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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  January 23, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> stewart: on this edition for saturday, january 23: hit hard-- states of emergency are declared as a giant blizzard dumps up to two feet of snow along the east coast; and in our signature segment, re-training police on their use of lethal force. >> is he threatening anybody right now? is he killing anybody right now? so, do we have to jump right in and take care of it ourselves? no. >> stewart: next, on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: lewis b. and louise hirschfeld cullman. bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the citi foundation. supporting innovation and enabling urban progress.
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sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. 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 has been 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 at lincoln center in new york, alison stewart. >> stewart: good evening, and thanks for joining us. a giant winter snow storm has been bearing down on the east coast all day. the blizzard, jonas, affects as many as 80 million people in 15 states, from the southeast to new england, with some areas already seeing more than two feet of snow. the message from governors and big city mayors: stay indoors and keep off the roads. the newshour's ivette feliciano has more. >> reporter: the nation's capital is one of the worst hit areas. more than 30 inches of snow has
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fallen in and around washington, d.c. the white house looked true to its name. >> it seems like the wind's picked up a little bit more, so it's just crazy. >> reporter: washington's mayor pleaded with motorists and pedestrians to stay off the roads. >> it's very dangerous for our vehicle operators and very dangerous for you. the visibility is poor and you cannot be seen. >> reporter: the snow in parts of pennsylvania and virginia was 2.5 feet deep by this afternoon. from virginia to new york, the national weather service measured wind gusts from 30 to 50 miles an hour, and as high as 75 miles an hour in delaware. power outages left thousands of homes without electricity: 150,000 north and south carolina residents and 90,000 in new jersey. some new jersey coastal towns were deluged by severe flooding. at east coast airports, more than 4,300 flights were cancelled today. and already 1,200 flights are canceled for tomorrow. in new york city and long
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island, driving on public streets was banned, except for emergencies. while bus service was suspended, and trains were limited. all broadway musicals and plays cancelled their performances, but the broadway league promised the shows would go on sunday. >> this storm will surpass 20 inches accumulation in new york city. when that happens, that will put this in the top five snowstorms in the history of new york city. >> reporter: at least 11 people have died in snow-related car accidents. virginia state police responded to more than a thousand traffic accidents. interstate-75 south of lexington, kentucky re-opened after 3,000 people were stuck on it overnight. the national guard has been rescuing stranded motorists on the pennsylvania turnpike, where 500 cars were backed up for miles. >> stewart: canadian prime minister justin trudeau says yesterday's fatal school shooting in the province of saskatchewan is, "every parent's worst nightmare." the shooting took place at the high school in la loche: a
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remote town of 3,000 residents. the daughter of the town's mayor, a 23-year-old teacher, was one of two people killed at the school by the gunman. he was arrested outside the school. the teenaged suspect allegedly shot and killed his two brothers at home before going to the school. vice president joe biden says the united states and turkey are committed to defeat militants from the islamic state in iraq and syria, or isis, in syria. the vice president is in neighboring turkey this weekend for meetings with turkey's prime minister and president. biden said the allies are prepared to increase military litary presence in syria,ts mainly in support of president bashar al-assad. united nations-brokered peace talks between assad and his opponents resume next week in geneva. today, 45 opposition groups issued a statement saying they support the political process." new york times" reporter anne barnard is covering the syrian conflict.
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she joins me now by skype from beirut. and, anne, why are the united states and russia signaling through their behavior that they're not necessarily, confident, let's say, in a political end to this? >> reporter: well, there isn't much reason to be optimistic right now. i mean, nothing fundamental has changed in the opposition-- in the diametric-- diametrically opposed positions of the syrian government and its syrian insurgent opponents since geneva two, two years ago. there's still a disagreement about whether president assad needs to leave before a political transition begins. there's definitely been some changes on the ground, but there's still, you know, no sign that all the warring parties believe that they can gain more through a peace settlement than they can by continuing to fight. so i think there's reason to believe that the fight will continue. at the same time, you have an entire piece of this multi-sided war that's not really affected by these peace talks, because
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it's with the islamic state, which is not involved or invited to the talks. >> stewart: now you wrote in one of your pieces and from your reporting, what the united states and russia has a "fundamental disagreement of how to move forward." what's at the heart of the disagreement? >> reporter: you can't get much more fundamental than this disagreement over to how to defeat isis. in order, the united states has long said the rise of isis is predominantly because of bashar al-assad's crackdown on first peaceful then armed opponents, and that has opened the space for this radically extremist group to gain a foothold, whereas russia has long said that they believe pretty much all of the forces fighting president assad by force are terrorists, as he says, and they don't make much distinction between the islamic state and the other spectrum of insurgent groups, that range from
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nationalist rebels to al-nusra, al qaeda's branch in syria. the united states used a meaningful spectrum, whereas russia basically sees them as all as terrorists and is attacking the other insurgents, in fact, much more than it's attacking isis in its air strikes. >> stewart: with a common enemy like isis, why isn't that enough to bring on some sort of collaboration? >> reporter: well, this is a great question. i mean, you know, all of the parties going from iran to russia to the syrian government to even the al qaeda-linked insurgents to other insurgents, to the united states-- they all profess to be against isis. but the issue is that the enmities between and among those groups supposedly arrayed against isis are so strong, that they are not able to unite against it.
