Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  April 7, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PDT

8:00 am
04/07/21 047/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] am from new york, this is democracy now! >> to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way shape or form by policy, not part of
8:01 am
our training, and not part of our ethics or values. amy: minneapolis police chief arradondo and other testify against officer derek chauvin, accusing him of violating the department's policies by kneeling on the neck of george floyd for over nine minutes, killing the 46-year-old father. we will air excerpts from the chauvin murder trial and speak to a former new york police department detective who now heads the black law forcement alliance. then we talk to journalist victoria law about her new book "prisons make us safer and 20 other myths about incarceration." >> united states has 5% of the world's population but 20% to 25% of the world's prison population. if prisons are saf, then we shoue the safest nation in the world but prisons do not keep us safer and they do not
8:02 am
prevent violence, just afear of imprisonment does not -- did not prevent derek chauvin from killing george floyd.flrg y:amll tt d more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman. prident bin has moved up the deadline for states to make the covid-19 vaccine available to all adults by april 19 instead of may 1 this ces as daily ses are thrise a new varnts ntinue tspreadincludin the k. varia which h now been repted in ery statend coulaccount r 70% ofases in micgan, wch is eing a jor surg the s. has n deliver over 168 million vacce doses,he highest mber ithe world. meanwhile, the world health organization says richer
8:03 am
countries must urgently combat vast global vaccine inequities. >> scaling up production and equitable distribution remains major to in this pandemic. it is a travesty that in some countries have workers and those groups remain completely unvaccinated. amy: brazil recorded over 4000 daily covid-19 deaths for the first time, bringing its total death toll to nearly 337,000, second only to the united states. india reported a record of nearly 116,000 new daily cases wednesday, taking its total caseload to 12.8 million cases -- the third highest in the world after brazil and the united states. four witnesses took the stand tuesday in the trial of former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin, who killed george floyd last may. minneapolis police department trainer johnny mercil testified
8:04 am
chauvin kneeling on floyd's neck was not a trained restraint and that officers are instructed to only use force that is proportional to a threat. this is mercil answering questions from the prosecution. >> so if there was, for example, the subject was under control d handcuffed, would this be authorized? >> i would say no. amy: we'll have the latest on the trial after headlines with marquez claxton of the black law enforcement alliance. arkansas has become the first state to criminalize gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth after state lawmakers voted tuesday to override governor asa hutchinson's veto of the highly contested bill. the aclu is suing over the law which they say will have deadly consequences. in missouri, tishaura jones has become the first black woman ever elected as st. louis mayor. she addressed supporters yesterday at a victory speech. >> i will not stay silent when i
8:05 am
face racism. i will not stay silent when i spot transphobia. will not stasilent wn i st xephobia. amy:ones haslso adcated a shift om incarration t suppting prention efrts. nes haserved acity trsurer sie 2013 a was a miouri sta represeative r five yrs. florida mocratic coressmemb alcee htings s died at e age of4 after a battleith pancatic canr. hastgs, a foer lawyeand flida'first afcan ameran feral judge, had sved in congressor nearlfour deces whe he chaioned cil rights. a special eltion wilbe heduled fill his seat. in legistive ns, the sate parlmentarian led demoats n use buet reconliation again during this fiscal year, meaning they can advance more of
8:06 am
president biden's agenda, such as the recently unveiled $2 trillion infrastructure plan, with a simple majority, bypassing a republican filibuster. s. and iranian officials expressed optimism following the start of constructive talks in vienna aimed at reviving the landmark 2015 iran nuclear agreement, which the u.s. unilaterally withdrew from in 2018 under former president trump, re-imposing harsh sanctions on iran. the two sides are meeting indirectly through the remaining parties to the nuclear accord. this is an iranian government spokesperson. >> we are confident we are on the right track. and if americans honesty is proven, it can be assigned for a better future. amy: meanwhile, an iranian military vessel appears to have been attacked tuesday in the red sea by an israeli mine. "the new york times" reports israeli officials notified the
8:07 am
u.s. that israel was responsible for the attack. itas latest in a series of naval attacks between israel and iran.n people in the democratic republic of the congo -- ane-third of the population -- covid-19 pandemic. the world food programme says it needs at least $660 million to maintain its aid to the drc, which has the highest number of people in urgent need of food assistance in the world. amnesty international usa is calling on the biden administration to cease its "outdated and destructive" policy of developing and deploying antipersonnel landmines. the statement was issued after the pentagon confirmed this week the u.s. would not change its position on landmines. 164 countries have signed on to the 1997 mine ban treaty. the u.s. is not one of them. over 2000 people were killed in 2019 by antipersonnel mines.
