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CNN Tonight

District Attorney Says, Memphis Will Release Video Of Tyre Nichols Arrest After 7:00 P.M. ET Tomorrow; Five Fired Memphis Police Officers Will Be Charged With Second-Degree Murder In Tyre Nichols' Death; Tyre Nichols' Mother Calls For Peaceful Protests After Video Is Released Tomorrow; Tyre Nichols Arrest Video To Be Released; Trump Pushes For New Education Policy Proposals; Man Stole A Car Without Knowing There Is A Woman Asleep In The Back Seat. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 26, 2023 - 22:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota and this is CNN TONIGHT.

Memphis is holding its breath, waiting for the release of the video showing exactly what happened to 29-year-old Tyre Nichols after he was pulled over by police on January 7th. Three days later, he was dead. An independent autopsy blamed his death on, quote, extensive bleeding caused by severe beating. And tonight, Tyre Nichols' mother pleads for peace.


RAVAUGHN WELLS, MOTHER OF TYRE NICHOLS: When that tape comes out tomorrow, it is going to be horrific. I didn't see it. But from what I hear, it is going to be horrific. But I want each and every one of you to protest in peace. I don't want us burning up our cities, tearing up the streets because that is not what my son stood for.


CAMEROTA: People who have seen this police body cam video call it shocking, sickening and appalling.


DAVID RAUSCH, DIRECTOR, TENNESSEE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: I've seen the video. As stated you will, too. In a word, it is absolutely appalling. Let me be clear, what happened here does not at all reflect proper policing. This was wrong. This was criminal.


CAMEROTA: So, tomorrow night, the public will see this video. And then what? That is one of the questions that we'll be asking tonight. Because unlike the Rodney King video or the George Floyd video, this time, the police officers in the quickly were quickly fired and today they were arrested and charged with second-degree murder, assault and kidnapping. Will that be enough to calm the community that is demanding justice? And what does seeing violent videos like this do to our national psyche?

So, we have a lot to talk about, we also have a lot of news tonight, but let's begin with what is happening tonight in Memphis.

Joining me now, CNN Senior Crime and Justice Correspondent Shimon Prokupecz, he's in Memphis. We also have Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller here with me in studio.

So, Shimon, tell us what you've learned on the ground there tonight.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, we are all obviously waiting for this video. We expect to see it tomorrow but also, I think, some new details we got from the D.A. today in the press conference that I thought were important. We've been pressing, trying to get answers, timeline. There's a lot of gaps in exactly what happened. And we heard for the first time from the D.A. about some of the -- what happened in the initial encounter with the officers. Take a listen to what the D.A. talked to us about today.


STEVEN MULROY, SHELBY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This initial traffic stop, we won't comment on the presence or absence of legality of the stop but there was a traffic stop and there was an initial altercation involving several officers and Mr. Nichols. Pepper spray was deployed. The suspect -- or not the suspect, Mr. Nichols, fled on foot. There was another altercation at a nearby location at which the serious injuries were experienced by Mr. Nichols. After some period of time of waiting around afterwards, he was taken away by an ambulance. Beyond that, I don't really think we should go into any further details.


PROKUPECZ: And so what are those further details? And the officials here, the D.A. certainly said he is going to let the video speak for itself. But we just haven't had those details, the specifics of what happened.

I thought it was also significant for him to talk about how it took some time for the medics to arrive, for the victim here to get the proper treatment. So, we are starting to learn more, but really authorities here are saying, look, we don't really want to talk about what exactly happened here and that they really want to just allow the video to speak for itself.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Well, obviously, we are all bracing for that. But in the meantime, John, we do have some police scanner audio.


So, this is right before, we're told, that the police beat Tyre Nichols. So, this is them when I think they're first pulling him over. So, let's listen to that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got one male, black running.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Set up a perimeter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) car pulled over at the (INAUDIBLE) have one running on foot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Run that tag and see what's the address.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's fighting at this time.


