tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS August 9, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday, august 9: residents in ferguson, missouri remember michael brown, killed by a police officer one year ago today. how protests in ferguson, and the forceful police response, have affected police tactics nationally. and, from idaho, how rare political cooperation preserved this wilderness area forever. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual
and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios in lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening and thanks for joining us. ferguson, missouri, is marking a somber anniversary today. hundreds of people marched peacefully in the st. louis suburb, one year after unarmed black teenager michael brown was shot dead by a white police officer. the marchers first gathered at the spot where brown was killed, and they stood in silence for four and a half minutes to represent the four and a half hours that brown's unattended body lay in the street. after the moment of silence, organizers released two doves. federal and state prosecutors cleared officer darren wilson of criminal wrong-doing in the
shooting, but he is no longer with the police force. wilson had confronted brown as a suspect in a convenience store robbery. the shooting touched off weeks of protests and galvanized the black lives matter movement. among the changes in ferguson in the past year-- more diverse leadership: a new interim police chief and city manager, who are black. a new presiding judge for its municipal court, and two new, black representatives elected to the city council. for the first time in a city that is two-thirds black, african americans hold half the seats in the city council. earlier, i spoke with one of those new members, wesley bell, about changes in ferguson over the past year, and changes still to come. >> councilman bell what's changed in the last year? >> a lot of things. one, i think there's an awareness of these issues. a lot of these social issues that predated ferguson. that are regional that they're -- that are national and we're having more conversations
about -- about privilege and tensions between law enforcement and some of our communities, particularly our young people. there's a lot of things to be encouraged about as well. >> you have been on the job for a little more than 100 days or so now.more than twice the number of average voters showed up to help you get into this election cycle. what have you learned william. >> i have -- learned? >> you have to engage the residents, you have to get involved because you need to get the residents involved. a community that's engaged can accomplish anything and keep in mind: with the world watching in ferguson, if we get it right here, we can set a broad example nationally and even internationally of what change can look like. >> what has been done over the past year to prevent another michael brown-type situation from happening this this community? >> well, i think what weers -- i think what we're doing is we're
having these hard conversations. we've implemented community policing which i've been screaming from the hills for a while now. we have brought experts in to help us with that for our -- help us create a model that is appropriate for our city. we've also hired our new chief, he is the first african american chief in ferguson's history. but more importantly he has a background in community policing as well as with other trainees, on the federal level and things of that nature. also with our courts we have one of the best judges in the state in judge donald mccullen. who is heading our courts right now. and making sure that everyone is treated fairly. we've repealed a lot of the ordinances, particularly the failure to appear ordinances
that were causing a lot of excessive fines. so i think there's a lot going on, and let me be clear: there's no denying the change. all right? there's no denying the progress i should say. now, having said that we still have a lot of work to do. sreenavasan: so the department of justice in that report which i'm sure you've read, pointed to systemic issues, between 2012 and 2014 every time someone was arrested for something, they were black. now even with the changes you've made so far only five of the 50 officers on your force are african american. how can you deal with what might be a much deeper problem in the police department? >> well, as far as the number of police, we can't just fire officers. especially the overwhelming majority of officers who are honest and hard-working. but i think goal is to recruit
and looking -- and look outside of the traditional ways of recruiting so we do give everyone an opportunity which we have. and the council since i've been on has approved funding for scholarships to sponsor officers, preferably minority officers through our department. because again it is important that the department better represent the community. having said that, we're not looking to bring in officers just for sake of diversity. it's important, we're not going to -- it is important we don't compromise bringing in quality individuals who have the community's best interests at heart. sreenavasan: you said you still have some work left to do. so what would your constituents say still needs to be done? >> i think trust needs to be earned. so as a result no matter what changes we do in a couple months since i've been on the council, you know i would, even if i was just -- if i wasn't an elected official i would still want to
see a longer sample size if you will. so i think a lot of residents do see the change and see the progress. but, you know, for those who don't, hey, we're going to keep trying to bring you over to our side and show you what we're doing. with everything that's happened just a year ago, it would be naive of us to think that everything will be well and the slate will be clean. we have a lot of work to do, that's why i ran, i wanted to be part of that human process and part of the solution. >> wesley bell of ferguson, missouri thanks for joining us. >> thanks to having me. >> sreenivasan: during the protests that followed the extra-judicial shooting of michael brown, the spectacle of ferguson police patrolling the streets in combat gear with machine guns and armored vehicles sparked another conversation. like a lot of police departments, ferguson's had been equipped with military surplus provided by the pentagon, and gear purchased with department of homeland security grants. but this year, the obama administration has curtailed
those military supplies." new york times" reporter matt apuzzo has covered this issue and joins me now from washington. >> first of all, how prevalent is it that police departments get this military surplus equipment? >> well, i mean it's very, very prevalent. i mean this program, this idea of military surplus goes back to really the height of the drug war, when the idea was that local police were basically outgunned by drug gangs. and so the thinking in washington was, well we can take this extra military equipment and provide it to local police departments to help fight the drug war. and obviously like a lot of programs it kind of ramped up even more after 9/11, and the focus became, you know, a lot of counterterrorism kind of stuff. you tend osee huh -- to see humvees night vision goggles and the like. >> what is the change now, what is the administration proposing?
