Return to Transcripts main page


Child Sex Predator on the Run; Maui Mystery: Two Women Vanish; Police Harassment Caught on Cell Cam; A Prank that Proves a Point

Aired February 24, 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 a frantic -- and I mean frantic -- race against time to catch an extremely violent convicted child rapist before he can grab another innocent child. A nationwide manhunt under way right now as we speak, after this sex offender cut off his ankle monitoring bracelet and fled from a Denver, Colorado, halfway house ironically called Independence House. Let`s hope this creep isn`t independent for too long.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Extremely violent and a habitual sex offender.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The frantic search for a child rapist missing from a Colorado halfway house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last seen wearing a quilted puffy coat, blue T-shirt and blue jeans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twice he`s escaped from electronic monitoring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If contacted, use extreme caution.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The guy you see here is a registered sex offender. He`s got a rap sheet longer than my arm. What`s so outrageous, so -- it`s infuriating me. This is the second time he has cut off his leg monitor and fled. And still, they allowed him to live in a halfway house. Again.

Why wasn`t he in prison? He wouldn`t be out right now. He wouldn`t be endangering children. He wouldn`t be scaring parents all across a wide swath of the United States right now.

Fifty-one-year-old Eric Hartwell was convicted of raping a neighbor`s 6- year-old daughter, way back in 1991. He was only sentenced to six years in prison. One year for every year of the life of the child he raped. But the whole thing got suspended. Yes, it got suspended.

Fast forward to 1996. He`s out of the slammer, and he gets arrested. He gets arrested for attempting to rape a 17-year-old pregnant hitchhiker. But again, he seems to just slide out of prison. What is wrong with our criminal justice system? This is an outrage.

Jon Leiberman, there are people doing hard time for nonviolent drug offenses. This guy has waged his own personal war on women and children, and still they put him in a halfway house called Independence House that he waltzes out of?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: And there`s more, Jane. Multiple times in his past, he has been convicted of failing to register as a sex offender. So one of the things he had to do after his convictions was to register as a sex offender. But he has continued, according to law enforcement, to thumb his nose at that, as well. And he has not registered as a sex offender.

I spoke to the U.S. Marshals today. This guy is public enemy No. 1 right now for them. They know he`s a recidivist. They know that he is going to go back on the prowl for more victims. And that`s what they`re concerned about.

You mentioned that he was convicted of the rape of the 6-year-old. Another case involved the attempted rape of a pregnant teen. And he was just paroled back in December on one of the failing to register charges.

One other thing, Jane, to show you how dangerous law enforcement thinks this guy is. It is very rare that a sex offender is put on lifetime supervised parole. This guy is on lifetime supervised parole, meaning he has to check in for the rest of his life with his parole officer.

But he was able to, in this case, leave the halfway house, because they have a very liberal policy, and then cut off, allegedly, his ankle bracelet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. That`s my problem, OK? Liberal policy. We`re going to get to Ken Deal, chief deputy. U.S. Marshal Service, in just a moment. And this -- any criticism I have is not to blame them. They are doing a great job trying to find this guy. I`m talking about the system.

Evangeline Gomez, criminal defense attorney, this guy, like I said, has waged his own personal war on women and children. OK? He`s a child rapist. He cut his ankle monitor off once before. They let him back into a halfway house again where he can just waltz out, after using a scissor, probably?

EVANGELINE GOMEZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. That`s the problem here. If he`s to injure someone, if he`s to rape somebody again, be it an adult or a child, the family members of the victim can actually -- potentially proceed with a civil lawsuit against the tracker maker.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t care about the civil lawsuit. I care, Kelli Saindon, former prosecutor, about justice being served, about -- about stopping the insanity of our criminal justice system when we`ve got more people behind bars than entire countries in Eastern Europe. But we can`t keep a really dangerous person in a cell. He`s got to go to a halfway house.

KELLI SAINDON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You`re right. Why is this guy not locked up? Why is he not -- I`m sorry, he already cut off the bracelet once.

And I know that this sounds like Big Brother in overkill. But why isn`t there a chip in him so he can always be monitored? I think he should lose his rights. I think he`s proven himself to be a creep. He`s very dangerous. He`s a predator of children.

