tv America Tonight Al Jazeera May 1, 2015 10:00pm-10:31pm EDT
jazeera's international hour, i'm libby casey. >> aimand i'm antonio mora. fp brp. . >> hello, i'm libby casey in new york. "america tonight" is coming up next but an update on today's top story. charges were filed against six police officers for the death of freddy gray. the state's attorney announced the decision this morning she says the law applies to everybody including police. intermy administration is committed to creating a fair and equitable justice system for all. no matter what your occupation
your age your race your color or your creed. >> tonight all six officers have posted bail. they're charged with assault four with manslaughter, the most series charged against caesar goodson, disregard for another person's life. >> to those of you who wish to engage in brutality misconduct, racism and corruption, let me be clear: there is no place in the baltimore city police department for you. >> al jazeera's melissa chan was in baltimore this morning when news of the charges broke and she joins us live. medicals sa tell us of the city's reaction today. >> lobby, thislibby it is curfew time. and there has been a pretty amazing crowd taking a look, i
say that about 20% of the people are left and hopefully they will dissipate. it is curfew time like i said. a few moments ago we also noticed helicopters circling ahead, presumably encouraging people go home. by and large as we were driving around the city today people were peaceful and here is what baltimore residents had to say. >> black liervetion lives matter. >> celebration and release. after the announcement on friday morning. >> we know from other cases happening in 2015 and 2014 officers don't even get indicted so this is a major milestone for us. still baltimore wants to have accountability. >> i think when the state's attorney said, this is the time to make systemic changes.
>> reporter: the community knows that this is just the first step in a long process for the juflghts that they justice they believe freddy gray deserves. >> people are excited what it helps us do is elevate conversations around race relations in the country and the profiling of people of color that end up getting incarcerated. >> may 1st is a great celebration and we understand there are two rallies this afternoon in baltimore. the day's events not just about freddy gray but about the city's economic divide. in baltimore the median wage of the city's white residents are twice that of the black citizens. >> the violence i'm talking about is underfunded system,
gentrification in black and brown neighborhoods high unemployment investment in downtown when you are forgetting about uptown. >> the people here will follow the development of freddy gray's killing. but for now for one brief moment there's a sense everyone's voirseseveryone'svoices have finally been heard. >> i said what do we want? >> justice. >> when do we want it? >> now. >> we've checked out the scene behind us, it's pretty calm, these people are breaking curfew but it doesn't look like anything is happening. we'll update you to make sure there aren't any changes. >> al jazeera will be focusing on this throughout the weekend. i'm libby casey in new york. "america tonight" is next. stay tuned.
>> on al jazeera america ali velshi looks at the issues affecting us all... >> we're taking a hard look at the most important issues out there that get you the answers that you deserve. >> real money with ali velshi only on al jazeera america >> on "america tonight", the fire last time. on "america tonight", the fire last time. baltimore's young and angry. they led the way into the streets, five decades ago with cries of injustice that still echo today. also tonight above the law? "america tonight"'s adam may in depth on maryland's officers bill of rights. and whether police are protected from prosecution in ways the
rest of us aren't. and "america tonight" special report baltimore on edge. thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen. the dramatic development six baltimore officers arrested in the december of freddy gray reassured some in the city bus leaves open the question of what next? the unrest exposed long simmering tensions and some of the reasons why so many in the community especially in its black neighborhoods have so much distrust of police and of the justice system. our coverage looks beyond the headlines as "america tonight's" adam may investigates a controversial legal protection for baltimore officers and why it has led for so much suspicion about whose rights are really being protected. >> we have brought the following charges. officers goodson is being charged with second degree depraved heart murder. involuntary manslaughter.
second degree negligent assault. manslaughter by vehicle by means of gross negligence, manslaughter by vehicle by means of criminal negligence, failure of assistance, failure to render aid. >> reporter: the baltimore state's attorney announces charges against six officers in the death of freddy gray, referring details and taking swift action just one day after police finished their investigation is far different than other recent high profile in custody deaths and a watershed, of mistrust of community against police, mistrust that comes in part from a controversial maryland law. maryland has a law enforcement officer bill of rights, known as leobr.
