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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  January 22, 2015 12:00am-1:01am EST

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john seigenthaler see you tomorrow night. "america tonight" is coming up next. don't go away. >> on "america tonight": open carry and open confrontation. >> i'm going to place you under arrest for impeding my investigation. >> it's their right to oftenly carry their guns -- to openly carry their guns. >> we need people out there recording because it's not just here in our area it's all across the country. >> but that's putting these self-appointed watch dogs up against the law. "america tonight's" sarah hoye on a texas community standing up
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for second amendment rights and first amendment freedom. and the president wants americans at work fixing bridges and roads. and there's plenty of work to do. >> one in nine are structurally deficient. >> adam may, how much our infrastructure is crumbling away. and leaving rights in the balance. and remember the governor? not the one on the left the one on the right. jim mcgreevey, after being shamed shunned and exiled from politics. will he be a coming back kid? >> god bless you. everything good? god bless you. >> thanks for joining us for "america tonight."
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i'm joie chen. the blockbuster news from ferguson: there will likely be no civil rights charges in the police shooting death of unarmed teenager michael brown raises new worry about touching off another flash point. it also underscores national concerns about police and excessive force. the president made mention of ferguson in his state of the union address while in the heart of texas other activists launch their own efforts to police the police armed with cameras yes. bus that's not all. in tarrant county texas. here is "america tonight's" sarah hoye. >> corey watkins police scanner sparks to life. >> vector 125. >> moments later he rushes to a traffic stop. >> there is another cop that just pulled in.
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>> with his ak .47 assault rifle slung over his shoulder he begins his night's work video camera in his hand. >> looks like they're arresting somebody. >> alongside watkins are members of his foal cop-wap group. watkins may seem an unlikely ally for people around the country but for over a year the gun toting texan and his band have taken to the street. >> more than ever we need police accountability. we need people out there recording. because it's not just here in our area. it is all over the country. >> we're just filming. >> watkins and his team warn of police stops, and post their encounters on social media. >> don't go over there now or i'm going to place you under arrest for impeding your vision. >> i'm not impeding your investigation. >> yes you are. >> frustration has grown nationwide after officers have failed to be indicted for the deaths of eric garner in new york.
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michael brown in ferguson, missouri and dantre hamilton. in new jersey. now new watch with contaminate -- has pointed at police. but unlike other cop watch groups around the country, watkins openly carries his ak .47. his campaign to monitor cops is intertwined with the mission to expand gun rights. in texas, it is legal for him to carry a long gun along with assault rifle. >> why cop watch with that weapon? >> why not? it is my right to do so and i want to exert my freedoms in the most powerful biggest way possible that way more freedoms are created by doing so. >> you need to all start backing up this way ma'am. >> oh, shut up, man. >> but exercising his freedoms has caused friction with local police. last week jacob cordova was arrested for interfering with police duties.
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watkins accused the arlington police department of exceeding its duty. >> we are not happy with the unlawful arrest that they did and we're going to march to the police department and peacefully let them know we don't appreciate them arresting law abiding citizens. >> they would show up on traffic stops and film officers. >> christopher cook says carries weapons and filming police are not a problem. the problem is when the cop watchers get too close. >> step over here we are conducting an investigation. >> we are not impeding an investigation. >> you will be arrested. step back over there. >> is arlington opposed to filming police on duty? >> not at all. it's their right. it's not a firearm by itself. it is coupled with the fact that
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the officers could no longer focus on the task they were doing. >> reporter: this fall arlington police said watkins himself got too close. >> (bleep) >> what's wrong with you man? >> reporter: watkins his wife jane and fellow cop watcher joseph tye were arrested for interfering with a traffic stop. the texas native said he was within his rights to be there. >> in a perfect world every officer would be upholding the constitution and obeying their oath. that means i would never have been arrested for standing on the sidewalk and filming and open-carrying. >> reporter: but police say cop watchers can sometimes go too far. >> what's your badge number? >> reporter: we were shown this video of a police officer's interactions with watkins and his group. the department has reached out to watkins group requesting a meeting. a request cook said has gone unanswered. >> they don't want to meet with us. they have one of our members