CAMEROTA: What do you hear there, John?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So, I hear they've made the stop but we don't hear that part and then he is running. And then he comes on and says run that tag and see where it comes back to. So, he has gotten away and they're trying to figure out, well, if he is running home where is that because it could be nearby. And, of course, it is. It's about a half mile away.

CAMEROTA: And that is standard police stuff, right?

MILLER: That's right. I mean, that is what they should be doing. And then the next person you hear on the air has caught up to him and is fighting and calls out the street that it's happening on, which is his street. He is about 80 yards from his home. And then he is calling for backup.

So, there's a whole bunch of questions that Shimon says still need to be answered, but let's go through a couple of them. What was the stop for? This is a missing piece. They said reckless driving originally but what was the reckless driving? No one has articulated that. What was the first altercation about that resulted in him being pepper sprayed and running away? And then what was the second altercation about? All of these are still blanks. What we've been told is that when the tape is released, you're going to see the incident from end to end and some, if not all of these questions will be answered.

CAMEROTA: Shimon, one of the things the police were charged with was aggravated kidnapping. And that got people's attention because what does that mean? So, I know that you asked that question. We were told that that meant that he was sort of unlawfully detained or contained somehow. Do you have any more information on that?

PROKUPECZ: Yes. That was one of those charges that really, I think, caught many of us by surprise because you certainly never see this in these kinds of cases. So, we don't have any clarity. The way the D.A. explained it is you may have had an initial, proper stop and they may have, that may have been legal, let's say. And then as you go through this encounter and you go into the second encounter, then that is where that may have occurred, where it was an illegal detainment of some kind. And because of the nature of this and how this all unfolded and the aggravating circumstances, that is why they charged this kidnapping.

And remember, there are also the allegations here that the victim here was handcuffed during this time, during some of this beating. Certainly, the D.A. wouldn't talk about that and that is something we will likely see in the video. So, that could pertain to that as well.

CAMEROTA: John, they're going to release this video, we are told, tomorrow night at 6:00 P.M. That is a Friday night. At 6:00 P.M. Does that make sense to you? Is that sort of ripe for trouble?

MILLER: If this were in New York City and I was in the NYPD and this came up, I would want this on a Tuesday.

CAMEROTA: A school night, a work night.

MILLER: Yes. But I think what you're seeing in Memphis is they have delivered the beginning of justice. They have brought extraordinary serious charges and a slew of them against each officer. They have arrested them. And one of them has made bail. Others are trying to raise bond. But they are now in the system.

And I think the way they are choreographing this is let's make sure that people see that justice is being done. That is the beginning of it. And then we'll release the tape. Because if they did them together, I think justice would have been largely drowned out by the shock over the tape. I think they wanted people to digest that the system is working and then see the tape. And then they have all day today. They have tonight. They have all day tomorrow up until 5:00 when they're going to release this.

CAMEROTA: 6:00 P.M., I should clarify, 6:00 P.M. local time in Memphis, 7:00 P.M. our time.

MILLER: 7:00 P.M. here. To do that community outreach to say, if we're going to march, let's march together. If we're going to protest, let's protest peacefully. And I think that Memphis is confident that they have a handle on this.

Now, the question is what does it mean in New York and Chicago and L.A., where they're --

CAMEROTA: Yes. And are they prepared?

MILLER: Well, they've been preparing. And, you know, I think they are waiting and watching carefully. And I think they are all going to be watching this tape.

CAMEROTA: John, thank you. Shimon, thank you very much for being on the ground for us.

So, tomorrow the public will finally see this video that shows why five fired Memphis police officers were charged with second-degree murder in the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols. [22:10:02]

It is a video that's been described as vicious and heinous.

Joining me now is someone who has seen it for himself, Ben Crump, he's an attorney for the family of Tyre Nichols. Ben, I always appreciate your time and I always appreciate seeing you even though it is in these horrible circumstances. Can we just talk about this video? You called it deplorable, appalling and heinous. Can you describe the specifics of what we're going to see tomorrow? Can you give us some detail of what we need to brace for?

BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR THE FAMILY OF TYRE NICHOLS: Alisyn, it is going to be heartbreaking. You see the escalation from the very beginning when they encounter Tyre and they are shouting all kind of profanities at him and, I mean, grabbing him and he says, what did I do? I mean, you get to see his humanity during the whole brutal attack. He's asking them, do you all really have to do all of this, they just keep escalating and it is so difficult to watch. Because at one point he says, I just want to go home. And maybe that may explain the kidnapping charges. I don't know. The prosecutor can explain his thinking there. But you wanted just somebody, anybody there to say, hey, this isn't the criminal thug we thought it was. Everybody calm down, just calm down. You never see that. It continues to escalate.

CAMEROTA: One of your colleagues said he was treated like a pinata. Does that mean that they were hitting him with their clubs?

CRUMP: No. It is going to remind you of Rodney King in many regards.

CAMEROTA: Meaning being kicked?

CRUMP: Assaulted, battered, punched, kicked, tased, pepper sprayed. It is very troubling when you think about Tyre only weighs as his family say at most 150 pounds. And so it is hard to watch, Alisyn, and especially at the end of the video when he is calling for his mother, he yells out to her three times, and then you never hear Tyre Nichols say another word anymore on that video.

You see him up against a car sitting down in handcuffs and you see his body fall to the right. And after a minute or so they put him back upright. Then you see his body fall to the left. And they pick him back up and it's obvious he is in distress. You know, he is moaning and nobody renders aid. And that is what is so painful because you wanted some ounce of humanity, somebody to say, hey. We got to try to help him. And it never occurs. And that's what is so troubling about the video.

CAMEROTA: So, Ben, I mean, about that, they didn't call for help? And they're not doing CPR? I mean, what was going on there?

CRUMP: I think they did call for help because even firemen get on the scene and for several minutes, they don't render aid neither. And it is mind boggling, Alisyn, why somebody is not saying, hey, this kid is out of it. Let's try to help him. We got to move. We got to do something. But you don't see that at all. And that is very troubling. And I will say this, Alisyn. The family is relieved that criminal charges have been brought against these officers for the killing of Tyre. But them and many in our community want this to now be the precedent. When you have police officers, whether black or white, commit crimes and it is captured on video, we know that you don't have to wait six months now because a precedent has been set in Memphis with these five black police officers.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And that is what makes it so different, Ben. I mean, you and I have been together far too many times talking about some hideous case like this. Obviously George Floyd springs to mind immediately and watching that -- those nine minutes with George Floyd not getting help. I mean, it was a national trauma for all of us, you know, obviously to have to see that video.

Does the family want this video released? I mean, it is going to be another trauma for people. And what do you think is going to happen, Ben, with the community once it is released? Are you afraid that there will be some sort of inflammatory response?


CRUMP: Well, the family wants the video released, like the community, because they believe transparency is paramount especially if we are going to have accountability and justice and trust. So, for those reasons, they do want the video to be released so hopefully it will be a cautionary tale, Alisyn Camerota, for any other police officer out there.

We thought after George Floyd there would never be a police officer who would not try to render aid to some citizen who is in need. And I think this video, when it is released, is going to evoke strong emotions, very strong emotions.

And so the family of Tyre have asked that everybody, if they are going to protest, to protest peacefully because they talked about Tyre being such a peaceful soul, everything about him. You know, his daily routines, skateboarding, going to take pictures of the sunset, going to Starbucks for his regular crowd to drink coffee and talk and, you know, fraternize with one another. This was Tyre. He was not that criminal or whomever the police thought they were encountering, this organized crime unit. This was a good kid, Alisyn, who should not have been killed in this manner. It was so unnecessary how he was killed and that is what is so heartbreaking.

CAMEROTA: Ben, I always appreciate your time. I always appreciate talking to you. We'll speak again obviously hopefully tomorrow when we're all processing what we're seeing on this video.