Six years is offensive. He should have been put away for a long time. And lifetime parole, it does show that he`s bad, but it doesn`t fix the problem. Look, he`s out and about. I would not be able to sleep at night if I had kids, and I thought this guy was in my neighborhood.


GOMEZ: They can`t put a chip in him, though. It`s a violation of constitutional rights.


GOMEZ: They can`t put a chip in him, because it`s a violation of his constitutional rights. Yes, what he`s done is wrong, but the problem is, whichever court charged him, they didn`t follow through, and as you said, somebody dropped the ball there.


LEIBERMAN: That`s the problem. They only have him on the latest failing to register.

SAINDON: That`s right.

LEIBERMAN: That`s why he`s in a halfway house to begin with. And that is a problem with this system.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The halfway house...


GOMEZ: But the monitor should manage him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Forget that. Look, halfway houses are for people with maybe addiction problems. They`re not for child rapists, in my humble opinion.

Eric Guster, it seems that Jon Leiberman is saying the way that he was charged originally, even though he raped a 6-year-old girl, even though when he finally got out after basically a very -- breezed through a tour through jail that didn`t last very long, he then is arrested for trying to rape a pregnant hitchhiker. And again, manages to find himself time and time again with an ankle monitor instead of staring at jail bars. Look at his rap sheet. What has gone wrong? Who is to blame here?

ERIC GUSTER, ATTORNEY: Well, I think the system is possibly to blame. But when you have a young victim, oftentimes the court system does not want to put the young victim through trial. So they will plead this type of case down to not victimize that child again, of going through trial. And they`ll -- they work something out with this man.

However, it seems like they should have been able to lock him up again for his violation. Because when you failure to register, in most states that`s another felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes, I agree with you. And I understand your reasoning, when you explain that they do try to save a 6-year-old the horror of having to confront her rapist in court. There have been situations where they use a television monitor, and both sides stipulate to the accepting that statement on video.

Something needs to be done to change the system so that child rapists can`t just waltz out of halfway houses. Not once, but twice.

GUSTER: And I agree with you. I agree with you. Something needs to be done for a case like this. Because this man, he`s obviously done this more than one time. So it`s not a one-time shot where he did something. This man is a repeat offender of children. And he needs to be in jail.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, we have Ken Deal, chief deputy, Marshal Service, a very patient man, awaiting to give us an update.

Thank you, sir. And again, anything I say is not a criticism of you, it`s a criticism of a criminal justice system that allows this person to use, what -- I don`t know, how do you cut off -- can you cut off an ankle monitor with a pair of scissors like the ones I`m holding in my hand?

KEN DEAL, CHIEF DEPUTY, U.S. MARSHAL SERVICE (via phone): Well, good evening, everyone. As a matter of fact, there`s probably a number of ways in order to remove an ankle monitoring bracelet. And I`d probably not be in a position to tell you the best way to do that, so we -- you know, we can avoid getting that information out there.

But we are currently actively pursuing all investigative leads in this particular case. And utilizing all the resources that we have available to us, in order to locate this individual.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, we have a map. Again, he`s a big guy: 6`2", 51 years old, last seen wearing a quilted puffy coat, T-shirt and blue jeans. And we have a map showing -- well, he walked out of a halfway house in Denver, Colorado. But he`s known to frequent Texas and California, and Washington state. So where are you focusing, Ken, your search?

DEAL: Well, I don`t actually want to comment as far as where our investigation goes at this point in time. But I can say he actually has a history of being arrested. So that actually works in our -- in our favor. I know that he knows that we`re out there actively looking for him. And the best thing he can do is continue to be on the run. What we don`t want him to do is settle down in a place and prey on anybody else. So we`re going to make absolutely sure that we apply the pressure that needs to be applied in this particular case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But let me ask you. I understand that you can`t say much, and I appreciate you being flexible with that. But there are parents in -- basically up and down the entire West Coast, and the Pacific Northwest that are scared, that are not letting their kids outside right now because of this man. What would you tell them to do, sir?

