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tv   Real Money With Ali Velshi  Al Jazeera  April 24, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EDT

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in southern chile. cobbual co erupted twice within 24 hours after being dormant for 40 years. a giant cloud has dropped up to 50 september meters of volcanic ash in some areas. more on the website at they are cops for hire, complete with a badge, gun, and patrol car. >> there's only so many police officers in the city. if they want constant presence, then they have to take that responsibility on themselves. >> they're going to have to pay for it? >> correct. >> i'll tell you how public police officers working private security is a risky business for you, the taxpayer. plus, what is and what isn't in the
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published diary giving the world an inside look in guantanamo bay. i'll reveal why the book may be out, but president obama is fighting to keep the author in the controversial prison. i'm ali velshi. our special coverage starts right now. the state of texas has executed an innocent man. how to make good decisions under stressful circumstances. >> anyone can hire an off-duty cop at an hourly rate. i'm talking about real cops in full uniform, gun, car and all. by the middle of last decade, an estimated 98% of local police departments serving communities of 10,000 or more were contracting out their police personnel for off-duty work.
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we called major police departments across the country and asked what their personnel can earn doing cop for hire assignment. the newark new jersey police get $76 an hour before fees paid to the police department. las vegas police get $67 an hour, pittsburgh 50, new orleans 42, salt lake city $30 an hour. we found that detroit police, of all the departments we contacted, commanded the lowest cop for hire rates at just $25 an hour. now, the extra pay can supplement the full-time wages that policemen and women already make. nationwide that averages about $28 an hour. police departments insist this so-called secondary police work is a good way to get more cops out on the street without dipping into city budgets or taxpayer funds. critics point to abuses in places like pittsburgh that ultimately cost a police chief his job. i'll have more on that later in
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the show. they point to new orleans, corruption-related to cop for hire work triggered a federal investigation and mandated reforms there, but there are no federal laws regulating cop for hire practices. states pretty much leave it up to local police departments to do what they want. paul beaman has the report. >> it is a typical day in downtown salt lake city for chief deputy fred ross. >> a little scuffle going on here. >> he's patrolling one of the most dangerous parts of this city. >> hey, you guys want to fight, go do it someplace else. >> it's a neighborhood in transition, new construction and businesses moving into an area struggling with a homeless problem. what kind of crime do you see down here? drug crime? petty theft? >> a lot of drugs, assaults. >> the answer for many businesses, hire off-duty police officers for security work complete with squad car, gun and uniform. >> most of them realize that there's only so many police
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officers in the city. if they want constant presence, then they have to take that responsibility on themselves. >> they have to pay for it? >> correct. whether it's an off-duty officer or security or something else. more often than not they tend to go with the police. see what trouble i bring you? >> for $30 an hour, this local business hires a police officer to stand guard complete with squad car. you decided to have an off-duty police officer versus, say, a security guard. why? >> because they need to be able to act. i think, number one. if they're seeing something happen, they need to respond immediately. >> private security firms and police work closely together in this area. >> headed down that way. >> okay. thanks, warren. >> some agencies including bedrock security's paul nelson take issue with the fact they have to compete for business with a government entity. >> i want to maintain a good relationship with them.
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they're great partners, but the fact is that they are also competitors, and they shouldn't be. >> does the salt lake city police department have an unfair advantage working against you? >> i think so in that they will know a lot of security customers out there. they're there on all crime scenes, and they're grabbing that business when that's not their business. they're in law enforcement and not private security. >> salt lake city police chief chris burbank says it's against policy for officers to solicit off-duty work. have you had problems with that? >> no. >> you haven't? >> interestingly enough, i had just the other day some people that said this is what i -- i said tell me who the officers are, and i will take appropriate action like i would any other circumstance where i believe they've engaged in misconduct. interestingly enough, i have yet to receive any names. >> what some security companies said to us is you're competing directly, and essentially this is a security company that's sort of nestled within a public government entity.
