tv Democracy Now PBS February 11, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
02/11/15 02/11/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now! >> i am in solidarity, i reject the brutality and killing that the syrian authorities are committing against the syrian people. because silence is participation in this crime, i declare my participation in the syrian citizen on youtube. >> the white house has confirmed 26-year-old aid worker kayla mueller has died in syria. she was kidnapped 18 months ago by the islamic state who claim she died in a jordanian airstrike. an activist who try to secure her freedom.
but first, a shocking new report finds nearly nearly 4000 black men, women and children were lynched between 1877 and 1950 -- a far higher total than previously known. >> horrific and terrifying, and we don't talk about it. we put markers about the confederacy if one of the courthouses, but we don't say a word about the thousands of people that were lynched on courthouse lawns. >> we will speak to attorney bryan stevenson of the equal justice initiative in alabama, and then we will stay in alabama to speak with a same-sex couple from tuskegee who just got married despite state efforts to , block them. >> living as a married couple and experiencing the same responsibilities that any other married couple experiences, now we get a legally binding document to say that everyone else has to respect that. >> all that and more, coming up.
welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the white house has confirmed it will ask congress for an expansive war powers resolution to fight the islamic state across the globe. the plan calls for a three-year military campaign and a potential battle-zone without geographic limitations. the measure could also open the door to deploying ground forces by only ruling out their "enduring" use. president obama has waged the current anti-isis strikes in syria and iraq under the 2001 war on terror resolution as well as the 2002 vote authorizing the iraq war. the new measure would repeal the 2002 authority while keeping the authorization of 2001. the move comes despite obama's previous call for repealing both war authorization measures and a pledge to not sign any law that expands them further. the white house coffin expended war on isis comes as it weighs slowing a withdrawal from
afghanistan for the second time. u.s. commander in afghanistan would be given leeway to set the pace of the planned drawdown of nato forces this year. the us-led nato occupation formally ended its combat mission in december, but the u.s. secretly expanded its role to ensure american troops continue fighting. the u.s. also left behind an additional 1000 troops on top of the nearly 10,000 already committed to remain. the family of kidnapped u.s. aid worker kayla mueller has confirmed her death in syria. mueller's captors, the islamic state, had claimed mueller was killed in a jordanian airstrike last week. on tuesday, the family said it had received proof she was killed, but it remains unclear how. kayla mueller's aunt, lori lyon, paid tribute to her niece. >> she has done more incredible 26 years and many people could ever imagine doing in a lifetime. my daughter said to me things that were important to kayla are finally getting the attention they deserve.
kayla has touched the heart of the world. >> kayla mueller moved to the turkish-syrian border in late 2012 to work with syrian refugees. she had previously worked with refugees overseas including tibetan refugees in india, african refugees in israel, and palestinian refugees in the occupied territories. on tuesday, president obama said he is heartbroken by mueller's death, but defended u.s. policy blocking negotiations and ransom payments to militant groups like isis. we will speak with her college roommate later in the broadcast. president obama has urged vladimir putin to accept a peace deal with ukraine while warning of "rising costs" if the russia leader does not. obama and putin spoke by phone ahead of today's talks between russia, ukraine, germany and france in belarus. the white house says obama stressed "the importance of seizing the opportunity," of the negotiations, while also warning "the costs will rise," if russia continues military backing for ukrainian rebels. obama's call to putin came one day after he said he's
considering arming the ukrainian government. a number of european countries including france have opposed military aid to kiev. the talks come as eastern ukraine is seeing some of its worst violence to date, at least 12 people were killed and 64 wounded in the city kramatorsk when a rocket struck the headquarters of the ukrainian military's campaign. on the eve of today's talks in minsk, ukrainian president petro poroshenko called for the removal of russian soldiers from ukraine. >> this is absolutely unacceptable. that is why we think these crimes should be punished immediate, unconditional cease-fire, withdrawal of the troops, closing the border, and withdrawal of all of the foreign troops from ukrainian territories. >> he said today's is prepared to impose martial law throughout ukraine. casualties were also reported from shelling the rebel held city of donetsk. ukraine says it wants a return
to the terms of a september ceasefire while russia says any new truce must reflect the gains of separatist rebels over ukrainian forces since fighting resume. russia has also called for assurances against nato expansion and addressing the grievances of eastern ukrainians opposed to the kiev government that came to power with the ouster of elected president viktor yanukovych one year ago. the state department has closed the u.s. embassy in yemen and evacuated its staff, including the ambassador, amid a political and security crisis in the capital sana'a. yemen has been in limbo since houthi rebels forced the resignation of the yemeni cabinet and seized power last week. in washington, state department spokesperson jen psaki declined to share details with reporters. >>'s safety and security of u.s. personnel in yemen is our top priority, and we're always evaluating the security situation on the ground and taking steps to mitigate risks.
