tv Model America MSNBC September 25, 2022 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
r: teaneck, new jersey. a nice place to visit anda great place to live. (music) william: it's a tuesday night. it was raining. i got a call. it said teaneck policejust shot a black kid. r: emotions arerunning high after a teenager is shotto death by police. alison: peoplewere outraged. mike: this town billeditself as a model american communitywhere you had people from differentraces and ethnic groups living together in peace. and yet underneath that, asegment of the town felt angry. thelma: there was no reason for
that cop to shoothim in his back. there are more questionsthan there are answers. jennifer: this was coming. there was too muchrage in everybody and it's beengoing on for years. steven: next thing i know,i picked up a brick and threw it straightthrough the window. (upbeat music) (protestors chanting) r: it all began on a noteof prayer and mourning for 15 year old phillippannell, shot to death by policeon tuesday night. natacha: it was apeaceful vigil. everybody just wanted tocome together and find out, like, why did this happen? then the evening came.
the crowd was getting angry.the police were pushing back. and then that's whenthe riot broke out. william: the night of the riot,i was there. very, very quickly,it just got out of control. people werethrowing rocks, broke windows inthe police building. bryan: i've gotpeople that they're inside in fear of their life. we tore up everythingin our path. i wanted that policestation to be burned down. that's how i felt. you know, i mean,he just killed my friend. natacha: somebody smashed apolice car window, and that's when the whole crowd flipped over the police car. gervonn: it was our community. and i remember mybrother, like, screaming at people like, this isour town. you know, stop. you know, this is where we live. these kids werejust going crazy.
breaking store windows. man: hey, hey, stop him.woman: stop, stop. gervonn: just actingout that despair. power to the black people. (people screaming) steven: it was horrible. but we didn't killed nobody. that's the way i feel. r: a number of newsphotographers were attacked. r: one cameraman washospitalized with injuries to his head and face. al: i saw it on television and i said, we need to get in there because this is goingto be the story. not that this policemankilled phillip, but that these kids are wild and reckless andburning down teaneck. protestor: this system wasset for the rich white people. walter: it was verysurreal to stand in this reallyidyllic suburban communityand watch this happen. and at that moment,i realized that this is a result of notjust this shooting incident.
this is the result ofdecades of believing your ownhype and not wanting to confront theugliness that was always there. but you chose tolook the other way. jackie: it was soearth shattering. i believed, for the mostpart that everybody was living happily together in teaneck. but it wasn't the utopia that ithought it was, for many people. (protestors chanting) (broken glass shattering) r: boarded up businessesand broken glass, smashed by hundredsof young people, angry over the police killing of phillip pannellon tuesday night. natacha: i was like,what does this have to do with my brother'sdeath, you know? and i was kind ofupset in a sense, because that's not how he was. you know, that like all ofthis happened to my brother. and then on top of that,all this violence and stuff.
he wasn't a violentperson, you know, at all. walter: for us,the strong police presence sent the wrong messageto young people. william: i'm justnot sure what else, you know, you know, we could do? we were not lettingthe crowd be everywhere because we wanted thecommunity to exercise theirrights, to demonstrateand protest and to do it in a peacefuland safe way. it was traumaticfor the department, but it was extremely traumatic for the entire community. batron: the next day itlooked terrible and it looked like anotherplace. it didn't look liketeaneck. my mother owned a homebeauty parlor for ten years. you know,nobody touched that because they know that my mother's shop, but a lot of businesseswere destroyed, and a lot of black businesses
were destroyed, you know. why? r: and suddenly thiscommunity's self-image wasshattered. gervonn: teaneck roadwas never the same. mentally, emotionally, youknow, having that trauma. the whole community was angry. the whole communitywas outraged. i mean, i was angry. so even though iwas kind of in this little bubble. the bubble burst. all of that, we thought, and my parents had foughtfor, we advocated for it. it's like it didn't work. it just kind offelt like we failed. r: mr. mayor, back in 64, this community was thefirst in the nation to vote voluntarilyfor integration. what's happened? frank: i think there's anunwritten chapter in that book ona teaneck history and this is sort of avery violent reminder. we have more work to do. amadus: i felt like thetown had come apart. there were people whowanted people to blame for that. police chief bryanburke insisted today
