Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 27, 2012 10:30am-12:00pm EDT

10:30 am
21, something like that. they're -- [inaudible conversations] >> this past june rodney king, whose 1991 videotape beating by los angeles police officers who were later acquitted subsequently leading to l.a.'s deadly race riots was found dead in his swimming pool at the age of 47. initial reports labeled it a drowning. in april mr. king recounted his life following that beating, his legal problems and alcohol addiction as well as the aftermath of the four officers' acquittal. this is an hour, 15 minutes. [applause]
10:31 am
>> other side. you all mic'd up? >> yeah. >> wonderful, wonderful. [laughter] you have become an instant celebrity, so i know that you move in between spaces very fluidly, so we are very honored to have you here at the schaumberg center, and you've had a very patient, excited and interested audience, so they're very pleased to have you here. >> all right. >> um, we were, we opened this conversation about you and your work and your experiences by talking a little bit about you as a kid. >> uh-huh. >> and i shared with them some opening passages about your love of fishing. so i want to question you a chance -- give you a chance, in my prepared comments i wanted to ask you contrary to how most people know you, either as an abject victim of police violence
10:32 am
or as a controversial figure in the midst of the l.a. rebellion or as someone who has been part of a longer conversation about whether policing is racist or not and what is the responsibility of black people, um, in relation to the community, but in all of those versions of rodney king, um, there's no understanding of you as a kid who loved fishing, a kid who loved to swim, a kid whose favorite pastime in sports was baseball, and i would even say something most people don't know, you're a firefighter. >> oh, yeah. >> tell us a little bit about you as a person aside from the public figure that most people think they know. >> well, i'm just a down-to-earth guy, and, you know, i love life. it's, um, my childhood was a real good experience. i grew up in a neighborhood where it was pretty much a mixed neighborhood. did a lot of fishing with my
10:33 am
pops. we seen a lot of fish fries. did a little hunting also with him, had the experience to hunt with him. i wouldn't trade the experience of being rodney as a kid for nothing. it was, it was a good experience. it was a learning experience also, you know? >> tell us about some of those lessons. >> well, i can remember when me and my three brothers -- there was four of us altogether, but we had -- this was a little rough one here, so i'm going to start with the rough first. you know, you get older, and you get the chance to go out on your own, so me and my three brothers was out, and i think that day we had went swimming, swimming in the little, in a dam it was called santa fe dam or something like that, hampton dam. no, it was devil's gate dam in pasadena. >> they heard a little bit about devil's gate.
10:34 am
>> yeah, yeah, so they know the story -- >> they don't know the whole story. tell them. >> we were swimming, and i'm so used to being around a different nationality of people in that age because my mom did house clean anything the daytime, and my dad did it with him, but he did the buildings at night. so they would take us over to their employer's house sometimes during the week because we were young, too young to be in schools sometimes, so i had the experience of being around whites at an early age and playing with the kids and enjoying them, enjoying the company. so one day as we got older, we was able to go out on our own. and that particular day we went up to the lake i was telling you about. and so when we went up there, the guys was playing frisbee. and we were swimming in the little mud hole. so i guess they was starting to get bored of what they were doing. they were about 18, 19, you know, and 20. they were older than us. because we were like 8, 9, 8, 9
10:35 am
and 10, i'd say. and so i seen this guy tying up a rope, tying this rock up with a belt. and he was funnel be bling with it -- fumbling with it, trying to get it on there. so the guy gets the rock on there, and he starts swinging this belt around, swinging this belt around, and they start cursing and stuff like that. and so i'm watching, and i'm always the one that noticed something is about to happen for some reason. so i -- [laughter] some reason. and so what i did was i got out of the water real slow and left my other two brothers swimming. and i was so scared because i seen the other guy, that other guy coming down to the lake with the rock on the belt that he had. and he got in that water with my brother, with my oldest brother, and he tried to get him so he could tie him up with that rock and that rope, the belt and the rope. and myway, my youngest brother
10:36 am
saw him, what he was doing, he went down to the bottom of the lake and got some sand and threw it in the guy's eyes, and the guy started screaming and hollering, and that's how they got away. so when my oldest brother caught up with me, he said, why did you leave us? he called me all kind of names he could. why did you leaf us -- leave us u you little punk? it wasn't punk -- [laughter] he was cussing me out. and i felt so bad because i felt helpless, and i was just so scared, you know? first time we had went out, you know, as three little, three brothers, and we got, ran into that kind of, you know, that brutality -- >> this was a coming of age moment for racism for you. >> yeah. it was a coming -- that's what it was. it dawned on me, hey, listen, you're black, and they're white, you know what i mean? >> and i think you were, um, you describe certain aspects of your childhood, and you mention them here about sort of a world that wasn't shaped by -- if exactly.
