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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  March 14, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! donald trump: i would like to punch him in the face, not the crab out of him. i promise you, i will pay for the legal fees. amy: violence on the campaign trail. growingrump is facing condemnation for encouraging violence among his supporters. 31 people were arrested in st. louis friday at a trump rally. left the event bloodied. hours later, he trucked -- he canceled the rally in chicago after thousands of protesters showed up. he is now offering to pay the legal fees of his violent supporters.
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speak with the professor and a student at the university of illinois chicago and former chicago mayoral candidate julie garcia, who ran against rahm emanuel. rahm emanuel has become the focus of the illinois primary. he is supporting hillary clinton . bernie sanders says even if he wins the nomination, he does not want rahm emanuel's support. louis, also go to st. than to florida, where 10% of the adult population cannot vote because they have a felony conviction. nearly one in four black adults is disenfranchised. >> in florida when a person is disenfranchised, they are basically stripped of their citizenship for life. amy: we will speak with the president of florida writes -- the florida rights coalition. afterdisenfranchised serving his time. all that and more coming up.
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to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. donald trump is forced to cancel a rally at the university of illinois chicago friday after thousands of people staged anti-trump protests inside and outside the venue. after trump canceled the event, scuffles broke out. five people were arrested. one trump supporter was for the a nazi in st. louis at least 31 people were arrested friday, and on saturday, and dayton, ohio, charged a security barricade. trump later tweeted what appeared to be a doctored video reporting to show the protester with a gun in the backdrop of the isis flight. despite evidence to the contrary, trump accused the protester of links to isis. donald trump: this was not a guy looking to have a little fun, this was a guy looking to do
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hard. so the judge let him go. then one of my people said, wow, they found his name. and it was probably isis or isis related. do you believe it? and then they go online and they displaying all sorts of music that you would not be liking, dragging an american flag along the sidewalk , making all sorts of gestures, having all sorts of statements on the internet. amy: the protester, thomas dimassimo, said he planned to take the stage and say donald trump is a racist in the microphone. trump has blamed supporters of vermont sanders bernie sanders -- of vermont senator bernie sanders. on friday, -- where the winner takes all of the state delegates . on thetes are rewarded proportionately with all eyes on
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florida, illinois, and ohio. in new york city, sanders supporters, many with occupy wall street, gathered in the birthplace of occupy. >> we are inspired by the incredible amount of momentum and energy that has been in cited. we want to take the conversation as long as possible, and many more people in the political revolution. that is what we are doing here. amy: hillary clinton has been forced to walk back statements on hillary clinton -- on ronald reagan. hillary clinton: because of both reagan, innd mrs. particular mrs. reagan, we started a national conversation went before nobody would talk about it, nobody wanted to do
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anything about it. that, too, is something i really appreciate, with her very effective, low-key advocacy. but it penetrated the public conscience, and people began to say we have to do something about this. amy: after critics noted that president reagan a lot even -- figgins and reagan -- president aidsn did not even mention until the end of his presidency. she credited -- clinton also came under attack over the weekend are criticizing rival bernie sanders' record on health care reform in the 1990's. the clinton: i get a chuckle when i hear my opponent talking about doing it. i do not know where he was when i was talking about health care in 1993 and 1994. amy: sanders was standing right behind clinton in a dress on health care reform in acting 93.
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in ankara, a car bomb attack has killed 37 people, marking the second such attack in less than a month. no one has taken responsibility, but unnamed officials alleged one of the bombers was a female member of the kurdistan workers party, or pkk. turkey has vowed a crackdown, launching airstrikes, targeting kurdish rebels in northern iraq, imposing curfews in majority kurdish towns and arresting at least 36 people. in the west african nation of ivory coast, militants attacked a beach resort in the south, killing at least 16 people, a number of them foreigners. maghreb in the islamic has claimed responsibility. it protests was stationed at the country's long the balkan route closed their borders. about 12,000 people are living in a makeshift tent camp that was drenched with rain over the weekend. the refugees called for german chancellor angela merkel to
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pressure other countries to open borders. back in germany, the german chancellor faced a major setback as an anti-refugee party made historic gains in regional elections, entering state parliament in all three regions that voted. the elections were seen as a rebuke of her policies, allowing one in one million refugees to enter germany in the past year. israeli air strikes in gaza have killed two palestinian children. a 10-year-old boy and his six-year-old sister. palestinian officials said yes he abu cu's a was killed by trap -- said yes seen abu coosa -- khoussa wasabu killed by trap eyes he slept. his sister died in a hospital. police on okinawa have arrested a u.s. navy seaman accused of raping a japanese tourist as she slept at her hotel. past allegations of sexual assault have been at the center of protest over the presence of u.s. troops and planned construction of the new u.s. base in okinawa.
