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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  January 31, 2022 8:00am-9:01am PST

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01/31/22 01/31/22 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> enough is enough. it is time to release mr. peltier. if the senator would put that in a letter, a well-written letter and as concily as he did -- again, puts this right on the desk of the president. he has got to deal with this. he has got to correct this wrong.
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info pressure growing a president by two can be the leonard lessons of native american activist leonard peltier, who has spent 46 years in prison. peltier is 77 years old and has just tested positive for covid. amnesty international considers him a political prisoner was not granted a fair trial. we will speak to his lawyer kevin sharp, a former federal judge. then biden is set to meet with new york's new mayor eric adams this week after adams announced his plan to end gun violence. >> we will start up anymore officers on patrol in key neighborhoods throughout the city. amy: we will look at the national debate over policing with patrisse, one of the founders of black lives matter and author of the new book "an abolitionist's handbook: 12 steps to changing yourself and the world." >> we have created a system that over relies on law enforcement and prioritizes their money,
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their budget, there needs over everything else. now is the time we redirect resources back into our community. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the u.n. security council is holding an emergency session today over ongoing tensions at the russia-ukraine border. russia has massed some 100,000 troops near ukraine but denies it plans to invade and continues to demand nato commit to halting its eastward expansion. the u.s. senate is expected to unveil a bill imposing possible new sanctions on russia, including some that could take effect even before any possible invasion. the u.k. also threatened to impose new sanctions against russia. on friday, ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky said western panic over the situation was destabilizing ukraine's economy. >> politics have to be balanced
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and the journalists, if they want to understand the situation, let them come to kie v. if you're not here, he knew felt like this. amy: on friday, president biden told reporters he'll soon move u.s. troops to nato countries in eastern europe. meanwhile, nato's secretary-general jens stoltenberg said members of its military alliance are offering training and equipment to ukraine but that there are "no plans to deploy nato combat troops to ukraine." nearly 2000 child soldiers have died. -- in yemen have died in combat since 2020. u.n. investigators say houthi rebels have pressed children as young as seven into the fight against the saudi-led coalition, with kids in one summer camp taught to clean weapons and evade rockets. the report also found saudi-led forces continue to inflict heavy casualties on yemen's civilians.
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the u.n. says violations of international law have become the norm rather than the exception in yemen. this as officials in the united arab emirates say they intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired by yemen's houthi rebels. israel's president visited abu dhabi, 16 months after the two nations normalized relations. a new report from the u.n. finds over 100 people who previously worked for the afghan government, its security forces, or international military forces have been killed since last august's takeover of afghanistan by the taliban. the u.n. says more than two-thirds of them were killed extrajudicially by the taliban or its affiliates, despite promises of amnesty by taliban leaders. civil society activists and journalists have also been targeted and killed. in sudan, security forces killed a 27-year-old pro-democracy demonstrator sunday as thousands of people defied a protest ban and took to the streets of khartoum and other cities to call for an end to the military
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coup regime. >> despite all the martyrs who are dying come every day we lose a martyr, but people insist on their goal. we will gain victory. the revolution continues. amy: at least 79 protesters have been killed since sudan's october 25 coup. in 2019, a popular uprising led to the ouster of former authoritarian president omar al-bashir, but sudan's transition to democratic rule has been derailed by the coup and leadership struggles. north korea tested what appeared to be its longest-range ballistic missile since 2017 sunday, a move south korea said was a violation of united nations security council resolutions. it was north korea's third such test in the last week and seventh since the start of the year. biden administration officials said they again appealed to kim jong-un to join direct talks following sunday's launch but the u.s. has rejected north
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korean demands for sanctions relief and imposed new ones in recent weeks. in ecuador, the operator of a privately-held pipeline has shut down the flow of heavy crude oil after the pipeline ruptured in the amazon. ocp ecuador claimed the spill had burst in an area not connected to waterways, but members of the kichwa indigenous community shared video showing contamination on rivers in their territory. this is environmentalist juan pablo fajardo. >> we see it is a high magnitude spill. it is believed water sources and third parties were affected. it is considered a category three spill. contingency measures from the operator have been requested. a amy: in peru, a judge has barred four executives with the spanish l company repsol froleaving thcountry after nearly 12,000 barrels of oil leaked into the ocean on january 15.
