tv Democracy Now PBS October 28, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
10/28/15 10/28/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! the video has shocked the nation. a white police officer employed as a school resource officer is filmed slamming an african-american female student to the ground and dragging her from her school classroom. >> teachers will admit something else, but we do have a problem in south carolina and we do have a problem in america. amy: we will discuss the school
to prison pipeline and look at a mother jones exposé about how police officers in schools across the country have punched, tased, even fatally shot students inside classrooms. then to the armor of light. >> am starting my conversation with my colleagues. the big questions are, when is a christian permitted to use a weapon in a legal fashion to take a life? amy: a new documentary shows how one prominent christian thegelical minister, reverend rob schenck changed his mind on gun violence and campaigning to rewrite the nation's gun laws alongside lucia mcbath. her son was killed by middle-aged white man in a gas station in florida in a dispute over loud rap music. they will both join us along
with "the armor of light" director abigail disney. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. defense secretary ashton carter says the united states launched direct action on the ground against the supper can islamic state in iraq and syria. speaking before a senate panel, he outlined the ramped up u.s. campaign against isil. >> signaling we won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against isil or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground. amy: the pentagon is intensifying airstrikes against isil and check the joint chiefs the senate panel he would consider recommending more u.s. soldiers be placed with iraqi troops. operational and strategic impact and we could
reinforce success, that would be the basic framework with which i would make a recommendation for additional forces to be: located with iraqians. the kurdish people's protection units are ypg said turkey attacked them over the weekend while turkey and the united states are working together to fight isil in syri turkey is also battling the does our key u.s. allies in the fight against isil. the respect saudi led coalition doctors without borders hospital. doctors without borders said hospital staff and two patients managed to escape as the hospital was hit multiple times over a two-hour period monday night. the hospital's roof was marked with the doctors without border logo and the gps coordinates had been shared multiple times with the saudi-led coalition, most recently just two weeks ago. doctors without borders' meguerditch terzian described the damage.
quirks several airstrikes happen in the zone, including the and 99% ofd been hit the compound is destroyed now. it was around midnight yesterday, so we did not have -- it was a miracle we did not have any victims, despite all of this stuff were in the hospital and considering the hospital is a safe place to stay during the night. so it was not the case, unfortunately. amy: thousands of palestinians are calling for israel to release the bodies of palestinians killed by security forces for allegedly attacking israelis. clashes with the israeli military reportedly left 143 palestinians wounded. the rally came palestinians were shot dead tuesday by issa really soldiers -- israeli soldiers who accused them of attempting to a stab israeli soldiers.
federal authorities will investigate a white deputy's arrest of a black high school student in south carolina after video showed him slamming the teenager to the ground. he was acting as a school resource officer. viral video shows him grabbing the student around her neck, flipping both her and her desk the ground and dragging her across the floor. the student was arrested. another student, niya kenny, who filmed the assault, was also arrested and held on a $1000 bail. kenny spoke to wltx. >> i was in disbelief. i know this girl don't got nobody. i could never believe this was happening. a menus that much for scott a big man of 300 pounds and pull muscle? i was like, no way, no way. you can do that in a little girl. 5'6".lking she is like5
i was crying. he was like, since you got so much to say, you coming, too. i was like, what? he was like, you want some of this? i just took my hand to have my back. amy: it reportedly started when the student refused to give her teacher the phone, propping the teacher to call deputy fields to remove her. fields has been placed on a minister to believe. more after headlines. in other news from south carolina, local prosecutors as a police officer who fatally shot a white 19-year-old who was sitting in his car will not face criminal charges. seneca police lieutenant mark tiller shot is a three hammond through the open window of his car in july. police claim hammond drove his car at officers after they asked him to put his hands on the wheel during a drug sting. attorneys for the family say he was not given a chance to put his hands up. federal authorities are still investigating the shooting.
the united nations general assembly has voted to condemn the u.s. embargo on cuba for the 24th year. the united states had reportedly considered abstaining from the vote as cuba and the united states work to restore diplomatic ties. the u.n. vote condemning the embargo was 191 to 2. only israel voted with the united states. the senate has passed a bill critics say will expand mass surveillance by allowing corporations to share sensitive user data with the government under the guise of cyber security. the cyber security information sharing act, or cisa would give corporations who share bulk user data with the government immunity from freedom of information act or foia requests related to the data sharing. critics include tech companies, like apple, and nsa whistleblower edward snowden, who tweeted "a vote for cisa is a vote against the internet." a key witness in chevron's effort to avoid paying billions of dollars for environmental contamination in the ecuadorian amazon has admitted he lied.
