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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  November 24, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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11/24/15 11/24/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica this is demoacy w! >> they turned around and they started shooting. at first i wasn't sure, i was like, are they shooting firecracke because it was so loud. so for her whatever. -- sulfur or whatever. the person on the left of me went down, the person on the right of me went down. i was like, they are actually shooting at us. they are shooting bullets at us. amy: five black lives matter protesters in minneapolis group of white supremacists opened fire on them last night. at least one of the attackers was reportedly wearing a mask.
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protesters were calling for the release of the video of the police killing of unarmed 24-year-old african american justiceark, which the department is not investigating. we will go to minneapolis to speak with commerce member keith ellison who is also demanding the video's release. last week, a photo came out showing the minneapolis police officer pointing a gun at his , head.remiah's you was also protesting. we will go to chicago where a white police officer is expected to be charged with first-degree murder today for shooting african-american teenager laquan mcdonald over a year ago. the video is expected to be released today. so ordered by a judge. then we will look at the firestorm of controversy that has erupted over whether the united states should continue to accept syrian refugees. >> i will absolutely take database or the people coming in from syria if we can't stop it,
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but we are going to. win, i have made it known, if i win, they're going back. we can't have them. they're going back. we can't have them. we can't have them. amy: as more than half the nation's governors say they oppose letting syrian refugees into their states, some are drawing historical parallel with a different refugee crisis the country faced, this time in the 1930's when jewish refugees sought refuge from the nazis. among those denied entry was anne frank. we will speak with for policy editor ilya lozovsky. and with reporter ishaan tharoor , who wrote "yes, the comparison between jewish and syrian refugees matters." and we will get comment from congressmember keys -- keep
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ellison, the first muslim member of congress. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. turkish military officials say they have shot down a russian military aircraft after warning its pilots they were violating turkish airspace. russia denies the plane violated turkish airspace. syrian rebels say at least one of the pilots is dead after boat ejected before the crash. the belgian capital brussels remains shut down as soldiers and tanks patrol the streets. belgian authorities continue to search for salah abdeslam, a suspect in the paris attacks that killed 130 people on november 13. while subways and schools are set to reopen wednesday, brussels is expected to remain on the highest level of alert through the week. belgian prime minister charles michel said the threat continues, although he did not say exactly what the threat was.
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>> what we were facing yesterday, the potential targets are the same as yesterday, too. i remind you, these are highly frequented places such as shopping areas, shopping streets, shopping centers, and public transports. amy: in neighboring france, police have continued a wide-ranging crackdown, carrying out more than searches and 1000 detaining more than 100 people. the "new york times" reports officers broke down the door of a restaurant selling halal burgers and tex-mex food in the paris suburbs over the weekend, but found nothing. on monday, police said they found a suicide belt in the paris suburb of montrouge which may have been discarded by the fugitive suspect salah abdeslam. french president francois hollande meets with president obama in washington today where
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he is expected to push for an intensified campaign against the so-called islamic state, which authorities say is behind the paris attacks. france has tripled its capacity to conduct strikes against isis by deploying an aircraft carrier in the mediterranean. both france and russia have heavily bombed the syrian city of raqqa, the de facto capital of isis, which is also home to many civilians. hundreds of thousands of them. activists in raqqa report the chemical weapon white phosphorus has been used. the united states, meanwhile, has struck an isis revenue source, hitting nearly 300 tanker trucks used to transport oil out of eastern syria. russian officials, meanwhile, said their forces killed 14 people accused of smuggling fighters out of the north caucasus to join the islamic state in syria. in minneapolis, minnesota, a group of five black lives matter
