tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera October 30, 2015 5:30am-6:01am EDT
atmosphere as well as mountains on the planet. new horizons is the first space craft to visit pluto, dramatic pictures there and remember you can always keep up to date with all the news just log on to our website al jazeera.com. ♪ >> i'm ali velshi. on target - justice for all. meet the court-appointed lawyers who made it their mission to expose crooked cops and prosecutors. and the critics that say it has nothing to do with justice, and everything to do with politics. anyone like me watches a lot of cop shows can revit the miranda warning na police officers must read to suspects. you have the right to remain silent. anything you can and say will be used
against you in a court of law, you have the right to an attorney yoi, if you can't afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. it's the last line that i want to talk to you with, the public defender for those that can't afford a lawyer. it starts with clarence gideon, a drifter arrested in 1961. he was charged with breaking into a pool hall and stealing. he was sentenced to five years in prison. a man with an 8th grade education appealed. he argued his right to council was violated. the supreme court ruled in his favour in gideon versus wainwright, in 1963. the reason all today have the right to an attorney. gideon had his day in court and was acquitted. unfortunately, many cases assigned to public defenders do
not have happy endings. the majority of public defenders officers are underfunded and overworked. some have four times the amount of cases. one showed 21% of states have enough attorneys to meet guidelines, that is largely the result of insufficient budget. that and other factors meaning the poorest defendants don't get commonwealth representation. gideon versus wainwright made sure every person charged with a crime gets a lawyer. it did nothing to balance the scales of justice in america. the county public defenders office is trying to change that and bring about justice for all. the officers taking on law enforcement and the state attorney's office, and the effort to expose discrimination and racial profiling. a battle for justice that the public genter is fighting one case at a time.
>> 23-year-old blake robinson is disturbed by the memory of a night he was threatened by a tasers, in a one. >> me being 19, i thought i would die. the same bathroom i bathe in was like the one the cops said i would drive in. >> the cop was james akabelos. he questioned robinson at his girlfriend's parent's house where he lived. the parents reported a jewellery theft. according to robinson, yakabelos took him to the bathroom, closed the door and turned on the faucet to drown out the sound. he said he was ordered to step in the bath tub. >> i stepped into the tub and i was next to the faucet. faucet." >> i said why am i standing next
to the faucet. he said if i phase you, you'll fall on it. he had a taser on me. tub. >> that's the scene that yakabelos's supervisor saw when he walked into the bathroom and described in his report. >> that was shocking, because that would never have happened never. >> howard is the broward country public defineder in fort lauderdale. hins his election in 2004, he's been on a mission to expose misconduct. >> it only happened here because that officer thought he could get away with it. he was emboldened after decades of trading poor people. >> robinson was never charged with jewellery theft.
yakabelos was investigated for assault. the state attorney's office wrote in a memo: in response several letters of complaint were filed. >> when prosecutors need to justify what the police did. they get to all kinds of crazy areas places. when you have a person that's a prosecutor justifying what would fit the definition of torture under international law and you say it's legitimate. you have lost four mind. >> al jazeera retched out to the broward county attorney, saks,attacks. they said: the police officer was forced to resign, not for the incident
with robinson, but unrelated illegal sexual activity. >> i didn't feel that that night, at all. you know. i didn't feel - you know, in my own house here. >> this was horrible law enforcement. how is this okay. in the year 2013, whatever year office in the united states of america. that we take a young man and threaten to torture him. >> fibbingel sign said this and other cases representatives a pattern. that people of colour for targeted. to help make his case he turned to alan submitted, a former detective, finkel sign's chief investigator. >> alknew how the police thought and worked and how they used their technology and where we
could find the answers to prove what we'd been saying for 30 years, which is if you are black and you are driving a car or riding a bake, you'll by stopped because you are black. this is an area where one of the clients was arrested. there's no sidewalk there, how do they utilize the sidewalk. >> in 2011 chris started a picture where he believed it undeniable. >> we took the addresses out of pedestrian violations and it shows, as you can see, 92% of their violations were in the black area. >> the same is proof of bicycle registrations, where 96% were in poorer neighbour needs. stopping people for relatively minor offenses assist a way for
narcotic detectives to conduct searches without true probable cause. >> nothing is down with the officers for manufacturing their probable cause to stop the person and search them. until there's accountability for their actions, i don't think you'll ever get a, you know, a permanent change. i think that's primarily up to the police agency and the state attorney's office. >> the state attorney's office says it's charged 66 officers in the last three years. smith says his search of police internal savers turned up 850 incidents, where public offenders believe officers should have been disciplined, if not charge. >> society doesn't want to do anything about it.