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the japanese government agreed to halt construction on the new base and resume talks with local authorities who oppose it. in brazil, more than one million people have rally to call for the impeachment of president dilma rousseff amid an economic crisis and corruption scandal. a polling firm said a record half million people rallied in sao paulo alone, while estimates by military police, who have been accused of inflating numbers in the past, put the nationwide turnout at about 3.5 million. the protests, after her workers party predecessor luiz inacio lula da silva, was charged with money laundering. has increasedri her lead in peru's presidential race after two rivals were disqualified from running. she is the daughter of former right-wing peruvian president alberto fujimori, now in prison for crimes including death squads to carry out massacres.
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>> she was complicit in a dictatorship, and human rights were violated which women were sterilized, which fears of corruption crimes were committed our country. amy: in alabama, prisoners staged uprising at the william holman correctional facility, stabbing and wounding a warden and a guard and setting at least one fire. the riot comes amidst long-standing complaints about overcrowding in alabama's prisons. has narrowed his list of potential supreme court nominees to three names and could announce in an -- could announce an appointment to replace antonin scalia a. 's reach rayna vossen, merrick garland, and paul watford. sri srinivasan was confirmed to
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his current appeals court posed by an unanimous senate vote of 97-0. he would be the first asian-american a first hindu on the court. new data from nasa shows global temperatures last month smashed previous monthly records. andorologists jeff masters bob henson called the report a bombshell, a true shocker. the investigator journalist media critic, editor, ikian hastor been bagd died. 1971, as an editor at "the washington post," he received the pentagon papers from whistleblower daniel ellsberg and turned them over to alaska senator mike gravel, who entered them into the congressional record. he pulled the story of how ben gdikian give him the
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top-secret documents, which exposed the true history of u.s. involvement in the anon. tell you i have to have a little more experienced or to here is how we are going to transfer the papers. you are going to come at 12:00 at night under the marquee of the mayflower hotel in washington, d.c. at 12:00. you park your car there, i will come up with my car, open your andk, i will open my trunk, we will process the papers and i will race off. that is how we will do it, and they will not even know how they do it. storyou can see the whole at died at his home in berkeley, california, friday at the age of 96. those are some of the headlines. ,his is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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republican front runner donald trump is facing growing criticism from across the political spectrum for a. -- for appearing to condone violence. speaking at "meet the press," he said he instructed his staff to look into paying the legal fees for a trump supporter who punched an african-american protester in the face at a recent rally in north carolina. donald trump: as i told you before, nothing condones, but the man got carried away. he is 78 years old. he obviously loves the country and maybe he does not like seeing what happened. i want to see the full page. i am going to look at it. i am going to see what is behind this because it was a strange event. from what i heard, there was a lot of talk because a certain finger was placed in the air. not nice -- i do not condone the violence or what he did, and i
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have instructed my people to look into it, yes. amy: donald trump's comments came two days after he canceled a rally at the university of illinois chicago after thousands of people staged anti-trump protests inside and outside the venue. after he canceled the event, scuffles broke out inside and outside the rally. five people were arrested. one trump supporter was photographed giving a nazi louis, ate it in st. least 31 people were arrested friday at a trump rally. the cover of saturday's "new york daily news" showed a bloodied african-american processed or -- protester. the headline read, "blood on don's hands." on saturday a man in dayton charged through security barricade. our principles released an ad highlighting trump's endorsement of violence. trump's campaign violence. donald trump: i would like to punch him in the face, not the
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crappy out of him. i promise you, i will pay for the legal fees. >> now his campaign manager faces criminal charges for allegedly assaulting a female reporter. >> today it was said earlier this week that "trump's campaign manager grabbed me by the arm and showed to me to the ground." >> they are not telling the truth. there is an eyewitness of a washington post supported. >> another supporter arrested for assault. >> a trump supporter is under arrest after punching a protester at a rally. >> the latest in what some believe -- >> the next time we see him, we might have to kill him. >> donald trump is too reckless and dangerous to be president. amy: in the wake of the violent protests, trumped blamed supporters of vermont senator bernie sanders for the unrest. sunday trump wrote a message on
