tv Democracy Now LINKTV November 29, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PST
11/29/21 11/29/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> the emergence of the omicron variant should be a wake-up call to the world that vaccine inequality cannot allowed to continue. until everyone is vaccinated, everyone will continue to be addressed -- at risk. amy: scientists across the globe are scraling to learn more about the newly discovered omicron coronavirus variant,
which was first identified by scientists in south africa. many nations are responding by instituting new travel bans, but south africa's president says now is the time for wealthy nations to address vaccine inequity. we will go to cape town for the latest. then we go to georgia, where three white men have been convicted of murdering ahmaud arbery. >> goforth all over the world that a jury of 11 whites in the deep south stood up and said black lives do matter. amy: we will speak to black lives matter co-founder alicia garza. and we will look at the case of chrystul kizer, a black teenager who faces murder charges in kenosha, wisconsin, after she killed her alleged sex
trafficker. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. countries are scrambling to prevent the spread of the new omicron coronavirus variant, which the world health organization designated a variant of concern last week, triggering new travel restrictions and sending stocks crashing. japan and israel have barred entry for international travelers while other countries , including the u.s., the u.k., and the european union have reimposed entry bans from nations in southern africa, where omicron was first detected. south african president cyril ramaphosa slammed the move and called for the bans to be lifted. >> the emergence of the omicron variant should be a wake-up call to the world that vaccine
inequality cannot be allowed to continue. until everyone is vaccinated, everyone will continue to be at risk. instead of hitting travel -- prohibiting travel, the rich countries of the world need to support the efforts of developing countries -- economies, that is, to make sure enough vaccine doses for the people without delay. amy: outside of south africa, cases have been reported in australia, hong kong, and a growing list of european nations. it's still unclear if the variant, which has about 50 mutations, causes more severe illness, is more transmissible, or can evade immunity proffered by vaccines. here in the u.s., new york has already declared a state of emergency in preparation for a possible omicron surge, though no cases have yet been reported. meanwhile, president biden called for a waiver on intellectual property rights for covid vaccines ahead of a scheduled worltrade organization ministerial meeting this week.
but that meeting has since been delayed indefinitely after omicron led to new travel restrictions that barred many participants from reaching scheduled talks in geneva. in other coronavirus news, the biden administration is sending medical teams to michigan, which is at the forefront of the latest u.ssurge, accounting for around 1-in-10 new cases. infections shot up by two thirds last week and hospitalizations increased by nearly 50% over the past two weeks. just 54% of michigan residents are fully vaccinated, lower than the national average of 59%. unvaccinated people represent the vast majority of deaths and severe cases. in georgia jury rendered guilty , a verdicts for the three white men who chased down and murdered the unarmed 25-year-old ahmaud arbery on february 23, 2020 while he was out for a jog. outside the glynn county courthouse, crowds erupted into cheers as the verdicts were announced wednesday. this is ahmaud arbery's mother wanda cooper-jones.