8:08 am
in the occupied west bank, mourners attended the funeral of osama mansour, a 42-year-old palestinian man who was killed by israeli soldiers at a checkpoint tuesday. soldiers say mansour tried to ram his vehicle into them, but his wife, who was also in the car and sustained bullet fragment wounds, disputes the claim. >> they told us to switch off the car and park it. he only asked us where we were coming from and where we are going. that was it. then he told us to go, lee. we switched the car on and left. and within seconds, four soldiers started shooting at us from behind. amy: the mayor of biddu village, where osama mansour lived, says the shooting may be brought to the international criminal court, which is investigating war crimes in the occupied palestinian territories. in washington, d.c., six yemeni american activists have been on hunger strike for nine days protesting the u.s.-backed,
8:09 am
saudi-led war and blockade that have crippled yemen's economy and created the world's worst humanitarian disaster. the hunger strikers, who are members of the grassroots group yemeni liberation movement, are demanding an end to all u.s. support for the blockade and for president biden to pressure saudi arabia to end the war. a warning to our audience, the next story conins descriptions of sexual violence. in oklahoma, an investigation is underway after a soldier at the fort sill army training base said she was sexually assaulted by 22 service members, sometimes in groups. least 20 personnel at fort sill have been suspended. speaking to "the intercept," and army referred to the case as "fort hood 2.0" -- referencing the killing of 20-year-old soldier vanessa guillén, who was attacked by fellow servicemember. "the new york times" is reporting embattled florida congressmember matt gaetz sought blanket preemptive pardons for
8:10 am
himself and congressional allies in the final weeks of former president trump's term. gaetz was already under investigation by the trump department of justice for sex trafficking. in climate news, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 420 parts per million for the first time in recorded history. the measurement puts the planet roughly at the halfway point on the path to doubling preindustrial carbon dioxide levels. the reading was taken at the mauna loa observatory onhe big island of hawaii this past weekend. and in new york, governor andrew cuomo and lawmakers struck a deal tuesday to create a $2.1 billion assistance fund for workers excluded from federal benefits during the pandemic, many of them undocumented. excluded workers organized for months, with some taking part in a hunger strike for over 21 days to protest the unjust system. advocates hailed the deal as a
8:11 am
major victory, but some warn the measure contains burdensome proof-of-employment requirements, which can be harder for undocumented workers and those in informal jobs to provide. to see our interview on the subject, you can go to and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman in new york, joined by my co-host juan gonzalez in new brunswick. hi, juan. juan: hi, amy. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: the trial of former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin is entering its eighth day. chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter for killing george floyd last may. over the past three days, numerous members of the minneapolis police department accused chauvin of violating department policy by kneeling on floyd's neck for 9.5 minutes while ignoring pleas from floyd
8:12 am
that he could not breathe. minneapolis police chief arradondo testified against his officer in a rare move. here he is being questioned by prosecutor steve schleicher. >> when do you believe or do you have a belief as to when this restraint, restraint on the ground, should have stopped? >> once mr. floyd -- and this is based on my viewing of the videos. once mr. floyd had stopped resisting and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped. there is an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds, but once there was no longer any resistance and, clearly, when
8:13 am
mr. floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed a high and there back -- handcuffed behind their back, that in no way shape or form is anything that is by policy, not part of our training, and certainly not part of our ethics or values. amy: medaria arradondo, who is minneapolis' first black police chief, was also questioned about the decision by chauvin and the other officers not to administer first aid. >> did you see the defended or any of the officers attempt to provide first-aid to mr. floyd? >> i did not see any of the defendants try to attempt to provide first-aid to mr. floyd.