that outsiders hadprecipitated the violence. bryan: there's astrong feeling that there might have beenoutside agitation. man: they came from hackensack. they came from englewood.just because they heard somethingwas going to go on and they wanted todestroy our town. it's true.we're gonna pay for this. they're not gonna pay for it. gervonn: the narrativethat you have, all these other people comingin is such a misnomer. and we see that time and timeagain to justify what happened. woman: it doesn't happen here.we are an interracial town. people moved tothis town because they want to live in this town. gervonn: people say, oh,they were just agitators. you know,people from the outside. no, the people that livedhere were angry. they were upset. the issue was not youngpeople turning over cars. charles: the issue is ayoung man that was shot in hisback. paul: from the perspectiveof the kids, they were frustratedand whether the frustration manifesteditself through teaneck kids or from outside people thatwere here to cause trouble,
to this day, i don't know. my concern was that peoplewere upset and angry. and this incident might havebeen the culmination of that boiling point,boiling over the pot. r: now, racial tensionshere in teaneck, to say the least,are still very high. but earlier today,there was a peaceful, not even a demonstration,a walk through town. walter: we're coming simplyin the name of peace. we don't condonethe actions that took place in teaneckthe other night, after the prayer vigil. but we do understandthe anger and the hurt that that communityis experiencing. our time was spentwith the community in teaneck, talking to merchants and basically saying,"we're sorry this happened to you,"helping them clean up. we tried to lower thetemperature because we knew that it was going to get very circus-like, and really intense asthe case moved forward. r: while the townstruggles to come to grips with thislatest tragedy, lawyers for the family and the police department began a legal
joust over a seriesof conflicting reports on just what happened. r: the officer, gary spath, saidhe thought 16 year old phillip pinnell was reaching for a gunwhen spath tried to arrest him. r: the chief said a22 caliber loaded gun was found inthe youth's pocket. jennifer: he held his handsup and screamed out very loud and iyelled, "don't shoot." and that's when thesecond cop shot him in the back and hefell to the ground. mike: immediately afterphillip was killed, the authorities arranged for an autopsy to beperformed on his body. it allowed them toperhaps answer two very, very criticalquestions in this case. the first was, wasphillip, in fact, shot in theback? and number two, what werethe positions of his hands? were they up or were they down? r: the bergen countyprosecutor, john holl, said the case involvingpolice officer gary spath would go toa grand jury next week. the prosecutor saidofficer spath had been suspended with payduring the investigation.
police officers infull riot gear started assembling behindpolice headquarters. prosecutor hollhad warned earlier force would be metwith force tonight. walter: it's like, really,do we really need every officer armed likethey're in the military? it was basically intimidation. and i think that's the thingthat shocked so many people, because after the town hadgained such a great reputation, no one would have thoughtthat this incident would have been the causefor the town to unravel. r: overnight, there weremore signs of racial unrest in this town of 37,000that once prided itself as asuburban example of racialharmony. in this predominantly blacksection of teaneck, residents say dozens ofthese anti-black and anti naacp pamphlets were dumpedon front lawns and sidewalks beforedawn this morning. the crude pictures,complete with racist phrases,show a white teaneck police officer taking aimfor target practice at blacks.
walter: the intensityof that moment, the vitriol and the hate. peoplewaking up and finding racist, derogatory flierson their lawns. when you see that in thecommunity, you begin to wonder, will it ever get better? it's nice to unwind after a long week of telling people how liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need! (limu squawks) he's a natural. only pay for what you need. ♪liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty.♪ ♪♪ does it get better than never getting lost? ♪♪ does it get better than not parallel parking yourself? ♪♪ alexa ask smartfeed to feed the dog. does it get better than feeding your dog from 50 miles away? yes... it does. at buick we see a future that's even better.