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talk a little bit about how you see that relationship. >> we're not in the business of doing private security. right? we're in the business of doing law enforcement. i mean, it is a very fine line. i will give you that. it's one that we're always concerned about, but the difference is that you are hiring a police officer to take actions based on the color of authority, based on the law. not do you have tickets to the event tonight? can i search your bag or any of that kind of stuff. that shouldn't be law enforcement. >> the salt lake city p.d. runs a brisk business in off-duty work. they charge a $6 equipment fee for every shift worked and a minimum of four hours per shift. last year the city cleared almost $85,000 on this fee, which means at least 56,000 hours were worked off-duty by police. at $30 an hour, they made almost $1.7 million last year working off-duty. many departments around the country have a limit on the
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number of off-duty hours an officer can work. salt lake city does not. >> there's a temptation for officers to work as much part-time work they can handle. how do you balance that with their on-duty hours and responsibilities? >> we do track how many hours they work, and so i can go and pull up an officer and say, this is how many hours they worked especially if it's an issue. that's why we have the oversight we do in the police department. >> when we asked for the number of off-duty hours worked last year, the department couldn't tell us. why? officers are paid directly by the employer, but if there was a major issue, they could do an audit. that said, there is no consistent oversight. >> this can raise son concerns. there's a couple of documented cases in pittsburgh and new orleans where the ability of police officer to receive compensation directly from the private employer as opposed from the police department can create the opportunity for corruption. >> law enforcement here in salt lake city and elsewhere will say
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there are a lot of advantages to hiring a cop in uniform versus a security guard. first of all, a cop in uniform can actually make arrests and act like a cop, which provides added deterrent. there is a big question, and that's liability. >> if an officer engages in unlawful use of force and violates someones's constitutional rights. that person whose rights have been violated can sue not only the officer, but under a couple of doctrines they can also sue the police department and the city that employed that officer. the taxpayers are potentially on the hook for any of the costs associated with that. >> police department policies vary widely on how they handle liability while moonlighting. newark requires a vendor to have at least $1 million in liability insurance. in philadelphia it's not even called off-duty work but overtime, and all the liability falls on the city. in a rare instance, alabama passed a statewide code
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mandating each vendor have $100,000 in liability before hiring an off-duty cop. salt lake city handles its liability like many departments in the country. it asks vendors to sign this possible that makes them liable up to a point. >> it specifically outlined they take on the workers' comp if our cop is injured. >> so the employer takes on workers' comp and other related issues? >> yes. when they have to take police action, then that's my responsibility, whether they're on-duty, off-duty or any other time. >> there's a line they cross from being a private employee back to being sort of a full-time officer? is that -- can you clarify that? >> they're handy, yes. again, it's very situational and depends on the circumstance for these individual situations. >> there are hundreds of civil lawsuits around the country attempting to determine when that line is crossed. that's one reason that heber city, a suburb of salt lake
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city, wrote a radical new policy on off-duty police officers. >> it's pretty extensive. they cannot wear a uniform, anything with a huber city logo or badge. they cannot use any equipment or any of the vehicles. >> the strict policy change had some interesting implications. >> i think there was a little bit of resentment. >> jim motherre owns his own private security company on the side. under the new policy officers like sergeant moore aren't allowed to act like police officers while working as security officers. >> if you're off duty and you witness a criminal act, you are to call and have an on-duty officer come and handle the criminal act. >> perry rose is a former police officer who now runs security agency pride investigations. he instigated the reforms to huber city not only because of liability but because he lost business to the police department. >> nobody stops and realizes that, wait a minute.
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the public bought that equipment. the public -- that's public money that's paid for that. >> he isn't focused just on huber city. he worked on legislation with a state senator to create more trans parents see with off-duty police work. the bill has yet to pass, and he also takes issue with chief burbank. >> it concerns me when i hear of one agency here in the state of utah, and they take in millions of dollars in security work and the only people working it are off-duty officers. chief burbank is that person. his agency is doing it. >> congratulations. well-done. >> burbank sees nothing wrong with his policies on moonlighting, which are generally on par with the rest of the country. is there anything you would like to see fixed about the system? >> well, to be honest with you, i would do away with part-time work, hire more police officers and pay them better money so they don't have to work part-time. >> paul beman joins me now.
