tv America Tonight Al Jazeera August 17, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
love and affection from the owners. the big pup you see enjoyed a dance in the town square. that's going to do it for this hour. thank you for joining us, i'm thomas drayton in new york. special edition of "america tonight" "flashpoint ferguson" begins right now. on "america tonight," a special report, "flashpoint ferguson." >> we all thought to thank the browns for michael, because michael is going to make it better for our sons. >> a community comes together to remember the teenager gunned down by police in a st. louis suburb. after a night of clashes and broken promises, violence and more tear gas. >> this is the police department. you are violating the state-imposed curfew. >> we look at the week that was
in ferguson, missouri, consider a history of tensions that simmered over decades. >> it's not just mike brown. it's life and times of bad dealings with the police. >> the militarized forces that lit a spark. >> this is becoming a part of the culture of american policing. >> and we look ahead. will police be able to keep the peace? "america tonight's" special report, "flashpoint ferguson." good evening. thank you for joining us. our "america tonight" team just returned from ferguson, missouri outside of st. louis on several days of reporting a story that gripped the nation and surprised us as well. we consider what led the community to explode with long, pent-up anger this hour, and how it was sparked by the death of the unarmed 18-year-old michael brown, shot and killed by a police officer in the street outside his grandmother's apartment last weekend.
today civil rights leaders as well as the missouri highway patrol captain, ron johnson, spoke to us a standing-room only crowd at greater grace church. johnson reminded the community that no one is perfect, and even compared his own children to michael brown. >> because when this is over, i'm going to go in my son's r m room, my black son who wears his pants sagging and his pants coc k'd to the side and tattoos on his arms, but that's my baby. >> today's rally followed another round of protests saturday night. ferguson is under curfew tonight for a second night. earlier today there were more demands for justice as more national activists arrived to support the ferguson
demonstrators. more tension from the federal government as well. the attorney general said there will be a second autopsy by a federal medical examiner as requested by brown's family. as we get into this evening, yet again there are new tensions and more fears that things might spin further out of control. >> this is the police department. you are violating the state-imposed curfew. >> the warning came loud and clear, echoing askros the rain-slicked asphalt on saturday night as police moved in. the curfew midnight to 5:00 a.m. imposed after reports of looting the night before. the attempt at security and preventing another night of unrest did little more than inflame some demonstrators. >> don't shoot! don't shoot! >> more than 100 stepped into the street again, the stretch was where michael brown walked
moments before he was killed. following up on the warning, the police advanced, dressed in fatigues, helmets and gas masks, armed with billy clubs and military-style weapons. a rove armored vehicle stood by idling when shortly after midnight, a chaotic scene. smoke, some reported tear gas filled the streets looking like a repeat of earlier in the week when a military-style crackdown incited an angry response from the crowd and sharp criticism from national leaders. this time the new point man on security in ferguson, state highway patrol captain ron johnson, said law enforcement response was appropriate, an emergency required officers to clear the crowd to reach a man shot near the protest area. >> we have a shooting victim in critical condition that make lose a life. we had a subject standing in the middle of the road with a handgun. we had a police car shot at
tonight. yes, i think that was a proper response. >> johnson endorsed not only the late-night crowd dispersal, but the governor's decision to impose the curfew. >> we cannot allow the ill will of the few to undermine the goodwill of the many. >> governor nixon's move fomed the friday night outbreak of looters but rising tensions on friday after some details from the investigation into brown's death were released. after nearly a week of refusing to do it, claiming reports of death threats against the officer involved, ferguson police chief thomas jackson disclosed the name of the officer, 28-year-old darren wilson, but only the barest outlines of who he is. >> he's been a police officer for six years. he's had no disciplinary action taken against him. he was treated for injuries, which occurred on saturday. >> disclosing his name had been the community's key demand, but even knowing it offered demonstrators little