guaranteeing officers fairness. but it goes too far. under the law officers can be delayed questioning unlike average citizens who are arrested and immediately questioned. >> it only exists in a small minority of states. maryland's is one of the oldest if not the oldest and one of the two most extreme and from our perspective worst in the entire country. >> david rocha with the aclu. >> i think it preefnth timely prevents timely questioning of officers, you don't want to be able to concoct stories together. >> reporter: so while protesters parched in the streets demanding answers and rioters burned buildings and threw rocks at police, the mayor blamed leobr for the slowness of
the case. among those protesting by wanda jones. >> my brother was brutally murdered you got me help help how you doing this? >> her brother tyrone west died during a traffic stop two years ago in baltimore. after he was pinned down and stopped breathing. the police investigation of the incident cleared the officers. >> reporter: how do you think the officer bill of rights affected the investigation into your brother's death? >> a great big deal by the simple fact they have ten days just to give a state. meanwhile we are burying our loved ones. and this ten day period they get a chance to watch the media and get a chance to get all their lice together. >> the only reason is there's ten days for aaccused officer so the officer can get council so
he can be properly represented. i can tell you in the thousands of investigations i have been involved in over the last 42 years i have never seen an investigation where the department would be ready to take a statement from an accused sister in less than ten days. >> herb weiner is the lawyer for baltimore's sphra alternatively orderbaltimore's fraternal association of police, and he's lawyer for one of the accused officers. ordinary citizens have a fifth amendment right to refuse to speak. >> when the department decides to prosecute you for a disciplinary action, they can use it against him imagine if a straight's attorney had that luxury imagine if a state's attorney seeking to accuse a criminal before i make this
accusation i need to know what you're going to say. what a great great advantage would that be to the state's attorney. >> changes to the leobr died in the state legislature. tawanda jones testified in opposition to the law believing it is a root cause. >> i will fight until i have no breath in my body around if i can come back and reincarnate myself they will see me fighting then. i am my brother's keeper. we are fighting out of love not hate. hate is what killed my brother. >> "america tonight's" adam may with us. i'm struck what you told us yesterday and what you've just told us. the terry decision and the bill of rights, it makes the
community wonder if they will ever get justice. >> because of incidents of police corruption or police brutality. but then you look and say where does this all come from? and the former police commissioner of baltimore did point to police are some ways the punching bag and in some ways they are only executing laws that have been put on the books by the politicians. where is the accountability of the politicians in all of this? so you look back at some of these landmark decisions the terry v ohio case, that dates back to 1916. we have been living with the complications of that kay. the freddy gray case, why did the officer go after him in the first place? because of a suspicious look in the eye. legal in the terry case. legal for the officer to pursue
a suspect. >> you brought forward a man who claimed to have witnessed what happened when freddy gray was arrested, and a lot of what came forth from the prosecutor seems to be backing up the story. >> a legally blind man says he heard plain as day he couldn't see what was happening but he heard gray say he couldn't breathe and he had asthma and athis was echoed by the prosecutor marilyn mosby that was the first call he made requesting medical help. and there was at least a half a dozen requests for medical help while he was in the back of the van and that's what led up to the charges. the way the officers ignored these pleas for help. >> you mentioned marilyn mosby the prosecutor in the case, very quickly moving and making a
point of saying her office had all the time being investigating along with the police. >> no one had an idea that there were independent investigation using sworn officers, also going in their own direction. but you know there is some questions being raised about the speed of this while many folks in the community are happy that this is so much different than ferguson, there is no grand jury that it wasn't drug out forever, that this answer came one day after police finished their investigation. the medical examiner handed over his investigation she took her investigative findings and put this together and dieted very indicted very quickly. then the questions from the police union the police union says they should hire a spes prosecutor inspecialprosecutor in this case. >> you watched this issue on ferguson, what is this about the
dynamics do you think in that community that led to such a different reaction? and different behavior open the on the part of the leadership, law enforcement and the prosecutors? >> i think that's going to take some real dissecting, scholars are going to have to look at why this was so different. there's obvious differences baltimore is a city with african americans in strong position he of leadership. the police force in baltimore is extremely diverse. it is very different than ferguson and the most obvious way we are seeing it is the speed and the intensity of this investigation, the law officer bill of rights, those officers had ten days in order to make their statements. some did cooperate early on. we heard that one of them was kind of a hold out but even despite that law officer bill of rights they do not believe the aclu does not believe there is an impact on this investigation. however they are considering
making changes to other cases. >> marilyn mosby a prosecutor, who has made a very large impact, a young and new prosecutor. there is question about her relationship to the case. >> she is 35 years old the youngest state's attorney who leads a large city prosecution department. she is married to a lawyer as well. maybe it raises questions that she should not prosecute this case. but she made the statement the people of baltimore swore her into office and she has no intentions of stepping down on that case. >> she also underscored her relationship to law enforcement. >> she has a long history of law enforcement, she had a 17-year-old relative that was murdered and she saw this, she witnessed that and that is why
she died to go into the law and become a prosecutor. i think for mosby what we are going to see is a woman who has really seen all sides of the law enforcement. awe sides of the law working in baltimore. it will be interesting to see how she and a half gates through this case and there is going to be some time, before it goes trial, there will be, you can this down. >> "america tonight's" adam may. next baltimore burning anger rising against authority and the echoes of it on the city streets, thousand. streets, thousand. >> every day is another chance to be strong. >> i can't get bent down because
my family's lookin' at me. >> to rise, to fight and to not 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, 10:00 eastern. only on al jazeera america. >> part of our month long look at working in america. "hard earned".
