tv Matt Taibbi I Cant Breathe CSPAN December 31, 2017 9:16am-10:27am EST
[applause] [inaudible conversations] >> at evening, everyone. welcome to greenlight bookstore. we are hosting matt taibbi with his new book "i can't breathe." just a couple housekeeping things. if you have a cell phone or some other device that might make noise, now is a moment to turn it off or silence. books herself the register.
both the book "i can't breathe" or older titles by the authors. when you buy the book to get the literary experience but also your independent bookstores can bring your events like this that we appreciate that in the dance. flyers for upcoming events available with great step in november so we hope you'll join us again. our interviewer for this weekend is through may and hosted a television show binge worthy as well as a new podcast love city. he writes for rolling don't come "the new york times" committed new yorker and many other publications and is the author of five books including most recently i would die for you at prince became an icon in his afraid to post blackness, what it means to be back now. also our neighbor and a great supporter greatness is literally the day we opened our doors of a grateful to have them here with us tonight. so this chick with dr. matt
taibbi of "the new york times" best-selling think on president, for still be in the great arrangement could also contribute an editor for "rolling stone" and winner of the 2008 national magazine. his new book, it's up to a dizzy the roots and repercussions of the infamous killing of aragorn or by the new york city police feared a brilliant work of narrative nonfiction. taibbi has been sparing in the police and courts that led to the fatal chokehold and works to blur the abuse afterwards. this is a necessary and riveting work. we are honored to have both of these authors tonight. there will be a agent conversation. you have a chance to ask a question stores the end. [applause]
>> i love this bookstore. i've been here since day one. you could not buy a book in this neighborhood so i'm proud for you guys for writing eight years of greenlight. the second location. congratulations. [applause] matt, i want to talk to you. i've known you for a while. brothers in the "rolling stone" fraternity was happy. this book is fantastic. i want to start with the elephant in the room so we could deal with that. you've been dealing with a lot the last week. you wrote a book years ago but has got you in some trouble when you were describing what happened when you were young man many years ago in russia.
what happened when you were in russia dealing with the younger women there? what happened? >> that's a complicated question. i curl what about pimco daily newspaper called the exile that was designed to be a sendup of the american expatriate community. we actually had a goal of being the most offensive and history. our idea was there was actually at one point satirical idea in the book, which was that the americans who are coming over, who are pretending to help in baghdad we are offering to bring the american way. by night, we're actually taking a huge consulting fees and billing into orgiastic clubs and party and in with russian women and it was a pullback and so we were -- the idea was to expose
all of this to talk about the corruption of the community, but we quit we became the community were trying to satirize and that caught up in the community. the book we wrote, the exile detail some pretty ugly things that i would be ashamed for my kids to read. i will be ashamed some day for them to read. i have three young sons and their safe passage in there and one of mark's chop yours that talks about harassing women in the workplace. that part of it isn't true, but there are other things that we wrote that were awful and i.d. genuinely regret and will continue to feel bad about. >> i think we are going to focus on the aragorn her book, but to drill down on this a little bit, i'm confused because it's
nonfiction. >> you are saying that workplace are not true. >> they issued a statement today that said the book jacket inside is incorrect, that is actually a mix of invented satire in nonfiction. we made that notation because there is no classification for both. if you look at the notation you'll see the contributors list includes somebody named johnny chan who was a fake person. the book starts off with an interview with chad who has faced fake person. there is a scene where mark quotes u.s. embassy officials saying they believe all american ex-pat should be incinerated and shot into space. that is not a real quote. >> but he was described of you guys doing to young women did not happen. >> on say they did not happen.
not only that. no woman has ever said i better behaved than you need like that here or in russia. i take full responsibility for the things that we wrote and i've agonized over the years about the editorial decisions we made her a not time. in terms of that, it never happened. >> do you regret? >> i didn't write that. mark wrote that. it's a co-authored book. there's a lot of a lot of things i could have said, but i didn't. there's a lot of stuff in the exile that's pretty hard to read whether you were there or not but whether you need the context or not india i feel bad about it. i do. but they categorically again insists that i have never mistreated and the women in the office.