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said we're not going to meet with you. that's fine, we can't force them to meet with us but we have tried put our best foot forward and we will continue to do so. there have been cases that officers have been hurt or assaulted from certain people that want to harm us. so officers can't turn and disregard the fact that somebody is on the traffic stop with a firearm. >> watkins says he's just holding police officers accountableaccountable for their actions. >> welcome ♪ bad boy bad boy ♪ >> welcome to the open carry show i'm corey watkins. >> i didn't know you could make such an impact by just simply expressing your first and second amendments right. >> reporter: not everyone in this texas town is happy to see armed citizens monitoring police. watkins group attracted a counterrally of police supporters the day we were there. watkins seems to welcome the
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controversy. >> the positives are overwhelming but we do every once in a while get the middle finger or maybe some old lady threaten us. >> how you doing, welcome to texas. >> we've had really good ones. we've had ammo at us before. 762 ammo thrown at us. so it's like a donation. >> reporter: for the police in this town watkins combination of open carry and open confrontation remains an uneasy one but watkins isn't backing down any time soon. >> "america tonight's" sarah hoye. you know i know you were in staten island you were at ferguson you know, as well. milwaukee. do you know a relationship between community and the officers here? >> absolutely. i mean listen: texas is set up right so that it can deal with folks with these types of weapons because it's on the books. by law, watkins and his group are able to carry these long guns, these rifles.
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so because of that situation because of that relationship between the police, the law these guys, they're able to kind of get away with it as long as you keep that distance. they are still work out that relationship, still making sure that everybody respects each other's boundaries. so as we move forward things play change a little bit but for now this is what you get. >> sarah you are not talking about the elephant in the room. these cop watchers are white. >> you said it joie not me. but i mean, if this were going to be replicated in brooklyn or even oakland, i don't think we have the same outcome. however just the scenario i think it's been proven that people who are of color and walking around with guns have a tendency to get shot and even if they don't have a weapon they're shot as well. so there is a huge difference as to what's happening in arlington, texas than someplace else. >> let's look though at corey watkins.
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other police watchdog groups or other advocates for open carry don't necessarily fall in line with him. >> reporter: absolutely. their group has their rules and they have their agenda into is which they want to push, if you will. even last week, they went to the state house and melt with some of the legislators, and were trying to push for more open, open-carry laws if you will. not everybody is on the same page. there is another group called open carry texas which doesn't necessarily share the views that corey's group has. but like with any type of movement not everybody is going to be on the same page. >> "america tonight's" sarah hoye, thanks. we return in a moment with a look at america's bridges falling down? >> so i got to about the middle of the bridge, when i heard a clank. it was a very distinct sound of metal breaking.
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>> our infrastructure crisis. tens of thousands of unsafe bridges, alone! fixing them is one of the president's priorities. will america get the job done? later this hour another item on the agenda. saving america's families with some advice from an old ally. "america tonight"'s sheila macvicar from france, on how that nation and the rest of the world do a better job supporting new parents and why this is one list on which america is at the very bottom. >> you know how they say that everybody has a purpose in life? well, at one time, i felt that selling cocaine was my purpose. >> we was starvin', just lookin' for a way to succeed. >> the first time i seen rock cocaine was 1980. >> the murder rate was sky-high. >> south of the 10 freeway, was
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kind of a "no-man's land". >> you know, we're selling it for the blacks. i said, you go into these neighborhoods, there's no cops you can sell it where you want and when they start killing each other, nobody cares. >> i was going through like a million dollars worth of drugs just about every day. >> that's like gold! >> we can make a fortune! >> he was maybe the biggest guy in l.a. >> freeway rick was getting his dope from a very big operator. i think we're into something that's bigger than us. something we really can't deal with. >> they had been trafficking on behalf of the united states government. >> she could prove what she was saying. >> [rapping] crack in the system. >> [rapping] this is los angeles.