>> over executive owed that went through in january, what the president is saying there's now a restricted group of equipment. that would be including bayonets, high caliber rifles, tracked trucks. these are these big troop transporters that look like tanks, obviously don't have the cannon mount on them that run on tracks. those are the prohibited items. mine resistant vehicles you can get but you have to go through all these hoops and you have to prove you've trained on it and have policies on how to use it. and you have to explain why you have a need to have it. sreenavasan: and in addition to some sort of oversight that takes a look at what you're doing in your police force, right? >> exactly right. you know what we saw just a few months ago, the justice department did a review of ferguson's response and the sort of st. louis region's response
to the protests and riots after the brown shooting. and what they said was, you know while some of the equipment was used appropriately a lot of it was just used inappropriately and unnecessarily. and police officers didn't know who was in charge. and you had this armored car, armored truck going around with snipers poised on the roof of the car pointing their weapons at civilians. and that it only served to really heighten tensions and actually just made things worse. sreenavasan: and interestingly there has been push back about this show of force this militarization or this posture but it really took the death of michael brown the reaction in ferguson to do things that legislators and activists could not do. >> sure i mean, forget could not do. it was almost no interest in doing it. this is what was really remarkable is, think about it for a second. this idea of beefing up local
police departments, to fight terrorism, is kind of the cornerstone of our domestic post9/11 response. so the fact that it took a death of a young african american man in st. louis county to force upon the country a huge reconsideration of the thinking of, that we need to heavily arm police departments to fight terrorism. it's just sort of remarkable. because until recently, the only discussions about these types of programs were, is my police department getting enough? how come he -- how come that city got more than my city? those were the debates that were going on in washington. nobody was saying, hey do we really need to have armored troop transparenters in local police departments? nobody was saying that until ferguson. that is a remarkable moment from a washington policy standpoint. >> all right matt apuzzo, great
to have you. >> great to be here. >> sreenivasan: from paintings to poetry, take a look at some of the artistic works inspired by the events last year in ferguson, missouri. visit us online at pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: the arlington, texas, police department has asked the fbi to assist its investigation into the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager friday. christian taylor was a 19-year- old sophomore with a football scholarship at angelo state university in san angelo, texas. police responding to a 1:00 am burglary call at a car dealership encountered taylor, who had allegedly driven his own car into a showroom window. police say, after an altercation, one officer fired his gun four times at taylor. the officer who shot taylor, brad miller, is in his first year on the job. miller, who had not fired his gun on duty before, is now on paid leave. arlington's police chief says the fbi assistance will increase the investigation's transparency. >> this instance has not occurred in isolation, but
rather it has occurred as our nation has been wrestling with the topics of social injustice, inequities, racism and police misconduct. >> sreenivasan: "washington post" reporter jason rezaian is expected to appear at his final court hearing on espionage charges tomorrow in tehran. rezaian, an iranian-american who holds dual citizenship, is accused by iran of spying and distributing propaganda." the post" calls the charges" baseless and absurd," and the u.s. government has called for his immediate release. the hearing, to present rezaian's defense, is closed to the public, and it is unknown when the court will render a verdict. iran has jailed rezaian for a year. his wife and two photojournalists arrested at the same time were freed. president obama says the iran nuclear disarmament deal pending before congress affects american credibility. in an interview with cnn's fareed zakaria broadcast today, the president reminded critics the pact was brokered with five other major powers: russia, china, germany, france, and the
uk. >> the issue here is not simply the deal itself, it's certainly not just an issue for my presidency. the issue is does the rest of the world take seriously the united states' ability to craft international agendas, to reach international agreements, to deliver on them in ways that garner the respect and the adherence from other countries. >> sreenivasan: on this 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing that ended world war two, japanese prime minister shinzo abe is calling for a world without nuclear weapons. in nagasaki today, a bell tolled at 11:02 am, to mark the moment when the bomb dropped by the u.s. exploded, on august 9th, 1945.
this second nuclear attack killed more than 70,000 people and led to japan announcing its surrender six days later. >> sreenivasan: europe is coping with a continuous influx of migrants from africa and the middle east, particularly from war-torn syria and libya. so far this year, the united nations says, 225,000 migrants have crossed the mediterranean sea, with most landing in italy or greece, often after being rescued from rickety boats. just last month, 50,000 migrants made the journey. but an estimated 2,100 migrants have died at sea this year. itn's paraic o'brien has the story of how germany is dealing with those seeking asylum. >> hell ga bruger looks out on to the community garden of her
leafy hamburg street. the communal garden is about to get a lot more communal. the german army are building a camp to accommodate 500 asylum seekers. so far this year hamburg alone has accommodated nearly 6,000 migrants, double the size of the jungle in calais. >> germany will end up dealing within the region of 400,000 migrants this year. the traditional immigration centers are filling up. thus the new camps. about 200 a day for example coming from italy to the bavarian town of rosenhsenheim.
