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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  April 29, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight... >> america is on the move again. >> woodruff: 100 days-- we examine the critical points in the president's address and discuss the administration's future with h.h.s. secretary xavier becerra and arkansas governor asa hutchinson. then, after the verdict-- prosecutors in the derek chauvin murder trial consider the impact of the jury's decision and potential changes to policing in america. and, smoked out-- the f.d.a. announces a ban on menthol cigarettes, elating public health groups and angering tobacco companies. >> now that menthol is banned and now that we can get it off
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the market, it's time for us to really help to encourage that cessation effort at a national level. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> at fidelity, changing plans is always part of the plan. >> the kendeda fund. committed to advancing
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restorative justice and meaningful work through investments in transformative leaders and ideas. more at >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> woodruff: 100 days into his presidency, president joe biden has already faced historic challenges. last night in his first address to a joint session of congress, he laid out his plans for a new, sweeping tax and spending package, and his vision for america's place in the world. yamiche alcindor has our report. >> after just 100 days, i can report to the nation: america is on the move again. (applause) >> alcindor: a pandemic. an economic crisis. and a racially and politically divided country still reeling from the siege at the capitol. >> we're coming for you. >> alcindor: on inauguration day three months ago, those were the immense challengesacing the country, and president joe biden. though those challenges remain, since that day, there have been
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historic achievements, frustrating losses and promises still unfulfilled. >> because of you, the american people, our progress these past 100 days against one of the worst pandemics in history has been one of the greatest logistical achievements this country has ever seen. >> alcindor: in his first address to congress last night, biden touted his administration's work building out plans to get more covid-19 vaccine to americans. now, vaccinators have given more than 200 million shots. with vice president kamala harris casting a tie-breaking vote for the evenly divided senate, biden passed a $1.9 trillion covid relief bill. the aim: trying to prevent even more economic devastation. since then, he's laid out plans
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for a $2 trillion jobs plan. >> america is moving forward, but we can't stop now. >> alcindor: last night, biden detailed another $1.8 trillion tax and spending package to help american children and families. >> to win that competition for the future, in my view, we also need to make a once-in-a- generation investment in our >> alcindor: many democrats, including some of the most progressive, have praised the historic, f.d.r.-sized spending. >> americans heard a lengthy, liberal daydream. >> alcindor: but republicans have widely opposed biden's plans. not one g.o.p. lawmaker has voted for or even backed biden's spending bills, despite biden pledging unity on the campaign trail. >> the actions of the president and his party are pulling us further apart. >> alcindor: in the republican response to the president's speech, senator tim scott of south carolina said biden's policies, and spending packages,
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are divisive. >> it's a liberal wish-list of big government waste. plus the biggest job-killing tax hikes in a generation. >> alcindor: scott also blamed the biden administration for not doing more to reopen schools, and credit the trump administration's vaccine work. biden has worked to roll back many of what he said were“ divisive” policies from former president donald trump. he quickly lifted trump bans on travel from muslim majority countries and transgender troops in the military. then there are the campaign promises biden has yet to fulfill. >> i'll reverse trump's detrimental asylum policies, raise our target for refugees to >> alcindor: despite a campaign promise, biden recently said he would not lift trump's cap on refugees allowed into the u.s. >> alcindor: but after intense pressure from advocates and progressive democrats, biden backpedaled. the white house said he would raise the number next month. but officials also said the
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federal government has to balance processing the influx of unaccompanied children and other migrants at the southern border with efforts to resettle refugees. though, the two groups are processed under separate systems. meanwhile, the massive immigration bill biden sent to congress has so far fallen flat. his plans to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people in the country without legal status appear headed for a smaller compromise. >> if you don't like my plan, let's at least pass what we all agree on. >> alcindor: last night, biden called on the senate to pass pathways to citizenship for daca recipients who came to the u.s. illegally as children and agricultural workers without legal status. >> alcindor: other biden promises, on guns, voting rights and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, have also so far stalled in congress.
