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tv   Washington Journal Kirsten West Savali  CSPAN  March 31, 2018 8:04am-8:42am EDT

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is landmark cases. follow us on c-span. we also have a "landmark cases" companion book, a link to the interactive constitution, and a "landmark cases" podcast at >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1970 nine, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> "washington journal" continues. houston,ning us now in texas is kirsten west savali, associate editor for justice and
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education at the root. you can read the work there at good morning. thank you for joinin. guest: thank you for having me. host: the timing is certainly apt for your visit. we have two police shootings around the country, one not far from where you are in baton rouge, louisiana. the baton rouge holy storm has fired an officer who shot alton sterling. they write that after nearly two years of investigations in the public outcry over the shooting of mr. stirling, the baton rouge police to fired -- police chief fired one officer and suspended to heal thehe six wounds and look forward to what is your reaction to the news out of baton rouge? guest: i think what happens with that stirling is should not be an hr issue. have beenhe should
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fired. we should be able to call it murder, but we cannot outside of the legal realm. occupied territory since james baldwin told us in 1966. alton sterling should still be alive. about that situation should have occurred the way it happened. what we are seeing now is people who are exhausted with the repetitiveness taking, and snatching of black lives. host: let's go to sacramento as well. the "sacramento bee" has this headline -- "clark shot six times in the back, this from a private autopsy from the family." we have a little bit of video that we can look at what we talk about this particular case. what are your thoughts on the case out of sacramento? we areagain, what looking at is the execution of stephon clark in his own family's property.
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he was in his back yard, unarmed, and he was shot in the back. it happens over and over and over again. there is always some justification, some reason why police officers feel compelled to shoot, and what we see as they get away with it time and time again. alton sterling and so many others -- jordan davis, jordan edwards -- there are so many people we could name -- catherine johnson -- so many we could name where police officers period feel they have the right to take live -- where police officers feel like they have the right to take lives, period. there was no reason for his death. why does it happen the way it happens, and has anything improved since ferguson? let's talk about jackson
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who was assassinated by a trooper in 1965, trying to get voting rights. the 50thlk about anniversary of martin luther king, larry kane was 16 years old. also saying don't shoot. he was 16 years old, and he was shot by police officer. when we talk about what has happened since ferguson, what has happened since then? there is a continuum of slave patrols who were meant to bring slave to black people, back to plantations. the crime was not the institutional violence of slavery, it was operation antifreedom, and they were meant to bring them back. we are talking about militarized police departments who have been given the right to kill with its unity, and it happens over and over and over again. kirsten west savalilly
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works at the root, and they commentary from a variety of perspectives to we are to talk about shootings and race in the u.s. the phone numbers are on the bottom of our screen. we look forward to hearing from you in this half hour segment. kirsten west savali, we know what needs to change from what you are saying, but how do we achieve change in what is happening in this country right now, these two particular cases, and perhaps others? guest: how do we see change? host: yes, how do we get to the point of change? aest: well, there has to be value, there has to be a recognition of humanity of black lives, and we are not going to see that at the rate that we are going. what we are seeing now is a push for incremental change from of that we must wait, you know what i mean? there is also this idea that we have time.