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twitter saying, "bernie sanders is lying when he says his disruptors are not told to go to events. be careful, bernie, or my supporters will go to yours," he tweeted. sunday night bernie sanders appeared at a town hall forum and was asked about this weekend positive element. mr. trump said that he is prepared to pay the legal costs of an individual who sucker punched somebody at a recent event. he is going to pay the legal who committed a terrible act of violence. that means is that donald trump is literally inciting violence with his supporters. he is saying if you go out and beat somebody up, that is ok, i will pay the legal fees. that is an outrage, and i would hope that mr. trump tones it down big time and tells his supporters that violence is not
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acceptable in the american political process. amy: that is presidential candidate bernie sanders speaking last night. pallares is with us, professor of political signs and latin american and latino studies at the university of illinois at chicago per she is an advisor to the fearless undocumented alliance. we are also joined by yasmeen elagha, sophomore at university of illinois at chicago, president of the palestine children's relief fund, the student at the -- a student organization at the uic. can you talk about what took place on friday? the organizing before hand, and then what happened? yes. about a week before the event,
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faculty, staff, students on the campus learned that a trump rally was being held in the uic pavilion, which is on our campus. at that point there were different responses. immediately a facebook page created. and organizers decided to have a protest. then there was also a petition that circulated, that was i think ultimately signed by 50,000 people asking that it be canceled. , then one day of that chancellor responded the event would continue, and the allowing week, we wrote letter saying -- asking the university to please come on the basis of security, kind of potentially rethink the decision , but if not, to make sure that students and the community, everyone, whether they were just
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working there or whether they were protesting, could feel safe and could feel protected. elagha, talk about the student side of things. yasmeen: all of the student organization leaders who wish to be a part of it, throughout the week hasn't last friday, saturday, and sunday, we were planning it really sporadic. monday night we all decided to meet, and we decided that day that we would have a protest inside and outside. the organizing surprisingly went pretty smoothly. we throughout the week talked to each other, divided into smaller groups, and then on friday -- amy: what were you protesting? yasmeen: as a coalition, we were
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protesting donald trump's speech and his attempts to divide the nation. as students, we had small groups and each group protested a different idea. the group i was in was protesting his stance on refugees and immigrants. about mexicans, about blacks, and the things he was saying about them. and these groups were dispersed and we feltdience, we could get our point across with a maximum disturbance throughout his speech. amy: why didn't you want him to speak at the university at all? amalia: i was not necessarily part of -- created the petition that requested that. i did say in the letter that we that, we said that we felt
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we respected free speech, but we felt that given the diversity in the campus, given in the community, that we felt issues of security and protection should be important considerations, and i still believe that when such an event happens on campus, when there is a history of attacks that are violent and ostracizing of people's color in the majority of our students are students of color, then it is a consideration for the university community that it is safety and protection of our students, that is important, and whether the university should think about that before holding an event. , we know howhat, to organize our students can be. that they wereknew
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going to protester at our main concern is that the university police and all the different security would make sure that would not be criminalized, racialized. this is a place where they graduate. this is the place we did not want to be a place associated with hate. amy: it is confusing why this rally was canceled, professor pallares. did trump say the police advised him to cancel it? amalia: he did say that. but the police have stated they were never in conversations with trump that he cancel it or recommend that he cancel it. nor was the university -- the to dosity was prepared to make sure that the
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rally was held, so nobody recommended he cancel it. he canceled it because he decided to cancel it. elagha, do you feel that your purposes were served by trump canceling the massive rally? how many people would you say were protesters, and how many were trump supporters? yasmeen: i would definitely say that we reached the goal by having canceled the rally. his original intent was to hold theally, and despite the enormous amount of protesters that were at expected to be there, he still decided to come after seeing the sheer amount that came out and were against his coming to the university. he decided to cancel. i think that for us was a success because our voices came across and they actually reached him. like professor pallares said,
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nobody advised him to cancel the rally. him deciding to do that on his own after realizing the backlash from chicago, was a historic moment for us as students and the city of chicago for this campaign. .t was a success for us in terms of the numbers, i think it is safe to say that he was probably half and half before the announcement of the cancellation. it seemed they were more trump supporters, but afterwards we realized a lot of people that came were undercover trump supporters -- or undercover protesters, i'm sorry, who had to put up the facade of being a supporter to be let in because a lot of people were being rejected. one group was wearing shirts that said "muslims are human," something along those lines. . lot of people went undercover after the announcement of the