in 2011, a group of indigenous plaintiffs won a landmark $9 billion judgment for widespread contamination from toxic dumping by texaco, which chevron later bought. but last year, a u.s. judge granted chevron a major victory, ruling the plaintiffs used corrupt means to win. much of chevron's defense rested on alberto guerra, a former ecuadorean judge, who claimed the plaintiffs offered him a $300,000 bribe to ghostwrite the ruling in their favor. but newly released documents from a secret tribunal in washington show guerra repudiated many of his allegations and admitted to lying about the bribe. the group amazon watch said in a statement -- "guerra has so thoroughly perjured himself he should be behind bars. and so should chevron management." in nicaragua, thousands of rural residents from across the country flocked to the capital managua tuesday to protest the construction of a canal linking the atlantic and pacific oceans. the $50 billion project will be larger than the panama canal and could displace up to 120,000 people. farmer rafael angel bermudez was
among those calling for the repeal of a 2013 law allowing a chinese firm to expropriate land in order to build the canal. >> i am a producer. they want to take our land with this gun out. here the fight is ours. we don't want a canal. -- and we law 840 won't continue. we want to work in pisa not waste our time here with this march. amy: many nicaraguan residents traveled days to attend the protest in managua. police reportedly set up multiple roadblocks in a bid to prevent them from reaching the capital. the pentagon has awarded northrop grumman a more than $20 billion contract to build new long-range stealth bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. it is the largest pentagon contract in more than a decade, and it could eventually be valued at $80 billion and yield 100 new bombers. a new poll shows retired neurosurgeon dr. ben carson has pulled ahead of business mogul
donald trump and the race for the republican presidential nomination. newsnew york times" cbs poll shows carson with 26% and trump with 22%. the next republican debate takes place tonight in boulder, colorado. we will have more on it tomorrow on the broadcast. and the house is expected to vote on a bipartisan budget deal today as republicans are set to nominate wisconsin congressmember paul ryan to become the new house speaker. the two-year budget includes cuts to social security disability benefits and medicare payments to providers. new revenue would come from sales of u.s. strategic oil reserves and the use of public airwaves for telecommunications firms. senator rand paul, who is seeking the republican presidential nomination, has vowed to filibuster the budget when it reaches the senate. and those are some of the headlines. this democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we turn now to shocking new videos that have surfaced from inside spring valley high school
in columbia, south carolina, where a police officer has been caught on camera slamming a teenage girl to the ground and dragging the student out of the classroom. the videos, which went viral on monday, appear to show deputy sheriff ben fields approaching the student, who is seated at her desk, then wrapping his arm around her and flipping her and her desk to the ground. he then appears to drag her out of the classroom. the student was arrested. another student who filmed the assault was also arrested and held on a $1000 bail. on tuesday, richland county sheriff leon lott said he was shocked and disturbed by the video. >> just like anybody who saw the video, i was shocked and disturbed by it. you can't watch the video -- [indiscernible] as a share of an apparent of a seventh-grade daughter, it bothered me. point, i wanted a lot of
questions answered. amy: the incident reportedly began when the student refused to give her teacher her phone, which then prompted the teacher to call for outside help. soon, deputy sheriff fields came into the classroom to remove her. classmates say fields had a reputation as being aggressive with students, who had nicknamed him "officer slam." fields has faced accusations of excessive use of force and racial bias in the past. in 2007, he was sued for excessive use of force. the case was later dropped. in 2013, he was sued in a civil rights case that is still pending. following the release of the videos, deputy sheriff fields was suspended without pay. the u.s. department of justice and the fbi have opened investigations. juan: the incident is the latest in a series of cases of police officers in schools using excessive force against students. in a recent exposé, mother jones
document in many cases involving officers punching, tasing and , even fatally shooting students. on monday, spring valley high school student niya kenny, who was arrested after she filmed the assault, told local station wltx she was shocked and disturbed by officer ben fields's behavior. >> i was in disbelief. i had never seen nothing like that in my life. for thee that much little girl. a big man like 300 pounds of full muscle? i was like, no way, no way. you can do that in a little girl. she is like 5'6". i was pregnant loud for the girl. i could not believe it was happening. got solike, since you much to say, you coming, too. i was like, what? you want some of this? i just put my hands behind my