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time in and of itself and we look at police shootings and violets is racist in and of itself, because it last time? who has the time to wait? who has the time to repeat trauma over and over again, not just shootings, but you look at sexual assault, the second highest reported of police brutality, black women in particular. raped 12ahoma who black women and one black girl. this is a white supremacist structure, there has to be value placed on lives in this country. host: before we get to calls, i want to show you an exchange between april ryan from urban american radio and white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders. this is from wednesday. let's watch. [video clip]
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april: there were no charges against the police officers in the alton sterling shooting. what if the president have to say about this, given he is a strong supporter of police, and you have the issue that happened, the shooting of a young man in california behind his grandmother's house with a cell phone? adf it is certainly -- sec. sanders: it is certainly a terrible incident. this is a local matter and something we feel should be left up to the local authorities. april: he is strongly behind police, strongly supports police come as much of america does -- what is the thing about weeding out bad policing when you continue to see these kinds of situations over and over again? sec. sanders: certainly we want to make sure that all law enforcement is carrying out the letter of the law. the president is very supportive of law enforcement, but i feel same time, in these specific cases, and the specific essences, that is not for me for the federal government to way
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into. kirsten west savali, a local matter, says the white house. what is your reaction? guest: it wasn't a local matter when he said he was a law and order president. it was not a local matter in alabama when he said they would have been dragged out of their. it was not a local matter. he picks and chooses. he has times to tweet. intos time to get ridiculous encounters on social media, but when it comes to the state sanctioned killing of black lives in america, then it becomes a matter. it is hypocritical. it reveals who he is. going back to the fact that he is a slumlord, this is not surprising. it is not surprising that he would be cowardly in that way. it is not surprising that he was
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would advocate his responsibility -- abdicate his responsibility. host: what would be the federal role in this area of police shootings and related race issues? what do you want to see from the federal government? guest: well, i would like to see action. under the obama admits region, there was all of these reports eric holder's doj. if you are supposed to represent country, you should be able to speak out on the violence you see in this country, at the very least. there should be police departments, first and foremost, that the money from shootings should not come from taxpayers. when these families receive settlements, it is not the police department to suffer. there needs to be a reduction in the militarized equipment that the police departments have.
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there needs to be a divestment from police departments. if you are reinvesting in the communities who they occupy. the federal government absolutely can play a role in the. host: a call for our guests to is in houston this morning. jean is calling from louisiana. caller: hi. many say that all lives matter, and that is true, but it seems to me like many believe that black lives doesn't matter. this is a national problem. this is not a local problem. this is happening in all of the states of the united states, and this has been happening for many, many years. i am 74 years old, and i know it has to be happening ever since i have been in this world. these are hate crimes where the policeman, an armed policeman shoots an unarmed black man is a crime, that is murder. and the president of the united
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states -- he does not care because he is a racist himself. say, please allow me to this, because i called in, and my call was dropped for the young people, and i wanted to say this -- john, can you imagine a lawyer, a person that has the morals of an alley cat, a person who is a bully, a person who is a racist -- just imagine, this is what we have as a leader of these united states. yes, we question whether the young people have the awareness, the political awareness or not. host: jean, thank you for calling. kirsten west savali of the root, any reaction to what she said? guest: she is right, but we need to think about black men to think about black men. we cannot forget about black women. we talk a lot unarmed encounters with police department. , according to a new study that cannot of washington state, 60% of black women are
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unarmed and fatally shot by police officers. that is extremely important to member when we talk about encounters with police across the country. also if they are armed, there is a good push from the right about the second amendment. just because someone has a fire arm does not mean they are dangerous. it does not mean police officers have a right to shoot and kill them. they are simply acknowledging they have a firearm. philando castile had a firearm, and he told him he did, and he was shot and killed anyway. jonathan claussen was in a walmart with a toy, and he was shot and killed. 911 was called a 12-year-old shot ande, and he was killed in a park, a drive-by in a park. just because somebody is armed does not mean they have the right to take their lives away. host: moving up to scott and clea in clearwater, florida.
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on the republican line. good morning, scott. caller: there are a lot of facts being left out here. first of all, in sacramento, he was being chased by a helicopter, he was a suspect for breaking into vehicles. also, in the autopsy, the private autopsy, one of the first comments is he was shot first on the side, not possibly caused them to be spun around, so he was shot in the back. that leads me to louisiana, baton rouge, that guy is sitting dvd's,t selling illegal he had a gun on him, and you could see in the video from the convenience store earlier pleading with the gun out of public. first of all, i would never do that in a million years. i don't think these cops -- no how scaredking about they are when they walk into the situations. they don't go into it looking to shoot someone.
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they are looking for a criminal in a dark backyard. i mean, if i was in my grandmother's backyard and a police officer was chasing me, i would put my hands right up, because i would be scared of the holies was going to shoot me because i was some sketchy criminal. i do not think enough considerations is going to police officers. that was scott for kirsten west savali of the root in houston. not enough facts. what do you think? guest: i think it is absolutely ridiculous. first of all, stephan clark was shot multiple times in the back. if you have to spend whatever kind of fiction your caller is creating, that was an execution. he was not seen running. they came into his backyard, and they saw him, and they shot him. we see that. alton sterling, yes, he had a gun, yes, he was in front of a convenience store, but that does not mean he deserved to be shot.