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>> this can be a moment of significant change. >> alcindor: in the meantime, biden has continued to find his place as the “consoler in chief,” after events from mass shootings to police killings of black americans. last summer, the killing of a black man, george floyd, by a white police officer, derek chauvin, set off protests and a national racial reckoning. this month, biden addressed the nation after the officer was convicted of murder. >> in order to deliver real change and reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen and occur again; to ensure that black and brown people or anyone, so they don't fear the interactions with law enforcement. >> alcindor: on foreign policy, biden is still working to re- establish american alliances strained by president trump's“ america first” policies. last night, biden framed his sweeping spending proposals as critical to making sure america
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doesn't fall behind other countries. >> we're in competition with china and other countries to win the 21st century. we're at a great inflection point in history. >> alcindor: is a struggle, biden said, that will determine america's, and democracy's, place in the world. for the pbs newshour, i'm yamiche alcindor. >> woodruff: for more in reaction to biden's address and his long list of policy goals, i'm joined by republican governor of arkansas, asa hutchinson. governor hutchinson, thank you very much for joining us. let me just start by asking you your thoughts on president biden's remarks last night. >> well, you can't hardly help but like the personality of president biden. he comes across well, he presents his case, but, at the same time, as you listen to it, you have to be concerned about policy that, in the major address to congress, he does everything to signal left. in other words, his policies are
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moving to the left. in the democratic agenda, it is left to those who are asking for more extreme policies and more spending programs that are of a great concern. i looked at that and i just saw dollars, dollars, dollars, that is going to increase our national debt and it's for spending programs that i think has a good chance of overheating the economy and putting inflationary pressure on the prices for consumers that's ultimately going to cost them. >> woodruff: well, with regard to the things you're mentioning, and you mentioned the cost to the american jobs plan, the administration calling it the pamerican families plan. among other things, they're talking about adding to the number of years of public education in this country from twelve years to 16 years saying this is what the united states must do in order to compete with the rest of the world,
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especially china. what about that argument? >> well, first of all, we need to increase our college graduation rates here in arkansas, for example, but we've already, at the state level, made two-year college also very affordable. we've set up loan programs. there's not in i reason that someone cannot go through two years of college without going into debt. and, so, we're taking that initiative. certainly, we need to hold down costs, but that's not what the federal government needs to concentrate on, which is spending programs that are federally directed and federally managed. and, so, there's two problems there, one is cost and, secondly, that it's federally managed, and i think those will be harmful to us. all of the things he's proposing from childcare and reducing childcare expenses from working families to lowering the cost of education sounds great, but you have to lok at the cost of it
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and how that's going to be managed, and i think that's problematic. >> woodruff: well, we know edation is run at the local level. there would be federal money involved, but i also want to ask you about the infrastructure and the jobs proposal. we're hearing republican criticism of that, but the president is saying this is what the country need to do, that we have to have a workforce in place, we have to make sure that people are in a position to do the work that we're going to need in the years and the decades to come. >> whenever you talk about an infrastructure plan, he needs to talk about traditional infrastructure, which is roads and bridges and airports and water systems. you do not need to laden that infrastructure plan with social programs that confuses the american public and it's not true infrastructure. secondly, i know he, once again, said we need to have bipartisan support, and there is
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communication going on, on the republican side, the republicans have presented a plan, but we have to get serious about getting this in a bipartisan fashion that is trimmed down, that is affordable, that really goes to traditional infrastructure in our country that is needed, but that it has to be an amount that we can afford. his is over the top in terms of cost, and then you add to that the american families plan. i think there was at least $6 trillion in spending in arkansas and in many states, we're going to have a hard time spending the money from the previous stimulus plans and packages that have come forth. we do not need to have that level of spending that's going to increase our debt significantly in the united states. >> woodruff: one other thing, governor, we heard the president say last night that he welcomes republican ideas, plans to meet with republicans to talk about infrastructure, to talk ant some of these other ideas, his
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antipoverty measures, to talk about police reform. do you think republicans should work with and meet with the president? >> absolutely, we should meet with the president. we should have discussions about a bipartisan infrastructure plan. i love senator tim scott's response, and he's been leading the effort on police reform. these are things that we can agree upon, but the temptation always from the left is to push it too far, to push it to extreme, and the president has to show leadership here to say, no, let's look at what we can agree upon and get a dual plan throh with bipartisan support, and the pressure he's under is ditch republican support, let's go to the left and go to extreme and pass it that way, and that's not good for our country, and it's not good for bipartisanship, and it is not something that the american public needs or should stand for
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right now. >> woodruff: so you don't souped optimistic that that kind of bipartisan effort is going to produce anything? >> well, i'm hopeful, but if you look at the past, if you look at the first spding bill that came through, it was on a party line basis versus a bipartisan basis, and there was not a serious effort in reaching a compromise. the infrastructure, we hope, does not go down the same path, and, so, this is a test of his message last night, and whether he can be the joe biden that people look at and say he's moderate, but at the same time he always drifts left in the past, so let's change that pattern. i'm always optimistic, and i want them to meet. i want them to see a compromise on infrastructure from a governor's standpoint. this is important for our country, a solid infrastructure plan that we talked about during the trump administration, it didn't happen.
