tv PBS News Hour PBS April 14, 2021 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
♪ judy: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight -- ending the longest war -- the biden administration announces an unconditional withdrawal of u.s. troops from afghanistan, as questions linger about the war and its effects. then -- reopening schools. we discuss the risks and benefits of a nationwide return to in-person classes with u.s. secretary of education miguel cardona. and -- policing in america. the killing of daunte wright in minnesota highlights the urgent need for law enforcement to address the sometimes disproportionate use of force against black americans. >> when you start to sit down and you get to know people and you start building trust, you can respond better. you can come up with better
johnson. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems. skollfoundation.org. >> the lemelson foundation, committing to the u.s. and other countries on lemelson.org. supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, commied to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound .org. and with the ongoing support of these institutions. this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. judy: today, president biden
formally announced the united states would withdraw all its troops from afghanistan by september 11, 20 years exactly since the fateful day that led to the u.s. invasion. john yang begins our coverage. reporter: after nearly 20 years of war, today president biden set the end date for the u.s. presence in afghanistan. pres. biden: i've concluded it is time to end america's longest war, it is time for american troops to come home. reporter: he said the united states would still work to fight terrorist activity in the region and ensure the taliban sticks to its commitments. pres. biden: we will not take our eye off the terrorist threat. we will reorganize our counter terrorism capabilities and substantial assets in the region to prevent the reemergence of terrorists. we will hold the taliban accountable for its commitment not to allow any terrorists to threaten the united states or its allies from afghan soil.
reporter: the announcement was met with international endorsement. the secretaries of state and defense met with nato allies in brussels to brief them. germany's defense minister said the alliance, which has been there from the start would also , likely withdraw its troops later this year. >> we have always said we go in together, we go out together. i am in favor of an orderly withdrawal. reporter: afghan president ashraf ghani tweeted his support after a phone call with the u.s. president, adding that afghanistan's proud security and defense forces are fully capable of defending its people and country. in response the taliban threatened to boycott the peace process and resume attacks on foreign troops if the united states stays beyond its original deadline of may 1. while the taliban continue attacks throughout the country, the new cia director william burns said today neither al-qaeda or isis in afghanistan
have the capacity to car out heightened attacks. >> it is clear our ability to keep that threat in afghanistan in check from either al qaeda or isis in afghanistan has benefited greatly from the presence of u.s. and coalition militaries on the ground. reporter: m ay 1 -- may 1 was the withdrawal date that the u.s. and the taliban agreed to in february 2020, under president trump, so long as the taliban talked peace and prevented al qaeda from having a safe haven in afghanistan. violence has been unrelenting. nearly 2000 afghans have been killed in the first three months of the year. some war weary afghans still believe u.s. troops are leaving with promises unfulfilled. >> the americans have not fulfilled their responsibility to afghanistan. their responsibility is to ensure a small -- a strong government, rule of law and democracy in afghanistan. reporter: what happens to progress for women and girls who
have flourished since escaping the taliban's austere interpretation of islam? but today on capitol hill senate , majority leader chuck schumer praised biden's decision. >> america does not need to fight forever wars. reporter: minority leader mitch mcconell said it could lead to increased violence in afghanistan. >> apparently, we are to help our adversaries ring in the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by gift wrapping the country and handing it right back to them. reporter: shortly after setting the schedule for ending america's longest war, president bided visited arlington national cemetery's section 60, the final resting place for many of the nation's dead from afghanistan. for the "pbs newshour," i'm john yang.