>> i never thought this day would come, but god is good. i want to tell everybody, thank you. thank you for those who marched, those who prayed, most of all those who prayed. thank you, god. thank you. ahmaud will now rest in peace. amy: more on that verdict later in the broadcast with alicia garza. 27 people died drowning in the english channel last wednesday in what the international organization for migration said is the biggest loss of life to occur in the maritime crossing between the france and the u.k. since the u.n. agency started collecting data in 2014. three of the victims were children. vigils were held on both sides of the channel. >> we can say this happened
because of smugglers but it is the responsibility of the deadly migration policies overall. we see this every day. what is happening is a policy of harassment and degrading, inhumane treatment of exiled persons. many were here in northern france. amy: the tragedy sparked tensions between france and britain, with the u.k. home secretary being shut out of a meeting among european officials about the humanitarian crisis. prime minister boris johnson said britain should turn away any refugees that do arrive on british shores from calais. in honduras, leftist presidential candidate xiomara castro has claimed victory as preliminary results released -- showed her leading with 53% of the vote with about 40% of ballots counted. the historic election saw a record voter turnout. thousands of castro's supporters took to the streets of tegucigalpa to celebrate what could be the end of the 12-year
brutal regime under the conservative national party, which rose to power after a u.s.-backed coup in 2009 overthrew democratically-elected president manuel zelaya. xiomara castro is zelaya's wife. if her victory is confirmed, castro would become the first woman ever elected as president of honduras. this is castro speaking sunday. >> we are going to build a new era. out with the death squads. out with corruption. out with drug trafficking and organized crime. no more poverty and misery. the people will always be united. together we are going to transform this country. amy: tensions are mounting between russia and ukraine as u.s., nato, and ukrainian officials have sounded the alarm over the russian troop buildup near the nations' shared border. the ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky also said on friday a group of ukrainians and
russians is planning a coup against him in the coming days. russia's head of intelligence has denied any plans to invade ukraine and said such reports are part of u.s. propaganda efforts. meanwhile, residents in ukraine's rebel-held east say the ongoing conflict between separatists and govement forces is getting worse anthat shelling has intensified in recent days. >> we hear the shelling. we live in constant fear because it is impossible. you never know where it is going and where it will land. it is scy and we have been living in the sphere for many years now. it has been eight years. amy: in ethiopia, state media is reporting government forces gained control of the town of chifra in the afar region, days after broadcasting video of prime minister abiy ahmed clming victory from the frontlines of the year-long conflict with northern tigrayan forces. al jazeera is reporting dead bodies covered the streets of chifra after the latest fighting. thousands have been killed and millions displaced since the start of the conflict, which has led to a devastating humanitarian crisis, as we as
likely war crimes and crimes ainst humanity. in nigeria, residents of the niger lta say other masse l spill is psoning tir land and water and threatening their livelihoods. the latest spill began in southern bayelsa state on november 1 after a high-pressure oil well ruptured, spewing noxious fumes to the airnd sending llow-brownlumps waste in the neay mangrove rests ansurrouing rir. sidentsay the ill has kill off fisand othe wildlife and force them to evacuate their homes. >> we are sick because of this. we cannot cook in our house because we are scared we may start a fire. just see how this area is. amy: in turkey, riot police shot rubber bullets and tear gas at women as they rallied to mark the international day for the elimination of violence against women in istanbul thursday. this is one of the protesters. >> we are here because the
stumble convention is not implemented. we are here to say no to msi. everyday hundreds of women are killed. not just women, thkilling has affected children, too. we are gathering here to revolt. amy: protests against gender-based violence took place around the globe last week, including in spain, bolivia, guatemala, el salvador, and mexico. back in the united states, minnesota congressmember ilhan omar is calling on congressional leaders to sanction colorado republican lauren boebert after the far-right lawmaker joked to her constituents that omar was a suicide bomber. boebert's hateful remarks were shared on twitter, where they've received over 5 million views. >> there she is. ilhan omar. well, she doesn't have a backpack, we should be fine. i said, jihad squad decided to
show up for work today. amy: in 2018, omar became the first somali-american and one of the first two muslim women elected to congress. she tweeted after boebert's remarks -- "anti-muslim bigotry isn't funny and shouldn't be normalized. congress can't be a place where hateful and dangerous muslims tropes get no condemnation." the house minority leader kevin mccarthy has yet to condemn the comments. and in britain, climate justice activists blocked over a dozen amazon distribution centers on black friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, denouncing the online retail giant for perpetuating obsessive overconsumption. this is an activist with extinction rebellion. >> we cannot tackle the climate crisis without addressing the culture of greed and exploitation that got us here in the first place. cop26 has been and gone and failed because it was not
designed to address the wider economic system that relies on this unlimited economic growth at the expense of our natural resources. amy: amazon worker strikes were also reported in germany, france, and italy. in more labor news, unionized staff at "the new york times'" product review site wirecutter launched a five-day strike ahead of black friday and called for a reader boycott as contract negotiations continue. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. scientists across the globe are scrambling to learn more about the newly discovered omicron virus variant, which was first identified by scientists in south africa last week. preliminary evidence shows the new variant is highly transmissible but too early to tell if it will result in more severe cases. some doctors in south africa say they are seeing mild cases so far. in a new report the world health organization said -- "the likelihood of potential further spread of omicron at the
global level is high. depending on these characteristics, there could be future surges of covid-19, which could have severe consequences." the who has also urged nations to keep their borders open instead of instituting new travel bans. but some countries, including israel, japan, and morocco, have already imposed bans on foreign travelers. the united states is blocking many travelers from eight countries in africa -- south africa, botswana, zimbabwe, namibia, lesotho, eswatini, mozambique, and malawi. brazil, canada, the european union, iran, and the u.k. have instituted similar bans targeting nations in southern africa. south african president cyril ramaphosa criticized the travel bans and called on wealthy nations to help poorer nations gain greater access to covid vaccines. >> the emergence of the omicron variant should be a wake-up call to the world that vaccine inequality cannot be allowed to continue.
