tv Fault Lines Al Jazeera June 16, 2015 2:30am-3:01am EDT
answered or to pop up. i'm luis suarez, thank you for joining us on "inside story". >> baltimore's sandtown neighborhood. the heart of west baltimore, and one of the city's poorest areas. this is where freddie gray grew up -- known to friends as pepper. >> why was his nickname pepper? >> i never heard of pepper being
bad for nobody, salt is bad for you, salt will kill you. i never heard nobody dying from pepper, everybody loves pepper. and he was dark skinned, so. >> brandon ross is freddie's god-brother. >> on april 12, reports say freddie was walking down the street when he made eye contact with officers -- and then ran. >> police chased gray and arrested him on the sidewalk here at the gilmor homes. >> where were you when he was arrested? >> right there with him. if you look at the original video that they shown, and you see the guy pointing, walking up, that's me. yeah, so i was there throughout the whole thing, seen the whole process. >> freddie was conscious when he was loaded into a paddy wagon. when it arrived at the police station 45 minutes later -- he was not. >> the question is why?
he didn't do it to himself, he didn't have those injuries before he came in contact. i mean why? >> a week later, freddie gray died of a severed spine. baltimore erupted in protest -- and then flames. the national guard rolled in while the mayor imposed a curfew. freddie gray's death sparked an anger that captured national attention. but that anger was rooted in a fractured relationship with police that goes back decades. >> where he at? he's dead! and where you at? y'all wanna kill us. >> we're running back, they just threw some tear gas towards us. >> as calls for accountability
grew, fault lines traveled to baltimore to investigate its long history of police violence. >> i might be the next one. >> does that make you scared? >> it makes me scared for everyone. the cops is a legalized gang. who's going to judge them when they kill somebody? can we find justice? can we? >> for weeks, baltimore was on edge while people called for justice in the death of freddie gray. when state's attorney marilyn mosby stepped to the podium on may first, the city held its breath. >> the findings of our comprehensive, thorough, and independent investigation, coupled with the medical examiner's determination that mr. gray's death was a homicide which we received today, has led
us to believe that we have probable cause to file criminal charges. to the people of baltimore and the demonstrators across america, i've heard your call for no justice no peace, your peace is sincerely needed as i work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man. >> ms. mosby, what do you think needs to be done to make sure what happened to freddie gray doesn't happen again? >> accountability. >> how are we going to get there? >> you're getting it today. >> mosby charged six officers, including the driver of the police van, who was arrested for 2nd degree murder. >> when the attorney gave that i was like thank you, somebody finally said it. finally somebody is sending the police to jail for what they done.
>> but charges in the freddie gray case are the exception. >> we keep pushing forward, we keep pushing forward, you wanna know why? we still have a lot of people out there, who have been victimized. and it's not only for him, it's for ferguson, it's for trayvon martin too, it's for anybody who has been victimized, brutalized by the police department. they are crooked they are frauds. i don't like em'. >> in the crowd people had come to celebrate, but also to mourn. >> this not the first murder of a kid in baltimore city. >> james davis says his nephew died this year after being shot by police. >> they shot him at a kid's birthday party, they was fighting in there, and the police came in there, and he had a knife, but he aint know who called, and before he had was able to drop the knife, and before he was able to drop the knife, they shot him, and just because there was no video, the police got away from that murder. >> they're not god, they're not god just because they have a badge, they can't just take
people its wrong. >> erica peterson says her mother died after being tased by police in 2007. >> y'all didn't have to get out your car, kill her, tase her drag her across the street. y'all didn't have to do that. she was on her way home to her kids and she never made it and it hurts. >> there have been investigations into both cases but to date, no charges have been brought against the officers involved. >> at least 109 people died in police encounters in maryland between 2010 and 2014. officers were charged in only 2 of those cases. >> this has been going on and on and on and on and i'm just talking about the cases that have been high profile, that's just the cases that went to trial or the press decided to
cover. >> attorney a. dwight pettit has represented dozens of victims of alleged police brutality in baltimore. >> it is a very dangerous city because you have this occupation force of the police but you don't have any cooperation between the police and the citizens because of this line of demarcation. who are the bad guys? the public doesn't know whether the bad guy is officer friendly or the bad guy is johnny gangster. how do they make the determination? >> as protests and celebrations in sandtown died down, the streets remained tense. >> were you surprised about freddie gray? >> no! >> this happened everywhere. >> how common is this?
>> they shot someone at security mall. >> they killed somebody on fulton ave. >> a police or knocker, he straight ran a little kid, he ran a kid over, trying to go home, probably 13 or 12. the knockers ran a kids leg over and kept running. >> the police aren't actually the police. to police something to organize, traffic, maintain, and take care of. the police as we know them, are an occupying force sent to subjugate and oppress the poor. >> sorry let's just. how common is this? >> every day, this every day. this every day. >> my two year old daughter, her first word was helicopter. >> and they're so low. >> move back from the officers. >> there's an altercation around here right now.
