tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera December 11, 2015 9:00pm-9:31pm EST
i'll see you back here on monday night. "ali velshi on target" is next. >> i'm mary snow in for ali velshi. "on target" tonight. please under the gun. troubled departments try to reform the ranks and weed out bad cops. plus split second decision. police officers put to the test with life or death drill on the use of lethal force. plarmingtpolice departments acrs america are under the gun to
stop how and when police in potentially dangerous suspects. outrage over michael brown in ferguson, freddy gray in baltimore. and the death of mario woods the 26-year-old black man was shot at least 15 times by police officers. in chicago meanwhile local black religious leaders called today for a vote of no confidence against mayor rahm emanuel. this follows allegations of a coverup in investigation of the death of 17-year-old la quawnl n mcdonald. as david ariosto reports, outrage over mcdonald's shooting by a police officer has forced chicago's mayor to scramble to survive. >> some kid was shot down by 16
shots. >> 16 shots. >> it's time for police to stop. not just today, this is not new. >> reporter: as protests continue to royal the city of chicago over the police killing of a black teenager the stakes for rahm emanuel couldn't be higher. the chicago mayor is facing perhaps his biggest political challenge yet as calls for his resignation get louder. >> getting him to resign doesn't mean our work is over. >> but in a week that saw the u.s. justice department investigation the department. and the new illinois observer poll that shows a majority of chicagoans, 51% think emanuel should resign. the embattled mayor this week sought to strike a conciliatory tone. >> i'm the mayor. i take responsibility for what happened because it happened on my watch. and i'm sorry.
>> reporter: sparking the crisis, the shooting death of 17-year-old la quan mcdonald. the police officer jason van dyke was charged with first degree murder, more than one year after the incident. van dyke allegedly unloaded his 16 round magazine into mcdonald even as he lay on the ground but it took more than a year of legal battles to get authorities to release this dash cam video of the shooting, prompting allegations of a coverup. emanuel ordered police body cameras and announced a new leader to the police review authority in an effort to bring greater accountability to the police force. but those efforts have been largely overshadowed by the monday release of another video that apparently shows the police killing of another man in chicago, ronald johnson, a revelation that's only added to
the city's arrest. with emanuel's approval rating nowing hovenow hovering at 18%,t clear whether he'll survive another chicago winter. david ariosto, al jazeera. >> even if you succeed it can be extremely difficult to gain the community's trust in low income areas with high crime rates and history with of violent encounters with police. but change is possible with the right leadership. that's one of the lessons from richmond, california. we went there to see how the community is changing to the use of force. ali velshi has the story. >> what you are about to see could make the difference between life and death. >> drop the gun. richmond police. put your hands behind your head now. do it now. >> i don't care if you shoot me.
>> drop down to your knees now, don't move. stop. >> this time it's a training exercise but next time it could be a real confrontation. that's when the challenge will be to keep an encounter like this from becoming lethal for a violent some. >> so i notice you use big cover here utilizing your car. i would probably talk about your approach first. perhaps maybe parking a little further back and making your approach on foot might have given you a little bit more time. >> reporter: the city of richmond, california has historically been one of the most violent cities in the san francisco bay area, but that has undergone a transformation under the leadership of chief chris magnus. >> spending eight hours shooting at a target, good marksmanship,
we get that, you need to shoot a gun to become a police officer, i think everyone understands that but the big challenge is how to make good decisions under stressful circumstances. >> reporter: since he has taken the position in 2006, crime has gone down but so has the use of force by police. the city of 100,000 residents, there has been on average less than one officer-involved shooting per year since 2008. bmany attribute that to use of force techniques championed by chief magnus. communication in difficult situations which can unfold rapidly. the goal is not to necessarily use a gun but rather to use the other tools on their utility belt like a baton or taser in order to take control of a potentially dangerous situation.
