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CNN Tonight

Journalist Grant Wahl Has Died While Covering the World Cup in Qatar; Trump Faces String of Legal Troubles Even as President Biden Celebrates Key Victories; Lawsuit Seeks to End New York Ban on Convicted Felons Serving on Juries; A Texas Family Deprived of Justice; Double Standard in Every Justice System. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired December 09, 2022 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: The news out of the World Cup tonight is truly stunning. U.S. Soccer says Journalist Grant Wahl has died at the age of 48 while covering the World Cup in Doha. Grant's wife, Celine Gounder, posted the U.S. Soccer statement on Twitter and wrote, I am so thankful for the support of my husband, Grant Wahl, soccer family and of so many friend who've reach out tonight. I'm in complete shock.

CNN Don Riddell join us now on the phone from Doha and Christine Brennan is back with us and John Berman is on the phone. We are reporting, trying, from all angles to figure out what would have gone so wrong and lost this tremendous life.

Don, tell me, what are you learning right now in Doha about the death of Journalist Grant Wahl?

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT (voice over): I mean, we're still just trying to I think accept honestly that this is the news that has happened. I was at the same game as Grant tonight. I didn't see him but we both covered this most extra ordinary soccer match between the Argentina and the Netherlands, which went to actually timeout penalties. And I'll be honest with you, I was lying in my bed at 5:30 this morning unable to sleep because of the drama of the game that we've witnessed and I just kind of checked my WhatsApp and saw all this news.

So, we're literally just finding out about it. We've just managed to confirm the news that he has died. And I mean, I can't overemphasize the state of shock that so many of his peers and colleagues will be in and the fans also.

Grant has been the foremost U.S. soccer writer in the country for the last 20-plus years. I think when you hear what others in the community are already saying, so, for example, the commissioner of Major League Soccer, Don Garber, just tweeted with his passion for soccer and his dedication to journalism was immeasurable. People are describing him as so kind and so generous. And those are sentiments that I would echo having met him numerous times over the years, and, in fact, I saw him on our set here in Doha just a couple weeks ago at the start of the tournament.

And to now becoming on here in a breaking news segment to talk about the fact that he's not with us anymore is just -- is really difficult to find the words, to be quite honest with you.

COATES: Don, it's unbelievable. I mean, just five hours ago, was his one of his last tweet, he's talking about that incredible match with the Netherlands. And this is somebody who leaves behind a wife that is well-known for the work that she has done as well in terms of infectious disease over the course of the pandemic. He grew up in Kansas. He was a man who went to Princeton University, my own alma mater. The idea of his loss is so significant.

He was actually a part of our program back on November 21st. He was speaking with my colleague, Alisyn Camerota. And the energy and enthusiasm and zell (ph) for the game the game he brought, well, watch for yourself, everyone.


GRANT WAHL, SOCCER JOURNALIST: Yes, I arrived at the stadium. I was checking in through security but security didn't let me through. They said that I had to take off my shirt. I told them I wouldn't. They detained me for about 30 minutes. They forcibly took my phone, would not give it back, really angrily tried to get me to take my shirt off and wouldn't. So, finally, eventually, a commander of security came down after about 30 minutes and they let me through wearing my shirt and they apologized. FIFA apologized. FIFA has made it clear that there should be no problem with anyone wearing rainbow gear of any kind at this World Cup but it's clear that the Qatari regime has other ideas.


COATES: That was on November 21st. John Berman, I want to bring you back here. The shirt that he's talking about and, again, it took on extra significance remember, there was the moments of many players who wanted to have as part of their other uniform or display of a rainbow flag within the different housing and the places that they were staying and were co-mingling.


And the significance of this and the symbolism of it just hearing -- and this was as recently as a few days ago at this point before Thanksgiving, November 21st. John, you spoke about this very interview that night you were on air. When you're learning and hearing more about the death now of Journalist Grant Wahl dying while covering the World Cup in Qatar, tell me what you are feeling now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Look, I'm simply devastated not only because Grant was, you know, as Don said, the preeminent U.S. soccer journalist on the planet but he was also just a wonderful, wonderful guy who was sweet and he was generous to everybody around him, just an impeccable reputation in journalism but also just everybody that came here him just really adored him. And I'm just going through some WhatsApp messages. The last -- I had an exchange with him because on his podcast and on his newsletter, he's been talking about how he had a bad cold and this is back at the end of November but he's still there. I said how is the cold? He said, I think I'm on the back end of it. Got a record eight hours sleep last night, he said.