stephanie: i am stephanie sy with newshour west. we will return to judy woodruff after the latest headlines. the former police officer who fatally shot daunte wright outside minneapolis was charged with second-degree manslaughter. kim potter resigned yesterday and was arrested this morning. the wright family's attorney reacted in new york. >> in less than a week the district attorney made the decision that we will charge this officer and the family of daunte wright will get to have their day in court. so we say, "justice for daunte wright!" stephanie: potter's former boss said she grabbed her gun by mistake and the charge against her involves negligence, not intent. she could get up to 10 years in prison. meanwhile, the trial of former minneapolis officer derek chauvin continues, in the murder of george floyd. we will have that story later in the program. the u.s. capitol police officer who shot and killed a woman
during the january assault on the capitol will not be charged. federal prosecutors cited "insufficient evidence" today. the woman ashli babbitt, of san , diego, was part of a pro-trump mob. a scathing new report blames the leadership of the capitol police for a raft of failures before january6. in widely reported findings, the force's inspector general cites equipment shortages and expired weapons riot shields that , shattered upon impact as police battled hundreds of rioters and, a lack of , intelligence tracking and training that left officers unprepared. an advisory panel to the cdc made no decision today on resuming the use of johnson & johnson's covid vaccine. the group asked for more data on rare blood clots and will reconvene in a week or 10 days. at the same time, public health leaders insisted there is plenty of other vaccine to go around. >> we have more than enough
supply of pfizer and moderna vaccines to continue the current pace of vaccinations, meet the president's goal of 200 million shots by his00th day in office, and continue to reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated by the end of may. stephanie: also today, new federal data shows drug overdose deaths began rising again before the pandemic and accelerated once it hit. that -- the cdc said more than 87,000 americans died in the year ending september 2020, mostly from opioids and methamphetamines car that is up 30% from a year earlier. the biden administration proposed ending a trump-era ban on federally funded clinics referring women for abortions. planned parenthood and others argued the ban obstructs access to birth control for low-income women. the trump rule stays in effect until the new regulation is finalized. texas republican congressman kevin brady announced today he's retiring after next year.
he's served 25 years and once chaired the house ways and means committee. so far, four house republicans and two democrats are not seeking reelection. the -- the white house announced the deputy assistant to the president and the asia-pacific islander liaison. raised in hawaii, she is currently vice president at the national partnership for women and families and workforce -- for senator tammy duckworth. duckworth recently criticized president biden for a lack of representation in his administration. the u.s. senate confirmed gary gensler to chair the securities and change commission. he is expected to push tougher regulations on wall street. most republicans opposed his nomination. disgraced financier bernie made off -- bernie madoff died in
prison. here is a look at the massive fraud that shook wall street and beyond. the scope of the scam shocked the world. >> this is one of the biggest fraud cases ever. stephanie: victims numbered in the tens of thousands. their losses recently estimated between $17 billion and $20 billion. the man behind the con, financier bernie madoff. he had the image of a self-made financial group, eventually becoming the chairman of the nasdaq stock exchange. the ruse was in full swing in the 1990's. madoff fabricated profits, attracting new investors, while paying bigger returns to old ones, the biggest ponzi scheme ever. he swindled major charities, universities, and celebrities. as of last year, three quarters of the cash, some $14 billion, had been recovered by a court-appointed trustee and returned to victims. journalist diana henriquez,
author of "wizard of lies," told "newshour" jeffrey brown in 2011 how madoff pulled off such massive deceit. >> you would never doubt your judgment about trusting madoff because madoff made you feel like you were a genius, too. he had that magic, it is amazing. stephanie: but in 2008, his magic words revealed for what it was, one big lie. his own sons turned him in. in march 2009 he pleaded guilty to securities fraud and other charges and was sentenced to 150 years in prison. bernie madoff died today in prison in butner, north carolina. he had been battling the final stages of kidney disease. bernie madoff was 82 years old. the biden administration announces an unconditional withdrawal of u.s. troops from afghanistan. secretary of education miguel cardona discusses the
