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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  December 4, 2015 9:30pm-10:01pm EST

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>> ali velshi on target. >> on "america tonight": who were they? investigators on the search for an explanation. and a few contacts the san bernardino killers had in the community, tell "america tonight" what they know. >> educated ignorant people who do those things. he was very educated. >> our investigation from san bernardino and where the trail may lead. and, million dollar blocks. >> black women are left to hold the fort down as we say.
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>> there are millions of dollars spent to cat incarcerate peoplem those blocks. >> you love them and there's nothing you can do about it. >> she has to accept phone calls which cost money, send food packages which cost money. go meet people which cost money. and food and shelter which cost money. >> an investment in heartache. >> thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen. there's no doubt the fbi says, what happens in san bernardino was an act of terrorism. that investigators say is clear. what's still a mystery, exact liz who if anyone else linked to the two killers inspired their vicious assault and what explanation did they mean to leave behind? federal investigators are now running down the trail of some of the most revealing information those who knew syed
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rizwan farook and his wife. "america tonight" spoke to a fellow worshiper at his mosque. >> he prayed and then went back to work. >> got to know syed farook better than almost anyone. >> i became a little bit angry. >> "america tonight" took him inside the mosque where he prayed side by side with the man he describes as a spiritual brother who betrayed him. >> we have an opportunity to find out what kind of thoughts he had when the russian plane was shut down, i was talking about innocent people, about kids being killed for nothing and after the prayer we went outside in the parking lot and we had a conversation about that, me and a couple of other fans and he was listening and he never said anything, he never
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said no they are not innocent or anything like that and then after that he said bye and he went back to work. >> did you think he acted strangely in that conversation? >> not at all. >> he didn't say anything. >> he basically didn't say anything. >> he said farook was quiet shy and he barely ever talked about his wife, tashfeen malik. >> i never know how she looks like. she was pregnant had a baby she probably stayed home most of the time. he wanted a religious woman, he wanted the woman with hijab covered. he met her online and he was happy. he was happy to marry her. >> did you or any of your friends ever see anything that would make you think syed was capable of violence? >> not at all. i had a friend who had a gun in his car.
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in california everything is normal, many people have guns in their cars. nothing unusual. >> the owners of this pizza shop says farook was all business, bordering about unfriendly except when it came about talking about his newborn baby. >> you remember him talking about that. what do you recall him saying? >> he came out about family, he asked me if i had family. i said yes i have four kids. he said he had a newborn baby. >> how can a plotting leave a baby behind. how can you convince your wife to leave a baby behind? even if you have crazy ideas, how can you convince her to do jihad, to die and leave a baby behind? >> what do you think drove syed to do this? >> this is very shocking to us. it doesn't make sense, i think, this matches my guess, it's a mix of two things, i think he
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had an issue with his work, even though he never told us anything about it. but he had some issue with his work. he probably hated some people at his work. at the same time, he got some ideas maybe through internet. that justify killing no muslims. now as muslim we are totally anti-i.s.i.l. we don't support them. they don't represent us. we feel like they kidnapped islam. yes, this is where we pray william our imam pray and we pray behind him. >> do you ask yourself what can you do to prevent another person at your -- >> absolutely. >> -- shoulder to shoulder with from doing something like this? >> we are frustrated. the only thing we can do is talk to the media like you guys and try to explain that this is not part of our religion. there is no religion on earth also any other religion that asks people to kill others. there is no justification at all. and that's what we want everybody to know.
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>> "america tonight's" adam may joins us now from san bernardino, california to follow up. adam you know i guess people would not be particularly prized that maybe a very orthodox or traditional couple, the woman might not be involved with men, the other men might not know her but at the time other women at the mosque seem to know farook's wife? >> the more that we are learning that in fact few people had any interaction with malik at all. as you mentioned, it is very customary at the mosque to keep religious ceremonies separated outside of the sexes. outside in the parking lot you will see groups congregating. the only time they saw malik she was inside a car, she was by herself, she did not communicate with anyone whatsoever. >> this was not strange or
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unusual that lack of communication whether she tried to stay away from other women, or did she just appear to not want to be a part of their activities? >> well, you know, it is so customary, within the muslim community, for men and women to remain separate and in fact, you know, her being extremely conservative, she would not be allowed to for example shake the hand of a man or have an interaction with a man who was not her husband. so simply there was no indication that she had any communication with anyone really except for her husband while she was here in the u.s. at least the people we've talked to. >> at the mosque itself, the community trying to understand themselves what happened here one of their own religious community being involved in something like this we have also talked just yesterday about the threats against muslims in other parts of the country. do they feel that they're under special scrutiny because they're there in san bernardino?