10:37 am
>> -- that it was open, you had relationships with all sorts of people, one of which you -- well, not so much a person, but you describe your dad's favorite music. >> uh-huh. he loved country rock music, you know? he was the only black guy i think in the neighborhood who liked -- [laughter] who liked country white music, you know in and he loved it. listened to it at the lake and everything. and that was quite an experience. i mean, it was a good experience too, also, because of my mom's religion. her religion allowed us to be around different nationalities of people, and when we'd have these assemblies -- >> jehovah's witness. >> yeah, jehovah's witness. you know, i'm not baptized or anything myself, but it's been a wonderful experience when i was young growing up and being able to go out there, and they would rent, like, the dodgers stadium, and there would be different nationalities of people coming out, indian, japanese, white, black, you name it, they were
10:38 am
there. so during the lunch hours we would all help in preparing the food. so we got to know a lot about different, you know, cultures and what they liked to eat and stuff like that. and it was such a together and a warm feeling being with all those nationalities of people. no one knew each other, everybody was just so happy and friendly. but, you know, there was time you had to leave and go home, and real reality hit, and it was so much different, you know, being out in the world in the way people treated you compared to, you know, a forum with everybody from different nationalities and so nice. it was such a pleasant thing, and then to leave there and to be in the mix like, you know, with -- in the real world it's not really like that. so it was a, it was quite an experience. >> you talk about, um, sort of the arc of the book is about redemption. >> yeah. >> and you describe in the book
10:39 am
that you were influenced through your mother's faith but did not embrace religion. i'm curious, though, in terms of sort of the full trajectory of, um, childhood to the beating, to the rebellion, to the after life, to today, um, has her influence shaped you in ways that even if you aren't a practicing, don't practice a faith, but her influence somehow has sort of given you a sense of, um, your own humanity? >> yes. what it did was with my mom's religion and having a ground like that, it, you know, it kind of set the tone for my life, for the rest of my life. and it helped me not to hang on to anger, you know? be a racist towards, towards my brother, you know? it gave me, um, it gave me structure, you know? i don't walk, i don't -- i have
10:40 am
something forward to look for. there's a god out there, you know? there's a jehovah god out there. and, you know, i always look forward to that day when the world will be at peace and everybody can come together and get along, you know? >> we're going to talk about getting allock -- along, because i think inquiring minds want to have a context to that. can we have the first slide? so we have some pictures behind us, many of which will be familiar to you, of course. >> yep. i know that one. [laughter] ouch. >> yeah. this is, this is that night. and i wanted to read what i thought was one of the more moving passages, um, as you describe actually what's happening before the camera is rolling. >> uh-huh. >> um, so this is, this is what you describe. you said, um, but that was not their intent, and that was made
10:41 am
brutally clear to me when one of the officers suddenly kicked me with his boot in the side of my face. smashing my jaw. it felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to my head. before i could even register that unbearable pain, one of the other officers slammed me in the lower leg with his baton. i heard a crack and was so damn surprised when that happened that i immediately pleaded with melanie who was one of the arresting officers but who at that point had become kind of your guardian angel, at least in your mind, someone who was different from the rest. i knew this was going to sound -- i know this is going to sound kind of strange, but up until that point i had felt safe with her there at the scene, sort of a maternal presence that would not allow things to get too out of control. i shouted out to her, they don't have to do this. tell them, they don't have to do this. >> yeah. um, real brief going through that story, you know, when i was initially pulled over, i knew i
10:42 am
shouldn't have been drinking and driving, you know? but i had a job to go to that monday. a union job had called me, and that's paying way more money than what i was making from being an usher at dodger stadium and remold eling the hot dog and pizza stands and all that. so they called me up, i think thursday, and told me to be ready to go to work monday. when i heard that, i went and got a few beers and went over to my buddy's house. i didn't let them know i was going to be going to work, because i didn't know how they would feel about that. they get angry sometimes -- [laughter] but it was all good. and i went out with them, and we were on our way to the dam over there where my dad used to take us fishing, because i didn't want to be stuck in the same little community where we had, where we were at, where we grew up at. there was a couple of us. and so we started out over there, and then the highway patrol got on me, started chasing me in the car on the 210. so i saw the -- only thing i could think about was that job.
10:43 am
i gotta make it to get this job monday. i'm supposed to start work monday, and here i've got the cops behind me. i know i've been drinking, and i'm on parole. i've got to get away. [laughter] >> that's a lot to worry about. >> yeah. [laughter] i had worked, i had worked myself -- you know, when you come out of prison, and you really try to do the right thing, and then you, all of a sudden you know you're about to -- everything, your whole world's about to stop because you're on parole, and you're going back to jail, that's the only thing i could think of. anyway, i had lost the highway patrol car. and what happened was the helicopter was up there. and wasn't no getting away from the helicopter. [laughter] and, my goodness. so -- >> but you did think for a minute you might outrun. weren't you in a hyundai? >> yeah. hyundai excel. it was an upgrade. [laughter] hyundai. >> because -- [laughter] the joke here is that, and mr. king doesn't know this, but
10:44 am
i was pushing a hyundai at the time. [laughter] it was an excel gl. >> okay. [laughter] >> you know, it had a little coupe hatchback. and, in fact, i used to drive from philadelphia to chicago, from college home, and in the allegheny mountains i could floor it, and it wouldn't get past 55. [laughter] it just, it wouldn't get past 55. so you were thinking you were in a hot rod, but you were really in a hyundai. >> exactly. [laughter] anyways, to my surprise, they caught up with me. [laughter] and when they caught up with me, i could see them pull up on the side of me and said, it look like -- [laughter] pull over. and my heart just started going -- so i had to think fast. i had to think fast. i said, okay, i already know a beating's coming after this chase, because that's just how it goes. unfortunately, that's how it's been over the years. so i was looking for a pretty
10:45 am
literary to stop -- lit area to stop in, and where i chose to stop, there was apartment buildings over there. but there was nobody out. i said to myself if i get out here and it goes bad, maybe somebody will come outside or something. and sure enough, it went bad. so she ordered me out of the car. >> melanie. >> yeah. melanie and tim singer. they were a husband and wife team, the highway patrol, the initial ones on the chase. and so, um, so they -- she came over to me. they had already ordered me out of the car, you know, take your right hand, put it outside the car, take your left hand, open the car up and laid down. so i laid down face down. so she came over to me, and she got my wallet out of my back pocket so she could get my id. so as she's doing that, i'm looking at them, they're running to the trunk, and they're popping the trunk real fast, and one is trying to get his taser out, i mean, his baton out of the car. he's running towards me. and as she's walking away, i
10:46 am
said, hey, i'm laying on the floor face down, and i'm like, hey, tell them they don't have to do this, because i already know what's fixing to happen. so when she walked away from me, her husband walked up to me and just like, boom! kicked me in the temple, in the temple area. broke my jaw. and then he asked me, how do you feel? and, you know, i'm -- my feelings and my whole heart, my morale and everything was broke at that point. only thing i could do is not let this guy know he got the best of me, which he did. so i told him, i couldn't even say it right. i feel fine, you know, jaw broke, blood coming out. i feel fine. so i laid down there. i guess the sergeant heard that, sergeant coon. so he comes up and tased me right away. and i'm being tased, i'm just -- he's lighting me up. i could feel the blood coming out of my mouth and face, and then he asked me, how you feel thousand? i couldn't say nothing.
