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tv   Real Money With Ali Velshi  Al Jazeera  March 19, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EDT

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eruptions of the surface of the sunday. sky gazers have been posting images of the light show. and you can find more of those images on our special online gallery. you can find all that on me? >> put your hands up. >> what are you going to do? what are you going to do? >> get down on the ground. >> what would you do if you were a cop faced with a split-second life or death decision? tonight i'll take you inside the cost of injustice in america. from the hands on lethal force training that is unaffordable to many departments to the taxpayer funded reforms forced on broken police departments that can't fix themselves.
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plus americans wrongly convicted of crimes they didn't commit paying with years of their lines. >> years spent in solitary prison cell knowing you're innocent. they think you're crazy. >> i'm ali velshi, our special report the cost of justice begins now. >> ferguson police, drop the gun now. >> the bigger challenge how to make better decisions under stressful circumstances. >> the cost of injustice is felt by everyone. when an innocent american is convicted of a crime he or she didn't commit and gets exonerated. >> and when a law enforcement agency is found to face the justice. a price that can't be measured not when they're wronged by the
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system that's sworn to protect them. there's a social cost for the victims that pay for wrongful incarceration, the public pays a financial price for all the money spent to convict incarcerate, exonerate and settle claims with a wronged victim of law enforcement. altogether that can cost taxpayers huns of millions hundreds of millions of dollars. the payout to settle claims against law enforcement because of wrongful convictions and police misconduct can end up oto staggers amounts. in new york city, $428 million in four years, philadelphia, and baltimore almost 12 million in a four year period. in los angeles 54 million just in the year 2011. in chicago, $450 million over a decade. and that is something that
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police departments like the one in richmond, california, want to avoid. what you're about to see could make the difference between life and death. >> drop the gun richmond police drop the gun do it now. stop moving. >> go ahead and kill me. >> do it now. >> i don't care if you shoot me. >> drop to your knees. >> i don't care if you kill me. >> don't move . >> stop. >> this time it's a training exercise but next time it could be a real confrontation. that's when the challenge will be to keep an encounter like this from becoming lethal for a violent suspect. >> so i notice you use good cover here utilizing your car. i would probably talk about your approach first. perhaps maybe parking a little further back and making your approach on foot might have given you a little bit more time. >> with the deaths of michael
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brown in ferguson, missouri and eric garner in new york questions have arisen how america's police departments train their officers in the use of lethal force. which brings us to the city of richmond, california. historically it's been one of the most violent cities in the san francisco bay area but that reputation has undergone a transformation underchris under chris magnus. >> you need to be able to shoot a gun to be a police officer. i think everyone understands that. but the bigger challenge is how to make good decisions under stressful circumstances. >> since he took control in 2006, crime has gone down but more significantly so has the use of lethal force by police. in fact in this city of 107,000 residents there has been, on
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average, less than one officer-involved shooting per year since 2008. >> put your hands up. >> many attribute that response to aggressive use of force techniques championed by officer magnus. difficult situations can unfold rapidly. the goal is not necessarily to use a gun but rather to use their other utilities on their belt like a baton or a tase tore take control of a potentially dangerous situation. >> put the gun down. we can talk about that but you have got to put the gun down. >> what you going to do with me? >> put your hands up. >> what are you going to do? >> it's not as easy as people think. it's not hollywood. you can't shoot the gun out of
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somebody's hand. somebody doesn't automatically fall down when you shoot. people don't always comply. >> you're rookie hmm? i'll cel kill you. get down on your belly. get down on your stomach. what are you looking for? a supervisor. >> lieutenant louie terona supervises the real life scenario training that all officers with field duty are required to take at least 74 times a year. >> he got to -- add least four times a year. >> he got tote rear of the car he advanced on you why did you decide to put your pistol away? >> he did not have any weapons in his immediate hands or where i saw he could quickly get it therefore i pulled out a less
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lethal weapon which was a taser. >> why did you choose the taser not the baton or pepper spray? >> this scenario ended with non-lethal force but more importantly, it is a lesson how, in turn, to build a stronger relationship with the community. in some police departments it takes more than elite training to right what's wrong. coming up from rodney king to ferguson, missouri, how america can step in. and paying a price when justice makes a mistake and sends an innocent man to prison. >> in human beings you are going to have error, the degree of error is what brought it to me. >> down on the ground. >> tomorrow. >> to the apaches, it's an ancestral place. >> sacred lands threatened. >> were the apache consulted on this? >> no. >> a controversial deal. >> we would love to have a mine in the community. at the end of the day, it is an issue of fairness.