DEAL: Well, I think the best thing you can do is if, in fact, you see any type of suspicious behavior, or anybody that either is matching this description or even looks like this individual, contact police, 911, right away, and/or your local crime stoppers if you don`t want to contact law enforcement directly. I would just make absolutely sure that parents are aware to always monitor their children`s activities and report any and all suspicious behavior.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you are not telling us -- and I understand why -- where you`re looking specifically, because if he`s in some sleazy motel right now watching TV, you don`t want him to get any ideas. I wish you the very best.

Let`s go -- let`s go out to the phone lines. And if you want to hang on, Ken, please do. Therese, Virginia, what do you have to say tonight? Therese, Virginia.

CALLER: I would say that they need to catch him and actually throw away the keys. And make sure this time he stays in prison for good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, absolutely. Ramani Durvasula, clinical psychologist, you can`t rehabilitate child predators. This is the problem. Go ahead.

RAMANI DURVASULA, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: No, you cannot. In a case like this, with his pattern, not a chance. This man is a menace to the public, menace to children, menace to women. He needs to be put away. This is where our system failed. You know, they`re going after these small charges. At the end of the day, he`s going to do this again.

And every time a child is abused like this, you`ve destroyed a life. This haunts this child forever. These penalties haven`t been enough. He needs to be locked up.

GUSTER: I totally agree with you. Remember...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s a threat to women, as well. Remember, he tried to rape a 17-year-old pregnant hitchhiker.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: He could be hitchhiking right now.

GUSTER: And it`s scary that he`s fallen off the grid. That is so scary.


DURVASULA: He`s never going to stop.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m hearing many voices. I want to tell you this. We are monitoring this throughout the hour. If anything comes in, we will bring it to you as -- they could find this guy any second, and I hope they do, OK? Maybe it`s suicide by cop.

But while we monitor, here`s another wild story. Cops say a substitute teacher, this woman, at an elementary school was drunk, I mean really drunk, and taught kids, and then others tried to stop her from getting back in her car. And it`s all caught on tape. And she talks while cops say she`s intoxicated. You will hear her, next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you drank and then came here to sub? It`s not too good of a decision.

MICHELLE CHILDRESS, SUBSTITUTE TEACHER: No. But I mean, it`s not a bad decision.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Arrested for being drunk at school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s going on?

CHILDRESS: I`m just really ticked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you come up here for like this?

CHILDRESS: Well, they asked me to sub today. I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you take? I mean, I can smell alcohol. But what else?

CHILDRESS: No, that`s it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you drank and came up here to sub?

And they noticed that something wasn`t right.

You are intoxicated. You can`t even stand up.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, outrage after a shocking video captures a substitute teacher, of elementary school children, stumbling, slurring her words and admittedly boozing before teaching that class full of elementary school kids.

Oklahoma cops confronted 43-year-old Michelle Childress for allegedly showing up to the classroom rip-roaring drunk. Cops say the substitute teacher had already been teaching for hours.

Childress never admitted to being drunk. She claimed she was sick, and that`s why she was acting that way. But it seems teachers tried to block her from getting into her own car, because she appeared so drunk.

Cops say she refused to take a field sobriety test. It turns out her blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit. Look at that mug shot. Whoa!

Watch as a police officer confronts her.


CHILDRESS: I`m just really ticked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you come up here for like this?

CHILDRESS: Well, they asked me to sub today. And I did. I subbed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you take? I mean, I can smell alcohol, but what else?

CHILDRESS: No, that`s it. I drank a little bit before I came.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you drank and came up here to sub? That`s not too good of a decision.

CHILDRESS: No. But I mean, it`s not a bad decision.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the denial of somebody with what looks like a drinking problem. Because yes, it is a very bad decision. Bad teacher. This woman was charged with public intoxication.

Straight out to my Lion`s Den debate panel. This is so frightening for a parent of elementary school kids. What if one of those kids fell or had some kind of a problem in class; the teacher`s drunk? What if there was some horrible incident that we`ve seen? We`ve had these horrible mass -- I don`t even want to say -- in school. A teacher`s on the first line of defense. Or they should be. Should she be charged with something more severe, like child endangerment?

And I`ll throw it out to Kelli Saindon.