back. amy: will for more, we're joined by jaeah lee, a reporter for mother jones magazine. earlier this year, she wrote an article called, "chokeholds, brain injuries, beatings: when school cops go bad." in bowling green, ohio, we're joined by professor phil stinson, criminologist and associate professor at bowling green state university. in austin, texas, we're joined by adam loewy, an attorney who represented no-e niño de rivera, a 17-year-old texas student who spent 52 days in a medically induced coma after police used a taser on him at school. we welcome you all to democracy now! jaeah, let's begin with you and is sadly prophetic piece you did and mother jones. talk about the scope of the problem that you investigated across the country. " i should begin by saying that there is, much like with police shootings nationwide and on the streets, there isn't good data
on the use of force by cops in schools. so it is really hard to say. i began -- the story from he began with a couple of local news reports that i had seen while in the course of reporting a use of force by police officers and i was surprised by the number of cases i was finding. one led to another. i documented a handful of them in the article. and it is hard to say just exactly how expansive this issue is. , likeill point out that with most officers on the streets, most cops in schools have a really good influence on students. of course, because of the lacking data, it is hard to say exactly to what degree that is true and what degree we're seeing problems occur. ask you, one of
the things i have noticed, at least in some of the debates that have occurred in new york city on the school safety officers is that often the chain of command of these officers does not go to the principal and the administrators of the school in particular, but actually go outside of the school to their ,wn law enforcement agencies and that creates problems with even the of ministers and the principals being able to control the activities of these officers. did you find that across the country? >> yeah, there's only a lack of consistency as to -- first of all, what exactly the role of a school resource officer should be, let alone who they should report to and what the exact protocol is. often those terms are defined in memorandums of understanding between the school district and the local police department or just within the school district if they have their own internal police department. what i have often seen from talking to advocates and looking
at several case examples is that the officers often seem to be reporting back to the department rather than to the school district. i do often hear that school districts are in close cooperation with officers, but again, the chain of command from -- sometimes isn't always clear and as well as the role that they should be playing inside of the school hallways and classrooms is not always clear, either. amy: i want to go to former army medic carlos martin. this is quite amazing. he spoke to nbc about his own interaction with this officer ,ben fields, back in 2005. this was 10 years ago. >> i lived maybe like four or five miles away from base. i get out of my car, walked to my door, everything is normal. as i'm putting the keys in the door, i hear a car peel off. national, my reaction was going
to turn around and see what was going on in the situation. as i turn around, officer fields gets out of the car. car and theof the officers running toward me, hey you, hey you, come for me. i'm not here for a noise violation. i was like, ok come it could not have been me, i just got home. he asked for my license and registration. i handed it to him post up the problem was when owes in germany, i lost my picture id. in alaska resident and they send you a paper license when you don't have your picture one. i gave him my picture license, a registration. i pointed out the fact that on my tags, i still had german tags on my car because i was just to jackson, south carolina where i was stationed. he got a little upset. i guess he did not understand the paperwork i gave him. he was like, what the hell is this? i was like, dude, just calm down. he said, you will not address me as "dude [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
, was like, you address me by hey, you. the next thing you know, he sends me to the ground and starts beating on me, hitting on me and punching me. he takes out his can of mace and uses the whole can. he became more violent because i did not react like a normal civilian. i'm not a normal civilian. i was in my military uniform. i don't even blame him, i blame the people who allowed him to do it because it is not the first time he did it. it is not just officer fields being wrong, it is sheriff lott and the whole department who allowed their wild dog to be off the leash because they knew he was a wild dog from the beginning. amy: that is the army medic carlos martin who was describing his interaction with the same officer in the video at the spring valley school. but this was 10 years ago. us, stinson is also with bowling green state university criminologist. can you talk about what you found with police officers in
the schools? carlos martin, i have to say, speculated maybe fields was taken off the street because it was so dangerous and then, what, put into a school? >> it is an interesting thing. police officers don't even have to have a college education in many places across the country. they go to a police academy, which could be a few months, two months to six months to penning on the jurisdiction. then they have periodic in-service training throughout their career. there's very little known exactly how school resource officers are selected. frankly, it is officers who apply for the position, 72 wants to work in the schools. from what i'm hearing as to officer fields, i'm not sure he has the demeanor and personality type that would be summit he we want working in a public high school. juan: phil stinson, i want to ask about the responsibility of school districts as opposed to where police officers are out on the streets, the expectation of parents that when they send