we have been reducing staff in yemen over the past few weeks, as all of you know, given the volatile political and security situation. we have nothing further to announce over and above what we have rigorously announced. >> the houthis have dissolved yemeni parliament and named mohammed ali al-houthi as the new president in placed of the ousted abd-rabbu mansour hadi. the houthis' moves come as they take part in a new round of u.n.-brokered talks. three muslim students at the university of north carolina have been shot dead in an apparent hate crime. the victims were killed tuesday night when a gunman opened fire at their residential complex in chapel hill. they have been identified as 23-year-old deah barakat, his 21-year-old wife yusor mohammad and her sister 19-year-old razan mohammad abu-salha. a suspect, craig stephen hicks has been arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder. hicks had made online posts declaring himself a supporter of the group "atheists for equality."
the hashtag #chapelhillshooting has spread across social media with internet users criticizing what they call a lack of national media coverage of the shooting. a grand jury has indicted a police officer for the killing of unarmed african-american akai gurley last november. gurley was in the dimly lit stairwell of a brooklyn housing project when officer peter liang shot him dead. we will have more in this story later in the broadcast. nbc news has suspended anchor brian williams for six month without pay or making false statements about a 2003 incident in iraq. williams apologized last week after it emerged he had wrongly claimed he was aboard a u.s. helicopter downed by rocket fire. american soldiers had publicly challenged williams' account saying he was nowhere near the aircraft that came under fire. williams has blamed the "fog of memory" for his mistake. but in a statement, nbc said williams claims were "wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in brian's position." on tuesday, williams' former boss at nbc universal, bob wright, defended the anchor by
pointing to his favorable coverage of the military, saying -- "he has been the strongest supporter of the military of any of the news players. he never comes back with negative stories, he wouldn't question if we're spending too much." and as brian williams as his been a, the nation's top satirist has announced he is stepping down sometime this year. on tuesday, jon stewart said he will retire as host of "the daily show" after 16 years. and those are some of the headlines, this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. >> you have to wonder when one of the most trusted man in america, the top news man, brian williams admits his engaging and fake news and the king a fake news -- williams is suspended, the king of fake news has retired, you wonder if they could maybe change places?
one of the real questions about fake news, when there discussed in all of the media, and that is how they all got it wrong on weapons of mass destruction. >> maybe jon stewart is opening up to possibilities now at nbc. we begin today's show with a new report on the history of lynchings in the united states and their legacy today. after five years of exhaustive research and interviews with of lynching victims, the equal justice initiative found white southerners lynched nearly 4000 black men, women and children between 1877 and 1950. nearly 700 of those lynchings were previously unaccounted for. the report details a 1916 attack in which a mob lynched jeff brown for accidentally bumping into a white girl as he ran to catch a train. in an example from 1940, a crowd lynched jesse thornton for not addressing a white police officer as "mister." in many cases the lynchings were attended by the entire white community in an area. >> well, for more, we go to
alabama, one of the twelve southern states profiled in the study, where are joined by bryan stevenson. he is an attorney who has worked on death penalty cases in the deep south since 1985, and the founder and executive director of the equal justice initiative. the report they published tuesday is titled, "lynching in america: confronting the legacy of racial terror." they are now calling for the placement of historical markers at sites where lynchings occurred. bryan stevenson, welcome back to democracy now! there is a whole discussion again at about states rights. in a moment, we will talk to one of the first couples who just got married in alabama. how does that relate to this horrific study that has been done or a study about the horrific history of lynching? >> it relates very directly. you are absolutely right that this rhetoric of states rights was precisely what local states asserted in the federal government began asking questions about why these lynchings were being tolerated. in many ways, it is that dynamic that set up this era of