>> the german elect ralg rat are pretty philosophical right now, but only if the system is working. if it starts to buckle under the numbers, german politician he are acutely aware that that could change. in the meantime, preparing for a thousand new migrants. tony smith used to be in charge of the u.k.'s new border agency. he's now returned from turkey. >> 1.7 immigrants in turkey. now if you arrive in turkey from syria, will be in 2023. you're looking at eight years of limbo. what are you going to do? trying to stop establish yourself somewhere else? >> which is what these families
were doing. in austria 86 people including 16 children found in the back of a van. holes cut in the roof for air. calais, pro-migrant demonstration. the difference between calais and hackburg let's say, the migrants want to get out. the one in germany by and large want to stay. >> sreenivasan: a huge swath of wilderness in idaho will now be protected from development, due to legislation passed by congress and signed by president obama on friday. the designation for 275,000 acres of public land in the boulder-white clouds mountains ends a four-decade push by environmentalists, ranchers, and recreation groups. it also marks a moment of bipartisan cooperation between a republican congressional delegation and a democratic administration.
rocky barker of "the idaho statesman" and our colleagues at idaho public television along with earthfix has the story. >> reporter: the boulder-white clouds mountains in central idaho are a scenic landscape of soaring mountain peaks, lush forests, and pristine lakes and rivers. 275,000 acres of this public land is now a federally- protected wilderness area, which means it will remain open to recreation and closed to development. when president obama signed the wilderness bill into law, it was a personal victory for idaho congressman mike simpson, who backed the idea for 15 years. simpson's efforts accelerated earlier after meeting obama adviser john podesta last year.
>> i said, "listen, i'd like six months to see if we could get a bill moving in congress," and by then we would know whether we could get one done or not. >> reporter: declaring these mountains a national monument would have protected them, but would have left many details unresolved. as a wildernesses area, the uses of the land are more strictly defined. the boulder-white clouds mountains have had some federal protection since 1972, when then-governor cecil andrus stopped a molybdenum mine from being built at the base of castle peak mountain. andrus, who also served as interior secretary under president carter, initially urged president obama to use his executive authority to protect the boulder white clouds by declaring them a national monument. craig gehrke is the idaho director of the wilderness society. >> there was still a big question in our mind whether or not a congress could really do anything anymore. so we continued with our monument effort, >> reporter: but congressman simpson decided to make another run at declaring the mountains a wilderness area and got his bill through the house in july. idaho senator james risch, who
previously opposed the bill, agreed to sponsor the senate version. >> what congressman simpson was able to do is to get everybody to the table in a very collaborative fashion to where he go the wilderness preservationists, the hikers, the backpackers, the horse people, the motorized users, including both snowmobiles and atv and motorcycle people to all agree as to a management plan >> reporter: idaho conservation league director rick johnson told a senate committee hearing why the landscape needed protecting. >> these mountain ranges contain the headwaters of four major rivers and are home to some of the highest elevation salmon habitat on earth. this is a landscape of summer and winter range for big game and critical habitat for endangered and elusive species like wolverine. it is also an unparalleled resource for many different recreational pursuits. >> reporter: sandra mitchell, who represents snowmobilers and motorcyclists, favored the creation of a wilderness area because the designation clearly spells out how the mountain trails around it can be used.
>> the choice was the national monument or the wilderness and we came down on it. it was a long difficult decision but we came down on the wilderness bill is the best, and then we put 100% of our support behind it and did everything we could to pass it. >> reporter: the creation of this new wilderness area is a big law for a small western state that also shows even in these politically charged times, congress can sometimes work quickly to get something done. >> finally kim chambers is the first woman to swim the 30 miles from the farallon islands to the golden gate bridge. it took the woman 17 hours and 12 minutes to navigate the shark infested waters yesterday. and pro-football hall of famer frank gifford has died. gifford start on both offense
and defense. he later had a long career covering monday night football and the olympics. gifford died of natural causes at his home in connecticut, he was 84. on the newshour tomorrow, a book by a dork who survived ebola. i'm hari sreenivasan, thanks for watching. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for
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