But then after that, and he wrote about this, and this isn't through anything personally. He talked about on his podcast and he wrote on his newsletter, he ended up going to the medical center in Doha at the media center and got himself checked out and he was diagnosed with something that seemed to be like bronchitis and was taking it easy a little bit but seemed to be on the better end of it now. And then I was just reading again -- he was filing today. I mean, he filed the whole dispatch today in between the two games.

The last thing he wrote about was Croatia. He says I thought Croatia was too old to heading into the tournament but I was wrong. You know, Luka Modric keeps showing at 37 he has the energy to go all the way and these games. And despite this Croatian show was legendary, I can't tell how much I admire them, those last words, I can't tell you how much I admire him. I think everyone in journalism, everyone who's a soccer fan believes that about Grant. I can't tell you how much I admired him, and just it's such a huge loss --


BERMAN: -- for the industry but he's also it's just a personal lose for anyone that came anywhere him.

COATES: John, thank you for sharing that.

And just thinking, I want to read for everyone right now the full statement the U.S. Soccer has put out. Here is the statement. It is the entire U.S. Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl. Fans of soccer and journalism of the highest quality knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game and its major protagonists, teams, players, coaches and the many personalities that make soccer unlike any sport.

Here in the United States, Grant's passion for soccer and commitment to elevating its profile across our sporting landscape played a major role in helping to drive interest in and respect for our beautiful game. As important, Grant's belief in the power of the game to advance human rights was and will remain an inspiration to all. Grant made soccer his life's work and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us.

U.S. Soccer sends its sincerest condolences to Grant's wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, and all of his family members, friends and colleagues in the media. And we thank Grant for his tremendous dedication to and impact on our game in the United States. His writing and the stories he told will live on.

Christine Brennan, I want to bring you into this because this is just truly stunning for so many reasons, and not the least of which as we're reading about his legacy, as many might be introduced or reintroduced or reconfirmed yet again about his journalistic integrity and his coverage. The question is, what happened and we're still trying to understand what took place, how he has passed. We're looking to confirm the details and understand why this person has lost his life while covering the World Cup in Qatar. So, please stick with us as we try to find the information and uncover the details.

Christine, what's your reaction?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Again, as John has said beautifully and as Don has said, as well, you know, this is heartbreaking news. It is extraordinary, it is awful news. And I knew Grant. I have covered World Cups with him. There is no more lovely, kind, friendly, that big smile that people are seeing in some of these pictures, that's Grant, a big tall guy, welcoming journalists to soccer.


And I would be one of those that need to be welcomed because I covered a lot of women's soccer but not as many men's soccer matches. And you could go to Grant and ask any question.

And I've got to say, Laura, that, you know, in a competitive world as journalists are, as we compete against one another while we also then have dinner together, the notion that you could go to someone like Grant and ask a question or double-check something was lovely and that's exactly the kind of person he was.

That might not sound like something that is that rare but often when you're competing, it's -- you might not always be the most helpful person. Well, Grant was. I keep wanting to say is because it's just surreal and awful news and terrible news, of course, that he is gone. And, again, I think it's so important to mention that he wore that rainbow T-shirt specifically to cover one of those early games at the World Cup in solidarity for the LGBTQ community. That was Grant Wahl and he wouldn't take that off.

And so like you, I'm -- I think we're all just mystified trying to figure out what happened. I am sure over the next few hours we will hear more. But my heart goes out to his family, his friends and how honored I am to have been one of those friends and colleagues. And I think of the soccer community tonight, so many of them over there, what they must feel and all of us here back in the states who knew Grant are absolutely heartbroken because we've lost one of the best of us.

COATES: We will bring you more on the shocking death of Grant Wahl as soon as we learn more. Stick with the CNN, we'll be right back.



COATES: We're back with new developments tonight. A federal judge declining the DOJ's request to hold former President Trump in contempt for failing to turnover classified documents. First to tell CNN the judge told prosecutors and the Trump team to work together.

And that comes at the end of a pretty tough week for the former president after a jury found the Trump Organization guilty of multiple counts of tax fraud, sources are saying that the January 6th committee could soon issue now a criminal referral.