satisfaction. at the same time the police released a surveillance video which appeared to show michael brown committing an alleged theft, stealing cigars at a convenience store. then allegedly roughing up the store clerk. local residents who hung on to each police statement and challenged officials at every opportunity quickly expressed doubt about the police chief's timing and motivation for putting out the surveillance video and concern a local police investigation would go anywhere. >> that's a bunch of bullcrap. that's what it is. that's all it is. >> it was a rough moment for the community, which had less than a day earlier begun to embrace the man now overseeing security. captain johnson had urged patience with the process. >> i can also tell you this inner anger, we have to make sure that we don't burn down our own house. >> that plead did calm demonstrators, but the video
release reignited some anger. protesters accused the police of victim blaming, trying to divert attention from the officer's actions to brown's alleged behavior before they met on the street outside his grandmother's department. the chief's statements added to the frustration and confusion. first he said that the officer was searching for suspects in the convenience store robbery when i came upon brown, but hours later contradicted his own statement saying brown and a friend came under scrutiny and were stopped for walking in the middle of the street. >> he was walking -- >> that had nothing to do with the stop? >> it didn't. >> at this point -- at this point why did you stop michael brown? >> because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic. that was it. >> that did match what brown's friend, dorian johnson, has said consistently since the shooting. >> he was around 1:40, 2:00. we were talking down an empty
street. we were just walking down it minding our own business. we were both headed home, and the officers approached us and pulled on the side of us. he didn't say freeze, halt or anything like we were committing a crime. he said get the f on the sidewalk. >> the police didn't clarify much more about what they know about the shooting. the department released a report about the convenience store robbery but not the full report about shooting. the robbery report makes a passing reference to brown. it is worth mentioning the robbery report reads that this is related to another incident. in that incident brown was fatally wounded involving an officer of this department. but johnson said it was a situation that quickly escalated when officer wilson allegedly grabbed his friend. >> he started to pull my friend into the window, so the officer is trying to pull him in and he's pulling away from the officer. he never once attempted to grab for this officer's weapon.
he's still holding my friend with one arm, and with the other hand he's pointing his weapon. the second time he said he would shoot it was a second later. the officer let go. we ran at the same time, and i'm looking, i'm watching the officer. he's pursuing my friend now and then he fired another shot and struck my friend in the back. then my friend stopped running, his hands immediately went in the air and he went around towards the officer face-to-face. he started to tell the officer he was unarmed and you should stop shooting me. before he gets the second sentence out, the officer fired several more shots into his head and chest area. >> st. louis county police say a preliminary investigation found brown pushed officer wilson when he tried to get out of his patrol car and there was a struggle for the service weapon and that a shot was fired inside the car. no further details have been released, though federal investigators have pledged to conduct an independent probe.
many demonstrators and mike brown's family have come already to their own conclusions. >> the events that took place on canfield had nothing to do with the grocery store michael may have been in or the person on the video was in, because we don't know that that was michael for sure. so whatever that took place there had nothing to do with the individual getting down on his hands and knees, raising his hands in the air and saying, don't shoot. this is a universal call for i surrender. i can hear my cousin's voice right now as i speak saying, don't shoot. yet, still, the officer stepped up to him and shot him is what we are hearing, and that's wrong! >> it's already been announced the curfew will be imposed again tonight. al jazeera is at ferguson now. we're just out of a very emotional, very raw church service held about mike brown. natasha, i think we were struck
by the incredible emotion that captain johnson brought to the service when he talked about mike brown. let's listen. >> we need to thank mike for his life and the change that he's going to make and make us better. >> natasha, really a very emotional reaction to an emotional comment from captain johnson. >> reporter: well, keep in mind, joey, he is a native son of ferguson, if you will. he's the miami state highway patrol captain brought in to restore law and order and bring a sense of peace and calm to the streets of ferguson. there have been many speakers today, but definitely captain johnson really seemed to rouse the crowd by connecting with them, by telling them that he's their neighbor. he's their family. he's their friend. i thought it was worth noting that he also said that i respects their right to protest, and he believes that something good from the death of michael brown will come. that it will make our sons better people.