i wouldn't do that and a lot of my coworkers who have spoken up this week had said that is not who i yam. why this somebody who once wrote what came close to achieving that goal of beating -- it may actually be one that i can think of that is worse, but we were close for sure. >> are you still friends with them? >> now, i haven't talked to marking 15 years at least for a variety of reasons, including nose. one of the questions people have is why you never protested more about burke's columns. reason for that is it never entered my mind that he was
actually writing nonfiction. i thought he was a poser, not a criminal and sociopaths. what we argued about was this kind of writing is in effect it inoffensive in the wrong kind of way, but you know, i have to cop to that too but i didn't just say flat out that is hurtful. >> this book you've written about eric gardner is pretty extraordinary. it reminds me of the corner, the liar. you are taking these eight societal things that happened in showing how they so does move in to squeeze this guy on the block, eric gardner. you're not just doing a big picture analysis and you're not just doing small character studies. it is both. there is this way after 2008 the
bloomberg administration say is we need more revenue. we are not going to tax the regular person so we are going to increase the tax on cigarettes like 300%, 400%? >> something like that. 14 bucks a pack. >> $1.50? it opened the door for folks like eric gardner and he's not the only one. he's way more entrepreneurial with the to go to a native american reservations, different taxation's to get and sell cigarettes to poor people. at the same time we have william brought another folks would show good so much about it already and in this book there is a notion you describe worth people are afraid that in itself are
afraid so we must keep them from being afraid of crime because secondary to keeping people from being afraid of crime. so we are going to police the smallest thing and make them feel better and this is what eric turner gets squished in between. >> this whole broken window theory grew out of something that had nothing to do with cds. it was invented by this game named george killian who is sort of a hack academic, hot probation officer who was put in charge of a home for troubled young people in that grew out of an observation that he made for he says anyway. at a detention center, where he was watching the people treating the patients or inmates. i couldn't remember the term 30 years, but basically if they did
something distraught given the facility, if they tore out ceiling tiles, if they broke a glass, smashed a painting, and the people who are treating it for a long time just let them sort it watched, took notes because that was the method of the time. he had more of a law enforcement background and his idea was let's not do that. let's pick up the class. if there's a broke and glass, let's pick up the glass. he made an observation back then that when you pick up the glass, the volume seems to go down on people's behavior and there is lots trouble. so this grew into a theory that turned into broken windows where the idea was a few crackdown on what he called the visible symbols of disorder, it may not affect the crime rate but it will make people feel less afraid.
so this was his observation borne out in studies. they did it in to work, a kansas city and experimented with things like police stopping people from really minor things like drinking out of open containers come in drinking in the wrong place, and alleys, writing bicycles down the runway. when they cracked down on the stuff, it didn't make the crime rate drop, but surveys people felt safer because it had the appearance of order. they changed the focus of police and from let's catch crime and stop criminals to let's affirmatively impose order and order is totally subject is. >> is totally subject to it. this is inherently racialized. it'll make people feel safer. if you feel --
>> people who are afraid in our debate terms of crime, many new yorkers are afraid of black people. therefore being black is a crime. >> by people who live in segregated neighborhoods in l.a. with actual crime will make them feel less afraid it for a lot of white people who may not be dealing with on a day-to-day basis of modern new york 30, 40 years ago, dealing with graffiti and broken windows will make them feel at. >> through his discredit and i saw him a complicated character to interview because he could be convincing in one minute, but in the minute he would say something that would really make me scratch my head. ..
he talked about the potential for the misuse of these policies but they brought their hands he knows from the beginning this could be used in a very racist way. he saw the potential to go -- >> he co-authored it with another sociologist and the text was of the broken windows article says essentially, we have no answer to that question. but we think that training -- it always goes back to training. we will train the people to do better and it won't happen but it could happen. that plus the fact that it
relied on techniques that were inherently evocative historically, right? so broken windows depended on giving police tools to arrest people for legally meaningless offenses. today in new york you can be arrested basically anywhere for what they call oda, obstructing government administration, obstructing pedestrian traffic, refusal to obey a lawful police order which can mean anything. people arrested for standing in front of their house is oda. >> or a stop and frisk all intakes is a first move. what about this movement, anything the officer wanted. >> exactly, yes. the legal standard that allows this came from a 1968 supreme court called ohio versus terry and that says that police may stop you if they have what they call an articulable suspicion that a
crime might be occurring. and they are allowed to pat you down if they have a reasonable suspicion that you are armed. so the whole idea of reasonableness and articulable is, it became a legal standard that existed entirely in the minds of police officers and what happened over the years was when people like bill bratton decided to make this sort of a factory style policy, they didn't have time to wait for real, articulable suspicion. if even if they were trying to do it on the up and up, they didn't have time. they created a forum, they called it a 250 and the 250 had boxes you could check for , where all the reasons why you were stopping people and those included furtive movement, a bulge. suspicious behavior.
all these things that don't mean anything and the 250 spelled out whether you are detained though there is this method being created of all the people, some police officers might be in the underground and might know something so they go back to all the people which is criminalizing them. maybe bringing them in. just a small example of why i understand. how many people have been in this neighborhood for more than five years, thank you ma'am. almost as long as me. who has walked down washington park, i think it's 178 has had a broken window or front window for 20 years. where spike used to live on the other side of the corner at willoughby.