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the spill was triggered by a tsunami. it was peru's largest environmental disaster in years. meanwhile, authorities in eastern thailand are fighting to prevent a 13,000-gallon oil spill from damaging fragile coral reefs and reaching a popular resort island. the audio streaming app spotify announced it is adding content advisories to podcasts that discuss covid-19, directing listeners to external resources on the pandemic in order to combat misinformation. the moves comes amid mounting controversy over spotify's decision to remove neil young's songs after he told the streaming company to choose between his music or hosting the show up popular podcaster and covid conspiracy theorist joe rogan. on friday, joni mitchell announced she is removing her musical catalog from spotify "in solidarity with neil young and the global scientific and medical communities." meanwhile, joe rogan has apologized for the backlash, admitting his show is "an out-of-control juggernaut" and
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vowed to balance things out in the future, he said. in georgia, two of the three men convicted for murdering ahmaud arbery reached a plea deal with the justice department in their federal hate crimes case according to court documents. lawyers and the family of ahmaud arbery, who was chased down and shot dead by the men while out jogging in 2020, condemned the "back-room plea deal" and are appearing in court today to oppose it. the deal would reportedly allow gregory and travis mcmichael to serve the first 30 years of their life sentences in a federal prison instead of a state prison and avoid their federal trial. donald trump held a rally in texas saturday, where he teased a possible presidential run and defended people charged for their involvement in the deadly january 6 capitol insurrection. pres. trump: if i run and if i win, we will treat those people from january 6 fairly. we will treat them fairly. and if it requires pardons, we
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will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly. amy: trump called for mass protests if prosecutors find him guilty of attempting to overturn 2020 election results or of financial crimes through his businesses. on sunday, trump released a statement confirming he wanted then-vice president mike pence to overturn the 2020 presidential election, falsely claiming pence had the authority to do so. in related news, the house committee investigating the insurrection subpoenaed 14 people friday who lied about being electors for trump in states that were won by joe biden. in another blow to voting rights, a pennsylvania court on friday struck down a state law that expanded mail-in voting. the court ruled pennsylvania's constitution requires voters to cast their ballots in person on election day unless they meet certain criteria. the law called act 77 will remain in place while an appeal is resolved.
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a group of 14 pennsylvania republicans sued over the legislation after former president trump lost the state to president biden in 2020. at least 11 of them had voted in favor of passing act 77 in 2019. in other voting news, new york state lawmakers unveiled a proposed redrawn congressional map sunday that could give democrats as many as three more seats. -- three more seats in the u.s. house. a pennsylvania man who was cleared of a murder conviction and released from prison after 37 years has filed a lawsuit accusing the city of philadelphia of outrageous police misconduct. willie stokes, an african american man, was convicted of murder in 1984. the two detectives who were involved in the case are accused of offering sex and drugs to a witness in exchange for false testimony against stokes. the witness, who recanted his accusation during the murder trial, was charged with perjury just days after stokes was convicted. but stokes did not have access to this information until 2015,
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decades into his life sentence. stokes was released from prison earlier this month and his murder conviction was formally dismissed last thursday. and here in new york, former miss usa cheslie kryst died sunday morning after jumping from a building in manhattan. she had won the pageant in 2019. kryst was an attorney and an advocate for black lives matter. she worked pro bono. in a statement, her family said -- "her great light was one that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength. she cared, she loved, she laughed, and she shined." cheslie kryst was 30 years old. in the united states, the national suicide prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report.
