing: we`re not going to let go of the story. We`re going to stay on top of it. We`re going to follow this investigation. We`re going to find the truth.

On the other side, an extraordinary guest. She says a 13-year-old girl who as the whole nation by now has been declared brain dead by doctors, but kept alive on a ventilator by her family, she said keeping her on the ventilator, even though she`s brain dead, she`s being kept on the ventilator, the family says she`s still alive, the doctors say no, she`s dead, this woman said she was basically given up for dead and came back to life. She`s right on the other side. You`ve got to hear her story. Stay right there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is breathing. She is moving. And I love when I go in there and touch her and she moves. And I say, hey, Jahi, I`m here." She`s starting to move more and more.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only a machine can keep her heart from stopping.

NAILAH WINKFIELD, MOTHER OF JAHI MCMATH: I walked her into that hospital, she was perfectly fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has been declared brain dead. And you know, that`s an irreversible condition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are no medical instruments on this planet that will bring her back.

WINKFIELD: She is breathing. She is moving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t treat the dead, even when a mom says, "Please, give me a chance."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as her heart is still pumping, she`s still alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oftentimes families see what they want to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as my niece`s heart is still beating, she`s alive.

WINKFIELD: She`s not a corpse up there. That is a pretty 13-year-old girl up there that I gave life to.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight`s stunning developments, as a devastated family prays literally for a miracle for a 13-year-old girl declared brain dead. My very special guest tonight says "Do not pull the plug on her." She has a truly unbelievable story that could make you see Jahi McMath`s tragedy in a whole new life.

Doctors gave -- this guest we`re about to talk to -- Kate Adamson, one chance in a million, of coming out of complete paralysis after a debilitating stroke. Imagine the horror, doctors were urging her husband, pull the plug, pull the plug. She could hear this, but couldn`t move or speak in her own defense. Here she is, hearing the doctors say there`s nothing you can do.

Thank God her husband didn`t listen to the doctors and this woman, Kate -- you`re looking at here -- miraculously recovered -- boom. And she claims Jahi should be given the same chance.

But the 13-year-old girl`s doctor say no amount of medical intervention or even prayer will bring back Jahi because she`s brain dead; that there`s no electrical activity in her brain or brain stem.

After a nasty weeks-long battle with the hospital, the family had Jahi transferred to a private facility where she`s going to stay hooked up to a ventilator. They are praying, once again, for a miracle.

Here is video of Jahi being transported to that undisclosed location.


OMARI SEALEY, JAHI MCMATH`S UNCLE: We are now actually in her new home where she`s going to be treated like the innocent little girl that she is and not like a deceased body the way Children`s Hospital had been treating her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the "Lion`s Den" and we are going to debate this. On one side -- a noted pediatrician, Dr. Gwen O`Keefe; and on the other side, Kate Adamson, author of "Paralyzed, Not Powerless".

Kate, thank you for sharing your extraordinary story and I can`t wait to read your book.

Ok. You`re lying there, unable to move at all, not even blink your eyes, and people are telling -- the doctors are telling your husband, basically, pull the plug, she`s never going to come out of it, you`re wasting your time, you`re prolonging agony. Tell us.

KATE ADAMSON, AUTHOR, "PARALYZED, NOT POWERLESS": Well, had he listened to their advice, he would be visiting my grave site right now. And you and I would not be having this conversation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, that`s extraordinary. How did it happen? How did you go from -- because listen, the family of Jahi, and I`ve spoken to her grandmother and her mother and they`ve been on the show and they said, look, she actually moves and holds my fingers. The doctors well, that`s involuntary reflex.

What happened to you? There you are. That`s Jahi. Let`s go back to you for a second because this is all about Jahi, but you`re an illustration of this general issue. You`re there, completely paralyzed, you can`t blink. How did you come out of it all of a sudden?

ADAMSON: Can`t do anything. I`m 33 and all of a sudden I found myself 18 years ago lying in a hospital bed and listening to people talking about ending my life unable to communicate with the outside world. I had suffered a massive brain stem stroke, and my husband was told I had less than one in a million chance to survive. He said, "She will be that one."

And so you`re talking with a real life miracle right now. But first let me say, Jane, I am not a medical doctor.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in and ask you this. How did you come out of it? All at once or gradually? In other words, did the eyes start to blink first and then the hands moved? Or did you just suddenly sit up and go --

ADAMSON: It took a long time. I was 70 days in ICU. When I think about Jahi`s story, in the early stages, sometimes you have to wait. My husband said, "We`re going to wait. We are going to wait." He would not have any conversation. When you`re talking about life and death situations, once you choose death, it`s game over. You cannot reverse that decision.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me go to Dr. Gwen O`Keefe for a second. You`re a pediatrician. You`re co-founder and CEO of

Doctors are saying, this is a different situation. It`s different from the lady you just heard from. It`s different from Terri Schiavo who was in a vegetative state. They`re saying this young lady tragically is dead. The only thing that`s keeping her moving are ventilators that are keeping her breath going and heart pumping, correct?