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>> this image of a collapsed overpass in cincinnati raised the alarm again this week over our nation's aging infrastructure. a worker on the structure died in the twisted steel and concrete wreckage of monday's
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tragedy. it turns out though that engineers already concluded it was a demolition mistake, human error not just another crumbling mistake. still, it was another reminder that america's bridges overpasses put americans at risk. the state of the union address. >> 20th century infrastructure. modern ports stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. democrats and republicans used to agree on this. so let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create 35 times as many jobs per year and make this country stronger for decades to come. let's do it, get it done. [applause] >> so how much work needs to be done? every day in this country, more than 200 million cars travel over bridges across the united states, one in nine of the commuters on board are riding on
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bridges that engineers consider to be structurally deficient. while congress dithers over the cost "america tonight's" adam may deals with the story. >> the whole bridge over the river fell down. there's cars all over the place. >> okay, where sir? >> i want to say over the mississippi, there's hundreds of cars. they're in the river, bring everything you got! >> lindsay walls was 24 back in 2007. she was stuck in traffic. frustrated and anxious to get home after a long day. slowly approaching the i-35w bridge. >> so i got to about the middle
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of the bridge when i heard a clank. it was a very distinct sound of metal breaking. >> and what did you see? >> my car was in an immediate free fall. my car just went straight to the bottom and it was immediately full of water. so i -- >> do you remember sitting there, watching the water rise around you? >> my car went in and the water came up just as quickly as the car went in. when my car stopped moving, i was drowning. >> lindsay started to float reaching the surface of the water. that's when she saw the scale of the destruction. >> a construction worker saw me. and called me over to a section of the bridge that was on an incline that was climbable. so he took a broom that had fallen with the bridge as well and fished me out of the water told me to sit at the median and that's where i sat for about 45 minutes. where i need to i come here.
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>> now seven years later a memorial has been erected honoring the victims of the minnesota bridge collapse. 13 columns to remember 13 lives that were lost now overlooks the new i-35w bridge. lindsay's name is etched here along with 145 others who survived. >> how did you get out of your car? >> the unanswered question, i don't know. so i've just chalked it up to whatever else -- i don't know. and i have to kind of accept that i don't know. and may never know. but i did. that's the part that matters. so -- >> reporter: a formal investigation into the collapse took more than a year. the national transportation safety board said the cause of the tragedy was a simple design flaw in the bridge's gusset plates. metal squares that connect one steel beam to another. at the time of the collapse the
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bridge was also listed as structurally deficient. engineers ruled the bridge was in need of critical maintenance but still safe enough to remain open. how many bridges in this country are deficient right now? >> we have about 60,000 structurally deficient bridges that are bridges that need structurally greater maintenance rehabilitation, replacement that's one in nine bridges. >> one in nine? >> that are structurally deficient. >> casey dingus is for american so it for structural engineers. every four years they evaluate the straight of america's infrastructure. the most recent report card gave our nation a shocking d-plus. while our bridges were graded a c-plus. how have we allowed this to that happen hap in our country to get so many deficient bridges? >> like many categories of
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infrastructure we've tended to take these things for granted. perhaps we think they can last forever, we can defer maintenance a little bit. but the reality the highway trust fund, there's a highway trust fund that supports bridges roadways in this country and tran sis systems. -- transit systems. >> reporter: that federal highway trust fund sends $35 billion a year to all 50 states. for most it's the primary source of funding but the fund is not collecting enough revenue from taxes. it expires in may. with the deadline approaching president obama is calling on lawmakers to support more than $300 billion in additional funding. >> it's time for folks to stop running around saying what's wrong with america. roll up your sleeves and get to work and help america rebuild. that's what we should be doing. >> in the shadow of the nation's exam sits the frederick douglas bridge.
