tv KQED Newsroom PBS June 5, 2020 7:00pm-7:31pm PDT
toroght on kqed om, americans rise in protest against police brutity. san francisco's district attorney outlines his vision for change and discusses the steps he has taken. also, we dive into the history of policing, and controversial proposals to improve the system. and protesting during a pandemic. we hear from a doctor about the risks and how racial inequality results in poor healthoutcomes. hello, and welcome to kqed newsroom. it is week 12 of sheltering in place in northern california. run a virus infections are rising faster an ever worldwide with 100,000 nere caserted each day. there have now been 110,000 coronavirus deaths recorded in t the uned states but as you know the unprecedented pandemic was overshadowed by tens of
thousands of americans protesting the death of george floyd. the an armed black man killed it by a police officer in minneapolis. this has sparked days of mostly peacef protests across the nation. at times law enforcement used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds who were calling angrily for reform and justice. earlier this week the san ancisco district attorney announced significant proposals to improve the city's legal and policing systems. we are joined now by skype. district attorney, have you personally participated in any of the protests this week? >> good to be with you, yes i have. i have been to at least two different protests. >> what has the atmosphe been like for you? >> it has been wonderfuri teous rage, creativity, diverse groups in terms of age and race and background coming together to demand long-overdue change peacefully in an
exuberant exercise and first amendment rights. >> there have been incidents ofa burglary, alism and at the beginning you had brought charges against people suspected of being engaged in those activities. in the past six days, have you chcrged anyone for inal activity during e protests? >> we have absolutely continued to file criminal charges against people engaged in ang loot commercial burglaries or arson. that is a tiny, tiny minority what is happening. it is a distraction and i do not view the folks engaged in that kind of activity as being otassociated with the ts. there are people using the protests as cover, but they are not part of these protests. ow >>many charges would you say you have brought? >> i don't have the exact number. i kn that ontuesday alone we filed 18 felony cases. >> do you have concerns about
the san francisco police department's response to these protests? are you investigating the police department for its handling in thpast week? >> i have not heard reports of excessive force at the hands of the san francisco poli department. i am proud to say we have videos that havecome out fic across the country from buffalo and beyond. i have, however, scene whand ovming police response to peaceful protests. i prwill not ecute civil disobedience or peaceful exercise of first amendment rights. >> reporter: what are your ew thoughts on the cuin san francisco? should that have been imposed? >> i do not support curfews, particularly because looting and vandalism and arson are already crimes which the police are equipped to arrestand vestigate. curfews in a context like this serve one role, and that is to curtail peaceful protected first amendment activity.
>> you came into office as change candidate. this feels like a moment of change. do you feenergized by it? does it feel in line with your absolutely. the movement that got me elected is the same movement we are seeing in the streets om chicago to cincinnati, from new york to nebraskaall across this country people are excited for change. demanding urgent reforms to police policies and practices so that ve can a system where black lives really do matter. >> you madesome change this week, at least a proposal along with seven san francisco supervisors and proposed to prohibit the police department from hiring any new officers with a known history of serious misconduct. frankly, i think i was surprised by this. as anthe san sco police department currently hiring new officers with a known story of usprevmisconduct?
>> we are now up to nine members of the board of supervisors that are cosponsoringthat resolution. you have to wonder why the other two are not willing to support a common sense policy that urges the civil service commission to prohibit hiring officerswith serious misconduct. the reality is we don't know what exactly is ppening and who is being hired, huge problem. the reason for it is california kes it very hard if not impossible for the public to know whether or not an officer has committerious misconduct. we need transparency and accountability and we need to ensure that we are not putting u people on streets with guns in uniforms and the ability to arrest if they have a history of serious misconduct. >> this would only address new hires, not those already in the police department. why isn't it broader? >> that is correct. we are working on other forms that would address pele currently on the police department. we really need to w police commission to ensure accountability and transparency and new policies.
