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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  December 2, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PST

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12/02/14 12/02/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now. >> i'm convinced if we work hard, we can make sure police officers and the communities they serve our partners in battling crime. partners and making sure everybody feels safe, that we can build confidence and build trust, but it is not going to happen overnight. >> as walk out of schools across the country to protest the killing of michael brown,
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will speak with ashley yates. she was at the white house yesterday for a meeting with president obama to address ferguson and police militarization. then the united nations slams u.s. record on police brutality and torture. reports of widespread police.rced by the they gives rise to concern, of course, and also some vulnerable groups, including ethnic groups, blacks, have been particularly targeted by this force. >> we will speak to a member of the united nations committee against torture on u.s. policing practices, guantanamo and prosecuting bush administration officials. and finally, texas prepares to execute a schizophrenic prisoner despite calls for clemency.
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,> an alter ego of mine, sarge killed my illinois -- my in-laws . there's nothing to have me become what i am here. >> that's the voice of scott panetti who is scheduled to die wednesday night. he was sentenced to death after a trial in which he acted as his own attorney and appeared in court wearing a purple cowboy suit and a 10-gallon hat. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in more than 30 u.s. cities, workers and students walked out of school or off the job monday with their hands raised to protest the police shooting of unarmed black teenager michael brown. in washington, d.c., protesters staged a die-in at the justice department. in cambridge, massachusetts, dozens laid down in a major intersection in harvard square.
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president obama has issued his first major policy response to the protests, announcing a community policing initiative. >> the sense that in a country where one of our basic principles, perhaps the most important principle, is equality , there are too many individuals, particularly young people of color, do not feel as if they're being treated fairly. week, whenid last any part of the american family does not feel like it is being treated fairly, that is a problem for all of us. >> obama's plan includes $75 million to equip police with body cameras. he also announced an executive order to tighten rules on the provision of military-grade equipment to local police, but vowed to leave the transfers mostly intact. attorney general eric holder
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announced new steps to curb racial profiling. he was speaking in atlanta. we'll have more on the protests and the obama administration's response after headlines. st. louis comic county police say an official with the st. football team has apologized after players raised their arms in the air before a game in a gesture of solidarity with mike brown. but the executive vice president of rams told the st. louis post-dispatch he did not apologize, but merely told police he "regretted any offense their officers may have taken." the lebanese army has to tame the wife and child of the leader of the militant group islamic state, which has claimed swaths of iraq and syria. the news comes as the united states has continued airstrikes against the group with at least 55 cents friday. meanwhile, a u.s. fighter pilot has died in a noncombat crash
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reportedly in jordan. the united nations world food programme has suspended aid to 1.7 million syrian refugees due to budget shortfalls after donor nations have failed to deliver on their pledges. the u.n. agency said the move could be "disastrous" for syrians in countries like lebanon and turkey. in northern kenya, somali militants have killed 36 workers at a quarry near the town of mandera. last week al-shabab reportedly -- last week the group killed 28 people in an attack on a bus in the same area. the world health organization says liberia and guinea have met a goal to treat 70 percent of patients suffering from ebola, while sierra leone has not. the agency warned it may not reach a year-end goal to isolate and care for all patients. but head of the u.n. ebola response mission antony banbury cited progress in the response. >> the response to the ebola in turningsucceeded
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this crisis around. agoe we were 60 days impaired to where we are now, we have been -- and by we, i'm talking about all of those involved in the responses, it surely successful in getting this crisis under control. we are far away from being out of the woods, but there have been markable results achieved in the past 60 days. >> russian president vladimir putin has scrapped plans for a major gas pipeline to europe amid tensions with the west over europe's role in ukraine. after the european union opposed the pipeline, putin announced the gas would instead flow to turkey. in west virginia, a man suspected of killing four people in a shooting spree has been found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. police say jody lee hunt was a suspect in three separate shootings. one of the people he killed had filed a domestic violence case against him. in austin, texas, police say a
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man who opened fire on government buildings and tried to burn the mexican consulate was a "american terrorist" with ties to a christian hate group. police say larry mcquilliams had expressed frustration over immigrants receiving aid while he couldn't find a job. he had multiple weapons and a map showing 34 potential targets when he was shot dead by police. in mexico, outrage erupted across the country on the two-year anniversary of mexican president enrique peña nieto's rule, as protesters denounced state-backed violence, corruption and the disappearance of 43 students in september. over the weekend, 11 protesters held in maximum security prisons after an earlier protest were released following an international outcry. anger intensified after a university student, sandino bucio, was grabbed from the streets friday by undercover police whom he said threatened to rape and disappear him.