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cancellation of the event, it was obvious that there was a huge amount of protesters. on sunday, trump tweeted, "be careful, bernie, or my supporters will go to yours." questioned onr cnn about whether he was threatening sanders. this was his response. donald trump: it is not a threat at all. my people have said we ought to go to his rally because it is kind of interesting. when liberals and super liberals -- and i do not even dwell on liberals because i have many friends who are liberal who are wonderful people. these people are beyond liberal, bad people willing to do harm to our country. when these people come into mind, everybody thinks i am a bad guy. if my people went into one of his rallies and said this is a terrible thing, they would be arrested at all to things would happen to them. if conservative republicans ever went into his rally, you would see things happen that would be
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unbelievable, and bernie would be -- poor bernie, wouldn't that be a shame." there is a horrible thing going on in the media. we are treated so unfairly. amy: there you have donald trump speaking. elagha, as we wrap up, do you feel like what happened friday night was a success? yasmeen: i definitely do think it was a success. i want to make clear that the protesters were not there as bernie's people. we were not sent by bernie. , not endorsing a single candidate. concerned -- we came together, the students, on our own, and we decided we need to counter the rhetoric and make sure that he knows that this campus is a
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place that is diverse, that is welcoming, and it united us more than it divided us. i want to make clear that we were not there as bernie's people. many of us may support bernie on our own, but as a coalition we were there on politically. polaris, -- amalia pallares, what do you want people to learn from this rally, in this time? what happened was not even something i could have imagined would have happened. what i want to tell students and ,aculty at universities whenever an event is held, whatever it is, it is something that is going to deeply affect their community, affect their students in negative ways, in ways that would hurt students. it is the right of all
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citizens of the university to ask whether that is a good idea. i cannot predict what would happen, but one of the things this is then did, it gave people a sense of the power they have to say no to hate. amy: we are going to leave in there, but we will continue in chicago and the key primary. we are going to be joined by chuy garcia. right now rahm emanuel is a dissenter of presidential politics. he has endorsed hillary clinton. bernie sanders says even if bernie sanders got the presidential mod from the democratic party, he does not want rahm emanuel's support. we also are going to talk about another race in chicago that is getting people out of the streets. stay with us.
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♪ [music break]
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amy: singing "universal soldier"
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in our studios. now!is democracy senator bernie sanders took a moment to thank the mayor of the state's largest city for not endorsing his presidential campaign. sanders said he does not want chicago mayor rahm emanuel's support, given the mayor's role in closing public schools and firing teachers while maintaining cozy relations with wall street. he made the comments in illinois, where he was introduced by jesus "chuy" garcia. the next president of the united states of america for all the people, senator bernie sanders! bernie sanders: secretary clinton has received the endorsement of many senators and commerce and, and some of them are my friends and good people,
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that she has also received a strong endorsement from mayor rahm emanuel. say i want-- let me to thank rahm emanuel for not endorsing me. i do not want his support. i do not want the endorsement of a mayor who is shutting down school after school. amy: that is democratic presidential hopeful bernie sanders, stopping short for calling for mayor rahm emanuel to resign. mayor is a key figure in national politics as a top aide to president obama before he ran for mayor. he was a congressman before then. we are staying in chicago, where jesus "chuy"by garcia. he is the cook county commissioner for it and with us in chicago is veronica morris
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moore. organizing the #buy and the campaign coming commanding against the reelection of anita alvarez, cook county attorney. chuy garcia, it is good to have you back. can you talk about why rahm emanuel is so significant in the democratic presidential race right now? emanuelviously, rahm represents the 1%. powerful and the the connections to wall street in chicago, and someone who's the city inut tremendous crisis as it relates to criminal justice and as it relates to the chicago neighborhoods while the city has
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-- is in the shadow of the shiny downtown area. the mayor is quite unpopular in chicago, has a very low approval ating, and many people feel second term in chicago -- by covering up a crisis, is covering up scandal, and using the $30 million to get elected. he is not a popular figure. moore, youca morris also held a rally on friday. this is not the anti-trump rally. explain how it fits into chicago's city politics, and now because illinois is one of the major primaries going to be held tomorrow, national politics. veronica: i think that it relates, and the point that we were making is that the policies in chicago are reflective of the