the obama department of justice in 2016 issued a scathing report that highlighted 272 urgently ednereforms. here we are four yeans later less than 15% of those reforms have been made. he time is now. >> why has itbeen so slow? >> we see tremendous resistance from police unions. former aclu please accountability experts were just quoted in the press today saying that the police unions in this country are to police reform what the nra is to gun control. there a toxic influence on any effort to ho police accountable or to reform the way that we engage with law t. enforcem >> you know the union spent a lot of money against you in the november election. anthis week you other das proposed banning unions from funding prosecutors. who is going to be making that decisi , and what isthe timeline? >> i want to be clear on what
we proposed. the supreme court of the united states has interpreted the first amendment in a way that allows unions including police unions to spenunlimited money influencing local elections. nothing in the proposal seeks to change that. what we are doing is asking stt e bar and the american bar association to prohibit candidates for district attorney or current district attorneys from seeking political or financial support. -- directly from police unions. it is to avoid a conflict of interest that presents itself every single time the dist'sct attornffice like my own is tasked with investigating an officer's alleged excessive use of force or murder. >> want toto turn an incident in january. there was a young black man who was rested. and, during that arres female san francisco ofpolice cer put her knee on his neck in a method that seemed similar to george floyd. there were five body cameras there on the police officers, but it was not until bystander
video emerged in the last wewee that were able to really see what happened in that situation. once you viewed tha video you dismissed all the charges against the young man and put a ne policy inplace by which all other prosecutors have to review not only by cae ra footage but also independent video footage before filing charges for resisting arrest or for other incidents. now, my question here is, are you encouraging everyone to pull out there cameras and record all police action? >> the reality is the more angles we can have recording a particular incident the better job we arn do ng the case. that is not limited to interactions with police. but, we benefit tremendously from surveillance footage from ores and markets acrossthe city when investigating and prosecuting cases. that is true in this instance as well. the video we saw last weekend led me to personally take a look at that case.
even more than the arrest itself, the other church at had bethe basis for the arrest was unfounded. we reached out to the alleged victims in the ca ended a closer . of the police report that had been done and realize there never should have been st arin the first place and that is why i personally went to court and smissed all charges. >> earlier this year you fulfilled a campaign promise by eliminating cash bail in san francisco. the union says yoare creating the largest criminal justice revolving door ever in san francisco will pay a price for it. what would you say to people who are worried san francisco district attorney. t you >> look at the numbers. crime is down significantly. crime across the city is wn more th35%, and the reality about money bail is it makes us less safe. eliminate it makes us safer. money bail is a system at allows wealthy people to buy their freedom no matter how dangerous they are while poor
people who are perhaps innocent, wrongly accuse or who present no public risk languish behind bars because of their poverty. it undermines public safety allowing wealthy dangerous people to buy their freedom and undermines equal protection by keeping poor people incarcerated. we have replaced that wealth based system asth a risk system and we are all safer as a result. >> thank you so much for being with us. when cases of police bl violence againstk people become public protests often follow. there is talk of police reform including the need for implicit bias training and reducing the use of force to prevent such misconduct from occurring. but now we see a shift from talk of reform two proposals ck for cutting on the number of police. this week essentials in san francisco announced they will cut police funding sending the u money instead toort services in the minority
communities. joining me from massachusetts is alex vitali, the author of and of policing anwith us from los angeles is law professojody david-armor, and author of the hidden costs of being black in america. thank you both for joining us night. i want to start with you. you are a los angeles resident. he announced he would take $150 million from the lapd department and reinvesting it in communities ofcolor. what is your reaction? >> that is the right move that we are looking at the iabudget iny proposed at almost 54% the $5.5 billion roughly annual budget going to the lapd. thatmoeant that was y that was not going towards social services, social workers, housing, education, you can
walk through skid rodown here in la, one of the largest really, the largest homeless encampment in the country. it is one of the ercest expressions of structural violence in the country. you look to your left and right and you 75will see of the faces are black. money could be going ostowards folks, getting them out of that desperate plight and not going into thlapd. i think that is justified. >> in san francisco one of the supervisors announced yeste at a press conference that they are going to be redirecting a portion of law enforcement budgets to communities in need. could you talk us through your vision of a radical restructuring d society ba on our budgets and law enforcement systems? >> i have been adcating around the country that communities should be doing very specific community needs assessments. they should be looking at what