you know what i'm talking about, right? that does notaffect crime in this neighborhood. crime has gone down over the last 20, 30 years . it enrages me. >> let's dive in a little bit more. who is eric garner? >> eric garner, the reason i wrote this book -- let me back up a moment. on the day the grand jury decided not to indict the police officer responsible for his killing, and i'll use a different word but i can't legally but i went over to staten island and i started talking to people in the street asking what was he like and i immediately found that everybody had a story about this guy and he was this interesting, funny and complicated and flawed and i thought he was a person whose
story would be really powerful to tell if i could somehow do it. everyone had seen the video. everyone already had this emotional reaction to the video but i found out he had this whole narrative that led up to this moment that if people knew it, they would be so much more invested in his life . that they would reexperience that video in a way that would be even more horrible and even more meaningful. and he was just an interesting guy. i could give 1 million examples of what he was like. >> i've read a ton about the case but did not know he had a new baby. that at the time of his death, it was about a week old. >> six weeks, something like that. >> born three months early, two pounds one ounce and all this and send uncles know you have something like that at home, you are stressed.
so he's on the corner trying to make money to take care of his large family and he's got a tiny baby at home. even if you're not conscious, that is stressing you out and i can see where that might have been one of the things that pushed him over the edge. he had been arrested times, talk about right before the end and all the things that were going on within and around eric garner that made them finally say stop today. i'm tired of you guys messing with me, i'm not doing this. >> the interesting thing is eric garner was exactly not that person for his entire life. he had a completely different attitude towards how to deal with the police for most of his life. he thought of himself as a businessman and he thought of the police as just the cost of doing business. when he got out of prison he had started off doing crack in the late 80s and early
90s. and when he got out, he found out about this new business of dealing untaxed cigarettes . >> from his wife. >> his wife, that's right. he immediately saw the possibilities and something in him, some entrepreneurial thing kicked in and he started a group. he would suddenly organize. he was an unconfident drug dealer but when it came to doing cigarettes, he was really good at it and he had everybody, he had mules driving back and forth to virginia to get cigarettes. >> and there are indian reservations. >> exactly. he had an expression for how great this business was. he said it was felony money and misdemeanor time because you made money but if you are doing itcorrectly, it wasn't even a misdemeanor. they basically had to write you a ticket >> you could make a dollar for a pack with two dollars on illicit . >> he had lots of customers.
he was probably making three or $400 a day in profit at one point during this period and it was a great business. he saw the police as a cost of doing business. if i have to go do a few days in jail, whatever. as long as i keep my money i will put up with whatever the punishment is because the law says that this is all they can do to me. unless they catch me driving across state lines, that's all i can do. what happened was the police i think became frustrated with the limitations of the law. for one, unlike crack and cocaine where there is this huge sentencing disparity and they can drop this million ton hammer on people, with this they couldn't really do anything to him so they
started to stop him and get at him in other ways. they would stop him on the way to a supermarket and searched his car and take his money and they would say if you can prove that you made this legally, come down to the station and pick it up. they were doing that over and over again. and when he was getting arrested suddenly the veil wasn't $50 anymore, suddenly it was $1000. so the costs were going up. he got robbed in the street a couple times.he had to borrow money to re-up. twice during this so there were a lot of things going on. he just felt the police were playing the game the way it was supposed to be played. they were singling him out because he was an easy catch, that's what he thought. >> a lot of your work you've been applauded for politics, you're talking to people who want to talk. who want to be in rolling stone or what have you but these folks in den island,
did they help in any way? the work you've done before and in all these great details so talking to all these people from the hood who may have not known you, how did you get into that? >> i spent a lot of time there first of all. i went back and forth to that neighborhood for two years. and i went there a lot. i got to know a lot of people and you know, it's a bit of a tough neighborhood. you had to know who the important people were to talk to. i kind of got an idea early on that there were people that i needed to get permission from in order to do the work. >> the gang leader types? >> something like that. that was all worked out pretty early on and there's a
whole question of how you build trust as a journalist is a complicated one but in this case it was complicated by the additional factor of me being white and an outsider and not from staten island and all that stuff. it was something i never had to experience before and think about before. >> talk about that. you're in this black neighborhood. our people like, white boy? >> at first to be honest, the people who were really not forthcoming were the white citizens of staten island. the police officers, the relatives of police officers. and i wanted to hear their side of the story, i really did. i wanted to hear what they're thinking was about all of this and the only way you could get at it was through message boards or off the record conversations in bars, things like that. but on the street, i think there was a desire among a lot of people for eric garner