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when we come back, pressures grind the president biden to commit a life sentence of native american activist leonard peltier, who has spent 46 years in prison. we will speak to his lawyer, a former judge. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: featuring the voice of leonard peltier. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the jailed native american activist leonard peltier tested positive for covid less than a week after describing his prison as a torture chamber. peltier, who suffers from multiple health conditions, says he and others held at the cullman federal correctional complex in florida have yet to receive their covid booster shots and describes worsening neglect and uncertainty. in a statement, he writes -- "left alone and without
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attention is like a torture chamber for the sick and old." the 77-year-old leonard peltier is a native american from the state of north dakota. he has been jailed for 46 years. in 1977, he was convicted of killing two fbi agents during a shootout on south dakota's pine ridge indian reservation in 1975. at the time, peltier was a member of the american indian movement. he has always maintained his innocence. amnesty international considers him a political prisoner who was not granted a fair trial. the 1975 shootout occurred two years after aim occupied the village of wounded knee for 71 days. the occupation of wounded knee is considered the beginning of what people refer to as the reign of terror. during that time, some 64 local native americans were murdered,
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most of them had ties to aim. there deaths went on investigated by the fbi stop over the past 25 years, indigenous humans rights groups lobby but president clinton and president obama to pardon leonard peltier but they refused. now president biden is facing pressure to do so. on wednesday, senate chat schatz wrote a letter to biden urging him to could be the sentence. we are joined now by leonard peltier's lawyer kevin sharp. kevin sharp is a former federal judge who reside from the bench to fight against mandatory minimum laws. he is joining us from nashville, tennessee. welcome to democracy now! do we call you judge sharp even though you have left your judgeship? >> it is one of the few things i get to hang onto, the title.
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amy: judge sharp, first if you could tell us about leonard's and then talk about why you ok on his case. >> the condition part is tough because it is difficult to get information out of the bureau of prisons. he tested positive on friday, so there were people there we spoke to foster over the weekend, of a very skeleton crew and there's not much information i could get, although they would talk to me briefly except to say he was doing ok and has not had to have been moved yet. so far, so good. i should be able to get a hold of his counselor. he has covid. he is feeling really poorly. this is the information i had on friday. he has been quarantined. that is kind of where we are. amy: judge sharp, talk about why you took on leonard peltier's case.
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that down from the bench, i started working on limiting for a young man i had sentenced to life in prison. it was a mandatory minimum sentence. very unfair. i started working on clemency for him. ultimately, we were able to get clemency from president trump but kim kardashian got involved in that case. with kim's involvement came a lot of media attention which caught the attention of willie nelson's ex-wife in texas who asked someone to send all of the information on leonard's case. i sat down to read the stacks, reams of information on leonard 's case, not really coming at it with any preconceived notion. i did not know much about him. i was only 12 years old when the events happened, so i did not know much. i came at this looking at it
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from the viewpoint of a federa judge. what i saw was shocking. the constitutional violations just continued to stack up and i was really outraged this man was still in prison, knowing what everyone now knew. so with that, i agree to take on this case pro bono. amy: kevin sharp, i sort of laid out the case of leonard peltier, but can you come after looking at all the documents, knowing what you know as a judge and a lawyer, lay out leonard peltier 's case? what most shocked to about it and then what are your grounds now for asking for the commutation of his sentence. >> well, they relate to each other. the things that most shocked me was the level of outright misconduct by the u.s. attorney's office, the u.s. attorney's office and the then
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fbi. what they did in the form of intimidating witnesses, suborning perjury, and all of that is known. when leonard appealed all of these issues over the years, some was known isome wasn't, but the standards were different. if this case were brought up today, no question this verdict gets overturned and ultimately, even the u.s. attorney's office had to it it that they don't know who killed the agents. so we're sitting here with the prosecutor saying, we don't know who did it but sure, life sentence for this man seems fine. as a matter of fact, in the early 1990's, "60 minutes" it is segment on this and spoke to the assistant u.s. attorney who tried the case and specifically asked him about perjury of one of the witnesses. initially, the ausa said, "i did not know it was perjured
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testimonywith any says "but so what if i did?" i look in that going, they knew it and he is admitting it on national television. what they did was outrageous and completely ignoring the constitution of the united states or they could get a conviction. part of the reason for that kind of fervor to get a conviction at any cost is because his codefendants were acquitted based on self-defense. so he is really their last chance at getting a conviction. it was a conviction at any cost. now, once it was discovered, one of the things they had done was withhold exculpatory evidence -- that is evidence that tends to show the person is not guilty of the crime you're accusing them of committing. that exculpatory evidence in this case was a ballistics test that they had testified did not exist when in fact it did.