All of this as President Joe Biden is looking back on a week of, well, reasons to celebrate from bringing Brittney Griner home, the passage of the historic Respect for Marriage Act.

I want to bring in CNN Legal Analyst Elliot Williams, also here with us, Nayyera Haq, former Obama White House Senior Director and former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh. I'm glad to have all of you here.

I mean, look, it's kind of the idea of the yin and the yang, right? There's the good and the bad, enter analogy here. It's been a pretty good week for President Biden in the sense of getting a lot of things accomplished and things to be celebrated, for a President Trump not so much. And it still seems to be a continuing list.

Nayyera, I'll bring you in here first on this and I want to ask how do you contextualize this, the idea of trying to balance what this means?

NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR: It does continue that sense of grievance that Trump is always under attack. So, there is going to be a segment of his base right, or the Republican Party, that is just looking for another reason to keep the story alive that Trump is under attack, despite the fact that, in this case in particular, if I had taken national security documents with my security clearance, it would have been considered criminal behavior, full stop, and I would have been probably called a terrorist too on top of that, right?

So, I mean, this is not a fair and equal treatment before the eyes of the law considering a sitting commander-in-chief who already has a track record of revealing intelligence secret, classified information to the Russian ambassador in the Oval Office one time, talked about a nuclear submarine locations another time, he has multiple times had intelligence officers and military officers scrambling to redo all of their work. Because why? Because he wants to show off that he has interesting information for paper trophies? Like at what point are we going to say that for somebody to do this as commander-in-chief is not only criminal but should disqualify them from getting the job again.

COATES: And a former commander-in-chief at that, when you have and retained after you've no longer been at the White House, your point is very well taken.

Elliot, I want to ask you though, why do you think they're not going to hold them in contempt for this? He's like, yes --

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Look, there is all kinds of legal questions as to why you can't hold him in contempt. Number one, who do you hold in contempt, right? COATES: Do you mean the lawyers?

WILLIAMS: The lawyers, there's no -- I don't know if you heard the term custodian of records at the Trump Organization. One doesn't exist. That's usually the person who you would hold accountable for. So, there is that question there.

Number two, this idea of carelessness on the part of the president actually is working to his benefit, the fact that -- so, for instance, they found two more documents in a storage locker this week.

COATES: By, they, you mean his lawyers?

WILLIAMS: His lawyers. But the argument there is, well, we just doesn't know what he was doing and he didn't know he was taking these documents. He has a pattern of losing documents. Ladies and gentlemen, of the jury, my client just doesn't have the common sense to have actually broken the law here. And so maybe that's playing into the contempt argument too. I don't know.

But, look, we haven't end the end of this and whether it's more documents being found or obviously criminal charges coming down the road, it's not over.

COATES: Well, and to that point, politically, we have not seen the end of this. And if you are a member of the American electorate, whether you are a Republican voter, Democratic voter, an independent voter, you're looking and watching all of this play out and you're saying, man, I'm tired already. I'm thinking about the weight and the baggage and what this means. This is significant baggage for somebody wanting to be maybe re-elected.

FMR. REP. JOE WALSH (R-IL): And, Laura, this is just the beginning. Trump is going to be indicted next year. He deserves to be indicted.


COATES: You really think so?

WALSH: Yes. But this is just the beginning of two years of a Trump storm. He's had a horrible month and-a-half. With all of that going on, all I've heard from Republican voters in the last few days is the following. Twitter did rig the 2020 election. Trump is going to use that. That's a huge issue. If and when he is indicted, the deep state is coming after me. I think it weakens him among the electorate. I think it strengthens him among the base.

COATES: I'm sorry. How about the weakening -- I want to get right back to Elliot. How about the idea of what has been the blow to the Trump Organization? Obviously, he was not individually named. Obviously, the name, Trump, is on the building, right, but it was Allen Weisselberg as one of named main individuals and he pleaded guilty but they found him guilty, on all counts, the organization. The fact that it was the organization as opposed to individual, will people be able to understand the nuance and appreciate it or do they think about these things as one and the same politically? WILLIAMS: No, because in everybody's mind, it's the same. I think the general electorate rightly believes he's a criminal and his base won't make that distinction and they'll believe everybody is after him.

