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tv   Nightline  ABC  April 6, 2021 12:37am-1:06am PDT

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good night. this is "nightline." >> tonight, the police chief taking the stand against his former officer. >> to continue to apply that level of force to a person that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy. >> testifying against derek chauvin, accused of murdering george floyd. now for the fight for justice from one family to another. when it comes to fatal police shootings, why do so few trials end in convictions? >> the american justice system is on trial again. she can win with floyd. plus, breaking barriers. from walking the streets of his neighborhood to the halls of democracy, how one newly minted lawmaker hopes to reshape congress, along with the most
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diverse class in u.s. history. and how mariah carey hit a new high note. >> "nightline" will be right back. ♪ pepto bismol coats and soothes your stomach for fast relief and get the same fast relief in a delightful chew with pepto bismol chews. [sfx: thunder rumbles] [sfx: rainstorm] ♪ comfort in the extreme. ♪ the lincoln family of luxury suvs.
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the police chief joining the list of witnesses testifying against derek chauvin, who is accused of killing georgefloyd. but there is a long legacy of officers charged with excessive force falling short of convictions. now one family with a painful look at what justice might look like. >> once mr. floyd had stopped resisting and certainly once he was in distress and tried to verbalize that, that should have stopped. >> reporter: a compelling condemnation of derek chauvin from none other than his former boss, minneapolis police chief medaria arradondo as his trial for the death of george floyd entered its second week. the chief acknowledging neck restraints were permitted at the time but saying chauvin did not use reasonable force in keeping his knee on george floyd's neck for over nine minutes. >> that in no way, shape or form
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is anything that is by policy. it's not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values. >> reporter: are and t >> jimmy: arredano fired chauvin. the chief's ereassessment damaging testimony from richard zimmerman, the most senior officer in the minneapolis police department. >> in your view of that use of force during that time period? >> totally unnecessary. >> the most significant evidence has been from fellow police officers who have said this was not reasonable force. this is not what our training tells you to do. that's very powerful testimony against derek chauvin. >> reporter: chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, accused of killing 46-year-old floyd during the police stop.
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from chauvin's own body camera, you can hear his voice. >> trying to control this guy because he is a sizable guy. >> get in the car. >> he is probably on something. >> reporter: chauvin's defense attorney showing chief air dando questioning if he was his knee was on floyd's neck the entire time. >> would you expect from the body camera that mr. chauvin's knee was more on mr. floyd's shoulder blade? >> yes. >> reporter: but chief arredando says floyd may have already been dead. he noted that chauvin did not follow the department's policies on de-escalation or providing first aid. still, prosecutors are facing the uphillel challenge of convicting a police officer who is accused of killing someone while on the job. among officers charged in a fatal on-duty shooting, less than 50% have actually been convicted and often for a lesser
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offense. since 2005, only seven officers have been convicted of murder. >> as a legal matter, police officers are allowed to do things that civilians can't do. and so the question becomes when do police officers cross that legal line. >> reporter: much of the prosecution's case rests on the video recording of chauvin's behavior. >> you can believe your eyes that it's a homicide. it's murder. you can believe your eyes. >> the video is the heart of the prosecution's case. you can see what was happening and what the result would be. >> reporter: the power of police violence caught on tape through police body cams and bystanders' cell phone video has galvanized the public ever since rodney king was beaten by los angeles olice in 1991.n by los angeles in the criminal trial, four officers were found not guilty of excessive force. >> not guilty of the crime of assault by force. >> reporter: sparking widespread protests and violence. a year later, two officers were
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sentenced to 30 months in prison in a federal civil rights trial. randy foster is a retired law enforcement officer who often testifies as an expert witness. people thought that the videotaped beating of rodney king would be a game-changer, and yet it wasn't. >> at that particular moment, it wasn't, but if you look at it, fast forward to today, more civilians are taking their cell phone out to video police action. and police are responding to that trying to stop people from videoing. >> reporter: is it harder to get a conviction against a police officer than say a regular citizen? >> yes. the public don't like to put their police behind bars. that's why video evidence is so important, because it kills the narrative of a lie.
