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tv   Ali Velshi on Target  Al Jazeera  June 20, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EDT

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minister narendra modi. who, himself, is a yoga enthusiast. he'll be among thousands of indians taking part in event across the country. headlines coming up. i'll push you in the direction of the website. is the address. all the news we are covering right there. as they try to reform the ranks and weed out bad cops. plus under the gun. police officers put to the test with split second decisions on the use of deadly force. there's a new mandate for the nation's police departments. evolve. now. tonight i will bring you police chiefs from across the country
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and take you inside some of the most intense police training you will ever see. the changes being demanded across the country are a result of case after case of excessive force . eric garner in new york, walter scott in south carolina, freddy gray in baltimore. are those demanding easy answers and scapegoats will not find them here. as a matter of fact, later in the show we will walk in the shoes of a police officer who has to take a split second decision that i hope none of us have to make. the calls do continue as for calls for real transparency and real answers. one problem is a lack of data. from 2003 to 2009, there were almost 5,000 arrest-related deaths but the data is spotty. there's no comprehensive
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kind of information is gathered. and a new report by amnesty international found that all 50 states failed to comply with international standards on the use of deadly force, specifically, that lethal force is only used as a last resort. as required by international law. a handful of troubled police departments are volunteering for something called the collaborative reform initiative or cri. philadelphia, baltimore, st. louis, fayetteville, north carolina, and los angeles, have invited the department of justice to come in and scrutinize their police departments. the department of justice gathers information and gets out. but even when these police departments are asking for backup from the federal government, a number of
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people are contending cr simple toothless. can a voluntary initiative really be expected to reform an entire culture of policing? to find out, paul beban, embedded with spokane police. >> we're sorry for what happened. >> reporter: a public apology from a police chief, not something the city of spokane had heard before. >> it is time to begin the healing process. >> reporter: chief frank straub was hired in 2010 oturn around a police department, for outright lying after an innocent man was killed by police. >> i think communities and individuals can appreciate somebody saying, i blew this. so to some degree we have to get over ourselves. >> reporter: this gas station
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convenience store is where a mentally disabled janitor named otto zemm was beaten by police officers and died two days later. >> it was an absolute low point. >> rick ichstad represented the family of otto zemm against the city of spokane. >> we did not have an independent police oversight. our policies and training were inadequate as well as i think a level of absolute defensiveness by city government. >> i can't breathe. >> reporter: it's a story repeated far too often, an incident involving what is reportedly excessive use of force. the result, an outraged community and both sides left with more questions than
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answers. >> the community didn't trust the police, the police didn't trust the community. >> you came into a system that was broken right? >> it was incredibly broken and there was tremendous tension between police department and the community over this unresolved incident. >> a few months after straub was hired he called the department of justice to come in and do a study and institute a system of reforms. >> taking this up means you're opening yourself up for criticisms. >> reporter: they made 42 recommendations for reform. >> there is the old phrase that the truth hurts but selected ignorance is fatal. >> reporter: the idea to fix what's broken in law enforcement and repair a frayed relationship with the community. but the big question is: do
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these programs really fix problems, or are they a little more than a political cover story aimed at placating a community? >> look, you guys got this nice document, you checked off the boxes, it's done. >> yeah, i think that's -- that's always a possibility, right? that you can look at this as yeah, i checked off the boxes, thank you, leave me alone now. i think what we're seeing across the country is a group of police leaders that are either in place, or emerging, who completely understand that we have to change the way we do business. that there can never be an us and them. >> reporter: but there's no proof this voluntary collaboration with the doj actually works. >> we have little data
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on this building community trust and sustain reform in local police departments. >> reporter: you hear a lot about police reform now adays but how do you quantify it? how do you make sure the changes are sticking? what spokane is trying to do is track the data through police conduct to the courts right here to the jails. >> what we are creating are these metrics that the community can log onto online and see what's happening. >> reporter: jackie von wormer is an academic at washington state university creating a tool to report to the community. >> reporter: here's evidence and how it works. got it, got it. >> get your hands off me! >> reporter: one of the most challenging doj training to
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prove that it actually works. how to deal with people who are mentally ill like otto zem or suffering from addiction. >> the last time this happened i tried killing myself. >> steve james is another academic from washington state university. he's actually embedded with the police to collect cold ahard hard data to see whether the reforms are working. >> one of the problems, it's never been studied. we have a lot of anecdotal data, we have stories about an officer being well trained or performing well on the street but there's never been a widespread study. >> reporter: shane runs this state-of-the-art lab at washington state where he gathers almost real time date data in the same moment. >> that was
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fast, you weren't kidding? >> that's how fast things can go wrong. especially things that are so tragic for everyone, like use of deadly force. what can we expect from officers, over the time pressures they have, you've experienced yourself what can we expect from a human being and when we find that answer, that's the level we should hold them to. >> they are tracking the whole process, even how officers use that training in the field. >> do you have a business card? i can give you that information later. >> i can't leave. >> you can't leave? what? >> because i have to confirm this is your residence. >> they have to write a report whenever they fire their weapon, whenever they use pepper or taser or any of these issues. >> seems she was high, very fidgety. >> yes.