until everyone is vaccinated, everyone will continue to be at risk. instead of prohibiting travel, the rich countries of the world needs to support the efforts of developing countries, economies, that is, to access and manufacture enough vaccine doses for their people without delay. amy: south african president cyril ramaphosa speaking on sunday. we go now to cape town, south africa, where we are joined by fatima hassan, the founder and director of health justice initiative. welcome to democracy now! could you respond to, first, what has been discovered in south africa, the transparency and speed with which south africa revealed what is happening to the world, and then respond to the travel bans. >> thanks, amy. good to be on the show. [indiscernible] able to detect --
with transparency to global cooperation in terms of sharing the silence. -- science. there was noa cloud of secrecy around the variant. that is largely because we have really good genomics available. [indiscernible] what we saw in response is what you referred to in your introductory remarks, an uneven travel ban. it is really uneven. in our view, it is quite racist. that is why have the president, after coming out saying these countries should basically lift the ban and offer global cerebellar -- solidarity, where
we can address [indiscernible] vaccine and equity. amy: if you can talk about at this point it is ceded in many countries and to target south africa is just impractical. >> it is impractical [indiscernible] instead of scientific making, it is a lot of knee-jerk reactions. [indiscernible] stl a lot of information we don't know. it is premature to make any final determination of how transmissible -- that is the
view of the experts in south africa as well. we simply don't know enough and don't have enough information. [indiscernible] expeditiously, in my view, vaccinate as many people in africa as possible. [indiscernible] going to prolong this pandemic. amy: the irony of the wto, where the tripps waiver is being considered and other issues, actually being postponed because of the omicron virus in geneva -- i am not clear why they could not have had a virtual session as this is absolutely so
critical. but if you can talk about this issue of vaccine equity and what it would take to get the world vaccinated. >> i think there are two things necessary in order to get the world vaccinated quite fast, within the next six weeks before the end of the year. the first is an urgent resolution and the tripps waiver. u are ght, there is no need for an in-person meeting. [indiscernible] i think the variant has shown we need to do it intellectual property urgently. while the waivers being resolved , we need to make sure getting vaccine supplies into the system. [indiscernible]
amy cocaine you talk about the role of the united states -- amy: can you talk about the role of the united states? the u.s. poured billions into, for example, moderna at the front end, and there are many who are saying it is the united states that should be pushing for moderna to share its recipe. let's not forget, poured billions, promised millions, promised the sales. what this means and what factories are available around the world. we are talking to fatima hassan, who is founder and director of health justice initiative in south africa. she served as special adviser to -- >> i'm not sure what is going on. amy: we can hear you again. you just dropped off or a second.