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protesters have been shot and wounded. they say the shooters were white supremacists. at least one of them was wearing a mask. the protesters were gathered in an encampment outside a police precinct where they have been protesting the police killing of unarmed african-american jamar clark. activists say the white supremacists opened fire after a group of protesters attempted to herd them away from the protest. jie wronski riley described the shooting to the "minneapolis star tribune." >> then it was like they turned around, and they started shooting. at first i wasn't sure, i was like, are they shooting firecrackers because it was so loud. and all this sulfur or whatever. then it was like the person right next to me on my left went down, the person on my right when down. i was like, they are actually shooting at us. they're shooting bullets at us. amy: activists said police took a long time to respond to the shooting and then used mace on bystanders. we'll have more on the shooting and the police killing of jamar
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clark later in the broadcast with minnesota democratic congressmember keith ellison. in oregon, authorities say they are treating the assault of an african-american college student by three white students as a possible hate crime. lewis and clark student tanguy muvuna said he was beaten by three white men who used racial slurs, threatened his life and forced him to drink an unknown liquid. in chicago, illinois, a white police officer who shot an african-american teenager 16 times last year, killing him, will reportedly be charged with murder today. october 2014, chicago police officer jason van dyke shot and killed 17-year-old laquan mcdonald. police have claimed mcdonald lunged at the officer with a small knife. but people who have seen police dashcam video say it contradicts the police account, instead showing the officer opening fire on mcdonald while he was walking
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away and continuing to shoot him even after the teenager was lying on the pavement. last week a county judge ordered , the city to release the footage of the shooting by wednesday. we'll go to chicago for more after headlines. the california city of fullerton has agreed to pay $4.9 million to settle a civil case over the police beating death of a mentally ill homeless man in 2011. officers manuel ramos and jay cicinelli were acquitted last year in the death of kelly thomas, whose injuries included a compressed trachea and broken facial bones. over the course of nearly 10 minutes, thomas was tackled, hit with a baton, pinned down, punched repeatedly in the ribs, kneed in the head, tasered four times, and then struck in the face with the taser itself eight times. footage shows him pleading for help. he died days later. republican presidential contender donald trump has doubled down on his false claim
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muslims in new jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks. he said thousands of them did. trump claimed there were tailgate-style celebrations after 9/11. republican rival ben carson has dialed back his initial support for trump's comments, claiming he saw video of people celebrating but, "i don't know where they were." speaking at a rally monday, trump also doubled down on his support for using torture techniques against isis, saying he would "approve more than waterboarding." >> what i approve waterboarding? i said, let me ask you a question. on the other side, they chop off our young people's heads and they put them on a stick. on the other side, they build these iron cages and they will put 20 people in them and they dropped them in the ocean for 15 minutes and pull them up 15 minutes later. what i approve waterboarding? you bet your ass i would approve
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it. in a heartbeat. amy: doctors without borders has identified the 14 staff members killed in a u.s. airstrike on its hospital in kunduz, afghanistan october 3. , in a statement, doctors without borders said the hospital was hit by precise and repeated airstrikes for more than an hour. "even as the attack continued, our colleagues fought for their lives and for the lives of their patients with extraordinary determination and courage." doctors without borders said the obama administration still has not revealed its review of the strike, which killed at least 30 people. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin today in chicago where the community is braced for several new developments in the police killing of 17-year-old laquan mcdonald. he was shot and killed over a year ago. chicago police officer jason van dyke remains on desk duty, will
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reportedly be charged with first-degree murder today. on thursday, cook county judge franklin valderrama ordered the release of the video of mcdonald being shot by chicago police officer jason van dyke on october 20, 2014. over a year ago. an autopsy report shows he was shot 16 times, including multiple times in the back. police have said that the teenager lunged at the officer with a small knife. but people who have seen the video from police dashcam footage say it contradicts the police account, instead showing officer van dyke opening fire on the teenager while he was walking away and continuing to shoot him even after the teenager was lying on the pavement. despite the fact that laquan mcdonald's familychicago paid the family $5 million.