>> what's going on? >> man, shit. >> come on. >> should we see what's going on? >> a gunshot was heard, and a man is lying on the street but police here are responding to questions with pepper spray and for now, people are assuming the worst. >> all these people have been pepper sprayed, we heard someone was shot or arrested we just heard helicopters, we don't quite know what's going on, the police don't want to talk to us, they have just been pepper spraying people at very close range. >> you all did it again!! you all did it again!!! we just stopped! we just stopped! >> can you please tell us, did somebody get shot?
>> move back! move away! >> we're moving back, but can you just... >> stop asking questions just move away. >> are we not allowed to ask questions? did somebody get shot? >> as it turned out, nobody had been shot. police say the man's gun went off, and he was arrested on a firearms violation. >> the environment is so charged right now that anything that happens there you know we're going to immediately think the worst. like the book says, feelings buried alive never die, this stuff is buried alive, it's right under the surface. and there might be a scab on it. it's a thin scab but as soon as there's a brush it starts to bleed again, over and over and over again. >> for more "faultlines" check out on demand or visit aljazeera.com/faultlines. >> best selling author james patterson >> i don't work for a living it's play for me >> his rise to fame and
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>> while the nation's attention was fixed on freddie gray's death, a string of alleged police brutality cases continued, unresolved, in baltimore. on a summer evening two years ago, abdul salaam was driving home when police pulled him over. >> so once i got maybe halfway down to my house, right here, i saw police in my rearview, darting down. >> following you? >> following down.
once i got about here, they announced to stop my vehicle. so i thought it made sense to pull into the driveway, out of the way with my 3 year old son in the vehicle. >> police say salaam wasn't wearing his seatbelt. salaam claims he was. then, according to salaam, the officers became violent. >> when he handcuffed me, he immediately picked me up again in a bearhug position, and slammed me over here. >> you're right here? >> right here, he got me in my stomach, so i'm finally on my stomach. >> in handcuffs? >> the officer drops down in a wrestling type of action, real fast. i just didn't know what was going to take place at that point, and my biggest fear was that i wouldn't get to see my son.
>> some of salaam's neighbors recorded the scene on their phones. >> that's just unnecessary. that's why everybody out here saying its not right. just because he's black. he didn't do nothing. >> it's unfortunate, but it's the norm. and this is just a reminder that day, that you're never too old never too professional to get an ass-whooping from a police officer. >> he's seen them beat him up, and there's no reason why they did that. my son fears the police, we get in a car and if i turn the car on just to turn it on, and i don't have my seatbelt on, i better put my seatbelt on before the police come to beat us up,
and that's horrifying. >> salaam was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest -- charges that were later dropped. >> what would have happened if your neighbors weren't around? >> i might not have made it that day. especially two weeks later when you have tyrone west... especially when 17 days later, they take a man's life the same officers the same officers, two blocks, walking distance. >> those officers, nicholas chapman and jorge bernardez-ruiz, made another traffic stop at this intersection two weeks later.
this time they pulled over tawanda jones' brother, tyrone west. as the officers searched west, they claim he resisted -- and a fight broke out. >> kelway and kitmore >> officer chapman called for backup. >> unit on kelway and kitmore is everything ok? >> 13, 13, 13... signal 13 >> neighbors said it was about 25 people on top of my brother, they never seen anyone get beat like that, never. you're talking about armed men and women with batons, with weapons, steel-toed boots. armed. he wasn't armed, he's got on shorts and a tank top, his skin is revealed, its summer. who gonna fight with 20 people for what? >> shawanda lewis was just arriving home when she says she heard people yelling.
>> i seen everything that happened from the beginning to the end. everything. they went from the car to the corner, from the corner to this side of the street. he asked for help a million times. >> lewis told investigators she saw west get maced, then try to run away. >> witnesses also reported seeing officers punch, kick, and hit west with batons after tackling him to the ground. >> they told me if i don't move, they're going to do the same thing to me. >> were you scared? >> i wasn't scared, i was pissed, because they were beating a man to death. >> when officer corey jennings arrived as back up, he saw morgan state police officer david lewis with his knee on west's back. this is audio from jennings' statement to homicide detectives. >> it was hot, my partner
officer parker told morgan st. officer after a few minutes that, you know, let him up and get off his back. at that time, he felt extremely heavy, like dead weight. his face, skin appeared to be gray. we put him over there, we reached down, checked his neck for a pulse, nothing at that time. >> jennings and another officer tried to revive west -- unsuccessfully. >> they deserve time, i want them to realize in a cellblock day after day. i want them to hear tyrone west screaming "help, help. stop stop. help help stop stop." >> the medical examiner's office did not rule west's death a homicide, concluding that he died from an irregular heartbeat and dehydration. >> when they pulled his hair
all hell broke loose. that's how it went, and it's sad it happened, and i feel your pain, but i don't understand how two cops can still be on the force after this. >> prosecutors did not bring indictments against officers in either case. the west and salaam families are suing the officers and the baltimore police department. [chanting] we won't stop! we can't stop! to kill a cop! in cell block! >> it's 657 days and we're out here for west wednesday, where we hold all police accountable for all the police brutality that's going on in the city, and as a matter of fact all over the world, these are not isolated incidents this is happening all over the world. and it's sad it finally got to light in our town.