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in colombia, farc rebels have released a general and two other hostages captured last month. general ruben dario alzate resigned shortly after his release, saying he should have taken more precautions. his kidnapping prompted colombian president juan manuel santos to suspend peace talks aimed at ending the 50-year-conflict with the farc. bahraini human rights activist maryam alkhawaja has been sentenced to a year in prison in absentia for what she says are false charges of assaulting police. that means alkhawaja would face prison if she returns to bahrain, where her father, human rights activist abdulhadi alkhawaja, is serving a life term. bahrain is a key u.s. ally, home to the navy's fifth fleet. comedian bill cosby has resigned from the board of trustees of temple university amid mounting claims he drugged and sexually assaulted women over a period of four decades. other institutions, including
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cosby's alma mater, university of massachusetts-amherst, have cut ties with cosby as the number of his alleged victims has hit 20. the president of the university of virginia canceled a speaking event in d.c. monday to deliver a speech outlining steps to address sexual assault. an article in "rolling stone" magazine about a gang rape by fraternity members revealed a pattern of rape and impunity and sparked protests at uva. president teresa sullivan has outlined steps including increased policing and an additional trauma counselor. in stockholm, sweden, the right livelihood award, known as the alternative nobel prize, has been awarded to five people, including nsa whistleblower edward snowden. snowden accepted by video link from russia. >> all the prices we pay, all the sacrifices we have made, i
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believe we would do again. i know i would. but it was never about me. about us. this is about our rights. this is the battle between societies we want to live in, behind a government we want to have. >> edward snowden was honored along with alan rusbridger, editor of the guardian newspaper, which published reports using snowden's leaks to expose sweeping nsa surveillance. the other right livelihood honorees were pakistani human rights activist asma jahangir, basil fernando of the asian human rights commission in hong kong, and u.s. environmentalist bill mckibben, founder of and a leading voice against climate change. and those are some of the headlines. tonight marks the 30th bhopalsary of the disaster, the worst industrial
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tragedy in world history. campaigners say more than 20,000 people died as a result of toxic gas that leaked from the pesticide factory run by union carbide, while half a million were poisoned. the toxic legacy continues at the site as union carbide and its parent company, dow chemical, have refused to pay for clean up or face criminal charges in indian court. and those are some of the headlines, this is democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron mate. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. one week after the grand jury decision in the michael brown case, president obama has given his first major policy response to the protests from ferguson and beyond over racial profiling and police brutality. at a meeting with activists and officials from around the country, obama unveiled a process to address what he called "simmering distrust." bare a problemd that is not unique to st. louis or that area, and is not unique
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to our time. simmering distrust that exists between too many police departments and too many communities of color. countrye that in a where one of our basic principles, perhaps the most important principle, is equality under the law, that too many individuals, particularly young people of color, do not feel as if they are being treated fairly. >> on the policy front, obama announced a $263 million "community policing initiative," which includes $75 million to provide body cameras for around 50,000 police officers. obama also announced an executive order that will
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tighten rules on the provision of military-grade equipment and weapons to local police forces, such as those used in the crackdown on the ferguson protests. but in a rejection of activist'' demands, obama vowed to leave the transfers mostly intact. >> as part of his response to the protests in ferguson, president obama sent attorney general eric holder on a tour of communities nationwide. holder began in atlanta at the ebenezer baptist church, where dr. martin luther king jr. preached during the 1960's. holder said he will soon release new federal guidelines to limit racial profiling. clocks in the coming days, i will announce updated justice department guidance regarding profiling by federal law enforcement. [applause] this will institute rigorous new standards and robust safeguards to help end racial profiling once and for all.