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the reason why i like golo is plain and simple, it was easy. i didn't have to grit my teeth and do a diet. golo's a lifestyle change and you make the change and it stays off. golo's changed my life in so many ways. i sleep better, i eat better. took my shirt off for the first time in 25 years. it's golo. it's all golo. it's smarter, it's better, it will change your life forever. r: the body of 16 yearold phillip pannell arrived at the communitybaptist church, surrounded by acrowd of mourners. w: everyone is taking it bad,whether they're black or white, jewish or italian,it doesn't matter. everyone's taking it bad. natacha: the dayof the funeral. we had a private viewingthat was in the morning and my brother didn'tlook like himself. he was like 5 to 6 shadesdarker than what he was. and i remember mybrother looking like he was like in his lateforties, early fifties, you know, versusthe last time i saw his body.
r: it may have been themost difficult day so far for the familyof phillip pannell. the 16 year old wasto be buried. thelma: that day! oh, my god. my legs. i remember my legs. i was moving. then again, i wasn't moving. and again, i was sayingthings and i wasn't saying. i would just followingthe light that day. i was just-just following the light. when i got to the church, you couldn't evenhardly see the ground. it was so many people. i mean, you can see nothing. it was so many prominentpeoples were at the funeral all the black clergy counselorswas there, the naacp. and then i rememberi seen all of clint's friends was just looking at me,crying with the head down. and then soon as it got out ofthat hearse, they just started rubbing on the casket. r: outside,friends of the slain
teenager comforting one another. their world of adolescentconcerns was shattered. batron: no human beingshould go through nothing likethat. you know, itwas just wrong. wrong. i'm sorry. (sniffing) (sobbing) i'm sorry. it was wrong. nobody should. nobody shouldbe treated like that. (upbeat gospel music) r: inside the jammed church,reverend herbert daughtry told the audience that phillippannell, in the manner in which he died,cannot be forgotten. herbert: we mustbuild a monument so that as long as thesun rise and set this city,this country will never, ever forget.phillip clinton pannell. (audience cheering and clapping) natacha: as the civicleaders spoke, i was sittingthere
in front of mybrother's corpse just praying that it willhurry up and be over. it was like this wasn'treally happening. like it was a bad dream. r: one of phillip'sfriends, albert hannibal, could barely speak.he covered his face with his hands,sobbed out some words that soundedlike, please, god. think of the family right now. thelma: it was something thati couldn't believe it. i just couldn'tbelieve he was gone. after the two hour service, the funeral procession traveled to fairlawn, new jersey,to bury phillip pannell. then when i closed thecasket for the last time, that's when i couldn't take it. i couldn't take it. going in that cold ground. r: at the end,after the bronze casket had been borne down thesteps, the
mother came toenter a limousine. she sat in the frontseat for a long time, waiting for the procession to get underway.it was a very long wait. she seemed dazed, alonein her shock, her grief. walter: it's a horrible thing togo to a child's funeral. when you look back at thatmoment, the immediate aftermath, we were overwhelmedby the media. i don't have much time r: for some of pannell'sfriends, it was their first look at him since he waskilled tuesday night. for a few, their first lookever at death close up. walter: like, yes,i understand it from a journalistic perspective, but this is about child. like you have to at leastgive us the space to grieve. paul: i felt sadness. i felt we were the focalpoint of the news media on the local and national andpossibly international level
that accentuated somethingthat happened in teaneck, that was an anomaly. it was the perfectstorm, so to speak. r: more than 250 people marchedthrough downtown teaneck today protesting the shootingof a black teen. reverend al sharptonled today's rally focusing attentionon the investigation. many blacks and whites ofteaneck said al sharpton's presence would nothelp this situation. alison: i can just saythat there were some people who were absolutelyglad he was here, and there were somepeople that wished he would go away and sawhim to be an opportunist. w1: demagogs do notcare about teaneck. they only care about themselves. (vo) with verizon, you can now get a private 5g network. so you can do more than connect your business, you can make it even smarter. now ports can know where every piece of cargo is. and where it's going. (dock worker) right on time. (vo) robots can predict breakdowns and order their own replacement parts. (foreman) nice work. (vo) and retailers can get ahead of the fashion trend of the day with a new line tomorrow. with a verizon private 5g network,