CRUMP: Yes, ma'am. Thank you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thanks for being here.

Okay. So, John, you heard Ben saying he has likened this the whole time this video to the Rodney King. And so we all remember those hideous images of kicking, he said tasing, punching, et cetera. And then he said that, and I hadn't heard this before, that Tyre is up against I guess a police cruiser and falls over and they put him back upright and then he falls over the other way and they put him back upright and they weren't rendering aid.

MILLER: So, in Memphis, they have a lot of the same rules major cities have, which is the duty to intervene. That means when things have gotten out of control with an officer or more than one officer, somebody behind them needs to step in and say, okay, okay, that's enough. That didn't happen here. The duty to render aid, that means if somebody that has been -- even somebody fighting with you is injured and they are, as the attorney put it, going out of it, that you are supposed to render aid until professional medical help gets there. That didn't happen there.

But the key to it all is, and this is another thing that Memphis has been working on, is de-escalation, which is when an incident is spinning up, trained, experienced officers are supposed to be able to start to wind it back. That didn't happen.

CAMEROTA: And Memphis has been working on that?

MILLER: Memphis is pretty sophisticated in this regard. They invented back in the '80s the CIT, the crisis intervention teams that found new ways to deal with mentally unhinged people in the streets that caused less injuries and less deaths. They've been looking at their own policies on use of force, pretty advanced on de-escalation, render aid.

CAMEROTA: So, how do we explain it, John? And tell us about this Scorpion group. So, this was a Scorpion - they called themselves the Scorpion group. I'm not sure what that means except that it is lethal. And so what is it?

MILLER: What it is supposed to mean is street crimes operations to bring -- to return peace to our communities --

CAMEROTA: That is what the acronym stands for?

MILLER: -- is what the acronym is.

Scorpion group is 50 officers that had good records as street officers who made gun arrests and were aggressive out on the field. It was put together in really the beginning of 2021 because Memphis had 346 murders. Now, New York City that year had 419 murders. The difference is New York City has 8.6 million people. And Memphis has 630,000.

CAMEROTA: Wow. So, these guys were going to go into high crime areas and they were going to be like a strike force of some kind?

MILLER: They were going to be looking for crimes in progress, looking for criminals, looking for people with guns and, you know, they're operating in plain clothes but they have vests that are clearly marked that say, police. They're in unmarked cars and pickup trucks and Dodge Chargers and things that aren't marked cars that don't necessarily look like unmarked cars. And they are supposed to be able to spot crimes in progress. And, of course, you pick your most aggressive cops for a job like that because you are looking for people who are going to go out there and gauge, but that is also the kind of thing where you need all this additional training and you need supervision.


And there is no supervisor among these five.

CAMEROTA: Well, we need to know more about that and obviously it went horribly wrong. John, thank you. Thanks for all the expertise, really helpful to have you here.

So, next, as Tyre Nichols' mother pleads for peace tonight, we're going to speak to the pastors who led a candlelight vigil tonight.


CAMEROTA: There was a vigil tonight in Memphis where the family of Tyre Nichols remembered him and his mother had a message for the community to stay peaceful.

Joining me now are the pastors who led the vigil, Reverend Vahisha Hasan and Reverend Dr. Andrew Johnson. Thank you both so much for being here. I know to call you Reverend Vicky. So, tell me what the mood was if you can describe it at the vigil tonight.

REV. VAHISHA HASAN, LED VIGIL FOR TYRE NICHOLS TONIGHT: It was thick. It was an atmosphere of pain and hope and love and community and you could feel it. It was visceral.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Johnson, what is going to happen tomorrow? I mean, you have your finger on the pulse of this community. Obviously, Tyre's mother is calling for peace. What do you think is going to happen when people see this video?

REV. DR. ANDREW JOHNSON, LED VIGIL FOR TYRE NICHOLS TONIGHT: I really do think that, first of all, when people see this video first, they're going to be mad, they're going to get angry, they're going to be upset, it is going to be a lot of hurt.