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>> stewart: anne barnard from the "new york times," thank you so much for sharing your reporting. >> reporter: thank you. tally by "the washington post. while the post is keeping track, there is an absence of government statistics made public on police-involved deaths. the frequency of these deaths has prompted the f.b.i. to begin tracking all police encounters that turn violent. that is well beyond the data that only 3% of the nation's police agencies provide to the f.b.i. although the majority of people killed by police are armed and allegedly endangering officers, police use of deadly force has become increasingly controversial as many confrontations have been captured on video during the past two years. as a result, some police departments are re-training officers with the goal of decreasing the likelihood of these fatal encounters. in tonight's signature segment,
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special correspondent chris bury takes a closer look. >> see that man? see that man? he's threatening people with a knife! >> reporter: in philadelphia, this new police recruit is getting a taste of confronting a suspect that he may have to shoot. this training-- in full protective gear-- is known as a reality-based scenario. >> sir, drop the knife! >> reporter: this is a lesson in defusing high-tension encounters, before they turn deadly. in philadelphia, every officer gets 40 hours of this reality training to learn tactics other than lethal force, even when suspects are armed and dangerous. >> is he threatening anybody right now? >> no. >> is he killing anybody right now? >> no. >> so, do we have to turn around and jump right in there and take care of it ourselves? >> no. >> reporter: sergeant kenneth gill, a police academy instructor, says the training is designed to teach police officers how to de-escalate emotionally charged
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confrontations. >> slow down the momentum. >> slow down the momentum. don't always just rush into something. you know, you want to be able to look at your surroundings. what else can i do, except for jump in? >> reporter: with so many questionable police shootings caught on camera during the past two years, how police are trained is coming under greater scrutiny, along with calls for reform. studies by the "washington post" and the "guardian" found police in this country shot and killed about 1,000 people last year-- almost three people a day. the "post" found 987 cases, and the "guardian," 1,014. the country's 18,000 police departments, on average, train officers for only a total of 15 weeks before rookies hit the streets. maria haberfeld, a professor of police science at the john jay
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college of criminal justice, in new york, blames poor police training-- not rogue cops-- for many questionable cases of lethal force. >> there are police officers who do not belong on the job, who are trigger happy. but this is not the overwhelming majority. to the contrary, this is a fraction of a fraction. but the overwhelming majority are poorly trained. >> reporter: for police officers across the country, guidelines about deadly force are based on supreme court rulings that justify it when officers feel that they or others are in imminent danger. but there are no national standards. and in the wake of so many notorious police shootings, some departments including the one here in columbus are reinforcing the idea that deadly force should be a matter of last resort. >> so, he has a knife... >> reporter: at the police academy here, veterans and rookies alike are studying videos of police involved shootings. >> what else could have been
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done? could this life have been saved? how would you do it yourself? is there a better way? >> reporter: police chief kim jacobs-- a 36 year veteran of the columbus police department-- became chief in 2012. after the 2014 ferguson, missouri police shooting of michael brown, who was unarmed, jacobs ordered new lethal force training in columbus. community meetings had convinced her that a change was needed. >> why do people fear us? and i heard that in our community meetings. people fear the police. that's absurd to me. because we're the good people. and yet, people are afraid of how we're going to react. >> reporter: and that is understandable, chief jacobs says, when people see videos like this 2014 recording of a police dashboard camera in south carolina. the incident began when state trooper sean grubert pulled over driver levar jones for not wearing a seat belt.