>> natasha, certainly there was a lot of emotion last night in the streets as well as the curfew was underway, and we saw some images. very disturbing. almost return to earlier in the week when the clashes were quite fierce. is there a sense that they can bring things under better control tonight that will not result in this sort of display of really strong force from the police? >> reporter: you know, that's the hope. when governor jay nixon declared the state of emergency and imposed this midnight to 5:00 a.m. curfew on saturday night, he did being acknowledge one night could not restore peace and bring calm to ferguson, but he was certainly hoping that it would be a start. unfortunately, that is not the start that officials were hoping for. i spoke to people who were this morning despite the steady rain with brooms, garbage cans and bags cleaning up mess protesters left behind saturday evening. one man said he found it very disappointing that people are trying to, quote, tear down what
we need to build up. >> al jazeera correspondent in ferguson, missouri. thanks very much for being with us. looking forward, what will bring an end to the crisis in ferguson? al jazeera contributor and political analyst dr. jason johnson joins us from atlanta this hour. is there any sign we're looking toward an end? it certainly didn't appear that way today. >> no, i don't think this is close to being over. one of the clearest indicators want just the riots and violence last night but a statement by the department of justice today. the department of justice said, we don't trust the ferguson police to conduct an autopsy. the federal government will perform a second autopsy, and this won't calm down anytime soon. >> this is also a community that certainly has had its tensions over time, but do you see any sort of renaissance outside the
community? you're in atlanta. do you see it in other places in the country that people see this and see reflections in their own communities? >> definitely. you had rallies all over the country, d.c., chicago, cleave land, big cities and small cities. a moment of silence last thursday. everyone recognizes some problem going on in ferguson that's reflective of their own community. whether it's african-american men and women who feel they're constantly under threat and their lives aren't valued by police departments. those who are concerned about the militarization of local police forces who say we have to do something about program 1033. you can't give a whole bunch of guns and tear gas to a bunch of guys that played world of war craft and think that's the proper way to police people. everybody finds something going wrong in ferguson. this resonates nationally. >> whether i was in ferguson, i saw a number of political people from the national scene, jesse
jackson and dick gregory and congressman john lewis has spoke out about this. i wonder whether this struck a nerve with a different generation of the civil rights movement as well. >> yes, because these pictures, the images that we've seen from ferguson, they're reminiscent of things in gaza or things from a 1960s civil rights movement. you have men and women walking down the street with their hands up in the air being gassed and being shot at. you've got young men without their shirts on trying to defend stores from looters, and yet, they're not being helped by police. this brings up painful memories from the civil rights generation, and yet, unfortunately seems par for the course for many gen-xors and millenials. >> particularly over the last couple of weeks. we have seen some incidents of questions in any indication about law enforcement, use of force and whether it's appropriate in different
communities in different situations. i was thinking about the chokehold situation in new york as well as the woman who was videotaped in a beating situation with an officer in l.a. >> right. the woman in l.a., we've got eric garner and the gentleman just shot at a walmart carrying a plastic gun in ohio. you have the mcbride case. this is an epidemic of public violence. that's one of the reasons why so many people are concerned about this. so it's not just an issue of militarization and racism. it's an issue of structural problems. if you look at the way in which the ferguson police department has handled the situation, it is an absolute violation of trust between a community and the officers. hiding the name of a police officer who shot someone. leaving a body out for four hours. not releasing an incident report. defying the suggestion of the department of justice. no one there believes that their rights are represented, and again, that's a problem that resonates throughout this country. there's going to be massive
discussions about reform not just in missouri but across the nation, and that's a good thing. >> al jazeera contributor and political analyst dr. jason johnson. thank you for being here. >> thank you. after the break on this special edition of "america tonight" flash point ferguson. >> we have help kopts over the skies. a north county native takes us to the heart of the community and helps us understand how neighborhoods that grew up deck wades ago now lie in waste helped to shape the conflict in ferguson and the final moments of michael brown's life.