10:47 am
and he said, we're going to kill you, nigger, run. so when he said that, i'm going to run. so i hesitated for a second. i stayed on the ground, and, you know, was just looking for a clearance at that point. i'm still on the ground. and i'm looking for a clearance. and as -- when i see the clearance, excuse me, when i see the clearance, it was between the hyundai and the police officer right here. so what i do is i get up to go run, to run, but this leg, when this leg went in front of me -- i didn't know it was broke, so the leg just fell down. so when i fall down, it looks like -- they was able to make the camera look like i was going after him because my hands went like this. but i was trying to get my hands in front of me so i wouldn't fall face down. >> and the video still wasn't running by that -- >> that's when the video had been running maybe about 15, 20 -- >> it caught that. >> so it caught that. >> okay. >> what it didn't catch was, you know, them name calling and the
10:48 am
tasers being, you know -- >> right. >> -- the juice running, 50,000 volts going through my body. now, he did that, like, three shots. and discharged all three shots. but while he's tasing me, these guys are beating me with the baton, and he's telling me to stay still, stay still. there's no way you can stay still with those kind of volts running through your body. now, i'm all hooked at this point. i'm soaked in blood, and the electricity's hitting me at the same time. so i'm like, wow. i'm feeling, i'm feeling like, felt like when my dad, when i almost burnt up the house when i was a kid playing with matches. threw a match on the trash can, and it caught on fire. he told me go in there, take a bath and don't dry off. he had an extension cord waiting on me. that same whupping, somehow it felt like it prepared me for that night with the taser because the same, getting whupped with a thick extension
10:49 am
cord and shocked is the same feeling of -- it's a horrible feeling. and so when i, when i felt that, it was like 20 times worse than the extension cord, you know, whupping. and anyway, the guy would run the taser til it ran out, but he's saying stay still. so when he stops the taser, of course i'm just regrouping myself, trying to see if i'm still there. i'm trying to stay still but, shit, i can't -- i mean, excuse me. >> it's okay. [laughter] >> so the guy, so he starts beating me some more because i'm moving. oh, he's moving, he's moving. and you can hear him -- i could hear 'em calling me the name, you f-ing, you know, n. and once you start cursing and you're beating somebody, you really get into it now. so they're really into it, calling me these names, and they're really into it. so at this point i'm like, oh, man. >> so you had a moment that you describe in the book where,
10:50 am
um -- and i want the audience to hear you describe it -- where you sort of insert yourself in the long history, um, of black people experiences in the united states, and you make specific reference to slave beatings. >> yeah. i'm going to tell you what really gave me a lot of strength also that night was knowing that, you know, black people before me went through this in slavery. and up to this day, you know? i said to myself, i kept saying it was just moments, you know, moments to think. and it's like, dang, this is what, this is what, you know, people really went through back in the days, you know? and still going through when they don't, if they don't catch 'em, when they don't get caught. but i said, i've gotta survive this. my brothers and my sisters can survive through the same thing, so you just got to stay alive, buddy, stay alive. because you don't even have time to think of that, but you
10:51 am
already know because you're being beat by people who are not of your color. so my whole instinct is i cannot die out here. i cannot let these guys kill me. i've got to stay alive, you know? i've got to prove what happened to me. so, you know, i ended up being handcuffed and everything, and only thing i could do is hold on to my shoes and i think it was a shirt that i still had in the hospital. and i thought that was the only evidence i had. i didn't know there was a video camera. because i said to myself, nobody's going to believe you, man. ain't nobody going to believe, so you better hold on to these shoes and these pants. so after a couple days they wheeled me into another room, excuse me, and there was a black policewoman came in there, and she said, oh, baby, we seen it all on tape. and to go back a little bit with melanie singer, the highway patrol lady, i did, i felt like everything was going to be okay because there was a female out there that night. so i thought it was going to be
10:52 am
different. and then let me move back up forward. where was i at? >> >> you were talking about the african-american female police officer who came -- >> yeah. there was a african -- yeah, the black female officer that was in the county jail, she worked there. and she said, baby, we seen it all on tape. you just lay down there and get yourself well so you can get through there. it's all on tape, don't worry about it. she said, they got it all on tape. i don't believe it. so they wheeled me into another part of the jail, and the inmates must have got wind of it on tv somehow, and when i got in there, i couldn't walk or nothing. so they was picking me up, carrying me up to the window. which one of 'em, which one of 'em did it? it was white boys, mexicans, they was ready to riot. one of 'em got me on in this side, that side, the cops was all looking in there just wanting to see how much damage was done on me. and they was, like, which one of 'em did it?