SAINDON: You know, I -- absolutely she should. This is not a case -- unacceptable behavior. She`s so lucky that she wasn`t behind the wheel. And everyone is so lucky she didn`t drunk drive and really hurt anyone. But she should be charged. She endangered the children. That is such a horrible role model.

And the fact that she was allowed to teach for a number of hours is really disconcerting. So as a former prosecutor, I would say throw the book at her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does anybody disagree? Any of the criminal defense attorneys on our panel? Evangeline Gomez, do you think they should go easy on her?

GOMEZ: I don`t think they should go easy on her. The problem is going to be what other evidence do they have? How are they going to make their case? They`re going to have to prove...

SAINDON: That tape is enough.

GOMEZ: There`s a statute. And that`s easier said than done at times.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Three times the legal limit is enough. Is enough. I`ll throw it to Eric Guster.

GOMEZ: But was she -- was she endangering children? That`s going to be the issue.

GUSTER: Right. Whether she was a dangerous teacher or not.

SAINDON: She`s the teacher in the classroom.

GUSTER: If she did something that endangered a child, such as drive a child around in her car or something of that nature, then perhaps. But her being intoxicated at work is not enough for a child endangerment.

SAINDON: She`s the only one watching them. She`s in front of them in the room, and that`s not endangerment?

GUSTER: No. There are probably 20 other teachers.

GOMEZ: That`s not endangerment. You know as a prosecutor, they`re not endangerment.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. One at a time.


SAINDON: I know that I would go after her and say that it was child endangerment.

DURVASULA: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody, calm down for one second. I want to go to the clinical psychologist. Maybe for us. But no -- but certainly for the teacher.

Look, first of all -- and I say this as a recovering alcoholic with 18 years of sobriety; hopefully I`ll make it to 19 in April -- seeing a teacher drunk sends a very bad message to elementary school children.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It says being drunk is normal.

DURVASULA: Right. That`s my problem with this, Jane. Yes, there could have been more danger. But at the end of the day she did damage to them. As a teacher, as a person of authority, she stood in front of a group of kids and was drunk. That`s not acceptable. You know, this is wrong in the level of school. And if I was a parent, and I am a parent, I`m incensed that this is what kids were exposed to.

GUSTER: I`m very disappointed...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. Before we -- before we do this, let`s listen to a little bit more of her talk, just to rile us up. Because it`s clear to me, anyway, that she`s intoxicated.

Teachers at the elementary school called cops on this woman, who used to be a full-time employee. I wonder why she is only a sub now. Cops say when they arrived, the sub was trying to get in her car and couldn`t even stand up straight. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s going on?

CHILDRESS: I got called to sub today.


CHILDRESS: They called me to sub today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This isn`t her first rodeo. Or second. Or third.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You come to the school intoxicated and try to sub?

CHILDRESS: I`m not intoxicated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are intoxicated.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The officer says, "You can`t even stand up."

Now, our affiliate, KFOR, says this woman has been arrested for a DUI previously. That`s probably why the officer said this is not her first rodeo. Let`s leave rodeos out of it.

Jon Leiberman, take it away.

LEIBERMAN: Well, let me say something, Jane. We`ve been -- we`ve been digging into her background. Not only had she been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, but also failure to yield to an ambulance, to an emergency vehicle. And she had open containers, allegedly, in the car, and she was charged in that same alleged drunken incident with assaulting a police officer. So that`s what we found in her background. All of that is pending from February.

GOMEZ: How did she get hired by a school district? That`s what I want to know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the question. That`s the question! Good question, Evangeline. Listen, she`s in a parking lot filled with kids, potentially. There could have been a tragedy there. This is serious business.

And tonight, we`ve got a mystery and a desperate search for two women. OK? Both disappeared on the island paradise of Maui. I will talk exclusively next to the daughter of one of these missing women. It`s a case with a lot -- a lot of mystery, and twin cases with eerie parallels, next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scrutiny he`s under, and the police investigation, just don`t think it would be a good idea at this point. As much as I want to, believe me, it`s very difficult to not want to go and confront and get some direct questions answered.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that she was wearing a pair of blck shorts and a brown or tan top.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her pink Coach purse was found in a dumpster just walking distance from the townhouse.