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and it was not discovered for years afterwards. so by withholding that ballistics test cut into private mr. peltier of a fair trial. the constitution requires that be shown. you know, these things just stack up and that is what is so outrageous. amy: i want to go back to election day 2000. i had a chance to interview then-president bill clinton. he had called a radio station pacifica station wbai in an attempt to get out the vote for hillary clinton for senate and al gore for president. i used the opportunity to ask him about the case of leonard peltier. president clinton come since it is rare to get you on the phone, let me ask another question. what is your position on granting leonard peltier executive clemency? >> i don't have a position. i think -- i believe there is an
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application for him in there and one i have time after the election is over, i will review all of the remaining executive clemency applications and see what they rits dictate. i will try to do what i think the right thing is to do based on the evidence. amy: i now want to turn to leonard peltier is on words. i spoke to him when he was being held at the leavenworth federal niteiary in nsas. >> my name is leonard peltier. i'm a lakota and chippewa native american from the state of north dakota. i am currently serving two life sentences for the deaths of two fbi agents in leavenworth united states penitentiary. amy: did you kill the fbi agents? >> no, i did not. no. amy: maybe we could go back to that day that these fbi agents
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were killed and you could tell us what happened. >> well, at that time, there was a -- what is known as today as a region of terror going on against traditional people from the -called ogressiv under a ibal cirman nad dick wion, who s veryorrupt, who organized his own private police force, kind of like a cont group, d starte teorizing s own people, e own traditionalists the reseation. so the tradionalis asked f the lp of e americ indian movent. d the end resultfter lg otestsnd my geing no responses fromny law enforcemt agencyn the cotry, woued knee was en occupd and the was
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-day sie. after at, he, ck wilso again tensifd his go sqds. anthe general accounting service, an agency of the united states government, did an best to uge and. and bore the funng ran o, ey found ovemurder indian 60 people, tditionalts. on june 26, we 't kn it at the timebut we kw later om freem of infmation documents, thathe fbi, wit the go squads, were plning attacksn the juing bull rancand anotr rancin kyle --hat'another mmunity threservion that th were declari americaindian movementtronghol. anon june , a fireght stard. and e end relt was t fbi agts and o indian young indianan was kled.
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and they indicd four ous -- bob robiau, dinoutler,immy eae. afr a yearthey droed the chars on jmy eagle and bob and dino went to trial in cedar rapids, iowa, and was found not guilty by reasons of self-defense. i was later -- my trial was mysteriously moved from cedar rapids, which i was supposed to go to trial at the same place under the same judge as my co-defendants -- was mysteriously moved to fargo, north dakota. later documents show that the fbi then went judge shopping to get a judge to work closely with them. and judge paul benson agreed to do it. and i was not allowed to put up a defense. they manufactured evidence. the murder weapon was perjy by government witnesses.
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anthe judgerred in his rulings, whichrevented me from putting up a defense. amy: that was leonard peltier in 2000 come over two decades ago, he was at leavenworth. i spoke to him in 2012 come the day after a major fundraiser for him at the beacon theater, major concert fundraiser, and there was an event the next day. it was in that room that he was able to call in. i spoke to him on the phone from prison. at that point he was in florida and this was during the obama administration. leonard, this is amy goodman from democracy now! >> oh, hi, amy. how are you? amy: hi. i'm good. i was wondering if you have a message for president obama? >> i just hope he can, you know, stop the wars that are going on in this world, and stop getting -- killing all those people getting killed, and, you know,
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give the black hills back to my people and turn me loose. amy: can you share with people at the news conference and with president obama your case for why you should be -- your sentence should be commuted, why you want clemency? >> well, i never got a fair trial, for one. woulnot allome to puup a dense. nufacted evidee, nufacted witnesses and tortured witnesses. the list goes on. think i'm a very good candidate aft 37 years f clemency or house arrest, at least. amy: that was leonard peltier nine years ago in prison from florida. judge sharp, now leonard peltier 's lawyer, can you talk about