8:14 am
>> based on these observations violated mpd departmental by failing to render aid to mr. floyd? >> i agree he violated our policy in terms of rendering aid. amy: the emergency room doctor who tried to save george floyd's life at a minneapolis emergency room testified on monday that floyd likely died from a lack of oxygen. dr. bradford langenfeld said floyd's heart had already stopped beating by the time he arrived at the hospital. during questioning by prosecutor jerry blackwell, the doctor said george floyd's chances of living would have been higher if cpr had been administered sooner. >> is the administration of cpr right away important for you to know when you're dealing with the patient who has suffered cardiac arrest, is it important for you to know about that? >> it is in the sense it informs
8:15 am
the likelihood of survival. >> what do you mean by that, doctor? >> it is well-known that any amount of time the patient spends in cardiac arrest without immediate cpr markedly decreases the chance of a good outcome. >> was your leading theory than for the cause of mr. floyd's cardiac arrest oxygen deprivation? >> that was one of the more likely possibilities i felt at the time based on the information i had it was or likely than the other possibilities. >> doctor, is there another name for death by oxygen deficiency? >> this fixity of -- a 60 a. amy: the former head of the minneapolis police department's field training division, katie blackwell, also testified monday. during questioning, she accused derek chauvin of violating the
8:16 am
department's use of force policy. a warning, this contains graphic images of police violence. >> is this a trained technique by the minneapolis police department when you were overseeing -- >> it is not. >> why not? >> use of force according to policy has to be consistent with training. what we trained our conscious and unconscious neck restraint. a neck restraint is compressing one or both sides of the neck. what we trained is one arm or two arm to do a neck restraint. >> how does this differ? >> i don't know what kind of that is not what we trained. amy: to talk more about the trial of derek chauvin, we a byw
8:17 am
york police department detective and now served as the director of the black law enforcement alliance. he joins us from colombia, south carolina. let's start off with this challenge the wall of silence, commander, training officer, the police chief himself condemning the actions of chauvin, yet at the same time, derek chauvin worked for something let nine years with 18 complaints against him. why was he even in the field? if you cld address both of those. >> it is significant that there is testimony by prosecutors against the interest of derek chauvin. as you point out, this is an officer with an history. a document history. on that we may not have an per -- we will not have an opportunity to hear much about in work because of the judge's ruling.
8:18 am
what is happening now is the prosecutor's presentation utilizing a lot of the information or procedures and policies in the department and some of the police representatives -- of course reflectively defending the organization and the integrity of their profession itself. however, i will say that leader, chief arradondo, really has shown a particular standard about professional excellence and intolerance of certain conduct from the very beginning, clear in his decision to terminate all of the officers involved. he has been on the record about the relationship or discontinued relationship with the labor union. so he seems to be a more progressive minded police professional. but history has shown as the systems are very resilient and
8:19 am
they tend to snap back to the way things always are. juan: i wanted to ask you, before the trial began, minneapolis reached a simple settlement with the floyd family of $27 million. to what extent do you think the decision to reach a civil settlement even before the criminal trial -- in essence, freed the department and its personnel to be so openly and so unusually participating in the prosecution's side of the case? >> he really freed them tremendously because they realized there was no probability or possibility that those individuals would come back into the ranks of the police department. but what really freed them were chief arradondo's statement days after the video became pubc
8:20 am
become aware of the video. his actions indicated intolerance that resonated throughout the department. that is really impornt about progressive leadership, especially law enforcement. i am under no illusions there is some seachange afoot a there is som significant reform movement across e nation, although i think significant efforts -- and i support all of those efforts for improving the relationip to police and communities, more importantly making criminal justice agencies and police agcies more efficient. but as i indicated, history tells us theres a certain stubborn resilience wiin polici that will continue this cycle of toxicolice culture that too often leads to fatal encounters with primarily black and brown people. juan: speaking about that resilience that you mentioned, the issue -- as you note, there
8:21 am
may be particular individuals like the minneapolis police chief who at a given moment we'll try to effect change but what can lead to structura change? for years, and we have discussed this in the past, how african-american police officers grew within these various departments, have struggled for more progressive view but have always some degree been beaten back by the existing white-dominated police unions, what would lead to real structural or systemic change? >> a couple of things. and some of th are important even in this particular case. but what would really lead to the most significant change, a cultural change of policing, behavioral change for individual police officers, is to expose them to additional liability. the elimination of qualified unity is signifint because
8:22 am
once you have police officers feel they are personally vulnerable, more importantly, personally responsible for their conduct, you will find they will adjust their methods and perceptions of people. and also, in line with that, once you actually convict -- arrest, convict, incentive police officers for crimes they committed under the color of law, you will see there will be a significant shift in how police respond and react. right now most of the cases in-depth with no sentence and no conviction. that is significant. it is supportive of toxic police culture when you allow your law enforcement professionals to in essence get away with it. so that would significantly shift the culture.