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[applause] this new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of favor and effective policing. >> the new guidelines will not apply to state or local police agencies, such as in ferguson. but holder said they will help set an example. the administration's response comes as protests continue nationwide over the grand jury's decision not to charge officer darren wilson for the killing of michael brown. on monday, demonstrators walked out of workplaces and classrooms in over 30 cities with their hands raised, the symbol of michael brown's death and the movement that's emerged since. in washington, d.c., a group of protesters held a "die-in" at the justice department, laying their bodies on the ground. quick it is our duty to fight. it is our duty to win. we must love each other and protect each other. .e have nothing to lose
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>> continuing tactics that sprouted up last week, demonstrators blocked roads in d.c. and other cities, leading to arrests. as the "hands up walkout" took place nationwide, some of the movement's key leaders were not out in the streets but inside the white house. president obama's guests on monday included seven young activists who have helped organize the protests in ferguson and in other communities of color. one of those activists joins us now. ashley yates is an activist, poet and artist raised in florissant, missouri. she is a member and co-creator of millennial activists united, and among the group of activists who met with president obama at the white house on monday. welcome back to democracy now! can you talk about what happened at that meeting? >> thanks for having me on once again. what happened at the meeting was very frank conversation from young activists such as myself who have been on the ground. four bus from ferguson, three
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from around the nation -- new york and miami. we had frank conversation but what has been happening on the ground in ferguson and around the nation in general and our experience about being black and brown in america and what that really looks like on a day-to-day basis in real time. the president was very receptive . was open and willing to hear our experiences and really get that viewpoint from the other side. what did you tell the president? myselfld the president the reason that i know that this .ovement has to be named taint i gave him a very personal story about why i continue to do this work, why i am so committed to this work. my family is a large part of that. in particular, one of my younger cousins, who is a very fast runner and less to run everywhere, and i looked the president in his eye and said, i do this because i want to make sure that unlike trayvon martin and unlike mike round, my little
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cousin can make it home safely. >> what were the policy prescriptions you offer to the white house on monday and what is your response to those they announced? the task force, the tightening slightly of the rules for giving military equipment to police forces, and the body cameras to police? steps that they introduced yesterday are just that, steps. they have to lead to something. we laid on the table what we said from day one, that 1033 is a program needs to be a polished. there's no reason our local law enforcement should have military weapons. and especially the way they've been using them. they were given as weapons in order to fight terrorism, but they are the ones in acting terrorism upon our communities, therefore, they have proven that program is not effective. it is being used to oppress american citizens, so it needs to be stripped away. the step they took yesterday to actually monitor the program,
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which should have been done in the first place, but to monitor it, that is a step. we do have to have some accountability as to how these weapons are being used on american citizens, that we have seen it for the last 115 days in ferguson. monitoring has been occurring for 115 days. now we have to see accountability and see it stripped away. it is a step for its process, but we need to see more. this movement does not stop. the body cameras? once again, a step. they did not save tamir rice or john crawford. we know while it is a step toward ending this row problem, the real root of it has to be addressed. the real root of it is racism. the anti-black sentiments that exist. we have to have a cultural shift. it is the reason why grand -- darren wilson can get in front hea grand jury and say h
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saw a young black man as a demon. we have the small steps toward justice, but we need leaps and bounds. >> ashley, your response to the grand jury decision and to darren wilson resigning from the ferguson police force? should not have an able to resign. you should have been fired over 100 days ago. a muche is resigning richer man. it is profitable to kill a black boy. not only is a profitable, but you get away scott free, as we saw with the rangers decision not to indict him. it is heartbreaking. that is why we continue -- >> explained by he retired or resigns as a much richer man. >> i think it is pretty public knowledge that there are several people who set up a go fund me for him. i don't support that site. he raised over half $1 million.