terrorism. at the end of the civil war, you had people who were claiming power from free bill at people. this the beginning of the end of reconstruction we see violence and threats and intimidation beginning to assert itself to sustain racial hierarchy. white supremacy would not succeed if it wasn't enforced with violence and threat and terror. at the very beginning, african-americans were asking the federal government to intervene. they didn't. the states rights mindset really took shape during this era when thousands of african americans being lynched and menaced and threatened and terrorized, with no protection and with tolerance from both state and federal officials. >> bryan stevenson, your report also indicates considerable difference in terms of the intensity of lynching not only from state to state, but particular counties. could you talk about that as well? >> sure. lynching became a really social
phenomenon. he became quite intoxicating. when people got this power to just abduct folks and torture them and engage in this carnival-like atmosphere, they became for one of the better words, bloodthirsty. you see some of these counties were you have a lynching and that is followed by two or three more in a very short time. what was so traumatizing the people of color, all people of color were the intended targets and victims of these lynchings. this was not assigned to someone for committing a crime, as you described, oftentimes, people were being lynched for no criminal accusation at all. blakely, georgia african-american man william little came home from world war i wearing his uniform and people were offended, annoyed he on this american uniform, and he was lynched the cousin refused to take it off. a black man running to catch a train, bounced into a white girl is lynched for that incident. this violence, this terror, is really aimed at sustaining
racial hierarchy, keeping black people in their place. in many ways, it was quite intoxicating. you can see whole communities getting involved in these acts of violence and really being quite grotesque about the way they carry them out. >> you talk about the terror lynchings -- lynchings. i want to turn to president obama speaking at the annual national prayer breakfast last week. after he condemned the islamic state as a "death cult" he made this comment. >> grappling with these questions throughout human history. unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember, during the crusades and the inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of christ. in our home country, slavery and jim crow all too often was justified in the name of christ.
this is not unique to one group or one religion. there is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. >> that was president obama speaking at the annual national prayer breakfast. he has been much caused a great of controversy with his comments. bryan stevenson, if you could respond? >> i think is quite right to it knowledge this history. we have never really talked about all of this distractive violence. these public spectacle lynchings we document in our report are horrific. 10,000 people showed up in texas and a carnival-like atmosphere to watch a man be tortured. some of these executions, we have one in tennessee where a man had his eyes gouged out, he was burned mutilated, and thousands of people witnessed this. and it does speak to a very dark era in her history.
we make a mistake in this country when we don't talk honestly and soberly about these experiences. the whole north and west was populated with african-americans who fled to detroit and chicago and cleveland and los angeles not as people looking for opportunities, but as refugees from terror. and this narrative of racial difference, which was born in this era, created a presumption of guilt and dangerousness that too many people of color are burdened with, is something we have not adequately addressed because we have not talked about these issues. i think the president is quite right to remind us of this history. we did not have to reconciliation in this country and because of it, i think we remain haunted, even contaminated by the disruption that these punks of violence have created in our national psyche, but also our relations with one another. it is appropriate to be talking about these eras. >> why your report concentrated on the southern states, and
obviously, lynching was most intensely practiced against the african-american community, it was also widely practiced against in the old mexican territories that were the united states, like texas and new mexico, arizona. i have seen one report were as many as 600 mexicans were lynched between 1848 in 1928 in the southwest. you studied in texas. he came across many of those incidences as well. >> we absolutely did. you are right. an awful report, we talk about the lynchings of mexicans -- in our report, we talked about the lynchings of mexicans. there many features lynched as in african-americans. it was not because of crimes they were mexicans that were lynched for speaking spanish in settings where people did not want to hear spanish. people were lynched for celebrating mexican holidays.