nationwide return to in person classes. we talk about resistance to the jobs and infrastructure bill with senator shelly moore capito. plus, much more. >> this is the pbs newshour from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism. judy: we returned to the president's decision to withdraw u.s. troops from afghanistan by september 2021. for that we get three views. retired lieutenant general doug lute served in both the george w. bush and obama administrations focusing on afghanistan. he also served as u.s. ambassador to nato during the obama administration. annie pforzheimer had a 30 year
career in the foreign service. she was the deputy chief of mission in afghanistan from 2017 to 2018, and was acting deputy assistant secretary of state for afghanistan until 2019. david sedney was deputy assistant secretary of defense for afghanistan, pakistan and central asia during the obama administration. until recently he was the president of american university of afghanistan. we welcome all three of you. david, i will start with you. we heard president biden say that threat to the u.s. over the last 20 years has spread around the world and it has metastasized and does not make sense to keep troops in one country, afghanistan, at a cost of billions of dollars. what is your response? mr. sedney: i think he is dead wrong. the threat from al qaeda and places in afghanistan has not gone away. the pledges by the taliban to
combat that have been shown by a recent report. trusting the taliban, which is what this administration is doing, is a very bad idea. judy: ambassador lute, is it the case, that there is very much a live threat from the taliban and pulling out is the wrong thing to do? ambassador lute: i don't think anybody claims al qaeda is dead. but al qaeda in afghanistan and pakistan is decimated compared to what it was 10 or 20 years ago. there are al qaeda franchises elsewhere, somalia, yemen, syria, parts of africa, are much more severe and imminent threats to the u.s. than the branches in afghanistan and pakistan. judy: on that point, let me turn
to you. that argument that the threat that was so present and enormous insight afghanistan has spread around the world. the taliban is weaker than it was. what is your sense of that? ms. pforzheimer: unfortunately, the taliban will be emboldened by what just happened. a conditionless withdraw with a date is removing the leverage we have had. at this point, i don't believe they have any reason to sit down to negotiations with the afghan government, nor to fulfill any promises they have made regarding fighting terrorism. judy: why do you believe that? ms. pforzheimer: they can simply look at the calendar and use the psychology of appearing to have kicked us out of the country the way the soviets left, to portray
themselves as winners. afghans unfortunately will have to make their decisions based on the idea the taliban could come back to power. judy: back to you, ambassador, what about that, this notion, the administration argument the u.s. can manage whatever taliban threat there is from the outside, that we don't need boots on the ground? ambassador lute: it is really important to be crystal clear about who the enemy is. nobody likes the taliban, but the taliban have never threatened nor harmed an american outside afghanistan. their goal is to have a voice in the governance of afghanistan itself. these are afghan citizens fighting for afghanistan in their own way. that does not suggest they are not repressive, islamist, and so forth, but they do not threaten america directly.
they are distinct from al qaeda. they have linkages. it is those linkages between tele-ban and al qaeda, which promised to be broken and now have to be verified and confirmed and over watched, but the two are different. judy: what about that? mr. sedney: that is unfortunately not at all accurate. the taliban were close to al qaeda, they supported al qaeda. even in the agreement the ambassador signed for the u.s. over a year ago, the taliban promised according to pompeo, to break ties with al qaeda. they have not done so. the u.s. has not had a good handle on al qaeda's presence in the u.s. a number of people in the obama administration, including ambassador lute, said the same thing, that al qaeda had been decimated. but then they found a training camp that caught us by surprise.
any claim the taliban is not have ties with al qaeda, is not aligned with al qaeda, is wrong. any belief that al qaeda is decimated is unfortunately not reliable. judy: ambassador? ambassador lute: if i,, -- if i may, i said al qaeda in this region, afghanistan and pakistan, are decimated compared to what they were previously. once the evidence of al qaeda a transnational terrorist threat, the last by my survey is 2005 in london. the presence of a few al qaeda fighters do not -- does not constitute a threat to the american homeland. judy: i want to bring you back to the conversation about what is going to happen to women insight afghanistan.