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beyond the protests in the community where michael brown died, there are more conversations about what happens when this controversy dies down. will ferguson be remembered for something beyond mike brown's death? to help us you understand more about the community and how tensions reached this point, we joined another native of north county that led the way for us right into the heart of ferguson. >> this is basically what it's been every night. when it gets dark, the police become more aggressive, and the people have been out here longer and are a little more aggressive, too. [ horns blaring ] >> this was in the heart of what was a non-violent demonstration. a night that saw more dancing and chants.
signs of protest, but ferguson and all of this area known as north county might be ready to turn a corner and look forward. still, it doesn't take much to trigger anxiety. >> it's intimidating to the people with helicopters flying over the sky and tanks down the street and police officers, hundreds of them. you have the whole mall parking lot full of police officers. this is basically an occupation. >> he understands his community, north county is his home. he's a native and observer, a columnist, a cab driver, and a man who believes this week of clashes and anger hasn't changed the relationship law enforcement has with the people. >> the heavy-handed police tactics just increased and make the situation worse. there's no doubt about it. if it was better, it would have gotten tied up two days ago. they're going to add fuel to the
spark. >> a fire sparked decades ago. this part of st. louis county outside the city of st. louis was also home to missouri's first all-black city, kimlock, settled before the turn of the last centsary. it remained truly separated from ferguson and the rest of north county with barricades on the streets until nearly 1970. development around the international airport gradually forced residents out. today much of kinlock is literally barren, a wasteland, a dumping ground all but abandoned. the community that was here now shoved into neighboring ferguson and other towns in north county. in 1980 only 14% of ferguson was african-american. it remained a majority white community until as recently as late 1990s, in the most recent census, 2010, the black population had reached 63%.
it's made up of families like michael brown's and those of the young people that have taken the streets here night after night. those are the streets that lee drove us through telling me there's a direct link between what happened to north county and the life and death of michael brown. >> it connects with the anger on the street because you have a lot of displaced youth. either they came from kinlock or their families came from kinlock. they're just -- a lot of these families are so transient and moving from one apartment complex like canfield green to another, just constantly moving and no real sense of place and direction. those areas like where mike brown was killed is a major recipient of old kinlock residents. >> mike brown had a future. >> mike brown had a future. that's right. he had a future. he had to put it within the cultural context that mike might have had a future, but a lot of
these youths you see out here in the on the street don't have a future. they don't feel connected to society or connected to anything else, and they don't feel they have anything to live for. they don't feel they have anything to lose. >> and against all that, a police department that remains nearly all white in ferguson and law enforcement in the surrounding county increasingly equipped with military-grade gear. marley says it is all enough to ignite the powder keg. >> anti-ied vehicles, tanks, aircraft flying in the air, guys dressing like villains from batman. i mean, it was so absurd why people dressed like they were ready to fight the taliban. i mean, it was just a bizarre situation. it doesn't mess with reality like i had never seen that stuff in the hands of law enforcement.
i realized that existed, but i never seen that as a tool for policing a suburban community. >> despite assurances that it's a new day for relations between law enforcement and the community, there are signs the message has not been received down to the patrol car level. as we sought to photograph a welcome sign on one of kinlock's abandoned streets last night, far from the snon straignon straighters, two local officers initiated an immediate and adwresive demand that our cameraman get off a public roadway. >> don't resist. i'll bust your ass. i'll bust your head right here. >> i'm filming it. >> i don't give a shit and i'll confiscate the film for evidence. i'm asking you to leave. >> go now. >> that's it. >> this remains the way many in north county expect to be treated by the police here, harassed even when doing nothing illegal when any encounter is
likely to end as it did for michael brown, badly. >> it's not just mike brown. it's life, times of bad dealings with the police. it's seeing your family dealt with by the police in that manner. it's so many things. it's not just mike brown. >> a note about the connections and coincidences of history. it will well-known in the community that many of the families that moved out of kinlock as the airport expanded and developers moved in ended up to live at canfield greens, the apartment complex where michael brown's grandmother lived, the community he was headed into when he clashed with a ferguson police officer and died on the street. another native the community of ferguson is missouri state representative courteney curtis, and he joins us now from outside the church service, which has been going on. can you talk to us a little about the emotions that are still there quite raw,