not to be remembered only for this one moment. and for the whole story to be told and for you know, him to be remembered for something else and also for the neighborhood to be remembered for something else. so a lot of the book is really about the first half of the book is about townsville park and how it works and what it's like and i tried to just be sympathetic about it and listen and people were cool about it. >> your telling these folks working on a book, are they like great, or are they like what the hell? i don't think people will even care. >> know, some people didn't care. some people , they thought i
wasn't for real because they would tell me something and it wouldn't appear in the newspaper next day so they didn't know what it was i was doing coming back over and over again for month after month after month . but you know, i made a lot of friends over there. i became really close to over those two years and you know, oddly enough, that was a part of the story i ended up having to leave out but i developed a lot of relationships with the people that garner new and that was a rewarding part. >> we went back to the spot that eric mapped out for himself. would it be another eric, somebody else who had taken over that mantle and he's selling cigarettes there now even with the in and out he was doing? >> there's actually an eric there right now. believe it or not, one of the things, one of my theories about what happened there that day is that it was a
case of mistaken identity. eric carter was actually very popular on the block even among the store owners who theoretically had a beef with him. but there was one very personal dispute between a younger guy who sold cigarettes was actually really nice, i met him. and one of the landlords in the neighborhood who constantly complained about him so if you look through the record, you will find records of complaints. there's a thing where somebody calls about an eric and i think it was this other eric . >> who worked for garner. >> kind of, it was a subcontracting situation, it's hard to explain what yes. i think that's what happened. that somebody said go get eric and it was the other eric. >> i want to go back for a
second. you mentioned you went to these local gang leaders or whatever. can you just describe that moment, that story? what is that like? >> the first couple days i went out there, when i went to thespot . >> didn't know you had to do that to operate but they told you. >> they didn't tell me. i kind of guessed. i've done crime reporting before. i've been all over the world. i've been in lots of different places and you definitely get a sense that if certain people don't want you on the block, you shouldn't be there. and it wasn't too hard to figure out who the important people were to talk to. and i found some people sitting on the spot where our eric garner used to work and started up a conversation with them.
and their characters in the book, there's a guy named john mccrea, another guy named james knight. both great guys and they kind of smooth the way for me. they basically mapped out what the whole architecture and geography of the whole neighborhood was and how things work and what i had to do. >> just by talking to them. >> one of the things that happened in the neighborhood is i don't know you 20 years, i don't talk to you and all . and why are you not an undercover cop was looking for something? how do you get them to trust you? >> i don't know the answer to that. maybe i was, maybe would be as goofy as i was. i don't know. but i definitely talk to drug dealers pretty early and they started telling me about their business and i was
non-judgmental about it. maybe that's part of what was going on here. but they recognized early that i was interested in eric garner. i wasn't asking questions that would have gotten me in trouble and there were questions like that i wanted to ask. like okay, who runs this block? eric's dealing cigarettes, does he have to ask the guy who's dealing don't over there if you can do that mark it took a while before i could ask even in that questions like that you don't ask those questions up front. >> he would have to get the okay . >> there was more like an agreement, let's put it that way. i think people just like him and he was allowed to run his little store. maybe, he might have kicked a little money to somebody but i don't think there was anything beyond that, really.
>> garner was 5.9 million from the city? >> i think so. >> what is their life like now. i know there's a business, did they follow eric garner on twitter. the anger and bitterness, the money does not take care of dad's not here, but what are their lives like now? >> i left out the whole story of what happened to the garner family in the book. kind of for a reason. i felt like it wasn't important. i didn't want to get into it. there were things that happened after the settlement and even before. there was a public schism over something as silly as
the election, for instance. one half of the family supported hillary clinton and eric garner came out for bernie and there was dispute about that but i didn't want to get into the whole question of discord in the family. i didn't think it was relevant but what i will say about the money, that the thing i learned about these kind of cases is that the system is designed to only do one of two things after police brutality incidents happen that i see. it spits the money out or it doesn't, that's it.there's no other thing that happens. there's no bold metal panel to investigate. there's no structural change, no punishment of the officer and they have 1 million tricks for avoiding back. the only thing that ever happens is they either give money to the family or they don't. and in this case the sizable award was a certainly linked to the fact that they had this video which was so incontrovertible and i started the book with a different brutality victim on purpose.