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there is speculation the interview he did, he also attention for. we know there is money being put into his pocket from several different places. deal the reason is because people are supporting throughout this. all we know about him as he killed a black boy. mike brown has been defamed. it is heartbreaking. it is heartbreaking that we did not see justice in this case. it is heartbreaking i had to sit in front of lesley mcspadden and watch her breakdown because she had an expectation the american justice system would work for her family, and it didn't. we continue to do this work so we don't have to see another family go through that. >> ashley yates, thank you for being with us, one of the young activists who met with president obama at the white house yesterday. activist, poet and artist raised in florissant, missouri. she is a member and co-creator of millennial activists united,
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. when we come back, we will speak with professor james peterson. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> as we continue to talk about ferguson, i want to turn back to president obama. on monday he reflected on previous federal efforts to address police brutality. he said this time will be different because he is personally invested in change. >> part of the reason this time will be different is because the president of the united states is deeply invested in making sure [indiscernible] when i hear the young people around this table talk about , it violatesnces america can what
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be. >> that is president obama at the white house yesterday, having meetings around police community relations in the militarization of police. we're joined by james peterson, director of africana studies and associate professor of english at lehigh university. he is the author of, "the hip-hop underground and african american culture: beneath the surface." welcome to democracy now! can you respond to help president obama is dealing with this crisis in ferguson? >> i think it is interesting. i think people found this original responses to the crisis somewhat lacking and the pressure of the people, all of these organized, strategic instances of civic unrest, the die-ins, different marches and the different ways in which rings were organized across the nation, demand and really command a certain kind of response from the office of the president. responsehat was the you saw yesterday. obviously, there are couple of
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things are eager important. one, for him to hear the activists on the ground. the president is well aware of the challenges young people of color and poor people face in certain communities with police forces that are charged with serving them but are terrorizing them. this is important political theater for him. the pressure of the public create space for this administration a move on something like this. i think that is why city policy initiatives for community policing -- although, i think we have to dig deeper to see exactly what that training is when to be like. evenu pointed out earlier, though we can see changes at the federal level, and a lot of these problems are operating at the state level and municipal level. although the feds can be a model, we are going to need more oversight into what i refer to as a radical reordering of what local law-enforcement looks like in order to see some justice out of some of these instances we've been dealing with over the last
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several years, actually. talks when president obama talks about issues of racial injustice, seems like it is often framed in language of subjective emotional experience. on monday, a counter the word "feel" four times. he said young people of color do not feel as if they're being treated fairly. young people feeling marginalized. instead of an actual reality. does this language minimize the actual reality of what is happening? >> i don't want to minimize the aspect or nature of these things. it is about how people feel. that is important. that is not strong enough language, in my opinion. the reality is, young black person, teenager, 21 times more likely to be murdered at the hands of police. that is from the data we have. that is not a full accounting, but what we have access to. 21 times more likely to be murdered than his or her white counterparts. that is not a feeling, those are
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facts. there is data. haveve these cases that risen to the level of international sort of media attention, everything from michael brown to eric garner, we can go back and look at other instances and see certain names bubble up to the surface. you have that sort of sensational data, but beneath the surface, there are hundreds if not thousands of these cases that don't rise to that level of attention. that is actual data. people are dying at the hands of law-enforcement, and that is not even taking into account the data we know or brown stop and frisk, police stops period, police brutality and harassment. it doesn't take into account a full range of other unfortunate situations when we look at the contact between police forces and the communities with which -- which they are charged to protect. that is not to minimize people's feelings, but i think to talk about the aspect is not enough to get at the hard-core data that is sort of underwriting these issues and problems we're
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wrestling with. >> on monday, president obama said his new task force will come up with concrete recommendations of building public trust and police forces nationwide. >> they're going to coulter a task force that is not only going to reach out and listen to law enforcement, community activists, other stakeholders, but is going to report to me specifically in 90 days with concrete recommendations. including best practices for communities were law enforcement and neighborhoods are working well together, how do they create accountability and transparency and trust, and how can we at the federal level work with state and local communities to make sure that some of those best practices get institutionalized. talks as president obama speaking, he is sitting next to police chief charles ramsey. that is charles ramsey the commissioner of the philadelphia police department.