COATES: But to your point, Nayyera, I mean, this has been a common talking point for the better part of at least four to five years. And millions of people voted for him and believe that even separating the idea of election denialism, they believe that much of his points, they're coming after you through me and I am the backstop, I am the protection here. Do you think it impacts it?

HAQ: He is the standing for everybody who feels that they should have, could have, would have been this great billionaire if it had not been for the government --

COATES: These darn kids.

HAQ: -- or these other people, right? And so he's standing in for that and he knows how to play to that. It is part of, I guess, his charm for this base and it has nothing to do with the fact. So, he could be indicted, he could be held in contempt. Everything could come out in public. But the feelings will always trump the facts.

COATES: Well, we're going to get a quick break in here and we are going to to come back. We have more to talk about. Don't you worry.

And the question, of course, is why is a whole class of citizens in New York banned from serving on a jury, speaking of justice and who is above the law or interacting with it? And does the ban undermine democracy? I'll talk to the man who's suing to end it next in just a few moments.



COATES: So, the law in New York State bans convicted felons from serving on state juries. My next guest is suing to change to all that, along with the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Daudi Justin is a staff attorney for Neighbor Defender Service of Harlem, and he says the law discriminates, particularly against black men in Manhattan, and he himself is prohibited from serving on a jury in the state of New York under the law.

Daudi, thank you for joining us today and helping bring light to this. I think it might surprise people that this is actually the outcome. You would be eligible to serve on a New York county jury if not for a 2009 felony conviction. I wonder if you can explain for the audience your situation and why you are taking action here.

DAUDI JUSTIN, STAFF ATTORNEY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE, NEIGHBORHOOD DEFENDER SERVICE OF HARLEM: Well, thank you for having me. I appreciate that. My -- I got involved with this issue when I was a student at Columbia University in my under graduate where I received jury summons from the state requesting that I participated in a jury service. I was excited to go through that process and to be called serving on a jury, however, I was surprised and shocked when I read the jury summons itself and I found out I was disqualified because of that felony conviction.

That frustrated me and shocked me. And when I thought about the broader level of this, that it wasn't just me but that there were lots of other men, excuse me, individuals with felony convictions, specifically African-American men in the city who are unable to serve on the jury, just shocked me.

COATES: I mean --

JUSTIN: And that's just made me want to -- I'm sorry --

COATES: I'm cutting you off, Daudi. I want to hear your story. Go ahead, finish, thank you.

JUSTIN: No problem. So, that just made me want to get involved with the issue. And I wrote about it when I was in Columbia, in one of their publication because it really just surprising that individuals, especially black men, specifically in Manhattan, are unable to serve on a jury of their peers.

COATES: And that last part so important, the idea of disqualifications and in a criminal proceeding by a jury of one's peers that could include a possible aspect of one own personal life experience.

Now, to that point about the law discriminating against black residents, you say particularly black men in Manhattan. I want to show people for a moment what we're talking about, the figures here Daudi. Because, you talk about 25 percent of black residents in Manhattan could be disqualified, and that's 40 percent of black men, frankly, it doesn't take a mathematician to know that there is a disparate and perhaps disproportionate impact on black men and black and brown people in the criminal justice system and what this might entail.

And for many, looking at what disqualifies one from engaging in civil duties, civil activity, voting can be one of them, as well, it does not always feel coincidental to those who are exploring where things are. What do you make of this obvious disparate impact?

JUSTIN: I think this is one of the numerous other laws that have been used -- that have been systemically used to keep African-Americans and minorities out of the vote of the electoral and democratic process. And I think that that's why one of the reasons why we're challenging this because it's been systematically. Because of the racialized policing in this city this law has been systematically used to discriminate and to keep African Americans from the participating in the Democratic process. I think that's what the issue.

COATES: It is well thought out in the lawsuit. And I want to say that a spokesperson for the state court system told this to CNN, NYCLU's letter and lawsuit is taking issue with the statute passed by the New York State Legislature that lays out the qualifications of jurors. Until such time as the legislature changes the law, or a court of competent jurisdiction declares it invalid, commissioners of jurors are sworn to enforce these qualifications.

So I ask you, should lawmakers make these changes? Is that the more prudent course to get the buy-in and change legislatively?

JUSTIN: I think there's two issues here that points out. The first is that, yes, legislators should definitely take action and, in fact, legislators, legis -- the state legislators and, different states have already addressed the issue, but ours still has not acted yet. So, it would be great if we had a, like, a legislative solution to this problem.