if you could talk about the special role of the united states and what it specifically can do to push harder for vaccine accessibility around the globe? can you hear me? fatima? i think we have lost her again. this is certainly a discussion we will continue to have. fatima hassan is founder and director of health justice initiative. served as special adviser to south africa's former minister of health barbara hogan. the cochair of the south african committee on covid-19 has said explicitly the most important way at this point to control the spread of the disease outside of vaccinations around the world is
by being. clear about travel -- being very clear about travel. not travel bans, but ensuring only vexed people travel, positive pcr tests before travel , that travelers are asymptomatic, wear masks, and are retested on injury into a country. coming up, three white men have been convicted of murdering ahmaud arbery. we will speak with alicia garza. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
classic musicals including "west side story" and "gypsy" and was musical mastermind behind many including "sweeney todd." he won the pulitzer prize for drama for "sunday and at the park." on sunday in new york city, the broadway community gathered in times square to honor and celebrate his life and work led by lin-manuel miranda and others. they sang his songs [captioning made possible by democracy now!] . to see in performance must even sign him, perhaps as last -- stevens on time, perhaps as last, did your his voice in "tick tick boom." this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in georgia, a jury has convicted three white men for murdering ahmaud arbery, a 25-year black man who was chased down by the man and shot to death while jogging last year.
the jury convicted the men on a number of counts, including felony murder. only one of the men, travis mcmichael -- who fired the fatal shots -- was convivicted of male murder. travis mcmichael, his father gregory -- who is a former police officer -- and their friend william "roddie" bryan could face life in prison. ahmaud arbery's mother wanda cooper-jones spoke outside the courthouse after the verdict came down on wednesday. >> early in, to tell you the truth, i never thought this day back in 2020 -- i never thought this day would come, but god is good. i just want to tell everybody, thank you. thank you for those who marched. those who prayed. most of all, the ones who prayed. thank you, god. now prayers -- you know him as ahmaud. i know him as quez. he will now rest in peace. amy: the reverend al sharpton
also spoke outside the courthouse in brunswick georgia. >> let the word go forth all over the world that a jury of 11 whites and one black in the deep south, stood up in the courtroom and said black lives do matter. we'll go down in history. let us pray. dear god, even when many of us doubt, even when we never said it is not going to happen, you came in the state of georgia -- a state known for segregation, a state known for jim crow -- and you turn it around. you took a young unarmed boy that they thought was worthless and put his name in history today. years from now, decades from
now, there will be talking about a boy named ahmaud arbery that taught this country what justice looks like. america we're joined now by alicia garza, the principal of black futures lab, co-founder of supermajority, and co-founder of the black lives matter global network. also the senior adviser for the national domestic workers alliance. she is the author of "the purpose of power: how we come together when we fall apart." it is great to have you back. can you talk about your response to the verdict in the arbery case? >> absolutely. thank you so much for having me back on the show. my response was like any other black folks response and it is country, which was a feeling of relief. as you know, we had just come off the acquittal of kyle rittenhouse, of vigilante is on. so a few days later to hear the three people to participated in the murder of ahmaud arbery
being held accountable was a very important verdict and it was a feeling of relief that actually they had not gotten away with murder. at the same time, likeany other black folks across the country, i have to say that while it feels important that a jury convicted these men for their crimes, the justice would actually be that ahmaud arbery would be here with us today. the thing that really sits with me, amy, is that our court, our legal system generally protects vigilantism. this case is important but unfortunate, it is the exception to the role that when vigilantes act in our communities, in such a way as the mcmichaels and their neighbor did come off they're walking away scott free just like kyle rittenhouse did earlier in the week.
so relief, yes, justice would be that ahmaud arbery would still be with us. of course, just reflecting on the fact that our criminal legal system protects these kinds of actions in general and that the conviction was not the rule, unfortunately, but the exception. amy: if you talk about the comments of reverend sharpton who said "let the word go forth all of the world that a jury of 11 whites and one black in t deep south stood up in the courtroom and said that black lives do matter." >> reverend sharpton is incredibly prolific come as per usual. he is correct, this is an important verdict for this time in this place in this country. we have to understand that it is odd that a jury of 11 whites and one black person would convict three vigilantes who murdered a man in his own community who was
merely jogging in his neighborhood. you heard the 911 call as much as i did when the operator asked what the problem was. mcmichael said, the problem is that was a black man jogging in the neighborhood. yes, it is deeply important this jury convicted this trio, a part of which was a father-son duo. and it is important for rev to say, and i agree with this, times are changing. the same time, we need more action. as i said before, this is not the rule, it is the exception. while we are grateful for the exception, while the exception is important, we have to keep pushing to figure out how do we make this the rule? how do we make it so people who take the law into their own hands and decide for themselves who deserves to live and who deserves to die, understand that is not acceptable in this country? and until that is the case,
we're going to continue to lead -- see these kinds of tragedies across the nation. yes, it is historic that a jury in this community at this time could make this kind of decision. and at the same time, we want to see this happening across the nation. we want to make it a rule and not that exception. amy: this is ahmaud arbery's father marcus arbery addressing reporters after the verdict came down on wednesday. >> this is history today. you know that. black lives matter. all lives matter. not just black. we don't want to see nobody go through this. i don't want to see no daddy watch this kid get shot down like that most it is all our problems. it is all our problems. let's keep fighting. let's keep making this a better place for all people to live. all human beings. everybody.