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policies in america, the policies that have led to many black lives being murdered and nobody being held accountable in a lot of different cases. is practicingez thatics, the same politics donald trump is spreading across the campaign trail, adding to division, and racial in this country. amy: explain what took place on friday. you have the anti-trump rally, and then you were closing down a group of people, and intersection. explain what you were calling for. called for long before you ever knew the donald trump is coming to town. when we found out trump is coming to town, we used it as a strategic opportunity to , for a large audience
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folks to sit on city council and watch video and hold people , so thatle publicly they know what is happening systematically to black lives and not doing anything about it. standing up and saying that these people are not allowed in our city, they are not allowed in our government, and they should not be allowed in black lives or any lives, for that matter. amy: chuy garcia, explain how the death of laquan mcdonald, who was shot 16 times, the young 17-year-old african-american, on october 20, 2014. listen to the story of the chicago mayor. when was the race that you ran against rahm emanuel? at the time you were running, did you understand what had taken place with laquan mcdonald? , the the runoff election first that was had in the city
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of chicago since we went to a nonpartisan system over 25 years ago, was felt in april of 2015. the laquan mcdonald incident had taken place in november of that before i became a candidate for that office. knewayor and his advisers of the existence of the video. they reached an early settlement before a lawsuit was even filed by the family of laquan mcdonald. as it turns out, the release of the video had torn the lid off coverups inal and the criminal justice system, having to do with police officers in chicago pretty much doing what they want, disabling some of the devices and the , audio, so that you
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could not tell what was going on when incidents were occurring. the world has come to know the video is an execution that was caught on tape that has really stirred the city and the country ofreflect on what kinds practices occurred, especially as it relates to a young african-american, and latinos. the release of that video, which occurred this year, late last year, has caused a crisis in chicago, a crisis of confidence where people have been demonstrating against the release of the video, calling -- a set of reforms within demonstrating since the release of the video, calling for a set of reforms amidst allegations of misconduct. all of that is now under review.
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you have investigations by the justice department, investigations by the u.s. attorneys office. so chicago has been in this crisis mode for the past several months. people are very angry, and they are demanding a change. the call for change involves the state's attorney's office. the sanders campaign arrives in chicago, in illinois, and there is a convergence of a whole bunch of events and developments that i think are causing people to say this is why we need some systemic change in this country, and the bernie sanders campaign happens to offer a different vision of what is wrong with america, economically, in terms of the criminal justice system, so if they have within a week's time, the campaign found itself almost 40 points behind hillary
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clinton. a chicago tribune poll just a little over a week ago show that they were in a virtual dead heat because people understand we need very important changes to messagend the sanders is resonating with people across chicago. it has also forced hillary clinton to distance herself from rahm emanuel. politicians usually like to have the local mayor supporting them, but with what has happened, especially in the laquan mcdonald case, rahm emanuel was the chief of staff for president obama. morris-moore, how -- can you talk about what role alvarez played in this case? veronica: anita alvarez play the with thertant role, power and position. there would have been no way for laquan mcdonald's murderer to
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not be charged over 400 days him. killing anita alvarez is ultimately the person who is responsible for prosecuting people like jason van dyke, like george hernandez, and the list goes on and on, of officers who have gotten away with murder because of anita alvarez. and -- this is something that has existed in chicago for a long time. organizer, iack understand there is a need for change, but i also understand that there is a need for an entire restructure in the way politics and people engage in the society, especially the way back lives are -- amy: i want to go to anita alvarez being charged by former state's attorney kim foxx. >> the laquan mcdonald case has
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been a key point in the campaign. he said at the time that you made the charge against officer van dyke, that you have been before for the fed charging him, and the fed still has not finished the investigation. with that the pure position now if the video had not been released? >> i reached out to the state's attorney, and we met on december 2014 and agreed to joint investigation. doing it with the fbi, the united states attorney, -- stillyou believe he would be sitting on this case? >> what she said at the time was that she was waiting for the fed to finish their investigation, and to be clear, only the states attorney could have brought charges. what she said at the time was waiting, shebeen
