beat. allan fisher, al jazeera, las vegas. tune in to the news hour in about 35 minutes time. aljazeera.com for all of the headlines. aljazeera.com. ♪ >> this is a special edition of al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm del walters. >> i'm patricia sabga. more than 1,000 schools are closed after what officials say was an electronic bomb threat. >> the second largest that district has 700,000 students and more than 900 schools and 187 charter schools. >> directs superintendent ramón
cortinez called the threat rare, and he said all campus also be searched until they are deemed safe. >> i think it is important that i take the precaution based on what has happened recently and what has happened in the past. i have asked the chief to be working with the city police department in the sheriff before the day is over. i want every school searched to make sure that it is safe for children and safe for staff to be there. >> let's go live now to al jazeera's rob reynolds in l.a. what do we know now at this hour about the nature of the threat? >> well, del, ramón catrinez,
who we just heard there, also mentioned the threat involved the possibility of backpacks and packages left on school property. not a lot of details beyond that. however, the very latest is that a school spokesperson named shannon haber told reporters that the threat was e-mailed to a school board member. they traced the ip address, the internet protocol degrees of that e-mail transition back to the city of frankfurt in germany. they're trying to follow that down. that does not mean, however, that the threat originated in frankfurt because there are numerous ways through virtual private networks that people can disguise the location of their transmissions. so we don't know exactly at this point where that transmission came from, but the trail starts,
apparently n frankfurt. so that's the latest on it. this, of course, is causing a tremendous amount of disruption for so many families and others in los angeles. there is a lot of work to be done. >> rob, i can only imagine. let's start with the students. how are they being effected. 640,000 students, 900 schools in the l.a. unified school district and charter schools. how are all those schools being affected? >> in various ways. some kids' parents didn't get the word, and some kids went to school before the alert went out. they have been told by their teachers and administrators to gather at the pick up point at each school where parents come
to retrieve their children after the school day. some parents complain they did not receive the robo-call announcing that schools were closed. in addition there are many lower income students here who rely upon schools for breakfast or lunch, so that's a problem. high school seniors right now its exam week, so a lot of kids who were hoping that their examine performance would effect their college prospects and job prospects are now thrown up in the air. and i talked to one more of two young children, beyond the logistics of getting kids back home and arranging for child care, there is the question that so many are asking each other and wondering, what do we tell the kids? how do we tell young children that they wouldn't go to school
today because someone was threatening them? what does that imply about the kind of world that they live in. of course, many of these kids may have had some exposure to the attacks in paris and san bernardino threw the media or through word of mouth it's a scary situation and a real dilemma. it's a dilemma of how do you break this news to your kids? >> new york also received a threat to schools early this morning, but authorities believe it was a hoax. >> a superintendent in our school system received a thread early this morning. there was convey to police city owe visuals and we began immediate investigation into it. we've been in contact with the
los angeles police department, a department i'm very familiar with, and a school direc district that i'm familiar with. the school district there acted on their own and they may have shut down the schools for the stay. we see no need whatsoever to take that action here in new york city. that we do believe that preliminary investigation that this is, in fact, a hoax, and we'll investigate it as up. >> bill blatten used to be the los angeles police chief before he moved to new york city. he said that cities should be on high alert but not to let fear guide decisions. jj, two different school districts on opposite side of the country, both received threats, but both perceived very differently. what do you make of that? >> well, being in touch with law enforcement in los angeles
today, and in new york, i can tell you that one of the things we don't know is what they haven't said. one of the hallmarks of intelligence agencies is not to tell everything they know. so did los angeles say everything that they knew what was going on? the other issue to be considered is southern california is still reeling from the san bernardino shooting, and it was the biggest terrorist attack in the u.s. since 9/11, which one of the locations was new york. and there is a certain element there that believe that they really need to leave nothing to chance. and in this particular case new york may have some intelligence and some information that they are not saying or sharing or talking about. but what we can say is each one of them has taken the action that they thought was appropriate and necessary to deal with what is going on in their communities, but we may