>> what's happened to these officers? >> nothing, they still on payroll, they're still walking the beat. >> they're still in this building? >> they're still working, yes, they might have been shifted different spots, but they're still working here. >> the baltimore police department declined to make officers chapman and bernardez-ruiz available for an interview. >> we told them, we're not going anywhere. they want to cover it up like this is the first time. they know it's not the first time! this been going on forever. this the first time they got caught up, that's all, let's not get it twisted!
>> we have an exclusive story tonight, and we go live... >> the vast majority of alleged police brutality cases in baltimore go un-prosecuted. according to former detective joe crystal, a code of silence inside the police department contributes to the problem. in october 2011, crystal found out what happens when you break that code. >> this is prentiss place. you can see it's mostly vacant homes, back here. i believe this was the house right here. >> crystal and his colleagues chased after drug suspect antoine green and arrested him
after he broke into this house to hide. >> i could hear the bang and the scuffle. it was obvious to anybody -- cop, person, 6 year old child, what went on at that point. >> what had happened? >> we found out later on from the trial, that green was assaulted while still in handcuffs, by officer williams. they take green out, his shirt is ripped, i noticed he was limping profusely. >> crystal reported the incident to a supervisor. >> he told me basically that if i snitched, my career was over. if i go to internal affairs, they're going to get me to rat and his exact words were "your career won't be worth [explitive]". >> then he went to the prosecutor's office, which eventually pressed charges. >> it's never right to take justice into your own hands. we're cops, you're supposed to uphold the law not take it into your own hands. once we start doing that we're not cops anymore, we're vigilantes. >> as a trial for the officers began, crystal's career in baltimore began to unravel.
>> i went to move my car, and as i came forward, somebody had put a dead rat on the car, its head underneath the windshield of the car. it was kind of a crazy feeling. i knew what the message was. >> what was the message? >> basically this is what we think of you -- you're dead to us. >> crystal moved to florida, and has been hesitant to return. >> what would happen if the command staff found out you were here? >> i don't know and i don't wanna find out, but i doubt anything good. >> reporting and testifying against other cops, especially when you have a commissioner that supports the "blue wall of silence," that's the scariest thing you can do as a cop. >> what is the blue wall of silence? >> cops aren't supposed to speak about what other cops do. dammit. >> you know that guy? >> yeah he's an eastern district wagon man.
if i wasn't with you guys right now, i'd be scared right now to be honest. >> when the officers were convicted last year, crystal says police commissioner anthony batts missed an opportunity to make changes. >> in 2014, batts had two cops under his command who were found guilty by a baltimore jury for taking a guy out of a wagon and assulting him. if you'd taken steps when this man was assaulted, maybe freddie gray didn't have to die. >> commissioner batts declined an interview request. after gray's death, the u.s. department of justice opened an investigation into the baltimore police department. we took crystal's claims to gene ryan, the president of baltimore's police union, just after a membership meeting. >> do you think there's accountability for police misconduct in baltimore? >> there's investigations.
there's been almost 300 officers that have been terminated in the last 12-15 years, and that doesn't count the officers resigned in lieu of termination or the ones that have been punished. there's a system in place, things are happening investigations are done. >> is there a blue wall of silence? >> no. can i finish up now guys? >> what happens to police officers who are still on the force? we're following a couple of cases, where a couple of officers are involved. >> i can't make a comment without knowing the facts, if you wanna call here and leave the information in the morning. >> does this culture of silence make people safer? mr ryan?
>> back in sandtown, freddie's god-brother brandon says the gap between police and locals is wider than ever. >> yeah we on! thank y'all! >> people trust the police? >> trust? nah, is there a reason we should trust them? they can't even give us a reason. it's us against them. it aint cops against robbers its cops against the community. if i chased that man down, put him in my vehicle and that happened to him what you think would happen to me? i would be locked up for murder, same day, jail, no bail,
fighting these charges. that's what i want happen to them. i want them held accountable the right way. >> it will be months before there's any outcome in the trial of the officers charged in freddie gray's death. >> what will happen if officers aren't convicted? >> what's gonna happen in sandtown if officers not convicted? what happened in sandtown when officers did what they did to freddie? the world knew about it, right? the officers not convicted about that? the world gonna know about it. >> farm workers striking in mexico... >> all that tension is about what's happening right now. >> unlivable wages... >> you can work very hard and you will remain poor. >> what's the cost of harvesting america's food? >> do you see how it will be hard to get by on their salary?
>> yeah >> fault lines al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> today they will be arrested... >> ground breaking... they're firing canisters of gas at us... emmy award winning investigative series... fault lines invisible hands only on al jazeera america >> al qaeda in yemen says one of its top leader nasir al-wuhayshi has been killed in a u.s. drone strike. welcome to al jazerra. coming up in the next half hour, isil suffers its biggest serious setback in two years of kurdish forces take control of the key town. an egyptian court is expected to deliver its final verdict on the death sentence for deposed president mohammed morsi. and there are allegations that his australia might have