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is him immediately saying he would shoot him in the head. he called him a stupid m.f. multiple times. once he was on the ground, he there," so the idiot to even suggest -- particularly from a republican in this country, that he had a gun, he had freedom to navigate the own a freedom t beingut the crime is black in this country. host: we have a call on the independent line, david in l.a. savali is simply not being honest. she is picking and choosing the facts she wants to believe. host: hold on -- what do you think she is saying that is dishonest, david? caller: the alton sterling
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shooting front of the store. all, he was noncompliant. second of all, he was told several times to turn around, put his hands behind his back. he did not comply. he was tased. even after he was tased, he did not comply could i watch multiple videos on this. ground, he on the was still not in compliant mode, he was reaching into his pocket. "heofficer even said is reaching for a gun, stop, stop," and that he was shot. this ruins credibility, and the lady is criticizing the police officer in this particular instance. theuins her credibility in greater public because you have to disseminate the facts of each and every instance. in many other cases, the cops were wrong. in this case, the cops were not wrong. guest: that is an interesting
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point, particularly because you called my honor into question, and i have been covering these stories since they happened. alton sterling was on the ground, he was shot three times, and he was shot three more times. yes, he was tased multiple times, he was also than on the ground. all, is no reason, none at why this should have led to a fatal encounter pure it i'm not sure what your suggestion is as to thehim being a threat officer, but he entered into that encounter aggressive, he entered into that accoun encounr thinking he would shoot him. alton sterling repeatedly said arm."e hurting my they never approached him as a human being, and that is a problem we see across this country. we can narrow it down to alton sterling, we can talk about stephan clark, steffi avoid, rice, so many black
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people in this country who have been shot down across this country, and we see all the time the time that police officers are able to deescalate encounters with white people in this country, and that same thing does not happen with black people in this country. it is not cherry picking at all. and we have to be honest about the fact that this is systemic and this is continuous, and it happens all the time. it happened with alton sterling as well. host: our guest, kirsten west inali in houston, has a bs psychology. "dame"merly worked at magazine, editor at news one, and senior editor at yourblackworl and she is associate editor at the root. i want to get back to the issue
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of women of color. here is a headline to a piece by jonathan capehart in the "washington post," and it says "why don't we hear about it?" how would you answer that question? guest: we do hear about it. we do not hear about it in mainstream media. ms. crenshaw did not say her name. ,s i mentioned earlier encounters with police officers, which are unarmed and the black community, the victims are black women. and again, sexual assault being reported by police brutality, most of the victims being black, brown, and poor women in this country. it is absolutely something we should be talking about. it is epidemic levels. you see it quite often all across the country. host: here is the youngest speaker at last weekend's march for life rally. wadler ofd naomi
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alexandria, virginia. [video clip] aomi: item here today to pendleton.ow do you handl hatta i here today to represent yana thompson, who at 16 was shot dead in her home here in washington, d.c. represent the african american girls who do not make the front page of every newspaper. [cheers and applause] omi: these stories do not lead on the evening news. i represent the african-american women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics is that of vibrant, -- instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential. it is my privilege to be here today. i am indeed full of privilege. my voice has been heard.
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i am here to acknowledge their stories, to say they matter, to say their names, because i can, and i was asked to be. [cheers and applause] far too long, these names, these flat girls and women, have been just numbers. i am here to say never again for those girls, too. host: kirsten west savali in wordsn's, what do the of that 11-year-old girl mean to the discussion? guest: that is so powerful, it is really powerful to hear her talk about that. it is really necessary to hear that voice from such a young girl. one girl was only 11 years old when she was shot and killed by a police officer who entered into her grandmother's home. founded themen who
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black lives matter movement have always been at the forefront of moving for social justice in this country, and our stories are not told enough. they are not told enough, so it is a really important message. i hope people hear it and receive it from her, because she should not have to live in fear either. she should not have to worry about what happens to her when she encounters police officers, and too often that is the case in this country. host: let's hear from george, a democrat calling from illegal, kentucky. good morning to you, george. caller: thank you. nice to talk to you, kirsten. from my view, the alton sterling incident was completely different from what the other gentleman spoke about. support writing seems for policecampaign after the fact, and i was kind of alarm that an ferguson, missouri, the police supporting
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did not come out until after the fact -- 11 days after the fact. like it is poor, lower income areas that get horrible justice in our community, whether it is public municipal services, our judicial system, how it treats people of lower income, and is specifically hurts people, black people far worse than white people, and i have seen it, nearly my whole life. it seems to me also the kind of people that are attracted to security positions -- bar bouncer, police officer, so on and so forth -- are people with abusive personalities to begin with. there is not nearly enough policing of the police itself. we need independent sources to police the police on behalf of of referee kind these encounters. i hope kirsten can make some commentary at about that.