love everybody. all human beings need to be treated equally. today is a good day. amy: ahmaud 's father. now we will turn to the lead prosecutor reacting to the verdict. >> it was based on the facts, based on the evidence. that was our goal. so the jury could do the right thing. because the jury system works in this country. when you present the truth the people and they can see it, they will do the right thing. and that is what this jury did today in getting tested for -- justice for ahmaud arbery. amy: linda dunikoski was the third prosecutor. the first has been indicted, went to jail last week and then was released. ahmaud's family is calling for her to be imprisoned because of covering up -- she was accused of covering up on behalf of greg
mcmichael, the father, who was a former police officer, investigator who she knew well. then it was handed to a second one. and now to linda dunikoski. if you could talk about that significance of this, alicia garza, and the indictments against the three men did not calm down for over 70 days, for over two months, and it took the video -- astoundingly, of william bryan, the third white man, before this case that the attention that the family was demanding from day one. >> listen, it is incredibly important that this played out the way that it did. so let's talk about that for a few minutes. first and foremost, you're absolutely right, we are on the third prosecutor in this case and it was the third prosecutor who was able to get it done after the first one actually
attempted to not have this case brought before a court. in fact, you are right, she conspired with this trio to keep this murder out of sight. and that is unacceptable. but what it should tell the rest of us who are watching this and asking ourselves come how can this happen? it should say to the rest of us, actually, the roles of prosecutors is incredibly important. i cannot emphasize this enough, especially as we are going into midterm elections next year, so many of these positions, like prosecutors, they aren't people who are elected by us -- they are people who are elected by us. when you see these across the country for people to elect so-called progressive prosecutors, people who will actually bring cases like this on behalf of all people in their community and not just some, it is important to understand we actually can have a role in that. i want to give a big shout out
to organizations like color of change that fight to make sure the people who are in those positions are not just covering things up sweeping things under the rug, they are in fact working to make sure that black lives matter in an incredibly racist legal system. second thing i think is really important to understand here is this landscape politically has changed. this is not the first vigilante killing that is happen. in fact, this case reminds me in many ways of the case of trayvon martin, who was just walking in his own neighborhood with a hoodie on in the rain and george zimmerman decided he did not belong there and he was a threat. since 2013, we have seen an incredible explosion globally organizing and movement-building that has called for accountability, that has called
for a reshaping and renaming of what justice actually looks like. and has called for a reshaping and renaming of the rules that have been rigged against us for generations, that allow for these kinds of cases, often, to go scott free. we have to give credit to some of the grassroots movement that has exploded across the nation for making the context such that somebody would have to think twice before allowing these three men to go free for such an obvious murder. i think all of those things are deeply important for us to understand contextually as we think about the role of the prosecution in this case. amy: if you could comment on this moment we are in, the ahmaud arbery murr case, there verdict has just come in -- all three men found guilty of multiple felony murders. they face life in prison. you have the charlottesville verdict -- this was a civil
case, the white supremacist there ultimately fined $26 million. i think was trevor noah of "the daily show" that tweeted "very fined people." then you have the case of kyle rittenhouse. in that case, he got off on self-defense. in moment, we will talk about a case of a woman in kenosha who is arguing self-defense for murdering her sex trafficker, her sex abuser who had gone after multiple teenage black girls. we will be looking at the case of chrystul kizer. but the kyle rittenhouse, charlottesville, and the ahmaud arbery murder case -- what does this mean for black lives matter organizing in the future? >> i think it what it means is a few things. obviously, there is still a lot of energy and a lot of