i know you're part of a conversation today with a number of afghan women leaders. how are they reacting? what are their concerns? ms. pforzheimer: they are reacting with horror and grave concern. if they may link the two for a moment. al qaeda and isis are present in afghanistan. if there is a civil war, which is the deepest fear of the women that we speak to, in addition to the taliban taking power, the threat of militias arming themselves, people who will defend against the taliban, could result in a civil war, which provides a power vacuum isis will be more than happy to take advantage of. i think the women are right to be concerned about this. judy: ambassador, how do you respond? ambassador lute: afghanistan is already suffering from civil war. the women and children of afghanistan are among the most
suffering. over the last several years, each year featured 10,000 afghan civilian casualties. to the war ongoing today with our troops present. on top of that 10,000, another 10,000 security forces have been casualties to the civil war happening today. the best outlook for ending that civil war is not with 2500 additional troops in afghanistan, but negotiating the end of the civil war between the two primary afghan parties, the afghan taliban and the afghan government. judy: what would the women you are speaking with say to that? ms. pforzheimer: i think they will say this has not been a civil war. it has been a series of attacks on civilians by taliban, by the network, and by isis. a civil war would indicate the people are taking up arms against other people. that is
not the case. it has not stopped because there have been international forces, but the idea is to push the taliban to a real peace negotiation, not to give up our leverage. judy: doug lute? ambassador lute: i think we would all agree the war in afghanistan today is afghans, afghan taliban versus the afghan government. by fundamental definition, that is civil war, afghans fighting afghans. mr. sedney: not a civil war. ambassador lute: without that term, can we settle on afghans biting afghans? [crosstalk] mr. sedney: there have been a lot of problems. under your leadership, i negotiated a strategic partnership with afghanistan.
we should be keeping the terms, not giving priority to an agreement with the taliban that has failed in every respect. it is cle the u.s. is losing credibility in afghanistan, losing credibility around the world. this does not make us safer. and makes the world more dangerous, makes us weaker, allows adversaries in china and russia to claim the u.s. has been weakened and can be outlasted. this is strategic loss for the u.s. ambassador lute: i disagree. judy: we hear you. this is a conversation we will be continuing. we thank the three of you. thank you very much. ms. pforzheimer: thank you for having us. ♪ judy: more than half of public
schools around the country are back to full-time in person classes. but many school districts still are using distance or hybrid learning. and there are many questions ahead about what it will take to reopen more fully in the coming months. amna nawaz looks at those questions and more with the nation's top education official. amna: judy, the biden administration wants to expand the map of schools that are fully reopen nationwide. and the president has pledged to address racial and economic inequality in education, which widened in the pandemic. the latest covid relief bill includes $130 billion for schools to help reach those goals. for a closer look now at these critical issues, we are joined by the secretary of education, miguel cardona. i want to begin by asking you about vaccines and kids. more than 30 states have opened up eligibility to kids 16 and older. some colleges now requiring students to get the vaccine before coming back to school.
you support those requirements? sec. cardona: thank you for having me. i am happy that we can provide more vaccines across the country. ultimately we know they are effective and helping us reduc spread and ultimately get back to some sense of normalcy. are working closely with our partners at cdc to make sure we follow the guidance. amna: but do you think schools should be requiring vaccinations for kids coming back? sec. cardona: unless it is a requirement of cdc, i don't want to jump the gun. we will support decisions made by our health experts. this is an educational emergency, but we will always follow the lead of our health experts. amna: cases are rising in many parts of the country. do you think schools could face mask closures again if cases continue to rise? sec. cardona: that is a great question. it is important to know we are
still in the middle of a pandemic. there are positive signs we're able to recover. however, i have seen this before, in my time in connecticut. once we relax a little too much in the community we see higher numbers of covid in our schools. not necessarily because they are spreading in schools, but because they are spreading in the community. if we want to keep our schools open, we need to follow mitigation strategies in the community and schools. amna: let me ask you about racial and socioeconomic inequities that existed long before the pandemic, but have been made worse we have a member from our student reporting labs network, 17-year-old janice aragon, from brentwood, new york. >> we have over 5000 students, many of which are low income and minority. what will you do to help bridge the gap of educational equality
for disenfranchised communities like mine? sec. cardona: that is a great question paradigm serving as secretary of education to address those issues. as janice pointed out many of those issues existed long before the pandemic. we need to be bold as we reopen our schools and reimagine learning, to make sure we don't go back to a system with the same inequities that existed before the pandemic. we have an opportunity to hit the reset button. the american rescue plan provides funds, support, guidance around what practices we should be following. we need to be bold about addressing inequities that have existed and and have been exacerbated by the pandemic. amna: what steps might you take with the funds you mentioned? sec. cardona: ensuring students have robust summer learning experiences, ensuring social and emotional support for students. especially students dealing with trauma we experienced together
as a country, some students in underserved communities have experienced it worse. we know the data around black and brown mortality rates with covid-19. making sure we are providing emotional and social supports. but also the academic enrichment era students will need. many had to be looking at a screen for a year. we have to have better interventions, smaller class sizes, the academic enrichment and support our students need. not only spring and next year, but for years to come to close whatever gaps worsens. our students with disabilities need additional support. zoom learning is nothe same for students that require the one-on-one support or manipulation for sensory issues. there is a lot of work to be done.