However, the other issue is that we've -- the legislature has not done a taken action right now. So as the letter from the -- from the court mentioned, it's up to the court of competent jurisdiction to make this decision. And that's why we're starting this lawsuit to get a court of competent jurisdiction to make that decision that this law as is supplied to Manhattan, is unconstitutional.

COATES: Daudi, thank you so much for joining us today. Important to hear your perspective and also to hear about the reasons why, and we'll follow this story and see what happens next. Thank you so much.

JUSTIN: Thank you for having me.

COATES: Well, up next, A Texas couple battling for justice for their 22-year-old son who was brutally killed while on vacation in Greece more than five years ago. We're going to hear their painful story and why they have refused to give up the fight.



COATES: Brittney Griner's 10-month ordeal in Russia highlights the perils Americans face when dealing with another country's legal system. Some families struggle for years when they find themselves with the mercy of courts of law and other lands.

And that is the case for my next guests who lost their son five years ago and are still fighting for Justice. Twenty-two-year-old Bakari Henderson went on vacation with friends in Greece in 2017. After taking a photo with a woman at a bar, Henderson was chased, punched, and kicked by a group of men.

The attack was caught on video and I must warn you, it is hard to watch. Bakari Henderson died from his injuries. Nine men, the majority of them Serbian nationals were arrested. A Greek court convicted six of deadly assault and gave them nominal sentences. Three out of nine were convicted of simple assault and then released.

According to Greek media, no one was convicted of murder. The prosecutors appealed, but in a retrial, a Greek court rejected a tough replenishment. The only recourse now a push to get the case in front of the country's Supreme Court.

Joining me now are Bakari's parents, Phil, and Jill Henderson. Thank you both for joining me.

Just looking at the photos of your beloved son, it is heartbreaking to think of how he was treated, what led to the end of his life and what you've been grappling with for years now, trying to secure justice.

And I should mention for a lot of people thinking about it, well, why would there be the appeals from prosecutors? It's not similar to what we have here in terms of double jeopardy, but it's different where they are.

I wonder if you can tell me, Jill, a little bit about what this process has been like and where things are right now in trying to get justice for your son.

JILL HENDERSON, BAKARI HENDERSON'S MOTHER: So, the process has been very challenging for us, very traumatizing for us financially, mentally, spiritually. It's been a tough road. Where we are now is we are basically, as you said, we had two trials. Both of them ended with no murder charges being con -- anyone charged with murder.

And so now we are waiting for the court of appeals to go ahead and submit their position so that we can then try to appeal to the Supreme Court. So, we're in waiting mode now, and hopefully they will appeal to the appellant court. The appellant court will appeal to the Supreme Court.

COATES: You know, I first learned about you both and your son, your niece actually works with CNN and alerted us to this case, and it's been so profoundly impactful for us all to learn more about what happened.

And Phil, I wonder if you can speak to what this has been like trying to navigate the legal system abroad. But also, have you had any help from members of Congress, from the president, from anyone who is an efficient to diplomatically help as well?

PHIL HENDERSON, BAKARI HENDERSON'S FATHER: No, we really hadn't had any support we've felt we should have. We -- we've talked to different congressmen. We have talked to our congressmen as well and other representatives and what we get from them is that, you know, they're going to monitor the case and we are there the support and they feel as if there's not much they can do right now.


But you know, we have spoken to them.

COATES: And I see you're wearing a design. He was a designer in part. Right? And you're wearing a shirt that he had designed as well, and part of what he had hoped to do career-wise and follow a dream. And it's beautifully designed. And I just, I wonder in terms of this, when we hear and have learning more about what happened to Bakari, do you think race played a part and why your son was attacked?

J. HENDERSON: Yes, we do because I mean, the whole thing started because a Serbian woman took a photo, well, a selfie with Bakari and so --


COATES: This over a selfie?


COATES: And I understand the men who were in the bar took offense. The fact that --


COATES: -- she wanted a selfie with your son.

J. HENDERSON: Right. Yes. So, from what we're told, one of the Serbian men said, why are you taking a selfie with a black man when there are all these Serbians in the bar? And then he proceeded to slap Bakari. And that's where everything started.