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the significance of what he said in these two conversations and also the first one speaking to him during clinton, in fact, wasn't president clinton close to granting him clemency and and under obama and then what you hope will be different under president biden? >> well, yes -- let me take those in pieces. what leonard said was accurate. most of what he said -- some was because he was there so he has his own personal accounts and some of it is backed up by documents turned over during the freedom of information act -- through the freedom of information act request. we now know that the witnesses were intimidated. he's absoluly right about that. we now know that exculpatory evidence showing this was not his weapon that killed the agents, we know that was hidden. we now know that the witness was
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forced to live. we know the young boys who were the major witnesses, i witnesses against him recanted that testimony. it was not true. so we know those things. yet here we are 46 years later still talking about whether or not this man should be free. the u.s. attorney's office, the federal government, says we do not know who killed the agents. they ended up because all of the misconduct that was discovered in the trial, they change their theory from one that he shot these agents to aiding and abetting. the question becomes, who did he aid and abet because his codefendants were acquitted based on fell -- self-defense. this is to u.s. attorney in one sense, a flippant response was, "i don't know, maybe himself." that is impossible. you cannot aid and abet yourself. all of those things stacked up
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with time tell you enough is enough. i realize i say that, but it is absolutely true. this has to end. yes, i understanding from talking to the people involved at the time of the clinton administration was that the papers were on his desk to be signed. why they were not signed, i don't know. i don't know. the same with president obama. i don't know how close he got, but it tells you there is -- the big misconception about this is that leonard peltier was convicted of shooting two agents. he was not. they had to drop that because there wasn't the evidence that they presented that he had shot to agents was false. it was perjury. it was manufactured. so they had to drop that case. and come up with a new theory that there was aiding and abetting. when leonard talked about not
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being able to put on his defense, one thing that judge benson said was when he excluded the evidence related to the must conduct in the reign of terror was the fbi is not on trial. once he did that, you have to put all of this in context. that is what jay cheney, who is on the eighth circuit who heard his appeal, and although upheld the conviction, later cannot himself in favor of commuting the sentence said that federal government has to ta responsibility for what happened here. and absolutely, they do. context matters. but the lack of evidence that this man killed someone also matters. so it is time. we are now 46 years later and we have a 77-year-old man with multiple health issues andis tribe saying, we will embrace
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him, please send him up to us. that is what i'm asking the president to do, sent him home. amy: what did judge edgar hoover have to do with this? >> that comes back into cointel pro, thereas a division inside the fbi tasked with running counterintelligence against their own citizens. they did that with respect to martin luther king, student nonviolent movement, the black panthers, and in her continued movement, if they consider them to be subversive, there are running counterintelligence. so all the over was gone by 19 avenue five, -- by 1975, the tactics come if not the group within the fbi that had that name, the tactics still existed.
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that is exactly what was happening. very vietnam-esque. i want to read a part of senator schatz letter, the senator from hawaii, who appealed to president biden. he is chair of the senate committee on indian affairs -- "mr. peltier needs appropriate, tatian for coming tatian. number one come his age and critical illness. number two, the amount of time he is already served. number three, the unavailability of other remedies." explain what he is saying. >> well, there is the ability to release prisoners under compassionate release and as part of the commutation powers of the president of the united
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states. he is asking the president based on those criteria to end this and send leonard home. he is absolutely right about that. and i hear this from executives who say, well, the criminal justice system worked. i am not going to step in and inject myself into the criminal justice system. what they're doing, though, is advocating the responsibility as part of the criminal justice system. the president or governor in the case of the state, that they are the criminal justice system and have the ability to step in and correct a wrong like this where the legal remedy, particularly because of the standard of review of the time, the legal remedies are no longer available. now what is top of the bop and the president of united states to finish this and send him home. amy: i want to end reading more from leard peltr's statement on the current conditions inside the coleman prison.