>> as we keep watch over a city on edge, we also look to baltimore's long history and what role it has acknowledge going back to colonial times though baltimore is also a city that has seen many flash points. this week, to long term residents it wasn't a first. there was anger. flames broke out across the city. thousands stood guard. protests sparked by the death of a black man before his time. but that april was 47 years ago.
what did you think when you saw the fires? >> i said, here we go. 1960 all over again. >> well, i don't know what will happen now. we've got some difficulties ahead. >> in the days after the assassination of martin luther king jr, when riots broke out in d.c., in chicago in kansas city and here in baltimore helena hicks saw her city explode. >> what was it like on the streets then? >> it was pretty bad. >> you were angry? >> people were not just angry. they were fighting mad. and there's a difference. they were ready to just beat up the enemy. and fire was one of the ways
they chose to make that feeling apparent to everybody. so they burned up everything. >> you can't miss the parallels between that april in baltimore and this one. dr. hicks saw it too. as clashes broke out this time in her old sandtown neighborhood. >> i said to people, thank god i'm this age because hopefully i will never see this again. i didn't expect to see it twice in my lifetime but i definitely don't want to see it again. >> a charm city native, a highly educated community leader, a mother. you might be surprised at her response to the demonstrators on the streets. >> i'm proud of those kids. >> proud. it's not that helena hicks condones rioting or looting but over 50 years after her generation stood up for justice as more baltimore neighborhoods
clear out what choices do they have gm. >> we keep saying it was not as bad as 1968. but you see if you don't do anything about the systemic problems eventually they're going to come back up to the surface and you've got a whole other generation, like i was the generation protesting in the '60s this is the young generation that's protesting there. >> a generation she says is just trying to be heard. the language political leaders use to describe them angers her. >> too many people have spent generations building up this city. for it to be destroyed by thugs. >> are the kids thugs? >> no, they're not thugs. thugs are people who are committed to violence.
they weren't breaking any law. >> and those kids need to be out there now? >> they need to be out there to say, if you're going to do something worthwhile for me, give me a chance. give me a decent school environment, and decent teachers. give me a decent place to live. >> to make her point she takes us to the scorner where she grew up. a few blocks from the center of the pennsylvania avenue protest. >> that's my house. i lived in that house. >> that was your house? >> you have my house! >> how does it look? >> oh, it looks fine and i'm proud you kept my house looking nice. >> some things have changed. since the '68 riot, homeowners have mostly given up. only a few remain amid the rentals. and some houses just stand empty. >> young man. ask i talk to you acan i talk to you
in a minute? i'm dr. helena hicks. >> to get the answers you only have to ask. >> i used to live in this house 2302. i'm trying to get the picture out that people are not thugs. >> malik graves and javon jefferson are eager to speak. >> i've been chased by police and everything. >> for what? >> for nothing. >> because we're a young black male. >> i might look like drugs if i gotta toos and joints and sweat pants i might look like a criminal to them. >> what happened in pennsylvania avenue this week didn't start
with freddy gray's death. >> we're not just fighting for freddy gray, we're fighting for people out here that die every day. for same reason, same situations, that don't get mentioned. and that people don't know about. >> now, a stranger in her old community. helena hicks finds familiar fears. >> this is for our sons and daughters parents what are they supposed to do? they know they have good parents. but you look at the color of their skin they are judged. >> hicks insists that baltimore is not a city without hope. >> what do we want? >> but she cites failure to bring justice for freddy gray, promises made decades ago could plunge it into more chaos and raise doubt that baltimore will ever get past the legacy of its
riots. >> let me tell you what i learned from 1968. after four days, you're sitting on a powder keg. if you don't resolve the problem before the sixth day before you get to the seventh day all hell's going to break loose. history going to repeat itself if you don't look at history and say, how do we keep this from happening again? it will quiet down for a while but you see the problems are still there. >> voice of history. al jazeera will keep watch on developments in baltimore. and next week on "america tonight" we will look to a crisis developing in new york state, where the growing value of what is underground is now threatening the communities above it. can the boom in natural gas spell the end for homeowners? our story next week here on "america tonight". tell us what you think about all of our stories at aljazeera.com/americatonight. talk to us on twitter or
facebook and come back when we'll have more of "america tonight". >> hello, i'm libby casey in new york. "real money" is coming up next but first an update on what's happening in baltimore. within the last half hour they have made a number of arrests this comes after a day of elation, after charges being filed against six officers charged in the death of freddy gray. >> my administration is committed to creating a fair and