10:53 am
i was trying to tell 'em, i couldn't even talk because my jaw and stuff was all broke. try to tell 'em it's not, it's not them, it's not those, you know? but they was ready to riot in that jail that day. >> one thing you describe which won't be obvious to the audience is that you hadn't actually been charged with anything at that point. >> no. >> did you, were you conscious of that at that point, and how quickly did someone use that as evidence that maybe the officers realized they had overstepped their bounds? because, clearly, um, given what the encounter actually looked like, there should have been some reckless driving, excessive speeding, um, but at this point you hadn't even been charged. >> right. because the beating was, it was too horrible for them, i guess for them to even want to press charges. i had got lucky because i had a black parole officer, and so he understood, you know? he understood what went on, and he told me, hey, man, you won't be getting, you won't be getting
10:54 am
violated on this. he said, you know, we got, you gotta do something about this. he said you get yourself well so you can stay focused on what's got to be done here. you've got some work to do, but don't worry about me, you won't be getting violated by me. >> so i have, um, we're rubbing a little -- running a little late, of course, because things started late, but i wanted to, um, get you to talk about -- you made reference to your expectation of police violence, that preceded the moment that you actually are finally pulled over, that you expected this kind of violence. i want you just briefly just to sort of talk about, um, what that was like because the book doesn't describe that expectation prior to that moment. i mean, you're talking about your parents, you're talking about your father's alcoholism and how you yourself drank a lot as a young adult, and sometimes you make stupid decisions as a
10:55 am
young person, driving too fast, etc. but you don't talk about that. i want to get a broader sense of what it was like to be a young black man in los angeles, um, in the 1980s where you had this expectation of violence. and then i want to talk a little bit about the trial itself. i have something i want to share with the audience about what you describe from one of the officers. >> well, where i grew up at, you know, i could see, um, there was a police car one time, and it had a lot of little pings and dents in it. and, i mean, i would ride my mini bike up trails some days, and there was a spot right off -- there's a dirt trail right off of ashfar road, and i could see sometimes cops bringing guys up there, black guys up there, handcuff 'em to the car and just beating 'em real bad. i'd shut my mini bike down and watch it. >> this is a secluded area. >> yeah, it's in a secluded
10:56 am
area. it's a little -- it's in the mountains. it's in the mountains. it's a road up to it. but there's trails, there's bike trails on the side of it. not too many people go up there unless you live there. but it was a good spot for them to take prisoners up there and beat 'em up. anyway, one day one of the police had stopped me, and he said you know whose dent this is from? this is from, you know, this is from chris' head, you know? this is, that's my dent right there from chris. and he goes, you see this dent back here? that's john's face right there. and which one of these dents you going to be? >> and these were people that you knew? >> yeah, these were people that i knew. and they stopped bringing prisoners to the at dean that sheriff's station in california because they were saying that the prisoners was hanging themselves and that they killed themselves. so it was just too many accidental deaths going on in the station -- >> quote-unquote. >> yes.
10:57 am
so there was too many accidental deaths going on at the station, so they don't even bring 'em there anymore. they take 'em out to glendale, they moved the station, the holding tank. it's just a holding tank now to this day. they hold them there for a couple hours, they don't spend the night there no more, they take them to the next city over because the sheriffs were so, you know, brutal with inmates. >> so given that, those experiences that are well known in your community, among your peers, given now a what's just happened to you, now there's a videotape. you're going into the trial a year later with, what, expectations that justice will be served? >> yeah, yeah. simi valley, the first -- so we get to the first court hearing in simi valley, and my lawyers are telling me, you stay home. don't come to the court, you know? we don't want you to lose it, you know, blow the case. and i'm at home, you know, and can't be there to fight, to
10:58 am
speak for my own self. it's my case, you know? i was just so discombobulated and -- >> the district attorney actually chose not to ask you -- >> terry white. >> -- not to testify. which then the defense or the jury held against you. explain to them a little because it seemed to make sense from the district attorney's standpoint that you might not necessarily incriminate yourself, but you might contradict the physical evidence. but yet the jury said if he really was -- >> hurt -- >> was not a provocateur, if he's not the cause of this, right? because the pcp was in play, that you were -- >> yeah. >> on psychedelic drugs, that you were uncontrollable -- >> and although they never found pcp in my blood anywhere, they still ed the pcp thing that, you know, they thought i was on pcp. but, yeah, the da, the prosecutor, he would tell my attorney to make sure you keep
10:59 am
him away. so he kept me away. but it just hurt me so bad because i'm watching -- all the reporters did a wonderful job at the court, and, you know, they were real honest, and they were, like, you could see almost tears in the reporters, in the cameraman's eyes like how come these guys didn't get convicted? but then you have, um, what is her name, nancy grace? nancy grace was -- >> not the same nancy grace? >> the same nancy grace. [laughter] she's in front of the courthouse, and she's just, she's just, she's -- if this really happened to rodney king, why isn't rodney king here? where is he at? he must not be hurt that bad. it must not have been that bad. and why isn't he here? and my case almost got judged just by some of the things that she was out there saying all during the two weeks that she was there. i hate, i hate -- it was just irked me when she had herself in front of the courthouse, um,
11:00 am
trying many i case outside the court -- my case outside the courthouse as a reporter. >> do you think that it matters that there were ten white jurors, one hispanic and one asian? >> um, it did, it definitely had a impact on my case. you know, you have to have someone of your peers on your case, especially of your same nationality because they don't know anything about you, even a person of your own color doesn't know anything about you, but at least they understand a little bit more, you know? there's a little bit more understanding. ..
11:01 am
how we were trained and that person has to die because i'm going to do my job and almost lost my life because of procedures but what it boils down to his a was a pattern that they always did. no one -- i couldn't beat someone like that if i hadn't beat someone like that before. if i was a cop. i just happened to survive through it. >> you described as it happened later that one of the officers laurence powell was record of
11:02 am
prior he had period come from a previous call and i'm going to read when you wrote. he said the question basically were the cops racist and forcing some kind of racial pravachol and los angeles that a young black man could be beaten with impunity and would be justifiable. so, you said the question on the racism of the l.a.p.d. through your experience was on trial the jury said this wasn't about race, this was about rodney king's peter and an acceptable response to his behavior. you said now i don't know if power is racist but evidence submitted in court shows 20 minutes before he beat me he sent this computer message. quote, this is powell in the computer message. sounds almost exciting as the last call. the call has come in. sounds almost as exciting as the last call. it was right out of a girl was
11:03 am
in the mist. his lawyer tried to dismiss the comment about his interpretation of activities that a black household by saying it wasn't necessarily racist. in effect he had been on a domestic violence call and said he just finished up with guerrillas in the mist. this was evidence submitted by the district attorney has evidence of a preexisting mindset that preceded your actual encounter. even as you wrote the words does it still surprise you what passes it not being racist in terms of what a jury is willing to say is evidence of racism and is not. >> it surprises me. it was definitely racist. i know that, and everybody else knows that. the bad thing is it was too black cops. in fact we let them in there.