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it ought to happen now, but it needs to be done in a bipartisan way that's constructive in bringing people together and avoiding the extremes in that measure. >> woodruff: governor asa hutchinson of arkansas, thank you very much, governor, good to have you with us. >> thank you, judy, always good to be with you. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, covid infections in india surged to yet another global record-- nearly 380,000 in 24 hours. officials also reported another 3,600 deaths. the crisis has taxed hospitals beyond their capacity to treat patients as ventilators and oxygen tanks run out. local welfare groups in new delhi are banding together to provide free oxygen. >> ( translated ): people are suffering, begging for every
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ounce of oxygen. now that we have brought these cylinders here, i believe the needs of at least 100 to 150 people will be fulfilled. we hope we can do something to save their lives. >> woodruff: even as the virus spread, people lined up to vote today in elections in west bengal state. more than eight million people were eligible to cast ballots. meanwhile, brazil became the second country in the world behind the u.s. to officially top 400,000 covid-19 deaths. 100,000 of those fatalities happened in the last month alone. infections are declining across much of the u.s., and more places are lifting restrictions. new york city now aims to fully reopen on july first. mayor bill de blasio announced it today citing improvements in vaccination and hospitalization rates. >> it means we get to go back to so many of the this we love.
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it means so many jobs get to come back and soon. it means that the things that make new york city special will be clearer than ever this summer. this is going to be the summer of new york city. >> woodruff: despite the announcement, it's still unclear when new york state will allow full capacity for restaurants and schools. meanwhile, new orleans will allow full capacity at bars and restaurants, starting tomorrow. and, michigan governor gretchen whitmer has announced an easing of restrictions as vaccination rates rise. the state had been fighting a surge of infections. authorities in western north carolina are searching for answers after shootings that left five dead, including two sheriff's deputies. gunfire erupted wednesday at a home in boone. deputies had gone to check on the occupants when they missed work and could not be reached. the sheriff's office says the gunman killed the deputies and two people in the home, then
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killed himself. in russia, opposition leader alexei navalny has been seen in public again for the first time since ending a three-week hunger strike. he made a video appearance in court today to appeal a fine. navalny looked gaunt with a shaved head, after losing weight. his lawyer said he is managing despite the physical toll. >> ( translated ): he weighs 160 pounds. when he arrived to the prison in january he weighed 207 pounds. he was on a hunger strike for so many days that not many people would be able to bear. nevertheless, he copes, he is quite healthy for a person in his situation. one can only be proud of him. >> woodruff: in his own statement, navalny again criticized president vladimir putin and said his rule is steadily degrading russia. china has taken another big step into space. the country launched the main module of its first permanent space station today.
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in all, the chinese plan 11 missions to build and supply the station before sending a three- person crew by the end of next year. back in this country, the food and drug administration proposed a ban today on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. they are especially popular with black smokers, and health groups have pushed for the ban. tobacco companies are expected to file legal challenges. we'll return to this later in the program. the u.s. economic recovery is rapidly accelerating. the commerce department reported today that first-quarter growth surged ahead at an annual rate of 6.4%. in addition, new unemployment claims fell to 553,000 last week; a new low during the pandemic. and, on wall street, the economic news gave stocks a boost. thdow jones industrial average gained 240 points to close at 34,060. the nasdaq rose 31 points,and,
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the s&p 500 added 28, for another record close. still to come on the newshour: prosecutors in the derek chauvin murder trial consider the impact of the verdict. the f.d.a. announces a long- awaited ban on menthol cigarettes. and a focus on indigenous voices leads to a major revival for a pioneer museum. >> woodruff: as president biden pushes these sweeping new policies, he's relying on his cabinet secretaries to help in that effort. our amna nawaz sat down with one
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of them earlier today. >> nawaz: and the secretary for health and human services joins me now. secretary xavier becerra, welcome back to the newshour and thanks for bei here. you we should mention is one of five cabinet officials the president tapped to lead the negotiations in the bill to push forth the ambitious american families plan. senator susan alcohollens said she's concerned about the cost. senator connelly says he wants the childcare money to go to families and called universals pre-k a federal incursion. how do you change their minds. >> thanks for having me. we do it the way the president did with the american rescue plan. we do it the same way the president got 200 million shots in arms in vaccinations, people didn't think he could get to the is hundred million. you just believe it and you have a president that's going to work the heck out of this. we'll join with the president because we know it's important.