COATES: You know, as a mother and I think about what you'd want your son to do if they felt in danger domestically, let alone abroad. And I understand Bakari likely did what we would've told our children to do.


COATES: Get out of there.



COATES: Get out of there. Obviously, you're in some sort of trouble. Get out of there. And he tried right to run.


COATES: When you see that and think about that, what is your reaction?

P. HENDERSON: Well, it hurts. It hurts to even think about it. It's not a day that goes by that we don't think about it. So, it hurts. He recently graduated from the University of Arizona with his finance degree and he wanted to pursue the fashion industry and he didn't want to go to work on Wall Street right away. So, and we supported him. And he had been to Greece before.

COATES: He had.


P. HENDERSON: So, we really wasn't worried and concerned.

COATES: It's unbelievable to think about where things are. I know you're still fighting.

J. HENDERSON: Yes. COATES: All these years later. And there has been attention never

enough on what has happened and it's why it's so important to get people to know what's happened, especially in light of the news we keep hearing about what it's like for people in a various, and sometimes very different contexts, obviously, but to navigate these systems.


COATES: The fact that the prosecutors are pushing for a tougher sentence, the fact that the prosecutors are saying they deserve to hire one, and there's the availability for that Supreme Court to review. Have you gotten any indication of whether there's hope that the Supreme Court there will look at it without the leaning by our politicians here?

J. HENDERSON: I think the politicians definitely have to play a significant role in order for it to move forward because otherwise, I mean, it's just another black man that's been murdered. So, I mean, the fact of the matter is if we don't get more support from the U.S. and from our legislators, I would say it's a grimmer outlook.

COATES: You need to have their support.

J. HENDERSON: Definitely.

COATES: I don't want to leave here without his parents telling me something that you want them to know -- everyone to know about your. Because I hate the fact that his memory or his name is in connection with the tragedy as opposed to what I'm sure you know of Bakari.

Leave us with something that you think of that makes you smile about your son.

P. HENDERSON: Me, his smile. He, his smile and he loves sports and he love all different type of activities and this time of year, football season's going on and basketball. This is one of those time of the year we'll be just having a good.

J. HENDERSON: And the World Cup. Yes.


J. HENDERSON: I mean --

P. HENDERSON: He loves soccer.

J. HENDERSON: He actually, yes, traveled over to Europe with some friends, and Bakari was an entrepreneur at heart, so every time he went to Europe, which was about 13 times, he paid his own way.


J. HENDERSON: So, he was always an entrepreneur at heart, but he actually went to one of the final games before the World Cup in Europe. So, and they just got in by luck. So, I mean, he loved chess, he loved people, he loved different cultures, never met a stranger. So, he was --

COATES: Well, I bet. I know he loved two more things. Those were his parents as well. And the love that you have for him is very evident. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit more about your son. And I certainly hope that it gets the attention and focus it deserves.

J. HENDERSON: Thank you.

P. HENDERSON: Thank you.

COATES: We'll be right back.



COATES: We have more tonight on the shocking death of Journalist Grant Wahl while he was covering the World's Cup in Doha. State Department is now in, quote, "close communication with Grant Wahl's family." According to spokesperson, Ned Price Wahl had complained of what he called tightness in his chest, that he sought help at the World Cup medical clinic in an episode of football with Grant Wahl published on December 6th.

Now four days before his tragic death he said he believed he had bronchitis. He was given cough syrup and ibuprofen and said he felt better shortly afterward. He said, quote, "this isn't my first rodeo. I've done eight of these on the men's side. And so like, I've gotten sick to some extent at every tournament, and it's just about trying to find a way to like to get your work done." Unquote.

Well, just a few moments ago, we heard from the parents of Bakari Henderson who are fighting for the justice of their son more than five years after he was killed while on vacation in Greece.

Let's get more perspective on our on their legal battle. Back again is Elliot Williams and Nayyera Haq, and we're also joined by Dr. Rashawn Ray, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland at College Park.


I'm so glad that you're all here to tonight in particular.

Dr. Ray, I mean, the heartbreak that these parents are experiencing, the Hendersons over what happened to Bakari. You know, you have two sons of your own, and you and I have spoken frequently about the justice system here in this country, and its difficulties in being navigated really.

Think about that abroad as well and the tensions we're seeing. What's your reaction?