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designed to last 50 years it's a critical artery into washington, d.c. and now 14 years overdue for replacement. what were the problems with this bridge? >> it carries 77,000 cars per day in and out of the city. this is a critical way into capitol hill and downtown washington. it's just showing some serious signs of age and wear and tear. i've read one news report that describe parts of the steel under parts of this bridge appear as it if had been gnawed by rats. >> gnawed by rats? >> so you have -- that's kind of a visual depiction. >> the state with worst safety is pennsylvania, one in six bridges considered be structurally deficient. the iconic birmingham bridge is one of them. dan cessna is with the department of transportation. >> there's not too many more years of ruforting that that rusting
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that that could do before you have a huge safety imagery issue. >> it had a scare in 2008 when one of the rocker beams slipped. portions of the bridge were closed for more than a year. >> if you took had out of being function, 25% of the capacity would be lost. it would take a lot of the transportation out of the pittsburgh region and that would severely affect the commuters in the region. >> setting side $40 million to overhaul the birmingham bridge. >> the project is eligible for federal funds if there had been federal funds available perhaps we could have delivered the project sooner. the lack of federal funds if we had more state fudged we wouldn't be talking about the fact that we were getting ready to fix this bridge. >> reporter: while bridges can be fixed lindsay says her mental scars will last a lifetime. she credits art with helping her cope with the trauma of that day. one of her canvases, the back
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brace she wore for months after the accident. >> are these the names here of people that didn't make it? >> yep. so i have all the names of the 13 victims who passed away. and i also have some you know just numbers and things that are kind of important, the historical nature of it. i really just wanted to capture what i remembered. i remembered flames. i remembered tangled beams, i remember you know the tastee truck on fire. then the people on the island with me. the rubble. so it was a very cathartic process for me to really put that memory in real visual form for myself. >> reporter: lindsay says she still deals with post-traumatic stress and survivor's guilt. but she says the biggest loss of all was to her faith. >> my world view now just comes with the assumption that things will fall down. i can see the cracks. i can see all of the things that
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are wrong with our infrastructure, and our buildings, and all the different ways that we don't care for stuff like that. so i don't trust that things will be safe. >> reporter: adam may, al jazeera. is. >> casey dinges assesses infrastructure as a member of american society of civil engineers. this report, we are talking about bridges but really concerns about crumbling infrastructure in the united states is across the board. what kinds of things? >> bridges is one of 16 categories we looked at in our 2013 report card. and we've been doing report cards by the way since 1998. but the categories include water systems, waste water systems dams. >> we are losing a lot of -- >> aviation. in the case of water drinking water, the pipes in our systems are so old we have water main failures every two minutes in the united states, quarter million water main breaks in the united states every year. we have 84 thousand dams in the united states
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that are over 50 years old. the inland waterway system that is an important system that runs along the waterway system, moving a large amount of grain and raw materials, the backlog of projects just to get that system up to date goes to the year 2090. so in every category you look at there are challenges for united states. >> as you mentioned your group has done a report card of sorts, and the united states suffers a pretty bad grade here. >> it's a d plus up from a d in twiefn. 2009. a number of states have started to take action in the transportation space, taking votes to invest more gas taxes to invest in infrastructure. >> that's the bottom line isn't it? realistically if you looked at all these categories all the infrastructure improvements whether they are for safety whether they are for economic conditions, whatever it is, it is a lot of money. >> it is, but the costs of not addressing this issue are even greater for the united states.
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>> okay but how much would it really cost to make all the improvements that would make it saver, that would make our country efficient, how much would it cost? >> the report card estimates we are spending $250 billion a year at all levels of government and the private sector in the 16 categories of infrastructure we looked at. that leaves a deficit of about $200 billion a year. that is a big number but if you are looking at more private investment coming in infrastructure all levels of government of gdp of $16 trillion, the platform that this occurs based on these infrastructure, probably is a fairly doable situation. they haven't addressed these for years. same thing for washington. washington is an important player in the transportation space. there is a may 31st deadline this year the highway trust fund goes bankrupt unless congress acts. these systems are so important
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for the country. we did an economic study called the failure to act. and just looking at roads bridges and mass transit systems, the united states if it does not make increased investments by the year 2020 is putting at risk a trillion dollars of gdp and almost a million jobs. >> a lot of things to consider. casey dinges, a engineer with the american society of engineers. >> thanks very much. >> thank you. >> from crumbling communities to crumbling relations with the police. next on "america tonight" we find out which racial group in america is most likely to die in a confrontation with an officer. >> when it comes to natives right away you got to pull out a gun, you got to do nothing but shoot us right away? >> why there's so much doubt that to law enforcement native lives matter. that story thursday on "america tonight."