you are absolutely right, and the border states in particular, this phenomenon of lynching directed at mexicans and mexican americans was a very real threat. so this idea that racial difference can make you a target of violence and terrorism is something that we have been dealing with for a very longtime. i think we just haven't really talked about it. one of the things we want to do by erecting these markers and monuments, is to get communities to reflect more soberly on what this history represents. you go to germany and you're forced to deal with the legacy of the holocaust because they are markers and monuments everywhere. we do the opposite in this country. we celebrate things, in my judgment, that we probably should not be celebrating. the fine confederate memorials and monuments everywhere dedicated to those who were defending slavery, trying to preserve slavery, yet nothing about the pain and anguish and suffering and injustice that those institutions created. >> tells the story of jesse thornton and thomas miles and
others. >> jesse thornton was an african-american man in the vern alabama. in 1940, toward the end of the lynching you're a, he addressed a police officer by his name. he did not use the term or the title "mister." that was considered such a violation of the racial norms and values, the officer organized a mop and they lynched him. there were people who were lynched for going up to the front door, a man in mississippi, knocked on someone's door in the front. then he was chased and ultimately lynched because he did not go to the back of the door, which is were people of color were expected to go. about 20% of these 4000 lynchings were lynchings for basically social transgressions. many african-american men were lynched because they had notes or letters to young white women. often time, people would be lynched for accusations of rape or murder when two or three days
later, the alleged murder victim would show up in town saying, no, i was just gone for two or three days or the rape victim would say, i was never the victim of a sexual assault. this hysteria was deeply disruptive to people of color. one of the things we discover that i was particularly moved by, the people who told us they sent thousands of people away, relatives, friends, because that would have an encounter with someone in town and they thought the encounter might have been misinterpreted. they feared the mop my show up, so they would send their data or child or sister or sibling to the north because they feared what they called a near lynching. this trauma was deeply -- you see evidence when you going to some of these communities particularly, were nobody talks about the racial history, but they celebrate the "good old days" of the early 20th century. >> bryan stevenson, we're just about to introduce the first couple, lesbian couple, to get married in montgomery. what do you have to say to them and to chief justice roy moore
of alabama who is trying to put a stop to all of this? >> ultimately, we have got to learn to respect the rights of people who are minorities. alabama is an interesting state. there was never a time when you get the majority of the people in the state to vote to end racial segregation. our state constitution, which is being invoked by some people here and reference to the marriage equality issue, still prohibits like and white children from going to school together. we have tried twice now to remove this apartheid segregation language. each time, the majority of the people in the state have voted to take the language out. what i would say to these young women is, this is a state where he sometimes have to stand when other people are sitting place where you have to speak when other people are quiet. purge and courage alone is necessary -- courage and encourage alone is necessary when people don't respect you.
it is the history of america the history of the state for justice. i embrace and applaud all who take that stand and show that courage. i think this is a state that will continually have to confront its resistance to complying with the constitution and respecting the dignity and aspirations of all people. >> bryan stevenson, thank you for being with us, attorney was worked on the death penalty cases in the deep south since 1985, and the founder and executive director of the equal justice initiative. their new report is, "lynching in america: confronting the legacy of racial terror." when we come back, the first gay couple to get married in montgomery. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
mandela would go on to become south africa's first black president. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> alabama has become the 37th state to allow same-sex marriage after the supreme court rejected the state's bid to block the unions. same-sex couples lined up to marry in parts of the state, including huntsville, birmingham and montgomery. but on tuesday, about 44 of alabama's 67 counties reportedly continued to refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses after sunday's conflicting order from an alabama supreme court justice. chief justice roy moore ordered judges and officials not to issue or recognize the licenses, arguing the local courts are not beholden to a federal court ruling that struck down the ban.
now, a federal judge has set a hearing that could determine whether resistant local probate judges must grant the licenses. the group human rights campaign has issued a statement saying -- "we urge alabama's political leadership not to stand on the wrong side of history. it's time for all lgbt alabamians to have the opportity to exercise their constitutional right to marry they person they love." the group also released this video. >> i have seen the needle move since i've been here, but it is hard work. you're going to get beat up upon, you're going to be in the minority. but we can make true progress. >> do i see it happening in the future? yes. >> there is a vibrant gay committed in the state of alabama and some really good people. when i say family values, i don't mean what it used to mean, anti-gay, but people love their families. >> that was part of a video released by human rights campaign alabama.
while marriage equality advocates have welcomed recent developments in the historically conservative state, they warn that much work remains to be done. alabama is one of the 30 states where it's still legal for an employer to fire lgbt employees. well, for more, we go now to montgomery, alabama where we're joined by tori and shanté wolfe-sisson. on monday, they made history by becoming the first same-sex couple to marry in montgomery. tori is the field organizer for "human rights campaign alabama." this is part of the vows she read during her wedding to shanté. >> the beat of your heart enumerates reasons, while the strength of your soul waters our seeds. your tangible, goddess, queen the last phase i hope to see before i depart from this realm. i do promise to be committed and true. all you need from me, i will be for always and forever yours. >> tori and shanté wolfe-sisson, congratulations on your wedding and welcome to democracy now!