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knew for weeks that she was going to charge officer van dyke, but she held off the she was waiting for the feds to finish their investigation, which was completely unrelated to the murder charges. it was only because that video was going to be released or the interest of the public safety had nothing to do with why the video was released. that was goingic to see what anita alvarez new. and anitaoxx alvarez. the charges against the police officer were brought the day the video was released. the video was released because the judge demanded that it be released, is that correct, veronica? veronica: i'm sorry, could you repeat the question, please? police officere was charged was released, and that was a court ordered release of the dash cam video that showed all that was being said
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about laquan mcdonald was true, that he was walking away from police when he was shot. veronica: what we found out during the 24-hour news cycle was that not only did anita alvarez know about what happened, she knew that the the evidence was tampered with. this was a complete cover-up that was very clear-cut, with all of the things that has transpired since the video was released. amy: i want to thank veronica morris-moore for joining us. fearless leading by the youth is her organization. for joining us, from chicago. speaking about another defining moment in recent u.s. history, in terms of the killing of young black men, michael brown, which brings us back to st. louis, chicago, where another trump rally made headlines friday with
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31 people arrested. the cover of saturday's "new york daily news" shows a bloodied protester. we are in st. louis with omar lee, a freelance -- with whom lee. talk about the trump rally, and louis ferguson politics today. welcome. umar: when donald trump came to st. louis, he came in the protesters, organized since the killing of mike brown. this is the climate that donald trump came into. a well oiled machine. organized ine opposition to police killings, broader institutional racism in st. louis, another group has
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organized rallies around the police, rallied around solidarity, and those are the forces that we saw a rallying for donald trump. at the opera house. those two communities came together inside the opera house and on the streets of st. louis. amy: so explain what took place on friday, just before trump canceled the chicago rally. what exactly happened? supporters hadmp spent the night in front of the opera house. they were lined up around the street, thousands of trump supporters. and that it supporters, there were activists from st. louis who were able to get into the opera house and able to cause several disruptions. got two minutes to speak without interruptions in st. louis. he was constantly interrupted, and he became very testy because of the disruptions, and he was
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harkening to the days when you could abuse protesters, praising the police, getting very violent rhetoric in st. louis, and he was very testy when he left. house itself, it was on the streets because most trump supporters could not get in. there were more protesters outside than inside as well, so both within the opera house there was a tension because trump was not allowed to go was ad, and outside there lot of conflict on the streets between supporters and protesters. amy: for you to get in, what were you wearing? not allowed to get in. i was wearing a st. louis cardinals jacket.
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i was kind of eavesdropping and hearing trump supporters' conversations, their support -- their complaints against black lives matter and other things. after being online for three hours, unable to get in, we were actually still on the steps of the opera house, where we listened to trump on the loudspeaker, and we listened to the cheering of trump supporters. protesters the clashing with trump supporters, and many of the protesters i recognized since the early days of ferguson. amy: you said as you look around, you thought of your dad. explain. umar: you know, my dad was a blue-collar guy. when i looked around the crowd, i saw guys who reminded me of his buddies. these were middle-aged, baby boomers, and there were also a
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lot of teenagers is supported. blue-collar, from st. louis, very much in opposition to the movement. my father was not a trump supporter. they see a guy who champions champions the white working men against isis, against the mexican worker, against african-americans, etc. they see heroes. also eyewitness on the street that the protesters were younger, more vibrant, more full of life, and i saw a group of trump supporters who looked like they were in a viagra commercial. donald trump has said he is going to pay the legal fees of supporters, like the supporter in north carolina who sucker
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punched a young african-american man when security was taking the man out. and he hauls off and socked him, , fromterwards a reporter inside edition, and he said he would kill him. he was arrested the next day. umar: trump is inciting this violence. marco rubio saying he was grateful he does not get killed that one of these rallies. when he is saying he will pay the legal fees, trump is saying, who is my champion? who will represent me? who will take out one of these protesters for me? i think we will see more of this violence incited by donald trump. it is a very sketchy -- it is a very scary situation that we have. amy: umar lee, thank you for being with us.
