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tv   Kristen Clarke  CSPAN  June 16, 2020 11:31am-12:01pm EDT

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part of the national conversation c pan, created by america's capable television, as a public service. tonight, on american history tv, beginning at 8:00 eastern, a look at the life of dolly madison. c-span, in cooperation with the white house historical association produced the series on the first ladies, examining their private lives and the public roles they played. first ladies, influence and image -- over 44 administrations. watch american history tv tonight and over the weekend on c-span 13. joining us to talk about
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efforts to end racial injustice. >> the lawyers committee for civil rights under law. we're one of the nation's leading national civil rights organization founded in june of 1963. for the past 56 years for help protect the -- and other vulnerable communities across the country. what are your thoughts of what happened in atlanta at the shooting at the wendy's restaurant. >> another tragedy. this is a moment you would expect law enforcement would be on their best behavior in the wake of the tragedy of the killing of george floyd and
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breonna taylor and with the marches and protests happens across the country, it's fair to say that law enforcement is under a microscope. you truly would expect the very best when it comes to how they're engaging with communities, with african-americans. this is most unfortunate, a most unfortunate and avoidable tragedy. what we understand is that this man was in his car, may have been asleep at the wheel. isn't clear whether we would have been to deply law enforcement. there wasn't threat of violence or any threatening activity. it truly was an unavoidable tragedy. >> kristin clarke, the house and senate democrats have proposed several reforms.
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prohibiting racial and religious profiling, amending federal criminal statute to -- improve investigations of misconduct on a federal level, create a nationwide police misconduct registry, and major lynching a federal crime. your thoughts on these? we're at a turning point. the reason wee we are seeing people marching every single day in this country is communities are saying enough is enough. we have sat dan and -- for decades, and rarely are officers held to account, rarely do police departments undertake the reform needed to root out to put in place policies that would safeguard innocent lives. i am excited that consequence
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has introduced this legislation that might put our country on a new path. many of the reforms that you mentioned are baseline reforms that we need in every single police department. no choke holds. a ban on racial profiling, a mechanism to actually hold officers accountable by strengthening a core federal statute that can be used to prosecutor officers, 18 usy 242. i think this is actually one of the most important provisions in the bill that's a provision used by the department of justice that allows officers to be brought to account when they use force to violate someone's civil rights. there's been a high purpose, a willfulness standard that would be modified by congress's bill and actually allow us to start seeing officers prosecuted when they take life without basis and
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without justification. we create a database to track misconduct, and most importantly keep tabs on police officers who make and carry long records of misconduct. an important bill. the senate will hold hearings, and the hope is we'll see that bill pass into law this month, because it is responsive to one of the biggest crises that's stripped our country in a generation. >> pbs has this headline, the president's executive order on police reform is expected to include use of force guidelines, misconduct tracker, as well, it would include the creation of a national standards for use of force as well as tracking police misconduct. what do you think of that as an executive order?
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>> you know, i'm going to put my faith in congress's hands here, because this is an issue that they have studied for decades. from this administration, here is what we have seen when it comes to policing reform. former attorney general jeff sessions abandoned the use of consent decrees that had been put in place to address policing reform in some of our most broken of police department. we have seen the president make a number of speeches to law enforcement groups that really sends a dangerous messages when it comes to use of force. so this executive order fall flat with me it feels that it doesn't carry the comprehensive breadth and scope, so i'm going to put my faith in the work that congress is doing right now to
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address this crisis that we face in the most comprehensive and effective way possible. >> on police, heather mcdonald, who is with manhattan institute group, author of the war on cops wrote this in the "wall street journal," officers are being assaulted and shot at while they try to arrest gun suspects or respond to the growing rye oats. please precincts and courthouses have been destroyed with impunity, which would encourage more civilization destroying violent. if the ferguson effect of officers backing off is reborn as a result of the the thousands of law-abiden african-americans who depend on the police for basic safety will once again be the victims. >> overwhelmingly the marches and demonstrations have been peaceful. right now there's intense grieving on the parts of communities that have lost loved ones. the family of george floyd, the
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family of breonna taylor, eric garner, fill lando castillo, and this crisis has ripped innocent lives away from their families and communities. oi don't condone the violence we have seen, but i do think that that is a drags. aga distraction. the overwhelming number of marches and protests we have seen in every corner of our country have been peaceful, focused and have been intentional on lifting up the message of unchecked police violence and racial bias and systemic discrimination tearing apart our country. folks are marching for healing
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and bringing communities together. that is the issue that we should focus on. we'll go to evelyn in portsmouth, virginia. go ahead. >> caller: hi. yes, i agree with my clarke 100%, but i feel there's too much brutality. i feel there should be new training. sometimes when a police stop you, they're so -- they act like they're your father rather than a civil worker, because they're being paid by taxpayers' money. you know, the way they approach you, and you can't defend yourself when the police are not good. if you defend yourself, you are resisting arrest. so i'm 69 years old, and when i see a policeman drive behind me, i just freeze.