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you can't just rescue the american public. you can't just create more jobs for the american people. you have to also give the american family a chance, and, so, these three legs to have the stool are critical for america to come back. >> reporter: y are dealing with republicans among whom there's some discontent, already. they say the administration hasn't been working with them as much as they would like. some may say you have been dismissive of the work done before president biden. lisa murkowski said there needs to be recognition of operation warp speed of the previous administration and their work on the vaccine development. what would you say? >> we absolutely need to acknowledge the successes we have in this country. we have to build on those, we have to give credit where its due and keep going. i think president biden's message is very clear, we want to build on all those successes and keep going, because we have a lot to do.
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the president is going to move and look for people he can reach out to and make this a bipartisan bill. but he made it very clearly we need to move. the american people are counting on it. >> reporter: you're still moving on getting shots in the arms. as people who identify as republicans, 40% say they do not plan to get the shots. i want to ask you about your plan, they won't listen to you, to president biden, or anthony fauci in many cases. what's your plan, are you recruiting republicans to get the message to them. >> covid doesn't discriminate, it doesn't care if you're red or blue, republican or d.m., covid kills, and we want to make sure that you stay alive, and, so, we want all americans -- we don't worry about stripes, we want all americans to be healthy because when you're healthy your family is safe and when you and your family are safe we get back to work and we'll make sure that happens. we're going to partner up with those people that are respected in all those different communities so that we go to trusted americans and use them to help us whether it's your
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faith leaders, whether it's the wrestling coach in college or in high school or whether it's your neighborhood watch leader, we're going to go where we can. >> reporter: but given that there is still so much reluck taints among people who self-identify as conservatives, shouldn't you be working more with prominent people in that party? you mentioned yourself recently if president trump were to try to do some kind of pfa it would be effective. have you talked to him about that. >> i have not reached out to former president trump, but anyone who has the connection and the confidence of the american people, especially communities that haven't yet been vaccinated, we would love to partner up with them to help us because the message is very clear, the vaccine saves lives. talk to the seniors in america today who are now seeing the lowest rates of death that they have seen since covid really started hitting us hard. they are the perfect proof that the vaccine works and why the rest of america should follow suit. >> reporter: i want to ask you about something else the president mentioned last night which was the work to lower
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prescription drug prices. he made it clear it's not going to be part of the american families plan, thatteth going to be left to medicare, to you to negotiate. the critics have called that a copout. they said we've seen this before, an administration doesn't make it a legislative priority, it gets delayed and doesn't get fixed. can you pledge it will be different this time? >> not only can i pledge it will be different, i think the results in the first 100 days are different. we have already lowered the cost of healthcare. 800,000 americans today just acquired insurance under the affordable care act, w when it comes to drug prices, working with the white house, health and human services is going to work hard to lower prescription prices. we'll do it on a bipartisan basis with congress to reduce drug prices. it's not republicans or democrats saying we need to reduce the prescription prices, it's americans. >> reporter: how wld you plan on doing that?
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would you want to put into place the same kind of price caps on brand name drugs medicaid uses now? >> we haven't taken a particular approach yet but i would say to you all of the above and let's get what congress can do to make it happen or through health and human services through the regulatory process. i wish i could give you the details and i think the president would do it if he decided exactly how to do it. but i can tell you there will be action. >> reporter: your agency is responsible for the care and custody of the unaccompanied minors, the migrant children crossing the borders in the numbers of 400-plus a day, about 22,000 in your care now, and you have set up thousands of emergency shelters and beds to try to safely house them. i should tell you even a former trump administration official said to me today what you've done so far is impressive, but it costs a lot of money. those beds are $750 per bed, per child per day, 60 million a week is what you're spending on the
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effort. how sustainable is that in how much longer can you do that and will you need more money from congress? >> amna, you just struck the right chords here on this one. this is what happens when you have a broken immigration system, when congress doesn't act to fix the system. president biden, one of the first things he did was sent a bill to reform our immigration system, to finally fix it. we need congress to act because otherwise this is what you encounter. this is not the way we should be doing it. and because these are children that we have under our care, it's even tougher. and when you add covid to the mix, because now we have fewer kids that we can put in any one facility to protect those kids against covid, and when you put on top of that the fact that the previous administration had begun to wind down the infrastructure that was in place to deal with this, it's all made it very difficult. but we're doing what we have to do because it's the law and because we feel a responsibility to care for any child in a responsible way. and, so, it is not easy.