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as the police chief of washington, d.c. in the to thousands, he faced criticism for the mass arrest of protesters during the meetings of international monetary fund world bank, the partnership for civil justice fund, a group that presses against ramsey said -- "you'd be hard-pressed to find a more inappropriate choice." other said they did not know about this. you are in philadelphia. can you talk about your response to charles ramsey as the choice? one, i don't think there are any easy solutions here. chief ramsey has had an interesting tenure here in philadelphia. philadelphia has had its own set of challenges around law-enforcement behaving badly. i think for the president's perspective, he wanted to get a law-enforcement officer who had some experience in cities that have had these challenges so he would have the bona fide of having the experience of understanding how you repair
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these issues and challenges. unfortunately, it is not a strictly law-enforcement problem to be solved. what actually was saying previously is really important. politicians don't want to hear this, but there is a longer haul here of working with things like racial bias, a new study has been out on superhuman is a vibes which really forms these issues. the trust with brock explain what you mean by the super humanization bias. there is racial bias. people make decisions based on what their perceptions of race are, but there's new data out around super humanization vibes were if you go back to data the transcript of the grand jury, when you have darren wilson referring to michael brown as a demon or referring to him as nilling like he was hulk hoga rethink about the reporting to the shooting of tamir rice were
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they thought it was a 20-year-old and he was a 12-year-old kid, that is what we would refer to a super humanization vice. they see black people as being able to endure more pain and being older than they are, stronger than they are, faster than they are thomas or evil or more demonic. that kind of bias had some awful consequences once it is really present in an interface between the law first and officer and an unarmed civilian. those are the kind of complex things that any kind of rebuilding of the trust between institutions and communities charged with serving of protecting. the only way that will happen is if we start to get to the social science behind some of the ways in which people are acting. obviously, we all suffer from bias. pronouncedmuch more when an officer is making a decision between using lethal defuse a trying to situation, and they can't see a person for the full human being that they are. >> professor, big issue that came out of the michael brown
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cases the role of the grand jury, especially whenever prosecutor who works often with police like bob mcculloch. what reforms, if any, do you want to see on the issue of grand jury's investigating cases like these? >> let's take a federal data, 162,000 cases brought before a grand jury come only 11 of those did not result in an indictment. when people say this is cliché, you can indict a ham same which with a grand jury, that is not really an exaggeration will stop when you look at that data, that is enough to show you what sort but- what the context is, when you dial down on some of that, what we're realizing his, it is all most impossible to get conviction of along for spent officer who murders a civilian while in the line of duty. that is whites, blacks, whatever. it is more pronounced because war unarmed black are being murdered by law enforcement is, but we have to at least revise the grand jury process for the indictment and prosecution of law-enforcement your accused or suspected of or alleged to have
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murdered civilians, particularly unarmed civilians. you people playing for the same team and that is why you can't get indictments and of those particular kinds of situations. the grand jury process has to be revised for those cases. once again, by sees form and shape how those work -- biases form and shape how those work. it are things we can do to get the grand jury process to work in these particular kinds of cases. courts i want to ask about the "hands up, don't shoot" image that in addition to the kids coming out of school, the hands up -- the hands up walked yesterday, you had congress members on the floor of the whip thee the new congressional black caucus, with his hands up as well as other congress members. i was watching joe scarborough, a former conservative commerce member on "morning joe" today they do
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it is based on a lie. you also have members of the national football league's st. louis rams, who took part in an act of protest before sunday's football game. during player introductions, a group of players took the field with their hands raised overhead in the "hands up, don't shoot" pose in a show of solidarity with michael brown. the police said that they apologized, but the rams a say they did not apologized. but this idea that has come out of bob mcculloch positivist description of what grand jury witnesses said, in fact, michael brown' has hands -- did not put his hands up, was in a like 16 of the 18 witnesses say he did? said theyhe witnesses saw him with his hands up. how is that a lie? i really don't understand that. now the law enforcement response to the st. louis rams protest to
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me seems to be a little desensitized to the situation as well. remember, we can debate back and forth there were some people who did not see but at least 16 witnesses in the grand jury who so michael brown with his hands up, including the young man who was a part of that whole situation. i'm not sure who we are supposed to believe or what constitutes a lie or the truth. but what i was eight and my colleague joe scarborough, to the law enforcement in st. louis, if we had had an indictment and could've probably had desk proper -- properly had a jury, we might be of the figure with the truth of the situation is. because the system does not work in a way that allowed us to have open access to the data and information, we're playing guessing games. 16 eyewitnesses see him with his hands up in the grand jury process is enough for me to at least understand it is not a lie. let's take it a step further. what we're seeing now that this has become symbolic for what this movement is, it is not just