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>> talk them down. >> we need to understand the totality of the situation, what the officer perceived or what stress he was under. >> reporter: police are including more types of encounters before. the promising sign in the last year, 2013 to 2014, are that these incidents are down 22%. but it's going to take time to prove that an entire culture of policing can be changed. >> i don't want to use the culture of tipping point, but that is where we are. we are truly at a tipping point and if we get this right we will profoundly change the nature of policing going forward. >> paul joining me now. any idea how things are going in spokane?
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>> things have changed a lot since 2010. spokane's relatively small minority community, there is still a disproportionate number of encounters with african americans, native americans. even that small population they are still interacting with them more, they aren't necessarily arresting them more but they want to see better interaction on that front. palm, stick around. what happens for a police officer who needs to make a split second decision. hopefully you or i never would need to make that kind uf decision. philadelphia's commissioner charles ramsey joins me in a moment. >> farm workers
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rebuild trust between an angry community and police? the dozens committed to reform serge hope so and that includes the philadelphia police department. an example of this mistrust, at a philadelphia town hall meeting in march. protesters had to fully be removed . philadelphia's crime was plummeting in 2013, but task force on policing and are come up with concrete ways to build back trust between police and the community nationwide. he joins me now from philadelphia. commissioner ramsey, thank you for being with me.
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your police force is one-third black. you've said you had difficulty recruiting minorities to the force despite a starting salary which when you put benefits into it approaches $50,000. why is that? >> well, we've had a variety of challenges when it comes to recruiting just in general. but in particular, minorities. i don't know if it's the current climate that we're in right now. where policing just isn't that attractive to some in the minority community. i went through that when i started my police career in the 1960s and decided to become a member of law enforcement. that was during some very challenging times as well. if it's the standards that we now have in place we haven't been able to figure out exactly that. but we've also worked towards changing our recruiting strategy, to target specifically african americans, latinos and others.
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>> i believe you were 46 years in policing. philadelphia, a historic high number of shootings, 16 shootings five people killed. 2014, 29 shootings and fortunately only four people killed. you can see the chart there things are getting better. what's changed? >> well, our tactics, our training. we do everything we can to make sure that officers is only resort to deadly force as a last resort. they do have tasers available to them now, oc spray, less than lethal options. and focus on deescalation. just using words to deescalate a very volatile situation. anything we need to do in order to bring a situation under control. and fortunately so far at least
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we've been able to see a trend downward. >> there are no -- you may have just heard me say this -- there are no standards on the deadly use of force by police officers, state laws do not require what you just said that deadly force be a last resort, international law does, including nine states where police chiefs have slum no laws on the books, there are guidelines but no laws. is there time to develop understanding nationally of when officers should use deadly force or not? >> well, i mean we have 50 states. and each state has its own set of laws governing police use of force. i don't quite frankly see that changing any time soon. there's so many different nuances in the laws and so forth. but i can tell you this, the major city chiefs, international
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be association of police, police executive forum are all working very hard coming up with police standards that chiefs are referring to in order to set the right policy, put in place the right training for officers so that our people are out there every day even though they're in very dangerous situations they still resort to solid training and tactics and avoid whenever possible the use of deadly force. >> commissioner you called the be department of justice i think it was may, 2013 to engage in this collaborative anywhere e-initiative, with 91 recommendations to fix reforms. how are you going to prove that you can make these reforms sticker and you can change things? we just saw video from this meeting in march where people were throwing chairs. they were yelling at the police.
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i mean we're pretty far from both sides coming together on this. >> yeah, but you got start somewhere. and i mean we're serious about implementing reforms. we not only have collaborative reform with the 91 recommendations. i have the president's task force that has 62 recommendations and we are in the process of implementing recommendations from both of those reports. and so we're very serious. before i came to this taping, i had a meeting around our progress that we're making in terms of the various recommendations and where we stand. the mayor put in place a civilian oversight board, in order to monitor our progress. police chiefs across the country are very serious about this. now there are always going to be critics and people that are very cynical about what we do but i think that time will tell. and one thing is very clear is that neither the public, the media, and even within our own ranks, are we
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going to have a situation where we can afford to take our foot off the pedal. i mean we have definitely got to move forward. but also understand: there's a lot of violence directed to police. i've been a chief here in philadelphia for seven and a half years. i have had eight officers killed in the line of duty. five were shot to death, the most recent march 5th of this year, shot to ded b death by two men committing a robbery. it is the violence in those communities can't overlook that. >> do you think we've been unfair in the media? createan officer of tension for your police officers? >> listen, it is what it is. but i think what we have to do is really take a look at the entire picture. what is it the police officers are facing on a daily basis, disproportion at amount of stops
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in some communities, there's a disro portio disproportionate amount of crime occurring in certain communities. whereas people get upset and angry about a police shooting, i've had 105 homicides as of today in philadelphia. 82% committed with firearms, and more than 80% african american. so where's the outrage around that as well? if we're serious about dealing with the issue of crime and violence and no matter who is responsible about it, we need to be serious about it and deal with the dave da day-to-day violence in our communities and it's not the police doing it. >> charles ramsey is the philadelphia police commissioner and taking at his word, we're going to continue this conversation. to shoot or not to shoot. as paul beban discovered the decision is not so clear cut in
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the heat of the moment. >> wow, that was fast. you weren't kidding. >> absolutely. >> "inside story" takes you beyond the headlines, beyond the quick cuts, beyond the sound bites. we're giving you a deeper dive into the stories that are making our world what it is. >> ray suarez hosts "inside story". only on al jazeera america. >> hunted to the brink of extinction... >> we need an urgent method that stops the killing. >> now fighting back with a revolutionary new science. >> this radio carbon dating method can tell us if trade of ivory is legal. >> it could save a species... >> i feel like we're making an impact >> techknow's team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> i'm standing in a tropcal wind storm... >> ...can effect and surprise us... >> wow, these are amazing... >> techknow, where technology meets humanity!