11:04 am
i told them to let them go because we were lucky just to get the to the we got. i would have been happy if we had gotten four or even five. that would have been fun. but i was happy to get some type of justice. i missed my point. >> there's another example from the jurors that i think is important to set in the context which is that one of the jurors in an interview afterwards basically described, characterized -- the frame of this is important comes in here we have evidence one of the officers had black domestic callers guerrillas. in a juror later describing the lack of criminal behavior on the part of the officers because you were harmed by what they did. it was a characterization of you basically being able to take the beating and since you weren't
11:05 am
really harmed by it, how could this be an instance of excessive force. is that a fair characterization? >> yes, it was. and was hurting. but what it made me realize is that blacks have been treated very bad in the past. i would never have wanted to live back in the 30's or in the 50's because i don't see how made way for us to this day. >> ron paul on this particular point, stereotypes and the demonization and the stigma of black men. in this case you basically then compared to kind of having animal like strength. we can all see the video. and there's even question well, those blows were missing. they were not clean strikes and you argue the prosecutor actually submitted as evidence
11:06 am
so the jury he could hold the physical bataan. but ron paul interestingly as a presidential candidate in this election cycle described in what his newsletter that preceded of the trayvon martin tragedy that six-foot tall 14 year old black boy should be feared as if there were adults purely because of the size. this is a legitimate response to the fear, legitimate response to their size, and it strikes me that in your case not only does the jury penalize you of being deserving but the police officers made sport of your physical size by giving you a little bit extra. >> it's a sad case because it
11:07 am
has been going on for so long. it's been going on for so long that the black policemen that work in the l.a.p.d. area around there and probably everywhere they've had over the years so they can keep their jobs, and it's gotten to the point where people have almost become numb to it. thank god for the videotape because what it is kind of woke the mind back up because had it not been for that beating on the videotape, they would be a lot worse than they are now. but it's been going on for so long and we've done so much work since the release of slaves, and after this day we have always been the person to go out and do the dirty job in the war and
11:08 am
some we don't like accepting things we don't like and once you have been an underdog so long it's easy for anyone else that can into the country to treat that attitude also. the country has modern tools to work with now. i mean, i don't agree with what happened and what went on, but we should be passed that point where the black man is always the bad guy. if he were suppressed for 300 years and told you are the bad guy over the years people would really start thinking you are the bad guy. trayvon martin had to lose his
11:09 am
life in order for things to change because there would be a change. >> can we see a run of the size of the rebellion because the transition to talk a little bit about trayvon in the remaining time but can you take us back? >> can you just run through? the merchants that are defending their property in the midst of the rebellion and the riots. there's a couple more. real property, real people. >> they run the risk right there. people are fed up. >> i think there's one more. this image comes from our collection of malcolm x to
11:10 am
beavers, and this is a response to a police raid on islam temple in 1962 where two african-american members of the temple were killed according to the nation in cold blood by the l.a.p.d., and it spurred a malcolm x to a much more aggressive position on antipolice brutality organizing and he carried that immediately. i thought this was a powerful image. they are shot in cold blood by the los angeles police and this gives a kind of historical frame this is three years before rodney king was born but it certainly gives some richness
11:11 am
and texture to it you know about this? >> i'm curious to see that footage. >> it echoes the point about the deep foundational nature of urban police and its repression either of innocent bystanders, citizens or politically conscious folks pushing back against the racial status quo in that moment. next slide. you make reference to both 1965 l.a. trevelyan so it sets the stage for the world and you came in to and this is a matter of chronology with an interesting space and time to be a part of
11:12 am
the larger community. but you also tie that moment in your own experience to katrina, and this is an image of tackling the swat teams to new orleans to deal with the problem of looting which became a mother rationalized metaphor in the most desperate circumstances. one of the interesting irony is about this particular is a was all the mythology about the crime and violence happening. 95% proved to be absolutely untrue. even in the reporting of katrina, you saw the juxtaposition of african americans growing into stores to get things. now again, i'm not here
11:13 am
absolving people of whatever wrongdoing they actually committed in that moment. but nevertheless, when there was whites who captured with appropriated objects, they were said to have found them. it's fascinating to see the regionalization, but it is the sense that the longstanding presence of police to some kind of occupying army. what did you think about this and what did you think about the news reports of looting and were you saying to yourself this is randy l.a. all over again? were you saying to yourself i guess we still can't get along? what was your response? >> it was horrible because i was just so scared. they had floods to deal with.