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he writes "i am in hell and there's no way to do with it but to take it as long as you can. i cling to the relief that people out there doing what they can to change our circumstances and hear the stress and fear are taking a toll on everyone, including the step. you can see it in their faces and hear it in their voices. the whole institution is on total lockdown." you said in and out of lockdown meant a shower but now with covid fort excuse, nothing. no phone, the window, no fresh air, estimates to gather, no lovedone's voice. left alone and without attention is like a torture chamber for the sick and old. where are our human rights activists? your hearing with me many desperate men and women. they are turning in already
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harsh environment into an asylum and for many who did not receive a death penalty, we are now staring down the face of one. help me, my brothers and sisters. help me, my good friends." those are the words of jailed native american leader leonard peltier after 46 years in prison, now at the coleman prison in florida. judge kevin sharp is his new judge -- is his new lawyer and is appealing for clemency from president biden. finally, kevin sharp come has president biden responded to your plea? >> he has not. i noticed in the press conference last week, reporter asked him about that. or asked the press secretary about that and she begged off of that, you know, she was unable to answer that question. i know it is on the president's
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radar and he has the opportunity to fix this. he has the opportunity to be a president with courage and a president who cares about the united states constitution. pick up the pen and sign the paper and let's end this. the fbi says we are not the fbi of the 1970's. and i believe them. but now let's show it. show it in support clemency for mr. peltier. amy: kevin sharp is a former federal judge and now an attorney who represents leonard peltier. the latest news, leonard peltier is sick with covid. next up, president biden is meeting with new york's new mayor eric adams. both want to put more police on the street. we will look at the national debate over policing with patrisse cullors, one of the founders of black lives matter, author of a new book "an abolitionist's handbook: 12
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steps to changing yourself and the world." stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: to see our interview with the great writer octavia butler, you can go to democracynow.org. this is democracy now! i'm amy goodman. president biden comes to new york city this wednesday to meet with the mayor eric adams about gun violence. he said in a statement the effort will include "distorted levels of funding for cities and states to put more cops on the beat, among other strategies." this comes as mayor adams deliver the eulogy at a funeral friday attended by thousands of police officers for officer jason rivera who was shot to death, along with his partner, while responding to a domestic violence call. mayor adams is an african-american former police captain who took office this year after campaigning on public safety. last week, he released his blueprint to end gun violence with plans to rely heavily on
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plainclothes police officers to make gun arrest. the announcement drew alarm because officers have a document it history of discriminatory policing through stop and frisk and were involved in the police killing of several black men. this is mayor adams. >> the nypd is our first line of defense against gun violence. we will make new efforts to strengthen and reinforce it while continuing our mission to evolve the community. we will start by putting more officers on patrol in key neighborhoods throughout the city. we will enhance existing public safety units with new never hood safety teams which will focus on gun violence. we will launch these additional teams in the next three weeks with deep focus on 30 precincts with 80% of violence occurs. even as the public safety units continue their lifesaving work.
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doing this will avoid mistakes of the past. these officers will be identifiable as nypd. they will have body cameras and they will have enhanced training and oversight. amy: police accountability advocates have called 15 page plan a trojan horse, a major setback for efforts to defund the police. it comes amid a nationwide discussion on how to address public safety without relying on police and jails and prisons. mayor adams has involved -- result solitary confinement at the notorious rikers island joe complex were inhumane conditions during the pandemic led to a hunger strike prisoners goodbye others incarcerated nationwide. to discuss this and so much more, we're joined by patrisse cullors, author, educator, artist, and abolitionist. she is the co-founder of black lives matter. last year she stepped away from
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her role as executive director of black lives matter global network foundation. her new book is just out titled "an abolitionist's handbook: 12 steps to changing yourself and the world." she is also author of her memoir "and they call you a terrorist: a black lives matter memoir." welcome back to democracy now! congratulations on your new book. could you start off by defining abolition? >> sure. it is a simp definition, which is abolition is getting rid of police, prisons, jails, surveillance, and the current court system as we know it. amy: let me just ask a quick question that might be confusing for many. when you have someone like derek chauvin or the mcmasters who were found guilty of murdering ahmaud arbery -- the mcmichaels, police officer, former police officer and his son, what should
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happen to them? should they be in prison? >> that is a good question and a question that many abolitionists are thinking about and talking about, but i want to say that abolition isn't devoid of accountability. we talked about abolition, we don't say we aren't holding people accountable for harm that is caused. but we don't believe the current system of accountability actually meets the needs of the community that is harmed. so listening to the current mayor of new york rattle off 1980's and 1990's rhetoric around law and order is deeply disturbing because we know the 1980's and 1990's rhetoric only decimated our communities. when we have these conversations about what we do with what supremacists and vigilantes in law enforcement, this current system of accountability, the criminal legal system dustin
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actually get us to the place where we want to get to to transform the community's -- community's. it doesn't stop vigilantes. amy: adams, former police officer, who sued the new york police department for racism, but we will put that aside for a moment. i'm talking to you in los angeles and you are very active on prison and jail issues in los angeles and you had any victories. explain what is going on and how you fit that into the abolitionist framework. >> of course. we spent almost two decades here in los angeles challenging what was going to be a jail expansion effort that would have been a $3.5 billion jail plant here in los angeles. i did challenge, we were met with little to no attention.