amna: zoom learning has led to a lot of students to fall behind. that leads me to standardized testing. your predecessor allowed testing to be canceled because of pandemic disparities. a number of people are asking you to do the same this year, because the data would not be reliable. you have refused to do so so far. why? sec. cardona: the previous secretary was correct in canceling last year. i was one of the first states that applied for that. with the pandemic happening in march, we were not prepared. a year has passed. when we are talking about addressing achievement disparities, there are difficult decisions to make. one is making sure we do everything in our power to assess which students have been affected and how much, so
policies and resources coming out of the american rescue plan can be aimed at students who need it most. there is no teacher in the country who needs a standardized assessment to tell them how their students are doing. but for policymakers and state leaders to make sure funding goes to students impacted the most, every bit of data helps. this is not the end all, but it is helpful for new policies. amna: what about gun violence? as schools open back up, are you worried about more mass shootings in schools, like the one we saw in knoxville? sec. cardona: as a father, it always crosses my mind. i have children in school. as a former principal, especially during the sandy hook massacre, i was a principal, 45 minutes away. of course it crosses my mind. it reminds me of the important work we have to do not only to ensure physical safety of our
students, but emotional safety. it does cross my mind. i want to make sure it is clear our schools have adapted to realities out there, as unfortunate as they are. they do have safety protocols for visitors. i want to let the audience know that as we reopen schools, the emotional safety of students you'll hear a lot about, but physical safety as educators has been ingrained in how we do business. amna: mr. secretary among those , exhausted our teachers. many are stressed, leaving or taking early retirement. what can you do to address teacher burnout? sec. cardona: we have to acknowledge what educators have been doing since last march. it was march 11 or 12. they went from one way of teaching or serving as a para educator or school counselor to a totally different way the next week. they did it without missing a
beat. yes, we had to learn together as a country, but it happened from one day day to the next, literally. they worked twice as hard to make it so they were serving students in front of them and on the computer at the same time. i visited schools and saw that happening across the country. we have to make sure we are taking care of our educators. their emotional well being we -- is taken into account as we consider reopening schools. we have to make sure we pay our educators what they should be paid. parents appreciated our teachers before, but recognize what it is and we need to continue to honor the profession. as we come out of a pandemic, there will be supports they need to be successful. amna: secretary of education miguel cardona, thank you for joining us. ♪
judy: president biden has proposed a $2 trillion measure titled "the american jobs plan" to improve the country's infrastructure and take care of other needs. as negotiations on that get underway in washington, i'm joined by a senar who's deeply involved, ranking member of the environment and public works committee, republican shelley moore capito of west virginia. senator, thank you very much for joining us. first of all, you have said it is the american jobs plan and you are interested in the classic infrastructure part of it, the roads, the bridges. does that mean you can accept the $115 million this bill would set aside for that? sen. capito: i think probably. what i have been interested in looking at is where the job creation aspects of what we consider traditional
infrastructure is. that is roads and bridges, but also broadband, wastewater and water, safe drinking water facilities. it is broader than just roads and transportation. the $115 million is probably in the ballpark where i could be supportive, yes. judy: you mentioned increasing access to broadband, but what about the power grid? sen. capito: we saw over the storm we had in texas, and certain instances in california and other states, we have grid problems and are breeding -- bleeding energy off the grid. modernization is something we could look at. it is not something i think of as a traditionally formulated every five-year infrastructure patch we have done, bipartisan. it certainly bears looking into. judy: there is also money in