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>> america tonight gets an exclusive interview with a foreign mining company accused of taking native american land. >> people have been very critical of your company, saying that it'll leave a permanent scar on the landscape. will it? >> an america tonight special report: "mining sacred lands". tomorrow, 10:00 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
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only on al jazeera america. >> richmond police drop the gun do it now. >> the bigger challenge how to make good decisions under stressful circumstances. >> the cost of injustice can be enormous. for cities police departments that violate the constitutional rights of their citizens. take ferguson, missouri for example. law enforcement says reforms demand he by the department of justice could cost ferguson $10 million or more, for a cash strapped city of just 21,000 people. the issue is drawing attention to a 21-year-old law that gave justice department the ability to crack down on law enforcement, in towns. 1991, police beat rodney king after a high speed car chase. excessive force by four police officers three of whom were acquitted in
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1992. >> not guilty of the crime of assault by force. >> los angeles implodes in riots riots. it sparked sparked a national debate. how can you fix a police department that can't fix itself.about. >> can we get along? >> the law enforcement act of 1994 it passed without fanfare or big media but experts call it one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in the 20th century. for the first time in u.s. history, the federal government can go after corrupt police departments. the two option he s available, sue the police department or enter into a consent decree which means the city must make all the
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reforms that the dpafts department of justice mandates. but make all the reforms could be expensive. 20 cities have entered into these consent decrease with the feds. they include new orleans and east haven, connecticut, the results are mixed. is the cost of reforming the nation's broken police departments just too high? our next guest says maybe. stephen russian is a law professor at university of illinois. writing a book called the answer to plez police muz misconduct. stephen good to see you. you state that this 1994 is remarkable. before it, the federal government didn't have the jurisdiction to step in.
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there are a lot of asterisks and commendation. >> that's right. thank you for having me today first off. i think everything you said so far is spot-on. this is one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation that many people simply don't exists. it is one of the ways the federal government really can crack down on local police misconduct in cities that are maybe either unwilling or unable to address police misconduct itself. it is far from a silver bullet it is not the single answer to police misconduct. first off, cities like ferguson have to pay for the implementation of these very expensive reforms. cities like los angeles that have a resource and a police budget of nearly $2 billion every year, it is harder for a city like ferguson ohave the resources to actually address that. i also found in my research that it's also really important for these cities to have local
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support for these initiatives. and the question, opened then in ferguson is whether or not city officials in ferguson and the police department in ferguson are going to support federal intervention and the demands of the justice department here. >> doesn't really feel that the police force or the city of ferguson is going to be fully in support of what the federal government wants to do and suggested that the police force be taken over by a police force in normandy, missouri, which i've i'd never heard of and a yet smaller police force. first off these numbers you're talking about the 100 million in los angeles and new orleans raised taxes as a result. do we have any sense of what it costs to reform a small police ferguson? >> this is an open ended question. its difficult first off because most cities where the department
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of justice have utilized law enforcement, big cities like los angeles, new orleans pittsburgh, cincinnati, we don't have much of a track record of the doj using it in small cities like ste teubenville. ferguson is likely to have to pay for an external monitor. ateam of law enforcement experts, civil rights attorneys and the like, to come together to oversee the implementation of these reforms. this cost alone can sometimes range up to $1 million to $2 million a year, that is part of the overall bill. the big part of the bill is going to come from the reforms that the doj is going to demand. department. >> there are two things that strike me as major cost to a little department like ferguson.
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one is their officers don't have the right training. training has got to cost good money and when you can't amortize it over a number of cops. secondly, we may not be paying need. this is a big deal. >> i think those are very good points. i think in fact one of the major reforms that the doj has required, they have actually required significant changes in training both in-service training while you're on the job as well as training in the academy. so that's one of many burdens that the city of ferguson is going to have to likely bear going forward. i think you're also right, it's easier for a big city to reduce the cost of overall officer in training programs, it might be tougher because there are some upfront costs that ferguson is going to have to bear because they are the municipality that
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needs to implement these reforms. >> the really spectacular training in richmond, california and a great police chief out there. but have little cities ever said, when they get a consent decree, when the department of justice sues them, they say fold? >> there is actually no precedent for that. the doj keep in mind has the thorgt toauthority to investigate, but they've only done it around 20 times over the -- ten times over the last 20 years. it is a rare effort for d ofortj to pursue . typically, successful according to my research to there isn't really a good track record for a city like ferguson, a city that is both small, it is a small kind of local municipal budget. >> which by the way survives they get a quarter of the money
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out of this very aggressive policing that the doj says is wrong. onot only are they going to have to pay for it but they are going to lose on the other end. >> that's right. in what way does city have to bear this financial burden, many civil liberty advocates, whether it's expensive or not, the constitution requires a certain level of policing. be that they're raising taxes a city like ferguson is going to maintain their municipal police department. it has to meet minimum constitutional standards. >> you think it would be easy to get these changes done, it hadn't occurred to me it might be $10 million or five years you are actually telling me it could be $10 million over five years. steven thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me.
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>> an expert in federal intervention in informing police departments. coming up next a man who spent 20 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. >> the fact that my children had to grow up without a father. i went to no graduations, no funerals, i wasn't there to raise my family, you can't get that back. >> now he wants the city of new york to pay him $100 million. >> the new al jazeera america primetime. get the real news you've been looking for. at 7:00, a thorough wrapup of the day's events. then at 8:00, john seigenthaler digs deeper into the stories of the day. and at 9:00, get a global perspective on the news. weeknights, on al jazeera america . >> protestors are gathering... >> there's an air of tension right now... >> the crowd chanting for democracy...