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the city fought to conceal the video, even after the wall street journal, the chicago tribune and a freelance journalist all filed foia requests for its release. the city of chicago now has until wednesday, that's tomorrow to release the footage. , meanwhile, officer van dyke remains on paid desk duty, as the shooting is investigated by the fbi and the united states attorney's office in chicago. on monday, chicago mayor rahm emanuel said officer jason van dyke's actions were hideous. >> he took the law into his own hands. about providing security. at every point, he violated but we can trust him. when you entrust a police officer to provide safety, build trust and uphold the law and you violate it, you'll be held accountable for that action. the second thing is, whether you
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see it, hear about it or read about it, in my view, i would it is also a violation [inaudible] and it is wrong. it was hideous. amy: for more, we're joined by two guests in chicago. jamie kalven is the founder of the invisible institute, a nonprofit journalism outlet that recently released tens of thousands of pages of civilian complaints filed against the chicago police department -- 97% of which resulted in absolutely no disciplinary action. kalven is also the freelance journalist who uncovered the laquan mcdonald was shot 16 times by officer jason van dyke. we are also joined by charlene carruthers, the national director of the black youth project 100, which declined a meeting with mayor rahm emanuel's office on monday as the city tries to quell
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impending protests. jamie and charlene, we welcome you both to democracy now! jamie kalven, this may be the first time people around the country outside of chicago and around the world are hearing this story of a 17 year old african-american teenager killed more than a year ago by a white police officer in chicago. can you take us through what actually happened and when you discovered the discrepancies in the reports? >> so the initial report that came out following the incident on october 20 of last year was erratic, andman, one spokesperson said crazed condition, was trying to break into cars on the southwest side of chicago. officers confronted him, followed him for a time.
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ultimately, he was described as lunging at the officers who defended themselves. it was described as a clear-cut case of self-defense. this is the story that was put out by the police department mcdonaldurs of laquan step. it is been a narrative of the city until recently. i was struck by the mayor's remarks in the item a moment ago because everything that we now know or that we will know once the video is released was known by the city within hours of this horrible event. what in fact happened is the police got a call, young man breaking into cars in a deserted industrial area in the southwest side of the city. two officers responded. initially, handled -- obvious
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law enforcement situation very appropriately. they asked the young man to drop the knife. he didn't. he kind of walked away from them. he seemed in an odd state. it was later learned he had pcp in his system. but the officers handled it really appropriately. so for some minutes, they followed him as he walked along the street. one of them in the car, one of them walking alongside him with a flashlight. they called in that they needed a taser. they perhaps needed a taser, did not have one. that was the extent of force they anticipated using. a couple of blocks into this journey, other police officers converge on the scene, a fairly busy intersection in chicago. and this is the moment where everything accelerates and just goes out of control. they have the young man, laquan,
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essentially corralled. several police cars, he is up against a construction fence that restricts his movement. they have superior force. a situation that moments ago required attain user, now becomes, as one witness describes it, and execution. so officer van dyke and his partner get out of their vehicle, draw their guns. laquan sees them, veers away from them, and that is what the video will ultimately show and why it is so important. he veers away, van dyke shoots him once or twice -- it is not clear because there is no audio on the video. he falls to the ground, lies on the street in what has been described as a fetal position. clearly, immobilized. there is an extended pause and then a barrage of bullets from van dyke's gun. he is ultimately -- there are 16
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independent gunshot wounds front and back. thatw know definitively that is what happened. amy: have you seen this video? >> i have not. i have had it described to me almost frame by frame detail by those who have. amy: so describe how you discovered that the police account, in fact, was not correct. >> so a colleague and i, civil rights lawyer that i worked closely with, we received a tip from some weeks after the event -- we received a tepid from a city employee who was concerned that this case was not going to be vigorously investigated. he told us there was video. he told us that it was horrific
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execution. it gave me enough information to be able to track down a witness to the event, civilian witness. so that was the initial impetus. piecet point, we wrote a making known the video existed and calling on the city to release it. some months later, the autopsy became available. remember, the city's account, the official account was boy lunges at police, police shoot in self-defense, and he dies some time later in a nearby hospital. when the autopsy became available, there was now definitive information that he was shot 16 times. autopsy, about this and then what you did. now, we're talking about, for people to understand, today it