11:14 am
i know they had cops running around, too and then getting blamed for at. it was a sad moment for people, period. it was a sad moment that felt like it could have gotten worse and then what happened in l.a.. but i just can't believe how things go from bad to worse. we are in modern times and it's just unbelievable it happens here in america. people have built and worked so hard to get us up to this point to get blamed and to be picked
11:15 am
on it just loses me. i get lost in my own country sometimes. like martin luther king said, we still have a long way to go and we should be working towards a better tomorrow and talk about race relations in this country. >> no one suffers but blacks. everybody suffers, minorities, period. thank goodness for the whites and other nationalities that come and make people realize this is happening. my hat goes off to people that are off not this color and died for good cause and my inside warms me and i want to shed tears for them, because if it
11:16 am
wasn't for a lot of prayers from everybody come in different nationalities for the good for this country and in my situation my spirit would have been broken a long time ago had not been for all colors coming together letting them know this is america. this is how we do it in this part of the globe, and it's just not enough of them there with the ones that have it really makes a difference. if my hat goes off to them. sprigg it sounds like your mom's belief system really has helped you to be grounded in something optimistic. next slide, please. >> this one sort of brings the
11:17 am
sharp focus of where we are in this particular moment and we are not even the situation of trayvon martin. there was a news report about a facebook group run by about 1200 members of the nypd sympathizers and allies. in response to the annual parade which is a coastal celebration in brooklyn, officers complained about having to do that, and in their complaint they shared publicly on facebook what they thought about the black. and we are not talking about 19-year-olds being disrespectful and macho and pushing people around. we are talking about everybody
11:18 am
these are the photographs that appeared in an article where the lawyers have actually captured the whole conversation, and among that conversation was with reference to animals and savages and wipe them all out. one officer said if we don't do anything maybe they will just kill themselves. so this is going back to that guerrilla in the midst comment where we don't have to abstract what members of the local law enforcement community, not everybody thinks of the people that they are supposed to serve and protect and this article came out in december of 2011. it suggests that we might be moving in the wrong direction. the lessons of your experience may be lost to a generation and
11:19 am
if these young officers we see don't look like the veterans of have learned nothing. i know you just described a lot of optimism but how do you process something like this? would you tell an 18-year-old growing up in harlem or south central l.a. in the wake of this because this is hard to hide from. we had an 18-year-old killed in his own bathroom, she was a suspected felon of marijuana on the street corner. he ran and got to his home before the police officer got there. they broke into the house, he was in the bathroom allegedly flashing whatever pot he had and they killed him and his bathroom. his grandmother was there and a six your brother and in that case this is happening right now. what do you tell young people
11:20 am
clacks >> it's horrible to speak on the line going to tell you when things like that happen, we can get ourselves in position every time a situation like that happens when it's not reasonable we should make moves to where we can have those officers fired every time because it is happening too often now and if they start losing their jobs -- [applause] we have to come together and demanded that person be removed from the force. when it happens it makes it okay for that guy and that guy to do it and then the rockies, after them and it's engraved in them. it's taken a long time.
11:21 am
we have to step up to the plate and demand when there's an unjustified killing someone needs to be fired or someone needs to go to jail. if they are on the police force, they definitely need to be fired because you can't bring another life back. once it leaves, it's gone. he's got to do his next thing and, you know, no man should be able to take another man's life. it's a scary feeling for someone to invade your life and your space like that. it just puts me back many years. i can't imagine what it was like to live back in the days. we've got to get rid of them. they've got to get rid of them. they have to. >> in the case of evin trayvon martin, it makes surviving the
11:22 am
encounter seem like a blessing in disguise in a strange way. if that is the standard by which we judge what we can expect in terms of encountering police officers. you know new york city is the world's leading in terms of size, police force some armies and small countries, and it has intensified the surveillance in this country something like 700,000 people were stopped and frisked which only intensified but can lead to discredit episodes. you mentioned holding police accountable. going to the next slide i wrote something mentioning not only knowing your anniversary was coming, not at the time actually knowing that your memoir was going to be out, but i wanted to
11:23 am
take on the way in which the conversations about racist policing and the use of police violence to repress the freedom they have civil liberties and the need to walk freely without molestation. the problem is black people killing and harming each other. i call this place in the balance card in a recent op-ed i mentioned you and your particular moment as a moment where the conversation was shifting to your violence. so it was your behavior that looked at the legitimate response just as her role dover air to the to -- her although rivera it is equally responsible for george zimmerman taking his
11:24 am
life. whether it is symbolic because in your case being electrocuted and that's true for trayvon. in the case of trayvon and watching the story unfolded i think it's interesting but the captain of that police department was submitted and letters. a kind of reform of accountability that you just called for. the police department did not kill trayvon that they tested his body for drugs, he was sitting as a john doe in the police station for three days. they did bring john zimmermann for questioning but was released within a matter of hours, case closed. trayvon was the provocateur. so there's a kind of acceptance
11:25 am
of the four vigilante violence in the case and decided to resign in the week of the controversy and guess what happened, you probably know as of today they reported that local citizens stood up in defense of him and compelled the city council to refuse to accept the resignation there for endorsing the police response to george zimmerman as acceptable and legitimate and we can talk to think 20 years later on this anniversary we really are repeating history. we really are saying that it is okay for young black men to die when we feel we as citizens have a kind of legitimate fear you can brand and stigmatize all of them and this is unfortunate outcome. we are going to now as we make final remarks in reference to trayvon's case and share with us what he makes of all of this where we are and where we should
11:26 am
be going we will have a few minutes for questions. i know we ran along all along. if you have a question, please come over to the microphone so it can be recorded. in the interest of everyone here, make a snappy so that more people get a shot. here we are in this moment with trayvon. issued police violence still on the table, young black men are still subject to a level of scrutiny that is a form of racism in my opinion here in new york city and florida citizens get to behave in such ways. what should we be learning in light of what happened and apparently we are not learning at this moment?
11:27 am
>> again come here is the situation where this guy is trying to look good for the police and he knows if i kill any black guys i'm going to get away with that. there was the case because it has been going on for so long where they think everybody's going to believe it. i know that i'm not going to make much comment about it because i wanted to have a fair outcome command of the family needs healing and the justice, we need justice for trayvon in any way we can get whether it would be changed, but something definitely has to take place because i myself have felt the
11:28 am
same fear the way this young man has his life taken. that seems like a was a lot put in place for minorities because you can look at a certain black person and if he looks scary he looks scary to me to but i'm not scared of him because lampblack. i know the feeling, you know what i mean? it's easy for somebody to say why feel threatened by this person. he didn't feel threatened, he walked down the street in the apartment building. he's way older than this young man.
