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tv   News  Al Jazeera  May 1, 2015 1:00pm-1:31pm EDT

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we have probable cause to file criminal charges. >> yes! yes! police officers in the u.s. city of baltimore to face charges over the death of freddie gray. ♪ hello there i'm barbara sarah, you are watching al jazeera live from london. also coming up, earth kwablg survivors start moving back in doors as work begins to stop disease from spreading in nepal. angry and scared. -- yemenese pick through the
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rubble after an air strike hits the capitol. and the expo already overshadowed by corruption scandals and delays. and as statutes of recent whistleblowers are unveiled in berlin airbus says it is suing germany for helping the u.s. hello thank you for joining us. six police officers in the u.s. city of baltimore will face criminal charges over the deaths of a black man who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody. state prosecutor marilyn mossby said freddie gray's death was a homicide. the charges range from assault to second degree murder. he suffered spinal injuries after his arrest and died a week later sparking days of protests that have sometimes turned violent. >> the findings of our
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comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation, coupled with the medical exam exam -- examiners finding that the death was a homicide has lead us to file criminal charges. >> it is absolutely vital that the truth comes out on what happened to mr. freddy gray. it is my practice not to comment on the legal processes involved. that would not be appropriate. but i can tell you that justice needs to be served. all of the evidence needs to be presented, those individuals who are charged obviously are also
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entitled to due process, and rule of law. and so, you know i want to make sure that our legal system runs the way it should. >> let's go straight to baltimore now to speak to tom akerman. it has been what an hour and a half or so since news came of those charges for those police officers. what reaction in baltimore itself? >> well it was certainly welcomed by the black community who all asked for unanimously regardless of the actual circumstances, wanted to hear from the prosecutor as to what the next step would be because this case has been in the -- in the public domain for the last -- more than two weeks. and in previous cases of police excessive force accusations, charges have taken months to actually come forward, and in fact these are the most serious
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charges ever laid against baltimore police officers in fact the second degree murder technically the legal definition is willful -- is depraved heart murder which equivalent of a person driving drunk through a school zone and just keeping going after they have hit somebody fatally. so that's the equivalent. the charge specifically was that the driver of the police van, an officer named caesar goodison not only did not heed the complaints of freddie gray that he was hurt and needed medical occasions but on five occasions on the way to the police station just refused to acknowledge that he was even hurt and only when he was in cardiac arrest and finally eventually died did medical attention arrive. also the initial reason for him being picked up which -- which
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was that he had a knife in his possession. that was legal as well according to the state prosecutor the charge was false imprisonment on the part of the police officers because that knife was held legally by freddie gray. so you will see them being arraigned, we believe possibly even as early as today. but the police union representatives says the policemen simply were not responsible for the fatal injuries inside the van, and again, the prosecutor says that the officers were complicit by having him shackled and bound in the van and tossed around without any kind of restrain and that lead to his injuries. >> and thomas you mentioned there the police officers union defending the six officers. they previously asked for the prosecutor to be an independent
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prosecutor. talk us through that one. what was their issue with the current prosecutor? >> their specific issue is that they allege that the prosecutor has a conflict of interest that in fact she had campaign contributions by some people lawyers connected to the freddie gray case and that her husband who is a member of the city council of baltimore had already been outspoked in this us case as well. but it should be mentioned that her -- just as a personal reference, she is the daughter and granddaughter of police officers herself, and had -- and was el -- elected here she is black by the way, and ousted a white prosecutor and she was el elected by getting tough on crime. just this week there have been five homicides.
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all of the time that we have been talking about relative calm in the streets connected to the actual outrage over the freddie gray case there have been five homicides in the streets of west baltimore, and that is unfortunately pretty much standard procedure in that area. so people know the risks, but they also know they have been over and over saying that the police are simply running wild and have -- there has to be systemic reforms not just in this case but systemic reforms to reign in the police. >> tom akerman in baltimore, you'll be monitoring reactions to those charges. for the moment though, thank you. ♪ the death toll from nepal's earthquake has now reached 6,260. nearly 14,000 are injured.