not know all that is going none their communities, which is bringing different reaction. >> what would be the nature, the hallmarks of the type of threat that would trigger such a reaction like this? clearly threats are a common occurrence, and this one is being taken so seriously in los angeles. >> that was the issue here. there is something there that made authorities feel as though they need to take this action to prevent the possibility of something happening. to if he it seems to suggest that there is an air or level or some possibility to credibility. maybe not to the threat, but maybe copycat. maybe there is someone who wants to take advantage of the chaos, take advantage of the nerve, the situation here. one of the things we have to realize in the times that we live in, things happen very
fast. so to me it seems to suggest based on conversation with law enforcement there is something that that we need to do. >> jj, this comes on the heels of the shooting in san bernardino, and also on the heels of paris. do you think that basically the modus operandi is better safe than sorry, being overly cautious? >> there is another thing, too, trying to look at, and the rapid nature of world events often impacts a place a world away. we know there were some arrests
made in paris overnight that led to the attack in january, and then the one just a few weeks ago in november that supposedly were connect: so shorts not sure about the situation here, and the one we're still learning about in san bernardino if there were connections. as we mentioned before there was reporting in the very beginning folks involved in that attack in san person. i thin >> jj green, our national security contributor. thank you very much. and we'll keep you up-to-date on all the latest developments out of los angeles as they become available. >> secretary of state john kerry in moscow try to build support
their parents. officials are doing this out of abundance of caution. >> in other news this morning secretary of state john kerry and russian president vladimir putin just wrapped up closed door talks in moscow. the u.s. and russia are trying to narrow their differences over the civil war in syria. >> in yard to syria vienna one and vienna two were a strong beginning opening up possibili possibilities and i think there is no question foreign minister lavrov and i have agreed that together the united states and russia have an ability to be able to make a significant difference here. >> the u.s. and russia have disagreed over bashar al-assa al-assad's future and role in political transition there. the two nations are discussing who should represent the opposition in syria during proposed cease talks in january.
well, al jazeera's security correspondent jamie mcintyre is live for us at the pentagon. jamie, do we have any idea what tak came out of those talks? >> there are two u.s. secretary tears abroad trying to make progress with syria. secretary of state john kerry in moscow meeting with president vladimir putin and his return counterpart sergei lavrov. he's talking about a civil war and the forces of bashar al-assad and the opposition forces on the ground. the thinking is if you can negotiate a cease-fire there, then you can negotiate more on the fight against isil. but first there is that political transition. that's his mission. you heard him praising russia's efforts saying that russia has been a cooperative and constructive partner in that effort.
that's diplomatic speak, of course. and the other secretary abroad is secretary ash carter who is on the military track. and of course u.s. and russia are at odds in the bombing campaigns in syria, both having very different agenda there is. carter is trying to get countries in the region to do more. his first stop was turkey. the u.s. would like turkey to do more to seal the border there, and they would like all the countries in the region who talk about fighting isil to do more to fight isil. the secretary said he'll be calling on each country to give their strongest and most robust response. he's asking for special operation forces to join the u.s. operation forces on the ground. carter was taken by surprise that saudi arabia is forming an islamic military alliance of 34 countries to be based in riyadh. secretary carter said that
something that the u.s. has been in favor of. they have been asking for more involvement from saudi arabia. but they have no details and they're not sure what role they would play. he said he's looking forward to speaking with saudi arabia and the u.s. allies there to find out more about those plans. >> thank you, jamie. >> we're also following that breaking news coming out of baltimore. they're still awaiting the verdict of freddie gray. the jury is still deliberating. the first case stemming, of course, from the police-involved case of freddie gray. the court is discussing whether or not officer william porter is guilty. gray died while in police custody while he was not properly buckled down in a police van. it has sparked days of protest and riots. what is the latest at this hour? >> welcome to baltimore. it's a lovely sunny day.
the jurors have come in early. they sailed they would like to start and the judge said it was perfectly okay by me. they came in, began their deliberations and we have not heard anything since then. they are at lunch, and we know it will be another hour before we hear anything. the defense moving a motion to try to have the case dismissed as a mistrial. and moved out of baltimore. the reason that the defense did that, the judge said no, by the way, but the reason that the defense did that is that the school district has written to all parents saying 23 there is any disorder or violence caused by your children there will be ramifications and they will be punished. the defense thinks that may have put pressure on the jurors to come up with a verdict that would be opposite to the one that they want. in other words, to find office propertier guilty. they moved that motion. and the judge rejected it.