mr. curtis? >> yes. the emotions around the situation particularly today are pretty high. it's been that way for the last week. people are looking for things, and answers aren't coming quick enough. they're still just as high as they were last saturday and i don't see it going down anytime soon. >> what do you think would solve it and bring quiet to the community again, a sense that things are going forward? >> for the most part, i mean, they're asking for the arrest and the charging of the officer. that will probably be the most immediate thing that can be done to quiet some things down, but outside of that, we need to keep showing a support for the individuals that are on the ground that are actually protesting by having the community leaders going out there as well as captain -- the captain. we've been out there with him several days this week, you know, just walking. that is quieting some things
down, but we have a large contingency out of the city to protest as well. that's where the last part of tension really lies. >> yeah. i think people, as i found there, are really looking for greater answers and more long-term. as we saw in that report about kinlock, and this is the situation that has grown up over decades of transition within north county. how do you resolve that with some rallies, even the resolution in the case of the death of mr. brown? how do you resolve it after just one case like this? >> so, kinlock's problems are a whole lot deeper. that goes, you know, to a number of reasons. we need a full community -- basically the airport came in and bought out a lot of property with hopes of expanding that, and then they went the other way. that basically decimated the
kinlock community and i represent that area and work to file legislation to change the situation there. there hasn't been the appetite to do that at the county level and other places, but that doesn't mean we will stop. we will continue. we have two communities to focus on to improve things. >> i also understand that there is a big effort here to involve more people in the electoral process, that voting was very low in the last elections and that there is a need to -- something the people have become aware of. there's a need to be more active in the political process to get more representatives in place that really represent the community. >> right. it's always been a challenge in the election that i won, we roughly had about 15% participation. in the most recent municipal election i think it was somewhere around 15% as well. the mayor even won probably with 1500 votes, and that was a key issue, because the superintendent had been let go and the community came together to rally around him in keeping
him. he was a great african-american leader, and he still is about no longer with the district. it's always been a challenge. the issue actual happened in a different representative district, but the challenges with the voter participation is a north county problem in general. >> in north county do you see in some sense that people have become activated? that people are ready to do more to be in the streets to make this more vocal and this last beyond mike brown's death? >> definitely. just to give you a little context, just last week we had the county executive race, and our african-american county executive lost. that's largely because there wasn't a lot of voter participation from the african-american community. then because of an outpouring of support for the republican faction to defeat him, because that was the only way that the republican could possibly win. since then we've seen a change in the amount of activity within the community because of the
mike brown situation, and i think that most people aren't -- are talking about getting actively involved and about improving relations between ourselves and definitely taking back as much representation as possible so we can be truly represented in north county. >> it will be more than mike brown when this is all over with. missouri state representative courtney curtis, thank you for joining us. after the break, we return to our "america tonight" special report "flashpoint ferguson" and the images that raise new questions about the new force of even suburban police departments across the nation and their military-style training. >> they're not trained to deal with people who have constitutional rights, people who are protected by the constitution of the united states. their missions overseas are to find the enemy force and destroy them. >> michael oku on the force behind america's new police
the striking images, police in riot gear, tear gas canisters thrown in the street and armored vehicles on the road focus sharp attention on what some call the militarization of police departments all across the country. it's raised new questions about why even small town police have picked up military-grade gear, and what that means for the future of american law enforcement. an examination of what's already out there from "america tonight" correspondent michael oku. >> a sight that has sparked alarm and outrage from ferguson to oregon. scenes that in the words of some leaders belong in a war zone,
not on suburban american streets. for four nights the st. louis county police came out in force to confront protesters on military vehicles sp in combat gear firing tear gas and rubber bullets. as the nightly confrontations wore on, so, too, did criticism of the heavy-handed police response. president obama himself cautioning against excessive force. >> there's also no excuse for police to use excessive force against police protests or throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their first amendment rights. >> governor jay nixon announced on thursday that the state highway patrol would be taking over security. the scene last night was very different. no incidents of violence as protesters thronged the streets and no sign of the intimidating paramilitary equipment and brandished rifles as highway patrol officers stood passively by.