UNDIENTFIEID FEMALE: Thank you guys a lot, you know. We just want to find her.

UNIDENTIFFIED FEMALE: Last seen in a Wailuku townhouse she once shared with an ex-boyfriend. More than 100 volunteers with one common goal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just really show how strong we are at this point (ph).


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hellish mysteries in an island paradise. Tonight, twin mysteries in Maui. Two women seemingly vanish into thin air in what we all consider paradise. It has been a trying time. Police working to reassure people there is not a serial killer on the loose in Maui.

Investigators say these two cases of these two missing women are not related. Well, if so, what is going on? My very special guest tonight says the last time anybody saw her mother was six weeks ago when she was on her way to meet her ex-boyfriend dinner. What does he know and why is he not cooperating with police?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that she was wearing a pair of blck shorts and a brown or tan top.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her pink Coach purse was found in a dumpster just walking distance from the townhouse.

UNDIENTFIEID FEMALE: Thank you guys a lot, you know. We just want to find her.

UNIDENTIFFIED FEMALE: Last seen in a Wailuku townhouse she once shared with an ex-boyfriend. More than 100 volunteers with one common goal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just really show how strong we are at this point (ph).


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police say 46-year-old Moreira Monsalve`s ex-boyfriend is considered a person of interest tonight because he was the last person to see her. Her ex, Bernie Brown, is not cooperating with the investigation according to cops. In fact, he has left Maui. And investigators are taking heat for allowing that to happen. Listen.


CAPT. JOHN JAKUBCZAK, MAUI POLICE DEPT: He`s a person of interest. We know that he has left the island. At this point, we know we`ve got some info -- some criticism for allowing him to leave. At this time, we had nothing to keep him here. Again, he has rights like everyone else. We had nothing to keep him here so he left the island and I`m sure if we need to get in touch with him, we can get in touch with him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Last week we told you about a second missing woman in Maui, Charli Scott, who was five months pregnant. In an eerie parallel, her ex-boyfriend is a person of interest too because he was the last one to see her. Police say these cases are not connected but there are really crazy parallels. Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS with your thoughts straight after my exclusive guest, Alexis Felicilda, the daughter of the missing woman, Moreira Monsalve.

Thank you for joining us tonight. I know that you`re heartsick right now. I know you want to do everything to find your mom. I`ve heard that she`s a wonderful, wonderful woman. Look, I believe that is you probably, right, with your mom? And there you are having good times with your mom in paradise. And now, now this is a nightmare for you.

So what do you know about her last moments before she disappeared? Who was she with?

ALEXIS FELICILDA, DAUGHTER OF MISSING WOMAN: Well, you know, we -- I didn`t know she went over to Bernard`s house after she dropped me off at the airport. She went to a school meeting with my brother for college, picked me up from the mall, we went and had a couple of beers. She dropped me off. She went back to the same lounge (ph) we were at.

And then the way that I discovered she was at Bernard`s house was because he posted a Facebook post on her wall saying that she was sitting on the couch in front him. The exact wording was somewhere along the lines, "I`m so glad that I have a good friend like you so I don`t have to work through my problems alone. You`re on the couch playing Candy Crush and I should be talking but you look so intent on passing that level. So happy."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, I want to say that the pictures that we`re looking at are not the person of interest. It`s pictures of the missing women including your mother and just beautiful family photos with possibly your brother.

Go on, tell us the story. So he says, oh, I`m so glad that your mom is there on the couch working through problems. What kind of problems does Bernie have?

FELICILDA: Well, it`s Bernard. Bernard is his first name.


FELICILDA: Bernard is his first name. But he -- you know, they`ve been together on and off for two years. They broke up for about six months last year. It was a very -- you know, it wasn`t a smooth relationship, it would maybe be good for about a month or two, and then go back to where it was.

Me and my mother had a very open and close relationship. We talked about everything. Of course, being that close and all, we would bicker, we would argue, but you know, we would tell each other everything. So she would tell me everything, a lot of the stuff that he, you know would tell her. She would try to, you know, mentally emotionally just degrade her. "You don`t do anything around the house. You`re not good at this. You`re terrible at that."