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the government says every family who has lost in the earthquake will be given about a thousand dollars in compensation. that as survivors face another threat, disease. medical workers are struggling to contain any outbreaks. our correspondent visited one remote medical team and sent this report. >> reporter: around the village, locals line up to get treated by a team of doctors. this is the first medical team in the village since the earthquake struck on saturday destroying most of the houses here. this woman and her daughters have been suffering from stomach cramps. >> translator: we water is smelly, but we have to drink it. >> reporter: many patients have diarrhea and have been vomiting. this two year old has a skin infection, behind him this two year old stairs on.
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>> translator: he has bad diarrhea. our house is too dangerous to go back to. >> army doctors from bangladesh have come to help out. >> one week or more this support will be continued. the long time to prevent disease like diarrhea and stomach diseases. >> reporter: the collapse of the existing health system is what concerns medical officers working in the field. the army has been coordinating all of the international medical teams which have come to help. >> the villages the hospitals, they have been totally disrupted. now the foreign medical teams that are here in nepal, i think they will start moving out within a week or two. but our plan is that other medical teams which can come here and stay for a longer duration probably for two to six months in the meantime.
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>> reporter: back in the village, those who are not physically sick are in shock. many say they are afraid to sleep. they hope to get medication from tremendous doctors who will be here for one more day. but once the medical team leaves they will be left to fend for themselves once again. even at the best of times, health system in nepal has been rather poor. for this village, the only health post is half an hour further up and the only thing that they have is [ inaudible ]. not everyone has toilets and people defecate openly in the streets. water has been contaminated in areas like this increasing the risk of epidemics. let's go straight live now to kathmandu and speak to al jazeera ease faiz jamil. we were watching that report feeling the difficulties that so many of these people in remote areas are facing.
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are relief and rescue teams finally getting to the more remote locations? and what are they finding when they get there? >> barbara they are getting to the more remote locations, but it is a very slow process. many of the roads are still covered or inaccessible because of landslides caused by the earthquake. it is good news they are getting there and finding people alive. they are in need of medical treatment, but them being alive is in some cases a miracle. just today in another location 150 kilometers from the capitol, 67 people in a village were found alive. they had been cut off with no communication since saturday's quake. this will be a slow process to get to all of the villages affected. it might take days or weeks but if they are not found in a very good state, at least they are being found live. >> and faiz the government has said that they are going to offer every family around a
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thousand dollars if they have lost members of their families in this quake. the finance minister has asked for tents and blankets from the international community, but what do you think is really needed on the ground? what do you think should take priority? >> well the priority is exactly what the finance minister said tents and blankets. here in the capitol, kathmandu, six days and we're still seeing people sleeping out in the open. the tents really only provide a token protection from the cold. and there is a great immediate for medicines for water-born diseases like cholera and now the big concern is the spread of disease, and an appeal has been made by the government for these basic necessities. and not to send money necessarily, but to send goods, because even if they send money, there is nothing really here to
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buy. >> faiz jamil with the latest from kathmandu. thank you. we're going to have a special program on saturday exactly one week after the devastating earthquake hit the country. papua new guinea has been hit by a second big earthquake in 24 hours. the 6.8 magnitude quake struck in the southwest. there are no immediate reports of casualties or damage and the tsunami warning was quickly lifted. the quake hit the country on thursday. thai police say they found 32 graves at an abandoned trafficking camp which are thought to belong to migrants from myanmar and bangladesh. police suspect many of the bodies belonged to muslims who were forced to escape because of press cushion. they often demand big ransoms to
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take them across the boarder to malaysia. the syrian army has launched an offensive. government forces attacked rebel positions overnight after a week of opposition gains which saw the president's troops lose key parts of idlib province. it is syria's main port and along with damascus it is one of the most important government-held areas in the country. the u.n. is warning that fuel shortages could shop all relief operations in yemen within days. u.n. chief ban ki-moon said the lack of fuel means aid agencies are struggling to distribute the little supplies already in the country. saudi arabia says houthi rebels lawned a cross-border attack overnight. and some residents say they were wrongly targeted in an air strike. people living there say more
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than a dozen people were killed. victoria gatenby reports. ♪ >> reporter: this is a residential area in the capitol sana'a. there used to be nine homes here a saudi-lead coalition air strike reduced them to rubble. >> translator: we heard the explosion. my aunt and i were res cued. we found body parts of my uncle in another street. and this is our neighbor's home. the whole family died and also other neighbors. women, children and elderly, all died. >> reporter: saudi military commanders say the air strikes targeted houthis and fighters loyal to former president saleh. but this street was also hit. survivors were angry, frustrated and scared it might happen again. >> translator: we don't have weapons or houthis here. they destroyed our homes.