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>> that threat is very real. here in san bernardino. there were threatening voice mails left on the line at that mosque, the fbi we understand was called in, they have taken a report. they're investigating the source of these threatening voice mails and today, during friday prayer, there is a time when that mosque would have upwards of 100 members on any normal friday. there were san bernardino county sheriff's office stationed outside of the mosque as an extra layer of protection as investigators are trying to figure out if these threats are coming from any credible sources. >> and adam even at this hour there are still investigation underway. you are at the site of the shooting. >> yeah, this is the closest that we have been able to get now to the actual scene of the shooting. and behind me, just a few moments ago, could you see that there were some federal agents back -- you could see that there were some federal agents quite a distance away but it looked like
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they were taking measurements or getting the layout of something on the back side of the parking lot of the building. one thing that i personally feel eery joie, this parking lot is still full of cars. you might think that there's something happening here but it's almost locked in time since the time of the shooting. cars parked here belonging to victims that did not come out of this incident alive. >> adam may reporting from san bernardino, california. next highway robbery, lisa fletcher that allows police to take cash and cars even when there's no evidence of crime. later, million dollar blocks, the cost to our communities, when parents are sent away to prison. and hot on "america tonight"'s website, before snowden, the first person charged with espionage in almost 40 years, how a whistle blower became the
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target of american intelligence at
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>> we'll keep an eye on developments in san bernardino. but we turn now to a different
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test of our justice system. a powerful tool used to fight crime. what's called civil asset forfeiture. a new report shows that last year for the first time officers took more property away from americans than burglars did. $4.5 billion worth. how could that be? "america tonight's" lisa fletcher found some answers in new mexico. >> in september of 2010 stephen skinner and his son were driving from chicago to las vegas, nevada. there skinner was going to help a family member remodel her home. he and his son also planned to do some gambling. on the way their gps accidentally directed them towards las vegas, new mexico instead. within a few miles of crossing into the state, trouble began. >> i'm going to pat you down for weapons and have the dog run around the vehicle, okay? >> i was doing about five miles over the speed limit. the state trooper he sees us so
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he pulls us over and he asked me if he could search the car. i said sure you can search the car. >> that search didn't turn up any weapons or drugs. but the police did discover something else. $17,000 skinner and his son had in their luggage for their two week trip. >> this boy has $3,000 here alone. >> he says what are you doing with all this money? he said we're going to vegas to help my sister put her house back together just my son and i. >> we'll call and see what they want to do. >> for what. >> we're going to vegas. >> after two and a half hours of aggressive questioning, the cops let skinner and his son go but their ordeal was just beginning. further down the road in albuquerque, they were stopped
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again. >> they went immediately to the money because they knew where it was. >> they took the $17,000. >> took the $17,000. >> what crime were you charged with? >> we weren't charged with any crime, no crime at all, first stop or second stop. >> what reason did they give you for taking all your money if you weren't charged with a crime? >> they didn't give us a reason. >> in the united states, you are ninnocent until proven guilty bt this kind of seems like you're guilty. >> right. >> they were stranded with no money and no transportation. skinner and his son were victims of a controversial law enforcement practice known as civil forfeiture. under it, local police often working in cooperation with federal authorities can seize people's money and property simply based on the suspicion it might be tied to a crime. >> i went to college here at new mexico state university.
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>> brad cates is a prominent new mexico attorney. we met him at his ranch in las cruces. >> most people are not walking warned 20 or 25 or $30,000 cash. >> first of all most seizures are not $30,000. they're way lower than $30,000. secondly last i checked it's legal to own money in america. you're allowed to have the money, allowed to travel with the money and in order to take it you're supposed to have a federal judge get a warrant. >> coming from cates, some might find that change. it was cates, as a high ranking justice official under president reagan in the 1980s who helped establish the aggressive use of civil forfeiture. >> what was going through your head in 1983 that makes you
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think, this is a good idea? >> the war on drugs. we were seizing millions and millions of dollars from international drug dealers. now there are 400 federal laws for which you can invoke asset forfeiture. so we went from a very targeted specific purpose to a widespread program in america. >> that was never your intention. >> no, no. >> now as a result of cases like the skinners, new mexico has become the first state to abolish civil forfeiture outright. cates helped state legislators write that law. >> your thumb print was on the creation of it, you want your thumb print on the fix. >> very good. yes, yes. >> denying he's getting soft on crime, cates says his new law focuses on civil forfeiture. >> in america you're not a drug dealer or a pedophile or a bank
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robber until you get caught and convicted by a jury of peers. >> the new law doesn't mean civil forfeiture is over in new mexico. the ban doesn't apply to federal law lalaw enforcement. at the federal level it's still going strong. >> this boy has $3,000 here alone. >> boy? you're like 50 years old. >> 58 years old. >> as for stephen skinner, he and hits son eventually got their money back. but only after the aclu fought nearly two years on their behalf. since there were federal agencies who took their money, they never had a hearing in local court. others simply take the loss. we asked both the new mexico department of public safety and the department of justice to
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comment for this report, both declined. did you ever in your wildest dreams think that when you got up that morning from chicago to drive to las vegas that that was the situation you would be in? >> never in my wildest dreams. i'm a citizen. i work all my life in this country paid my taxes never got in trouble never had the idea this would happen. >> lisa fletcher, al jazeera, albuquerque, new mexico. >> next, the cost to the community. not the million dollar blocks you would be thinking of, the only profit is pain.