demonstratorses approved. but it triggers a national conversation about the militarization of police and only how suburban police departments like this one get their hands on military-grade gear but why and how it was used this week in missouri. >> i don't know the type of training these officers in ferguson received, but given the inappropriate ways in which they were acting and conducting themselves, i would either say that they received poor training or they ignored the good training that they had received some time ago or they were given no training at all. >> lynch has studied the trend of militarization in law enforcement agencies and says it's not just the equipment but the nature of training that worries him. >> one aspect that alarms us about the militarization of policing is that we know that some civilian police units,
s.w.a.t. units or special response teams, we know that they've at least some of them have been training with units of our special forces. this is very disturbing because our special forces operate overseas in a theater of battle. they're not trained to deal with people who have constitutional rights, people who are protected by the constitution of the united states. their missions overseas are to find the enemy force and destroy them. so we don't know them explaining to our civilian units how they conduct themselves overseas because that's totally inappropriate for civilian policing. >> a recent study by the american civil liberties union, the aclu, entitled "war comes home: the excessive militarization of american policing," found that of almost 800 s.w.a.t. raids, only 7% were for the original purpose, like a
hostage situation. almost 80% were to execute search warrants. it's widely believed that the first prominent police unit for special weapons and tactics or s.w.a.t. was established in 1967 right here in los angeles. initially consistenting of 15 teams of four men each, the unit was surprised of volunteers from within the lapd, an lapd inspector initially named the platoon special weapons assault team, but after popular protest that name was rejected for sounding too much like a military unit. but lynch argues military culture has seeped into police departments nonetheless. a culture celebrated in videos like this one produced by a company that markets equipment to s.w.a.t. teams. >> when you look at the culture of the police departments, when you see some of their recruiting videos that they put on the
police department websites, their officers are conducting themselves in a very aggressive fashion, acting and dressing like soldiers. so this is becoming a part of the culture of american policing. >> a culture now under intense scrutiny. michael oku, al jazeera, los angeles. >> we're joined by david harris, law enforcement expert at the university of pittsburgh law school where he's a professor of law. professor let's talk about how it got to be this way. what was the intention of equipping even suburban law enforcement with this kind of equipment? >> well, there are two things that run in parallel. one is the post-9/11 anti-terrorism environment, and the federal government put out grant applications, all kinds of things really to get the money spigot flowing to local jurisdictions to get them the equipment they thought they might need for a possible terrorist incident. the other thing is that the
pentagon has a program, an organized program to get rid of surplus military equipment that it does not want, that is no longer useful for the war efforts in iraq and afghanistan. so you have these two things happening at once, and the result of that is that every little police department at every level in the united states has access to top grade military weapons, vehicles, and other equipment. that is an issue of concern as we've seen taking it from ferguson. >> the thing that strikes me is the expression if your only tool is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. is there a lot of evidence of abuse? >> i don't know if there's evidence of abuse, but what i see and ferguson is a perfect example is that when you have these tools, you want to use them. while it might be there's a very small chance you would need an armored personnel carrier or some kind of heavier weaponry for a terrorist attack, and thank god we haven't had many of
those. they had something in boston last year that qualified. but it's just not necessary for the run of the mill law enforcement work that people do day in and day out quite successfully with regular law enforcement equipment. what we saw in ferguson was that just having that equipment and that do i understand of armament on site was actually not just equipment. it was a message. the people around there took that message as, we should be afraid. they feel tleptenned. it got more tense and escalated the problem instead of de-escalating. i think that is a problem. >> we're talking about this kind of equipment. m-wraps, armor vehicle, assault weapons being used by suburban police departments. i wonder once you open up this pandora's box, how do you close it. >> very difficult to get the toothpaste back in the tube. here, though, what we have seen is good enough to start the
conversation. we've seen military equipment used against demonstrators in a small environment, and i think everybody can see now that this just overkill. if you tried it out, if you use it, there's going to be a reaction to it. i so i think we've got a conversation going now that's been long overdue. >> indeed. that conversation has already reached capitol hill. we understand that a number of senators and congressman are talking about reviewing the federal program on this. david harris is from the oouft of pittsburgh law school. appreciate you being here. >> my pleasure. thank you. >> if the system won't be changed quickly, what kind of monitoring could be used to prevent abuse? more than 3500 police departments use recording devices to track officers and the people and situations they face, everything from dash cams to cameras worn on the officer's clothing. ferguson's police department does have some, but it says it does not have the money to install them. tech-know contributor lindsay moran got a first hand look at
how it works for some departments on a ride-along in oakland, california. >> officer brian hernandez was one of several units responding to a call about a suspect in east oakland wanted in a robbery and attempted murder. >> good. hang on. >> our cameras weren't the only ones catching the action. each officer wore one of these, another set of eyes recording everything that happened. >> i can't talk to my son? >> you can't right now. give us a second. >> what are the cameras for? >> oakland is one of more than 3500 police departments nationwide use body cameras. they've been taking the place of dashboard cameras because they go where the officer goes.