how does it feel to make history? >> it feels like we need a nap. [laughter] >> talk about your decision to get married, when you did, where you did. >> actually, this same month a year ago, we eloped and had a spiritual ceremony and we said we would not go anywhere else because we work your, pay taxes here, and we're not going to go to another state just to come back and are union not be recognized. we've had several people say, go to new york or go somewhere else. no, we had faith that alabama would move in a positive direction and it has. >> tori, the controversial decision by judge moore basically created a showdown now between the federal courts and the alabama courts? >> well, it is not a decision. he made a just -- he made a statement. what is asking people, sounds like it is illegal so. >> what do you say to the judges
, since he made his statement about not performing these ceremonies, what are your feelings, tori? you also happen to be the field organizer for the human rights campaign in alabama. >> i do. it is really hard to say anything about his statement aside from it sounds like he is standing in the way of justice and progress in alabama, and we need to stop that legacy of officials doing that in this state. >> can you talk about how you met and how you came to decide to be married, even before it was legal alabama? actually, we met on thfloor of our apartment. i came to visit my sister. my sister went to her alma mater. we had been following each other in circles for seven years, but never actually formally met. when i came down here, i thought she was cute. i did not think i would see her again, so i asked her a million one question and she took my number down. she was supposed to e-mail information, which she never got
to me about. ironically, month later, came down for homecoming she said i'm so sorry i did not you know you. i did not know who was because she never contacted me as you is dressed like she was going to a funeral. i was like, ok, that is fine. we ended up talking and we hit it off. the next morning, sunday morning, she sent me a text message, finally, she was like, and hoped you enjoyed homecoming 2013. i was like, who is this? she got upset and said, this is tori. she asked if she could kidnap me, which really meant could she take me on a date. she was late to our first date. obviously, she made up for because we're here talking to you guys now. >> tori could you talk about the long battle to achieve marriage equality in alabama what some of the steps have been over the last few years of those seeking to gain in quality? -- equality? >> yeah, they're been quite a few organizations that have been working to achieve equality in addition to the human rights campaign. and some of the methods have
been providing visibility -- like we are regular people. when more numbers of the lgbtq company -- committed to come out to community events, volunteering, it lets the general population see us. once you can attribute person to this office suit letters that people oftentimes don't understand, it is harder to discriminate against. so one of the biggest methods and fighting the discrimination and the injustice going on in this state, in terms of the lgbtq community has been to provide visibility. >> alabama's chief justice roy moore has been one of the state's most outspoken critics of same-sex marriage. in a 2002 ruling in a child custody case, he called homosexuality an "inherent evil." and on the campaign trail in 2012, he said that same-sex marriage would be the "ultimate destruction" of the country. earlier this month, moore appeared on abc's good morning america. >> should they stop with one man
and one man or one woman or one woman or do they go to multiple marriages? marriages between men and their daughters or women and her sons? >> also recently told the associated press, "81% of the voters adopted the alabama sanctity of marriage amendment in the alabama constitution. i think they want leaders that will stand up against an unlawful intrusion of their sovereignty, and that's what we're seeing." tori wolfe-sisson, if you could respond? >> that data comes from an election quite some time ago. so we're using outdated data, for starters. also what is confusing and problematic about his statements are that relationships happen regardless of their legitimacy. and the problems come when -- right now i sprained my ankle so my right driving foot is in a boot. the person that drives me around is my now wife.
if she needs to go to the hospital or if i need to go, aside from this little piece of paper that says that we are legally married in a lot of places, i would not be able to visit her in the hospital because the nondiscrimination policies do not extend to the lgbtq community, our gender identity, sexual orientation and that is a problem. i don't really understand where some of his statements are coming from, what he is grasping from in the midst of the air of a but it is confusing a problematic that there are people who are in love and operating as families, maybe not in the traditional sense that he is accustomed to but they are families that love each other and care for each other and the rights, protections, responsibilities, and duties that are so deserved by families that are operating as families that it is not possible to have them without that piece of paper. >> i want to turn to alabama's first openly gay state legislator, democratic state representative patricia todd of
birmingham. she has threatened politicians who claim same-sex marriage is against "family values" by saying she plans to "out" these politicians' extramarital affairs. this is todd speaking late last month. >> we have families that will now be legitimized overnight. children who will be affected and be able to call both parents mom or dad. and i am touched by the love i've seen in these families who have children that will go to any links to protect their kids. and that is true family value. many of you all know that i have thrown the gauntlet down to my elective peers that should they decide to go and spout that family value, that i'm going to call them out. and i'm willing to jeopardize a political campaign to do it. this is the fight of my life. this is why ran from his. i am not a politician, i am an activist. >> that was state represenative patricia todd of birmingham.