to show that garner's family was not typical. you don't usually get $1.9 million and instead you normally have to go for a long time to get $80,000. >> the tricks that are used to protect officers, even officers who are discipline quite often, within two or three years, that is expunged. so something out there, guys, they say for the record. those guys are watching every two years and everybody would be perfect if it was that. >> is not just that. you just can't find out. there is no mechanism for finding out whether or not an officer has a problem. if you've been arrested by a police officer and you see him or her planning or that your intention, let's say. there's no database where you can go to search. you can't ask a judge can i
find out if this person has a record of doing that? the law says basically that any information that may be used to evaluate the performance of a police officer must be kept confidential, which means everything. so you can't find out. the only reason we know the officer in this case had a history is because somebody leaped it out. and this is basically the setup in mostcities around the country . >> the last strong union in america is the police. that's why they have that sort of protection. talk about daniel pantaleo, the officer who choked him. can you say murderer? >> i'll use it, he murdered him. >> what do you do, legally you can't say to the company? >> not the company. i just think, i said, i've used the word murder before. and the medical examiner did
call it a homicide. so you know, i didn't think it was a murder. >> that's the thing, we don't know. he's a cipher. that'sthe problem with all these cases, they are essentially , the protagonist or the villain is almost always some faceless person who about whom we know almost nothing and only later maybe find out as a record. who, the lift juan mcdonald case for example, we don't know anything for a year. we didn't even know about this case and then when we do finally find out about this case through the accident of a few different information requests that are granted, we find out that this officer
has a litany of abuse complaints. but wedon't know much else. again, even though those police officers are public employees, everything they do is for the public theoretically, they are employed by us, paid by us , they are effectively private when they are out there. what they do is private and even though the body cans exist, in some places, the law kind of looks at it differently. >> the man who was standing there and videotaped this, on his phone, without him we probably never would've heard of eric garner. and you spent a long time with him. and that is right, the police taking retaliation and trying to dirty his reputation so that is filled matters less. >> writes, absolutely. small-town drug dealer from that neighborhood. had along record but could have been anybody, i think. what the police saw him as the source of their problems
and they definitely believe that going after him was a priority and when he was arrested at one point, after a lengthy and it seems to me very laborious sting operation that he was not a big time kingpin. one of the things they said to him was as they were taking pictures during the bust is you made the video, now we're making the video. so there was no question that was personal and one of the things that happens in this book is he calls me sort of the end of this journey when he's being pursued by the police for quite a long time and he's hiding from the police. he's deciding whether or not to turn himself in after hayes waived arrest and he breathlessly tells me this whole story, all recounted in the book in the chapter about him and he goes through everything that happened and he believes these psychically switched places with the cop.
in other words, pantaleo did the killing but i'm the guy that stunned the chasing ever since. and he's telling this story and it's an amazing storyteller. and right after he finishes telling me the story, he gets busted. and that's when he gets picked up. that has a lot of questions about me i'm sure immediately. but we worked that out. and you know, ramsey is a very complicated character. and what happened to him in the story i thought as you say, the law enforcement response, there is none in this case except to go over ramsey and a couple other people from that block. >> as a writer, you were on the phone with an essential character telling you this amazing story about what's going on.
it's amazing definitely. i had become part of the story in some ways at that point because a lot of these characters darted to call me and asked me for advice. what do i do, i'm about to get busted. do you have any legal advice for me, do you know a good lawyer, that kind of thing. >> would you provide them? >> know, i would help whenever i could but i would tell them i'm not the person you should talk to about this but i will help you find that person most of the time. and i did whatever i could. it is not much. there's not much that a journalist can do for people and to pretend that there's an altruistic motive there is dishonest and that's one of the things you have to do for people in these cases is a
light , i'm going to help you, i just don't want you to think i'm doing this because i'm a nice guy. i'm doing this because i do like you but i am writing a book. >> i can see a lot of folks in the world and, you went with a bunch of drug dealers and there may be a lack of full understanding of what that really means. like david simon, being in a company town, there's very few options for a young black man, should he be gainfully employed and this is just what everybody does. and there's very few people getting in the situation getting rich off of it. >> as garner tells you about, i'll sell cracker a couple cigarettes. he's sort of in a box there either way. should we be fixing it all
like, how can we say these and they're all crack dealers. or like david says, you're not seeing it properly? >> that's a really narrowminded way of looking at things. listen to the people and ask them about their are things that you just said, a couple things i found out that i might've thought previously. that turned out not to be true. dealers don't make a lot of money, that's one of the first things you find out. except for the people at the very top, it's a brutal, difficult job that involves extremely high risk. you are out there day and night, rain or shine, hot or cold and you are not making hardly anything. >> $40,000 a year? >> maybe, sometimes less than that. you have to worry about getting robbed all the time and arrested, yes, exactly.