it hurts me on the nds, they could have done more. >> in the end, we'll be determined to be a success or not not by whether we give quality justice to those with money and power, but whether we is quality justice to these that have no money or power. >> next, a man that says the broward public defender's office is not interested in justice, but just interested in politics. >> drilling in the arctic. >> rapid change is always an alarming thing to see. >> as the ice caps recede... and the ocean opens up... how can we protect our natural resources? >> this is what innovation looks like. >> scientists reveal cutting-edge technologies... >> you can look beyond the horizon and extend your reach. >> that could avert disaster while helping save the planet. >> i feel like i have a front row seat for some very dramatic changes.
racial profiling by police officers has led to a disproportionately high number of cases against residents. the president of the police benevolent association, and says police officers are an easy target for the public defender to use for political gape. you know howard finkel stein's office has been writing about a
pattern of police misconduct and racial profiling. does he have any point at all? >> we have seen examples, we heard the story, we saw examples of certain incidents that didn't seem to be going write. there's no validity. you don't think anything needs to be looked at? i can tell you the rest room incident with the tasers, there's only two people that know what happened. that's the officer and the individual in there. but, you know, my sources at the fort lauderdale indicated that a lot of these directors and the issues that the police are taking with young black men on bicycles is direct and coming from the community meetings that they attend, where the communities leaders made complaints to the police department regarding the
individuals selling narcotics or completing snatches on bicycles. they are what is coming from community meetings. >> you said that police are held to a higher standard. one assumes that they should be held to a higher standard in terms of dealing with the should? >> absolutely i do. it's expected of us, that we are held to a different standard. you can see that on progresses where the state attorney's office filed on police officers, on minor infarctions, or violations of law that would never have been prosecuted. certainly i'm aware of that. there has been 66 officers charged in the last three years, for off the job offenses, and not job-related misconduct. >> that's true. that depend on - if you are in a
fight or whatever or something happens, or we have individuals in a knight club or bar, and they are involved in an altercation, that happens next. >> what is the - in terms of the issue of police use of force, the saw the one example in the story about a guy ticketed about not walking on a side walk were there wasn't a sidewalk. finkel stein came across data that there's a problem. >> again, i disagree. there are walkways. >> we saw the video, there was no walkway, nothing. >> it was just - was there a sit swell, crass? >> no, there was grass. >> again - no, you either walk on the swale, which is the city owned - city owned property or walk in the street. and again, is that - what is
that stemming from. these officers don't walk out one day and say i'm going to take jay walkers, whether it was pedestrians, whether there were complaints and/or people in the neighbourhood. people walking up and down the street. there are new south wales all throughout that i'm aware of. location. >> so you don't share the view that given everything that we have seen, there are cases where police might be dispop minorities? >> absolutely not. >> it's clearly an election year for mr saks and finkel stephen, and he has been a critic of police officers as well as mr sax for many, many, many years. it's an election year, and we are spicing it up. ferguson was not an election year issue.
>> i didn't say it was. >> the justice department did investigate and found in lots of the other police forces, when the department of justice is involved. they are finding out there are things that police departments and unions say don't happen. >> the numbers that i saw were addisproportionate amount of african american police officers to the community, which i don't agency. >> good to talk to you. thank you. president of the police association. next, the provocative add sparking a fight over free speech.