he said look, i know they're perfectly capable of understanding the job they have to do. they've all sworn an oath and they're just listening to what is being said within the courtroom and ignoring what is being said outside. that is the big news in the morning. at least another hour before we hear any more news from the jury room. >> what were the strongest points from each identify before they gave it to the jury to deliberate? >> well, it was incredible closing arguments. they were both equally powerful. the prosecution set out to prove that officer porter lied on the stand and there were discrepancies in what he told police in original interviews and what he said on the stand. the prosecution sent the jury a test and said what would a reasonable officer do in similar circumstances. one of the most powerful lines
came from prosecutor jan bledsoe when she called the wagon freddie gray was in basically a casket on wheels. she said he, meaning officer porter, doesn't see belt him, call a medic, doesn't check on him. that's disregard for human life and that's manslaughter. and she urgeds the jury to convict on all four charges. on the other hand the defense is asking the jury not to be caught up in the emotion of the trial, looking at things dispassionately and said that the state did not bring a single witness to say that officer porter acted unreasonbly and there is an absence of evidence. that was the tone of the two closing arguments. that's what the jury went off with going to the jury room with that ringing in their ears. they've been at it for just four hours before they broke for lunch. we'll have to way wait to see
what happens this afternoon. >> and so we wait. >> well joining us now is criminal defense attorney kirk f langer. thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> as i was listening to john speak a second an ago, the first thing that came to my mind because it is so charged in baltimore is nullification. do you believe regardless of what the prosecution does or what the defense does the jury is going to take matters in their own hands to protect party and their own reputation because there is really a mood there that they really want a guilty verdict. >> that's the hardest thing in this case. every juror when polled, before they were impaneled and selected all admitted that they knew about this case. it's hard not to know about this case. it's hard not to take the passion, the fear of the community away from that. >> we've had a lot of cases big i a inflammatory trials and in
this case only time will tell. >> this is the weaker of the cases according to many who are watchin watching this particular trial. because it involves that timeline, that moment in which the fatal injury was delivered to freddie gray. in other words, when did it happen inside in the back of that police van. if officer porter did not know it was going to end up deadly or fatal, then they have to go in his favor. if he did, then they have to go in the favor of the prosecution. >> that's the hardest thing about this case. he's probably the least culpable of all the officers being tried. he's not the transport office, and he's not responsible for mr. gray while he's in the van. he's just there as a ride along. they have to prove both that the prosecution time lines work that the fatal injury occurred early enough in the ride that's
responsible for seeing and not reacting to mr. gray's condition. and then they have to believe that the jury has to believe that the officer acted grossly negligently in either not belting him in or not getting sufficient medical care for him when he needed it. >> what do you make of the act that the jury has been sequestered. >> the judge always has to figure outdo you sequester a jury? they already knew about the case. every one of the jurors admitted knowing about it when they went into it. the judge decide not to put pressure on them and let them live their lives. if they're sequestered there may an pressure to come to a quick resolution. >> why try this case first? there are six cases that have to
be charged, and many people believe this is the weaker of all six. why not go with your strongest case, and did the prosecutor have a choice in this matter? >> the prosecutor may not have had a choice. the defense lawyers, and i'm not privy to defense discussions, they may have pushed the case. >> this did not happen happenstance. >> no, i would want the least culpable officers through because it's easiest to hopefully get an acquittal. you put the strongest one and you get a verdict immediately, it may lead to a cascade. >> thank you for joining us. >> up next, players who defected from cuba are welcome back home. >> we continue to await news coming out of los angeles on that threat that close down the entire school district. we'll bring you that information live when it becomes available.
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>> right now the threat is still being analyzed. in abundance of caution superintendents cortinez has indicated that we've chosen to close our schools today until we can be sure that our campuses are safe. >> that was the news coming out of los angeles earlier today. the chief of the los angeles school police department discussing that threat that prompted officials to close the schools this morning. here's what we know so far. officials say they received an electronic threat against a number of campuses. that's when the decision was made to shut down all of the schools in l.a. and send any students and staff home right away. experts say they're going to
and nasa is hiring. they began accepting applications for the next generation of astronauts. you'll need a bachelor's degree in hard science like engineering or computer science. >> well thanks for joining us. >> josh earnest is talking at the white house. the white house making comments on the school closures in l.a. let's listen in. >> not allowing extremists to change the way we live our lives. i'm wondering if you can talk broadly about ho vigilance and resolve not giving in to fears of terrorism. >> josh, the most important thing in the mind of the president is keeping the american people safe, and we certainly do want to encourage
everyone to be vigilant. that includes the citizens of our country. we encourage them if they see something they should say something. that advice, of course, continues to be operative. and we encourage local law enforcement and state officials to be vigilant as they go about their basic business of protecting the american people. at the same time the president is resolute in his refusal to allow this country and our citizens to be terroristed. and there are several things that the president is doing about that. obviously the first is we have engaged this aggressive campaign to counter isil to degrade and ultimately destroy that organization. that's an indication and should be an indication to you and the american public that the president and the federal government are cognizant of the risks and are taking appropriate steps to protect the people. this is the president's top priority. as people go abo t