shanté, your reaction to her interface advocacy? >> i think it is very selfless of her to be running to put her reputation on the line free quality. there is something about this that brings out the best and worst of others. i don't understand why people feel like in terms of religion, one sin is better than the other were we can't talk about things that you're doing but -- it just doesn't make sense. i totally understand where she's coming from. i don't blame her for saying anything that she said. i stand in solidarity for her as well. >> we want to thank you both for being with us, tori and shanté wolfe-sisson, making history money when they became the first same-sex couple to marry in montgomery, alabama. tori is the field organizer for "human rights campaign alabama." congratulations once again. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back from break, we will be speaking to the college roommate of kayla mueller. first, we're turning to this news here in new york.
>> after months of protests calling for justice, new york city police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man last november has been indicted by a grand jury. officer peter liang faces charges of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault and official misconduct. liang was reportedly carrying his gun in his left hand and a flashlight in his right hand when he opened the door to a stairwell he was patrolling in a brooklyn housing project. his gun went off, and the bullet hit akai gurley, who was walking down the stairs. police commissioner william bratton has described the shooting as an "unfortunate accident" and said gurley was "totally innocent." >> "the new york daily news" reported liang did not respond to police radio contact for more than six minutes after the shooting. instead, he texted his union representative for advice. a neighbor ended up calling for an ambulance that rushed gurley to the hospital, where he was declared dead. all of this comes after a staten island grand jury declined to indict the officer who put eric
garner into a fatal chokehold, and as a grand jury in ferguson, missouri, chose not to indict the officer who shot and killed michael brown. well, for more, we're joined by vincent warren is the executive director of the center for constitutional rights. were you surprised -- or he surprised by the non-indictment? risa prize by the non-indictment? now this officer has been indicted, we surprised? >> nothing surprises me when it comes to indictment of police officers. there's no question this case should have been indicted. this is where the police are saying this was an accidental shooting. the real question is, can a prosecutors show probable cause in the grand jury under manslaughter to say there was a risk that he knew --peter liang knew what the risk was and is regarded it, or in criminally negligent homicide, did he not know there was a risk and should have? anybody with any sense would say, if you have a gun in one hand and a flashlight and the other and trying to open the door, terrible things can happen. this was relatively easy to
indict, for my perspective. i think what it shows is what happens when you have a prosecutor that really is willing to take those political risks of putting these cases to grand jury's, unlike what happened in staten island or in ferguson or the prosecutors really punted -- >> events, i want to ask you about the issue prosecutors because the old adage is, district attorney can indict a ham so much and if they choose not to, they generally don't. -- ham sandwich and if they choose not to, they generally don't. there's an african-american attorney general who is not only become the district attorney but also begun to re-examine scores of cases from the past of people who were arrested and convicted on false testimony, false evidence, and now is basically overturning a lot of those cases. it is not a surprise that this kind of district attorney would take a much more active stand on an issue like this. >> that's right. this is the type of district attorney you want to have
particularly, in places like new york with the police department acting the way it does. this is a district attorney inking about the entire community and what the community needs and fairness and justice. i don't generally side with prosecutors. i've a criminal defense background. you have to call it like you see it. a lot of process -- prosecutors particularly the other one in staten island, would not have approached this case are other issues in the same way. we don't want to pretend the system is fixed because they have one indictment. a broken clock even works twice a day. but this is a step in the right direction. >> the young man who felt the police encounter with eric garner in staten island has been arrested again. he filmed the police placing garner in a chokehold and pinning him down while garner kept on saying, "i can't breathe." it was filmed from his cell phone. after the video when viral, he and his wife were both arrested on separate charges and said
they face harassment by police. on tuesday, he was arraigned along with his mother and his brother after police say they caught him on video selling drugs to an undercover officer. a police source told "the new york daily news," "he took the video. now we took the video." >> deeply troubling for many reasons. it is all must unimpeachable to say the police department is completely targeting this man because he got the goods on the police with respect to eric garner. there's no question about that. it is easy to fabricate information, which the police may have done. it is easy, if you follow someone long enough, you can find out they did something wrong. the question really is, are the police resources best set forth i have in the police try to target one person that made them look at, or are there other crimes they should be out there trying to solve into it in an accountable way? >> in which ask you quickly about the relationship between the officer and the police union
where he was actually a rather than running to see the injuries to the man he had shot, he spent -- >> were calling an ambulance. >> he goes to text the police union to get an idea, counsel on what he should be doing. >> from the reports, after the gun went off, he went back up to the roof, started texting his union reps, did not call in indolence. mr. gurley and his girlfriend went downstairs or mr. gurley collapsed and someone else had to call the ambulance. this is a huge problem. it does not make sense to me that someone who accidentally shot someone would decide the first course of action would be, let me get my union rep on the phone before actually do my duty to figure out, did i heard some of you, how can i make it better? >> vents warned, thank you for being with us executive director , of the center for constitutional rights. when we come back, we're going
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> we end today's show remembering kayla mueller, the 26-year-old u.s. aid worker who has died while being held captive in syria. last week, militants from the islamic state said mueller had died in a jordanian airstrike on the city of raqqa. mueller's family and the white house confirmed her death on tuesday. kayla mueller disappeared in august 2013 after she was abducted while leaving a hospital in northern syrian.