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is expected that the officer will be charged with first-degree murder and that the video will be released. but talk about just what this youpsy said, the piece wrote, and what has happened over this past year. in the next few months, the city approaches laquan's family, they don't sue but they give them $5 million. >> there couple of context for what unfolds in recent months. one is that there is an election campaign going on for mayor, so this incident, imagine the full implications of what happened on october 20th of leicester coming out in the midst of the election campaign. there is also -- and these are
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legitimate concerns and the whole city is talking about them right now, these events have unfolded against the backdrop of in then last fall or fall of 2014 when ferguson dominated the news. of civil, other sites disobedience and unrest. so both of those context, i'm sure, have weighed heavily for the mayor and the leadership of the city. the way they have handled it, though, has been so profoundly regrettable. and now we're going to pay the the and experience consequences of that. so what happened with the family of laquan mcdonald is they found lawyers to represent them in
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wrongful death suit. and in the course of , thelishing probate, lawyers were able to accommodate the video. a long way around the barn, unexpected. without having filed a lawsuit, they contacted the city law department and entered into negotiations. this is in the midst of what was then the runoff election for mayor. and the city entered into an agreement with them, paying the family $5 million, but conditional on not releasing the video and other evidence that they had acquired -- that the family had acquired. so, you know, at every stage, i mean, i think what we're going to start talking about once we are past the video is really how the institutions of the city
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have responded to this event. that at every single stage, at every level of the city from officers on the scene as laquan mcdonald was bleeding out on the street to the mayor and the senior officials in the city, the dominant controlling and pulls has been to -- impulse has been to circle the wagons, to contain information and suppress public information about this crime. and, really, to maintain and enforce an altogether false narrative that they had to know from day one was false. within hours of laquan mcdonald's death, the city had all of the information that is now available and will be after release of the video. so i don't doubt that the mayor is appalled. i think any feeling human being knowing what happened that night would be
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appalled. but he had that information. that information was available to him the day it occurred in the following day. the autopsy -- i got the autopsy months after the incident. but the autopsy was conducted 8:30 in the morning the following day. all of that information -- the video, the autopsy, witness accounts, all of that was available the day it happened. amy: and this is now well over a year since the killing. we are going to come back from break and we will be joined as well with jamie kalven founder , of the invisible institute and freelance journalist. thee this story by foia-ing autopsy of laquan mcdonald. charlene carruthers, national director of the black youth project 100. they're both in chicago. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. officer is a police about to be indicted for first-degree murder. we are joined by jamie kalven, founder of the invisible institute and a freelance journalist who first broke the story of what happened to laquan mcdonald, actually killed october 14, 2014. her also joined by charlene carruthers, national director of the black youth project 100. this is very unusual, charlene carruthers, a police officer about to be indicted for first-degree murder. can you talk about your response to the fact that a judge has
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just demanded that the video be released to the public by officer, as well as the , we believe, about to be indicted? >> so, i sat in the courtroom last week listening to the judge's decision on whether or not to release the video to the public. and in my mind, over and over again, the narrative that this is not an isolated event. this is not the first time that this has happened. and there is nothing unusual about the killing of a young black person in the city of chicago by the chicago police department. judge we listened to the list reason after reason as to why the chicago police department had no standing to withhold the video from the public. and so for us, we know that videos of black people being gunned down a police officer's are nothing new to the american public, and a broader international public.
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on the other hand, we also know that between mayor rahm emanuel, superintendent garry mccarthy, there has been moment after moment of inaction and poor decision-making regarding policing in this city. we live in a city where the chicago police department takes up 40% of our budget, all at the same time, just a few years ago, we close over 50 public schools. so it says a lot to us about what and who are city prioritizes and who we don't. y: so here you have the story of a white police officer, jason van dyke, who shot and killed 17-year-old laquan mcdonald on october 14, 2014. talk about, charlene, when you started to understand what had actually taken place. in fact, didn't you have a major rally in chicago just a few days
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afterwards at the time? >> well, as jamie mentioned earlier, last year around the same time that laquan mcdonald was killed am a there were nationwide protest around several police involved killings in black communities. and we were actually -- with several protests within that period in the wake of the non-indictment decision of darren wilson and killing mike brown, we had a national moment of silence day that we had an action here in chicago in other places around the country. so for us, the killing of laquan mcdonald is one more gruesome violent signal that are organizing to build black political power in chicago and also nationally is absolutely essential. others, wealong with organize every single day in chicago.