DR. GWEN O`KEEFE, PEDIATRICIAN: Yes. That`s right. It`s a heartbreaking situation, because the situation that your guest Kate described is the situation we don`t want to miss. The situation where there is a potential for some sort of activity, some sort of reversibility. That is a very different situation in this child, who is dead. There is no brain activity, in the upper brain, the cortex which is where our emotions and our feelings and our -- you know, our being is. And the lower brain, the brain stem.

The reason it`s confusing for the family is sometimes when the brain dies, it takes a little bit for the rest of the body functions, like the heart, to actually stop. And there can be involuntary muscle contractions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in, Dr. Gwen. Dr. Gwen, they`re saying that she`s dead because she has no electrical activity in her brain or brain stem.

O`KEEFE: But let me use a crude analogy of cars. Sometimes it dies, and then you keep turning it, turning it -- all of a sudden it comes back to life. Is there any possibility that the electrical activity in her brain or brain stem could start again?

O`KEEFE: No, absolutely not. And one of the reasons we know that is because there has never been a case where the brain has died and come back to life. It`s not like the heart, where you can restart it, where you see those paddles come back to life.

We also know from the testimony of some of the doctors at Oakland Children`s that her body`s actually decomposing. She`s sloughing gut tissue. She`s showing signs of metabolic derangement. Her body actually is dying.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let me bring in J. Wyndal Gordon. Listen, critics say -- and my heart goes out to this family. I spoke to the grandmother and mother, and they`re wonderful people trying to do the best thing. But the critics say, look, if you want justice, and in this situation, it could likely be in the civil courts. The longer you wait, the more the body naturally heals when it`s kept alive pumping the less likely you are to find the malfeasance.

Remember this girl -- this 13-year-old girl went in for a routine tonsillectomy. So they`re saying if you want justice from the civil courts, you should end this vent later right away so that, I`m sorry to be so blunt, the autopsy can be performed and you can determine where they made the mistake. Otherwise you`re not going to ever get any kind of justice in a civil court, i.e., compensation.

J. WYNDAL GORDON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it seems like that`s a double-edged sword, because if the body is dead, then there`s no way possible that it`s going to be able to heal itself. If the body is alive, then is the body actually dead?

Look, this situation is very dear and personal to me, because I`m going through something similar with my grandmother --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m so sorry.

GORDON: -- my 95-year-old grandmother right now where you have to deal with what doctors say, and sometimes the doctors don`t have all the right answers. You have to challenge these doctors. You just can`t take what they say for face value, and if they need another set of eyes to look at this case, let them have another set of eyes so they can feel a little more comfortable with their decision.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You know, we have to end this right now, but we`re going to be back tomorrow. We`re discussing the subject all week. I want to thank everybody, especially Kate for sharing her story.

Up next, we`re going to be talking about your cousins out there in Detroit who are suffering right now, temperatures dropping very, very low -- tens of thousands of stray dogs on the streets. They need your help. We`ll bring you the story from Detroit, next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, time for our special pets of the day. We ask you delivered some of your pets staying warm in this freezing weather. Slinky, you`ve got a binky. And Bella Marie, you are running free in the snow. Boone, yes, you`re a boon to all of us cat lovers. And Frankie and Zoey, look at that blanket. Or is it a throw?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The coldest in nearly 20 years -- the cause -- a weather phenomenon known as a polar vortex. Frigid temperatures, snow and ice -- it`s so cold, that if you took boiling water and threw it into the sky, it turns into snow. Just like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m really, really freezing and I`m not really prepared for this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cold, cold, cold. That must mean that global warming doesn`t exist, right, it`s a hoax. Wrong because the real term is climate change -- more extreme weather in both directions -- colder colds, hotter hots. Yesterday right where I`m standing was 55 degrees. And when I woke up this morning, it was 9 -- that`s extreme weather. That`s climate change.

And guess what -- most of the folks out here on the street agree with me.

Do you believe climate change exists despite the storm?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It`s wintertime.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Finally, reason prevails.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think this is part of it. Freezing, and then severely hot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there`s a global warming. Tomorrow it`s going to be 50 degrees.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are so smart. I agree with you, dude. People, I`m telling you, nobody`s fooled. Do you still believe in climate change, global warming? You don`t? Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The weather is crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be honest, I`m really scared about climate change. It`s going up and down, up and down. Really makes me scared.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m scared, too. We`re scared together and we`re cold together.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Planet ER, we`re delighted to have with us, Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy. Good news -- four out of five people believe, at least in Midtown Manhattan, that climate change is real. But listen. It`s really not global warming, I mean it is, but the word "climate change" to me describes it better, because yesterday it was 55, then it`s 4 degrees. Isn`t that part of the whole climate change thing, all of these extremes?