>> officers were able to capture individuals either discarding firearms or making the incriminating statements in regards to their involvement in crimes. that would have been the officer's word against the subject's word, but the lapel camera made it clear and evident. >> our poach is if you investigate any kind of crime or there's a potential of an encounter with someone in detention, we're supposed to activate it. >> how has the lapel camera affected juror job at all? >> at first it's uncomfortable to have it records, but to have it back up our word is great. how are you doing, man? do you have a driver's license and registration? >> my license is suspended. >> your license is suspended? okay. >> what happens to the video after it's recorded by the lapel camera? >> at the end of the officer's shift, he or she plugs it into a terminal, and the video is then uploaded onto a network server. the officers can't delete it or anything along those lines.
>> having an opportunity to track trouble. al jazeera's tech know correspondent lindsay moran with that report. when we return to america tonight, special look at "flashpoint ferguson" beyond the gateway arch. the people of st. louis and the communities known as north county and how rapid change helped to set the stage for what's happening in ferguson today.
racial contrasts plaid in the community where michael brown died, it's about two-thirds black and only three african-american officers on the mrip. there's more to the divide in this community split even further now by mike brown's death. ferguson itself lying to the north of the city of st. louis. a bedroom community that actually sits in st. louis county, a collection of more than 90 municipalities. specifically in the part known to locals as north county, the northern part of st. louis county. like so many other urban areas, it is part of greater st. louis cut off from the city center by interstate highways. it's close neighbor, st. louis' international arment, a long typing center of aviation in the u.s. and despite what you might have thought based on tv pictures, ferguson is not an i am pov riched community. most of it is gent fieed with a wine bar, brew pub and fashth he
remember market and other signs they want more. north county is proud of the naifsh son, want just cap pain johnson appointed by the governor last week to oversee security but people like maxine waters, michael mcdonald, the colorful comic actor, cedric the entertainer. they all hailed from in area, and being able to say you're from north county and st. louis defines who they are and gives us some background into what this crisis is all about. another st. louis native is attorney and commentator lisa bonner. she joins us now to talk about st. louis and north county as well. appreciate you being here. i want to note here that you now live in new york but you came back just for this rally. why was it so important to you? >> because what's happening in my hometown needs to be brought into the broader perspective of the racism that is inflicted upon many of the black boys in america. i'm from here, st. louis is a
very polarized city. it's very -- it has a history of racial segregation, and it's important that we bring this to the forefront of the american and actually national attention so we can keep the spotlight focused squarely on this issue. >> i also note that there was a lot of very rapid change in north county. i mean, certainly as you know, there is a history of segregation within the larger community. rapid changes which have left that imbalance, i guess, that situation where so much of the police and the mayor and the county administration in the hands of white folks when the population is predominantly black, particularly ferguson. >> st. louis has nine fortune 500 companies here. emerson electric is located in ferguson, missouri, and the welfare located here has not trickled down to the majority of the black community and causing
racial tensions and has been bubbling beneath the surface for years. >> st. louis native, attorney and commentator, lisa bonner. thanks for being with us. the a i don'ts chaoses created some many in your face images. it was images that inspired support for the hundreds of local protesters around the country and indeed a digital community around the world. searing and unforgettable, the images from ferguson. now resonates around the world. in washington, d.c. howard university students on campus september -- sent a signal of support. harvard law stuns mirrored the same gesture. don't shoot. the nighttime protests look oddly festive against a darkened sky. media covering the story including al jazeera forced by the police to leave the area creating a scene filled with