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and i'm telling you this as a former law enforcement officer who investigated internal affairs. yes, they will lie. they're just as human as me and you. >> reporter: 70-year-old laquan mcdonald was killed by chicago police officer jason van dyke in 2014. police first told his family he was shot only once, but the family said they knew that wasn't true. >> i had a nephew that actually worked at the medical examiner's office. he was receiving his own cousin. so i get a phone call, they lie. this boy got a whole lot of bullet holes in him. >> reporter: in 2015, a year after laquan's death, police released dash cam video showing van dyke getting out of his squad car, opening fire within six seconds and shooting laquan 16 times. >> how can you watch a young black human being be shot 16 times and not have any compassion or empathy? >> reporter: his great uncle reverend marvin hunter remembers
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laquan as a loving young man. >> he enjoyed making sure that other people were happy because he liked to keep people laughing. he kept things light-hearted. >> reporter: the family set out on a crusade for justice. >> this is another immaterial moment, and we're going to have to do the heavy lifting to raise the questin as to why black people cannot get justice in this country. >> reporter: charged with first-degree murder, van dyke's defense was that he feared for his life, firing his gun only after laquan ignored repeated demands to drop a three-inch knife during the incident. >> i was kwlyelling at him to d the knife. >> reporter: asked why if he felt threatened, why he was walking toward laquan. >> you thought you were backpedaling as you were firing shot after shot after shot. >> what i know now and what i thought at that time are two different things. >> reporter: in a rare officer conviction, van dyke was found guilty in october of 2018 of the
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lesser charge of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. his jury eight women and four men. only one african american. he was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison, but that's far less than what laquan's family had wanted. >> i felt betrayed. i felt angry because i knew that it was not enough. >> reporter: reverend hunter delivered a powerful victim impact statement in court, a message to van dyke written in the voice of his nephew. >> why should this person who has ended my life forever be free when i'm dead forever? >> reporter: still, reverend hunter says his nephew's case helped set the stage for the trial of derek chauvin. >> we did things that brought us to a place where for the first time in recent history, a police officer in uniform was convicted for a crime in which he had
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committed. >> behold how good and pleasant it is. >> reporter: now reverend hunter urging george floyd's family to hold steadfast in their quest for justice, hoping the floyd family can get what his almost did, a sentence that reflects the crime. >> in the george floyd case, the american justice system is on trial again, and she's fighting and searching for her soul.pshe. she can win with floyd. >> and be sure to stay with abc news live for complete coverage of the trial. coming up, meet america's most diverse congress yet. what's the #1 retinol brand used most by dermatologists? it's neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair® smooths the look of fine lines in 1-week, deep wrinkles in 4. so you can kiss wrinkles goodbye! neutrogena®
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♪ they are the newest freshmen class of congress, younger and more diverse than ever befoe. among both democrats and republicans. armed with distinct life experiences, determined to make congress the people's branch. here is abc's rachel scott. >> i would wrestle here. so it was a fixture in my childhood. i never thought 15 years later, right across the street that i would open headquarters for my first campaign. >> reporter: it wasn't that long ago that representative torres was a poor kid from the bronx. tell me how a kid from the bronx gets to congress. >> i grew up in a public housing development right across the street from trump golf course. the government was investing more than $100 million in a golf course for donald trump. what does it say about our
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society that we're willing to invest more in a golf course than in the homes of low income black and brown americans? and so my experience in public housing is what inspired me. eventually i took the leap of faith and ran for public office. >> reporter: torres' story is distinctly a new york one. that tale of two cities playing out in his front yard. now as a u.s. congressman representing the state's 15th district, he hopes to level the playing field. your congressional district that you represent right now, food insecurities, unemployment. how do you tackle all of this during your first term? >> the south bronx is the poorest congressional district in america. i'm optimistic about our ability to confront these challenges because a democratic president and a democratic house and a democratic senate represents to me historic opportunity to govern as boldly in the 21st century if dr did. >> reporter: a historic
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opportunity for a groundbreaking congressman. torres is the first openly gay afro-latino member of congress, joining ten lgbtq members, the highest ever in a congressional class. >> a wise person once said if you don't have a seat at the table, then you're probably on the menu. and with elected officials like me, lgbtq people of color finally have a seat at one of the most powerful tables, the united states congress. >> reporter: joining torres at that most powerful table are 124 people of color. 120 women, 30 of those republicans, a record-breaking high for the party, making the 117th congress the most diverse in history. at long last, the congressional class that is reflective of the nation it serves. >> hi, my name is young kim. >> i'm nancy mays. >> u.s. representative marilyn strickland. >> reporter: from different backgrounds and experiences, they're beginning their freshmen terms in a year that has already
