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CNN Tonight

Memphis Police Reveal Two More Officers Involved In Nichols Incident Relieved Of Duty; Shelby County D.A. On Second-Degree Murder Charges, We Have A Strong Case; Video Of Nichols' Beating By Police Raises Concerns About Impact Of Violent News And Videos On Mental Health; Manhattan Prosecutors Begin Presenting Trump Case To Grand Jury; Man Who Drove Family Off To Cliff Charged With Attempted Murder; Winter Storm Warning In Texas. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 30, 2023 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good evening, everyone. I'm Laura Coates and this is CNN TONIGHT.

Two additional Memphis police officers have now been relieved of duty in the wake of the killing of Tyre Nichols. We are learning Officer Preston Hemphill,, who, according to Memphis police, quote, participated in the initial traffic stop and the use of a taser, unquote, and another officer who hasn't yet been made. Well, they both have been relieved of their duty. And three Memphis Fire Department personnel have also been fired over the response to Tyre Nichols beating scene. And that this is in addition, everyone, to five police officers who have already been not only relieved of their duties, as in fired, but also charged.

The D.A. saying, quote, this is an ongoing investigation. We are looking at all individuals involved in the events, leading up to, during, and after the beating of Tyre Nichols. In a moment, we're going to do a deep dive into this case, the evidence, and what it will take to actually prosecute this case. But as a family and a community and a nation mourn, the funeral for Tyre Nichols is now set for this coming Wednesday, a funeral for a 29-year-old stopped by police and later beaten beyond recognition just a mere 80 yards from his own home calling for his mother. The whole thing caught on videos that are still heartbreaking to watch.

I'm not going to sit here and pretend that every time I hear those videos, every part of me does not flinch. And my stomach does not turn. And I don't think of my own son and everyone else's sons and all the mothers whose heart aches because of what you're hearing. And those videos, they haunt anybody who has watched them.

And a question aside from the legality, aside from the illegality, aside from all of the contours and the nuance to trying to pick apart prosecutors and the court of public opinion, in the court of law, I've been wondering a lot about what we do with our horror and what we do with the pain. And what is seeing this over, and over, and over again, not just in this case, but so many others, what does this do to our psyches and our society when perhaps there's inability to compartmentalize and a refusal to do so with that. We're going to dive deeper into that in a little bit.

I want to bring in Memphis City Councilman J.B. Smiley Jr. as well. Councilman, thank you for being here this evening. For so many people who have watched this and watched different parts of this video over and over again, one of the things people are pointing out are the number of other officers who are on the scene. We know that five have been charged, others they're calling it relieved of their duty. First of all, I'm not sure if that's supposed to be meaning fired. Does that mean administratively dismissed and they're receiving pay? Does that mean there's an investigation? Do you have a sense of what this relieved of duty phrase really means there?

J.B. SMILEY JR., MEMPHIS CITY COUNCILMAN: Well, relieved of duty essentially means in the city of Memphis that the individual is no longer working for the department, but it does not mean fired. They administrative process has to take place in order for the individual to be fired. And the administrative process is not included yet.

COATES: Interesting because, of course, that's one of the things that people or honing in on with the five officers who were not only fired pretty quickly but charged, indicted, obviously. And there is a distinction now in terms of the other one we don't know the name of and one whose name we do know. Do you think we're going to see charges for additional officers more broadly, or even the personnel, the medical personnel, who were on scene as the EMTs and fire department and failed to provide, allegedly, adequate services?


SMILEY: Well, for me, I think every officer, every law enforcement officer, every EMT and every individual who showed up on the scene should be immediately terminated. But just because they violated policy, that does not necessarily mean criminal culpability. And there's hope for the prosecutor to -- the district attorney to decide.

But as it relates to changing the sense of culture, I think it's necessary in order to move forward as a community if every individual showed up to the scene, Mr. Hemphill especially.

COATES: Well, Mr. Hemphill, he was, I believe, one of the officers who was initially involved in the traffic stop and the tasing incident, I believe, right? He made the comment, if I'm not mistaken, about hoping that this young man would be stomped in some way. I am wondering, particularly with him, tell me why you feel he, in particular, ought to face accountability.