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only on al jazeera america
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the new al jazeera america mobile app, available for your apple and android mobile device. download it now use of force? -- in deadly use of force? nine states have no laws on it whatsoever according to amnesty international. if an officer feels that his or her life or the life of another is in danger, the use of force is appropriate. paul beban's experience at the
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washington state university use of force lab. there are many gray areas he learned in which to shoot or not to shoot. >> reporter: so this simulation is going to measure my reaction to the simulation, whether or not i use force appropriately and all the while what my braifn i brain is doing. so i'm just going to be watching here wheys happening and reacting. >> put yourself in the shoes of the law enforcement officer. use force only when you feel your life or the life of a citizen is in threat. the spouse is abusive and there are weapons in the house. this is one of the faster paces, simplified shoot-don't shoot scenarios. (bleep) (bleep). >> sir sir sir. >> (bleep) (bleep) (bleep).
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>> sir sir sir. [ gun shots ] >> reporter: wow, that went so fast! my heart is pounding. didn't respond to any voice demands. wow, that was fast, you weren't kidding. >> absolutely. that's how quickly these things can go wrong. >> i believe what you say. okay. >> how do you feel you did? >> reporter: i feel i did very poorm. the woman got shot and i think i got shot. >> it's almost imorl to say. the weapon comes out so fast. there's a decision cycle, is there deadly threat, am i authorized to use deadly force? i've never seen anyone be able to save her. >> the most you can do is take him down before he takes you down. >> absolutely. >> i'm shaking right now.
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>> let me take this off. we're hearing so much of force lately in the news. but what do we know for use of force training, how well does it work, does it not work? does have it an effect on real outcomes? >> it's never been studied. we have a lot of anecdotal data, we have a story of an officer being well trained and performing well on the street but there's never been a widespread study. >> use of force -- >> it boils down to what a reasonable officer given the information they know at the time, being able to neutralize a threat with the appropriate amount of threat. that may be deadly force and it may not. >> but there's so much gray area in everything you said. >> absolutely. but these decisions and whether or not there was force required and if so, how much, we have a duty as a society to get it right 100% of the time but in reality that's going to be very,
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very difficult odo. there are unfortunately always going to be these tragedies. >> paul i watched you do that. you knew what the story was. it is important to tell that part of the story that there are many police officers faced with these decisions and they might not get it right. what was your take away from that? >> well, steve james, the instructor there who is so knowledgeable said, bring out your inner cop. what i know is i have no inner cop to bring out. this is incredibly difficult. what steve is doing, tracking every bit of data, every variable that goes into that last moment when an officer decides to use deadly force. what are the stress levels, how much sleep have they had? all of that plays a role in whether the officer pulls the trigger. we're going to be waxing this very closely. >> the problem is lots of police don't have that experience until the first time you're confronted
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with it, somebody who's potentially going to kill someone or kill you. it does sort of change. you've reported on the issue of police and violence and guns and communities for a while but this does have to add to your wealth of knowledge about this. >> it does. obviously i'm not a trained police officer. i'm fairly familiar with shooting, as you can see, i performed terribly. he said, no one has ever saved that woman. i think i probably took a couple of bullets. these things unfold incredibly quickly and no matter what difficult. >> thank you paul. on monday, we're going to examine guns and violence in america. >> we are going to have to reckon with the fact that this type of voyages doesn't happen in other advances countries,
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doesn't happen with this frequency and it is within our power to do something about it. >> that is question, what to do about it. watch "on target," on monday, 10:30. thanks for joining us, have a great weekend. world, foreigners click americans have gone to help -- including americans have gone to help and report on events and been kidnapped. they have been pawns by political extremists or garden variety extreme is who want a big payday. when americans were killed by their captors or died in areas


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