discussion around how it is that we change the rules that have been rigged against us for generations and how you -- we replace those with rules that are more humane, just, and rooted in a different moral and value system. in the meantime, i think it is important for us to do a couple of things. number one, i think we have to do some investigation of how do these laws come to be? so-called self-defense laws have origin. the idea that you can protect yourself and your property against a would-be attacker is not devoid of racial tension. it is not devoid of racism or racist ideas. and it is important for us to understand that. in 26 states across this nation, we have laws like this that protect vigilantes, that allow people to take the law into their own hands. i will be curious to see what
happens in this case of chrystul kizer, a young black woman who is claiming self-defense. so often, these laws, these rules are rigged to protect vigilantes who often claim self-defense against who they think would be an attacker, which is often a black person. so i want us to understand the origins of these laws. i think we need to go a little bit deeper to better understand how these laws are being applied in the states across the country. but then there's also the rule for the federal government to play. as you know, the federal government can set the tone for what it is that states and municipalities do. unfortunately, i think the biden-harris administration could have been a lot stronger in their condemnation of this kind of behavior and activity. but what we saw was actually more of a milquetoast response, which is incredibly concerning in this political context of white nationalism and a rise of
vigilante, a rise in terrorism and racial violence. i think it is important federal government, led by the biden-harris administration, take a stronger stance and set precedents for what states and municipalities need to do. we have long called on the biden-harris administration to strengthen the mechanisms that they have, to ensure that there is justice that is applied equally across the board. and part of what that looks like, we think, is investigating the use of these so-called sometimes they're called king of the castle laws or cancel doctrine laws or -- castle laws that allow vigilantes to operate with impunity. the biden-harris administration could strengthen the department of justice to make sure there is more oversight over legal systems across the country to give guidance about what we do in these kinds of cases. we cannot afford to have more kyle rittenhouses.
what we know from this era of trumpism's kyle rittenhouse of people like him are proliferating every single day, sometimes by the recklessness of companies like facebook on social media, but also because of the recklessness of the leadership in th country, which fails to denounce this kind of behavior time and time again, whether it be that trump administration are now whether it be the biden-harris administration. we need to see stronger action. amy: what about the fact that at this point when there is so much outcry around these cases that still the senate cannot manage to pass either of the two acts, including the john lewis act or the police accountability ask -- yes, of the voting rights act on one side and you have the police account ability act, because they could not resolve the issue of police immunity?
>> we should understand these things are deeply intertwined. if you're not able to make decisions about who represents you in the prosecutor's office, if you're not able to make decisions about who represents you in the judge's seat, then you certainly aren't going to be able to ensure that laws are being applied equitably and fairly. so the fact the senate cannot get this done should tell us something about the political landscape in this country. right now there are moderate democrats who have joined forces with obstructionist republicans to keep this country from progressing in a forward direction at the mandate of black voters who put a lot of these people into office in the first place. so what i think needs to happen is that what we have to see is people have to feel like there will be consequences for the actions that they are taking or not taking. and in this case is, as we saw with joe manchin and kyrsten
sinema, who they feel accountable to are the corporations that fund their political coffers. but they do not yet feel accountable to a movement that sense if you do not move our agenda, you will be removed from office. so that is what we have to keep in mind, particularly, as we are pivoting into the midterm season. amy: and that is how the george floyd justice in policing act links up with the voting rights acts because as we see in state after state, you have african-americans, latinos, people of color being disempowered by gerrymandering and the suppression of voter laws that are passing. >> that's right. that is absolutely right. again, as we pivot into this next political season, it is important for people to keep our eyes on the prize. midterms are often a time when people drop off in participation. there are a lot of down ballot