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it is absolutely a challenge. but we're going to do this the right way because all of us who have kids, who know what it means to parent recognize that. it makes no difference whe child it is. this is a child. in our country, at least, we have laws that respect children, and we're going to follow those laws. >> reporter: your strategy so far has been to expand capacity. how sustainable is that? how much longer can you do that? >> we're going to do everything we must to make sure that we stay within the law and protect these children. what we do is provide them with the custodial care that we would want to have for any child or perhaps find the custodian who could watch that child during the time that temporary period where they're going through their immigration status for you. we try to handle them responsibly, whether find a responsible custodian, in many cases a family member, or we provide them with the care they need within our custody. it's tough but we'll do it the
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right way. >> reporter: mr. secretary, we'll have to leave it there but hope you come back soon. secretay for health and human services, xavier becerra, thanks for joining us and thank you for your time. >> thank you, amna. >> woodruff: the trial of former police officer derek chauvin gripped much of the nation. for three weeks, america and the world watched dozens of witnesses testify and consumed hours of video of george floyd's murder on replay. chauvin was convicted on all counts: second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter, and now faces prison time. when the verdict came down, there was relief, celebrations and some said a degree of justice. but many said the chauvin case was a rare exception when it comes to convicting officers who hurt or shoot citizens. and within days, other videos of
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deadly police encounters have brought renewed calls for racial justice. i'm joined now by the two people who led the prosecution for the state of minnesota, jerry blackwell and steve schleicher. we welcome both to have you to the "newshour". thank you so much for being here. jerry blackwell, i'm going to start with you. i understand the two of you had never met before this trial. you had not tried a criminal case before. you both did this work pro-bono. why was it important to you to take on this case? >> yeah, i think i've described it as my own moral moment, a moment when you see something that so pierces your consciousness, your sense of right, your sense of justice, that you feel compelled to stand up to offer whatever resources you have within yourself, all of your abilities, to try to right this wrong. and for me, it was that kind of moral moment, and i thought, at
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the time, that, if the opportunity presents, i will do an offer, whatever i have, for the cause of justice with respect to what i had just seen, and it was just happenstance that, within a week or two of thinking that, i did get a call from the attorney general asking if i would be a special prosecutor in this matter. i thought i would be behind the scenes, given that i had never handled a criminal case. i might help them with the strategies and the narratives and so on. that's not how it progressed. the result, what you saw, that was me presenting on tv and trying the case. >> woodruff: steve schleicher, i want to direct this to you. the "wall street journal" is preparing today 11 of the jurors when they retired to the jury room were ready to convict but that there was one holdout who did turn around and quickly. but what does it say that, with the overwhelming evidence including video evidence, that even one of these jurors was doubting? what does that say about the difficulty in prosecuting a case
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against a police officer? >> you know, i do think that's telling. and to try to address a little bit of my closing argument to the jury, we have biases that we don't even understand, we don't appreciate, we don't know that we have. and if you take a look at the bystanders in this case, after seeing a man murdered right in front of their eyes, their instinct was to call the police. now, can you imagine any other group or organization that you could see its members commit this act in front of you and afterward your first reaction would be to reach out to members of that same group and ask for help, and that's the way we're wired. we trust the police, we believe the police, we want to believe the police. and, so, it doesn't prize me that a juror had questions and wanted to examine the case very thoroughly before making a decision because that's just kind of what the nature of bias
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is. it's something you don't even understand you have. >> woodruff: and, jerry blackwell, it was really striking the number of police officers themselves who were prepared and did testify in this case against one of their own, including the chief of police. i want to ask you, what does that say about how critical that was to your case that you had to have that many police lined up and saying that what derek chauvin did was wrong? >> well, we obviously knew that it would be very hard to get a conviction against the police. the history and the track record speaks to that. so i can't say that we needed to have that many police, but we weren't taking the chance of having fewer than that many police. it really spoke to the leadership of chief arradondo, how he takes seriously the notion of good policing and
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upholding the sanctity of life as the highest ideal for policing. and i think it was a wonderful example to the country about the ways in which the police can be the ones who are policing the police and stand up against bad policing, stand up against b bad policing is good for good police. and we were pleased that the chief did it, we think it was very persuasive and influential, probably more so than any expert we could have called, would be the other men and women in blue to stand up to say this was not proper policing. >> woodruff: and picking up on that -- >> just to comment on that further. the graham versus connor standard for the u.s. supreme court sets the question what would a reasonable police officer do in those circumstances. so who better to ask than other police officers. they tend to carry more weight than others. and, so, having this many officers stand up and say, no, this isn't policing, this isn't what we do, this isn't what
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we're about, we do think that was persuasive, but it does take an act of personal courage on behalf of those officers. we're all expected, police officers and all of us, to stand up to our adversaries, that's what's expected in some ways that's the easy thing. standing up to our colleagues and friends, that takes a certain amount of personal courage that can be difficult, and i commend them for doing so. >> woodruff: jerry blackwell, i want to come back to you. you said recently everybody should be a fan of good policing. but we know at least we are reading that some police, perhaps many police, are looking at this verdict and looking at what's happening in the country and thinking about whether they should reconsider their careers. we're hearing people talk about concerns that it may be hard to recruit police in the future. what should, do you believe, the lesson from this trial should be for police across this country?