And she would tell me all these things. And I would get upset. I would be like, why are you even with this guy?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did he have a temper? Does he have a temper, in your opinion?

FELICILDA: Well, yes. Because I mean he has a shady past. I know several women have come forward and told me that they used to date him, and had TROs against him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. We have been unable to confirm that independently. And we find Bernard on any time on our show if you`re watching because I know you -- he`s left the island. Quick question --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- do you know if he left with an overnight bag or did he pack up and leave as if permanently?

FELICILDA: From the report -- from what they reported is that he had everything, including his cat.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: His cat? So he left.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you to stand by for a second. I want to go to Eric Guster, criminal defense attorney. Is that -- I understand if you arrest somebody, if you`re going to arrest somebody -- and I`m not saying he`s going to be arrested, he`s just the person of interest because he was the last person to see Alexis` mom before she vanished.

But if somebody is picking up with the cat and they`re a person of interest and they`re taking off, doesn`t that kind of indicate that they`re fleeing? And what do you make of the idea that he`s not cooperating, and the police say, well, we can`t do anything to stop him?

GUSTER: Well, it doesn`t mean that he`s necessarily fleeing. The police officer in his interview said that he knows where he is and can contact him. So that`s very important. It`s not as if he left and didn`t leave contact information, or didn`t tell them where he was going, because that`s a small island. He knows he`s a person of interest. And he may have moved for his own personal safety.

Because this lady`s family may think that he did something to her, and it may be safer for him to be somewhere else. And as long as the police have good contact information for him --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. I got you. And it makes sense. Kelli Saindon, a homeless man reportedly found Moreira`s pink coach purse in a dumpster. You`ve seen some video of them searching a dumpster. They found her purse in a dumpster near his house.

SAINDON: It`s heartbreaking for the family. And while I agree that it`s a small island, this guy leaving doesn`t make him look good. It looks like an indication of guilt. The fact that he packed up his whole house, the fact that he posted on Facebook per her daughter that he`s having problems. And the purse right by his house -- it just doesn`t look right.

And so, you know, as the police, as a prosecutor, I would be very interested in this guy, following his footsteps. Was this move planned? Was it something sudden that came up after her disappearance? Did he already have an apartment rented or did he just get the heck out of dodge? I don`t like the sounds of this at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: By the way, we reached out to the boyfriend, the person of interest`s attorney. Have not heard back. He is invited on -- the person of interest -- Bernard is invited on. We want to be fair. He`s only listed as a person of interest, cops say, because he was the last person with the woman who disappeared.

Alexis, we want to stay on top of this story. We`re not letting go. My heart goes out to you and your entire family. We want to find your mom.

A story that has exploded on social media is next. Outrage over the alleged police brutality of this man you`re seeing here. Now, you look at the video and you decide, is this police brutality? This has gone viral -- tens of thousands of hits within minutes.

Stay right there.

I`ll talk to the person who shot the video, by the way.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is this about? This is (EXPLETIVE DELETED) ridiculous. I`m taking the bus.

Why are you still holding me.

This is (EXPLETIVE DELETED) harassment, bro.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t believe this is happening. Help me, somebody.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You want to know what it feels like to be stopped and arrested for what you consider no reason at all? Look at this. What is going on here? Tonight, a social media outcry. This video posted on Facebook and shared 30,000 times just since the weekend. It shows an African-American man being held by police in New York City. He was allegedly grabbed by cops as he got off a bus.

A Good Samaritan started taping this. He suffers a complete emotional breakdown as he is harassed as the minutes tick away, the desperation growing in his voice. We hear him plead with officers. "Officers, I`ve got a bus ticket. I`ve got an ID. Why are you holding me?" He becomes more frantic. And after at least two minutes, he tries to stand up. And this is what happens.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you holding me for, man? I didn`t do nothing, man. I didn`t do anything.

What are you doing? Why are you doing this? I didn`t do nothing, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He isn`t doing nothing man. He paid his ticket.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More officers then jump in -- at least four ultimately, bringing him to the ground to cuff him. We don`t know what happened before the video started rolling. We reached out to the New York Police Department. They say they`re already into it, looking into it.