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kindly.u very ca host: the idea of policing the holies, kirsten west savali come what do you think about that, and how would it work? guest: we have seen them were, in a late we have seen that with mayor baraka in newark. what he said about a pr campaign, we see that all the time. the alton sterling video, they had that all the time. of course he was on leave, but they did not come out and say he was fired. they did not come out and say he was against our protocol. this was over two years. we see that all the time with these police department, and we need to be following them. just as we talk about the evolution of the prisons, it is to be a complete, drastic
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reduction of the power of police departments in this country. one of the things he mentioned that he is seen as far as black and brown communities and how the justice or the injustice that they receive, this is all a continuation of slavery. we have seen it, and in sharecropping what black people did not have the right to vote, we talk about segregated schools. even now, we look at rahm emanuel, who closed public schools in chicago, forced children to go to blessing, to try to bus two different neighborhoods. we have seen the charter school experiment in new orleans with "problem" children of certainrted out schools. how is indicative of help black lives are treated in the school. we should talk about mass incarceration, but we should also broaden the conversation to mass criminalization.
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encounter withn police, there has already been a devaluation of that black life. ofre has already been a bias that person to be deemed a criminal, this person is not worthy of the respect that they would possibly receive they were in a higher income or they were not black or white in this country. host: what do you make a proliferation of video in cases like this in recent years? body cameras. does video play a helpful role or maybe something else? what do you think? guest: it depends on what we are looking at. we have seen that it has caused a lot of trauma for a lot of people. to actually see people on the ground over and over again. as far as body cameras go, we have not really seen how that plays out as far as convictions. we still think police departments make excuses. we have no idea why they cut off body cams. we have seen body cameras that are not working.
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requests for these body cameras. there is always some kind of pushed back. there is a reason why they cannot release it to us. it is very difficult to say that this is something that would be beneficial to people in the long run. , because they still have their theirs they still have justifications. we saw them say he was going to shoot him in the head with alton sterling, it is not matter, just the ground for there is always a justification. again which are mere rise, we saw a drive-by of a 12-year-old boy. -- again with tamir rice, we saw a drive-by of a 12-year-old boy. we had body cameras with jonathan crawford, who was on his cell phone at walmart and was gunned down. i am not really sure and to we get to the roof matter of the , the systemicm
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devaluation of black lives, and body cameras will not make a difference. host: we have time for a few guestalls for our in houston. this organization keeps track of police violence, mapping to our next call, teresa in michigan, republican. hi there. caller: hi. i would first like to comment about the clip that you showed of naomi wadler. she was my favorite talker that day. i was very impressed. about the kid in the backyard, i thought that was ridiculous, all those shots going off willy-nilly. it was so dark, they could not see what they were shooting a. the problem with people running
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when police are trying to approach them -- no wonder they get shot, but what i don't understand is why they are not shooting them in the leg just to bring them down so they can find out what the heck is going on? they are always so interesting and shooting to kill, it seems like. i just say bring them down. eventually, they are going to realize, you know, they will not be a suicide by cop incident, it will be you will have to answer to what the heck you are doing. host: let's get a reaction from houston. mean, i can i absolutely agree with that. there have been ways to deescalate situations that we have not seen. alton sterling -- there was no reason for them to escalate to that point, so i agree with her. there has to be a way.