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for a long time, the county supervisors told us the jail was being built for public safety and as organizing does, challenged and changed many of the elected officials who were sitting on the board. we effectively stopped at those gels from being built. not only do we stop the gels from being built, we created a new model around how these visions, los angeles county, can focus on mental health, focus on things like having our community with green space, access to mental health care, having our community have access to food, housing, jobs. so we have really pushed and challenged both the county and the city here in los angeles to re-create a modehere in l.a. that does put abolition first, does put carefirst come and frankly, we are winning. i'm deeply concerned about the move to continue to fund police
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departments as a way to do with harm and violence. we have seen time and again it does n work. what works is when communities have access to their basic needs, when communities have access to being able to be full, dignified human beings. amy: in your book, you draw on your father's experience in aa, the 12 steps -- to lay out the 12 steps to transforming yourself and the world. talk about that. >> i wanted to write a book that could both help the person who is on their journey toward abolition or confused about abolition, but also for those who have been an abolitionist work for a long time. much of the conversation of abolition has a lot to do with the ending of the current criminal legal system, but i believe abolition is more than that. abolition has everything to do with how we engage with each
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other, how we treat each other. we are living the current environment of what i call the economy of punishment, where our interactions are really undergirded by vengeance and punishment. i'm calling for something else, which is how we relate to and build an economy of care. that is an abolitionist framework, one that centers the care of human beings and all living beings. this book gives -- charts that with both my real life experiences and also other two different activists, so every chapter ends with either living ancestor that has practiced abolition in real time and also tell my readers to look at other people's boo. abolition is not something we do individually, but something we do with the community. i'm trying to push the readers to live inside of that practice. amy: your book that you wrote
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that i consider one of the best books i have read "when they call you a terrorist," where you talk about your brother monty who deals with mental health issues. talk about how that fits into your abolitionist critique of what we are seeing right now and what jails and prisons do. >> sure. i was listening to your segment about leonard peltier right before and i was moved to tears hearing his plea to us on the outside to get him the support, get him out of what he is calling hell. i cannot tell you how many times as a young person that i had to get those types of letters from my brother or my fath or different family members of my telling me what is inside our jail system is beyond humane, it is torture.
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i grew up reading those letters. i grew up thinking there has to be more than this. i brother, who i'm now the primary caregiver for suffering from severe mental illness, was not diagnosed in hospital, was not diagnosed in a treatment center. he was diagnosed in one of the worst jail facilities in the world that "treat people with mental illness." i understood at a young age that what we have now, jails and prisons, these are not places that actually rehabilitate. these places actually torture our family members. these are places that are family members do not deserve to be in. this critique i have is one that started inside of me as a young child. i was blessed and honored to learn about abolition from critical resistance founded by people like angela davis, mentors and mind in this
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abolitionist movement. amy: i want to go back to new york city's new mayor who is meeting with i into discuss increasing violence. shooting incidents in new york are up 24% this year compared to the same period last year. during his campaign, mayor adams came under fire from the progressive wing of the democratic party for endorsing what he termed punitive segregation. >> for people to say support solitary confinement, that is a lie. i support punitive segregation. i am not going to be in a city where dangers people assault innocent people, go to jail and assault more people. if you are violent, you must be removed from population so that you do not inflict violence on other people. that is clear. amy: that is your air adams stop patrisse cullors, your response?
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>> if our goal iso transform human beings, we have to actually treat them with compassion and care. does it mean that we don't hold them accountable for what they have done -- doesn't mean that we don't hold them accountable for what they have done. the goal that we have as people are public figures, elected officials come is to transform the person who caused harm and transform the conditions that they come from. putting more cops, more law enforcement on the streets doesn't exit transform the conditions that currently exist in our communities. amy: you talk a lot about non-formal reforms and you talk about transformation. talk more about transformation. >> i want to talk about why i believe in non-reformist reforms.