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>> well, i hope the lesson and the message from this trial for police across the country is that good policing is respected, good policing is upheld, good policing is something everybody wants, even those who would argue about dismantling the police are still opposed to being abused or being the victims of violence and so on. good policing is about opposing that. what the trial stands for, in my view, is that excesses in policing -- that is the wanton abuse to have the members of public, the disrespect of dishonoring the badge -- can't be top rated, and i hope that most police officers won't think that the margin is really that thin that they have to be that concerned about it. and i think that's not warranted from the verdict. as with the rest of us who have jobs where we have to care for the public or others, it's fairly well understood that if
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you're not really interested in doing your job, you probably shouldn't have the job, and i think that applies for the police, also. but the verdict isn't about going after all police, it's simply addressing excesses and abuses in policing and the margin isn't really that close. >> woodruff: steve schleicher, what about you? what should not just the police but the country, you think, take away from this trial and from the verdict? >> you know, i think that's such a big question. you know, in terms of police officers and recruiting, i think if you don't have the heart of a public servant, you shouldn't be a police officer. i've worked with police officers for over two decades, and the men and women i worked with, i believe, had the heart of a public servant and did do good policing and support the verdt. as far as members to have the public, i think, you know, people need to step up and do what they can to try to make the world a better place, really.
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i mean, this case was a lot about empathy and about compassion and about recognizing the humanity of people, of your fellow person. and i think that all of us need to take a little bit more time to consider what we do, what we say, what we say to people, you know, look at some comments and things of people online. we have this sort of anonymous system of being able to criticize and lash out at each other online, things you would never think of saying to someone's face. i think we need to consider that, too, to kind of take a deep breath and recognize each other's humanity. and i think that, you know, a better world will follow from that. >> woodruff: take a deep breath and that has more than one meaning in this case. steve schleicher, jerry blackwell, thank you both. we so appreciate you joining us today.
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>> thank you. so much. >> woodruff: as we reported earlier, the f.d.a. announced it hopes to ban menthol in cigarettes and cigars, citing its particularly harmful impact on black communities in america. william brangham has more on the f.d.a.'s move. >> brangham: for years, mehol cigarettes were marketed heavily to black communities, and today, its estimated that 85% of black smokers choose menthol brands like kool and newport. menthol is an additive that can mask the harshness of tobacco smoke, and its believed to make nicotine even more addictive. justifying their proposed ban today, f.d.a. officials said this could help reduce the leading cause of preventable death in america:
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>> one study showed that from 1980 to 2018, menthol cigarette smoking was linked to 378,000 premature deaths, three million life years lost, and 10.1 million new smokers. >> brangham: joining me now is delmonte jefferson. he's the executive director at the center for black health and equity, one of many groups that had been pressuring the f.d.a. to take this step. mr. jefferson, great to have you on the "newshour". i listened to your press briefing earlier today where you and several other groups that have been fighting this fight, and there were people on that call who were crying tears of joy for the announcement today. for people who have not been following this so closely, why is today such a big deal? >> well, it's a big deal because this goes well beyond 2009 when the f.d.a. didn't ban menthol. this goes back to 1990 when the to back to industry tried to come into our country with menthol products. we have been fighting this fight since then and that's over 30 years. >> reporter: what is it
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specifically you find so troubling about menthol cigarettes? >> first of all, it's very troubling how they targeted our communities, how the predatory industry targeted our communities with free cigarettes, events paying off officials and church officials to promote their cause. that's what's troubling. >> reporter: i understand there's a few issues with menthol in particular with regards to public health. one, it seems to make nicotine more addictive but, also, as i mentioned, by masking the harshness of the smoke it makes it easier tore people to start smoking. >> that's the primary reason. the tobacco industry knew this and menthol as you may or may not know is in every single tobacco product because it masks the harshness to of the smoke. it is in every product to make it easier to get the poison