their children to school be districts will take some responsibility for their safety. this whole issue of more and more police being employed inside the schools and being able to use this kind of authority and force on basically, children. >> it is estimated more than half the schools in the united states, public schools, have school resource officers assigned either part-time or full-time. at least 17,000 officers in the schools. in terms of their roles, there's a good bit of ambiguity. are the educators, are they mentors, police officers, are they security officers? in most jurisdictions, they are all of the above, and they don't have training in pedagogical issues or education issues. they are not trained educators. and one thing that seems to be a parent is that at least officer fields did not have training in
de-escalation, and use of passive restraint. in the juvenile justice system, it would be unheard of for someone to put their hands on a staff member, put their hands on a juvenile who is passively resisting him a sitting in a chair. it is completely inappropriate. if you have to remove the other kids from the classroom, i guess that will have to be done, but you de-escalate the situation. if you have to use hands on the kids, you will you do use some has restraint procedure. you would think they would have drills in this type of thing. i would hazard a guess that students refuse to give up cell phones and classrooms across this country, you know, every day. amy: and we come back from break, purely horrifying story of another student who was attacked by police in his school. we will be going to austin, texas and joined by a new york high school student and organizer who are organizing to challenge police seeing in the high schools. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
spent 52 days in a medically induced coma after police used a taser on him at school in bastrop, texas, november 2013. adam loewy, described what happened. young man about 17 years old in a county south of austin and he was in a hallway and bastrop high school and there was a fight that broke out between his girlfriend and another girl, two females. noe was a peacemaker, breaking up the fight. this was shown clearly on the video. two school resource officers came up to him, pushed them out of the way, and one school resource officer pulled his taser and tased in the middle of the hallway. noe fell back, slammed his head, then had to be put in a medically induced coma for 52 days. it was a horrific display of violence. it was much worse than we are seeing in the video here in south carolina, but there's a
lot of similarities. the officer in question in austin, or bastrop, had history of violence against students. he was not properly trained. and the school did not have any sort of regulations on how to deal with school resource officers. so the themes are consistent. and i would submit it is a growing crisis in this country in american schools of violence toward students. juan: adam loewy, what happened to the officers involved in this case and to your client? >> my client was able to survive. he went to a rehabilitation center in doing much better now, but he is obviously not the same person. you cannot sustain that sort of injury and just be the same. thankfully, he is alive and functioning. the officer was clear, completely cleared of cruel charges. the county entered into a settlement for 700 $75,000 for the incident, so we got the case settled. i would add until these officers are held criminally accountable
for what they're doing, this will never change. if you look at all of these incidents in this country, whether it is a new york with eric gner or ferguson and the whether it is the larry jackson case here in austin, these officers are always able to escape criminal accountability. they always get off. i would cement that is one of the major problems here is that officers simply believe they will not getting criminal trouble for what the do, which is the truth. it is extremely rare. until that changes, we will continue to see videos that are horrific. amy: i want to get your response to this, attorneys representing the county initially said that had--noe niño de rivera failed to comply with orders and the officer "used the reasonable amount of necessary force to contain discipline at the school. the executive director of the police association also defended the officer's actions, speaking
reporters last your, suggesting the student, noe, must've been culpable because he apologized afterwards and then seemed aggressive in the hospital. >> he was apologizing to his behavior. he was saying, you know, i'm very sorry. when they got to the hospital, he again got out of control and started being very aggressive with the hospital personnel to the point they call the sheriff's office again and said, we need help over here. amy: adam loewy, your response? >> that is all demonstrably false. he had sustained a traumatic brain injury and was an enormous pain. what he was saying afterwards, apologizing, is what anyone would do if they had been brutally attacked and had a brain injury. he was a 17-year-old kid who at just been attacked by a police officer. i will say on a larger issue, when you look at how police and communities respond or counties respond, it is always the same.