8:23 am
also, being straightforward with the police union. chief arradond a minneapolis, once again, has led the way in this regard. they decided after this particular incident, the straw that broke the camels back, they decided to eliminate the police union as negotiating agent for the officers. right off the bat. that is something that should be replicated in other jurisdictions because police unions should not be going beyond the health and welfare and salaries and benefits of their particular members. we have unions, organizations allowed to tamper with, create police policy, it is bound that things are going to go wrong. those three things can significantly change the police culture. amy: i went to go back t memorial day, the day this white officer derek chauvin is on trial for murdering gorge floyd, and go before that to the other
8:24 am
officers. give a situation where a cashier thinks a bill is counterfeit, not clear if george floyd did this at all and now that cashier lives with enormous regret that he ever did anything in alerting the supervisors at the store. but jurors have also been shown police bodycam footage of officer thomas lane pulling a gun on floyd. they have been called for a counterfeit bill. pulling a gun on him within seconds of approaching floyd's car. a warning to our audience, the video is disturbing. >> let's see your hands. let me see her other hand. >> i'm sorry. >> both hands. >> put your hands up right now. >> what did i do? what did i do? >> step out of the vehicle and step away from me.
8:25 am
step out and face away. >> please don't shoot me. please. please don't shoot me, man. i just left my mom, man. i'm so sorry. >> step out and face away. >> please don't shoot me, mr. officer. amy: from the beginning, of george floyd pleading for his life. he does not know why the cops have pulled a gun on him and are pulling him out of his car. mark as claxton, can you talk about the three of them, not just chauvin, with their knees on his back and holding his legs while he is handcuffed with his hands behind his back? >> over the past day or two, they have been discussinduring the course of the trial certain concts, training concepts. they disssed proportionality,
8:26 am
the use of force coinuum -- which basically is the amount of forcthat you use when you're dealing witthe situation and proportionality whether or not the amount of force you are using is proportional correctly personal to the resistance. what we know and what we have experienced, what we have documented, what has been established is no series of proportionality do n apply when police deal with black people. we have seen and time and time again that there is an excess of force used when dealing with black people, regardless of the offense. here you have an allegation of an alleged counterfeit bill, which is a nothing situation. it really is a nothing issue. should be a routine police response involving no force at all turn into a killing on the street with other police
8:27 am
officers involved in that killing. i think they have not been appropriately charged for their involvement as well. and also what you have are individuals outside of policing, civilian witnesses who are more concerned about the sanctity of human life -- something else that came up in the trial. more interested in the humanity of protecting and preserving george floyd's life and the police officer trained who took an oath to protect and preserve human life. there was a role reversal. but it happens because the disproportionate amount of force, the disproportionate killing of black people by police. it is racist based. until we acknowledge that, until
8:28 am
we accepted and begin to work through it and eliminate it by arresting, charging, and convicti police officers of these -- these tragedies will continue to occur. one couple i want to ask about something we mentioned earlier, the history of complaints against derek chauvin. 18 complaints in a nine year career. admittedly, many were not upheld complaints, but that is not unusual because the departments really do really good investigations of these complaints. i am wondering from your own experience, what is the normal track record for officers in terms of receiving complaints? and what is the modus operandi of how policere dealt with by most departments? >> well, there is no normal for complaints. it really depends on how you
8:29 am
operate, what units you are involved in. some units you're really removed om conta with the public on a regular basis, individual contact. other units you are more exposed. it also depends on your personalit what you bring to it. some people are super aggressive and had these interactions that are not respectful. they're going to get more complaints. i think what is really sulting is the fact that much of the history of derek chauvin we are touching on here is not allowed into the courtroom, but all of these accusations and allegations against the victim, george floyd, are allowed. so his history is significant and substantive enough to break into the courtroom, but the defendant charged with murder, two separate counts of murder, is kind of protected because the judge felt it was more
8:30 am