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these aren't all the serious side effects. now i'm back where i belong. ask your doctor if latuda is right for you. pay as little as zero dollars for your first prescription. psomebody.)le as zero dollars al: the phillip pannell'sshooting and the movement after was early in mytrajectory, nationally we had foughtseveral cases that known in the region.they had become well
i understoodinstitutional racism. but what even ididn't understand was the institutionalsuburban racism. so i became intriguedwith it to the point that i wanted theteaneck phillip pannell situationto be our model. sort of like king usedchicago as his model. mike: in the late 1980sand early 1990s. reverend sharptonvery much wanted to establish himself as a national civil rights leader. al: good morning.- how are you all doing? al: okay. mike: the problem withreverend sharpton was the fact that he had also been tied to an extremely controversialstory involving tawana brawley,an african-american teenager who claimed that she had beenraped by a group of white men. r: the grand jury reporton tawana brawley is officiallyreleased, concluding she lied when shesaid she was abducted and raped by agang of white men. mike: serious questions had beenraised about her truthfulness and how reverendsharpton had handled
his role in thatparticular story. so by the time hegets to teaneck, his reputation wasextremely controversial. r: some residents todaywere fearful of still moreviolence, skeptical of themarches organizer brooklyn minister, al sharpton. jackie: i didn't havea good feeling about al sharpton's desireto be in teaneck. i may feel differentlyabout him now, but i didn't feelhe had credibility. and i felt there'senough diversity, enough divergence ofopinion among teaneck people to cometogether and come to some consensus ofhow to move forward. m1: there are clearlypeople who are attempting to use a situationfor their own political benefit. then that's not helpful,that's destructive. (protestors chanting) mike: for theentire summer during this grand jury investigation, on the streets of teaneck, every saturday therewas a march led
by followers ofreverend al sharpton, often led by reverendsharpton himself. (upbeat gospel music) (protestors shoutingthrough megaphone) al: the big mistake people make is to have one rally,one march and go. you got to keep going. you got to keeppublic attention. you have to keep people focused. a lot of the attacks ihad then and now is that "sharpton just wants publicity."that's exactly what i want. you only showingyour racism, to ask what am idoing in teaneck? what was king doingin selma? he was there becauseinjustice was there. unless you can keeppublic attention, you'll never make change. mike: well, after reverendsharpton came to town, some of the politicalestablishment in teaneck was looking for anantidote, so to speak.
and so they reached out tothe reverend jesse jackson. they were really hopingthat jackson could bring in some sense ofcalm to the town, but also he'dtaken on the mantle of the post kinggeneration as a real nationalleader. he'd even run for presidentand done very well. jesse: in too many instances,the police fear and paranoia is translating into violence. we must draw the line. thelma: all i want isjustice for my son, the way he got killed. r: the pannell familysays they still want a special prosecutorinvolved in this case. and the reverend jessejackson says he will take that request directlyto governor jim florio. jim: we had a very productivemeeting with jesse jackson. he asked for aspecial prosecutor. i said, we're not going todo a special prosecutor. but we are going to take itout of the local area and lift it to the state level. the attorney general, bob deltufo, to oversee prosecution
and therefore take away thepotential for conflict of interest. i guess what we allwant is justice, and justice is whati'm committed to. r: tonight,new jersey governor jim florio revealed hewill move a grand jury from teaneckto trenton because the mood there will be calmer. the grand jury is expected toconvene in trenton in about a week. now, when jesse jacksoncame, he was more popular than alsharpton at the time. but i've neverseen him again. he never came back. al sharpton, i appreciated him. he put numbers out hereto make us stronger. we cannot have hypocrisy where you fight apartheid3000 miles away, but it's all right to shootblack kids in the back right here inteaneck, new jersey. thelma: that man,let me tell you, maybe he might bea little harsh, but in this world, to fight for somebody like me, mean blacks, we can't just sit backand be soft spoken. we're not goingto get anywhere.