they always say the police officer was justified. they always say the victim, the student, was in the wrong. that is very typical. while it is a bit different in the south carolina case in which this police chief is saying he was shocked by the video, i will guarantee if there was no video of this, this officer would be cleared. we would not be here talking about it. the game.anges i will also say that it is unsurprising when police chiefs defend their officers. that is always how they do it. until there is accountability, we will continue to see these horrific incidents occur. amy: i want to go back to phil stinson. how typical is this, what you just watched? >> we don't know. my research is in the area of peace crime and in the last decade, about 10,000 police officers in the united states have been arrested for all sorts of crimes. of those officers, only about 100 our school resource officers. one of the limitations and my data is that everybody is
arrested. all of the officers are rested. so if they are not arrested, i don't really know about it. this is consistent with what we see in terms of policing in general. policing is violent and what works on the streets probably is not appropriate in a school. i want to comment on the tasers. i did a study several years ago by these of tasers by police officers and it was a small sample of cases, less than 100 cases, but in that research, what we saw is there is only a handful of reasons why police in aers tase somebody criminal way. and what we saw was a pattern where they often tased teenagers are completely inappropriate reasons, for tenors -- teenagers that were no threat at all, almost as if they were tasting them for sport. juan: i want to bring in miaija jawara, a high school senior in harlem, a member of the urban youth collaborative as well as the dignity in schools campaign-new york chapter.
earlier this month, she participated in the white house initiative for african-american excellence in education. and casey foster is a coordinator of the urban youth collective. miaija jawara, talk about your expenses with school safety officers him as they're called here, in new york city. >> in my school, since freshman year until my senior year, there's been an increase in the number in my school so far. with the increase, we all have metal detectors in our school. the amount of times where we have the pop-up [indiscernible] the way the children were discipline is much more harsher since the increase. makes prince alone, i dealt with -- things are normal. instead of being sent to class, being sent to the safe room, basically, a detention room. i have been held there for an entire class for maybe being a
couple of minutes late to class. have a detention room you -- say from you have safety officers as well? >> yes, there are two outside the entrance to the room. you could talk about your own experience. you got in a fight outside school? >> february of this year -- petty high school drama. we were on school property. we were still on school property, so essentially, the school is the one to do with the fight. it was outside. nypd ended up dealing with the case. in addition to getting -- threatened with suspension after the fight, i was put on opposite sides of the cop car, threatened with an arrest and i had to appear in court. amy: what happened? >> the case was dismissed, but at school -- i was threatened with suspension but i offered --
instead. juan: casey foster, barely, the police other than the summons did not appear to do -- exercise any violence. what is wrong with that situation? we have an incident that happens in high schools all across the country. there was a very small minor altercation between two students and instead of it being dealt with by school authorities, miaija jawara is being introduced to the criminal justice system for the first time in her life. students who go to court during school days, because you get a summons, you have to go to court during school are four times more likely to drop out of high school than students who do not. in new york, because at 16 years old you are charged as an adult for anything, if you are charged with a criminal summons in a school, you don't appear in court or if there is a fine attached to that and you don't appear, you now have high school students having open bench warrants for things that are happening within our schools that traditionally we handle
within the schools. but over a period of time, we have criminalized the behavior of black children. amy: in new york, who is in charge of what are called security officers or sro's and other places? ofin new york, they're part the nypd. they're not under the purview of the department of education but the new york police department. amy: how much money is spent? who do they answer to? >> the money is spent by the department of education, somewhere between $360 million and $409 annually for what they're calling school safety needs. i've spoken to principles in new york city schools who complained about the fact they have no control over the safety agents. if there's a particular one they don't like their methods, they have no control over whether they stay in a school or not. they basically are the arm of the police department inside the public schools. incident at an
high school in brooklyn last year which a young man was walking through a metal detector at his school. yet broken glasses. yet the safety than holding his glasses together. he was told, you cannot come in with that because it is a weapon or you can use it as a weapon. he said, i've been coming for broken week -- for weeks and no one has bothered me. the safety agents said, we will confiscate your glasses so leave them out here. he said, i can't go to school all-day without my glasses. that turned into an altercation in which was tackled in front of his classmates for trying to get a school with a pair broken glasses. after being tackled and given a summons, he thought the incident was over, but someone from the school ended up calling in the local police. so now the local police department came and said there is an incident at the school, and they held that child in a room with no adult supervision or anyone involved for a number -- i don't member how long it was, about an hour or so. the principal at the school at
the time, something she could of handled very easily him and knowing the student and knowing this is not a dangerous situation, could not control what happened throughout the whole incident. amy: i want to go to another story. earlier this year in kentucky, deputy sheriff handcuffed two elementary school children with disabilities according to a , lawsuit filed by the american civil liberties union. the 8- and 9-year-old children were so small, that the deputy sheriff who was working as the , school's resource officer, cuffed their biceps because the handcuffs did not fit their wrists. one of the children is black and the other is latino. jaeah lee, in your research, can you talk about how this fits into what is happening across the country and the response? >> sure. that question goes back to the history of the rise school resource officers k-12 campuses.