provocative than probative. that is a shame. but it is typical of a justice system that disproportionately and negatively affects black and brown people. amy: i want to turn to another subject, being that your former new york city police officer, front page piece in "the new york times" tied to fire new york detective joseph franco because now he has been indicted on a number of counts. videotape that shows a drug deal he said took place never took place. there throwing out of two 90 convictions tied to him. it is expected that many of them, indictments of black and latino people. can you talk about the significance of this? >> it is usually significant. the particular franco case is tied to something that happens in brooklyn during da thompson
8:31 am
and review of another detective and the amount of cases that working out because of various infractions allegedly committed by detectives, detectives are cello. listen, when people lose confidence and faith the systems that are supposed to apply justice, society is in peril. you cannot have a system set up with those who represent the idea of justice, the ideals of justice operate outside of the law and penalize innocent people. so it is hugely significant whenever that occurs and all the district attorney's office is really should be reviewing cases because many of them now have their own list of individual police officers or law enforcement officials who they deem to be not credible. they should review all cases of
8:32 am
those individuals just to ensure the application of justice is fair. thank you for being with us, claxton retired new york police , department detective and director of the black law enforcement alliance. when we come back, victoria law. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
8:33 am
amy: rapper dmx is currently on life support and in a coma. this is democracy now!,, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. next month will mark one year sincgeorge floyd was killed the white minneapolis police officer derek chauvin, who knelt on floyd's neck for over nine minutes while ignoring pleas from floyd that he could not breathe. he was aided in this by three other officers.
8:34 am
floyd's death sparked a national discussion about defunding police. in the latest example of the backlash to this push, conservative republican senator tom cotton responded tuesday to a cnn report on a rise in crime in 2020 by tweeting the solution was to "lock them up" and adding -- "we have a major under-incarceration problem in america. and it's only getting worse." in fact, the united states has the world's highest incarceration rate. it is home to less than 5% of the global population, yet has nearly 25% of the world's prisoners -- more than 2 million people, a disproportionate number of them black and latinx. over the past 40 years, the number of people behind bars in the united states has increased by 500%. much of this is addressed in a new book by victoria law published the same day as
8:35 am
senator cotton's misinformed tweet. her book is called "prisons make us safer and 20 other myths about incarceration." through research and interviews with incarcerated people, she identifies myths such as "incarceration is necessary to keep our society safe." last year, she co-authored "prison by any other name: the harmful consequences of popular reforms." victoria, welcome back to democracy now! congratulations on the release of your book. we were just talking about the derek chauvin murder trial. he was supposedly attempting to arrest george floyd. your book is such a critical book when looking at the whole defund the police and abolition movement. can you lay out its thesis and apply to what we are dealing with today? >> yes. we have the prevailing myth in the united states that we need prisons can mass incarceration to keep us safer. after listing to the last segment, we should ask widely
8:36 am
think prisons keep us safe? i was the, derek chauvin was not afraid of being arrested or improned when he killed george floyd. the officers around him were not afraid of prison when they did nothing. none of them thought they would be held accountable, let alone imprisoned, because people do not thinkbout imprisonment as a deterrent to crime or violence. if we think about the ways in which we act on a daily basis, we don't go about assaulting people not because we are afraid of impsonment but because we don't go around assaulting people. so the book lays out myths about mass incarceration, the fact they keep us safer as tom cotton erroneously asserted, as well as some of the underlying myths about what causes mass incarceration and what the reality is behind it. juan: i am wondering if you
8:37 am
could talk about the mental health aspect of the mass incarceration issue as the united states went into deinstitutionalization of mitchell help patients in the 1990's, there was a corresponding increase of the prison population and -- this trend started treating people with mental problems by imprisoning them. >> yes. what we see is ere was a deinstitutionalization starting in the 1970's, much of it led by people who had been stitutionalized at some point in their lives, because the institutions themselves were terrible and horrific and abusive. at the same time as the deinstitutionalization, we also saw cut starting to happen under neoliberalism and reagan. so the assistance people need
8:38 am