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we organize in detroit, new orleans, washington, d.c., new york city and the bay area because, again, what happened to laquan mcdonald, nothing unusual about that in this country. and how the mayor reacted, even with having access to all of the information, is absolutely not unusual. amy: i want to correct the date that he was shot by police officer van dyke october 20, 2014. now the mayor rahm emanuel, who used to be the chief of staff of president obama, the mayor invited you, charlene carruthers , and your group, to be with him on monday? >> yes. the mayor's office invited a number of black lead youth organizations that do work every single day in the city of chicago to attend the meeting. the mayor's office also invited a number of people that the officer -- office determines to be leaders in the city of chicago to meet with him. and so for us, it was important not to take a meeting with the
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mayor at a moment where it was clear to us that these meetings, a series of meetings was about how are we going to quell our fears, being the mayor's office fears, about what young black people are going to do once this video is released? while at the same time, we know the city continues to develop from the things --divest from quality public schools, job creations, with the health services, things of that nature. for us, it did not make sense for what we're trying to build in the city to meet with the mayor who also allowed people to starve for over 30 days during strike, calling for a public -- quality public school in the neighborhood that i live it in chicago. in thinking about how we as young people believe in organizing and not representing all black people, we called on a public meeting. we don't want to have
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closed-door, private meeting with the mayor to talk about an issue that doesn't just impact the 30, 40, 50, 60 of us, but impact hundreds of thousands of black people, not just in chicago, but across the country. amy: how did the mayor respond to you saying no? what was the reason you gave? >> we don't have an official response regarding her decision not to take a meeting with him to discuss the execution of laquan mcdonald. thefor us, we know that mayor has called meetings before. and we have had meetings with the mayor before. we have not always said, no, we won't sit down with you mr. emanuel, to talk about policing in this city. but what we did know is in this particular moment that the city has very specific interests around what happened. and they're very concerned with the city remaining peaceful. but unfortunately, the community , the target that is being told to remain peaceful, is not the
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chicago police department. learnedearned -- i just the reports that the chicago police department, they are suiting up through november 29 to deal with whatever comes after the video is released and our concern is actually what laquan mcdonald's family will feel once the video is released. and then what the young black people who walked on a street in chicago every single day, who drive in their cars every single day worried about whether or not they will be the next rekia boyd, the next laquan mcdonald, the list goes on and on and on of young black people who have been gunned down by the chicago police. amy: what are you calling for right now, charlene carruthers? >> what we have always called for, we're calling for massive development and defining of the police and investment in black amenities. the chicago police department comprises 40% of our budget. that has to change. we are calling on what most
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recently we have called on the firing of officer dante servin unless that we learn that superintendent terry mccarthy is recommending that he is fired. we want that to continue. we want full decriminalization of black people in the city, via for minor marijuana offenses or any other behavior when other people engage in them they're not criminalized for it. i want all kinds of things, but our demands have not changed the focus squarely on defunding the police and investing in things like public schools. and that is something the mayor could do and we are committed to organizing to make that happen. amy: a pastor the greater st. john bible church told reporters after meeting with the mayor -- i what to go back to jamie kalven. how unusual is it for a police officer to be indicted for
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first-degree murder? jamie? jamie kalven, can you hear me? how unusual is it for a police officer to be indicted? , assuming thel be indictment comes down today, this will be the first time in chicago history that a police officer has been criminally charged for an on-duty shooting. so we're in this curious state where this is an unprecedented and in some ways monumental event. and at the same time, sort of the capstone of, i'm not sure cover-up is the right word, but profoundly false narrative that has been maintained by the city about what happened that night on october 20. , and i knowalven
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you don't have an earpiece so charlene has to say it to you. can you talk about what the invisible institute has found when it comes to police being held responsible for police retell of the -- brutality? right, so i think that really is a critical part of the story. when we talk about police accountability, it has two dimensions. one are the particular abuses. even if you imagine the best trained police force in a city the size and complexity of chicago where the police of roughly 13,000, bad things will happen. the critical question is, how does the institution of the police department, the larger