SMILEY: I think when you look at it, what the entire world is saying, they talk about, it's not just black officers against black individuals, it's not just white police officers against black individuals, it's the culture. It's blue versus black and brown people. It's blue versus poor people. And if you want to drive at a culture that says that excessive force is commonplace, they say that abuse of power is accepted, you have to start with the rule calls. And the rule calls is the mentality that you can do whatever you want to and there're no consequences.

And Mr. Hemphill's comments about stomping Mr. Nichols to the ground is the first problem. You have to drive it out by setting an example.

COATES: Frankly, for a number people who are on the scene, to your larger point, anyone could be the poster child of what never to do and hope to never do in a civilized society, let alone those who wear the uniform and profess to be peace officers.

I do wonder, though, one of the rhetorics we often hear when we are talking about officer involved deadly encounters is that there are questions about not only police morale and recruiting but also the safety of a community if officers tend to have some sort of a backlash or retaliate through inaction down the line. Do you see anything like this happening in Memphis right now where officers, or as a culture, or as a community of a force, are somehow approaching this as hands off, and not wanting to do the work?

SMILEY: Not at all. But I think we look at it at a greater context. I think there is a nationwide shortage of police officers already. But the officers that we do have, they take their job very seriously. They're not taken a hands-off approach. They're taking an approach that this is my job, I'm going to attempt to fulfill my duties every single day. I think this is a non-issue and misdirection.

COATES: I certainly hope it is, and I certainly hope as we look to the funeral this coming Wednesday of Tyre Nichols, what will it mean to the community of Memphis, the nation more broadly, that this man will have his funeral at the age of 29 and, inexplicably, as to why his life was lost.

SMILEY: I think it is heartbreaking and heartbreaking for community, heartbreaking for the entire nation to have this conversation, to watch what transpired to Nichols on film. But we've been having this conversation for several years now. It didn't start just Eric Brown or Philando Castile. Now, it is Mr. Nichols.

I think as a nation we have to understand that, at some point, we have to accept the fact that it's the entire system. The entire system needs to be changed. We have to shift from a culture of accepting excessive force but to go into these police departments and make quarter changing decisions.

COATES: Really important point. Councilman, thank you so much. I appreciate your time this evening.

SMILEY: Thank you for the opportunity.

COATES: I mean, the idea of never again to once again, here we are. And five fired Memphis police officers have each been charged with second-degree murder and some are questioning whether prosecutors can make that charge stick. Well, Shelby County's D.A., Steven Mulroy, who's bringing these charges, is saying this about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEVEN MULROY, SHELBY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Under Tennessee law, in order for one to prove that there is a knowing killing, the only thing one must prove is that one acted with the course of conduct whereas the defendant was reasonably certain that death may result. And we believed that all of the evidence taken together will show that, and we are confident that we have a strong case.


COATES: Well, the D.A. is confident in this case. To take a close look at why that might be, what evidence he has so far through the eyes of what we have all seen from publicly available information, and, of course, everything we are seeing, certainly, is not going to be the totality of what the prosecutors are going to be looking at and the investigation continues.


But I'm joined now by Defense Attorney and former Federal Prosecutor Shan Wu, and Attorney and Legal Affairs Commentator Areva Martin. I'm glad that both of you are here because I really want to walk through and unpack a little bit about the second-degree charge. He used the word, knowing. But there are certain moments that I want to pick out from the video that really, I think, demonstrate in part, and I'll begin with you here, Shan, if we're breaking this down.

There first this horrible scene where you see him, Shan, being punched while he is restrained by officers, and I don't mean restrained in the sense that he is fighting back, but his arms, clearly, are being held. He has no opportunity to defend himself. He is holding his feet and miraculously standing up but enduring something incredible incredibly violent here.

And now, Shan, when you look at this moment and think about the second-degree charge, about knowing behavior, knowing that the behavior or the culmination of it could lead to something deadly, what do you see?

SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I'm really focusing on that restraint aspect that his hands are tied behind him. He is defenseless. He can't even hold up his hands to protect his head. And I think in that instance, when you are any person, much less a police officer, you have someone who's helpless, and you are teeing off and hitting them like that, I think that supplies the knowing part of that. That's going to be a very serious injury no matter who it is.