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>> this is another significant development... >> we have an exclusive story tonight, and we go live...
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>> richmond police drop the gun
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do its now. >> the bigger challenge how to make good decisions under stressful circumstances. >> new york city is now grappling with the high cost of injustice. claims against the police department cost the city $212 million last year in settlements and judgments. that's aa 55% increase from the year before . adding to settlements that are decades old. they are tied to a string of convictions now being overturned after police work in brooklyn was called into question. the latest man to call into question has put the city on notice that he plans a massive lawsuit for spefng two decades in prison. -- spending two decades in prison. barry snow has the story. >> it's like being born again. >> smile on your face. there's got to be a lot of
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anger. >> bitterness is there. you learn to suppress it. you got to understand that in human beings you have error. the degree of error is what bothers me. they reverse the conviction, 24, 25 years later on evidence that existed a month after i was arrested, frus straits me. >> derrick spent time in prison for a crime he says he never committed. he served as his own lawyer and worked to being paroled in 2011. he's seeking $100 million in damages after the justice system admits mistakes moreover two decades ago. what's trying is that hamilton is not alone. he's the 11th man in just 14 months to have a murder conviction overturned. all stemming back to a time period between the 1980s and 90 fss and all in brooklyn.
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ken it thompson. >> right here in brooklyn there have been men wrongfully convicted of murders and sentenced to long prison terms. that is not justice and we must have the courage to stand up and correct the miscarriages of justice that are staring us in the face. >> attorney pierre sussman represents four men who have had their convictions overturned in the past four years. three of them are brothers settled with the city for $subpoena million. another man spent 23 years in prison and settled for $6.4 million. >> if they didn't think that there was any merit to our claim the city would not be paying millions of dollars to compensate my clients. i think it is a very tacit acknowledgment of liability. whether the city wants to admit that or not. i think that's common sense.
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>> but it's the scope of the injustice that has defied simple answers. >> how is this able to happen? >> i -- i feel like the climate of those years in new york city was such that tremendous pressure was put on these precincts to make arrests, particularly in violent crime. homicide cases being the ultimate violent crime. >> sussman's cases have a common link. a detective naples lewis darcella. >> corners were cut. these cases shouldn't have made their way past the dirnlt's district attorney's derveght but they did. >> hamilton accuses scarcella from framing hip.
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he had just gotten out of prison for manslawrt. hamilton maintains he was in connect. the eyewitness later rewithdraws her testimony. >> people laughing at you whether you say you're innocent. they think you're crazy. >> attorneys for scarcella, to date, no finding by a judge or by a prosecutor, that detective scarcella contributed to anybody's wrongful prosecution. 18 of the scarcella's cases stand. they have a long way to go. they have been reviewing
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convictions relating to the 1980s and 90s and hundreds are linked to scarcella. hamilton is now helping others to clear their names as he get used to life out of a prison cell. he is determined to make the city state and federal government pay for the years he was kept from his family. >> the fact that i went to no graduations, no funerals, i was able to mourn my family to raise my children, you can't get that back. >> marry snow joins us now. derrick hamilton is asking for $100 million. there have been settlements, the settlements are a lot higher than the year before. he's not going to get 100 million will he? >> no. it's likely he will get millions. but not 100 million. the likelihood of the city
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settling these cases before a trial. >> why is that settlement not part and parcel to that? why sit taking these guys so long to get their settlements? >> excruciatingly slow. a man in the pipeline trying to get his conviction overturned, in the last two plosion there were hearings, his family showed up thinking they would hear a decision only to find out the case had been adjourned or the hearing had been adjourned and all they can do is wait, this is very slow. don't forget these prosecutors are going over cases that happened 20, 30 years ago, these cases are not based on dna, they are tracking down witnesses time. >> this is in addition to what we talked about a while ago, the cost of reforming police departments, these are not part of these costs, additional costs, how many case is the city dealing with? how much could it cost the city? >> the city is facing a very
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high number. four settlements averaging $22 million that's just four cases. there are other lawsuits that are going to be filed. and the d.a. in brooklyn is review other cases. there are families that are filing lawsuits. so it is staring at a big cost to this. >> we are not talking about tens but hundreds of millions of dollars of settlement. >> it's possible. >> mary snow thank you. >> in the wake of the murder of someone by political opponent boris nemtsov in the shade salad owe of shadow ofthe kremlin? our special coverage of the new cold war continues tomorrow night, when i speak with one of putin's top political opponents and the battle waging over ukraine.
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that's our show today, i'm ali us. night. you know that old riddle that begins when a tree falls in a forest? it's worth noting since single sex education at the college level has been slowly disappearing. the sweet briar college case is just the latest. it's not over yet. it's an uphill battle. one of my guests tonight is