regardless of their mental health status, such as access to safe and affdable housing, medical care, mental care, were being viciously slashed. what we see instead is criminalization takes its ple. so people are arrested for criminalized behavior, which if you have mental illness and you are homeless, you're more likely to be arrested because you're are just out in public all the time. you're more likely to not get mental health services. and we have this idea you get mental health treatment when your inside jails or prisons, which is not thcase. if there is mental health treatment, it is often in the form of medications. the cases are overloaded. people often cycle in and out of jails for petty offenses due to their mental illness and their poverty. juan: victoria, the role of the mass media in creating the myth
8:39 am
of the need for prisons and for law enforcement work -- i mean come every other show on television or even when you go to netflix or the other streaming services, are the glorification of police or former police orrime fighters. this is the staple of much of american entertainment. >> yes. what we have is the glorification but it is also from a young age we are always told police make us safer, prisons are necessary to lock away the bad guys. there's is very little questioning of it from the school seminars you get in grade school and beyond. if you're lost or in danger, fi a police officer. to allf the shows that glorify police officerss the people who stop crime and stop harm and danger from happening. but in reality, policing and imprisonment happens after
8:40 am
something bad or something violent has happened. it does not usually happen before. as we see in the case of derek chauvin, officers can also bring and often do bring vionce into the picture where previously the was none. e same time, we are bombarded by news segments that show crime every night because this is what drawviewers in, this lurid attraction to watching what looks like a human train wreck every night on the television news. that adds to peopl's fears about their personal safety and the fact they want to feel safe. people want to feel safe and they media feeds into that by showing them time after time attacks from people, shootings, killings, and other types of violence. amy: some call it cop-a-ganda. your book is called "prisons make us safer and 20 other myths about incarceration." can you go through those myths?
8:41 am
start with the issue of drugs. we just played in our music break dmx, who is in a coma, arrested many times, clearly has a problem with drugs and prison has not been the answer. >> you discussed on the show many times you've had guests discuss drugs and how prisons do not address substan abuse or addiction. i remember a few years ago you had susan burton who i write about in the book who was in and out of jail and prison and prison-like drug rehabs for decade of her life none of which address the underlying traumas, childhood sexual abuse she had endured the death of her five-year-old son when a police officer ran him over and was never held accountable for killing percent. none othis address that and instead she was continually locked up.
8:42 am
instead of help, s got incarceration. we see this so often, particularly with low income people and bro people is there criminalized for substance use instead of either having the root causes other substance use examined -- it is a problem -- or simply to say, ok, they're using substances but they're stilable to function in society. instead, with our incarceration policies, we crinalized drug use and treat it as social and dangerous problem rather than a public health issue or simply someonelse's personal use. juan: what about the alternatives come the existing alternatives to people who commit crimes whether it is probation, parole, electronic monitoring? are they effective alternatives? why or why not? >> these alternatives that are very popular as you just named,
8:43 am
often expand the prison system into our homes and communities instead of someone being held in a physical jail or prison, they are in their homes under house arrest, which is very different than shelter at home -- which we have all experienced this past year where you have to get prior permission to leave your house and go places. and if you do not, you end up very likely with the threat of being sent back to jail or prison. there are many, many requirements that normal people don't have to face if they're not under supervision. these are not necesrily 'm some people commit when they are sent back to jail or prison, but it can be actions like missing a meeting, coming home past curf, which could be as early as 8:00 at night. tell me which adult wants to come home probably at 7:59 every night? these are actions that could
8:44 am
lead someone back in prison for a violation of their electronic monitoring, probation, or parole. amy: just as we wrap up, i want to ask you about the whole issue of violence against the asian-american community. new york police have arrested a man who viciously attacked a 65-year-old filipino woman near times square as she was walking to church just a few weeks ago. video footage shows the man kicked the woman in her stomach and then repeatedly stomped on her face while reportedly he was yelling anti-asian slurs. the assailant has a history of dozens of arrest for violent behavior, walked away as bystanders, including security guards at a luxury apartment building, did nothing in response. both security guards at the luxury hotel have -- luxury building have been fired.