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about michael brown. it is about the killing of people,young black latino people, poor people in this nation. the killing of american citizens by american law enforcement. the hands up, don't shoot movement is symbolic in such a way that transcends even the michael brown case. have got to understand what this movement is about. it is a nationwide movement. quick the proposal for body cameras, funding for 50,000 body cameras on police, is that a positive step in your view? it is an interesting step. i know a lot of people are calling for body cameras, and i think in some of these cases, body cameras would help. i would point out two things. number one, just because along for spent officer has on a body camera does not mean it immediately arises their bias. we have seen it in some communities where it is reduced produce -- police brutality and reduced these incidents, and
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that is willing good. it will long, hard work of changing the culture of the united states around race and racial bias. number two, i concerned about the surveillance that goes along with this. camerasming these body will go to the communities of the highest crime rates, which also have the highest concentration of poverty and the highest incidences of police brutality and misconduct. now we're adding an additional layer of surveillance in those communities. i've already spoken about the ways in which we talked about the kind of nsa surveillance, but people in these communities have been dealing with physical surveillance like stop and frisk . to add body cameras, i'm not sure if you're having the right conversations about that extra layer of surveillance for communities in some ways are aarti under siege by law enforcement. i think we need to have that conversation to understand what the consequences are of adding a layer of surveillance on top of an already explosive situation where your -- you're thinking
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about this. >> james peterson, thank you very much for being with us, director of africana studies and associate professor of english at lehigh university come also to jupiter at msnbc. he is the author of, "the hip-hop underground and african american culture: beneath the surface." this is democracy now!, we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. we are broadcasting on over 1300 public radio and television stations around the united states and around the world. we also stream and audio and
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video podcast online at you can read the transcript of every show and go to our extensive archives a video from ferguson will stop we will be broadcasting throughout next week from lima, peru from the u.n. climate summit. tell your friends to tune in to play this in your classroom. as we turn now to a story that is taking place in texas. execution to a texas that has attracted international attention because the man is set to die is believed to be mentally ill. scott panetti was convicted of killing his wife's parents in 1992, more than a decade after he was first diagnosed with schizophrenia. his mental health history until that point included hallucinations that prompted his dismissal from the navy, and 14 hospitalizations for schizophrenia and depression, often under a court order. his previous wife divorced him after he buried their furniture because it was possesed by the devil and also nailed his curtains shut.
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panetti's murder trial drew headlines when he was allowed to represent himself after dismissing his court appointed attorney. he dressed as a cowboy in a purple suit and a hat, and the witnesses he tried to subpoena in his defense included john f. kennedy, the pope, and jesus christ. at one point, he assumed his alternate personality of "sarge" and testified in the third person about how carried out the murders. after he was sentenced to die, panetti said he believed he was being executed not for the killings, but for preaching the gospel to his fellow death row prisoners. 's family sattti there his trial when he was allowed to represent himself and passed him notes to try to help. this is his father jack, his former lawyer, and his sister vicki speaking and it 2007 video made for the texas defender service.
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>> show those medical records. he was up there by himself. i said, show the medical records. well, scott would be up there drawing pictures on them. finally get itld up to the judge. the judge said, i can accept that, you scribbled on it. circus.rial to me was a i think other people sought that way as well. >> he was more obsessed with how he looked and his fantasy of in a 1930'sn lawyer cowboy costume than what reality was, and that was that he was under trial for murder. he did not understand that. >> it would have been like an old hollywood cowboy movie. it is nothing anybody would wear. anything other than a costume party. it was bizarre.
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>> in 2007, the supreme court ruled he lacked the understanding of why he was been put to death and asked the lower court to reevaluate whether he was saying enough to execute. the court accepted the argument from the state's lawyers that scott panetti was faking his illness and reinstated his death sentence. he is scheduled to die wednesday at 6:00 p.m. his, to request was refused and his lawyers have asked governor rick perry to issue a stay of execution. >> for more we go to houston, texas, where we're joined by his attorney kathryn kase. scott panetti would be the 11th prisoner executed this year, the most of any state. missouri is close behind with eight men put to death this year. talk more about your case and what you're calling for right executionesult of the being set for wednesday evening of scott panetti, kathryn kase. >> we have three efforts going
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on simultaneously. we're in the fifth circuit where we are seeking time and resources to litigate scott's competence to be executed because he is a psychiatric condition that continues to to to rate day by day. we are also in the u.s. supreme court where we are arguing that it is unconstitutional to execute the seriously mentally ill. finally, we have a 30-day reprieve request before the governor rick perry saying that we would like additional time to, again, litigate scott's competence to be executed. >> can we back up and go to the trial? can you describe the scene and the courtroom and explain how it was he was allowed to represent himself? >> this is a question that no one can answer sufficiently. scott was wearing a cowboy outfit during this trial.