on tuesday, her family released a letter that mueller had written while in captivity. she wrote -- "i have been shown in darkness light and have learned that even in prison, one can be free. i am grateful. i have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it." >> kayla mueller moved to the turkish-syrian border in late 2012 to work with syrian refugees. prior to her trip she posted a message on youtube expressing her support for the syrian protests. >> i am in solidarity with the syrian people. i reject brutality and killing the syrian authorities are committing against the syrian people. because silence is participation in this crime, i declare my for dissipation in the syrian sudan on youtube. >> kayla had previously worked with refugees overseas including tibetan refugees in india, african refugees in israel, and palestinian refugees in the occupied territories. while in the west bank, she worked
with the international solidarity movement. on tuesday, mueller's relatives and friends spoke outside the county courthouse in her hometown of prescott, arizona. this is her aunt lori lyon. >> she has done more in her incredible 26 years that many people could ever imagine doing in their lifetime. my daughter said to me, things that were important to kayla are finally getting the attention that they deserve. kayla has touched the heart of the world. >> joining us now from portland, oregon, is emily schick. she was kayla mueller's college roommate at northern arizona university. she volunteered at the international solidarity movement in the west bank, where kayla also briefly worked. welcome to democracy now! emily, our condolences to you, to fall of kayla's friends, to
her family. can you talk about who kayla was? >> thank you so much for having me on the show, it is an honor to be able to speak about kayla today. kayla was a remarkable individual. she brought a profound connection full of love to all of her relationships, whether it was family members, her closest friends, or refugees have where across the world who should never met whose causes she worked for from arizona. one thing that feels really important to know about kayla is that she had a tremendous clarity of purpose. she saw her role in the world as to serve anyone in need who she could be useful too. and those convictions have guided her since quite a young age. >> how did she end up in the west bank, emily? you went there first? >> that's correct.