But on the phone now with me is the man who uploaded the video online, Darrell Reyes -- Dariel -- I want to compliment you on having the good sense to whip out -- I would assume it`s your cell phone camera, or your iPad, or something, and start videotaping.

DARIEL REYES, UPLOADED VIDEO ONLINE (via telephone): Right. Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because everyone in this society, now that there`s a video camera on every single phone, is a potential journalist. We have the democratization of journalism in that sense.

So what`s the back story here? I mean look, I`m holding a metro card in my hand. I take the bus. You swipe it on the way in. You don`t swipe it as you get off. Why are they checking people as they get off the bus in the first place?

REYES: I mean you have this new protocol. It`s like we have a 12 bus, and then we have a 12 select bus. You swipe it before you get in and it gives you a receipt.

Mind you, it`s a receipt, you can lose it, right? Anyway, on island stops like for example the one that we got off at there so happened to be two officers at the backdoor. You`re allowed to exit through three ways. There`s three ways to get in, three ways to get out on these buses. Two officers in the back, I get out through the middle, people get out through the middle.

The guy in the video gets out through the back. No questions asked, just grabbed. Even if they did say anything to him, the guy had (inaudible) give him a break. They aggressively grabbed him. It was almost like the bricks (ph) where he almost fell on the snow and stuff or whatever. The started like rushing him, the officer and then he almost falls over. He sits down.

Officer then (inaudible) -- the guy was explaining as you can see in the video, he says, I have a ticket, I have ID. And basically from thereon the video speaks for itself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you hear what the officers are saying? Did they explain that -- I mean we called the New York City Police Department, like is there a warrant out for his arrest? Is he America`s most wanted?

REYES: They never called in. They never radioed anything about warrants or anything. The only time he pressed the radio button was when he called to say, I need help. Basically, we`re about to bring somebody up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Wow. Well, listen, I live in the city and I know that if you`re slipping and sliding on that ice, you can fall. What they might say, or some viewer might say, resisting arrest. He was possibly just falling because he`s slipping -- this is happening on the ice.

REYES: Right. Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you hold on, Dariel, for a second? Again, I applaud you for having the wits about you for videotape this. But I have some prosecutors and defense attorneys. So I want to get back to you. They may have questions for you.

Dariel, you can be heard saying on the tape, the police behavior is quote, "unnecessary roughness", end quote. Here`s more of this video that`s gone viral. And then we`ll debate it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you doing? What are you doing.

REYES: He got a ticket, too. He got a ticket. Unnecessary roughness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t do nothing, man.

REYES: They didn`t even give him a chance to pull out his ticket.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean come on. Eric Guster, criminal defense attorney out of Atlanta, listen, you know, unless they have some reason to stop him, other than he couldn`t find his receipt, if I had a nickel for every time I can`t find my receipt, I would be a multimillionaire.

GUSTER: And that`s one of the problems that we have with cases like this. This man seemed like he was doing absolutely nothing. And the police came up, he told them, I have my ID. Here it is, officer. And luckily for him that this young man had a camera. And that`s what people need to do, start recording incidents like this, to make them public. Because the police officers, if this camera was not there, they would have gotten away with this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go to the phone lines. Xavier, Illinois, what do you think of this -- Xavier?

XAVIER, ILLINOIS (via telephone): Yes, it`s just kind of like the Rodney King thing. It`s unnecessary roughness for no reason when he wasn`t even doing anything, he was just sitting there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s a little different than Rodney King. He was hit with stun guns and all sorts of things. But I get your point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, there`s another viewpoint.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Leiberman?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, just for the sake of fairness to the NYPD, if you listen to the video closely in the beginning, it sounds as if they are asking this man if he stole a cell phone, or stole something from the bus. So we have to always put this in context. Yes, it appears outrageous. The clips that we see appear outrageous.

But we also have to put it in context. We`re not exactly sure what happened on the bus. We don`t know what happened before the tape was rolling. But again, I turned it up real loud, and you can hear the police asking him whether he stole a phone, a cell phone, something like that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, OK, but -- let me just say this. I`m a native New Yorker, OK? People swipe things all the time. OK? You know, purse gets swiped. You don`t see police responding to that. You don`t see police responding to that in the sense of, oh, guess what, I lost my cell phone, and officers are suddenly creating a dragnet for you as people step off the bus.