tear gas rather than working journalists. palestinian supporters protesting the israeli occupation have posted tweets of solidarity, and some practical tips on how to deal with tear gas. one twitter post, don't keep much distance from the police. if you're close to them, they can't tear gas. to #ferguson from #palestine. another one. always make sure to run against the wind to keep calm when you're tear gassed. the pain will pass. don't rub your eyes. #fergusonsolidarity. also on twitter, a posted photo of children with solidarity messages of their own, but for these children in ferguson, the streets of their home are now a battle grounds, and those whose job it is to protect them are the ones they have come to fear. at this hour vigils from around the country honor lives lost in
altercations with police making it clear that the fallout from the crisis in ferguson is far from over. >> ahead in the final segment of our special report, "flashpoint ferguson," a father, a son, and a community in mourning. a final thought from ferguson on what mike brown's death will mean to his hometown's future. aulso looking ahead, the campaign season comes to town, a place where it all begins. >> it's a big stage and microphone and iowa. people will cover it. if they think about running in 2016, a potential candidate, they're going to show up. >> "america tonight" heads to the iowa state fair on monday. we're not just talking fried food and corn dogs but presidential candidates. sheila mcvicker poses the question is it possibly to become president without going through iowa? that's monday on "america tonight."
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android mobile device. download it now finally a time to heal and pray. sunday offered both as hundreds of gathered to remember michael brown, the young man whose death led to an explosion of emotions in ferguson, missouri. the man charged with bringing a sense of stability to the community captain johnson spoke at the service want just as a law enforcement official, but as a father about a son. >> i want to start off by talking to mike brown's family.
you to know my heart goes out to you when i say that i'm sorry. this is my neighborhood. you are my family. you are my friends, and i am you. i will stand and protect you and protect your right to protest. when this is over, i'm going to go in my son's room, my black son who wears his pants sagging and wears his hat cocked to the side and has tattoos on his arms, but that's my baby. we all ought to be thanking the
browns for michael, because michael is going to make it better for our sons so they can be better black men. this is going to be better for our daughters so they can be better black women. better for me so i can be a better black father, and we know they're going to make our mamas even better than they are today. we need to thank mike for his life. we need to thank him for the change that he's going to make and to make us better. i love you. i stand tall with you. i'll see you out there. thank you. [ cheers and applause ] >> captain ron johnson with the special edition of "america tonight," "flashpoint ferguson." smak sure to stay with al jazeera america for continuing coverage, and if you'd like to comment on the stories you've seen tonight, logon to our website, aljazeera.com/americantonight. enjoy the conversation on twitter or at our facebook page.
good night. we have more of "america tonight" tomorrow. coming up in the primetime newscast at the top of the houshgs the parents of slain teen michael brown attend a rally calling for justice for their son. we'll go to ferguson, missouri live, two dares of air strikes in iraq and kurdish fighters win back some control of the country's largest dam with the help of u.s. and iraqi forces. in the special week ahead segme segment, working to combat sexual assault on campus as the
school year gets underway. all that straight ahead. this is al jazeera america, and i'm thomas drayton in new york. parents of michael brown sh join community leaders calling for justice for their son. in iraq kurdish forces advance against isis, and fierce fighting again the islamic state group in syria. trying to make college campuses safer. reduces sexual assaults is the topic of tonight's special segment, "the week ahead."