the first sort of documented instances in which we saw cops enter school grounds was 1950's.e in the the exact time is unclear, but it wasn't until the early 2000 that we started to see a huge spike time that was after the tragic mass shooting at columbine high school. the department of justice since then has spent close to $1 billion in grants to hire school cops. it sounds like there've also been grants coming from the department of education. many more school districts have spent their own budget funding to hire school resource officers . in the wake of sandy hook, according to the national association of school resource officers, we have seen another spike. of course, what we're seeing now, from what i hear from talking to various sources, is that there is a larger growth
happening on elementary school campuses. so i think in the years ahead, we will see more incidents happen with younger children like we did in kentucky. juan: phil stinson, could you -- tos to what degree what degree the police are being deployed in minority school districts, largely, as opposed to white school districts across the country? >> i think they're deployed similarly across the country. there is very little by way of data that can break that down that i'm aware of. it is kind of difficult to tell. but they're used in different ways in the schools in which they are placed. and i think it is apparent that there is some race issues involved here, and that is something that needs to be looked at. my biggest concern is the school to prison pipeline where we have academic failure, exclusionary
disciplinary practices, and we have kids dropping out of high school. and the other thing i've seen in my research is that girls that are brought into the juvenile justice system have a history of trauma. we look at the video from south carolina, silly, that was a traumatic experience the girl encountered. amy: it is interesting that yesterday in all of the news coverage i saw, they kept repeating the girl was not heard. who did they get this from? i did not see them speaking to the girl, so who do they get this from? miaija jawara, when you saw this video, did it shock you? have you seen anything like this in your school in harlem? >> is deftly shocked me, just the way the situation -- how fast it escalated from her sitting at her desk, to being dragged across the room. i ha myself, but i pulleden students being aggressively out of the classroom because they don't want to leave the classroom. watching the pool
party over again in mckinney, the girl is much smaller than the person attacking -- inigo the mckinney cool party. we have video of that. for radio listeners, they can go to our website. let's go to that. when i saw this, i thought, this is exactly the same approach. talk about what happened with his white officer in acting she was 14 years old in her bikini. was a neighborhood pool party. some had invited people -- i'm assuming from school or in a committed he invited them to the pool party. they were invited guests list of everyone who lived in the neighborhood were complaining saying, we don't want these black people in our neighborhood , go back to your section eight housing. as you can see in the video, police were called and everything was completely out of control. a 14 euros girl slammed to the ground. her face is in the grass. the officer is kneeling enter her back.