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we also have to keep in mind come at this point, what do you do? what is the expectation for black and brown women in this country to do when they encounter police officers? at this point, it is a danger. you don't know how that encounter ends. you don't know if you step the wrong way, if you are on a corner, if you are coming out of a store come in your car, playing in a park -- what do you do? what makes your life valuable? what makes you walk away from that encounter alive? there is fear, and that means to be addressed as well. host: one last caller for our guest on the independent line, this is mary. caller: good morning. i am calling it today because i have a few comments to make about this issue. first and foremost, it seems to enforcement officers are not held to a higher standard with what they do with and individuals,
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a private citizen. officer,oot a police even in defense, chances are, your life is over. you will spend the rest of your days in prison. why are they not held to the same responsibility, same as our soldiers when they are in battle, you are held to a code of conduct? host: mary, why don't you answer the question that you put out on the table. you said "why aren't they held to a higher standard?" caller: i don't understand why police get away with this on a consistent basis, and i do not believe it is just black individuals. i believe it is from all individuals. i come from a mixed family. i am scared to death for the mixed members of my family, guest, but also for the caucasian members in my family. host: that was mary and arizona.
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kirsten west savali, if you could come why don't you respond to mary's comments, and then we have time for a final thought for you in the segment. please go ahead. guest: a couple of things. hi, mary, i do agree with you. white people, white children would absolutely be collateral damage in a wise premises system that devalues black and brown lives. that is what the system is set up to do, so that will absolutely happen, and i understand that fear. to your point about it not just being black people in this country, that is absolutely true, but that is because the system is structured that way. it is the complete the humanization of lives that is set up to keep police officer's basically with that power. we cannot really draw the distinction between military and police departments because we see militarized police
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departments. we see ku klux klan infiltrating police departments. we see the same kind of weaponry, the same kind of "we have the right to shoot to kill," the same kind of authority in our military as we do with our police departments. militarized might is influential on police departments in this country. we have to look at the whole picture. host: let's take a look at the website,, you will see stephon clark and alton sterling's stories featured prominently. what else will we find that the website? guest: you will find a lot of things. we cover police brutality, issues of black feminism, politics, we take a very close look at the trump administration , we try to discuss the ending of the two-party duopoly in this country, we discussed black , which is really
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at epidemic levels, and also goes to show how black women's bodies in black women's lives are not valued in this country. as far as one final thought on what we were discussing as far as police brutality, incannot have a gun control this country unless it includes police p are we cannot talk about gun violence in this country unless it includes police. that has to be a part of it. host: our guest has been kirsten west savali, associate editor for social justice and education at the root, again, the is the place to go to read her work and those of others. usnk you so much for joining from houston. we appreciate it. guest: thank you so much. host: we will take a short break, and then we will come back with open phones until the top of the hour at 9:00 a.m. eastern time. (202) 748-8000 democrats. republicans, (202) 748-8001.
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independents, (202) 748-8002 is your number. you can respond to anything our guest has said this morning, anything we talked about in this first hour and half of the "washington journal." we want to let you know about our "newsmakers" program. this week, we interview the american legion's national commander, denise roha about shakeup ofrumpn's the veterans affairs. it comes down to the fact that the american legion wants to make sure our veterans are taken care of, and we want to start moving forward. we were a little bit offguard by who was nominated by the president, but we weren't really surprised that secretary shulkin was fired, because we heard that going on for so long. asm just hoping we can work a team, the president will bring us and also, and we have to depend on our senators to do the
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vetting the rear admiral and make sure we have the right person for the job. >> do you agree with president trump that the pace of improvement has not been fast enough? you know, when i look at the government and think about that thehings president has to consider, all of our legislators have to consider, it just becomes evident that they have more information than we do as private citizens. i know a lot of information is out there. we believe that we are seeing progress under secretary shulkin. it is a big system. the department of veterans affairs is the second biggest department in the u.s. government. there are a lot of people in the mix. i believe that secretary shulkin was doing the best that he could with the resources that he had,
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and again, we just hope that our new secretary, once he is confirmed, and the team but they currently have in place, we need to continue to move forward and take care of veterans. >> i have a follow-up to that. a. is theoned the v. second-largest, and some are questioning ru ronald johnson experience.kson's who has that big of experience? anyone you would choose, he would say the same thing -- who has the experience to run something that huge? there is a whole team that will andnvolved in this process, we need the hold team working together as best they can. host: you can watch the entire interview with denise rohan of the american legion


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