MARK TERCEK, PRESIDENT/CEO, NATURE CONSERVANCY: Hey there, Jane. It`s Mark. Thanks for having me on.

It is kind of weird. On the one hand we`ve got really cold weather. I just came in to the studio. It`s freezing here in D.C.

It`s cold. But at the same time, you can have very cold weather, and you can also have a warming planet. Strange but true -- that`s what`s happening. Weather is local, it`s random, it changes all the time -- that`s one set of dynamics. Climate change is something else. Climate change -- when we talk about climate change, we`re talking about long-term global trends.

And here the science is very clear. As we release more and more carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases we are warming the planet. So both things can happen at once. Cold spells, weird local weather, and a dangerously warming planet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to say that there is reason for hope. Because when I went out there, I thought most people are going to say with this weather, oh, climate change, global warming is a hoax, no. The vast majority of the people I interviewed said no, it`s real. And this actually convinces me that it`s real because this weather is so freaky.

Mark, I want to thank you. And I urge everybody, check out the nature conservancy. It`s an incredible organization. We`d like to have you back soon. Thanks for your work to educate people about the reality of climate change, sir. Good night.

TERCEK: Thank you, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Dr. Drew has an exclusive interview with Jodi Arias` cell mate. What was it like sharing a cell with the convicted murderer? Did she call her hottie biscottie? Tonight, at 9:00 on HLN.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pets of the Day. More of your pets and in their finest winter gear. Gracie, you`re like in a rug -- wow. Tiffy -- sounds like you`re on the way to Tiffany`s. Bullet -- you are just absolutely adorable. Zoey, look at that pattern, fabulous.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey Foxy, I know you just came into the studio. It is cold out there. Millions of animals that are not as lucky as you are stranded out there in the cold right now. Critics are charging about 45,000 wild horses that have been rounded up by the government`s Bureau of Land Management are in grave danger. These horses hide from the cold in nooks and crannies when they`re in the wild. But now they`re stranded in holding pens. Look at them -- out in the open.

The Bureau of Land Management`s Jeff Krause told us, quote, "Wild horses and burros live in rugged weather conditions both hot and cold, on the range throughout the year. Animals held in holding facilities are healthy and hardy. Wild horses must eat snow and ice to stay hydrated in extreme weather conditions. Wild horses in holding facilities are given plenty of fresh, clean water which enables the horses to be fully hydrated," end quote.

So they`re saying the horses are hardy enough to survive these temperatures.

Polar bears can`t withstand this cold. It`s so cold in Chicago, the Lincoln Park Zoo moved its polar bears to a climate control environment.

The Midwest is experiencing arctic temperatures. In Detroit the high was 0 degrees -- the low minus 2. Tens of thousands of stray dogs are suffering on the streets of Detroit -- probably Chicago too but Detroit is what we`re talking about -- in subzero temperatures. Because, you know, Detroit has had a lot of problems. So the dogs are suffering there more than in other communities. Right now these poor homeless animals could be freezing to death as we speak.

Straight out to my very special guest Kristen Huston, from All about Animals Rescue. Kristen, I know you were out in the cold today, trying to save these dogs. God bless you. What`s happening. What are the conditions` out there in Detroit and how can people help?

KRISTEN HUSTON, ALL ABOUT ANIMALS RESCUE: Like you are saying it`s negative 2 degrees. Bringing in all of the animals, preferably we would like to see them all inside. But realistically they do live outdoors. And All about Animals our mission was spay and neuter will reduce the number of animals living outside. But the ones that do have to be outdoors making make sure that they have shelter, making sure they have plenty of straw.

Also people don`t think really think about feeding them extra food. They burn a lot of calories when they are freezing outside. So feeding them, making sure that they are warm is very, very important. They can get frostbite just like we do. If we`re cold they`re going to be freezing as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know my dog was absolutely freezing, shaking outside.

Now here`s the thing. We`ve been talking about the Detroit dog crisis for a long time. Has it gotten any better? I mean look at the ribs on that dog. Please, first of all don`t leave dogs outside in this weather. Do not leave dogs outside, people. If you have dogs and they normally stay in the yards, don`t keep them on leashes, don`t keep them on chains. Don`t keep them outside. Take them into your homes.

HUSTON: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you that question, quickly. Is it getting better or is it getting worse?

HUSTON: It`s getting better. But we need more help. All about Animals -- keep spaying and neutering very important.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All about Animals Rescue -- Google it. All about Animals Rescue -- this wonderful woman is saving these dogs. We got to go but we`re rooting for you.

HUSTON: Thank you so much.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your slice of happiness tonight. Foxy check out these pups -- they are so cute making the best of the frigid temperatures. They`re having some fun out there.

And more of the adorable pups, if you want to see visit our Web site, Check them out and remember, keep your dogs warm. Everybody endures tonight -- right Foxy?

Nancy`s next.