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>> these people have decided that today they will be arrested. >> i know that i'm being surveilled. >> people are not getting the care that they need. >> this is a crime against humanity. >> hands up... >> don't shoot. >> hands up...
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>> don't shoot. >> what do we want? >> justice. >> when do we want it? >> now. >> explosions going on... we're not quite sure - >> is that an i.e.d.?
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>> think for a moment about the cost of justice. it is high. every year we ask taxpayers spend $80 billion to incarcerate people, put them in prison. like brownsville, brooklyn, new york state spends millions each year to imprison people from one city block there. "america tonight" visitone block to see who is really paying the price. >> let's not keep
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disproportionately punishing blacks. >> the statistics cannot be ignored. [simultaneous speech] >> brownsville seems to be above what we call the million dollar blocks. black men are going to prison at alarming rates, black women are left to hold the fort down as we say. >> one out of ten are incarcerated. in certain blocks in low income communities of color there are actually millions of dollars being spent to incarcerate people from those blocks. that teaches us a lot about how families are really paying the true cost of incarceration. >> 70% of the households are women -- dominated households. >> andre got caught up in the
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criminal system since the age of 18. he has been in the system for 13 and a half years. at that time i had isaiah and i was pregnant with ayana. no matter what the situation, your son your husband your uncle your cousin, you have to be the strong one. >> she has to accept phone calls which cost money. send food packages which cost money, go visit him which cost money she has to meet the needs for food clothing shelter for her and her family. so the family is always in a bind of struggle. in a bind of fighting against poverty. >> my son was arrested in 2013. he got arrested for selling to undercover. it was his first arrest.
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so it was real difficult dealing for four children and a granddaughter. and had to support my son in a situation that he should never have been in. the biggest financial situation was paying for a lawyer. throughout this whole process. which put me in the hole for almost $3500 that i did not have. >> in average, it equals about $13,600 in terms of supporting somebody who is locked up, who is a loved one. a huge percentage of people reported annual salary, annual income of only $15,000. for me personally i support my uncle who has been locked up developmentally for most of my life. i also realize that i'm the third generation of woman in my
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family to support him. >> at the age of 19, 1979 i got arrested for participating in a robbery that became a murder. and i was sentenced to 20 to life. so from 1979 to 2005, i spent most of my adult years in new york state prison system. after a while i stopped calling my family because i knew the exorbitant prices they were paying. i staff started to plead upon them, don't come visit me because i flew the toll it was taking on them. >> so this is all of them together. my dre, my asaya, my mama, the costly thing is visiting him. imagine spending $200 for a visit, for five to six hours. you still leave, your kids are asking, daddy you can't leave with us, mommy when is daddy coming home and you're just lost and you have no answer for your kids. and this is the first time i'm
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really speaking about it. i didn't know i was so hurt. it's such a lie, it's really a lie. about 50% of the people said that they had health related issues, so that's a cost. in terms of thinking about anxiety, depression and supporting family members, people reported symptoms of ptsd. having nightmares. >> i didn't trust the police, i didn't trust the probation officer, getting phone calls in the middle of the night, and the officers got my son in a choke hold. i still don't get over the abuse in the prison system.
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i -- that still bothers me. >> i think biggest loss is thinking about how families are broken apart. >> i was 17 i have a child i was in high school. andre was 18, 19 when he went to prison. i felt both of us were statisticless. and my goal is not to let that happen to neither one of them. isaiah which is my oldest is my fir born. >> over 100 years, i get to finally hug him, i can't do that every day. >> ayana my second born is 13. >> sometimes when we believe i just think what if he would come with us. >> he has six more years off a 20 year sentence. so hopefully he comes out. like as much as i want him to come out for me, i want him to come out for his children.
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my dream that i pray is that he comes home before his first born graduates from high school, or even college. is that a possibility? i don't know. but that's what i pray for. just to at least have that moment, to share with your kids. a lot of time he comes home, he's sure he's going to be grown and he's missed everything. >> making investment in their future. that's "america tonight," tell us what you think. at talk to us on twitter or facebook and come back. we'll have more of "america tonight" tomorrow. >> everyone has a story... and the only way to see all of america, is to see the human stories...
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one at a time. our american story is written everyday. it's not always pretty, but it's real... and we show you like no-one else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight. >> inspired by i.s.i.l? >> based on the information and the facts as we know them, we are now investigating these horrific acts as an act of terrorism. >> new clues in the investigation into the san bernardino mas massacre. officials try to determine how