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down. >> reporter: you mentioned the issue of timing. we certainly taw the f.d.a. act much quicker on other flavored vaping and nicotine products. you have been fighting this fight for decades. does it worth youic -- bother you it took so long for the f.d.a. to take this step? > oh, absolutely. that's another reason why you saw tears of joy today because it has taken so long, because it was evident, quite evident, that menthol was lumped in just with the other evidences of systemic racism and health injustices that african-american communities have curved through for so long. so to have a victory of this magnitude where the f.d.a. comes out and says, yes, black lives do matter, we do care about health for black communities, that was very important and moving for us. >> reporter: as you well know, nicotine is a very addictive drug. isn't there a concern that if menthol cigarettes are banned that smokersho are smoking men tholes today will simply switch to other non-menthol cigarettes
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tomorrow? >> well, what we've seen in other countries, we've seen other countries that have banned menthol, we've seen folks say, wait a minute, we don't have menthol, i'm going to quick smoking for good. african-americans have also said if menthol were off the market, they wouldn't smoke tobacco products. now that menthol is banned and we can get it off the mark, it's time to help encourage the cessation effort in a national level. >> reporter: i should say for all the celebration today there isn't total unanimity in the black community about this. some argue if you ban this a black market will grow and if there's an illegal product that might further interactions between the black community and law enforcement when that's the last thing we need. what do you make of that argument? >> first of all, we've heard that argument before. we heard that argument back in 2009 when we were asking for them to include menthol, and the argument itself generated from the to back to industry.
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the to back to industry paid and got spokes persons within the black community to make that argument but this is an argument that comes from the industry itself, and, to be honest, there's absolutely no data to support it. even since 2009, when they banned strawberry and grape and other flavors, there's no evidence we had encounters with law enforcement because those flavors were banned and/or being smoked. to the oth point, and there was another point you made about the criminalization, that, too, is strong propaganda because they like to use and throw up eric garner and they like to throw up sandra bland and george floyd and say these were encounters because of tobacco, because of menthol tobacco. i would three out anthony brown, isiah brown, dante smith and others killed recently with no reason for cigarettes, that wasn't the reason they were
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approached by law enforcement, in fact it's more dangerous to have a cell phone in your hand and up to your ear than a cigarette in your mouth. >> reporter: we know there's a long rule marking process and industry litigation ahead before this finally takes effect, but till then, delmonte jefferson, center for black health and equity, thank you so much for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> woodruff: many museums, especially smaller ones, have been hit hard over the past year during the pandemic. a fall survey of museums around the country found more than 30% remain closed and a third were at risk for permanently closing. but one museum on the outskirts of portland oregon has been bucking trends by being bold; gaining membership and financial support even as the doors remain closed to the public. special correspondent cat wise
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has the story, part of our arts and culture series, canvas. >> reporter: no visitors have passed through the doors of the five oaks museum since last march and there's not much to see inside these days. normally, that might be a problem, but the staff of this small institution isn't concerned about beina work in progress. >> our vision for the place was not rooted in anything that had already occurred here. >> reporter: molly alloy and nathanael andreini are co- directors of the institution formerly known as the washington county museum. started as a historical society in the 1950's, one of many throughout the west, it became a museum in 1980's, with a vast collection of artifacts from the descendants of settlers in the region, most of whom were white. >> it takes a lot to do those moments well, it's a long learning curve. >> reporter: when alloy and andreini, who are both artists and previously held other positions at the museum, took over two years ago, things were not looking good.