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institutions of the city, respond when they do? if you have an effective disciplinary system, vigorous investigation, that incentivizes good behavior, reduces the number of abusive incidents, builds public confidence and a degree of trust between communities and the police. that is not what we have in chicago. and we have statistics, and they are the city -- based on the city's information, that demonstrate this is a system that is largely dedicated to not connecting the dots, to not knowing things is within the city's power to know about fundamental human rights violations against citizens. the consequence of that, you know, you cited before 97% of ofplaints ending in findings not sustained, which is a kind of a shrug. we can figure out what happened. and among the small number of
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sustained complaints come it is an event has a bowl number that actually -- incontestable number that gets any meaningful discipline. with these statistics we have amassed and have made public reflect, it is kind of a portrait of if unity. it means those officers -- and it is not a few bad apples, as sometimes said, it is still a significant number of officers and they're not evenly distributed through the city, they are in some neighborhoods and not others, but it is still a relatively small subset of the department is responsible for the lions share of abuse. but in a dysfunctional system where they have the kind of de facto impunity, those officers disposed to be abuses -- and abuse can take many different forms, outright racism, enjoyment of brutality, perverse
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pleasure in acts of cruelty, corruption, shakedowns of drug , you know, vile behavior toward women -- whatever the pattern of officers inclined to be abusive, they're much more likely to act if they know that facto if unity. they're very unlikely to be identified in a they are identified, most likely won't be investigated. if investigated, most likely they won't face meaningful discipline. so this is a system dedicated to not knowing things that could be known. and if the city did look for patterns in the citizen complaints and really, as i say, try to connect the dots, it usefule an immensely
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tool for protecting citizens and also for protecting officers. i mean, for intervening before small problems become big problems, to intervene with particular officers. and at a time when there is such profound distrust and alienation from the police in the neighborhoods most affected, and such a lack of confidence -- crisis of legitimacy for the institutions of criminal justice , this is one of the things within the power of the city to do, to begin to restore a degree of confidence. to begin to restore a degree of trust. but it has to start -- and i think this is really an important aspect, it is a way in which, charlene was saying, laquan mcdonald has now joined michael brown and another of a -- a number of other names as a kind of shorthand for fundamental defining structural
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issues in american life. ourthe importance of current debate and discussion of the video and of what happened that night is nothing can go forward, nothing -- we cannot reform and improve the conditions we have right now if we don't first acknowledge the realities. and in this case, the reality of what happened that night could have been acknowledged the next day, the next week, acknowledged at the time without producing -- prejudicing any investigation going forward, any kernel prosecution. this was public information that was withheld from the public. statisticsnce of the and the analysis of the city's own figures, its own information on complaints is there is an opportunity there to be diagnostically smart about what the true conditions are, but we
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have to reckon with reality before we can go forward with sensible and just common sense reforms that are within our reach to do. amy: charlene carruthers, is there a protest planned for today? in these two days, it is expected the police officer van dyke will be indicted for first-degree murder and that the city will release the video of the police killing of laquan mcdonald october 20, 2014. >> so after each time we learn of a tragic moment or a tragic moment like the killing of laquan mcdonald becomes -- goes on public display and there is an opportunity, a political, and opening for us to bring in more young black folks into this movement to actually not just received justice for laquan mcdonald, but to end police brutality and police violence in
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this country, we do something. we are organizers. there will be actions in the wake of the release of the video. that will -- what i will say, everything we do is centered around how we build on this moment step how do we make it so there are no more parents like laquan mcdonald's mother who has to mourn their children after they have been gunned down, after they been section assaulted, after they have been harassed, after they had been stop and frisk, after they had been incarcerated? what can we do to make sure that doesn't happen again? today we're holding a healing ince for black folks on -- the center of the city. and if folks are interesting -- interested in the information, they should check out our social media. we note the black people will be vilified. whether it is a so-called peaceful protest or so-called not peaceful protest, because we know for sure is that the police