8:45 am
but as an asian-american reporter, when you saw the attack that took place in atlanta, the murders, victoria, immediately you had ople like mayor de blasio -- your response? " we rely on police and prisons to keep us safer, we end up being complicit in with the doant of the relaxed -- garmin did. it shrinks our ability to imagine ourselves as bystanders. the same time, the man who assaulted the 65-year-old had a history of arrest. he also had a prior prison sentence for killing his mother when he was 19 years old. records show a few monthbefore he killed his mother, police were called to his house because he was experiencing a mental
8:46 am
health crisis. clearly, the police did not address them until health crisis because they are not mental health workers. prison did not address his violent behavior because he came out and assaulted a 65-year-old woman. it did not address and perhaps exacerbated his racism because he was yelling anti-asian slurs. what we need to remember is prisons are not actually addressing any of the root causes. they do not help people get at her and they often make people worse. amy: victoria law, thank you for being with us, journalist and author of the new book "prison by any other name: thearmful consequences of popular reforms." "prisons make us safer and 20 other myths about incarceration." we come back, historic union agreement at rutgers university. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
8:47 am
amy: p seeger and the song swappers. this is democracy now!,, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. after a year of layoffs, cuts, and austerity, the facul and staff of four unions at rutgers
8:48 am
university -- where our co-host juan gonzalez is a professor -- have voted in support of an unusual pioneering agreement to protect jobs and guarantee raises after the school declared fiscal emergency as a result of the pandemic. a key part of the deal is an agreement by the professors to do work share and take a slight cut in hours for a few months in order to save the jobs of other lower-paid workers. this is journalist and rutgers university professor naomi klein speaking ahead of the vote at a town hall meeting sponsored by the coalition of rutgers unions last week. >> ts tentative agreement is the product of a year-long fight for people centere altnative inhe pandemic crisis. when management turned to layoffs and austerity last spring, 19nions of t coalitionsf rutgers unions came together to develop in turn it of approach th saves jobs, protects the vulnerable, and centered the universities core mission of teaching, research,
8:49 am
and service. amy: well, as of last night, all four unions at rutgers have now ratified the memorandum of agreement with the university by overwhelming rates, and it will be implemented effecting 10,000 workers across the university. for more, we are joined by two people who spearheaded this agreement. todd wolfson is rutgers faculty union president. and christine o'connell is president of the union of rutgers administrators- american federation of teachers, which represents 2700 administrative staff at the university. we welcome you both to democracy now! todd wolfson, talk about what exactly was agreed to and the historic nature of this agreement. >> thank you so much for having me. what was agreed to was our core demand was no p layoffs of staff and stopng the layoffs that had begun. that core demand was met and there are no layoffs to the end of the calendar year into next
8:50 am
year. we also called on a fair and just reappointment process. about 20% of our adjunct faculty were laid off in the midst of this crisis and we want them back to pre-pandemic numbers. we have a process that will get them back to those numbers. we also meet a demand that our doctoral students who do much of the teaching and much of the critical research of the university who are facing invisible layoffs, that they are given a one-year extension funded. we did not get that for all of our doctoral stunts, but some will get that extension if their work has been impacted by the pandemic. we also what are raises that. in exchange for those things, we have agreed to a workshare program. it does not mean we are sharing work among workers, but rather the federal and state government and the employer rutgers share the cost of employees. it takes some of the cost of
8:51 am
employees of rutgers and it is part of the american relief -- recovery act. some of that cost is then shared with the federal and state government so that rutgers sees some savings. we are in effect for look at 10% or 20% of our time to the end of june. juan: todd, i would ask you about the university first avoided all the contracts unilaterally by declaring physical -- fiscal emergency, can you talk about the units every to try to get the university to be more transparent about the actual dollar figures on the fiscal emergency they were declaring? the union had to go to court? >> they did on multiple occasions but particular what you are referring to, trying to get information about a massive growth in the athletic subsidy under the university come a jump
8:52 am
in numbers of $100 million over one year. we were calling on them toive us the information. we took them to court and we won in court and got the majority of that information. the context here is rutgers it's been over the course of 10 years $200 million to $300 billion on the athletics department, which is about the amount or more than what they're facing in terms of economic problems due to the pandemic and yet in response to the pandemic, that laid off 1000 workers, stalled raises, etc. we wanted real transparency about that. that was the consistent battle to force rutgers to be clearnd transparent about where the money is coming from and wher it is going. juan: to what degree do you think the new leadership at the university, jonathan holloway,