COATES: And, Areva, on that point too, I mean, it so often we think about officers being able to talk about the use of force, but it is essentially the amount of force necessary to repel a lethal force or some force against you, in other words, self-defense. When you look at that and see that this person, Tyre Nichols, is in no way striking back in any way, shape, or form, what does that say to you about culpability for trying to pursue a charge when there's no use of force or self-defense?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It says to me, Laura, that the prosecution has a very strong case. In addition to the beating that we saw that Shan just talked about, that happened while Mr. Nichols hands were behind his back and he was defenseless. To me, what was so telling about the charge of the knowing killing is when he is on the ground, and they start kicking him in the head.

Police officers know that when you use your foot and you kick someone in the head, they know how deadly those kinds of -- that kind of contact can before any individual. And they didn't just kick him once, Laura. They kicked him multiple times in the head. And these officers also knew, Mr. Nichols, we never talked about this a great deal, he only weight about 145 pounds. He was a tall, very thin man.

So, I have a son, and I was having this conversation with my husband who weighs about that amount, and he says, even just a slight push on our son causes him to fall backwards. So, we were just thinking about what was happening to Mr. Nichols' body to have these five men, all of whom were much bigger than him, use their body weight to hit him, to punch him, to restrain him, and then to kick him in the head as he lie defenselessly on the ground.

So, I don't think these defendants, Laura, are going to make any argument. I think they're going to be rushing to see who can tell on the other person, who can try to get a deal to prosecutors. This is not a case they want to have tried before a jury.

COATES: Interesting enough, I was talking to Shan about this before we came on today about the idea of what happens next. And some people would think, as to your very point, Areva, why take it to trial and why would one do this. If you think about looking for a cooperative, if you're the prosecutor, what do I need you a cooperator for? I've got videotapes, right? What is my incentive to try to give you a plea other than, of course, to secure that conviction and not take the chance, because we all know, juries, perhaps they can have a different thought process than what the evidence, at times, shows.

But I want to play these two clips back-to-back. They are very difficult for me. I'm sure they are for both of you, as well. We are all parents, and thinking about what this means. And the first one I'm going to play for you is him calling out for his mother. We've heard this repeatedly. It frankly brings tears to my eyes every time I hear the gut wrenching cry for his mother. And I hope to God she never hears this video for that reason.

The second one is when he is no longer able to speak clearly but he had just sounds emitting out of his body. Listen.


COATES: I played those two because, Shan, there is obviously physical injury to him. There is obviously a change between him being able to enunciate and speak, two sounds of pain, and extraordinary chest injury coming from his body. When you look at that, not as the parent, not as visceral action of a human being but as a prosecutor, what does that tell you?

WU: Well, it is very strong evidence for the knowing part this person is already very injured. You know, from a defense standpoint, those officers could argue, I couldn't tell, I'm not a doctor, that something was going wrong with him. I thought was high on drugs, something like that. They can argue those things or their council will, because I doubt that they will testify. But the problem for them goes back to the fact that there is no evidence of him resisting. There's no reason that they need to continue to apply force to him, and that is heart of the problem for them. But they can certainly put up arguments, like I'm not doctor, I didn't realize that his condition was deteriorating. But I think for the jury, that's going to be devastating evidence against these defendants because you can see the terrible downhill decline right in front of your eyes.

COATES: You really can. Don't worry, stick around. Areva, we're going to bring you back in the conversation as well in just a moment. But just to reiterate that point, I mean, remember, oart of what they had said, the D.A., and part of the firing as well from the Memphis police chief was the failure to intervene, and the failure to render aid and what the duty was owed to somebody in their custody at this point. Remember, custody, not free to leave.

This is a criminal case, everyone, that we decided in a court of law. But, of course, the brutality that was unleashed on Tyre Nichols and captured in these videos, it is extremely hard to watch. And I am wondering what these videos, videos like these are doing to our mental health, and, frankly, how do we talk about what is happened? We'll go there next.



COATES: By now, frankly, millions of Americans have watched the video of Memphis police officers beating, fatally beating, Tyre Nichols. Now, for many of us, it is our way of perhaps bearing witness but videos like that, they are so hard to watch. And I know I don't have to tell you this, they take a toll and it's extraordinary one.