11:29 am
it's just uncalled for and it's a shame that kind of stuff is going on and this person can get away with it in my lifetime. the truth of the matter is we have to come together as people and somehow make it to where these type of situations don't go unpunished like that because what happened to him someone else is going to be next. it's just a matter of time. what we need to do as people -- >> it's a good thing. they can get out there and marchant stand up for us when we can't. jesse jackson and them are still alive. this guy here for them to get out and march like that when we
11:30 am
don't have a voice for ourselves and they have been beaten and are still living. these type of people are paving the way for when those kids come down the line they can deal with them better instead of just being able to get away. vlore needs to be looked at and some things changed because a lot hour outdated and old and a lot of new ones don't even make sense. i looked round sometimes in my neighborhood and i miss all those friends i had. i miss my own color when i want to feel strained and i look around now and i don't even see -- i see just a handful of them. it's a hard feeling to go down the street and no people have
11:31 am
been moved. you look at what is going on and half of them are sitting in jail for cases they didn't even do. luckily i had a little money to get out of this trouble but it's got to be a feeling when your whole life is gone. >> we are going to stop there. c-span has been light of the streaming the conversation and they may be wrapping up now so i want to thank them in case they decide for the webcast. [applause] that way your story will reach
11:32 am
as many as possible i think it is a powerful one and one that holds tremendous lessons for us because we are continuing to face challenges of social justice are not police brutality and the quality-of-life in the communities of color so i would like to open the floor. i'm going to be a little pushy. spec my name is chris. i'm an activist and worked on these issues all my life. my questions are basically on the responsibility. i thought i heard you say earlier there were police officers there when you're beaten. >> they were there on the scene. >> while you were being beaten? what did they do? >> they ended up suing me. to enter the $60,000 i had to pay them. i had to pay them.
11:33 am
>> because i'm an activist i challenge. my question to you, this was a case that went all over the world. who i mobilized people and i've been activist my whole life. you've made pretty strong statements today. what have you done in light of these cases? have you marched with these people you talked about? anybody may be on the west coast in light of these cases because again we've had police brutality cases outside of your own and i would like to know if you've done anything else as a result to help somebody else. >> every chance i get when i have the speaker because the camera in front of me i always speak on the side of issues every time i get a chance to. i haven't gotten out there yet. we are not afraid to and when
11:34 am
the situation is right it's not a problem with me. >> thanking. >> i worked there for ten years with the adolescents from 16 to 18-years-old. my question or statement to you is do you feel -- i feel the african-american males particularly adults need to step to the plate in that when we can't be afraid of our kids if you see a young man doing something that is inappropriate for example the other day i was on the subway and these kids stood up and started using profanity, and i approached him and i told him that was inappropriate. do you feel with more of us need to do that when we see young men
11:35 am
acting in an inappropriate way as opposed to not paying any attention to the and letting it go by? another question on top of that and i will stop there. i think african-american women in general i feel that their conversation even we as black men have messed up and have made a lot of mistakes the conversations should be more in a positive realm as opposed to a - realm. so one -- >> if how to help young men who may be doing self-destructive things in public or private and then whether the ladies are given the hard way to go.
11:36 am
>> it's okay to speak to them. many of them are older but be careful some of the more violent it's the truth. it's all about how you go at them. it's the way you go about it. you humboldt yourself but we need u.s. of that type of energy to be doing this and that. it's all about how you approach a person. >> they've proven they can be approachable. >> was about their reputation, what role they can play.
11:37 am
>> women are really strong especially black women. that's how i've survived all these years. i've had to depend on women a lot to get to this point. [applause] i'm not saying that to get on the women's a good side. i have needed a woman to help me out in a lot of situations i just couldn't -- i haven't gotten this far with just speed
11:38 am
-- males. i will never understand, some women have their own way. [laughter] >> i am a lifelong activist. my question is what individuals and or organizations in los angeles are on the forefront of fighting police brutality right now and if you had a chance to talk to president obama, because i was very disappointed when he was arrested in his own house, and i thought that was an opportunity to deal with the police community relations. if you had a chance to talk to president obama what would you suggest to him as a way to move
11:39 am
forward on this issue taken into consideration the white backlash because of the majority of the white population in this country? >> if i had the opportunity. i would ask him to make issues about it and speak on it. speak more about it now that you are in office. the people that got you in their, black and white have waited so long to get you in their. speak out on some of those issues a lot more because that is one of the reasons you are in the office. no man can bring peace to this earth and would be able to do that but you can make it a lot easier by putting the issues on the forefront while you are in that office speak on those
11:40 am
issues that will help the community is a lot more than what has been going on. shoved under the carpet for too long and not spoken on. >> or their organizations you can mention briefly the you worked with over the years and you want to give a shout out to the has done good work in the community to police violence. they were exposed for terrible cases of corruption and brutality and killing suspects when they took over. when they go on the l.a. police force any of those grassroots organizations the we are fighting against? >> the naacp was one.
11:41 am
they had a strong voice, so my hat goes off to them. i will be honest with you, the naacp has really helped me over the years. >> i may correctional officer and you alluded to the fact that when you was incarcerated how they treated you. you are a hero, and i think you should consider doing community work even in san quentin closed alcatraz.
11:42 am
>> thanking. i well. >> my question is twofold basically. one is i've heard you do a radio interview last week and he made an observation of the decry and use it in your own opinion that something like a death cry that you could relate to and of course the experts came together and said clearly. but they didn't say that it was trayvon either. can you speak to that and the second, if you would address this peace historical black men in this country have always been an endangered species. the day that we got on that sleeve shipped to post trayvon martin to the latest -- we've
11:43 am
had several to that cause several since trayvon martin. they told us years ago we need to take it before the court. there is an effort to try to make that a reality. would you join in that effort? i would like to get insight from you all on the second question and some direction are around that peace. thanking. >> the first question is about the crime and the intimate connection to that. >> there was the same screaming and hollering that i did 20 years ago. there's no doubt in my mind i was screaming for my life the same that baby boy was hollering and screaming. it didn't take me long to know the screen there is no difference.
11:44 am
>> to the question of the future of activism building on bringing america's racial injustices before the community shifting the focus from human-rights. >> i think that we've heard a lot. if you have a final thought about how that is today for organizing around the international context and to draw on many resources and communities and the political players is possible. >> it's to have all those different organizations in this world we live in now because before things could to get better the truth is it will get worse.