>> put the gun down. we can talk about this but you put the gun down. >> put your gun down. >> walk out. >> what are you going to do with me? >> put your lands up. >> what are you going to do? >> get down on the ground. >> it's not as easy as people think, it's not hollywood. you can't shoot the gun out of a person's hand. somebody doesn't always comply. >> you're a rookie hmm? i'll kill you. >> get on your belly. get on your belly. get down on your stomach. stay. what are you looking for? i have a taser, 1141 and a supervisor. >> lieutenant louie torona supervises the real life scenario training that all
officers with field duty are required to take at least four times a year. >> he got to the rear of the car, he continued advancing on you. why did you decide at that point to put your pistol away? >> because he did not have any weapons in his immediate hands or that i saw to where he can quickly get it. therefore, i pulled out a less lethal weapon which was a taser. >> why did you choose a taser and not the baton, or pepper spray? why did you go for the taser specifically? >> this scenario ended with less than lethal force. more importantly, building a stronger relationship with the community. ali velshi, al jazeera. >> coming up the kind of hands on training you just saw can certainly help police decide when to deploy deadly force. next we asked the question what would you do with lives on the line and less than a second to
officer suspects his life might be in danger, the use of force may be appropriate. we want to show you what paul beban experienced at the washington use of force lab. he encountered real scenarios that cops face every day. immediately following the story you'll see ali velshi's interview with steve james the man who runs the lab. there are many gray areas on when to shoot or not to shoot. >> reporter: so this simulation is going to measure my reaction to the simulation, all the while what my brain is doing. so i'm just going going t to beg what's happening and reacting? >> certainly. only use deadly force if you feel your life or someone else's life is in imminent threat. >> okay. are. >> so he's being called to a domestic disturbance. >> do you understand? >> yes. >> and he's been told that the
spouse is abusive and there are weapons in the house. this is a simplified shoot don't shoot scenarios. >> (bleep) (bleep). >> sir sir sir. sir. >> (bleep) (bleep). >> sir, sir. wow. that went so fast. whoa! my heart is pounding. didn't respond to any voice commands. wow that was fast. you weren't kidding. >> absolutely. and that's how quickly these things can -- can go wrong. >> needles to say. >> how do you feel you did?ess . >> i affiliate i did very poorly. >> is there a deadly threat, am
i legally justified to just force? i've never seen anyone be able to save her. >> the most you can do is take him down before he takes you down. >> absolutely. >> i'm shaking right now. >> i can see that. >> okay, all right. >> let me take this off. >> we're hearing so much about use of force laiment in th late. what do we know about use of force training, does it work, does it not work, what effect does have it on outcomes. >> we hear about officer being well trained and performing on the street but there's never been a wide scale study. >> there's not a useful definitiouniversaldefinition ri? >> being able to neutralize a threat with the appropriate level of force, that may be deadly force and it may not. >> but there's so much gray area
in everything you said. >> absolutely. and when you consider that these decisions and these evaluations of whether or not this force required, if so, how much, we have a duty as a society to get it right 100% of the time but in reality that's going to be very, very difficult to do. therivelythere unfortunately aro be these situations. >> stephens james conducts studies of use of force at washington state university. stephen it's good to see you. we've seen it in ferguson, philly, blower and now in chicago. why don't these departments do the kind of training we just watched before they get into trouble? >> well, many of them do, ali and one of the difficulties is, training is very expensive. for an officer to be pulled off
the street, the agency has to make the decision how much of their resources do they spend on training? they have a limited budget and the police department, municipal police departments are often the highest budgets item for the city and the city expects a service for that money. the decision to whether or not have officers on the street or if they're being pulled into training is a difficult one for police executives to manage. >> we saw in your lab, a situation i find facinating, when expensive force is okay, when it's expensive officers say they're so used to using expensive force and ge excessive say they're so used to seeing it, they don't know whether to pull away.have you seen that phenomenon? >> i have not.
officers want their friends and colleagues the go home and members of the public to go home safe at night . whatever brings them to the situation is one issue. but when they're in a situation where deadly force is required, officers respond to the situation in front of them as best as they can, given the pressures, the time pressure and thecy yoa logicathe physiologics they're under. >> they say cops use excessive force, and we should fix that rather than fix their training. >> other than vehicle stops the vast majority of police-citizen encounters are calls for service. police are called to an incident that unfolds in front of them.
they don't get to choose the race ethnicity of the people they're dealing with. police are typically the touch point of government and they're the face of government that people see on a day-to-day basis. there are systemic issues within society that have meant over generations that minority communities have more problems. and they -- that's why police seem to, the term that i dislike is overpolice these communities. but they're being called there for a reason and they have to deal with the situation as it unfolds. so as the president said in chicago in october, at the international association of chiefs of police conference, that there are systemic issues regarding racial minorities in this country. and unfortunately the police end up being the brunt of them. >> not only make headlines but police across the country do a great deal for all of us. steve james thank you so much. >> up next the right training can make good cops even better but what about bad cops?