I want to talk about now with CNN Political Commentator Scott Jennings, former White House Senior Director Nayyera Haq and Dr. Jeff Gardere, a clinical and forensic psychologist.

Dr. Gardere, I want to begin with you here because, selfishly, I mean, with the work that I do and the work that we all really are a part of, we are required to obviously convey and inform and illuminate, and it requires a level of compartmentalizing. But there are far too many moments in between me being on this camera where it is difficult to reconcile what we are seeing and, it is haunting. And I wonder how you can advise people about how to deal with this.

DR. JEFFREY GARDERE, CLINICAL AND FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, first of all, 2018, a Lancet study showed that when we are watching these very violent videos of people being attacked in real life, that it can have an effect on us, PTSD, acute stress disorder, insomnia, anxiety of reliving that nightmare that we've seen over and over again. So, it does affect us. You don't have to be right there when it's happening, watching it on video effects, all of us. We've seen with broadcast journalists, Laura, you are talking about what you've been experiencing, watching this video over and over again, seeing this happening over and over again.

So, I think it is really important that you, journalist, but all of us debrief and we see these particular horrific things, that we lean on people who get it, people who can understand us when we talk about what that pain feels like, what that anger feels like. But it's also important to share with people who have hope and who can give some insight as to how we can do better and recapture our humanity.

COATES: It's important point in thinking about just Tyre Nichols' own mother has said that she refuses to watch what's happened, and, God, I understand why. But there is something to be said, and I wonder if you can speak to the idea of people who were saying, I'm choosing not to watch it. I cannot, I cannot. And there's always this debates, perhaps internally, perhaps societally about a responsibility to stay informed and to see what has happened and also the grace to give oneself to say, I cannot.

GARDERE: Yes. And I absolute respect people who say that they cannot watch this. Perhaps they've already been traumatized by watching these other cases of police brutality, mass shootings, gun violence before and they can't do it any longer. And you have to know what your limits are. Certainly, we don't want children to see this. But also understand that there are those of us who have to watch it. You have to watch it. Your guests, Laura, here have had to watch it. I've had to watch it.

Hopefully, there are enough people in society who have to watch this so that we can be reminded that this is a continuing issue with regards to systemic and maybe even overt racism and how it hurts black and brown people. So, we have to be witness, but certainly those who cannot watch it, we have to respect that.

And there's also other ways to learn about this without having to watch the videos, so we can read about what has happened, which maybe a little less traumatic.


COATES: Let me bring in two parents and friends of mine who are on the set as well, Nayyera Haq and Scott Jennings. We all have children, varying ages, Scott has like 30 children. You and I have two. But thinking about this, have you let your kids see this? I mean, do you have these conversations. Yours are young?

NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR: Six and two, and so they just coming into their awareness of the world. And they are black children, and so they are just starting to understand what that history means for them and their role in society. So, my eldest, at six, is still understanding that, at some point in time, not in the distant past, people of his skin other were enslaved by other people.

And so we've talked about Martin Luther King, we've talked about power and what that means but he still trusts police and society and authority to take care of him. And I need him to be able to go to a police officer if somebody is following him home from kindergarten and feel comfortable running to a police officer and trusting that.

So, I don't want to violate the trust but I do, at some point, want him to have it awareness that his childhood understanding of fair and unfair and what it means to have power and what violence means only continues and expands in society in all of these ways. And so I'm not trying to deny him that information. I don't want him to have his head in the sand as he grows older, but you can have awareness but still not avoid the topic.

COATES: Scott?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Friday night, when the video came out, my nine-year-old and I were out together. We got on the car, and when we turn on the car, CNN was on and so we could hear the audio. The audio was playing like some of the worst of it. So, in that split-second, I had to decide like what to tell, because he said, what is happening? It was shocking.

And so I just ended up just saying, okay, let me just tell you what happened. And we talked through the news of it. And he had some questions and it was -- we ran the car for 25 minutes or so and we had what I think was a good conversation about it. He's nine. He follows the news. He's paying attention to the world. My assumption was he was going to hear about it anyway. And so I wanted to talk to him about what I thought, what I knew at the time and what was happening.