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this is our neighbor's home. seven girls were killed. and this home two elderly people were killed. what did they do wrong in this is my house and my uncle's house. we spent 18 years building it brick by brick. who is going to reimburse us? why are they doing this? >> reporter: this is a poor neighborhood in the middle of a war zone. there is no heavy lifting equipment. people use their hands or whatever else they can find. but it is often hopeless. pro-government forces are backed by the saudi-lead campaign to reforce the president in exile to power. but as they battle the houthis for control of sana'a and other cities yemenese are increasingly suffering. saudi arabia and its partners have said the air strikes will continue until the houthi's military capabilities are diminished. still lots more to come in this half hour, including --
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burundi's president warns of severe sanctions against protesters. more than 400 have been arrested. ♪
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♪ this is al jazeera america, live from new york city. i'm tony harris. we are interrupting our aje
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colleagues to take you live to baltimore. it's city hall. we're anticipating that the mayor of baltimore, stephanie rawlings-blake will speak shortly. we're joining by an attorney and legal analyst on skype. good to talk to you. are you surprised by the charges? the swift nature of the charges? >> i am surprised by the timing tony. we have been told to be patient and allow the process to work and i think everyone's expectation was that it would take several weeks if not months before the state's attorney would make some sort of pronouncement, so i am surprised at the timing. however, i am so elated . . .
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>> -- investigation came to the conclusion that there was probable cause for an arrest 28 charges against six officers, rather historical given the nature of these charges and the number of officers involved including a female officer. >> yeah. >> so i think there is some game-changing things happening in baltimore that hopefully will set the stage for how these cases are handled across the country. >> so why did you think that this might take weeks to bring about charges if charges were brought at all? why did you think it would take weeks? what would she do -- or what -- >> i think the reason so many of us tony thought it would take a long time is because of the precedent that has been set in some of these other high-profile
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police shooting cases, particularly involving unarmed african american men. these cases -- there are the facts, the law, and then the political political piece to this. we have seen in some of these other cases that the investigations have drawn on for months in investigations like the mike brown case. so i think we have been conditioned to believe it took that amount of time. but we saw in south carolina once that videotape was revealed of the shooting of mr. harris in the back by that officer charges were filed against him almost immediately. >> you know, there is a -- were you a prosecutor? did you start in the da's office. >> no. >> tell me about your legal background. >> harvard law-trained lawyer. i have been working on primarily civil rights cases. so my background is more civil rights. >> okay. let me ask you this. so if you are a prosecutor looking at the facts that were
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obvious, right? the -- the great unknowns questions that weren't answered as a prosecutor i'm wondering what you are saying. i'm asking you to put on a prosecutor's hat for a second and what we didn't know that seemed a pretty simple question to answer was why did you chase him? the next question is well what the heck happened in the 30 to 45 minutes he was in the van? >> yes. >> both of those questions seem pretty simple to answer if you are a prosecutor clearly you are asking those same questions. would she have been asking those questions of the officers during the course of the investigation? >> yes, what we do know tony and putting my prosecutor's hat is on is when you have that many individuals involved -- we know five of the officers cooperated and gave statements so unlikely that five people are going to -- you know refuse to give information. somebody is going to start
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talking, and once they realize the possibility of criminal charges are going to be filed, people are going to start trying to cover themselves and give explanations for what they did. what we also know is there's independent corroboration via videotape. so as a prosecutor you want to talk to the individuals involved and you may get somebody to start telling on someone else and you also want to go out there and talk to anyone else who may have information about this case. >> all right. stand by. let's listen to the mayor. >> as mayor, i have said from the beginning, that no one is above the law in our city. i was sickened and heart broken by the statement of charges that we heard today. because no one in our city is