races that people tend to not participate in, but those are the ones that are the most important to participate in -- again, like i said, when you look across the nation, these kinds of conditions like prosecutors, judges, like governors who get to decide people's fate, these are elected positions and these are positions that you have the ability to weigh in on and had decision-making powerver. it is important for us to be thinking about how do we put the chess pieces in place so we n create more favorable outcomes for the things that we want to see? so we can make sure that this case, you know, where three white men were actually held accountable for the senseless murder of a black man who was just jogging in his neighborhood ? so we can make sure those kinds of convictions are the rule and not the exception? so we can make sure that what justice looks like is people
not been disappeared, whether be in the bottomless pit of our jails and prisons system or whether it be through the hands of vigilantes have decided that some lives matter more than others? that we actually have the ability to influence that. i want us to keep that in mind as we pivot toward this next election cycle. amy: alicia garza, thank you for being with us principal of black , futures lab, co-founder of supermajority, and co-founder of the black lives matter global network. also the senior adviser for the national domestic workers alliance and author of "the purpose of power: how we come together when we fall apart." next up, we look at the case of chrystul kizer, the black teen who faces murder charges in kenosha, wisconsin, after she killed her alleged sex trafficker, white man, that history of sexily abusing underaged black rose. she says she killed him in self-defense. her case is under new scrutiny
after the kyle rittenhouse acquittal in kenosha after he shot dead two racial justice protesters claiming self-defense. back in 30 seconds. ♪♪ [music break] amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. after kyle rittenhouse was acquitted earlier this month on all five charges he faced after fatally shooting two people and wounding a third during racial justice protests last year in kenosha, wisconsin, another kenosha case with a claim of
self-defense is drawing new -- renewed attention. human rights advocates are calling for charges to be dropped in the case of black teenager chrystul kizer, who is accused of killing her white sex trafficker in 2018. she was 17 at the time. he had abused her since she was 16. court records show the man, randall volar, had a history of sexually abusing underage black girls and was under investigation for sex trafficking but he remained free for months. kizer says she shot and killed volar in self-defense after he drugged her and tried to rape her. a kenosha county judge ruled in 2019 that kizer could not use the self-defense argument. but an appellate court reversed the decision and ruled kizer can argue her actions resulted from being trafficked. the wisconsin supreme court is now reviewing the decision. as her case is pending, chrystul kizer was released from jail last year after the chicago community bond fund and other supporters raised money to post
her $400,000 bond. for more, we are joined by two guests. in the walkie, wisconsin, we are joined by david bowen, calling for justice in this case. and anne branigin is a reporter for "the lily" at "the washington post," whose latest piece she co-wrote headlined, "after rittenhouse, protesters are asking: what about sex-trafficking victim chrystul kizer?" why don't we begin with anne branigin. lay out the facts of this case. >> at the time that she killed her abuser randall volar. you are right, this is somebody who was already under investigation for being a child abuser at the time that she killed him. so she is now arguing that her crime was as a droop -- direct result of trafficking and she is
trying to provoke a defense that was made specifically for trafficking victims. the thinking is that their craft is a direct result of that status come of being abused, coerced, or forced into committing a crime most what is unique about her case is that this is the first time that we are seeing this argument being applied to homicide charge. so she is somebody who has been waiting for trial now for mor than two years. because this argument has to be decided before the case goes to trial. she killed volar in 2018 and we are now in 2021. amy: the role of the wisconsin supreme court in her trial. >> can you repeat the question? amy: can you talk about the role of the wisconsin supreme court in her trial?