here for retraining workers who were dislocated in manufacturing, in the energy sector. also, money for home health care aides. where do you stand on that? sen. capito: this is where we separate on our visions where infrastructure can and should be, and where as a united states, under the unity pledges of the president, we will fall apart. we have numerous workforce development programs, a lot that we funded in covid. let's deal with those under labor and other kinds of appropriations per the same thing with home health care. i am a great believer in home health care, but that is not part of what i consider traditional job-creating infrastructure packages where we are modernizing moving people,
moving goods and our economy. judy: i am sure you are familiar with president biden's arguments around this he said the nation is always -- has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the american people and its needs. we need to see infrastructure through its effects on ordinary working people in america and what the future working needs will be of the american people. what about that? sen. capito: that is why i think broadband is a part of infrastructure now. if we look at what happened during this pandemic when we see so many people commuting to work or children learning online or delivery of telehealth, that makes the argument i have been trying to make over the last five years, that we have a great digital divide in this country. that to me is an irastructure gap that needs to be closed. i think we have like identities on this. we have high-speed rail
projects, something well work looking -- worth looking into. let's not get away from where we are able to do the job creation, boost the economy, and get a lot of people back to work and have a modernization of our airports, waterways, more broadband. this is where our core functions should be focused. judy: there was reporting in politico that senators that met with president biden earlier in january have come away feeling that you were burned, that he was not serious about wanting to work with republicans. where do you think he stands now? sen. capito: i was in the meeting with a group of 10 and the president was very engaged in that meeting and pledging to come together in an area we had great consensus on, which was covid relief. the next day, leader schumer is
talking about reconciliation, a nonstarter for all of us republicans, for the most part. i would not say burned, i would say lessons learned. you see tiptoeing on our part in terms of how aggressive is the white house actually going to negotiate. i thought when you negotiate you come from two different positions and both people move. that did not happen. the president never moved and left us in the dust. judy: let me ask about how to pay for this the president is saying, let's bring the corporate tax rate back up. president trump lowered it from 35% to 21%. president biden is saying, let's get it back up higher. would you be willing to see any increase in the corporate rate? corporations earned $2 trillion over the last year. sen. capito: i voted for the tax cuts and jobs act. we got much of their desired
results during those years before the pandemic. we had more people in west virginia working, higher wages, more minorities, more women, younger people working. we were on a trajectory of fully realizing the effects of those tax cuts. we had over $1 trillion come back into this country that was repatriated because of the lowering of the corporate rate. i do not want to see is go back to raising taxes to where we will stagnate possibly the progress we have made. the big question is, how do you pay for it. we know the gas tax is a declining resource. let's look at vehicle miles traveled or weighs electric vehicles could pay their fair share for use of the roads. i think we will have to get creative and i think we can, but i don't want to see us raise taxes on small businesses. that is a nonstarter for most people. judy: you are rolling out an increase for the corporate? sen. capito: for me, yes.
if this is the direction the president wants to go, put that in his reconciliation package, and let that fly. if we could just have a big and robust bipartisan effort, which i know we can, we are working it through my committee right now, it will give the american people the confidence it is not broken, they are on their way to working together like we know they can do. judy: senator, thank you very much. sen. capito: thank you, judy. ♪ judy: the defense team for former police officer derek chauvin has been making the case that george floyd died for reasons other than the actions by chauvin, and that chauvin's kneeling on floyd's body was not the crucial factor.