are the public safety have essentially been turned over to police to manage, and then begin identifying the kinds of specific targeted interventions that could address those problems in ways that don't rely on coercive and punitive meods which are e tools the police have to deal with these problems and then they need to make the kinds of demands of their elected officials to bring those resources in the community in a our reliance on police. >> if we are talking about large sums of the budget going towards law enrcement in los angeles as we heard, but 50%, oakland has been 40% in the past. what percentage do you think of a budget should be spent on law enforcement? >> we don't ow the answer to that. there is a huge variability in the way the spending is thorganized. e are hidden costs, pension funds and medical expenses. so, i think this is about a
process, not about some predetermined end goal. i think that we start with the obvious things, about removing police from schools and replacing them with counselors and restorative justice programs. we look at why we are using police to respond to mental health crisis or police to manage mass homelessness in our cities. as we dial those things back think we will get a better sense of what is going to be left at the end this process. >> jody, you have spoken in favor of police reform but you have since lost faith in reform. i would like to take minneapolis as a case study. they went through a three-year $5 million reform program to build trust between the community and the police through training such as implicit bias. obviously, george floyd's death represents armfeeling of re measures there. are there other meics you are using to measure the efficacy of police reform? >> yeah. w whenevhave these
incidents, it is like a wash rinse anrepeat cycle. it could be a commission. we have many by people at the hearing and then we say body cam's and implicit bias training and they solved the problem and so now we are hearing what you need to do is not protest inpathat icular way but just exercise your right and cast the ballot.o in place like minneapolis you had a democratic mayor, city council, 13 out of 14 democrat. and a lot of cities around the country the marchers see that does not seemto solve the ot it problem. the problem i thinhas to do with, number one, ducing the supply to the police force so that we can divert some of those funds to crime prevention at the front and with social soservices and that of thing, number two, then make sure that the resources go
towards getting that kind of crimes that to the black community and every other community wants have addressed, that is murder, rape, violent assault, robberies. when you have a lot of your resources g goter turnstile jumpers and low-level nonviolent offenses, then they are not going towards the ofkin nvestigative work that it takes to solve murders. so, it is just a matter of reframing yo priorities and also making sur on the police unions and the collective barenining agreements ohave built into them all kinds of protections for police. charlie becker, the former police chief said i want to get rid of bad ples but i can't because my hands are tied by the collective bargaining agreement. so aking those kind of changes. >> so, you know, i would like to take a look at the types of c aggressive pg we see now, even during these protests. in losangeles there waa tased. xample of a woman there have been reports of
police vehicles driving into crowds of protesters. do you think this behavior by law enforcemt is going to lead to policy change rit away? >> well, it is sad to say, but the police are making our argument for us. they're showing that these reforms have not worked. de-escalation tra the ning, the efforts of professionalization and community police partnerships. when push comes to shove we are seeing tlice are by their nature violence workers and that when we return problems over to the police manage there is going to be violence. if we don't want that violence we need to try to figure out other ways of managing our problems. >> alex, those are strong words. we are in a timeof crisisand i have spoken to many who say the police should definitely not be defunded right now. maybe later, maybe they see a problem but right now they want the police to keep them safe from violence that may break
out in their neighborwhod. do you say to people who are worried about their safety will be reduced if police are defunded? >> of course, the disorder that we see onthe streets right now is the product of problematic policing. is but, nobodtalking about a situation where tomorrow we flip aswitch and there are no police. this is about an ongoing process of critically examining the particular roles that we have turned over to police and l is developingrnatives as we go. so, this is going to be rma lon- rocess. >> jody, for you, is there a place for police, or do you think they should be done away w altogether? r are you going here? >> i'm not going away to abolition, but i do say that i think folks are starting to recognize that the only trust and confidence between the police and community is by making them adopt policie are more humane and show more ple they are policing y of the actually reduces crime.
people are more willing to report crime. they are willing to be witnesses against others. in the long run, you are making yourself safer by making your police force more comfortable, more transparent, and insome cases smaller. >> is there a place for police in our society? >> i want to say that even the t things that jody ns, homicides, rapes, we have a lot of good evidence about at altee ways to engage in preventative measures to try tou those problems rather than waiting for police to come and take a report. you knowt's look at the credible messenger model. the use of cure violence programs to work with young people who are at risk of involvement in violence these programs, when they are properly funded and well-run have shown dramatic success in ducing shootings ande homiwithout relying on policing and mass incarceration. it is time for these big city mayors to take these programs
seriously. overnight. hem we need planning and we need to develop the programming that goes with them. this is the future of reducing violence in our nei >> thank you so much. joe -- jodydavid-armor, thank you so much. as we have seen the e publi outragto george floyd's killing has motivated tens of op thousands of le across the nation to even in the midst of a pandemic. well, many are wearing facemasks but gatherings of large crowds make social distancing difficult. protesters say racial inequality also results in poor heth outcomes which are reflected in the higher covid- 19 mortality rates among blacks and latinos. joining me by skype is an obstetrician and gynecologist who rks in alameda. she participated in a protest organized by her colleagues this week at kaiser campuses in the east ba