earlier this year i told you about the metropolitan transit authority, which banned all advertisements on the bus and transit system. that led to a loss for a documentary, following comedians across the country in effort to dispel islamaphobia. the mta refused to post ads. the producer sued and they won their case. the ads will go up in 140 subway stations across new york city. for a closer look at the case, look at this report. >> the decision for adds in the new york transit system means they no longer advertises in radio stations. it was a
blow to free speech. >> in america, the political debate is narrow. i think that people want to hear day. >> the mta board voted 9-2 in favour of the ban. majority. >> i thought we would be better, mta as a transportation authority. so they end up in a situation where the safety and security of our employees and our writes from which i have a fiduciary responsibility, is compromised. >> while the ads brought in revenue, money was not part of this debate. the mta says advertising accounts for 1% of the operating budget and political ads made up
1% of that. at the time of the ban, opponents said the policy cracks. >> there's no question that the slope. and people can, and i assume some will try and fashion advertising language, that they believe will meet the new standards. to be able to put together language that meets the objection is impossible. >> here he is, the decision to ban political ads was, for him, about the safety and security of the passengers and the safety of mta staff. >> good to see you, thank you for continuing to be with us. it's an interesting one. obviously with the mta, with the new york city subway system in a major city, safety is of paramount interest. in the end, politicized ads on the subway, there's only been
one that caused a reaction. that was the one before the muslims are coming. pam geller's ads. there hasn't been a reaction to anything else. >> one is too many, leading to one, two, three, and whatever else is forthcoming. i think it was an appropriate thing for the board to look at the policy and decide what it wanted its subway system transit system to be. while i understand there's one at the moment, in today's day and age, i'm not sure one will be the determining factor. >> so obviously when you create policies for a big operation like the mta, to try them, some are challenged. you did say you don't care what side you are on, you just didn't want
there. >> the word political is in the eye of the beholder, and it ends judge. all we can doe, me as a board member is make the best judgment you can on the best language you can find. does that lead to an elimination of all dispute. if we eliminated all disputes. we wouldn't need the court system. all we do is the best we can do. >> and you try to do the best you can. >> who do you determine... >> the initial decision is made by the entity that sells the ads for the mta. >> got it. >> they do that. after that, i would assume it goes to, if there's a question, to the council's office at mta and they'd make the final determination, and if someone felt they were aggrieved by those determination, they could
sue the mta in court, which is a focal point of endeavours. that's how it would work. >> we were talking about the money involved. advertising is not a huge part of the budget. people might thing it keeps the subways going, in the last story, a few months ago you said it's a slippery slope. we have seen dino's group win their case, and others have been filed. benefit... >> i understand that, and, you know, if someone arrived me, myself, for an opinion as to whether or not the add for the movie was political, i would have said no, i don't believe it's political. i'm not the one making na determination. there are other people whose responsibilities incur it. >> we have the add up here. one could look at that and say it's political. >> i'm not sure it's more political than advertising the russians are coming, the russians are coming.
>> so you can write the legislation. what you can't do is figure out how that person who is making the determination before it goes to the council interprets it. that's where the trouble is. >> that's correct. that's the question of any regulation and situation, is that people will try to find ways around it. and we understand that. but all we can do, all i can do, and all we can do is figure out where is - from our perspective, a line. how people get on either side of the line is up to them. >> there's another ad i want to show you, the bank affiliated with the labour union calling for a $15 million wage, which is political. they use the hashtag raise the wage. this is up the mta, that they had pulled off. >> to me that's a political ad. and i do not have any disagreement with the decision to be
made that under the current regulations it should not be up there. >> it's not affiliated with the political, it's paid for by a union, i think it's a question of the ad itself, i'm not concerned about who was paying for the add. it's what does the add say, and what was it trying to accomplish, that's the best way to look at the definition. >> i don't know what the politics are, you've been on my show, i might feel that you should raise the minimum raise. i know where you are coming from. you are not making the rules. i'm trying to figure out these gray. >> i don't think it's a grey area at all. it's a political issue. and it is one considered by our elected officials as we speak. that to me is a political issue.
if you ban political ads, it's a political issue. >> two things, is the mta likely to appeal. >> i don't know the answer to that question. it did not come up at the committee meetings, it's not a decision the board marks, it's a decision mta management makes. >> did it come up that may be we should rethink how we determine political or not. >> no, the issue was not resurfaced or brought up by the board members. i assume the board, or the majority is comfortable with the current scenario. >> even though there has been a lawsuit that has been won, you are not thinking that the mta will change its policy. you oppose the ads, that's what the courtesy to do. i would assume that would be the situation. >> thank you for joining us. good to have you here. mitchell the representative to the mta board. that is the show for today. i'm ali velshi.
thank you for joining us. >> ali velshi, lifting the lid... >> cameras in place for money and not safety. >> on the red light controversy. >> they don't give two cent about your safety. >> there's an increase in rear end accidents. >> ali velshi on target: hitting the breaks. al jazeera america gives you the total news experience anytime, anywhere. more on every screen. digital, mobile, social. visit aljazeera.com. follow @ajam on twitter. and like aljazeera america on facebook for more stories, more access, more conversations. so you don't just stay on top of the news, go deeper and get more perspectives on every issue.
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