>> absolutely. they play a pivotalole. right now they're deciding whether or not she has access to the affirmative defense as any argument, as a legal remedy. it has never been applied to a ca come to a violent crime before. it has huge ramifications for her but also has huge potential impact for other victims of trafficking because this can really dictate in the state of wisconsin and possibly outside whether or not if you kill your abuser, whether you can claim affirmative defense, whether you can say this is a direct result of the abuse that i experience. amy: david bowen, wisconsin state representative, why you are spearheading attention on this case. she has be convicted already, but given the power rittenhouse case, we see a lot of new
attention on this case. the police released him even as they knew that he had been sex trafficking and preying on young black girls. can you describe further what happened? >> it sho further exacerbation of the situation and the lack of the outcry that you have seen many folks get behind kyle rittenhoe andis use of self-defense. he is sayg in this ca it shows self-defense is not illegal, yet what we arerying for in the streets, in the community, all over the state with tho of us who stand for justice is to say we have a very clear case and are not receiving the same support, the same outcry fm folks who got behind kyle rittenhouse to defend this young black woman. in very clear situation where
there was ongoing abusend where she was trying to defend herself to get out of the sex trafficking she was in yet she is being treated as if it was just premeditated murder and she should not have the right to be able to escape. amy: explain where it stands in the courts, how many -- explain her trial and how this has changed over time. >> this is coming at a very polarizing time in our state. this case, as you have seen wisconsin and many communities in wisconsin become hubs of sex and training for young sex trafficking victims, you've seen this case become one of the primary reasons why we need to ensure that victims are treated as victims throughout our justice system.
so we have called for that. we have even tried to clarify state statute under my leadership in the legislature where i have gone to, conservative colleagues, to build bridges and make sure we could clari the state statute. the defenses that should be there more clearly for victims. and i did not get the same amount of cooperation on the conservative side to join us in that, but not nearly enough to get that bill passed and that was even highlighted in her case where the prosecuti was trying to deny the defense, chrystul kizer's defense of using state statute protector and not be the clarication were advocating for at the time would not be passed but this essentially is still anssue where we have a few folks on the conservative side to joins and we need a lot more.
we need the same outpouring of support that clearly was given for kyle rittenhouse. amy: to be clear, there has not been a trial yet. she is awaiting trial as a clarify what the charges would be. she has not contested that she killed this man, but said she did it in self-defense. i was wondering if you could comment, state representative david bowen, on the statistics in kenosha. you have in this city of kyle rittenhouse, the same -- you have the sentences -- sentences and incarcerates black residents who make up 42% of the state prison population, but only make up 6% of the state population according to the sentencing project. the highest rate in the country. how does chrystul kizer represent this disparity in the legal system? >> absolutely.
you are saying -- seeing this injustice across the state as you have the over incarceration, over criminalization of communities of color, especially, and most verse areas of the state. kenosha is no different. you have -- you can see how much you can have a disparity in the system when a judge in the kyle rittenhouse case can t so favorably and lighthearted on a very serious topic to defend a young white man. but when it comes to the system trying to prove grace, trying to provide certainty for a young black woman, how different it . and that is what justice advocates are calling for. we are calling for that to change. and that we can't have this double standard. privately, give a number of individuals that -- obviously,
of a number of individuals likely to support color and has yet refusing to acknowledge the fact that young black person, a person of color, period, is facing the same situation, you have an over effort to try to keep that person incarcerated, to take that person away from their community, and to not give them the same grace, the same insight of them acting in their own self ierest. and it is so clear that chrystul was a victim in this case, as she is being treated as a murderer. and she is not. amy: has there been an investigation into the kenosha police department for how they treated this sex trafficking are, who they themselves had identified because young teenagers had come forward and talked about wt he had done? they took him into custody and
released him on the same day and said they were investigating him at the time when chrystul admits that she killed him >> exactly. exactly. you also had the prosecution in this case try to keep those factout of the case. it is so important we recognize that in e situation, we're talking about a proven history of aser, history of trafficking, and the situation with chrystul where she was a minor in the situation,ot being given the same level of outcry to say her life matters enough that as a victim, as she's going tohe system, tha she's treated in a wayhere she is a victim annot premeditated murder. i cannot stress that enough. and to focus here on the fact
that in wisconsin, we are seeing cases like this on different levels is also one we are calling for thehe best practices of our police department. we want to make sure everyone gets, the in of the day ando officer can be judge, jury, and low this to be accountable but it is very clear in the interactions that chryst and seven other likel young -- so many other likely young black girls are being treated as less, being treated as less than as their advocating for help, as they're trying to hold individuals accountable who at that time there holding a grown man accountable and our pice departments right there in kenosha did not live uto their duty to protect and serve. amy: and court documents show there are at least 20 videos that he took of his victims, young black teenagers.