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i have to talk to myself and say you have never been in trouble, why are you afraid? they need to change their law rather than just shooting people down i feel that law should be changed. you shouldn't be able to shoot somebody when it's not life-threatening. you it has to stop. as far as the caller about the statutes. when i was 5-year-old, i seen a confess rat statue, and as a little girl, something was wrong with it it seems too much of a superior figure that was not good. i didn't know anything about the conphet rat, none of that at
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that time. it affected me. i remember likes it was the day when i was a little girl. then if you don't want -- there are black conphet rats, too. rewrite the history book. ku klux klan had taken over the confederate flag and made it something bad, this would not be happening. but there's nothing wrong with that, because there were black confederates, too, but it's because of what you let them take that flag over. this is why you're having that problem now when america goes to war, they fight, when they go to other countries and your own
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neighborhoods, but you're not listening. you're not listening. you're still not listening to the cry. i require white kids on the bus walking to school so it will be done. you just have to stop killing. now you're killing white kids. how in the world do you go to a school like columbine, and he comes out alitch. there's too many a black one, $20, and you're dead. >> kristin clarke. she raises a number of important issues es one piece of
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legislation will not change this crisis. we have to change the culture of policing in our country. a lot of that work happens on the ground and in communities. the folks who are marches and demonstrating right now need a seat at the table, talking about how we reorient the relationship of law enforcement to communities there's this warriors mentality that's pervasive throughout policing, where police often position themselves at odds with the communities. there's an enemy on one side and a combatant on the other question snead philosophers who see themselves as true guardians of the community, serving and protecting the community, and to really have that culture change in policing will take a lot of hard work.
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i also understand the concerns about the fear she sometimes see when is she interacts or sees law enforcement in her community. i myself was driving through washington, d.c. yesterday and saw a cop, kind of pulling closer to me, and chose to pull over on the side of the road and let law enforcement pass. i think that that distrust of law enforcement is incredibly problematic. we want cops who we believe are there to protect us, not to be our enemy, not to instill fear or drive fear, and so there's going to be a lot of work that needs to happen outside the has of congress to really overhaul policing in a meaningful way in our country. we'll go to pittsburgh, patrick, democratic aáyñcaller. >> caller: it's stunning when you look at the length of time
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that corporatized present systems have been putting our brothers and sisters? jail for for crimes and exacerbating that reality by utilizing mandatory minimums, along with a corporatized media-driven, you know, race-baiting let's sell the narrative over and over again that black people are bad. i just heard about cops being eliminated. i've always said that that was a terrible thing, but we need a structural reexamination when a national level not to allow corporations, especially people in media, who need to take a much, much broader look at the criminality within wall street. look at what we just saw in wall street during the pandemic, with all the pump-and-dump assets. they walked away with $560
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billion in profits during the pandemic and during this -- the terrible murder of this man. there is no excuse for this, and we cannot, as a national society allow the pervasive misuse of our brothers and sisters of color. we just can't. i'm a gay man. i completely can relate to the fear factor. i have lived through that. i know how these dominant, um, just abusive forces can be brought to bear against me, you know. so you have a good day. >> kristin clarke. >> so this is a great development. cops no longer on the air show that really glorified use of, gratuitous use of force, the
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dramaticatiization dramaticization, to change the culture of policing in our country. when i listen to the caller, i think about the criminalization of poverty and the blind eye we turn to a lot of crime that plays out in the corporate context, but let's take mr. floyd, for example. allegedly, allegedly using a $20 -- a counterfeit $20. i think about eric garner in new york, allegedly selling a loose cigarette. alton sterling in louisiana, allege delay cell cds from his trunk, notwithstanding whether any of the allegations are true, it's unclear why law enforcement needed to be engaged with any of those individuals, needed to use force on any of those individuals. all of those scenarios to me make clear this deep problem
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that we have in our country of over-criminalizing conduct, criminalizing poverty, entangling law enforcement in communities of colors in ways that are unnecessary and often prove dangerous if not fatal. this needs to be a part of the problem that we unpack as we work do figure out how do we make our communities safer? there's a movement until way that focuses on in the this teem of defunding. i am supportive of the concept of defunding aspects of policing. we need to strengthen the footprint of police officers in our communities to deply more social workers, invest more in education, address poverty, really bring about the holistic reform needed to make communities safer at the end of the day. >> if you defund police, what would police have less of?