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ahead this hour: a scandal shamed and shunned. how a politician once seen as a contender for white house found his real calling as a leader of a very different community. "america tonight's" adam may on new jersey's comeback kid. >> lost lives are relived. >> all of these people shouldn't be dead. >> will there differences bring them together or tear them apart? >> the only way to find out is to see it yourselves. >> which side of the fence are you on? borderland, sunday at 9 eastern, only on al jazeera america.
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al jazeera america gives you the total news experience anytime, anywhere. more on every screen. digital, mobile, social. visit aljazeera.com. follow @ajam on twitter. and like aljazeera america on facebook for more stories, more access, more conversations. so you don't just stay on top of the news, go deeper and get more perspectives on every issue. al jazeera america.
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>> now, a snapshot of stories making headlines on "america tonight." after months of unrest following the killing of michael brown only eight residents filed to be candidates in ferguson's upcoming municipal election. three of ferguson's council seats are up for reelection. on april seventh. currently five of six councilmembers are white. shocking attack in tel aviv. a knife attack that left 11 israelis injured. it happened on a bus in a morning commute. the palestinian suspect confessed, says he was inspired by last summer's conflict in gaza. federal grand jury has indicted a 20-year-old ohio man accused of plotting an attack at the u.s. exam. christopher lee cornell, attempting to kill u.s. officials and employees. nell was arrested outside a gun
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shop near cincinnati last week. from a destructive plot to support our nation's families. the president put childcare and paid parental leave at the front of his political agenda. >> it's time we stopped treating childcare as a side issue or as a women's issue and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. [applause] >> and that's why my plan will make quality childcare more available and more affordable for every middle class and low income family with young children in america. by creating more slots and a tax cut for up to $3,000 per child per year. [applause] >> here's another example. today we're the only advanced country on earth that doesn't guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. 43 million workers have no paid sick leave.
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43 million. think about that. and that forces too many parents to make the gut wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home. >> following up on his address the president took the lead, ordering federal workers to give six weeks paid parental time off. at least seven days off with pay when a baby arrives. compared to the rest of the world these big initiatives are just baby-steps. indeed it is shocking just how low the u.s. ranks in supporting new parents as we hear from "america tonight's" sheila macvicar in paris. >> meet marin. a six week old bundle of contentment. mom, dad and big brother. five-year-old medical low. five-year-old mellow. >> you've just had your second baby. how much time will you be able to take off work? >> translator: in france you
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can take off 16 weeks. six weeks before birth and ten weeks after the birth of the baby. i get paid just as if i was at work. >> reporter: paid maternity leave is just one of the benefits france and almost every other nation grants to new parents. xavier denis got paid off time too. 14 days to bond with his new baby. >> translator: these are days that are really important in the life of a couple. in the life of a dad. >> reporter: the international labor organization ranked parental leave benefits in 180 countries. never mind norway, 44 weeks paid or canada, 50 weeks paid, mexico and pakistan both guaranteed new moms 12 weeks at 100% of salary. the u.s. is dead last. in the company of papoa new guinea. in the u.s. in spite of efforts
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in congress and a lot of lobbying, there is still no legal obligation for an employer to provide paid parental leave. in 2013 a survey by the bureau of labor statistics found that only 12% of workers had such coverage. and in france that is simply unthinkable. to american ears, even more incredible, have baby number 3 and get even more time off, and a host of other benefits. what france is saying to families is that in countries where the population is aging, like the u.s., it's important to have babies for future economic good. and they do pay higher taxes to support social benefits like this. for women like caroline, the director of a town hall department in a city north of paris, and one of the 75% of french women who work outside the home, it means she doesn't have to choose between earning a wage and having a family.