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grubert asked jones for his driver's license. >> can i see your license, please? get out of the car! get out of the car! >> reporter: when jones reached inside his car, grubert opened fire. did that seem like a threat to you? >> i have no reason to think that there was a threat at that point in time. when i think about when i would justify myself pulling the trigger, i want to be certain that i am in imminent danger, and there's some way that that could happen. >> reporter: jones survived. grubert was fired and charged with aggravated assault. >> what could the cop do differently? >> reporter: in columbus, such videos are case studies in how not to handle potentially combustible moments. chief jacobs says a rush to use of lethal force is a common mistake, and one that contributed to one of ohio's most infamous police shootings--
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the death of 12-year old tamir rice in cleveland in 2014. rice had been holding a toy gun in a park, when police, responding to a 911 call, drove within a few feet of rice and seconds later opened fire. >> reporter: what alternative did those officers have? what could they have done better? >> not gotten that close. they could either get out on foot and approached him and given him orders, "let me see your hands," all that kind of thing. they could have tried to find out either via intercom or something else what this person's intentions were. >> reporter: in philadelphia, a spike in police shootings three years ago led then-police commissioner charles ramsey-- who retired earlier this month-- to ask the u.s. justice department for help. >> i wanted to take a look at our training. i wanted to look at our policy to make sure we're doing everything we can to minimize the number of times that an officer would actually have to resort to the use of deadly force. >> turn around slowly!
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keep both hands up! >> reporter: the justice department offered more than 90 recommendations, including increased reality-based training, which emphasizes strategies that give police more time and distance from suspects in high risk encounters. >> you have to call for backup right away. >> reporter: such tactics include calling for back-up, finding cover or moving away from a dangerous suspect, engaging the suspect in conversation. >> slow the momentum. slow it down. >> reporter: since adopting the recommendations, the philadelphia police department's fatal shootings are down. in 2013, police shot and killed 11 people. that fell to four in 2014, and only two last year. >> we have to train to make sure that our officers only use the force necessary under the most extreme circumstances, that being deadly force. period.
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doesn't matter who the offender is. >> reporter: but training in deadly force tactics is strictly up to individual police departments. maria haberfeld argues that needs to change. >> to me, it's mandatory to identify minimal standards for each and every police department in the country with regards to use of force. and not just the length of training, but also the content. because it's one thing to train police officers how to use a gun, but it's another to train police officers what kind of factors go into using deadly force. >> reporter: haberfeld and other criminologists say police departments also need to incorporate more training on race. in columbus, black people make up 28 percent of the city's population but only 12% of the police force. sergeant james fuqua says having more officers who reflect the neighborhoods they patrol could help reduce misperceptions and violent exchanges. >> i'm not calling anybody a
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racist or it's racially motivated. i just think sometimes there's a misunderstanding with cultural differences. >> reporter: did you get hassled because you were a young black man? >> absolutely-- absolutely, just because of the color of my skin ny times, i was, for lack ofh i better words, harassed. when i got older, i realized that they weren't bad people, and they were just doing their job. and then once i became an officer, i realized that, you know, they were trying to do their job. but at the end of the day, they kind of did a poor job with the community policing aspect of it. >> reporter: former federal prosecutor sharon davies believes police training should also focus on unintended, or implicit, racial bias. davies heads the kirwan institute on race at ohio state university and is a consultant to the columbus police. >> if those associations are negative, such as presumptions of violence or threat or criminality that can make a police officer see a threat
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where there is no threat. >> reporter: what do you see as potential solutions? i mean-- do we need changes in state law? or do we need much better police training? >> there's absolutely no question that all police forces should be trained about the reality of unconscious racial biases that affect all of us. that's a reality that all of us need to take very seriously, and police officers especially. >> reporter: not even the most advanced training can eliminate lethal force and police are legally justified to use it in order to save lives--including their own. in fact, the "washington post" study found that "in three- quarters of the fatal shootings, police were under attack or defending someone who was." in philadelphia and columbus, police are convinced better training can give officers
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better options than shooting to kill. >> you don't grow up being taught how to deal with the police. the police are taught how to deal with our citizens. and, so, it's our responsibility. >> stewart: see how the memphis police department is training officers to respond to those experiencing a mental health crisis. watch our report at www.pbs.org/newshour. the "visa waiver program" allows visitors to the united states from 38 countries, mostly in europe, to enter and stay in the u.s. for 90 days without a visa or interview overseas. about 20 million travelers come to the u.s. this way every year. but the growth of radicalized "foreign fighters"-- who have joined forces with islamic militants in iraq and syria and then have returned to europe-- has led u.s. officials to tighten the program. this week, the obama administration began enforcing a law passed by congress last month that prevents anyone from a visa waiver country who has