you can hear her saying, "get off me." she is obvious lead to stress. when i see the video of south carolina, i see the same thing, another girl who is much smaller than who is attacking her. at this point, why is this happening again? juan: casey foster, what do you think needs to be done? what is your organization advocating for? >> the young people, the organizers from our organization , new york city as well as black and latino organizers throughout the country and even parents, 2, 1, toizing eliminate suspension policies that are deeply rooted in antiracism and anti-blackness and racism. -- the biggest indicator for a student being suspended for these minor infractions is that they are black. every othertrol for factor, socioeconomic and every other factor they say leads to
so this behavior, the research clearly shows the biggest indicator for student being more likely to be suspended as they are black. we're advocating for elimination of suspension and policies that push students out of school. forwe're also advocating replacing school resource officers and police officers in schools with more guidance counselors, social workers, committed the intervention workers and professionals that are trained in trauma to create a safe and supportive system for schools. and for young people. new york city has 5400 school safety agents and a combined 3600 guidance counselors and social workers. we're not investing the future of black children. we're not investing in public education, but prisons. amy: do you want the ratio flipped? >> we want to flipped on its head, yes. amy: we will leave it there but we will continue on this issue. miaija jawara and casey foster,
both with the urban youth collaborative. miaija jawara is a senior at a. philip randolph campus high school in harlem. phil stinson is a criminologist from bowling green state university. jaeah lee is a reporter for mother jones magazine. we will link to your piece of mother jones and, adam loewy, speaking to us from austin, the attorney represented noe niño de rivera. when we come back, we're going to talk about a change of heart, an evangelical minister, when it comes to gun rights and gun violence and the woman who changed him. the story of her 17-year-old son, a story you have come to know well here on democracy now! stay with us. ♪ [music break]
my constituency would be conservative -- very conservative. in my community, we talk about the same to the of life, the value of every human life. >> i would hear about shootings and i would pray for the people, but i never thought it would ever happen to us. we have replaced god with our guns. >> it is so important that you helped. they will listen to you. >> as a christian, what are your feelings when i say the phrase, "christian and guns"? >> a man who doesn't protect his wife and kids -- let's pray. father, we know there are a lot of people in this country that would like to register guns and take them away. >> if we take guns away, people
will just kill people with something else. trucks what we need is jesus and the gospel and a side arm. >> this doesn't speak to that. >> when faith becomes inseparably linked to a political position, we become vulnerable to selling our souls. >> that is what this is all about, fighting for life. >> i could lose my career. >> i'm here today to challenge my fellow clergy. off fear, vengeance, light. on the armor of let's pray. juan: that is the trailer to "the armor of light." it opens this week about guns in america. the film focuses on two individuals, the evangelical minister reverend schenck and lucia mcbath, the mother of the
florida teenager who was killed in 2012 by middle-aged man and a gas station dispute over loud rap music. the incident began after four teenagers pulled into a florida gas station to buy gum and cigarettes. there were soon confronted by michael dunn, middle-aged white man who pulled in next to them in the parking lot. he to men of the boys turned on the music they were playing and became angry when they refused. people just gun from his glove box and shot at their car 10 times, even as they tried to drive away from the danger. the shots rang out 3.5 minutes after dunn had arrived. jordan davis was killed. after the shooting, dunn fled the scene in which a hotel with his girlfriend and ordered heats up. he never called the police. dunn was later sentenced to life without parole. is theb schenck president of the national clergy council. a longtime anti-choice activist, reverend first made national
headlines protesting outside abortion clinics as a member of operation rescue. today he's making headlines for different reason. his criticism of the nra and the pro-gun message of many conservatives. the documentary "the armor of light," chronicles how reverend schenck and lucia mcbath begin working together to push for gun reform after the killing of jordan in 2012. reverend schenck and lucia mcbath join us in the studio today along with abigail disney, the director of, "the armor of light." it is a fascinating documentary. talk about your first meeting. i mean, reverend schenck, this is a true reversal on your part. you espoused gun rights in the importance of gun, god, country. what changed you? >> a number of things. of thate, change magnitude happens over time and this happened over a lot of time. i had a growing concern about the attitudes i saw in our evangelical community that held life less than sacred.
and that was always our cause movement,in our pro we talk about the sanctity of every human life. -- pro-life movement, we talk about this entity of every human life, born and unborn. we take a gun in your position to use for self-defense, you do killing another human being. i thought we had to address that. but i kind of put it in a sort mental space, and it is a very volatile issue an opportunity. i kind of just secret it is a way. a number of events occurred and then abigail disney proposed that maybe i air some of those concerns on camera. that was a little scary, took me a while to say yes to that. and during the course of the film, i met lucy. littlen i met her in our prayer garden,behind our
ministry house on capitol hill, her personal experience of tremendous loss and her being a person of faith, -- i think you call yourself an evangelical. >> i am. >> we're in the same camp that way. we spoke a common language. it was her passion in the wake of that pain and horror of losing a son to murder that was really what pulled me across the threshold of decision to start speaking to this, even though for me, it is at great personal risk. amy: why risk? >> in our community and you break with a kind of orthodoxy on social issues -- guns being one of them -- you are seen as a renegade or as a defector. and this may be a surprise to some people, but christians are not always the kindest people.