i volunteered with ism for the first half of 2010 him and kayla came later that year. she had been traveling around the world working for various organizations that year, including multiple locations in india and israel as you mentioned, with the african refugee development center. i had been in correspondence with her while i was in the west bank, and we of been telling stories back and forth about our travels, what we were witnessing. she chose to go to the west bank and join us and after she finished her time working with african refugees in israel. >> when you talked with her what did she share with you about why she felt compelled to go to these far off places to help others? >> kayla felt connected to pretty much everybody whether
it was, for instance crimea, her college remake from the very first day i lived with her, to someone she would meet on the street to something she would hear about in the news report about in one of her classes in college, she felt a very, very humble sense of connection and humidity to everybody -- humanity to everybody she learned about. she saw would be useful or in-service to those people then she would do that. >> emily, we also know that kayla was a democracy now! blister and viewer. she wrote to us several times over the last few years, urging us to cover the war in syria. in 2010, she wrote -- "i rely on dn! for reliable, well-researched, honest news as i feel dn! is one of the few remaining news outlets that is not 'owned' or simply fulfilling an agenda. after recently returning from one year abroad and working in palestine with the international solidarity movement (ism), among other non-profits across the
globe, i have witnessed first-hand and have been disheartened by the dishonesty in this countries 'news' agencies." how did she get this level of awareness? she traveled to more countries the most people do an entire lifetime. where did that desire to help people around the world come from? and not only her activism, but her interesting media analysis, understanding how people get information about the issues she was involved with? >> sure, yeah. as i said earlier kayla seems to have felt these convictions very strongly from a young age. as she grew older, through her activism, through her work with different causes, through the classes she took that northern arizona university, through her travels, she had this amazing
curious mind. she wanted to learn as much as possible about how these systems, economic systems, political systems, worked, how they affect people, and were the points of intervention were. that was something tremendously important to her. kayla, think, it is important understand for her, people came first and policy came after that. i think people are trying to understand now whether she was particularly politically engaged, and i think it is important to see that she was primarily a humanitarian, activist. she engaged in politics when she saw the utility of that and benefiting the people she was advocating for. >> were you aware she was being held? the notice states government tried to keep as much information -- the united states government try to keep as much information about these captives away from the public. >> i did learn during her time
being held hostage. >> i also want to bring into this conversation mauri saalakhan, director of operations for washington, d.c.-based peace and justice foundation. last year, kayla mueller's family reached out to him for help in trying to secure her freedom. he heads up the u.s. campaign to free the pakistani neuroscientist aafia siddiqui. last july, militants from the islamic state told mueller's family she would be executed in 30 days if siddiqui was not released from u.s. custody or the american's family did not pay a multimillion dollar ransom. in 2010, aafia siddiqui was convicted of murder for shooting at soldiers and at fbi agents while being questioned. after this incident, siddiqui said she was held and tortured in secret was prisons over a five-year period. mauri saalakhan wrote an open letter to kayla's captives. in his letter, he compared kayla mueller to rachel corrie, the
23-year-old american activist who was crushed to death by an israeli army bulldozer in gaza. it was march 16, 12,003 -- march 16, 2003. welcome to democracy now! can you tell how the story of kayla gets intertwined on the story of how her family reached out to you? >> i received a call one night in august of last year from the pastor, reverend kathleen day of kayla and her family. she walked me through the nightmare that the family have been going through for about a year at that time. she said they were kind of in a countdown mode because they were in the last 48 or 72 hours of the ultimatum and they were feeling desperate. they reached out to see if there
is anything that we might be able to do to help. of course, i immediately expressed my empathy for what the family and the close network of friends were going through as a result of this nightmare and my response was, the best i could do was to pray and to reach out to the family and ask if they would consider writing a letter or statement addressed to kayla's captors, calling for her release unconditionally. and that i would do the same. and subsequent to the conversation, that is what we did. i want to say something about the wonderful spirit of this young woman. her friend, which was talking about her clarity of purpose, it reminded me of the revolutionary
psychiatrist of martinique in his wretched of the earth, very profound observation he made in that book when he said, each generation must have relative obscurity. discover its mission, fulfill it were betrayed it. what makes kayla, as it did rachel corrie, as it does also aafia siddiqui as a young enterprising student, so unique, was this fire, this passion of having recognized what their mission in life should be. and going after it. and infusing that spirit in the consciousness of others. she was a very unique and blessed soul. >> once you issue that letter on behalf of the family, what happened subsequently? >> well, the date of threatened
execution came and went. god only knows what factored into the change of mind or heart of kayla's captors, but she was an executed on that date -- but she wasn't executed on that date. the family of aafia, both in pakistan and her brother here in the united states and aafia's network of supporters, we have been in sync with praying for and hoping for something positive to happen around this issue surrounding kayla mueller. i have been in contact -- a constant stream of contact with the pastor. in fact, we just spoke.
i think the last time, it was the day before yesterday, by telephone. i did speak as well at one point to the family, to kayla's mother and her father a couple of months back, and just letting them know that they have a lot of people that were praying for kayla and her family. outside of their own network. >> some believe isis did not execute kayla. they say it was the jordanian airstrike that killed her. is that your understanding? >> that is my understanding. and there is this debate going on right now as to whether she did in fact die as a result of an airstrike or did she not. of course, the u.s. and its allies are emphasizing the point that even if she did, still,
isis is to blame because they held her captive. >> that does it for the show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now! >> just came from fishing. no, not really. i'm just kidding, but i got some great tuna, and i know you love tuna, but the difficult part is cooking it at the right temperature. well, i will show you how, and you'll be a master at it