today, the defense focused on that question with its own expert testimony. yamiche alcindor has our report. yamiche: today, the defense called to the stand dr. david fowler, former chief medical examiner of maryland's peer the defense expert witness spent much of his testimony directly contradicting earlier testimony from the prosecution's expert witnesses. fowler testified that george floyd died of sudden cardiac arrest caused by his underlying conditions. he listed those conditions as heart disease and drug use and cited a lack of bruising on floyd from chauvin's restraint. dr. david fowler: all of his injuries were in areas where the knee was not. yamiche: prosecution expert witnesses have testified that chauvin's knee restraint directly contributed to floyd's inability to breathe and his ultimate death. meanwhile, fowler also said that carbon monoxide coming from the police vehicle could have affected floyd.
he suggested an object, possibly drug-related, could be seen in floyd's mouth and could have also contributed to heart failure. dr. david fowler: in back corner of mr. floyd's mouth, you can see whatppears to be a white object. eric nelson: this object right there? yamiche: he also said his speech heard in video evidence, suggests he was breathing normally. prosecution expert witnesses have said it is wrong to make instead, they have testified that assumption. instead, they have testified that just because floyd was talking does not mean he was breathing adequately. eric nelson: how would you classify manner of death? dr. david fowler: so this is one of those cases where you have so many conflicting different manners. the carbon monoxide would usually be classified as an accident, though someone was holding him there. so some people would say you could elevate that to a homicide. you've got the drugs on board.
he has significant natural disease he is in a situation where he has been restrained in a very stressful situation. you put all of those together. it is difficult to say which of those is the most accurate. i would fall back to undetermined. yamiche: the prosecution cross-examined fowler, attempting to pick apart his testimony on what exactly caused floyd to die. one prosecutor suggested that fowler's testimony -- a statement on a substance in floyd's mouth was leading the jury. jerry blackwell: so you are not then either telling or suggesting to the jury that the white substance was a pill are you? dr. david fowler: i never said it was a pill. i carefully said i could see a white structure in his mouth. yamiche: for the pbs newshour, i am yamiche alcindor. ♪ judy: as much of the nation's eyes are on the trial of derek
chauvin in minneapolis, we return to the debate over defunding the police that george floyd's death ignited last summer. special correspondent charlayne hunter-gault spoke with current and former law enforcement officers about what reforms they believe are needed to improve relations betweepolice and the communities they serve. it's part of our ongoing series, "race matters." reporter: our conversation about solutions is with three veteran police officers. wanda gilbert is a retired miami police officer. she was fired for blowing the whistle on a string of dubious arrest, but was handed a legal victory by a miami jury that agreed she was unjustly fired. eric blake is the chief of police in oak bluffs, massachusetts, a position he has held for 18 years. and delrish moss was the police chief of ferguson, missouri appointed two years after the
police killing of michael brown. he is currently a law enforcement captain with the florida international university police department. thank you for joining us. there have been all kinds of studies and task forces trying to make a national reckoning over policing. what has gone wrong? wanda: the community now is asking for accountability. they're also asking for a redress and now it's an explosion of really looking into systemic racism within policing. charlayne: so many studies say this is h we fix things. why haven't they been fixed? >> the priority on diversity training or unconscious bias training or de-escalation has not been as important as the
standard trainings everyone has been doing. there has not been accountability and a lot of states. you need law enforcement leaders to consider the issues going on in the community with their police officers as important as anything else. charlayne: what is your thought about why haven't these studies that have been serious studies about what is going wrong, why haven't they made a difference. delrish: there are a number of issues. we shift as a nation constantly. at one point it was terrorism. priorities shift and as a result, we get variables and what happens. we need to look at consistency. we've got 18,000 police departments across the country. they are not built the same with regard to training, resources, and even priorities. charlayne: we are in the midst of intense sustained political , divisions in the country.