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>> translator: it would be inconceivable to go without pay at the moment you have a baby. if you are not paid you basically have to make a choice. either i continue to work and don't have a baby because i need to work, i need my salary because nothing is free in this life. >> reporter: we explained u.s. law to caroline and asked for her reaction. in one word: astonished. >> translator: it is incredible that the u.s., the richest country in the world the most powerful country in the world, can't manage this. we're talking about the future generation. it is important to give parents the means to have children. they are the future. >> reporter: in a few weeks
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caroline will go back to her job. her means of living. sheila macvicar. al jazeera, paris. >> 73% of more family friendly policies. are after the break: in a state known for its colorful political characters and shocking scandals, his story was still a stunner. but a decade later, former new jersey governor jim mcgreevey is at peace. >> god wants me to accept the things i cannot change. i cannot change my past. >> "america tonight's" adam may on the former governor and his road back to public service. and before the end of this hour, a journey that began on a bridge of destiny ends 50 years later with a front row to history. -- seat to history.
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>> beyond the verdict and on the streets >> there's been another teenager shot and killed by the
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police >> a fault lines special investigation >> there's a general distrust of this prosecutor >> courageous and in depth... >> it's a target you can't get rid of... >> the untold story... >> who do you protect? >> ...of what's really going on in ferguson >> they were so angry because it could have been them >> fault lines ferguson: race and justice in the u.s. one hour special only on al jazeera america >> new jersey has seen plenty of political figures get into trouble but even in a state used to scandal and shame the story of former governor jim mcgreevey was a shocker. and now ten years later he's back in public pfs. here is maintain's adam may with the story. >> i was ald in public service maybe it was because i was gay.
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>> the formerly married governor of new jersey came out the first openly gay governor in america. >> so that my truth is that i'm a gay american. >> how nervous were you walking out to make that speech? >> it was just the most serene wonderful feeling. it was as true and as honest and as thing a place as i have ever been in my life. >> reporter: ten years later mcgreevey is out of politics. his sexuality coupled with allegations that he gave his oh lover a lucrative state job and that his dreams of eventually -- ended his dreams of eventually running for president. >> people like ah don't resign do this do that. no, i'm doing what i perceive to be the right thing. >> but you were really in some ways shunned by the gay community after that because they thought you were using your sexuality to cover up a political scandal.
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was there any truth to that? >> no. but i said only in new jersey could people say that that was used to cover a political scandal. no, the scandal was is that i was being sued by this person that i ought not to have had a relationship with, particularly considering the fact that i was as a married man, this person was on -- had been on the government payroll and i should not have hired him. and to my mind, that is enough of a mess. >> now you see openly gay politicians serving in congress, do you wish you had a crystal ball at times? >> no, no, i woo have -- always left with two great daughters. the serenity prayer is so much of my life. god grant me the serenity to change what i can how you behave how i live my life.
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>> following his resignation mcgreevey began a spiritual quest, one that led him to seminary school, episcopal church and eventually dedicating himself to some of the society's most marginalized people. ex-offenders coming out of prison. >> i deserve today i was at the top. >> it wasn't until i was in seminary that i was up in harlem at a program and shoulder to shoulder every morning with people who had spent 15 years, 18 years at sing sing, and i'm like this guy wants the same thing as i want. that was really transformative to me. 75% of the people behind bars are addicts, 75% ever the -- of the people behind bars addicts. that's astonishingly large number.
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>> jawfghtadjusting to life outside prison. >> you can't think your way into new behaviors but we can behave our way into new thinking. >> there is such a terror that envelopes the ex offender. they go to a shelter. you have no prospect of a job. so when people walk into martins's place, we named that after dr. king, it's totally different. >> so this is actually -- you grew up not far from here. >> exactly. like literally. walks back here. >> in this working-class neighborhood where mcgreevey was born and raised, he has arranged for around 20 women to live when they get out of jail. >> i was incarcerated. i met jim. >> the former governor actually became her lawyer. >> you went to court and spoke
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for her? >> yes he represented me. >> cassie is a classic case. >> she would have been in prison, spending time in prison but instead she came here went to cosmetology school, was on time and i'm so proud take care -- blame me! >> okay. >> this is why you want us to come over here. look at this, look at this, look at this. >> exactly. >> look at this look at this look add this. not only is he a mentor to our women, he is a mentor to our men. they come broken and really looking for change. >> a game! >> mcgreevey has taken the fight inside the prison system. personally acting as a counselor to drug addicts. >> hey guys can you pull? get over here sit right here. can you just talk about the importance of treatment?