As Reverend Hasan just mentioned, a lot of pain. It is going to be some mixed feelings. But all in all, we are going to stick together and stay together because we're standing with Tyre's family. We're standing with each other and we will come through this.

However, we do want to remind everybody that there is still much, much work to do in the reforms, asking for and pushing for. And so we are going to stay together and be together in this community to do the work that we need to do in order to get it done.

CAMEROTA: Reverend Vicky, it has to be helpful, I imagine, for the community that the police department and the district attorney moved so quickly to try to begin the process of justice for the family, unlike in so many prior tragic cases that we've seen. And so when you say that you're far from over, what are your demands now?

HASAN: So, one is Reverend Vahisha, and there are a couple demands. And I want to start with a little bit of this language. Mama Ro absolutely called for a peaceful protest and the community and organizers and activists, we call for the same call to the police. I've never heard the term peaceful policing. So, if there is a call for peaceful protest, then there needs to be a call for peaceful policing.

So, the demands put out by the family are this. They demand the release of the body cam footage, all footage of what may be both incidents, to charge the officers, to name all officers and public personnel, not just their roles or duties, their stations but their names that were on the scene and then to release the officers' files. This is the call from the family, the demands from the family.

CAMEROTA: So, Reverend Johnson, how is the family? I mean, I know that's that a -- I know the question is grief-stricken, but tonight -- I mean, every time I've seen them, they have been composed enough and strong enough to talk about peace for the community.

JOHNSON: This -- the family, as you can imagine, sad, anxious, worried, just crest fallen. But tonight, by the community, they know the community stands with them and stands for them. They understand that this community is embracing them, loving them and loving on them.

And just for a moment, they felt some sense of happiness and contentment even though it may have been brief. But they felt that from the community and the outpouring of love we shared in the skate park tonight. And I am just so honored and privileged that they allowed us to take part in their -- and to share their grief and mourn with them as they mourn the loss of their son and loved one.

And we are all in mourning right now because there could have been any one of us. And we are just so grateful they allowed us to share in that with them.

CAMEROTA: Well, thank you both for sharing this with us. Dr. Vahisha Hasan and Dr. Andrew Johnson, thank you very much. I really appreciate it.

JOHNSON: Thank you for having us.

HASAN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: The video of Tyre Nichols' arrest is scheduled to be released tomorrow. It is the latest in a string of videos like this, the deaths of George Floyd, Donte Wright, Philando Castile, Rodney King, and so many in between. And what does seeing these video do to our national psyche? Should we watch the video? That is next.



CAMEROTA: Once again, a city bracing for the release of violent police body cam footage. Five former Memphis police officers now facing charges of second-degree murder in the death of Tyre Nichols. How will the community and the country react when this video is released?

Joining me now, CNN political commentator, S.E. Cupp; as well as CNN political analyst, Natasha Alford; and clinical and forensic psychologist, Dr. Jeff Gardere. Great to see all of you.

Natasha, I admit even as a journalist who had to cover innumerable times, I never made it through the nine minutes of the George Floyd video. I tried and I couldn't physical make it through. I had to turn away. Are you going to watch this video when it is released tomorrow?

NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I've reached the point in my life where I don't want to see black people murdered anymore. It is essentially a digital lynching, right? And I say lynching because there was a time in America where people would gather in groups and watch black people be killed for enjoyment, but the message to other black people was don't cross that line, don't do whatever false thing this person was accused of. Don't get outside of what you are supposed to do as a black person in this country.

And so, it is this feeling of fear is hanging over you. If you are a police officer with a body camera and you still do this, you know you are being recorded, what does that mean for the rest of us? It's heart breaking.

CAMEROTA: Are you going to watch, S.E.?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I come at this from a mental health place. Like you, I've had to cover too many of these and school shootings and Syrian genocide. We see things that are awful, sometimes so graphic it doesn't make it to air, but we have to filter it.