And it ended up being a conversation. But I'll be honest I'm where that he heard the audio and if it's like on his mind, and to your point, you know, you want children to believe that if something is happening to them, there are in authority figures that they can turn to. You don't want to mistrust all the authority figures that might be in our society or in their life if something -- if they witnessed something happening or something is happening to them. So, it is worrisome.

And I've second guess myself since it happened. Should I have just like that, oh, it's an old story? Should I basically told him not to worry about it?

HAQ: I am so glad when we were talking about this and hearing this, that not only did you choose the path of awareness without showing him graphic video, but that this is the type of conversation on another generation of young white people need to have that I now am tapping into a history of black families having to have a different type of conversation with their black sons about driving.

So, the video and audio, painful an awful as it is, is showing all of us collectively as a society that all these stories have been true. It still happens. We were talking about in our younger years being made aware of Rodney King in that video 30 years ago. And now, I'm going to have to have a similar conversation with my son at some point, and I don't know that I can tell him what's changed in this process.

COATES: Really important. And for my own, my children have not seen it, but, man, the added dimension of talking about this being black officers. I'm not sure how their little minds are reconciling what they have learned about race in America and what they have learned about power in this country. So, we're going to keep this conversation going.

There are also very big developments in two cases, two legal cases perhaps far more comfortable to tell our children about, which is quite telling. They involve former President Trump. And they both involve testimony before grand juries. We'll explain, next.



COATES: First on CNN, we're learning tonight that two people hired to search Former President Trump's properties for classified documents have testified before a federal grand jury. The two found classified material inside a Florida storage facility. And a source telling CNN they testified for about, well, three hours each, that as "The New York Times" is reporting that the Manhattan D.A. has begin presenting evidence to a grand jury about former presidents role in playing hush money to Stormy Daniels 2016.

Here with me now to discuss, CNN political commentator, Scott Jennings, former Obama White House senior director, Nayyera Haq, and defense attorney and former prosecutor. Shan Wu is back with us as well.

Let me begin here with you, Shan, the idea of a grand jury is being in panel and talking about these issues. Is there one that sticks out in your mind as creating a greater legal peril?

SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND FORMER PROSECUTOR: Oh, absolutely. I'm sorry, which two are we talking about?


COATES: One of the ones we're talking about. Point taken.

WU: Right. I would say that, well, to me it's a little bit of a frustrating exercise that the Stormy Daniels issue is just servicing now after all the --

COATES: Seven years later?

WU: Right, seven years. I mean, from other reporting, it looks like bar justice department meddled in that. I, frankly, feel like Albert Bragg (ph) should've continued to pursue the other Trump charges since the former D.A. as well as his career prosecutors, and those closest to the case felt they should.


But he seems more emboldened now to do that. And I think it's a very simple case, really, and I don't know what the holdup would be. So I think if he chooses to go forward on the hush money case that should be a pretty easy conviction to secure. NAYYERA HAQ FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: The irony of this is that the president -- Former President Trump is coming off of a weekend of campaign events reminiscent of 2016. And I'm like, oh, of course Stormy Daniels is back in the news, you know, good for her for getting another 10 minutes of the public eye out of this.

But it's that idea of what's old is new again. It hasn't changed. Some of the messaging were still the same as last weekend too of Trump is still angry. And now, there's, you know, a possibility of the affair and hush money, and it just -- it hasn't changed and we are all tired.

COATES: Hasn't changed what, the approach of Republicans towards him or the idea of --

HAQ: That this is even part of a conversation this long. Six, seven years later, we are still having a similar conversation. It's dejavu and these cases were not resolved, right? So, we may have resolved it emotionally and politically of trying to move on, but the legal system, as it -- as you said, whether it's interference or just the slow wheel of justice, is bringing all this back, right at this political moment when we're considering what the future of our country should look like.

COATES: Michael Cohen might think it's a faster wheel of justice on these very issues, right? He was convicted similarly in this situation. But your point is not lost and the idea of they have a lot of people who were thinking of all the things that Donald Trump, the former president, had coming at him that it would either disincentivize him for running, it would discourage him, it would eliminate him from the ranks. But no one seems to be essentially putting the nail in the political coffin to do anything proactive to have that happen?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think DeSantis, governor of Florida, appears to me like he's going to run. And of all the possible opponents, he's clearly and by far the strongest. I don't know exactly how these legal issues are going to affect Trump's standing, but I know there are a lot of Republicans out there who are ready to move on. They're just looking for the next (inaudible). And DeSantis seems like a fair bet.