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>> it taught me how to live. it taught me how to be a woman. it taught me things that i wasn't taught in my household. >> what does the street teach you? chaos. >> streets just don't have love for us. we get mad love from jim, the staff, everybody, the staff here and it's just like, i'm not going to my light today, without him nothing is possible. >> how do you relate to jim? i mean he's ivy league, former governor. i mean, he's a little different than your backgrounds. how do you guys relate to him? >> people are people. people are as they are and we take them as they come. >> he identifies with things. he has got demons too. demons may not be the same demons bus we have got demons. >> come bow down, we are the people of his pasture and the sheep. we say amen amen amen. >> in his mission to help prisoners jim mcgreevey has found an unlikely ally. >> on the issue of drug treatment i admire chris
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christie. >> we all make mistakes. all the time. >> yes, new jersey's republican governor chris christie has joined up with this liberal democrat. >> chris always says that we have nothing in common except for one issue and i'll take that, on the importance of treatment and the importance of changing the bias towards incarceration. towards diversion. on that one issue chris has spoken very courageously. >> martin's place says it has a 27% recidivism rate, far below the national average of 67%. >> we just have to get through this day. >> but this is just a small program. only 350 people have come through doors. >> we're talking about people. >> on january 13th, governor christie announced plans to expand the martin's place model to five other places in new jersey. >> this is the best way to ensure that beyond the
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statistics, that they become hopeful again. >> the point is, it can work. it is far less expensive than prison. it's enabling a person to be productive american. >> why are we locking up so many people in this country? >> it may be course but it's convenient. we put people off the streets, we get the people out of the way. it's contained. it's very, very expensive. you're talking about between 47 to $54,000 a year to lock somebody in a maximum security jail cell. that's what somebody doesn't understand. judge, 12 years, 15 years. well, 15 years, that's half a million dollars. that's half a million dollars that's not spent on prekindergarten education, that's half a million dollars for one human being. >> what happens when they get outs? yes. half a million dollars and two-thirds likelihood they are going to be back in. >> hey, every day is a blessing. god bless you. everything good? oh god bless you!
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>> will you ever run for an office again? >> no. it's just -- adam not because i'm so good at it, but nobody else -- there's not a lot of people running to do prison reentry. so yeah, there's jim mcgreevey the come back story da da da. that's not what god wants me to do in my life. what he wants me to do in my life is to be right here in jersey city on mlk working with people. that's what i need to do. >> nah nah nah i'm doing what the lord wants me to do. >> okay, well i can't knock that! >> exactly. thank you. >> adam may, al jazeera, jersey city, new jersey. >> and jim mcgreevey not looking back. ahead in our final segment this hour, witnessing history and making it. >> he hit me in the back of my neck.
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the back of my shoulder. and it hurt. but i -- i didn't know what to do. >> her story and how it became a critical piece of the president's address. >> no edits! >> exclusive one on one interviews with the most interesting people of our time. >> if you have an agenda with people, you sometimes don't see the truth. >> conversations you won't find anywhere else. "talk to al jazeera". monday 9:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
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>> so now that we've fully digested the president's state of the union agenda, a thought about the issues he took on and why what did he put on the plate might leave his opponents a little political indigestion. >> i have no more campaigns to run. my only agenda -- [applause] >> i know because i won both of them. >> oh, snap!