that was my child. al: the issue is notwho is coming in. the fact iseverybody's coming in if you don't arrest and chargewith murder, this policemen. mike: when al sharpton referred to spath as a murderer,there was understandable shock. that immediately helped toreally draw some significant lines in this disputeover what really happened. amadus: whateverwe thought we didn't usethat language. we were trying to use, youknow, de-escalating language. (crowd chanting) jackie: i certainly didn'tbelieve that the shooting was murder. gary spathwas called out of fear that there was somebodyrunning around with a gun. al: it is immaterial whetherphillip had a starter pistol, a water gun,a hand grenade if he was shotin the back. the fact of the matter is,phillip pannell was executed.
batron: batron: i believethat's what it was. that's what he got.he got executed. he got shot inthe damn back. al: we're here becausewe are against murder and we want murderersput in jail. new astepro allergy. now available without a prescription. astepro is the first and only 24-hour steroid free spray. while other allergy sprays take hours astepro starts working in 30 minutes. so you can... astepro and go. when moderate to severe ulcerative colitis persists... put it in check with rinvoq, a once-daily pill. when uc got unpredictable,... i got rapid symptom relief with rinvoq. check. when uc held me back... i got lasting, steroid-free remission with rinvoq. check. and when uc got the upper hand... rinvoq helped visibly repair the colon lining. check. rapid symptom relief. lasting, steroid-free remission. and a chance to visibly repair the colon lining. check. check. and check. rinvoq can lower your ability to fight infections, including tb.
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eleanor: we are going tobe going through some difficult days ahead. but keep in mind,this body has pledged that all of thecitizens of teaneck will be served. mike: in the weeksafter the shooting, the town councilbecame a vortex for a lot of thedifferent feelings in the community thatwere kind of bubbling up. paul: at the time i was acouncilman in teaneck, there was a lot ofanimosity, mistrust, and there were mostly people who were speaking angry at the town. what are you goingto do about it? w3: we want teaneck the wayit was before. furthermore... mrs. heart would not.
w3: let me finish my statement. paul: we heard itfrom every direction from those supportive of thepolice to those anti-police. thelma: if that was a black copthat shot a white boy, he would not be outwalking in the streets. face reality. face it. paul: there was anger,there was frustration, there was anticipation. of a trial,wasn't pleasant to be part of. m1: and we come to a towncouncil that i believe truly wants to dothe right thing. but because of ignorance, it does not know how. mike: you had african-americanactivists, people who wanted to address the question ofphillip pannell's shooting, but also wanting to broaden thediscussion into other issues. r: teaneck residents came totown council meetings to demand that more blacks be addedto the police force. but no aspect ofthe racial issue gripped the community's emotions more than the chargethat white teaneck cops
were abusing thetown's black youth. o.j.: well, what hadhappened to me in an event on august 24th, back in1989, i was harassed by two officers whoheld me at gunpoint. pushed their gun into my eye. immediately after thatincident, i went to the police stationto fill out a report, but i was deniedby the lieutenant in charge to fillout the report. he told me to get thehell out of the police station. paul: that was the first time i really heard anafrican-american couple say to me, we had togive our kids the talk. they were worried abouttheir children, primarily males. how they deal with the police. these were things ihad never heard before. gervonn: as a mother of threeyoung black men, raising them as boys, you know,taking them to the mall. they were going tothe mall with their friends,their black and white friends. but i always had tomake sure i told my friends,leave your backpack in the car. don't keep yourhands in your pocket. make sure you have your wallet.if you're talking, make sure you greet people,look them in the eye, you know, so they don't look likeshifty or anything like that. now, i'm sure thatit wasn't a reverse if
a white mom wasdoing the drop off. she didn't have tohave that conversation. walter: it's those what icall low grade fever incidents that i think rubpeople wrongly in a way that's probablymore personal than some of the moreegregious incidents, because you're just trying to go about your life andit's interrupted by these interactionswith police. i remember beingstopped three times when i was in gradschool coming home on the newjersey turnpike. and you always heard fromyoung black people living in those communities ofthese issues with police. cop: one of the main problemsis that it's just a blank complaint all thetime, harassment. there's never any specifics, which we tellthem, "what, what incident?" and there's neveran answer to that. just, you know,"we're harassed." william: there's alwaysbeen some tension between police and theafrican-american community. but for the 8 hoursthat i was there, nobody was getting harassed. you broke the law. you got the law applied toyou just like everybody else.