11:45 am
there's definitely a need for all those different organizations doing the right thing, and the organization is a solid but there is definitely the need for lack of faith. i wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for movement and civil rights movement back in the day people have died before me i wouldn't -- they set the groundwork for me it was a fight all the way to receive justice in my case. and without the marches in the past and was lost i wouldn't be here today. there wouldn't be a lot of us. so, a lot of programs young kids can go to these days. there were programs that
11:46 am
occurred to get together and go in the camps and the parks to be a part of the community and to go cut grass and dues of for the city, clean the streets and we did that as a group. there was a little bit of that going on. the organizations that you are talking about have really helped over the years. >> i would add to that we are in an era of mass incarceration and we spend money to build prisons and warehouse people we have chosen to treat drugs as a criminal offense in stark contrast to alcohol which is not a productive but it's perfectly
11:47 am
legal and contributes to alcohol-related accidents and homicides altogether outstripping all of the narcotics related death so these are political choices and the way that we choose to enforce the drug law and marginalize poor communities, so it takes a political process to unravel and one of the things that is important to me as an individual taking on this issue is unraveling the voices of what i call the silent majority. the function in many ways that we are all too familiar with which is to say they make it about a year and not about policy. as long as it remains a question
11:48 am
about individual behavior and what about the community that it comes from or to the school she just left or the way he generally despises society there's more in prison for the next 20 years than opposed to educating him. we are not going to have those conversations of the same time that we advise him to have proper manners and public. that is something we have to contribute to. [applause] that brings us to the end of this program. please, please -- no, she's with me. please, join me for a book signing and since we are here to there please join me in a round of applause. [applause]
11:49 am
11:50 am
>> do dillinger in this house his father wanted him to be a lawyer. he felt that it wasn't a stable profession. as soon as the calamity happens when the family has a severe phenomena in the reversal they lose the mansion and he's forced to drop out and he basically says if it wasn't for the fact my father hasn't gone bankrupt it wouldn't have had the drive they have today to rename myself. looking for columbia to get aba
11:51 am
and got his law degree and practice law from one year and a famous admiral felt he had talent. he taught him what he needed to learn and he went to new york to start in a very successful practice of not just designing but also he designs 70% of all in world war ii which is an incredible achievement. he designs the craft and is also the man responsible for the liberty ship which is the mass-produced. it was basically the way to build his mind set. throughout his career he still remains focused on the grand prize.
11:52 am
>> i'm going to talk about how losing the campaign shaped the 2012 election and then do a little speculation on the 2012 election for the history of the united states and i'm going to begin and open up for questions and going to begin with what i think is a bold picture which is that on november 6, 2012, absolutely been definitely be a winner and loser. but the bold prediction as this. sometimes it isn't clear. sometimes the winner has no impact on history. it becomes sort of inconsequential when oftentimes the tremendous impact on american political history and change the political dynamics in
11:53 am
a whole bunch of different ways. before i go into that i was an unsuccessful political candidate myself. i ran for congress in 1998. i was a democratic nominee. you sit there and say wow, that's tough. they would give me their talent when he jumped out of the 1976 presidential race he said they have spoken. so it's like barry goldwater. he says i still believe america is a great country everybody can grow up to be president, so you worry about that. but it is pretty minimal.
11:54 am
i feel like i moved forward a little bit. but at the presidential level it has far greater impact. they are important to the system first of all when they be given a certain way i will explain that. they are far more dynamic and prophetic. how do they make democracy work? you may have noticed on election night they always get to speak first. whoever they think the winner is and then we sit around for an hour waiting for the guy to come out and speak. the loser is giving his concession speech and that is because we think we know the tools. the fact is when a winner declares victory. if the loser since i didn't
11:55 am
lose, she didn't, he can't be our president. you see that have been around the world all the time to read a lot of countries people don't abide by the rules. you see chaos. in 2008 we had the presidential campaign between the first african-american president and john mccain but the losers didn't like the results, so after all the violence is done with 1500 people, a quarter million in india deaths in mongolia and ghana triet when he was elected president in france he had so many riots injured and 600 pages of arrested so we are
11:56 am
fortunate in the united states we don't have violence in the presidential election because they come out and say i accept the results of the country to unify a around the winner and look forward. they have to do that because they can only with a on a losing and i refuse to recognize the legitimacy. how? you have chaos and i think one of the reasons i wrote the book, one of the messages in the book is that i do worry we are getting to a point of so much politicization that we are going to lose this wonderful tradition to be the last several presidencies people see the legitimacy of the winner and that is dangerous for the country. we think we are a strong democracy and there is no country quite as diverse as the united states with so many different ethnic groups and regional differences in our
11:57 am
democracy in america is fragile. it's important that we maintain the traditions and try to keep as unified and understanding of the legitimate government will let them govern and be the basic elements of governing and come back next election but if we do that we are going to see some terrible problems in our e elections. the other way losers have impact on winners is often i said winners are more prophetic. often the losers come up with new ideas while they are stuck in the policies of the past. i would argue probably every major program in the political system first talked about in the losing campaign it takes awhile for public acceptance and it's very difficult to absorb. they bring in more participants. they bring a different political
11:58 am
process. they bring new focus and change the collision, how the parties are organized. a lot of the campaigns change the party from liberal to conservative for conservative party to liberal party, and the reason they do that is a couple reasons. first they know they're going to lose. they won't admit that but political polling you always wanted to be 1948 like harry truman way from behind but in fact most of our forward and by a there there is peace, prosperity. so losing the campaign sometimes has to be very bold people talk about issues nobody talks about or they bring on a running mate for example walter mondale or john mccain with sarah palin on the ticket. use of the movie game change which is what it is about.
11:59 am
you need a game changer. so they went and generated a lot of excitement. if you one you would say i have a winning message. i don't need to change anything. but a loser would have introspections to see what did we do wrong what can we do better next time so to retool think of remodeling your health. in addition they come all the way to think about what you want to do and then rebuild and that's what happens. >> you can watch this and other programs online at ..


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on