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mr. president! did he really go there? oh yeah, he did. >> i know because i won both of them. >> six years of being leader of the free world will change a man. from that erstwhile wonky changeable guy to the salt and pepper fellow who showed up to the podium this time and late at that. >> the president of the united states. >> yes, the talking heads saw what you did there sir. the morning after rights called you out for being mocking boastful evening cocky with your critics. you said some things presidents just don't say! >> condemn the persecution of women or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. >> no president has ever used those words lesbian bisexual,
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before. during a state of the union address even if just for a minute. and after years of dodging that socialist robin hood tag, you did offer up a little wealth redistribution scheme. tax the rich more give it to the middle class. >> and lest close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top 1% to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth. we can help use that money to pay for community college. >> our friends in the digital world want olittle more though. in our #deer podus projects, students already drowning in debt, asked the president for more help. >> ands f >> everyone in college who still refuses to raise the minimum wage i say this, if you can truly work full time and support a family for less than $15,000 a year, try it. >> the irony is for all his swagger the president and his
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rapt audience know most of his agenda is doa with the new republican-run congress. no matter how friendly everyone looks at the joint session. so why bother? why bait the opponents, already itching to pounce on the president's agenda? in part, he's putting out markers for his party ahead of his party's presidential election and staking his claim, what issues what images he wants to be remembered for. as he reaches the second half of his final term in the white house. mr. obama as he considers his legacy and looks to the nation's as well. just last week in fact he had the critically acclaimed movie selma screened at the white house and then we just couldn't take our eyes off that one frail, still very powerful figure in the audience for the state of the union address.
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>> there she was, now 103 years old, a slender frame seated in the packed upper gallery silent but the crowd rivetting. this night the president didn't call her by name. but he didn't forget her place in history. >> and on the 50th anniversary of the great march from selma to mont gorman and the passage of the voting rights act. we can make place for every american. >> in the place for justice amelia boynton robinson was in the front of the line in the march that became known as bloody sunday. she told us about its when we visited her selma home just a few weeks ago. >> i remember very much that day. dr. king was to have planned but it was told that they were going to kill everybody who would be there.
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and they didn't let him come. but i do remember, from the beginning to the end. >> but amelia did come, joining hundreds who walked peacefully across the edmond peddis bridge. into the forces of a ren gate sheriff. >> he hit me in the back of my neck, the back of my shoulder. and it hurt, but i didn't know what to do. i had no idea what i should do. then the second hit felled me and i fell to the ground. >> even then, though, the torture didn't end. an officer pumped tear gas into her eyes and mouth. >> and somebody came and said to the state trooper "somebody dead over there."
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and he said, "somebody's dead? if anybody's dead, we are going to let the buzz buzzard $eat them. >> that image of amelia boynton lying unconscious in the arms of a fellow marcher. a lone woman who became an international symbol of racial injustice and the terror in the jim crow south. that moment began a change that led amelia boynton to be another president's guest at the signing of the voting rights act. and it brought her to the silver screen in the oscar
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nominated movie selma. but it was this moment when she sat silent, focused on the words of a man she says she views as religion, that amelia boynton robinson gave usual faith. >> amelia boynton robinson unforgettable. that's our show. thursday on the program, may not be the one thing, questions about racial injustice and whether native lives matters. that story coming up thursday on "america tonight." if you would like to comment on anything you've seen tonight log on to our website, aljazeera.com/americatonight. and join the conversation on twitter or at our facebook page. good night. we'll have more of "america tonight," tomorrow.
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first choice for entertainment. we are ment to be your first choice for the news. >> you know how they say that everybody has a purpose in life? well, at one time, i felt that selling cocaine was my purpose. >> we was starvin', just lookin' for a way to succeed. >> the first time i seen rock cocaine was 1980. >> the murder rate was sky-high. >> south of the 10 freeway, was kind of a "no-man's land". >> you know, we're selling it for the blacks. i said, you go into these neighborhoods, there's no cops you can sell it where you want and when they start killing each other, nobody cares. >> i was going through like a million dollars worth of drugs just about every day. >> that's like gold! >> we can make a fortune! >> he was maybe the biggest guy in l.a. >> freeway rick was getting his dope from a very big operator. i think we're into something that's bigger than us. something we really can't deal
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with. >> they had been trafficking on behalf of the united states government. >> she could prove what she was saying. >> [rapping] crack in the system. >> [rapping] this is los angeles. >> a state of the union full of swagger but was its real ink? two key members ever congress join us. and the deadly fight to keep mountain gorillas from extinction. i'm i'm antonio mora. those stories and more straight ahead. passed. >> president obama provided democrats with a road map. >> state of the union address -- >> these are the wrong policies the wrong priorities.

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