Um, I will watch it to cover it. And on one hand you think, gosh, we should have to reckon with the awful reality of police brutality, in this case, school shootings in this case, genocide in another case. But when it comes to mental health, I can speak personally, these have had a horrible impact on my ability to navigate the real world and my world, my small world.


And so, I would ask viewers at home, who have the luxury of not watching, if you're going to do so, do it intentionally, not passively, and know what you are in for, and know that especially -- especially if you're seeing someone that looks like you or that you can relate to, you know, like every kid is my kid. If you are in a community of color, this will have a very acute -- could have a very acute impact on you. I just want people to know that because you carry it around for years.

CAMEROTA: I think that's excellent advice, and that brings us to you, Dr. Gardere. There is a national trauma that S.E. is getting to here. There is a national trauma that when we see it, it leaves -- it leaves its impact on you. JEFFREY GARDERE, CLINICAL AND FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, it really

does. And it reminds me, we talked about this a little bit off air, "Till." I meant "Till," the story. Why did Till's mom want him to be seen in the state that he was in destroyed in that way? And that is the clear message that this is the reality still in the world and in America.

So, if you watch this don't watch it as a voyeur. Watch it knowing what you need to know and that we cannot be desensitized to these things that are happening all the time. The school shootings, gun violence and so on, it becomes a story for a few minutes and then we move on to the next one. But we should not be moving on from this because this is about the life of a person that is gone horribly.

CAMEROTA: And that is what I struggle with. Does watching it desensitize us because we've seen too many of these or do we have to watch it to understand the full horror of it? And I don't know the answer to that.

ALFORD: It is a tension because for some people they never believed, particularly with the black community, was saying about what happened with police until they saw videos, but we always knew what was happening, right?

And -- but for those of us who, again, we know the truth, we know that this happens too often, how are we supposed to believe that a video makes a difference when it keeps happening. If there is no systemic change, why are we, you know, sort of sitting back and doing this ritual? It's like only in America do we watch mass shootings, our kids getting killed, police brutality, and we're like, wow, that is terrible.

CAMEROTA: And then we just --

ALFORD: And it happens again and again.

GARDERE: Yeah. But remember also that there are many places in the country where they talk about that shouldn't be black history, critical race theory, and so on. So, I don't want us to become party of, OK, let's bury this. We know enough about it. We don't need to talk about it. We need to talk about it. We need to see the horror of it so that this is a call to arms for peaceful demonstrations so that people can express their horror and make some real changes when we have this systemic sort of racism.

CAMEROTA: Yeah, I mean, you two have just captured the conundrum, Right there, that is the conundrum. Are we seeing too many of these? Are we not seeing it enough? Do we want to face the horror? I mean, what they're doing, S.E., in releasing it is they say they are doing it for transparency.

I think they've been quite transparent. I mean, in other words, they've arrested the police officers, they've charged them, they've described the appalling nature, as they called it, of this tape. I'm not sure I actually need to see it with my own eyes, but I am going to. CUPP: Yeah.

CAMEROTA: So, in terms of transparency, I already applaud them for that.

CUPP: Yeah. Yeah. And they were quick, too, and I think they've maybe learned from some past mistakes about being quick and on it and not waiting for public outcry to demand it.

GARDERE: That's right.

CUPP: That's he good news.

CAMEROTA: And a good progress.

GARDERE: That's right. When they demand it -- if you have to demand it, then it says that you're trying to hide something so you better put it out there.

CUPP: That's right.

CAMEROTA: That's right. Friend, thank you very much.

Okay. So, up next, in the world of politics, there is a new battle tonight over who will take command of the culture wars. We're going to discuss next.




CAMEROTA: More culture wars in the classroom. Just days after potential presidential hopeful, Governor Ron DeSantis, announced he would reject an AP African American studies course. Former President Trump is out with his own education proposals. Back with me S.E. Cupp and Natasha Alford join --


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: -- any school or program pushing critical race theory, gender ideology or other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content on to our children, as the saying goes personnel is policy, and at the end of the day, if we have pink haired communists teaching our kids, we have a major problem.