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the trump rally in st. louis was so different. this is democracy now! when we come back, we will go to florida, another major primary state tomorrow. who gets to vote, and who doesn't? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: american skin, "41 shots," by bruce springsteen, written about, do diablo -- amadou d iallo. we look at all the people who will not be able to principate thise democratic process election season. almost 6 million people across the country are prohibited from promoting as a result of state felony, disenfranchisement laws, that prevent those with felony convictions to vote. three quarters of those prevented from voting have been released from prison and have completed their sentences or are living on parole.
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florida has the highest number of disenfranchised voters. over 10% of adults in the state cannot vote because they have felony convictions. nearly one in four black adults is disenfranchised. this is not true all over the country. in places like vermont and maine, prisoners can vote from jail. how will this impact the primary and the race for the presidency? to find out more about these implications, we speak with desmond meade, chair of floridians for a fair democracy. was previously homeless and is still disenfranchised. welcome to democracy now! can you ever vote again, desmond meade? desmond: according to florida's policy, i might not ever get that right unless something is done to change it. amy: explain what you are trying to do in florida.
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.his is an astounding figure one in 10 flu millions who should be eligible to vote are not. one in four african-americans do not. explain. desmond: at the crux of the problem is whenever you have politicians deciding which american citizen gets to vote and which do not, you are always going to run into problems. alongl fall aroun partisan lines per what we are trying to do in florida is to take that power out of the hands of politicians and put in the constituents in -- in the constitution something that would allow us to be able to vote. in florida you have to wait five to seven years after completing their sentence before they are allowed to just apply. then once they apply, we are seeing the application process
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at times take eight to 10 years. so you have an individual, an american citizen waiting for 17 ,ears after he has completed after he has repaid his debt to society, but yet he still cannot citizenship status. that is a blow against democracy. amy: you said in florida it is easy to get a felony conviction. can you explain that? desmond: it seems like every the our legislators -- in state of florida, you can get a felony conviction for disturbing turtle nesting eggs, driving with us ended -- with a suspended license, trespassing on a construction site. when a gentleman released helium balloons in the air. he was arrested. that is some thing so many american citizens do without even thinking about the reefer
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conscience -- about the repercussions about that, specifically in florida. amy: talk about your own case. your wife is running for office and you will not be able to vote for her. desmond: that is the ultimate slap in my face. my wife decided to take a bold the florida for house of representatives. you know, even though my wife is doing a courageous action to further her community, her husband, i cannot even vote for her. amy: so explain what you have to go through, in your case, how you ended up in jail, and today what you need to do to get your rights restored. desmond: i had a drug addiction problem back in my younger days, and that caused me to go in and out of prison. at the time, i did not even realize the collateral
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consequences that i faced by pleading guilty to these charges. 2004, i gotly, in out of prison, and that was the last time i was ever in trouble. fact, i wentf above and beyond the call. i went back to school, i dived into community service, dedicated my whole life to giving back to others, fighting for the homeless and the disenfranchised, fighting for children, and taking by doing this and buy a excelling in school, that this country would see that i have been rehabilitated and that i am an asset to the community. apparently everybody thinks so but the state of florida. in spite of all i have been able to overcome, to include graduating from college with a
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jd degree, not only can i not vote, i cannot buy a home the way i want to, and i am not even allowed to practice law because i cannot apply to the florida bar. i can go to 48 other states and apply for the bar and practice law, but that just reminds me of the days of slavery, when all a slave had to do was cross the state line. we are in 2016. it is time to gerid of these jim crow policies so american citizens do not have to move to another state just to participate in the democratic process. closeesmond meade, how are you? how big is the movement of florida to restoring voting rights there? amy,nd: let me tell you, people across the state of florida are waking up and realizing that every person deserves a seconchance. i can tell you that they are
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growing throughout the state. right now we are nearing our first benchmark, which is actually getting this language in front of the florida supreme court so they can rule on the constitutionality of that language. less than 15,000 petitions away from triggering the review process. we have gotten to this point purely with volunteers, no funding, just people recognizing that right is right and wrong is wrong, and it is time for florida to stop being an outlier state, and to revise its policy and step into the modern era and understand that everybody deserves a second chance. amy: desmond meade, thank you for being with us, chair of floridians for fair democracy. that doesn't four-hour broadcast. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013.
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new york, new york 10013.
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