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been transformative on the issues of race and equality, and they're ready to take on washington. >> now to the alarming increase in violence directed at people of asian descent. >> you see the horrible footage. you see elders being pushed down. you see people have died. >> since the beginning of covid-19, we have increasingly seen asian americans becoming targets of hate across the nation. >> reporter: representatives young kim and marilyn strickland uniquely feel the weight of being first after a string of attacks against the asian american community. >> believe me when you're the first, you never want to be the last. and so you have a duty to ensure that you're trying to cultivate and help others come after you. >> reporter: they, along with representative michelle park steel are the first korean-american women to serve in congress. >> asian americans are not necessarily, you know, so glued to one party. if you know there is a fellow asian american running for office, they tend to support them because they are excited
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about having the opportunity to have another asian american represent them and their voice. >> reporter: both women have spoken out about the damage the anti-asian rhetoric of the previous administration has had on their community. >> it really gave people permission to normalize that type of speech and behavior. >> when president trump called coronavirus kung flu, that was a defining moment for me. i said enough is enough. >> reporter: like so many asian americans, congresswoman young kim from california's 39th district was shaped by her immigrant experience. >> my mom would often tell me this country has given us so many opportunities, and when you have the opportunity, let's do our part to give back. >> reporter: those lessons from her mother compelling kim to take a life of public service. >> i campaign on being an independent leader. any legislation that i work on would have to have a bipartisan
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sponsorship. >> reporter: and across the aisle, her democratic colleague and fellow korean-american representative marilyn strickland is hoping for the same. >> education, job training, workforce development. i think that those are things that very often have bipartisan support. and so i think there is taunt to work together. i think the question is do we have the will to do it. >> reporter: raised by a black father and a korean mother, strickland got her start in politics in tacoma, washington, wher she served on the city council and then as mayor from 2008 to 2018. she now represents washington's tenth district, one of the big items on her agenda, police reform. >> typically, policing is a very localized issue. but the federal government has a role to play because it doesn't matter what your zip code is. every person has a right to be safe in their neighborhood. it is not about being anti-police. it's about being pro safety. >> reporter: these new faces of congress just the latest in a long line of female trail
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blazers, like representative nancy mace, who was the first female grad from the citadel. she now leads the district with that same drive. but getting to this point meant overcoming enormous challenges. >> i was raped when i was 16. and i dropped out of school shortly thereafter, right at my 17th birthday. i've had many challenges in my life, but i learned some very tough lessons during some very tough times at a very young age. >> what pushed you through in those moments? >> it literally took me 25 years to be able to talk about it publicly. and the only reason i have is because we were debating a fetal heart beat bill and there were no exceptions for women who had been raped or were victims of incest. and i just had it. i was so pissed off and so angry and confronted one of my biggest fears in life, which made me stronger. >> reporter: propelled by her pass, mace is undeterred to take up positions not traditionally supported by republicans. like prison reform and environmental issues. second chances.been a series of-
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so as much success as i've had, i've also failed. and it's one of the reasons that i've been a big champion of criminal justice reform, prison reform. >> reporter: this freshman class on the job only a few months are undeterred by the challenges they face, determined to bring real change to washington. >> that's the reason i got into politics, because i hate the bs. i hate the hypocrisy. >> i came to congress to help breach the divide, to help break the gridlock that has been keeping our country from moving forward. >> there are communities who even before the pandemic were still not being treated well, whether it's access to jobs, access to health care. i think that covid has given them an urgency to try to address them. >> there is so much that we have to do over the next two years. >> our thanks to rachel scott. up next, mariah carey celebrating a shot of hope as only she can. ♪
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and finally tonight, high on hope. >> i guess here we go. >> legendary songstress mariah carey behind those shades, rolling up her sleeve for her covid-19 vaccine. and in true mimi fashion, when the shot of hope is delivered, hitting that high note. the song known for her multioctave vocal range belting out a note of gratitude. >> it's only part one, it's only part one, right? >> okay. >> and that is "nightline." you can watch all of our full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back here same time tomorrow. thanks for staying up with us. good


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