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a couple of things that stood out. the first one is chief burbank talking about salt lake city police and the hours you work, and you were not able to get confirmation of how much the police officers work. the issue to me or viewers as taxpayers is are my police officers making so much money on the side that they may be less effective when they're police officers because they're tired and overworked? >> what chief burbank says is they're trusting their officers to do the right thing. he says, look, my guys are highly trained and know their own limits, and i'm not going to put limits on one officer because that might not be the right thing for someone else. if one guy thinks he can handle 30 hours of extra work a week, that's fine. that's his business. 20 hours for somebody else. they will get on it when they see a problem in behavior. there's a wiggle room there and a lack of oversight about tracking these guys and what they're doing. >> you interviewed somebody from university of illinois about corruption. the idea if you're able to be
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paid by an outside group, how far can that go? could you get paid by somebody that has law enforcement look the other way? >> that's an excellent question. in salt lake city they have a list of all the employers and who their officers are working for but don't know how much on a day-to-day basis and they don't know how many hours they're being worked. there is in room for, you know, can someone be almost drawn away from the police force by doing a huge amount of off-duty work. there's questions there. >> great reporting. thank you for that. what happens when cops working private security goes very, very wrong? police chiefs get fired and taxpayers get stuck with some enormous bills. the "inside story" from a man who unravelled a costly case of >> it's a new day. >> another chance. >> i will be strong. >> i can't get bent down because my family's lookin' at me. >> i will rise. >> i will fight.
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>> i will never give up. >> you're gonna go to school so you don't have to go war. >> hard earned pride. hard earned respect. hard earned future. >> we can not afford for one of us to lose a job. we're just a family that's trying to make it. >> a real look at the american dream. "hard earned". premiers sunday, may 3rd 10:00 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
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welcome back to our special coverage of cops for hire. what happens when off-duty police for hire operations go wrong and how much does it cost taxpayers? it happened in pittsburgh. in 2013 the local paper broke a story that the police chief had a security company on the side that employed other officers. the chief was forced to resign and it opened a pandora's box of problems and misconduct around off-duty police work. steven is a criminal defense lawyer and consultant in pittsburgh. he was asked by the mayor to lead the independent review of the police department's off-duty
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policies. steven, good to see you. thank you for joining us. >> it's my pleasure. thanks for having me this evening. >> the former police chief nate harper's actions included misconduct and conflict of interest. what are the big revelations. >> the story unfolded in 2013. a local newspaper broke a story that the chief of police owned a private security company called diversified public security. the belief was that he had collaborated with a few officers and was providing security services and consulting services to private industry around the city of pittsburgh and throughout the region. at the time as the story unfolded, the number of investigations commenced. the fbi got involved and it was determined that much more was at play, in fact, the chief was misdirecting funds for second employment details. it was a twofold problem. >> what do you mean misdirecting funds for secondary employment
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details. what does that mean? >> the city of pittsburgh was running like many other cities do as described in the program these outside or after-work additional details. these are largely police details that are paid by private industry, private employers, and the funds should go into government coffers. the city of pittsburgh's instances, the chief was directing a program where off-duty officers were using pittsburgh police equipment, uniforms, insignia, badges and radios and vehicles in providing security around entertainment destinations. there was a charge for that. the charge was passed on to the contracting company, and at a rate of approximately $4 per officer per hour, the city was collecting a fee. those fees the fbi determines were being mishandled by the chief of police in an act of corruption. >> the important thing is people say what does it have to do with
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any? taxpayers pay for misconduct with off-duty police officers. since 2007 pittsburgh has paid $215,000 in legal settlements because of off-duty details. in 2011 alone the city spent $252,984 in workers' comp claims during off-duty work. police who are making claims during off-duty work. how else do taxpayers get hit? >> you're absolutely right about this. the lablt exposure to enormous. anything from injury claims, workers' comp claims and civil rights lawsuits and judgments that follow those can be devastating to the taxpayers. this problem isn't limited to pittsburgh. pittsburgh is just one of many cities across the united states that used these types of programs, and at the time really without restriction. there's been one landmark case prior to the city of pittsburgh for the work i did for the city related to an investigation in the city of new orleans where
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the justice department actually came in. by consent order, they took over those operations to ensure that they were done properly. anytime police resources, techniques are used and taxpayer funds are involved, there's an opportunity for corruption. as a government we have to plan accordingly to develop policies to protect the public's interest. >> i want to be clear on this. we called the pittsburgh police department and asked for someone high up in the ranks to come onto the show and talk to us today. they did decline. what were your recommendations for reform, and has the city adopted them? >> the city has. my recommendations were limited in scope. at the time the mayor -- then mayor luke raven stal tapped me for the project, i was looking at moonlighting, having work additional to the work they do for the city. we suggested a number of reforms that were implemented. the new mayor elected in 2013
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has picked up the mantle and installed a new chief of police and they're whooshing with the city council and government structure to ensure that appropriate measures are placed over the secondary employment, which is the detail specific or overtime employment that you were referencing earlier. so the problem is being addressed in pittsburgh. hopefully we're making the reforms needed to not only restore the public's confidence in the police department, but to ensure these issues of liability are resolved in favor of the taxpayer. >> thank you so much for joining us tonight. steven is the independent reviewer of the pittsburgh bureau of police. he's an attorney and consultant in pittsburgh. up next, a harsh look at life inside guantanamo bay prison. it's in a book by a man who fought for al qaeda, but he turned his back on extremism more than 20 years ago. what he's writing and why president obama wants him to remain in the controversial prison. >> monday.