RASHAWN RAY, SENIOR FELLOW, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, I mean, look, I mean, as the father of two black boys, I mean, it just hurts me. What we should be able to see are individuals going abroad to just explore the world. That's what Bakari was aiming to do.

But instead, what we see, whether it's in Greece or the United States, we see injustices and it's important to note, and his parents said this, that we heard the Serbians say this black guy. It suggests that race was part of the equation in what happened to him. And we see that there is no justice in what's happening there.

I think the other thing that's important is there are incidents that happen in the United States, like with Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III, right up the road in Maryland, where we see very similarities in 2017 where young black men being killed. And I mean, it just breaks my heart.

COATES: And you've studied overseas, you're a sociologist, a very well respected one at that. And thinking about in the ways you've even tried to navigate and help to train and educate about issues like implicit and explicit bias and how it finds its way into our justice and legal systems.

In terms of the international component of this, there is a feeling of unsafety. A feeling of that there will not be protection overseas. Can you speak to that?

RAY: Most definitely. So, I spent a long time in Europe. I was teaching at the University of Manheim in Germany. I've traveled around Europe and one of the things that we see, whether it's in the European context or other parts of the world, that our Americanness as black people it's not the same as our Americanness as white people.

And that is one of the things that we have to be realistic about. People have to ask themselves. How much they have heard about this particular story about Bakari. And I think without segments like this, people would not know about it. And I think that's important to note.

And so, as I traveled abroad, I think one of the things that I really noticed is that there are things that we simply cannot do. You're supposed to go spend your money, have a good time, and instead we don't always see that happening. And people's marginalization is something that is always heightened, whether you are in the United States, in Greece, or even in another countries.

COATES: So true. And I want to bring in you as well, I mean, Nayyera, you were with the State Department as well, and you know, one of the things we've heard about from, whether it's the Hendersons we're talking about when you need to have the interaction and involvement, and invested involvement by politicians to what happened with Brittney Griner, and conversations around what happened when they had the ear completely of the president of the United States.

To even Shanquella Robinson, who was killed in Mexico, found unconscious in the villa after traveling there with college friends. The spotlight that is required to be a catalyst internationally very, very apparent.

NAYYERA HAQ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Advocacy works in these situations, but there it does tend to be a bias to highlighting particular stories as if most Americans would empathize with a young white woman dying in Aruba as opposed to a young black woman being killed somewhere else.

It is important to note that there is, Americans have a reputation overseas when we travel, being very carefree, a little naive about safety and security and about other cultures. But part of that is also, largely even our foreign policy has been led by white men.

So, groups like (Inaudible) have been trying to diversify the foreign service, diversify our military even further, and show that there's more to America than just white men.

COATES: Elliot, really quick in the time we have left, I mean the idea of, you know, we do live in a glass house and sometimes our own legal system.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, no, absolutely. And look, I think the challenge here, and my first job at the Justice Department was the domestic security section where we dealt with dealing with other countries and their criminal systems.

You got a couple big problems here real quick. Number one, America's relationship with the other country and that country's laws, right? And you can't just go to another country and try to impose American law in the country. Think about things like speech in other countries that might be held accountable in a way that went here.

It's just really hard and complicated. And sometimes you just can't get accountability in the way you would in the United States.

COATES: A true testimony, you've all indicated of why diplomacy is a perpetual need.


COATES: Thank you so much. And for many this time of year is frankly about giving back, but CNN heroes an all-star tributes salutes 10 extraordinary people who put others first all year long perpetually.

The star-studied gala airs live this Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern. Take a look.



UNKNOWN: Sunday, it's the time of year to be inspired and honor some of humanity's best.

UNKNOWN: We have found homes for almost 3,000 dogs.

UNKNOWN: Our community engagement center used to be the community drug house.

UNKNOWN: I want my grandchildren to have it better than what I have it today. UNKNOWN: It has always wanted to serve other people.

UNKNOWN: Human suffering has no borders. People are people. And love is love.

UNKNOWN: Join Anderson Cooper and Kelly Rippa live as they present the 2022 Hero of the Year.

UNKNOWN: Join me in honoring CNN Hero of the Year.

UNKNOWN: CNN Heroes. an All-star Tribute Sunday at eight.


COATES: It is going to be a great show and you won't want to miss it. So, gather up the family, grab your tissues, and get ready to be inspired. Everyone, thank you so much for watching. Our coverage continues.