you know, some people gotcut, breaks or, you know, if person'syoung, you know, you try to divertthem and you try to take them hometo their parents. i mean, those are some of thethings that that i used to do. r: surprisingly at the timeof the shooting, teaneck's police department includedonly five black officers in a force ofmore than 80. mike: the problemhere is the police department was stilllargely made up of a bunch of white officers andthat was one of the many issues in the town that blackactivists really wanted toaddress. w4: the main message that i want you to get tonight as mayor is that you have no right tospeak for any african-american. not in this state,not in this city. no where. and i'm going to tell you why you don't have abit of interest in working withthe black community to find out what makes us tick. what upsets us, what we need sothat this thing can go forward. loretta: it was the firsttime i heard the
expression"institutional racism." i had never heard that before. somebody had to tell meexactly what that meant. when you want toknow what racism is kids, this isracism right there. sitting right in front of me. mike: by the same token, therestarted to be some pushback by certain elements of thetown, largely white, who were so angry that theyhad been unjustly targeted. (audience clapping) idajean: there was a lot ofepithets being thrown. both sides. it was a veryemotionally charged time thelma: thelma: andbelieve when i say some stuff gonna come down onall of you that's covering up. might not cometoday or tomorrow.
might be next year. but you will getwhat's coming for you. (audience clapping) continue to contaminateyour own bed, and one night you will suffocatein your own waste. eleanor: uh, your time is up. charles: no, i'm not finished. eleanor: well, time is up. charles: because theshooting is inherentlyquestionable eleanor: we're gonnaclose the meeting. charles: because phillippannell was shot in the back and because it appearspannell was not menacinganybody. walk away onon your own ignorance. thank you. loretta: the fight was this lackof recognition like. okay, stop it.yeah, i know we're in model town, usa,but we have problems. why can't we talk about them? paul: listen, this was a tragedyfor the spath family. this was a tragedy forthe pannell family. but phillip was a kid who hada gun who shouldn't had a gun. mike: it presented a dilemma formany residents in the town. they didn't want to seea 16 year old boy shot.
but on the other hand,it was difficult for some of them to embracephillip as a victim. w: we feel that this shooting was not a raciallymotivated incident any person brandishing a gun, asks for trouble. jackie: there waspart of me that felt it happened because ofhim and i was so upset that here was this kid with a gun. walter: even if phillippossessed a firearm, you can't shoot a firearmwith your back to the officers. and so i think when policesay he was a threat, that's become thestandard response. as an excuse for theirreckless behavior. i think white peoplehave a tendency to ignore these incidentsof police violence because it's easyto cast things out and say the officerwasn't racist. we're not a racist community.
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it's dr. scholl's time. our custom fit orthotics use foot mapping technology to give you personalized support, for all-day pain relief. find your relief in store or online. r: do you want your kidsplaying with a kid that has agun? w: i certainly wouldn'tlike the kids r: there's a lot of thing thatkids do and parents don't know. w: well, then the parentsshould spend more time with the kidthat is what it comes down to it'sthe parent's job. r: you're telling me hewasn't brought up correctly. w: well, his parents... r: his parents what? loretta: at thattime teaneck was really an emotionalwreck in a way. there were extremistson both sides.
there were very, i mean,i don't know if i would have used the word atthe time "right wing" from the white communityand their narrative was "we were the perfect communityand phillip pannell was the bad kid and don't blame thecops for what happened." so it became, oh, you're either defending the police oryou're defending phillippannell. w: why did he run? m: yeah, he wasjust scared. he probably hadproblems with the police r: but this isstill no reason to shoot him in theback and kill him. mike: in assessingwhat happened here. it's important to talkabout what we call the battle of the photographs ofphillip pannell at thenewspaper. the photograph thatwe received from the police departmentwas a mug shot. this became a pointof controversy. natacha: that's all myfamily and my mother, everybody was seeing justthat mug shot of my brother. and in that mug shot, his face, he looked older than what he wasbecause his his eye was black.