8:53 am
the first african-american president in rutgers history, came in in the middle of the pandemic, did he have any major impact on the ability of the union to reach a settlement? >> we hope so. it is not entirely clear but we are cautiously optimistic about his role in this. there has been the pivot under the new administration -- we have been calling on what we call a people centered alternive to the pandemic for a year now. jonathan holloway came into office about nine months ago, so in the midst of this fight. the past president ignored our calls. we said we would furlough and workshare in oer to stop layoffs. we offered them $100 in savings to stop layoffs and they still did those layoffs and ignored us. it is taken as another nine months under president holloway to get to this point but we have goen here. we could talk more about what -- why this is important but we think president holloway has
8:54 am
played an important role. amy: i want to bring christine o'connell into the conversation, president of the union of rutgers administrators-american federation of teachers. your union voted last night. explain what you voted for. also, can you talk about what happened with the staff like the cleaning crew, the janitors, how have the support staff been impacted by this agreement? >> thank you, amy and juan for having me. the historic nature of this agreement is that it encompasses all four units. it impacts all of us differently, but jointly. i represent maintenance staff in addition to administrator staff in every academic apartment. we have seen layoffs in academic departments, in libraries during
8:55 am
the pandemic of the largest research university in new jersey, and our maintenance staff we have been advocating for health and safety protocols, transparency and providing ppe and securing definitive protocols they should follow as well to protect themselves as well as prect others on campus. so this agreement protect jobs. we are using this as leverage hopefully to protect folks from losing their income, their health benefits, and for many in the staff unions, tuition remission for their dependent children -- because that is a vital benefit for those who don't learn a lot of money --
8:56 am
don't earn a lot of money. amy: the ability of the four unions to negotiate together, how unusual is that and how much been impacted that have on the administration that the various unions, even though they had different income levels and different types of jobs managed to stay tother at e bargaining table? i think solidarity is a war that is used frequently but we showed what it means in practice. having multiple unions advocate for each other and understand each other's needs is key. and management i think has a much better understanding that in order for rutgers to work, rutgers' workersork. i think that has been made ear. i do give credit to jonathan holloway because he referenced
8:57 am
the beloved community. we are the beloved community. all of us. staff, faculty, students. in every aspect of this university cut we make up -- amy: i want to ask either of you , todd, christine, even juan, about this latest news -- rutgers was the first of u.s. colleges in universities to require students be fully vaccinated before they can come back to campus in the fall with limited exceptions for underlying medical conditions and religious beliefs. how will this be enforced and what are the thoughts of teachers and other staff on this? >> i c jump in and then let them jump in. for us, we want -- we think it is great the students are going to be vaccinated. we also think the workers should be vaccinated. the university did not reach out
8:58 am
to us to talk about this. we think it is important -- i certain i think all of my members should be vaccinated. we want a safe campus. we all want a safe campus. how they're goingo mandat this and how it will work, honestly, there is n enough transparency so it is hard to know. i from our vantage, faculty certainly skew older so we want a safe place if we are going to be in the classroomor our teachers not only should the students be vaccinated, but we want our faculty to be vaccinated as well. amy: i want to thank -- go ahead, christine. >> we also encourage our members to be vaccinated. we are not been support the mandate for faculty and staff that we are strongly in support of -- we all what help -- healthy and safe campus to return truth as we try to return to post pandemic life. amy: dean o'connell and todd
8:59 am
wolfson --christine o'connell and todd wolfson, thank you for being with us. happy birthday to matt ealy! democracy now! is currently accepting applications for a senior news producer to join our team here in new york city.oóoó■
9:00 am
i've come a long way for this one, to one of the largest, southernmost cities in the world. for the entire time that i've been alive, buenos aires and argentina have suffered under an oppressive and brutal military dictatorship, or faced one massive economic meltdown after another. the international profile of this city is tango, football, latin lifestyle - a south american city with a european feel. but what about the porteños, the nickname for the citizens of buenos aires? how do they roll with it? these politics, economics and growing social inequality. what is it like to struggle to build a more


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on