sometimes pushback comes from police unions. how do you respond to that? delrish: one of the things that has to be theocus, unions have a responsibility to protect membership and the people they are designed to serve. police chiefs have to remember, your job is to make sure that you're giving the citizenry the best policing they want. even when you get pushback from unions, when you get political push, you have to make tough decisions, fire people in need to be fired, make changes where you need to make them. charlayne: how'd you put that into practice? we have a situation where black people are being killed by police at a rate that's much greater than their population. erik: you need to hold people accountable. leadership across the country need to spend more time looking
at the individual officers that are having complaints against them. police chiefs need to focus on making sure their police departments are well trained, not just in densive tactics or firearms, but in community policing and understanding who their community are and making sure they are held accountable every single day for what they do. charlayne: wanda, what do you think of the defund idea? wanda: i think what has happened with that statement, defunding the police, it has gotten caught up in political ramifications that have gone on in this country the last five years. the real essence of it, defund has been co-opted -- the real meaning is, there has to real
accountability. those are not things they can just come to one training session for a week. there should be community involvement, redress, follow-up. >> some people are using the narrative of abolish the police. i am not a proponent of that. defund the police, in a local community like ours, we went ahead and reached out to the mental health community, and engaged them and said, is the relationship we have with you what you want? are we doing a good job, can we do a better job, are there things we are doing that you would like to take from us? our conversation was, no, we like our relationship. what i try to get across to my officers, don't be afraid of that narrative.
it does not mean people are trying to get rid of you. for years we have been complaining as officers that we have gone from being servers and protectors from everything from mental health advocates to homeless advocates to support advocates. they keep throwing everything on our plate and we are saying, now that everything is on our plate and we want to take stuff off, we are saying don't take it off? you can't have it both ways. it does not mean a reduction in personnel, it means help. we need to do this together, we are not going to solve these problems by law enforcement. charlayne: let me get your take on defund. delrish: it depends who i had the conversation with. there are people who want outright abolition of police and some talked about the very things police chiefs were calling for when they say you cannot through the police at every problem that exists.
a homeless situation, mental health, you don't provide services and it becomes the police's problem, we are upset when police don't do it well. that has been an issue. in that conversation there is common ground in terms of what we are trying to get. we just have to figure out how to get there. charlayne: what is your big solution, is there one? wanda: i think there is a big solution and it goes back to police accountability. one of the big things, we do not respond to a situation first before you investigate with your guns drawn, because already you have escalated the situation. charlayne: what's in youriew is the biggest solution that can
address these issues? delrish: when i took on the ferguson police department, we went door-to-door introducing , ourselves to people and talking to them about what their priorities were. it had a number of affects. they got to know me, my stuff, we got to know who they were. the next time we responded to a place, it was not the first tim we were meeting someone. when you get to know people and start building trust, you can respond better. you can come up with that her and are more legitimate -- come up with solutions and you are more legitimate. i am hopeful we will solve all of our problems. the brain trusts the heart. all of that is there to solve problems. we have to adjust and adapt.
even with problems today, rather than thinking we will get to a destination, we have to realize the work is continual and requires continual change and adoption -- adjustment to the realities that exist. erik: i am very hopeful. this is my 34th year in law enforcement. i remember when rodney king happened and there was riots and it was a call for change. were there any real changes going on? not really. this past year with protests, we are talking national changes going on, from the white house, not only the states. i really am hopeful we get to a better place. charlayne: thank you. wanda: i am very hopeful. it is happening even internationally where the world is changing. if you look at young people, you have to have hope. what are we going to leave?
we often talk about what we want to leave for our children. we can fix this. you have to be open, honest, truthful. biases are real, we just have to be real. i am very hopeful. charlayne: real and hopeful. thank you for joining me. thank you for joining us and leaving us with hope. judy: thank you for suc an important conversation, especially at this moment. on the "newshour" online, join us tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. eastern for a live conversation between our jeffrey brown and "nomadland" author jessica bruder, who will answer your questions about her book following the newshour broadcast. we hope you'll join in on the conversation. that is the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us again tomorrow evening. for all of us at the
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