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much of that comes from an abolitionist critique of how dealt with this conversation of law enforcement for years. i heard the mayor speak about body cameras. as it body cameras stop police violence. we have seen it here in south central l.a., law-enforcement turn off their body cameras. we have seen law-enforcement still killed while wearing a body camera. body camera does not stop the things that we need to transform. we talk about nonreformist reform, we are calling for a divestment out of policing and an investment into the community's who are most harmed, the counities who are dealing with poverty, communities that are dealing with issues of joblessness and houselessness, especially now during this pandemic. we don't need long -- more law-enforcement, we need our communities have access to jobs,
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healthy food. that is going to be our way for transformation. amy: when you write about the role of imagination in "the abolitionist work," you cite the work of adrian marie brown and how she reminds us we must always be "cultivating the muscle of radical igination needed to dream beyond fear." collaborate on that -- elaborate on that. >> one of the most egregious acts of living inside i what supremacist capitalist patriarchal system is that it has taken our imagination away. whenever i speak to people about abolition, one of the first reactions is, what about murderers and what about the rapists as if there aren't other people who are wishing inside these jails, people with drug addiction, people with mental health disorders. we lack this imagination. we believe plays and prison --
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please imprison has existed for billions of years and it hasn't. it has not worked for the majority of us. we are calling for us to imagine a world without police, imagine a world without prisons. when we did the work here in los angeles to stop the jail plan, the first question we asked our community's, what would you do with $3.5 billion? let me tell you, that one human being said "build more jails and prisons." we have to imagine what we would do with these dollars, with these budgets. they have to be imagining that is grounded in care. amy: you also talk about the role of those who have been incarcerated. who have experienced the brutal impacts of prison in jail being the leaders of the abolition movement. can you talk more about that? >> sure. i think a lot about groups that
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i created like dignity and power and now who are really led by family members, groups like initiate justice redoing work here in the state of california, really challenging -- i think about work being de by prison feminists, success stories, amazing program that was created inside california state prisons using -- challenge minutes i prisons to be feminist. there's so much working led by incarcerated people and the family members who have told us the system that we are inside of does not work for us. the words of leonard have been so resonant right now. call for human rights activists to do more. part of that doing more is calling for abolition. amy: in your book, can you talk
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about the guiding questions? you each of your chapters with the series of tips and set of guiding questions. >> i thought about what i would have wanted as a young abolitionist. so much of the text when i was growing up was very academic. while i enjoy those texts, i wanted more workbooks, more handbooks, you know, something where i could write in the margins and highlight and practice with my friends. i don't take for granted that abolition is something can be -- people can be scared of, intimidated by. i wanted to end each chapter were people could ask themselves come as their loved ones something that could happen around the dinner table, something that can happen in a
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zoom room or staff meeting. i found a lot of joy posing those questions. their questions i go back to. i have been re-listening to the book, feeling right about these principles because they are pins was i try to live by on a daily basis. amy: finally, can you talk about the projects that you're working on now, as you move on from the black lives matter movement, your projects with warner bros. drifted project about -- descriptive project about cannabis, black women leaders and the toll you say a living under a system that does not see as paramedics as hyper visible and also hyper invisible at the same time. >> i am interested in using the storytelling projects that i'm going to be working on to talk about black women, black women
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organizing in particular, black women artists and having sb protagonist and stories we are usually not protagonists in. i am also interested in setting -- a cultural project not just a political project. sit with abolition. i want people to show abolition is not just a series in a book but culturally element for this time. amy: i want to thank you, patrisse cullors, for being with us, and your new book "an abolitionist's handbook: 12 steps to changing yourself and the world." patrisse cullors is and your tums vessel and author of "when they call you a terrorist." she is an author, educator, artist and abolitionist. co-founder of black lives matter and founder of reform l.a. joe's, stepping away last year from the black lives matter
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global network foundation. we will link to your writings and others as you move on. that does it for our show. we have a job opening, human resources manager. learn more and apply at democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outrea
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