On the Stormy Daniels business, a, I thought you said the segment would be easier for us to talk to our children about; B, I think the idea --

COATES: It could be. I mean, I don't know if you talk to kids about. I don't know at what time the birds in the beast comes up. I don't know your situation.

JENNINGS: The idea that he would be indicted -- because of all the things that have happened on this guy, he's done -- this has gone on, the idea that he will be indicted --

COATES: Insurrection.

JENNINGS: -- for this as opposed to overthrowing the U.S. government, trying, or whatever, it -- to me, it's so trivial. I'm not saying -- maybe he did, but I don't know. But it just strikes me that the Georgia case, serious case; the January 6 case is serious, serious things that we all are sort of horrified about that.

COATES: The documents perhaps?

JENNINGS: This thing here, I mean --

HAQ: But this is how --

JENNINGS: -- we haven't talked about Stormy Daniels in years. And now, you're telling me the Manhattan D.A. is going to say, we got now. On what? Stormy Daniels. It makes no sense.

COATES: Have you ever heard the phrase the straw that breaks the camel's back, that is (inaudible) -- I don't know.

JENNINGS: It's not going to be -- this is going to seem ridiculous to people when the other ones aren't -- when the other ones aren't.

COATES: Yeah. And that will put --

WU: It's trivial because it's easier to prove. So, in terms of holding him accountable, slam dunk, really easy to prove --

JENNINGS: For what?

WU: The case.

JENNINGS: What did -- what did -- explain this to me.

WU: Campaign finance, by the way.

HAQ: It's for -- it's for a crime that has actually toppled other governments in other democratic countries. It is corruption. It is paying people off, bribery. And we have just lost perspective with, as you said, all the other bad things that have happened that have been out there that this does seem just trivial because it was not that long ago that we were upset and horrified when presidents just step out of their marriage, let alone actually involve other endeavors.

COATES: I got to tell you, I remember not telling that we're reporting of how the Manhattan DA's office did not want a particular book published because they wanted to have more information on an ongoing investigation. And we all thought, what's the ongoing investigation and why not? Well, I guess, we are learning some more information about that tonight.

But, see, Scott, that was easier to talk about to your kids. I don't know.

JENNINGS: Daddy, what's the Stormy Daniels thing?

COATES: I don't want to be in your house tonight. So, think about that. But she is a noted director, thank you very much. A car plunging some 250 feet off of a cliff on the California coast, and all four family members survived. But, prosecutors alleged that the driver did it on purpose. And now, he is charged with attempted murder of his wife, and his two children. That story is next.




COATES: Well, tonight, a California man is facing three counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors alleged that 41-year-old Dharmesh Patel intentionally drove his wife and two young children off a 250-foot cliff on a stretch of coastal highway south of San Francisco just earlier this month. And astonishingly, everyone in the car survived.

For more on the story, I'm joined now by CNN correspondent, Veronica Miracle. Veronica, what is the latest you're learning tonight about what is really a truly shocking case?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is very disturbing, Laura. And the district attorney says they, in fact, have enough evidence to believe that Dharmesh Patel deliberately tried to kill his own wife, and children, when he drove hundreds of feet off of that cliff.

When this first happened, first respondent said it was nothing short of a miracle that all four family members survived and you can see in that video it speaks for itself. The car is hardly recognizable.


Dharmesh Patel was in court today. He has been charged with three counts of attempted murder, two of those counts enhanced with domestic violence charges. And when he was in court today, the San Mateo County District Attorney said that they don't have enough evidence exactly -- or excuse me -- they currently at this point were not able to share with us exactly what the motive was. But they were able to share with us exactly what that evidence was. Take a listen?


STEVE WAGSTAFFE, SAN MATEO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I would put in a couple categories of evidence here. Number one would be eyewitness testimony, the people who are driving behind him, described for us very, very good about the vehicle's movements, the fact of lack of brake lights, things of that nature.

And then, number two, on Tom Lantos tunnel, there is a -- there are cameras on that. So, we have video showing the movement of the car as it went -- after the tunnel, up the hill, when turned off of the road, and then turn go down the cliff.