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are highly unlikely to be peaceful with us. we are focused on protecting each other in making sure that our work ms. ford. amy: we want to thank you for being with us, charlene carruthers is the national director of the black youth project 100. and thank you, jamie kalven, founder of the invisible institute and a freelance journalist who uncovered the -- of laquanng mcdonald who was killed by an 2014.r october 20, and we come back, we're going to washington, d.c. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn to the firestorm of controversy erected over whether the u.s. should continue to
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accept syrian refugees after the deadly attacks in paris. lastly the house passed legislation introduced by republican lawmakers to restrict iraqi and syrian refugees from resettling in the u.s. republican measures would byuire independent sign offs federal officials from every person from iraq and syria seeking refugee status. president obama has vowed to veto the razor station -- registration if it reaches his desk. this is the alabama governor. >> the thing i want to do as governor is make sure the people of alabama are safe. and if there's any -- if there's even the slightest risk that people were coming in from syria are not the types of people that we would want them to be, then we can't take that chance. amy: a recent tweet that went viral to historical parallel with a different refugee crisis the country faced, this time in the 1930's when jewish refugees sought refuge here. a case western reserve university history professor
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named peter schulman tweeted a fortune magazine poll question from 1939 that read -- "should the u.s. government permit 10,000 mostly jewish refugee children to come in from germany?" the results showed overwhelmingly the respondents said we should keep them out. among those denied entry was anne frank, who famously wrote about her experience in hiding from the nazis in, "the diary of anne frank." documents released in 2007 show her father, otto frank, tried repeatedly to escape to the united states and cuba before he was denied and the family went into hiding. part of the ordeal faced by jewish refugees during and after world war ii was portrayed in the 1976 film, "voyage of the damned." the film is based on the true story of the 1939 voyage of the ms st. louis, which sailed for havana from hamburg carrying over 900 jewish refugees fleeing
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the nazis. the cuban government refused entry to the passengers, so the ship made its way to the united states, where the coast guard delivered the following message, as portrayed in this clip from the film. >> attention, captain st. louis. you are violating u.s. territory limits. do not approach any closer. do not attempt to land. you will not, repeat, not be permitted to dock at any united states port. acknowledge. signal, message received and acknowledged. amy: a clip from the 1976 film "voyage of the damned." the ship was left with no choice but to return to europe. -- return to germany. and number of people jumped off the size of the ship and drowned. many hundreds of the german jews who were returned to germany were exterminated in the concentration camps. well, for more, we are joined by
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recently wrote an article in the washington post headlined "i'm a russian-born , american jew. my people's rejection of syrian refugees breaks my heart." also in d.c. is ishaan tharoor a foreign affairs reporter for , the "washington post." his recent piece is headlined, "yes, the comparison between jewish and syrian refugees matters." we welcome you both to democracy now! ishaan tharoor, talk about the original piece he wrote for "washington post" that went viral. more than 2.5 million hits on this one piece. >> good morning, amy. thank you for having us on. that piece i wrote based on the tweets you cited by peter shulman, the academic, went viral. it was last week around this time. it struck a nerve. this is just in the aftermath of the paris attacks. a moment when the conversation about refugees is just warming
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up in the u.s. and it was a simple piece citing these polls and the way in which public opinion then seemed to reflectinion now. the analogy between what we saw in the 1930's and what we are going through right now is obviously in a perfect one. obviously, no one is completely drawing an identical aril between jewish refugees and syrian refugees and syrian refugees. the point is, of course, that t response then has clear echoes now. amy: explain what the poll asked in 1939. would you accept 10,000 jewish refugee children here fleeing from the nazis? >> right. this was a whole done by gallup early 1939 at a time when there was about to be a conversation in the u.s. about bipartisan legislation regarding a bill that proposed letting in 20,000
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refugee children from europe. urgent -- presumably, jewish refugee children. the distinction was not clear at the time. youe was this poll that cited that more than two thirds muche respondents pretty said, no, don't let them in. this reflected anti-summit is a but also other fears of immigration, over the perceived ideological threat these alien refugees posed and reflected by large the general nativism of the moment. the bipartisan legislation i mentioned did not pass as well. it was met by all sorts of opposition across the country with politicians, both democrats and republicans, making arguments that we hear now. at least we hear echoes of those arguments now, talking about this being the first planks to
