tv America Tonight Al Jazeera December 30, 2015 9:30pm-10:01pm EST
lost generation in mexico are also growing. >> and that is our show for today. i'm david schuster in for ali velshi. thanks for joining us. the news continues here on al jazeera america. >> on "america tonight," the tough questions: after a 12-year-old armed only with a replica is killed. >> is there something written somewhere that says that a police officer does not have to be held into account when they cause death or serious injuries? that's the challenge. >> "america tonight's" christof putzel in cleveland. will another flash point ignite? thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen. could it be the next flash point
of conflict between a community and its law enforcement? cleveland this time where a grand jury has declined to indict two local police officers for shooting death of tamir rice. that wasn't too much of a surprise but the shock is still setting in. activists have kept tensions in check. "america tonight's" christof putzel is in cleveland with what lies ahead. >> outside cleveland's justice center protestors called out his name. 12-year-old tamir rice was shot dead by police officer thy low imran in a park, just after receiving calls, man with a gun. after a grand jury failed to indict lowman and his partner, the outrage over rice's death
still burns. >> we will have. >> we will have. >> equal protection. >> equal protection. >> under the law. >> under the law. >> dante boyken is a community activist. >> we have to look deep within ourselves and is it, the law, can it be applied fairly and justly to each under every person in the nation? it's inhumane the actions taken by police officers but there's no accountability for their action he, even though there's standards, established policies and law and procedures in place. >> given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications by all involved that day the evidence did not include criminal conduct by police. >> mistaking tamir rice's pellet gun for an actual firearm.
the prosecutor's decision did not sway the protesters. >> they killed a child. that could be me or anybody else that was wearing similar clothes. they didn't investigate at all, they just shot. >> what does that mean that a 13-year-old could be shot by an officer and the officer not be indicted? >> it's despicable. the process he's gone through thus far we should have to stay optimistic that there is a process in the system that honors and looks critically at the events of that day and will see it for what it actually is. >> are you optimistic? >> i'm very optimistic. >> why? >> because i believe in america. are. >> stop racial police. >> many here had held out hope for indictment after a court ruling in june, after church
officials pressed the prosecutors to weigh the evidence. joe worthy. >> were you particularly moved by this case because it was a 12-year-old? >> it hits home for me because it could have been one of mine. but what made it more clear is that he was -- he is one of ours, right? he is all of ours. so. >> prosecutors suggested that part of the officer's decision to shoot 12-year-old tamir rice is he looked big for his age. >> it's sad that our children aren't seen as children. there's been study after study that shows that black children, especially black boys, are looked at as adults after the age of 10. that's really where the pain comes from, our kids are forced to be adults. right now they're being kids,
they just want to play in the park. >> worthy works with a group called the new abolitionist association, working for nonviolent protests aimed at changing how black and latino men are treated in the justice system. >> you know that in a lot of cases and especially in maybe faster casts these white officers aren't going to see black boys as children, right? and so if we are forced as a country to look through justice through their eyes they're never going to see a child and that child is always going to end up dead. but of course in other cases, where there's been white boys in similar situations they see a child. >> have you talked to children about what happened to tamir? >> we did a convening and a lot of the young folks were asked to do pictures of how they felt about tamir rice or all these things happening in this
country. one of the pictures that i'll never be able to get out of my head is a child who had a black body on the ground with blood drawn in red crayon all around it and a stick figure man in blue with a police hat with a gun. and that was what that kid must terd up about black lives. >> the. >> -- mustered up about black lives. >> what i see with the high schoolers or the kids i've talked to is they want something, they want change they have that like intuitive understanding that something needs to change. it's just they need that guidance or that vision to know where to direct that energy. >> we are in a press of people that are going through trauma. like this is trauma. and we are strategizing to make sure that doesn't keep happening. >> with the decision not to
indict the officer, where do things go from here? >> i think as a community, as a -- as a community of activists of nonviolent practitioners. >> christof putzel, al jazeera. >> termination at the tap. "america tonight's" lori jane gliha on changes at the top. later, an officer, a gunshot, another teen shot and killed, and a new round of questions about why. and hot on "america tonight's" website now, return to the dominican republic, stripped of citizenship, why some dominicans
a man made disaster, daze after "america tonight's" lori jane gliha investigated, key leaders have been forced out and the results of an independent review may bring more change about. >> to see flint residents, they are not people that are disposable.we just are not. >> at rhonda kelso' house in flint, michigan -- >> i have a filter under here. >> this fill tergs out the lead? >> filters out the led. >> 52-year-old stroke survivor says she still won't drink it. >> it's a crime for people to be serviced with water that's classified by the epa as toxic waste. this is water that came out the tap. look at the green at the bottom. >> it was just a few months ago when she collected this from her
unfiltered faucet. >> it came out brown. >> at the time city and state officials insisted the water was okay to drink. >> it's orangey when it settles all the way down. >> for more than a year now rhonda and tens of thousands of flint residents have been without certainty that their drinking water is safe. the state agency tasked with overseeing testing of the drinking water for safety is still trying oexplain what went wrong. >> there was no nefarious intent to put flint at risk. let me be clear of that, i have said mistakes were made. >> dan wyatt had at the time headed the michigan department of environmental quality. this is what he said this week before he resigned. >> have there been a public spolg to the people of flint? >> i have policiesed because of our tone about.