you've seen tonight how intense hands-on training could make the streets safer for both cops and citizens. but that's not enough. it's up to top police brass to identify bad cops on the forces and weed them out for the public good. ali velshi recently spoke with tom ruskin, former detective with the new york police department. >> i have a lot of respect for the work cops do and we've just shown that in this show, once again we've shown what police have to go through, the split second decisions to make. and whether we put our reporter in that position, he didn't make the right decision. i think there's a real important position for police unions. but when i see this police union in chicago and how they reacted to protect this police officer, this police officer did everything wrong and took a life, it cheapens the whole
profession. >> we are innocent until proven guilty, even police officers. >> but we know that the public didn't get to see the things that looks like he did the wrong thing. >> if i were the superintendent i would have put it out a lot sooner and i would have asked the prosecutor to bring either charges or basically or no charges against him. >> tried the whole thing. >> you have to wonder how high this went up, did it go to the mayor? did the mayor see it, who approved the $5 million and who saw this video and why it was not out there earlier. >> what do you think of this guy? >> excellent commander, excellent chief, he did great in new york city, he rose to deputy commissioner of crime control strategies, he did a bang up job in newark, reduced the crime
rate there and he went to chicago and listen you're at home as a police superintendent when one of your officers was confronted with this, that's what happened that night. >> as the chief of any of those places you mentioned there are a lot of things on your plate, including fighting crime. he walks into the department, 402 have more than 20 civilian complaints against them. one had 68. van dyke had 22 none of which has ever resulted in discipline. i'm sure some of them play be spurious. when you're a cop people complain about you. >> when you're an active cop, people complain about you. i was a cop, i had civilian complaints. pulling a gun against a man who was in a civilian rob principle i pulled him out of the car, no
further confrontation, we put cuffs. hee after, we found out it wasn't him, we voided an arrest, he went down and filed a civilian complaint. it can happen to a cop. civilian complaints don't indicate to me how good or bad a cop is, put other signals or signs of a police officer's duty and his what he does as a cop. >> right so let's figure out a way to be smarter as at a media in telling these stories. they're very nuanced very complicated, none of us were there and we didn't get the story. the fact is it becomes hard, when we go out of our way to do these stories, how difficult it is to be a police officer and to try to make people understand that, you see things like this, the city of chicago paying $5 million in essentially hush money and now second case where a plotting says, release the camera, let's see maybe my son didn't have a gun, that's what it looks like. the behavior of these police
forces and their unions make us all think, what's being hidden? >> that's why it's so important for police officers to start wearing these cameras and to film what's happening. not only from the dash of a patrol car but also on yourself. at this point in time we're going to see if police are acting appropriately. we saw how well your reporter did. your reporter was confronted with a person who came at him with a gun. he may have been shot in that situation. it's a split second decision. we're monday morning quarterbacking. if it's a mistake of the heart i can live with it. if it's a mistake of the head, he's purposely shooting somebody for the sake of just shooting them then they should be criminally charged and let a jury decide. >> you as a police officer believe, particularly in chicago they have a union head there for whom no cop has done anything
wrong, it doesn't sound believable. even somebody in my shop does something wrong exempt in my shop nobody is going to kill anybody. >> as a union member and also in semi management, unions have a job to do thi. they have to support their members but unions also come in and say listen i understand we have a difficult situation here. they play a certain role in the public, they play a different role behind the scenes. >> where do we go from here? i know there are a lot of police in this country putting their lives on the line every day who must get home so angry so hurt that people have turned against them and at the same time, there are a couple of cops out there that shouldn't be police. where do we go, how do we fix this, how do we regain the relationship that should exist between society and police? >> there are two different questions, very good questions but two different questions.
the first question is how do we regain police relationships with communities? and that's community policing. that's having the police and community leaders get together, meeting your cop on the beat. there are high-crime areas made up of minority people who want the police to take very aggressive stands. you also have the police who feel like they're being beaten up now. we have cops marching right next to marchers, in new york city. >> that's a very valid point. i don't think we need to hear marches about dead cops now. how do you fix that? how do you say to people you don't want dead cops? >> it's a slow gradual process. marchers who are calling for their death, it is an understanding give and take. and most of the people in the crowd do not want dead cops.
they're going to be the first to dial 911, to have the cop save their family member if it's aheart attack or stop an active shooter in the news. >> it is a tense situation. tom ruskin. former new york city police detective. >> starting tomorrow on al jazeera we take you back to chicago to examine the city's crisis of confidence. five days in chi. the violent events this have shane thhaveshaken the city. the news continues here on al jazeera america.
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