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communist takeover of the u.s., talking about the threat, you know, nazi agents coming among the jewish ranks. it is all this language of subversion, a fear of security threat, which very much heard then at the time as well. , describelozovsky your response to what is taking place in this country now. >> thank you for having me on. my response i think it's very similar in my keys, i dressed a slightly different audience. i addressed my own community of russian or soviet born juice who have immigrated to the united states. either as refugees, you know, in the 1970's and 1980's, or as the immigrants during 1990's. i myself was one of them. my family came to the united states in 1990 from moscow. i found a very disturbing and heartbreaking, as i said in my piece, that this community would see such strong rejection of the
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now syrian refugees. not for any kind of reasons that i view as defensible. we can talk about security. we can talk about how good is the vetting process. those are legitimate questions after paris, but a lot of these objections are based on, frankly, rapist and bigoted views. that they are not like us, they can't contribute to american society. some commenters describe them liberally as animals, cockroaches. i find that link which especially disturbing coming from my own committee which faced such discrimination but not being able to come here in the second world war, but we -- soviet jews benefited so much from the welcome we received in the united states after a tough campaign five by americans of all kinds, jews or not, to encourage letting soviet jews immigrate to the united states. i think we should remember that and we should remember these
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syrian refugees are fleeing something so appalling at horrific that it is hard for us to imagine and we should have a little more compassion. if we have security concerns, let's talk about them in an important and sober way. that is not what i saw in my community, at least. amy: i want to turn to comments recently made about syrian refugees by republican presidential candidate donald trump. >> i want surveillance of certain mosques, ok? if that's ok. i want surveillance. and you know what? and we willa before have it again. i will absolutely take database on the people coming in from syria if we can't stop it, but we're going to. and if i win, i have made it known -- if i win, they're going back. we can't have them. they're going back. we can't have them. we can't have them.
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, respond.lozovsky donalde, beyond what trump said, the most disturbing part of that clip was featuring in the background because it sort of to meet reflects the sort of nativist hysteria been whipped up by these comments. even if donald trump never becomes president, this kind of discourse has been legitimized. and this is what i saw. this is what i was responding to. it reflects, i think, a very strong ignorance of who these people actually are and what they are fleeing from and what they could contribute, importantly, to this country. just asmericans are integrated into american society has anyone else. their largely middle class. they are productive citizens. they believe in all of the ideals, the democratic ideals that we hold dear. this kind of opposition to them reflects ascend same, proposition that before has been faced by chinese immigrants, italians, irish, catholics, jews , by somebody different group.
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at every take it is proven wrong. everyone can assimilate, and this is somewhere the united states has a very strong advantage compared to europe. we are good at integrating immigrants. it is good for our country. it is our moral and part of. these kinds of are convinced a hold any water. amy: ishaan tharoor, 10 you talk about having to write the second piece after your first piece went viral, on the issue of comparing syria and jewish refugees? well, i obviously -- it august the went viral. it elicited a strong sens response. that thehad to clarify point is it is not to say syria or jews areany
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difficult or this is a direct reflection of what happened. the point is specifically that the exact same rhetoric used by politicians and others, prominent figures in the u.s., in the 1930's, warning against the threat of these refugees is very, very similar. and the nature of that response, when we think about what these people are fleeing, the fact these are refugees who are fleeing her rent is conflict, living in dire circumstances in countries around the borders of syria which are straining, buckling under the pressures in britain to accommodate them and host them, this is part of an international responsibility that the u.s. certainly has, that the u.s. has taken up in the past. and the important thing to remember in this conflict is that even after the paris terror attacks, president hollande declared very clearly that france will continue to honor its commitment to take in 20,000 syrian refugees, minimum, over
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the next two years. this is in the wake of them suffering these kinds of particular terror attack, which is for many wrong reasons, equated to syrian refugees. so if the french can get over the fact there such hysteria in the u.s. is remarkable. and the point remains throughout that what is astonishing as well about the past week is before the paris terror attack, the conversation around syrian refugees in the u.s. was almost the opposite. the question was, why is the u.s. taking so few -- only 10,000 in the calendar or fiscal surely, things must be done to step up the process and taken more. and now in the wake of this attack and the way political voices in this country have harnessed were exploited hysteria around the paris terror attacks, forcing a different station. -- we are seeing a different conversation. amy: we're sorry that commerce member ellison could not join
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us. he was on the scene at the attacks in minneapolis. attacks in minneapolis.
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