CAMEROTA: OK. Now back with me is S.E. Cupp and Natasha Alford. And joining is also CNN's senior political analyst, John Avlon. Wow.

CUPP: I like to scare quotes -- scare quotes around --

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Eeducation. CAMEROTA: Because I mean it's some level funny, but this has nothing to do with academics what he is talking about. He has just gone full scale CRT and kitty litter.

CUPP: He's also well point out just as a matter of fact, this isn't conservative either. This --

CAMEROTA: Oh, gosh.

CUPP: -- wildly expands the role of government in your education and the way public schools operate. So, that's just an aside. But it is --

AVLON: Yeah, that train left the station a long time ago, yeah.

CUPP: But it is red meat for the base. I think Trump is not wrong that parental rights issues have become issues for people like Glenn Youngkin and Ron DeSantis. It's become a major signature issue for Ron DeSantis who might, you know, be facing Trump for the Republican nomination. So, I think he is trying to knee cap him a bit by taking on his signature issue and saying I'll go even crazier.


CAMEROTA: Oh, Ron DeSantis should sue for theft. I mean, that -- this is straight --

CUPP: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- out of the Ron DeSantis playbook. And, obviously, Former President Trump has been paying attention. So, you know, when his first go round, he talked about -- when he was running for president the first time -- school choice --

AVLON: Yeah.

CAMEROTA: -- which was sort of, you know, a conservative tenet.


CAMEOTA: No longer.

AVLON: No. Look, I think it is very telling that he's just tripling down. And you know, you know want to win (ph) polls badly, culture wars in the classroom, right? And yet, this is -- this is an all opposition strategy. It does play well to the base.

But, you know, that shift -- I'm glad you pointed out -- because school choice is something that actually pulls well. The Republicans can have an edge on it. Look what governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa just passed, controversial certainly among Democrats but something that's substantive policy wise and you can use as a differentiator and maybe even pick up some independents senators.

This is all played to the base. It's all about demonization. Now, some folks on the left won't maybe be aware of why it resonates so much, you know. There is a certain element of the act of this class that feeds into these narratives. It might as well be given in kind contribution to the RNC every day. But it's largely a straw man and it's nothing to do with education and it just it sees (inaudible).

CAMEROTA: So why does it -- but why does it resonate so much?

AVLON: Oh, well, because I think people are furious at the idea that there is ideology and partisanship impacting their kids' education in the classroom and this is why these issues, whether it be CRT, which isn't, taught in the vast majority of schools, for example, or, you know, transports or elevated by these politicians.


CUPP: Well, also, because you do -- but you also do have Democrats like Terry McAuliffe saying parents don't have any rights in the classroom and we think politicians should be making more decisions, I mean to John's point.

CAMEROTA: I mean (inaudible) result?

CUPP: Yes. Some Democrats really feed into this narrative and it doesn't -- it doesnt help the policy argument on either side.

ALFORD: It is a strategy that works though when you frame it as a parent's issue, right?


ALFORD: This goes back to busing. OK. So, this is nothing new. This is just part of the playbook. Get the parents upset about their rights being taken away, create problems that aren't actual problems in education. I am a former teacher.

CAMEROTA: Is that right?

ALFORD: OK. Middle school, English.

CAMEROTA: Who knew?

ALFORD: Shout out to Washington, D.C.

AVLON: Hey, now.

ALFORD: OK. Made lesson plans and all of that. And I could tell you our struggles were poverty in the classroom, needing more help with mental health support. How about that? Mass shootings in our schools. Nothing was serious about this video. I think that is really the insult to the teachers, the students, and the parents. It wasn't a serious policy conversation.

I will give you one thing though, teacher pay. He alluded to the idea of increasing teacher pay. He based it around merit, but that is something if you want to, you know, change the talent pipeline, let's talk about that. Everything else was a joke to me.