>> you won't say you're sorry? >> i -- i recognize flint. is anxious and concerned about it. and i feel the plan that we have addresses the issue and we're committed to seeing that plan through. >> during an october press conference wyatt announced that flint was using proper precautions to stop lead from leaching into the water supply. >> know that when the city switched from detroit water that the city utilized corrosion controls. >> he now realized that his statement was wrong. >> when you said corrosion control was in place in print, was that true? >> no. corrosion control is a term of art and there are multiple corrosion control techniques. i want to be real clear. flint needed more corrosion and
we understand that. >> how do you think you're going to regain the public trust when you just sat here and told me what you told the public was not true? >> you know what i said to you was true, and it was not that it wasn't true. what i do want to indicate is to get the public trust back, that will only come again from our actions. >> "america tonight's" lori jane gliha here. so mr. wyatt now as we have learned no longer has to answer those difficult questions. >> right. well there have been several investigations going on for a while. nobody wanted the blame and what happened this week is a task force appointed by the governor, an independent task force sent him a letter and said the michigan department of environmental quality holds the primary responsibility for this issue, and the state agency then put in his resignation. whether that happened the governor then put out a statement saying, to the people of flint i'm sorry that this
happened. it was something he would not do. >> wyatt wouldn't give an apology. it wasn't just him who resigned. >> the communications person also resigned and he received some cri criticism, along the w, they also failed in the way that they talked to the public. >> they didn't reassure the public in any way. >> and were accused of being dismissive and belittling the public. when they came forward and said i've got some issues, they down played it and said just relax, this task force said that wasn't the way to go. >> clearly people in the community cannot relax. you have been in contact, since your first report you have been in contact with people from flint who are still very concerned. >> right. first of all when i talked to the water concert he told me in early december it's going to be another month or two before they can say all of the water is completely compliant with all of
the federal standards. but even in that report, i got acall from a woman who was concerned, didn't know what to do. there's a lot of people like her who don't know where to go, don't make a lot of money, and are trying to buy water -- >> the only way you can be sure is to buy outside water. >> the only way they can get the trust back, this whole community doesn't trust what the government says, if the government is going to help the community get back on track, they have to have the trust back. and this is what is one of the first steps to getting the trust back. >> "america tonight's" lori jane gliha, following up on the story, thanks. next, a young life cut short and questions about what role a police officer played. could this be the next ferguson?
>> we began our report with a view from cleveland, where the community is still coming the grips with the grand jury's decision not to indict two officers in the death of a 12-year-old. in a case like this, the community will take years, like a community in georgia, might help them finally find resolution to the loss of their son. "america tonight's" sarah hoye brings us the story from warner robbins, georgia. >> it's mid morning and cherise wells is easing into her day of work. this january will mark five
years since robert died. he was 19. yet she still needs answers for why a georgia sheriff's deputy shot and killed her son. >> do you think you'll ever have closure? >> only if i knew the truth of what happened. i probably would have closure. >> before the deaths of black men. like eric garner in new york, la quan mcdonald in chicago, at the hands of white police officers sparked outrage, robert chambers was shot here in the small military town of warner robbins, georgia, out of the national spotlight. despite conflicting reports of what happened that brisk january morning, those who know robert chambers including his uncle chris wells, say one thing's for certain. a good kid is gone too soon. >> he was an awesome kid. i mean, he was very fun to be
around. always smiling. always full of like life. he was just really just kind of happy. everybody liked him. everybody liked him. >> in january of 2011, a houston county sheriff's deputy shot him in the back of the head, saying he had just burglarized a home. when he came across robert, robert was armed, lidden fired a single shot. the deputy said he had a gun that was stoabl from th stolen . his mother who worked two jobs including second shift as a nurse at a nearby hospital was asleep when police knocked at her door. >> he proceeded to say we believe he was in a prior crime that led up to the shooting and
killing of his death. i'm like, crime? death? and so at this moment i'm shocked. >> you watched the news. and you heard the reports that your son was part of a robbery. was trying to hurt a police officer. was this your son? >> no. robert wouldn't even fight his baby sister back. he was never a fighter. he was 135 to 140 pounds soaking wet. he didn't have fight in him, you know what i'm saying? he was the walk-away type of person. >> on the day of the shooting, robert was working on his ged. was walking home from a local car dealership. where he sometimes worked detailing cars. >> it just brings chills because this is where reply son, last moments of his life was. >> it didn't make sense for him to burglarize someone's home. it didn't make sense for him to