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above the law. justice must apply to all of us equally. with today's official indictment i have ordered police commissioner to utilize the full extent of his legal authority and immediately suspend all officers facing felony charges. in fact warrants have been executed and five officers are in custody. we know that the vast majority of the men and women in the baltimore city police department serve our city with pride, with courage, with honor, and with distinction, but to those of you who wish to engage in brutality, misconduct racism and corruption, let me be clear, there is no place in the baltimore city police department for you. today's indictments are the next step in the legal process that
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is running its course and as mayor, i will continue to be relentless in changing the culture of the police department to ensure that everyone in our city is treated equally under the law. there will be justice for mr. gray. there will be justice for his family and there will be justice for the people of baltimore. thank you. >> okay. that's -- i kind of thought it would go down just like this. that we would get a statement from the mayor, and that she would not take any questions. are you still there? >> yeah i am tony. i just wanted to comment on that. when the mayor first came out on monday, she was criticized profusely by experts and pundits and people on the streets of baltimore for her actions. some said she acted too slowly and some said she was responsible in part for the
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rioting and looting that took place because she wasn't aggressive enough. and others even criticized her demeanor. so what we see today is this more confident, you know, powerful statement, and i think she has been beat up a little and now she is coming out with a renewed sense on how to move forward. >> wait a minute she has been supported here. she has been buttressed by these charges. right now -- you can be really strong now that you have got these charges in hand. you can be really strong now. i'm not suggesting that the criticism was fair to begin with but there's no doubt about the fact that when the city's state's attorney comes out in the manner and set the tone that she set with her statement, anything less than that tone from the mayor would be surprising wouldn't it? >> well i think it was surprising tony on monday when she came out. i expected her to come out and
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inspire some confidence and give the city and all of us who were watching all around the nation some sense that she was in control. >> so you were one of the critics of her performance on monday. >> well, i was one of her cheerleaders. i was cheering for her hoping that she would inspire that confidence that i see today >> right. >> that in all honesty i didn't quite see that on monday because what she said was, look i don't want images -- the optics of baltimore to look like ferguson. i don't want this militarization that we saw on the streets of ferguson to be the legacy of baltimore, and in efforts, perhaps to do that i think she -- she was a little slow -- >> gotcha. >> -- on the draw to take control. >> areeva i'm still sorting through these charges and trying to pull it together in my own
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mind. at the very least, at a minimum, negligence is apparent here. the treatment of freddie gray can you talk about that for a second as it relates to the indictment and the way the city state's attorney talked through the elements of this case? >> yes, she started by talking about the arrest. so she debunked the myth that there was ever any probable cause to arrest freddie gray. she said the officer and freddie gray made eye contact. freddie gray took off. and then stopped running. he was placed on the ground arrested and some kind of restraint was used. >> right. let me stop you. so that is -- that is a critical point here. we have been asking why did you
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chase? >> yes. >> why did the officers chase? and what the city state's attorney is saying is there was no reason to chase. >> no reason. eye contact. that's what she told us. eye contact between freddie and the first officer who was on a bicycle. chases him for no apparently reason. and then we were told that freddie gray had a switchblade. the state attorney debunked that statement as well. >> let me stop you there, and i'll let you go again. this idea of a switchblade that was debunked but there was a knife that was legal. >> yes. >> okay. continue. >> so because there was no switchblade, because there was no weapon no drugs, there was no reason to arrest him. no probable cause for the
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arrest. so that's where this all starts to unravel -- >> so let me stop you again. no reason to chase him. no reason to arrest him. >> well let's go back to the chase -- that's a good point, tony. there's a supreme court case that says that police can stop and frisk individuals who are in certain high-crime areas. it doesn't say you can arrest without probable cause. so conceivably if they simply had chased freddie, stopped, had a conversation with him, determined that there was no reason no probable cause to arrest him, and allow him to go on his merry way, case over nothing -- no rights violated freddie would be alive today and we wouldn't be here talking about 28 charges against six officers. >> okay. so talk me through the treatment that the -- the 30 to 45