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his jeans were tucked into his boots. he had on a tv western cowboy shirt, a purple bandanna around his neck am awaiting a cowboy bible. cowboy bible. before the trial began, he became extremely paranoid. he was off his medication. he believed his lawyers were working against him, so he fired them and told the judge that he wanted to represent himself. oddly, the judge allowed this after having sat through two competency trials and knowing scott's 12 year history at the time of chronic paranoid schizophrenia. to this day, there has not been an adequate explanation by the texas justice system as to how this man was permitted to fight for his life on his own in a death penalty trial. , talk about the history of mentally ill
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prisoners and what kind of precedent this sets. >> with scott's execution, texas moralross in irrevocable line. to my knowledge, the state of texas has never posted -- executed anyone who had a history of severe mental illness and represented himself in a death penalty trial. now, the state did execute kelsey patterson in 2004. mr. patterson also had a history of severe psychosis, and the board of pardons and parole -- in contrast to scott's case -- recommended that his sentence be commuted. however, the texas governor, rick perry, let that execution ocher. and on the gurney, as the state prepared to legally inject him, mr. patterson told onlookers that -- that he was the wharton and the correctional officers
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warden off their gurney. he went to his death babbling, and i'm convinced, and confident. texas is not covered in glory in its efforts to protect the mentally ill from the criminal justice system. currentt is panetti's state at go is he taking medication? >> if you're a death row in texas, you don't really get treatment unless you are so ill that the state can't ignore it, such as the situation with andre thomas who only was sent to the psychiatric unit in the prison system after he plucked out his remaining eye and swallowed it on the throw. scott panetti has been medicated largely for 20 years -- unmedicated largely for 20 years on texas death row. his condition continues to to chair eight. my cocounsel of the university of wisconsin school of law has ase to see him regularly,
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have i, and scott continues to be delusional and he is hearing voices. what is worse, he is trying to hide that. he knows that when he hears voices, that something is wrong. and his response is to read scripture and to believe that his obligation as a good christian is to preach the bible and set an example for other people on death row. because that is why he believes he is being executed. it doesn't have anything to do, in his mind, with the deaths of his in-laws. >> his former wife, the daughter of his in-laws who he is convicted of killing, she is calling for him not to be executed? i'm not in contact with her, but i do know that after he was convicted and sentenced to death, she submitted a sworn affidavit to the court where she said, i know that scott is
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mentally ill and he should not be put to death for this. so there was recognition on her part as someone who is the daughter of the victims that the kernel justice system should not respond with the death penalty. and also soanya alvarado, sadly, was present when scott panetti killed her parents. she was in the best position to .ay what should happen to him that has been ignored. nowe're also joined right from washington, d.c., by ron honberg, national director for policy and legal affairs at the national alliance on mental illness. his editorial just published in the "l.a. times" is headlined, "texas execution of a severely mentally ill man would be an outrage." can you talk about the significance of the possible execution of scott panetti, how the national alliance on the
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mentally ill is dealing with this? clocks thank you, yes, the supreme court has already been the [indiscernible] and they did so because they recognize the brains of individuals who had fallen to this categories are impaired. the supreme court, while not going quite that far with mental illness, has said very clearly that if someone is so delusional that they don't have a firm grasp on reality at the time they commit their crime, that person should not be executed. that should be recognized as a mitigating factor. and yet texas has ignored the evidence, continuous evidence, for over 30 years that scott panetti is highly delusional due to his schizophrenia. this is not a recent phenomenon with scott panetti.