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>> defund aspects of policing. rather than expanding the size and scope of the police department, keep it as it is, if not reduce it. use that city money, the to invest more in social workers. i talked in jefferson last fall, dead after her neighbor did a welfare check call to a nonemergency line to the police department. he saw that her door was open and said not sure if everything is okay. just thought i would report it. they send a police officer out and she ends up shot standing inside of her own home with her little nephew feet away. a law enforcement officer did not need to be deployed for that welfare check. that could have been a social worker. and if so that young woman would be alive today. so let's defund policing and think when the resources that
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need more support, more funding, so that we could have communities that are safer at the end of the day. >> we'll go next to jeff, ferndale, washington, democratic caller. >> so my question is for mr. clark. you're on the committee for civil rights under law. isn't it given that a civil right or constitutional right that any american under the law and the constitution minding their own business is granted the right to be left alone by police. >> yeah. that is an important question that we are tackling right now. why do we have police officers unnecessarily entangled in african-american communities and communities of color, in our schools. about half of our schools have a school resource officer or some law enforcement presence which feeds into this school to prison
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pipeline. so this is a problem that starts at the earliest, at the youngest age for some communities. people do have the right to be left alone. we need cops to protect us. there are crimes that, unfortunately they happen. but many of the deaths that we're seeing, including the one that happened in atlanta over the weekend, are ones that could have been -- are deaths that could have been avoided. many of these offenses are underlying concerns are not ones that even warranted the deployment of an armed police officer to begin with. so now is a moment for us to think about, again, how do we reduce the footprint of police officers in our communities, how do we deal with the racial bias that infects so many aspects of policing in our country. >> east brunswick, new jersey, where gary is watching us, an independent. >> i do have the connection. >> gary, you are on.
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go ahead with your question or comment. i have to move on. joan, rochester, minnesota, democratic caller. >> i just had a question. we have a justice system and we're judged by our peers but it seems like if you're a policeman you did not end up being found guilty or if you're a black man you're not reprieved and i think that is fear in some of the people. and down right hurt their feelings. and i think if you would -- if you would convict a policeman there could be reprisal and so people might fear that too. but as far as the rest and everything, back in the early '20s, there was a video on a tv top show that was taped
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secretly of the military training the police forces. well, when you give police the choice of being for the people or following the military in a are in their trying to teach you something, you're in a very tight spot. and that is one of the problems. and the other problem is i wonder how many people that are belonging to the hate groups in this country have been indoctrinated into the police force because this continuance of just plain out killing shows every evidence of criminality all by itself. and we need a clean sweep and we need to expose everything and we need to address all of the problems if we're going to -- not hide any of them if we're going to get to a good society where everybody is worth
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something. there are through the grace of god go i and they should remember they could be on the other end of that at some time. so come on people, let's join together and be a nation that we could be proud of, not one that is -- has so much shame going on with it right now. thank you so much. >> it's very interesting to hear the caller recount something from the 1920s and here we're 100 years later still talking about the same nagging issue. it is a reminder that we still -- while we've made progress it is fragile and we still have a long way to go especially when it comes to confronting the need for police reform in our country. militarization is a theme that she brought up and i should note that the justice and policing act before congress would deal with this problem. there is a program called 10-33 that has allowed militarized equipment, tanks and other
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military excess items to end up in the hands of police. that feeds into this warrior mentality. it result in the escalating of tensions in communities unnecessarily. and it is important that we deal with the need to demilitarize policing in our country. she talks about the -- the caller talked about accountability. she is right. when you look at statistics, it is extremely rare, it is exceedingly rare for you to see law enforcement officers who are held to account and brought to justice for using deadly force without basis. the numbers hover between 0 to 2 on average every year. the congressional bill would again deal with this by changing the standard of a critical federal statute, 18 usc 242 and end qualified immunity for officers and create a pathway where we might see those who
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break the law, those who violate civil rights, those who take life without basis actually held account and not be people who are held above the law. the final point that i want to make, and she talks about the problem of hate that has kind of infected the ranks of policing, at any organization, this is an issue that we've worked on at the lawyer's committee for civil rights under law. we've worked to root out hate, hate crime and white supremacy that sometimes has infected the ranks of policing. last year we actually exposed an officer who was tied to an extremist group serving in connecticut. fortunately that officer has resigned. but we need to make sure we do have good job at screening candidates for this incredibly important role. people who harbor racial bias, harbor extremist views, who
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endorse white nationalism as an ideology platform did not deserve to carry a gun and a badge in our country. those are precisely the people often behind many of the racially-motivated hate-driven incidents that sometimes lead to loss of life, particularly loss of african-american lives in communities across our country. >> and military gear, the headline in usa today is that police have received $454 million in military gear since 2017. since president trump lifted restrictions on that 1033 program that you talked about. restrictions that the obama administration had put in place. we'll go to veronica in harvey, louisiana. democratic caller. >> how are you doing? i'm -- let me put it this way. i'm a retired police officer. and for 30 years.
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and i believe what is going on is police officers need to be trained. 14 weeks is not enough to be in the police academy. they're teaching them the basics and when they finish with the basics, graduation, they put them out on the street. your rookie cop is trained by that senior officer. that senior officer has been on the force 20, 30 years. he's teaching that rookie cop his way of law enforcement. which is dangerous. okay. we were not trained in a police academy with choke holds. we weren't trained like that. i don't know where all of this is coming, but if we would retrain our police officers, have more in-serve education, send them to college for two years, if you want to talk about restructuring the police
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department, send them to school. they need to sit in the classroom or online classes to understand basic human civil rights. they don't know. no police officers are not social workers. but they need to know the role of the social worker or understand or get with social workers so they could understand how to handle the human factor. but until we get superintendents together and more community activism, then we can get this police department together. establishing and maintaining a quorum, participating in the proceedings and voting.

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