and you can be punished for that. so i have been by a few, but i've also been surprised at the number of supporters that have emerged. juan: whitey say this is a volatile issue? from your sense, this connection between the evangelical movement and guns in america? >> a lot of it is driven by fear. i think very unfounded fear. in fact, i believe that fear is a failure of faith. so it is really a theological as well as moral crisis in our community. and that fear is based on a lot of factors, including fear of government persecution. there's a lot of call for arms to defend our community against a tyrannical government. i think we live in the freest environment in terms of religious expression on earth.
i have been to 41 countries, and i've never seen any that compare quite to the extent of the liberty we have. think,e are, i unrealistic, unfounded fears, but nonetheless, very real and very powerful amy:. lucia mcbath, were you afraid to meet with reverend schenck? you are pro-choice, evangelical, anti-gun, you lost your son to gun violence and racism. you knew reverend schenck' tatian. -- reputation. talk about that moment you met. >> i don't think i knew the extent of his reputation, just what i had read about him, wikipedia, and the little information i have. i guess maybe the fear for me was really stepping out in the faith that i've been talking -- there wasn't any fear beyond that, but maybe more of the fear of not really being heard, not being heard from the
evangelical white conservative community. that was probably the only fear i had. but despite that, i knew that if he was interested in even beginning discussions about what he was feeling, the stirrings he had spiritually based upon what had been happening in the country, than i was really excited to speak with him. juan: abigail disney, your decision to make this film, to bring these folks together and to tell the story as a way of getting america to deal with gun violence? >> you know, i really have watched this for a really long time. it is a broken, dysfunctional political dynamic. the harder you push on your side, the harder they push on their side. you get frozen in this. for years i've been trying to figure out what would be a way to talk about it that would actually make a difference. the fact still make a difference. statistics don't persuade anyone. this is a heart issue and it is
about our conscience. i don't agree or brought the best of our conscience to any of this discussion. i wanted to elevate it to a place above politics where we could go back to what we claim our values are around the sanctity of human life, and then legislate from there. and just trying to start a conversation. amy: it is fascinating to see you making very different kinds of phones on your grandfather, roy disney. -- making different kinds of films from your grandfather, roy disney. you talk about becoming a pariah in your community. you are speaking out. the film has come out. how have evangelical's responded to you? >> on the whole, very polite. we are polite people. sometimes manually -- maddeninly so. there is been a mixed response. i've had a number of supporters of my own washington, d.c. i had a nonprofit --
religiously-orientated nonprofit. if you said, they have withdrawn their financial support and a small nonprofit. so i felt that pain. i have been called a more on and a fraud -- moron and a fraud. some feel i am betraying them. amy: what you think is the best way to reach evangelicals, considering they had your mindset -- i mean, what you were thinking, not so long ago? >> i like to start with jesus. and i do often wonder aloud what jesus would do with a gun. and i think most evangelicals know deep inside that somehow this is in contradiction to the model and teaching of christ. so i raise those questions. for me, this is a moral, ethical, and even theological exploration. and i think that is arguably the
founder of evangelicalism. one said, evangelical christianity is the religion of the heart. so i think abby -- i call her abby -- we have a great friendship. i think abby did just the right thing with this film and aiming for the heart rather than the head on this one. , think lucy's story spirituality in general, will win the day with my camp, anyway, whereas statistics don't go over very well. juan: lucia mcbath, we have less than a minute, but what has this meant you, the making of this film after the loss of your son and your efforts to try to affect the nation on gun control and gun violence? >> i think it is a way to be able to screen to the nation,
please, as a victim, i know firsthand, you know, the devastation that these kinds of crimes and gun violence are causing in the country. we have to morally and ethically really address what is happening as not see these cases statistics and numbers. and morally, we are accountable to one another. amy: have to leave it there. i also want to encourage people to see our our with lucia mcbath in sundance, the film that was three andt her story " a half minutes" and encourage you to see this film. it is a different disney film. "the armor of light." -- socumentary maker maker abigail disney made it. and reverend schenck, thank you for joining us in our studio. that does it for our 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! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]