i talked to one guy early on and he said you have to understand, nobody wants to do this. nobody. nobody in his right mind is out here because they want to be out here. and that's a key to understanding eric garner is he was out there every single day. this is a guy who had serious health problems. he was 350 pounds, he had asthma and diabetes. he had all kinds of issues but he was as people would say to me out there. eric was out here writing every day. and he would be freezing on staten island. the place where he stood, there was a little hill looking over the bay and i was out there in the winter a lot. i couldn't stand out there for more than 20 minutes without going crazy. he would be outside all day long constantly pulling out cigarettes for $50 a pop. and it's a brutal job. it's a horrible job and you wouldn't do it unless you have no other option. >> part of what you are also
dealing with is another sort of societal thing. >> .. this side of this block so let's concentrate there, you know, this goes greater than individuals living there. this apartment is a locus of crime. generations from generations. of course it is used in a fairly nefarious way. i've heard several offices talk about what you to stop. get to stop and arrest a certain number of people. >> collectively bargained. >> but we want male blacks is
the way -- we don't want you to bring it just callers. we what you to bring in male blacks. if you're bringing others there like what i'm doing? >> two things about this. first you are right there was a whistleblower, i talked to named pedro who ended up being a witness in the court case but ended up offending stopovers in new york city. he secretly taped his commander who told him exactly that picky set about you to stop quote the right people. it's now blacks. the quota became a huge part of the case against stop on frisk. in a more focused since with eric garner it was a critical in his life and death. because here's the way it works. you are a mid-level police officer, like the lieutenant come something like that, like a
junior commander in the precinct, or a captain, let's say. you have to go to these meetings once a day. does anyone watch the wire? of you it has watched the wire. it's exactly like that. you go into these meetings. it is deliberately designed to simulate a corporate atmosphere so we you have like a roundtabe and had these gigantic sort of movie screens where they show pictures of neighborhoods. what they do is they will bring the captain of to a podium, and one by one they will go through all the scenes in his sector. they will say this block is good. this block you got problems. i'm tired of uttering of this blog. the pictures will be fresh. it will be from an hour ago. so the captain gets tired of hearing this and immediately goes back to the precinct and yells at somebody there to go clean up the street because he's just got yelled at about it.
that i am almost certain what happened with eric garner. and i heard this through some sources, but also it's kind of told in the plea statements about this. they say that a superior officer go by earlier in the morning, sent to other offices back to quote address the specific conditions in the neighborhood, and those officers been questioned eric garner concerning the sale of illegal cigarettes. we it's that we so i'm selling us a great. it's we were sent here to pick him up. >> we had time for a few questions, write? we have time for a few questions. >> i've been obsessed about this case ever since it happened. one thing i don't appreciate in this book, i couldn't get enough information on the case and what you made so clear is that they had been harassing him for such
a long stretch of time before it happened, and the day, , they think you just mentioned, they didn't have a real cause to arrest him. and that explains why he resisted that day. i guy with all his health problems, i received resisting arrest? he just couldn't stand it. so it was a bogus arrest. my other question about the video that was i didn't see a chokehold. i saw like a wrestling hold to try to bring them down and then they lost the balance or were about to crash in the winter i think that's when the uproar -- i really saw the emts productively within, he later for so long. >> you are totally right. the way they deal with the body after the chokehold or not is clearly like him it's similar to michael brennan. we don't care about this body. that also resonates to create a lot of --
>> it wasn't the body. it was allies. -- the lies. >> first of all, about the whole business of them not selling cigarettes that day. it's frustrating because every single news report about eric garner said he was arrested for selling cigarettes. it's not true. if you watch the video and you know what actually happened, i talked almost everybody, i talked to probably 25 people who were there that day. i can do a minute by minute timeline of what he was doing. i know exactly that he spent most of the day in the bathroom. he got out. he broke up a fight. he is winded. he goes and is leaning up against the wall. that's when they come him. because of this idea he wasn't selling cigarettes, you can see on estates in the video it just doesn't compute within turkeys like really, now? like on top of everything else, like now i can't even just stand here. i can't even break up a fight. i can't even do the right thing.
when people say he resisted, he should never resisted arrest, which is what i hear all the time it's not resisting arrest. it's not illegal, in order for resisting to happen there has to be a valid arrest and there wasn't one. that's all very frustrating for sure. i'm sorry, the other question? oh, the chokehold. bill bratton said it was a chokehold right afterwards. there is a moment where he actually grabs his hand, and that is one of the definitions of the chokehold is when you hold your wrist with your other hand around a persons neck. they later cling to something called submission hold which i don't know what the difference there is, but the medical examiner pretty clear he says the man died of a six edition and compression of the chest. so whatever it was, that's what
killed them. >> i i think it's really more of -- when he fell to the ground than it did with hard compression. the mt, one of them got, i'm sorry i'm ranting, but one of those, just sort of standing around and then finally took his vitals or something. >> what i would say is these are consistent characters from these stories. there is always an emv who doesn't do enough. there's always an emt who turns, looks the other way when something that happens in the back of the ambulance. i interviewed a woman whose husband was shot to death in 1971, for this book, in arkansas. she tells the story of of the emts taking too long to go inside. it's a feature of these stories and spit speeders that's why we black lives matter. who else in the back?