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>> there were 13 members of the museum. that included the staff. the institution was struggling financially. it was struggling for leadership. and struggling to be of service to the community. >> reporter: that community, which encompases and cities and towns west of portland, is now one of the state's most diverse. >> the racial and ethnic makeup of this county is just vast. and here we are telling this one story over and over again. they were doing it through the focus of women's clothing. we did it through the focus of the logging industry. all these different viewpoints to talk about the same people over and over again. >> reporter: they lieved a big change was needed that started with who was telling the stories at the museum and what stories were being told. >> we saw that the result of not trusting communities to be experts of their own cultural knowledge was choking the institution from being able to be like engaged with all of this vibrant cultural activity around
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it. and we just thought, well, if we're going to trust people to be experts in their own perspectives, well, then that seems like the expertise we need behind our exhibitions. >> reporter: they invited kalapuyan artist and writer steph littlebird fogel, who is member of the confederated tribes of grande ronde, to provide a critique of the museum's long-running exhibition about her people called “this kalapuya land." working with scholar and fellow grand ronde member david lewis, fogel annotated and corrected the exhibition's panels to reflect the kalapuyan people's views and experiences. she presented the revised panels, along with a diverse collection of works from 17 native artists, in a new exhibition called “this is kalapuyan land.” >> we learned so much from that process and how it was received by the community about listening and how to act listening as an institution. after that, we were able to
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create more of a formal process. so we have a panel of invited community members who review applications from an open call to the community for proposals for exhibitions. >> reporter: handing over curating responsibilities to the community was one big change in 2019; another was a museum rebrand. when looking for a new name that reflected the museum's commitment to diverse storytelling, they found inspiration at a historic site, only a few miles away. one remains, but for hundreds of years, five majestic oak trees claimed this spot now surrounded by commercial buildings. it was an important gathering spot for the kalapuyan people and others. >> this grove of trees, they have bear witness to all kinds of things for years, you know, hundreds of years prior to settlement. so the idea of the museum name changing to five oaks museum, it was a way for us to stay extremely open ended. >> reporter: that open-ended approach has also meant looking back in different ways. what is this? >> this is a circa 1900 washing
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machine. >> reporter: cultural resource manager mariah berlanga-shevchuk is in charge of cataloging and maintaining the museum's collection-- some 100,000 objects, photos, and papers. in the past, the emphasis was often on how white settlers used those artifacts, but not anymore. >> we're using these objects to tell the stories of all of the people who would have come here. so a lot of japanese settlers, chinese settlers, even mexican settlers. so, for example, we have typewriters and there are many examples of black writers early in this era that would have been writing on a typewriter. >> reporter: she says the museum's new commitment to equity extends to the staff. with the support of a new and diverse board of directors, alloy and andreini have implemented a series of family- friendly policies and wage increases during their tenure. over the past year the museum, which gets funding from washington county, has found new revenue streams, increased membership, and they have been connecting with the community in
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new ways. they launched a neighborhood exhibition project; hosted online classes for older adults in the community; turned over their instagram account to local artists, many of whom are young and from cmunities of color. and they've moved to all digital exhibitions, including one that elevates works from trans and gender non-conforming artists. the museum's most recent online exhibition, called “dis place,” was co-curated by native hawaiian artists kanani miyamoto and lehuauakea. it highlights the long and close connections between hawaii and the pacific northwest. >> this is kapa cloth, this is the traditional textile of my people. >> reporter: lehuauakea, who goes by their hawaiian name and uses pronouns they/them, works with different mediums, but specializes in kapa making. it's a native hawaiian, time- intensive practice of beating the fibers of certain trees into a soft cloth. they were just a few years out of college when their proposal for the exhibition was accepted.
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>> what i've learned from this exhibition is that our communities hold so much power and so much knowledge, and often that knowledge is swept under the rug in a museum context. it is possible to grant people opportunities to tell their own stories and to curate exhibitions, even if they don't have the certain resumé credentials that one might require typically. >> reporter: but some mawonder if the kinds of changes five oaks have made of would be possible at larger institutions. monica montgomery is an independent curator and national museum consultant. she says all cultural institutions, regardless of size, have a responsibility to be more equitable and socially responsible. >> it's really great to see a community that's banding together with a new model of leadership the co-directorship with new ways of shaping narrative and really wanting true input. moving in lock step with the community to see how things can
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evolve. i think it is definitely rare, but hopefully will become more mainstream as time goes on. >> reporter: the museum's next exhibition will open virtually in july. for the pbs newshour, i'm cat wise in washington county, oregon. >> woodruff: on the newshour online, all adults in florida are eligible for the covid-19 vaccine. but the state's stringent id requirements are keeping many undocumented workers from getting the shot. all that and more is on our web site, and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> architect. bee-keeper. mentor. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help
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and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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hello, everyone. and welcome to amanpour and company, and here's what is coming up. >> i think that we'lle in a position to be able to share, to share vaccines as well as know-how with other countries who are in real need. >> as covid cases rip through india and surge across asian, major faith leaders are demanding that wealth country end the vaccine nationalism. i speak with south african archbishop, and seth berkeley, the head of the south african vaccine garvey. and then i speak with blake gailybout this and


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