MIRACLE: And Patel just got out of the hospital on Friday and that's why he was in court today. Laura?

COATES: The D.A. said that they haven't spoken with the suspect's wife yet. Veronica, what do we know about the condition of his family, including his children?

MIRACLE: Well, the district attorney did tell us that the wife was seriously injured but she has since been out of the hospital for a couple of weeks. The 7-year-old child also had injuries, but is recovering. And that 4-year-old child, incredibly, was not injured.

But the district attorney has said that a couple of weeks ago, the wife's attorney contacted prosecutors, and said, until she is physically able to speak to investigators, she does not want to do any kind of interview. And so that still has not happened yet. Laura?

COATES: Thank you veronica. I want to bring in now Shan Wu and also Ariva Martin is back with us. I mean, Shan, the DA is saying that this is being treated as a domestic violence case as well. How will that impact this investigation?

WU: Well, with domestic violence cases, I think the testimony of the wife is going to be critical. Obviously, there's the children involved, too. That's very delicate situation, as you know. You have that child specialist. And, as a prosecutor, you don't really want to have those children be testifying against their father.

I was taken aback at some of the reporting I saw where the judge did not grant a full no contact order against the defendant in this case, which I think was a very odd situation. But I think the wife's testimony will be really critical and all the speculation about motive. But as the DA alluded to, you already have evidence without the motive.

COTES: Domestic violence cases, Ariva, can be so volatile and leading to what we have seen here. And I just wonder, does it surprise you they have not yet spoken to the wife or gotten her before a grand jury of some kind or interviewed yet?

AREVA MARTIN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: It really doesn't, Laura. Given the significance of this accident or what she's saying is an intentional effort to kill her, and her children, and there is some reporting out there that she told the paramedics, as they were taking her out that car, and lifting her off that cliff that it was intentional.

So, I think that statement that she apparently gave to those first responders is playing into the prosecutor's decision to charge the husband with attempted murder with the enhancement for domestic violence. I think -- basically -- well, I think it is very logical for the prosecutor to wait until she is better, until she's recovered, until she's able to give a full statement. It's such a tragic case, but we know all too often women die as a result of domestic violence. We have seen these cases before.

In this case, if it wasn't intentional act on the part of this husband, it would've been an attempt at a murder suicide because he too would've died if his plan, again, if it wasn't intentional plan, if this plan had not had been carried out because people don't recover from going off a cliff 250 -- you know, 250,000 feet -- 250 feet the way this car (inaudible).

COATES: Thank God. Thank God they all survived. I mean the idea of a 4-year-old, and a 7-year-old and just -- I mean, just thinking about what that must be like for trying to process it, let alone the wife and will look to continue to cover this really important case. Thank you both.

Well, there is freezing rain and snow impacting a huge swath of our country. With winter weather advisories all the way from Texas, all the way to West Virginia, and it is leading to dangerous roads, and of course, flight cancellations as well.

So, where does it hitting the hardest, is next.




COATES: A major winter storm is bearing down to the south, bringing a mix of freezing rain, sleet, ice, snow, and bitter cold. 38 million Americans feeling the storm's impact with treacherous roads and flight cancellations.

In Texas, for example, driving in and around the Dallas area was slow and dangerous. Light freezing precipitation -- excuse me -- creating an icy glaze on road surfaces causing scores of accidents. And more than 1,000 flights were canceled due to the storm.

Crews in Dallas spent the day de-icing planes. Flightaware, that flight tracking service, reports that in addition to all those cancellations, more than 4,000 flights were delayed nationwide. The winter storm is expected to move northward into the mid-Atlantic states.

While, Tyre Nichols, given dozens of commands that we're confusing, that were contradictory, and frankly, impossible to follow.


We'll break it down for you, next.


COATES: Well, there is more fallout tonight from the fatal police beating of Tyre Nichols. The Memphis Fire Department firing three employees, saying the medics and driver failed to properly assess Nichols when they arrived on that scene. This coming as a officials confirmed that two more Memphis police officer were also relieved of duty. That's the phrase they have used. This on top of the five other officers who were fired and charged with second degree murder among other crimes in Nichols' death.