have a gun to try to shoot police. none of that makes sense. but because of the respect we have for the law we said, you know, at some point maybe something crazy happened. i don't know. maybe. but it just doesn't make sense. >> so you tried ojustify it. >> we did for police officer's sake. i even told my sister, i said if i was a police officer and someone pulled a gun on me i would want to go home to my family. would i want to go home to my family. -- i would want to go home to my family. the most horrible thing for me was giving him the benefit of the doubt and found out tha thae shot my nephew in the back of the head. >> that told you something. >> told me that he was no threat to that officer. he was not a threat to that officer. there was no reason for him to have to have pulled a trigger on my nephew and shoot him in the back of the head. no reason for that. >> wanting answers, cherise
wells filed a wrongful deb wronh case against the houston county sheriffs office. the case was dismissed because the judge said the use of force was justifiable under the circumstances. >> what did you feel? >> i felt like a stab of life. >> i was furious. i blew my top. angry, chris wells started looking for lawyers that represented other families whose loved ones were killed by other police officers. >> i said you know what, we might need to go out of state with this. >> that's when he found jonathan moore, the attorney who represents the family of eric garner. >> justice that we find out exactly what happened here. and that we, if in fact he did
something wrong then, lets prove it. let's put all the cards on the table and let's let a jury decide what happened. >> after combing through pages of documents, moore and fellow attorney luna druby were convinced that his death was covered up. >> if you are accused being a threat to the neighborhood to such an extent that you felt compelled to shoot him in the head and you don't even check to see if the gun allegedly found at the scene matched the fingerprints of robert chambers? that denice belief. >> in the current climate where does this fit in and why is it important to be paying attention to this? >> this is the kind of aggressive policing that's being going on in this country for years and years. that's why we have this disconnect between communities of color and police, not just in
new york or chicago but around this country. >> is this bigger than robert? >> yes, it is. this kind of case is in the highest tradition of protecting civil rights. and when we protect one person's civil rights we protect everybody's civil rights. >> this october, they filed omotion argue that the new evidence suggests that the gun and the cell phone were both planted after deputy glidden shot robert. attorney druby also says there are major inconsistencies in the case including no fingerprints ever confirmed robert was in the burglarized home. she also says a tears video shows robert's telling the deputy, i'm on the ground sir. >> i'm on the ground. >> in the deposition, the deputy maintains robert continues to
struggles, getting back up. the police planted a different weapon at the scene. this is gun officials say they recovered from the crime scene. >> the gun that went missing from the home was black. i mean that's the very basic comparison right? one is very clearly blue steel, one is very clearly black. they made a statement, we are all to believe it, that's hugely problematic. there are issues that could exonerate robert from this. >> an attorney called the new evidence a conspiracy theory. acted properly when he shot robert chambers. at the time of the filing, cheap deputy spoke with the news station. >> we still contend and stand by our officer he is certainly regretful that it happened. he never went in there with the
intentions of hurting or killing anybody. but at the time that it happened, and it happened so fast, that he was in fear of his life. and we honestly believe that if he had not reacted, and events had not come down like he did, that he could have been seriously injured or killed. >> at the end of the day, before robert ran he was still being ton ground. saying i am on the ground. so what really happened? >> the attorney for deputy glid glidden and the houston city, would not speak with al jazeera america,. >> what if you don't win this time around? >> well, you know what, if we don't win this time around, at least we have the information that we were looking for from the beginning. all this evidence, and all the
things that we were asking for, this stuff has told the story for us. >> robert's mother says her fight for justice gives purpose to the pain. >> i hope you take away a clear vision of robert, and i hope you take away that we know that death was wrong. we want more answers and justification behind this. >> sarah hoye, al jazeera, warner robbins, georgia. >> that's "america tonight." please tell us what you think at aljazeera.com/americatonight. you can talk to us on twitter or facebook and come back. we'll have more of "america tonight," tomorrow.
>> it can be different. >> securing the city. in ramadi, the iraqi army says it has freed hundreds of civilians that i.s.i.l. had used as human shields. syrian government advances. with the help of russian air strikes the syrian army is rolling towards a strategic opposition strong hold in the country's cell. high alert. in brussels, the