You know what I`m saying, Evangeline Gomez, criminal defense attorney out of New York?

GOMEZ: I understand what you`re saying, Jane, but also, the video doesn`t capture smell. Perhaps he had a smell of drugs on him. We actually don`t know. There could be something more. But again the police hasn`t shared this information.

And there was a time in the video when he was actually sitting back and holding on to what he was sitting on. And that can be interpreted as resisting arrest. Now, is there an unreasonable use of force that`s being applied here? That`s all debatable. We don`t have all the facts and we can`t make that decision.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at the foot. Look at the foot. One of the officers appears to be tapping him with his foot.

GOMEZ: Yes. But with a foot -- that can be interpreted as resisting arrest. I mean there are two sides to the story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Dariel Reyes, did you get the sense this guy was high, or drunk? And again, I mean I went through a garbage can as a story on recycling, all I found was vodka bottles. So if you arrest every person who was drinking in New York, you would have more people in jail than out of jail.

REYES: Right. We have (inaudible) but you don`t see them getting abused by the cops either. We have people standing all the time (inaudible). If there was a cell phone stolen, on that bus, why was he the only one being harassed like that? Is that because he`s a minority? Is that why.

There`s no need for that, like I said. The guy was not intoxicated. The guy seemed well-balanced when he was talking with the officers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re extending this to the next segment because we`ve got -- OK. We`ve got more video actually of another incident that sheds light on what might be a dynamic here. It`s a fascinating case study that was done right on the street, on videotape, one white guy, one black guy separately pretending to break into a car. They get two totally different responses. And it was a prank for a point. You`re going to see it, right now. It`s unbelievable.

Stay right there.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, a prank posted on YouTube has exposed the ugliness of race relations in this country once again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re going to bring out the difference between how people react when he tries to break into a car versus when I try to break into a car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s about five cop cars. They come with their guns already out of the holsters, already ready -- aiming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn`t anticipate this at all.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Two well-bodies guys -- one white, one black. They do a test in LA, they both pretend to steal a car. Watch what happens when the white guy plays the part of the thief. Take a look.

The cop doesn`t even stop. Nobody looked at him.

All right. Now watch what happens when the black guy plays the role of thief in this test.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drop that, drop that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get up against the wall. Turn around and put your hands behind your back.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Immediately arrested. OK? Quentin Byrd, Jason Roberts, I love this. I love the test you did. You guys are brilliant. I hope you get your own show somewhere as a result of this. I want to start with Quentin Byrd. I mean how did you feel when the cops called you a name, a dirty word I can`t repeat, and then cuff you?

QUENTIN BYRD: It was crazy. We expected the bias from the actual people, the onlookers, but we didn`t expect the cops to act the way they did. When they showed up, they put me against a wall and then they asked why I was so tense in the handcuffs and I said, because I`ve never been in handcuffs before. She was like "Really", I was like "Yes, really."

And with Jason, he was with me and they took his handcuffs off before they even finished his background check. They left me in mine about 10 to 15 more minutes longer and they wouldn`t release me until they finished the background check.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Jason what do you think this shows?

JASON ROBERTS: This is such a touchy subject. I mean maybe this is race related, maybe it isn`t. It`s really hard to say because of how many variables are actually there to consider. I mean the time of day, what we were wearing, the place that we were shooting. His was in Hollywood, I was in, I think, Little Tokyo.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Same difference.

ROBERTS: I`m a YouTuber. I`m a prankster, I make viral videos. I make this content to make interesting videos for my fans and if they have an opinion on it, great. If they don`t have an opinion, great.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love what you did. More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Talk to America, Quentin. Talk to us. What did we learn from this, Quentin?

I think we learned that we need to -- not just this inequality, we need to search and look at every type of race. I think we sometimes we try to like monotonize it to just one type of race or one type of scenario but this shows inequality on a level that we should search any type of inequality and try to write on it --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I give you both applause for an incredible experiment. Well done.

Nancy next.