kaiser permanente did not officially sanctioned the event. thank you r joining us >> thank you for having me. >> was there a specific moment that catalyzed ur decision to protest? >> you know, that is really wateresting, because ther not a specific moment. and i actually had my doubts prabout what this est would mean, so when i left the house that morning i grabbed my blacki lives matter out of my backyard and i went to see what would happen and it was really moving. there were four sites. we hand alameda, rich oakland, and pinole, and it was with very little planning, a coordinated effort with people from the s staff to nursing to technicians and the physicians, a lot of the mas. people came with their own handmade signs. i think they knew it was not ganization, but nonetheless, they took to the streets
ouside of eachrespective site and it was incredibly powerful that we took a knee for the length of nine symbolic minutes. >> do you think there will be change that comes from these pr? what are you hoping for? >> i hope there is change. there seems to be, and i can' -- i have been doing a lot of thinking about what is different about this? is it that it is a covid- pandemic? is it that there was a trio of deaths? there is definitely more and they are so violent and something seems to have switched and atm hoping will bring change. you know, change usually is not nded down from thtop. so i don't expethat from the organization. i think one of the most beautiful parts of the protest was a classic example of civil disobedience. sohere was lipse >> i just wanted to talk specifically, since you are an obstetrician angynecologist
about maternal health. and the issues that impact black lives, more than white lives from racial disparity, from stress, and how that impacts mothers and newborns. >> so, there have been a lot of studies, there have been a lot of hypotheses over time about why there are different outcomes in black women compared to their white counterparts. and what it comes down to is that it seems like it is institutional racism. when you control for all other factors socioeconomic, education, you will find that a woman who is very educated, whow you upper class or has enough means will do more poorly than a poor white woman. >> how bad are these outcomes? how diverse and different are they? >> you see inan ease in di hypertensive cons, pre- gestational diabetes. hemorrhages, and mortality,
black women are 2.5-3 times more likely to die in childbirth. >> it is shocking. can you tell us what you see in your practice since the pandemic began? are you seeing more stress and mothers? >> absolutely. i see moretress because we don't, you know, this virus is so bizarre and you know, i think it will take time to see specifically on maternal erm. morbidity. and, so women are very nervou they're nervous. they want the best care of course for the best outcomr of thegnancy, and this is a patients that still need to be seen. so, they are coming and exposing themselves. they are not able to bring their partners. it is a scary time we are now allowing a partner in labor. ow you there was a wild that they were not sure if they would be able to have their bloodãpartners with them in labor. so, this is a really unique
timenehere we are ing to provide that kind of reassurance. and, in a way that we never had before, that they are going to be okay. >> the and as a healthcare vepractitioner, as you gone out and participated, what is your concern about people gathering? >> it is interesting, because i have had ople calling me. people who have taken this pandemic and the orders to stay home very seriousld, et they feel compelled to protest and they have friends who have not left their home sincthe beginning ask you know, do i think it is safe? thinking about what is going on here and you know, if you look at what the world health organization defines as what we should be doing, they are redefining that social distancing really should be called spatial distancing and i ellipse tant >> but, that is obviously still
something that cannot happen in these protests. people are much oser together >> they are. so, if you're talking about the specifics, think that bein outcome outdoors is safer than indoors. wearing a mask, i think mutually ofãwearing masks is safer than not wearing any masks at all or one person wearing a mask and the other one not. and, so we are trying to be as safe as possible while we are spatially distancing. and, but -- while we are socially con cting because i think that soci and solidarity is an important part of the health of society. and, so wh you havehere is that people are willing to risk their lives. they are willing to take a risk. they are aware of what is going on. it is similar to what we e doing as healthcare practitioners going in, knowing when there is an infectious risk. we are doing our best with the tools that we have. here in the bay area, and i think therare many places where we are aware that there might hebe anspike later. but, people are really passionate, so much so that they are wiing to risk their
lives to make a statement against the unmitigated police brutality and they are willing to do it to say that black lives matter. >> thank you so much for being with us today. >> thank you . for having as always, you can find more coverage at kqed.org/tran01 newsroom. ca yoreach me through my thank you for watching, good night. kqed things are members and community partners for their
robert: protests and fierce debate over presidentialan powe d american values. >> let stop thinking that our voice don't matter! and vote! because it's aot of us. it's a lot of us! it's a lot of us! [cheers] robert: across t country, protests over the police killing of george floyd brings civil ioght to the floor of the american convers >> i am your president of law and order - robert: but president trump responds with force and calls for dominatn. former military leaders and some republicans are alarmed. >> i am struggling with it. i have struggled with it for a long time. robert: andra top dts speak