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the military prison at guantanamo bay, cuba. to this day it stands as a symbol of the fierce divide in america over how the u.s. chooses to fight terrorism. the u.s. still holds 122 men at guantanamo bay. one of the current inmates admits to being a member of al qaeda in the early 1990s back when the group was focused on fighting communists in afghanistan. what happens next is where it gets murky. he claims he left afghanistan and al qaeda behind. american authorities were not so sure. shortly after 9/11 he was picked
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up and eventually sent to guantanamo despite his repeated denials he remains a member of al qaeda. what's not in dispute is his role if giving the world a detailed look at life inside guantanamo with the recent publication of his book. in the books slahi describes being deprived of sleep for days and changed to the floor of freeding cold rooms. he says he was force-fed seawater and sexually molested and subject to a mock execution and repeatedly beaten. he began writing the back in 2005 and it took years of legal arguments to get it published and he remains at guantanamo despite a judge's order he be released in 2010. that's because the obama administration appealed his release that runs counter to the often stated objections to guantanamo bay. >> it is something that continues
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to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world, the fact these folks are being held. it is control to our values and it is wildly expensive. >> nancy hollander recently got back from guantanamo. first of all, when you hear those comments from president obama and his commitment to shut down guantanamo bay and get these prisoners out of there, why, then, did the obama administration appeal a ruling, a judge's ruling to release slahi in 2010? >> well, i don't know why the obama administration's defense department apeoplepealed that except if they would stop appealing it and fighting this hab eus, he could be released. the judge that ordered him released was the first neutral person to look at the evidence and say there wasn't any. he should be released.
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he shouldn't have been there in the first place. >> let's discuss why that was in question. he does admit to having been a member of al qaeda? >> he didn't join al qaeda. he simply went to a camp that was run by al qaeda, but the judge found in 2010 that that was not the same as the al qaeda that came to attack us in 9/11. it really has nothing to do with anything. so it's not a reason for him to be guantanamo. >> slahi wrote this book, and it was -- he had a great deal of difficulty doing it. after it was written, he had a great deal of difficulty getting it published. but he was able to write the book in return for cooperation. what sort of cooperation was that? >> well, he didn't write the book in return for cooperation. he wrote the book after they stopped torturing him. they finally stopped torturing him when they realized he had nothing to tell them. all he was doing was answering yes to get them to stop the
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torture. then he was writing letters to me, and that's really how this book started. >> i want to show the viewers some of these pages. pages 302 and 303 for instance. if that looks unusual, it's because it's entirely redacted. the next several pages are the same thing, entirely redacted. i believe in context these pages describe his interrogations. is that correct? >> i can't speak to what's redacted, obviously. i can tell you that the government released it with about 2500 redactions still in the book. there's enough that's not redacted that you can understand what he went through, what mohammed felt and what it felt like for him to be tortured and also how he describes the people he met and trusted. the people that were good to him.
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it'sen angry book. he just wants to go home. >> you heard president obama talking about the fact that keeping these men in guantanamo bay feeds into some of the hatred and the building of terrorism around the world. what is slahi going to do after guantanamo, if he gets out? >> when he gets out, and i'm going to get him out, he will go to work. he has a degree in electrical engineering. he wants to go to work and program applications for smartphones and for apple and for things like that. he wants to support his large family, his nieces and nephews. he's already sending one of his nephews to college through the money he's received for the book. he wants to start a foundation to help educate girls. he wants to give to his country and start his life that we took from him. >> thank you so much for joining us.
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nancy hollander is the lead counsel for slahi. that's our show for today. i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining us. >> hello i'm ray suarez. mcdonald's, cash registers ringing, is a company that americans hate love and hate to love. changing what farmers ro grow and away we eat. now the company's announced it won't buy chickens raised using human antibiotics. mickey d's, changing what people eat and how they eat it.