CAMEROTA: But not for the pink-haired communist. CUPP: Look out, pink-haired communist.

CAMEROTA: What school is that? What school is there a pink-haired communist teacher?

CUPP: It sounds -- it sounds -- it sounds fabulous. No. Of course, not. That's not real.

CAMEROTA: But I mean, on a different -- on a different level, S.E., does this mean he is -- he is taking a page from Ron DeSantis because he is afraid Ron DeSantis has gained a lot of ground on this in the base -- the Trump base?

CUPP: Well, he didn't -- he -- you know, Ron DeSantis can say I implemented this. You're talking about it, but I've done it. And so, preempting him, he can say, well, I want to do it too and I'm going to do it at a crazy cartoonish federal level that he probably can't even do it at, but I'm going to like sort of outdo him a little bit, which is Trump's -- it's his thing. It's what he does.

ALFORD: There's a little more charisma, right? The video was a little more charismatic than DeSantis. But DeSantis, as you said, is actually doing it and I think that's the scary part.

CAMEROTA: John, you're consummated.

AVLON: I mean, like, it's just the performer (ph) of nonsense we're playing into to some extent. I mean, yeah, Trump is trying to outdo Ron DeSantis and this is all about, you know, play the base and it's not about serious policy. It's not about helping kids. It's not about, you know, elimination.

Here is what really pisses me off. We have been convinced we're deeply divided along partisan lines about things like education, how American history should be taught. And yet, you know, studies come out showing that there's a massive perception gap. There's this feedback loop between the far right and the far left, and we are not as divided. The right -- most conservatives are not nearly as far right as Democrats think they are.

CAMEROTA: That is true of every issue, yeah.

AVLON: Yeah. But particularly around American history and our education. And that really matters because we are a nation that depends upon finding common ground on ideas and our national story. The good, the bad, and the ugly, we got to teach a holistic picture of this country. But our country uniquely depends on that. So, when these cultural war inflamed and artificially divide, it makes us feel more divided than we are.

CUPP: But of Trump voters are --

CAMEROTA: I really appreciate (ph) that. I really appreciate that one.

CUPP: But if Trump voters aren't afraid of something and a bunch of things, then why are they going to vote for Trump? He knows that. He knows they need to be afraid, and he is the savior. He's the only one that can make them feel better at the end of the day.

CAMEROTA: OK. Friends, thank you for all of that. Now, check this out, if you would. A man steals a car with the owner's wife asleep in the back. I feel like this would happen to me. A car chase ensues. We have the video right after this.




CAMEROTA: Here's a scary story. Imagine being asleep in the backseat of your car when a car thief jumps and steals it. That's what happened to a woman in Wisconsin and it was all caught on police dash cam. Police say Kyle Michael Wagner stole a car at a gas station when the driver got out. But the driver's wife was still in the car asleep. And when Wagner realized that, he became agitated and started, quote, "driving like crazy." The woman called 9-1-1 and kept the phone on while talking to Wagner. Listen to this.


UNKNOWN: No, no, I'm not telling anything. Because I'm really scared, you know, you should get back.

KYLE MICHAEL WAGNER: All right. All right. I will.

UNKNOWN: Please now.

WAGNER: OK. I'll go back.

UNKNOWN: No, you are not.

WAGNER: I turned around.

UNKNOWN: No, you're not turning around.


CAMEROTA: Gosh, please said Wagner sped to the opposite lane, reaching 90 miles per hour and they had to use what is called a pit maneuver to stop the vehicle.


Fortunately, the woman was rescued unharmed. The thief was arrested and according to a court document told police he did not remember everything that happened because he was using fentanyl and methamphetamine.

OK. We'll be back with a lot more news in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CAMEROTA: In a matter of hours, Memphis officials will release video of what happened when police pulled over 29-year-old Tyre Nichols. Just last hour I spoke to Nichols family attorney, Ben Crump, who has seen the video and told us what to expect.