>> you are talking about the complaints to the internal affairs bureau that garner had filed and you suggested people in the neighborhood say that's when the retaliation started such as wondering if you could speak more about that and then also does that suggest the 120 is a particularly distinct precinct, , or are the other precincts or similar stuff might be going on? even when he wasn't working that were bothering him. he actually according to samet, and it wasn't able to confirm this unfortunately with the police but according to the family to actually complained o the internal affairs bureau that
they were unfairly targeting him and unfairly ceasing money that you have to admit was not legally earned. but i don't know the family definitely believes that that was a huge factor in what happened and you could easily have been because i think my theory has more to do with, this is because a mid-level officer got complaints in summer and set these guys up there but it could also in that scenario it could be we got a complaint from ied are some from iad came visiting, from internal affairs. that would probably make him just as angry. it could've been any one of those things. >> we could keep talking about eric, but i want to turn it slightly to come you're one of the great american political writers of the day and the conversation would have about trump yesterday, the one would
have much more. but right now at the second what are you thinking about trump? what is going on? >> i have no idea. who knows? [laughing] >> christmas for adults, indictment day. >> yeah, i don't know. you know, one of the indictments, i have no idea. >> will he make it the full four years next 30% chance he doesn't make it four years? >> if you listen to the las vegas casinos they will say the odds are less than 50-50. they are usually better than this than political prognosticators are. because everybody involved but i don't know. >> this is not insignificant. because when you have level of crisis going on, it becomes nearly impossible to do actual business which, granted they have been struggling to do actual business the entire
month, but you can't do something complicated like tax reform when washington thinks you might be about to get arrested. >> right, yeah. i don't know how much washington thinks he might be speedy i'm exaggerating, and getting arrested, but like they see you in trouble, you are at 33% with a gallop. how are they going to do something complicated like tax reform? >> they're not going to come the question of donald trump ever achieving anything that he set out to achieve is probably already a pass question, you know. there's no way he's going to get the level of cooperation that he probably expected because relations are so totally broken between him and congress. right now it's all just a matter, in my way of looking at things, the current situation is one of the better case scenarios because donald trump is effectively isolated and
impotent. he is crazy, but he's essentially limited right now to making tweets and executive orders the later get overturned and a few other things. but it would be much, much more dangerous if he had a congress that was with him all the way on everything. >> the congressional problems used to be as margins. most of those come on his side of the aisle in the house with supportive but yet the freedom caucus to the right of them that i like know, we want to go further, right? and the city, mitch mcconnell will do whatever he wants but you have those people on the edges who we call moderate, they are not moderates but more to the middle of that caucus say no, that doesn't do enough, mccain, collins, murkowski, perhaps lake. corker will jointly. he can't go far enough for the
people he needs in the house. can't go far enough for the folks in the sin and doesn't understand any of this map, political map at all. >> well, i gave him a little bit more credit of that in terms of understanding the math. trump has an animal cunning about politics. he's not smart. he doesn't think things through like a chess player, but he does have a vague sense of when you go on the attack, whom to attack, how to attack. >> but these attacks are not profiting him, right? it's the tweet blast against corker. >> i would disagree. >> it's not helping. >> i think the corker and flake things, that's one of the only options available to him. it tells of republicans is life or death power over their intellectual futures. how is that not -- >> i am not seeing the folks who are saying we've got to roll
with this guy who's at 36% drop in% and shopping, right? because he had tweets against bob corker who was already not going to win the election. jeff flake was already not going to win reelection. he hasn't changed their political future. >> yeah, i disagree. if donald trump work you back jeff flake for whatever reason or back jeff corker, remember his playing golf with bob corker -- >> in alabama that didn't work out. >> that was a huge mistake on his part, politically. i think these other things politically made sense. he's got corker and flake, both essentially had to retire because of their disagreements with donald trump. i'm not saying i like donald trump. >> you are. >> know, given his situation, given where he is, he only had a couple of options. one is to do the same thing and try to act like a real human being and remake everything that he is to try to build bridges
back with people like mitch mcconnell. the other thing is to do what donald trump does, which is the nuts and go on the attack. there is way that works a little bit. >> you have a precarious coalition in the senate. you can only lose two, right? 52, right, plus -- so they can only lose two on anything. if you're publicly attacking corker, who as friends, you are publicly attacking flake was of the people who care about them, mccain as well, how does that, like if i couldn't lose a single person, i would try to be more like, , let's let everybody ratr than attacking the people. >> that's true except if you go out and talk to people in all these different states, there's nobody who is more unpopular. his approval rate right now might be 33% to look at mitch mcconnell approval rating. look at the approval rate of the sin in general. donald trump still has this,