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dual citizenship with iran, iraq, syria, or sudan, from visiting the u.s. visa-free. for more on these new security measures, i am joined by "washington post" reporter karoun demirjian. >> karoun, i have a question for you-- what was the initial catalyst for this change? and what flaw was exposed that needed to be fixed? >> a lot of people in congress had been looking at the visa waiver program fair while but the thing that brought it all together was the terror attacks in paris and san bernardino and you had a lot of members saying we need to look at this very closely. the first measure that congress started to look at was syrian iraqi refugee resettlements and they said the visa waiver program was a bigger concern because so many people use it to come to the united states and a large percentage of the foreign fighters who joined a lot of these extremist groups do have european passports. what they settled on in this bill was this measure if you traveled to iraq, sudan, syria,
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or iran since the beginning of march in 2011-- that's the date the syrian civil war started-- or if you're a dual national, which means you hold european passport-- visa waiver country-eligible passport but also a passport from that country, citizenship there, you can't come to the u.s. under the reduced expedited procedures. you have to go through the regular screening that involves an in-person interview at an embassy or consulate. >> stewart: how does this affect people like journalists or n.g.o.s or charity workers who are going to countries to try to help people? >> there was always a provision in the bill, in the law, that said the government can choose to waive the restrictions when it's in the interests of law enforcement or national security of the united states. and so, the rule that the administration said they were going to implement this week, they actually cited many of those categories, that if you are a journalist, if are you working for an international n.g.o., or legitimate government
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or if you had a legitimate business interest in iraq or in iran, since the nuclear pact was signed, you can. for a waiver, and those waivers will be available. >> stewart: can there be an argument made that this is an over-reaction or over-correction? >> people have made that argument. the changes were very popular. they got a lot of bipartisan support when they were there for a straight up-or-down vote in the house of representatives and then, of course, it passed as part of the bigger budget mill bill. as much as there are people who want to pull this back and say let's look at the program again, maybe do even more measures on the-- in the other capacities where it has to do who security, sharing of information, and screening that isn't in a way that's going to be blocking people out by category, there's certainly discussion about wanting to do that, but there's nothing that's been scheduled to actually go ahead and revisit what they just passed. >> stewart: karoum demirijian from the "washington post," thanks so much. >> thank you.
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this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> stewart: the centers for disease control and prevention is expanding its travel warning over the mosquito-born virus zika. the c.d.c. added eight countries to the list of places pregnant women should not travel to avoid risk of infection, including barbados, bolivia, and ecuador. that brings the list to 22 mostly latin american and caribbean destinations to avoid. the largest is brazil, which had a zika outbreak last spring. zika has been linked to a birth defect that causes babies to be born with brain damage and unusually small heads. in new york, three people have tested positive for the virus and are being treated. all three had traveled to countries with zika infections. the national highway traffic safety administration is recalling five million more vehicles due to faulty airbags made by the japanese company takata. the order follows the death of a driver who crashed his ford ranger pick-up last month in
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south carolina. he died when a takata airbag exploded and sent metal and plastic shrapnel flying. this is the tenth death worldwide attributed to takata airbags. the recall brings the number of affected cars and trucks in the u.s. to 24 million. the first american downhill skier to win an olympic gold medal has died. bill johnson won gold at the 1984 winter olympics in sarajevo. after that, the brash californian continued to compete but never won another olympic medal. a skiing accident in 2001 left johnson in a coma for three weeks and with permanent brain damage. he re-learned how to walk, talk, eat, and ski, but strokes in 2010 took him off the slopes for good. johnson died at an assisted living facility in oregon on thursday. he was 55-years old. keep up to date on the latest developments of winter storm jonas by visiting our website at www.pbs.org/newshour.
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>> stewart: finally, 10 days before the first presidential campaign votes are cast in iowa, another candidate is eyeing the race. the "new york times" reports former new york city mayor mike bloomberg is drawing up plans to run as an independent. bloomberg, who is worth an estimated $36 billion, is said to be willing to spend $1 billion on a general election campaign. the 73-year-old bloomberg flirted with presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. the "times" says he's giving himself until march to decide. that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. i'm alison stewart. thanks for watching. good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made
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possible by: lewis b. and louise hirschfeld cullman. bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the citi foundation. supporting innovation and enabling urban progress. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. 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 has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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william still: it was my good fortune to lend a helping hand to the weary travellers flying from the land of bondage. [♪] narrator: william still was just a boy when he helped the first runaway slave to escape. he never knew the man's name. only that he was being hunted by slave-catchers. but in the years ahead, there would be many hundreds more and still vowed their stories would never be forgotten. william still: the heroism and desperate struggle that many of our people had to endure should be kept green in the memory of this and coming generations. [♪] narrator: and he kept his promise. his diaries tell the secret stories of that

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