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he was hospitalized 10 times prior to his crime in the course of 12 years. he is been consistently , and irrational, really, since the crime. this has not changed. every evaluation that has been done of him establishes that. it has not been, frankly, controverted by the prosecution. despite the supreme court's decision, texas is proceeding with executing him, and that would just be a gross injustice and matter how you feel about the death penalty -- no matter how you feel about the death penalty. people in this country relies is be used for only the worst of the worst with no getting factors. and here this case has all sorts of mitigating factors. what's the texas court of criminal appeals rejected panetti's appeal tuesday in a 5-4 vote. but the statements from the dissenting judges suggest his case is prompting serious
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debate, even among texas's conservative judges. in her dissent, republican judge elsa alcala said a decision to execute panetti -- "will result in the irreversible and constitutionally impermissible execution of a mentally incompetent person." another dissenting voice, judge tom price, wrote -- "we are the guardians of the process. based on my specialized knowledge of this process, i now conclude that the death penalty as a form of punishment should be abolished because the execution of individuals does not appear to measurably advance the retribution and deterrence purposes served by the death penalty; the life without parole option adequately protects society at large in the same way as the death penalty punishment option; and the risk of executing an innocent person for a capital murder is unreasonably high." is what judge price wrote while dissenting in the decision to execute scott panetti. kathryn kase your response? price is in the
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same group with the outpouring across the country regarding --tt panetti party guests panetti scott panetti's execution. the american psychiatric has come forward, but also political conservatives have spoken out. i think this shows there has been an emerging consensus that the seriously mentally ill like scott panetti should not be executed. and this is an issue that the to havecourt is going to confront. certainly, with scott's case, but also with the cases of other seriously mentally ill who are on death row around this country. it do honberg, what is
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you think people need to understand most about people who suffer from schizophrenia, whether they are in prison or on the outside? what do you think are the key issues that people might not know about schizophrenia? >> first of all, most people with schizophrenia are not violent. and with treatment, many people with schizophrenia can lead productive and meaningful lives and do so. but what people who have not experienced the terrifying symptoms of schizophrenia don't understand, it is a hard thing to really understand unless you have experienced it, is that while schizophrenia may not impact on intelligence, it impacts on one's very perception of reality. and the voices and illusions, the hallucinations that people are experiencing, while it may seem nonsensical, there are very real to those individuals. the more we can understand that, the more compassionately we can respond to people experiencing the symptoms, frankly, the more
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we can fix the broken mental health system in this country because it is often impossible inget services until you are crisis, that would be akin to waiting for some of you as a heart attack to treat them. the more we can fix that, the better off people are going to be, the more people will recover and, certainly, the relatively rare number of cases that lead to violence will be decreased. it will also, frankly, significantly reduce the numbers of people of mental illness who are in our jails and prisons in this country. tragically, jails and prisons have the come meet a fact of mental health treatment system. there are far more people in jails and prisons with serious mental illnesses with schizophrenia than in hospitals or kennedy programs. >> what about that issue of the jails, the prisons, of the united states becoming the warehouses of the mentally ill?
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>> i think this one of the great tragedies of modern time. it is the worst possible place that someone who is experiencing these kinds of serious symptoms can be in. it only makes the symptoms worse. most people eventually are released and are not in any position to reach her communities to stop when they reenter communities, the services they need are not available to them. one positive development that i see happening is that i think there's increased recognition of mentionedathryn kase there have been conservative voices raised in objection to scott panetti being executed. there's been a groundswell of conservative sentiment for putting more resources and the treatment for people so that they don't end up in jail and prison. while? because it is very expensive to and people incarcerated from a public safety standpoint, very bad thing to do. >> kathryn kase, the comity case that use admitted -- clemency
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case that use admitted has received support from from ronives like paul. last her, he endorsed a new advocacy group conservatives concerned about the death penalty saying -- in november he wrote -- what about mr. panetti receiving unlikely political support from the likes of ron paul? >> what this shows is that there is an emerging awareness around the country, even among political conservatives who i think most people would say, oh, they are strongly in favor of the death penalty. but this emerging consensus shows that there is great
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you use thet who death penalty against. and certainly, no one asks to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. it is an incurable rain disease. nobody asks to be poorly controlled on medication. during scott panetti's life, when he repeatedly sought treatment, he was on some fairly heavy anti-psychotic medication, but still experienced symptoms. nobody would ask for that. i think what we're seeing among conservatives, among christian evangelicals, among many people around the country is that people with serious mental illness to become involved in the criminal justice system are less culpable and therefore, deserving of more protection from the system. the system has failed scott panetti and his family because it has failed to protect him. it failed to protect him from himself -- >> kathryn kase, we have to
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leave it there, attorney for scott panetti and director of the texas defender service. and ron honberg, thank for joining us. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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