it's a plurality, a small plurality but he still has a pretty solid following of people. it's not going to be enough to actually accomplish anything. it's probably not enough to win a major election against but it is enough to sabotage anyone who wants to run for office on the republican side. >> you would say he is going to lose in 2020? >> will, it depends on who runs against. >> really, 33%? i would think any of us could beat him up 33%. >> we all thought that last year, too, didn't we? >> we do -- >> no, we didn't. we knew we had a a flawed candidate but i were sitting down. i was at the republican national convention sitting down with the democratic party operative is have having to walk me through the 19-point plan basically proving to me mathematically that it could not happen. that there was no way possible
for donald trump to win. that was the conventional wisdom at the time among basically everybody in the press corps. >> i didn't think it was possible for him to win either, but i knew, you knew, that hillary was a very, sorry, she's your friend, but we knew that she was a deeply flawed candidate. >> yes, but we still didn't think that somebody with trump's proclivities could possibly get elected. >> so 2020, do you think 30% chance he loses? 70% chance he loses? where are you right now? >> god, i don't know. i think we should all get out of prognostication gains honestly. that is -- >> some of this is hope. another -- [inaudible]
>> impeach, impeach. >> and that's not going to happen. [inaudible] there's something coming up that people can actually do because the district attorney has a lot of control over who gets arrested. there's going to be an event on november 20 where we hope to get like a thousand people with the district attorney to tell us where we're putting asks to him and the first time he will not arrest people on these various broken windows things and we will have him come back and see his meeting them. it's at congregation on novembe. it's something to really do. >> excellent. there you go. >> yeah, given what happened with the videotape, -- >> you mean the -- [inaudible]
>> i'm here to talk about your book. in the future, how do you suggest someone like -- [inaudible] so we doesn't suffer? is there a better way for people -- because we -- i suspect that whenever this happened you are going to be a target. >> sure. first of all i would make sure i got paid for it. ramsey, that was one of the things he did. he just gave it to the daily news. >> any subsidy? >> i didn't. but he couldn't make a fortune off that video, and people do. i think he later regretted it. i can't say that. i can't say that for sure, but it's difficult. you can upload it anonymously, probably. there's probably a way to do that. and do it in conjunction with other people. >> but the cops standing there, they would have known they would've known, that came from over your shoulder. because they know the block.
>> right. and ramsey had failed and abuse incident just like that the week before. >> at least now he asked the protection of all of ramsey that some of us know what that really means and anonymous, they would know and we wouldn't know. >> right, right right. i think you're right. i don't think it's anything you could do. you just got to be courageous like a lot of these people have been. [inaudible] -- vastly unsympathetic and try to understand different and also told a lot of stories of people like really powerful people didn't want to -- it has my attention that you thought like you were not able to get out what happened from the police side or get like a human fix. i'm curious if you talk about what it was a difficult in the space to do that?
>> well, thanks for the question. there is a legal issue. he's facing, even though he's out of the woods in the local courts, he still has a possible federal civil rights charge to face. i don't think he really can speak to a reporter right now, but even people are friends of his didn't want to talk. they didn't want to tell, even offer a reason or explanation. like the present is the enemy. it's a very similar situation to what i i experience when i go y to cover donald trump's camping. i try to talk to people, tied asked what's the reason. tell you what the reason is. i'm really interested. i'm not being judgmental about this. i just want to know, in the answer increasingly with the press is like, you know, is nasty. so in this case with police
brutality cases there's an assumption from the start that a less you're a a known commodit, someone that they know is going to take the police side, they will not talk to under any circumstance. >> cnn, , facebook. we are upside down. last question. >> thank you for your book. the thing i'm interested in now that's outside in the world, what do you expect the book to do? particularly what you think the readership to do what do expect your white readership to do with this knowledge of understanding there is more to it than it is a drug dealer, that it is just some broken windows, that it's systemic racism that is fueling this entire system? >> it's a great question. i mean, i think that the lesson that help white people take from this book is that these things are not, these are not stories about things that happened between a couple of bad cops who
in a flurry of bad decision-making on the street do something bad. oh, what a shame. this is something that happens institutionally. it happens because of decisions that are made not in seconds over the course of months and years and decades. and it's not just about bureaucrats or politicians who make those decisions. it's also about voters. it's a thing where i think a lot of upscale white urban voters have asked themselves did i vote for this at some point? you might have. you might've voted, the classic formulation frau this happens is you have a socially liberal politician who says they things about how he's going to get tough on crime, or he offers a prescription like community policing which sounds great. malcolm gladwell wrote about it. but really at the heart of the problem when you would really t
it when you examine it, it's about keeping neighborhoods segregated. it's about upscale white voters who do not want to have certain people come into the neighborhood. people need to ask themselves is that what i voted for. is that what i continue to vote for. that's a hard question. that's a place where we have to get you for this problem gets solved. >> a little drive-by on gladwell. look, i have read a ton on the garner stuff and i read a ton of policing and i still learned a lot reading this book. it is extremely well written and what research. congratulations and thanks for the time. >> thank you. [applause] >> thanks to all you guys coming. if you haven't picked up your book already, we have copies right over here. have a great evening.
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