and then he had likelumps on his forehead. mike: the familyobjected to that. and so they gave usa picture of phillip when he was alittle bit younger, was one of thoseschool pictures. the police departmentobjected to that. they said, well, he'slooking too much like a choirboy. that's notaccurate either. and this was always a tension that really kind of separatedboth sides in a really big way. walter: to see a 16 year oldboy's mug shot sends a powerful message to the communitythat the police officer was right in doingwhat he did because he was dealingwith a criminal. you're just killing thisfamily again and again andagain. meanwhile,they're facing a community calling him a threat,calling him a thug. r: spath's attorneyadds that the juvenile had anextensive record. robert: having focused onwhy people are not beingeducated and why they're not inschool, why they're on probation,why they're bashing heads in,and why they're carrying loaded gunsat the age of 16.
steven: they weresaying, "he deserved it. he was a thug." oh, i heard heused to go over and rob kids and rob old ladies. i said, what? i'm- no. he ain'trobbed nobody. natacha: even at 16, he wouldstill play with action figures and things like that.but they were trying to say that my brother had likethis huge criminal record. but when my brotherwas arrested, it was like a big brawl of kids. so they arrested everybodythat was in the fight. it wasn't like he wasjust being assaultive. i think more so it washim defending himself. walter: phillipwasn't a criminal. he was a kid likemany teenagers who got into littletrouble as a juvenile. but that is creating thisnarrative about their son that just wasn't true. paul: there were othermembers of the community who said phillip pannellhad been a gang member. w: every community has themparticular clusters of youth. now there is onecalled the violators.
and phillip pannell,i understand, was part of that. batron: the violators, it was just a name. you know, we wasn't a gang from the bronx, you know, what i'm saying, or from staten island. we were just a bunch offriends that protected eachother. we had town rivals hackensack, englewood, you know,and they're like, we'll get into these fights andthen a cop comes break it up. but we wasn't a gang. we were just trying todefend ourselves, you know? we were alwaysoutnumbered. al: the demonizing of phillippannell, casting him as a thug. it had nothing todo with the shooting. that was not known tothe officer when he shot him. he didn't know whether hewas a choirboy or convict. mike: another thing youneed to understand about what happened in teaneck in april 1990 whenphillip was shot, was you got to turnback the clock a year to the centralpark jogger case. now, we all knowthat the central park jogger case was atravesty of justice.
but at the timethat case jumped out to particularlywhite people in the suburbs as anexample of violence from the black community,specifically young black men. alison: in the eighties,teaneck went through a very roughpatch with drugs. and if you take a look at thecrime statistics at the time it was enough to make membersof the community wary. and so a lot of old peoplewere afraid of black teens. a lot of black older peoplewere afraid of black teens. it really boils down to the perceptionthat we're dangerous, and that feeds into theactions of officers take,whether consciously orunconsciously. officer spath perceived that he was being threatened,that his life was in danger, and the individual may have beenturning while he had the weapon and he took the action that,
you know, he was allowed totake under those circumstances. r: the victim'sfamily speaks out. the family of phillippannell hopes the grand jurywill indict officer gary spath forlast april's teaneck killing. at issue is whetherpannell had his hands up begging for mercywhen he was shot as witnesses testified or was grabbing a gunas police testified. mike: one of the mostdifficult aspects of this investigation stems fromthe original autopsy. they were trying toline up the bullet hole in phillip's coat with thebullet hole in his body. and by doing so, theythought they could determine where his arms mightbe when he was shot. the original autopsy says that phillip'shand was in his pocket. m: we're lookingat the probe at 13 and the hole inthe garment at 18.
so we're talking a fiveinch difference in displacement. peter: dr. jensen,the pathologist, was convinced thatwhat we observed, there was evidence of thehands being at the side. several months afterthe autopsy report, i took anotherlook at the video. it was clear that dr. jensen was inserting the probein the wrong place, and it becamereadily apparent it was a serious problem becausethe arms to the side, the hole in thejacket was way below the position ofthe fatal wound. so, i immediatelycalled the attorney general's office to inform them that there had been a seriouserror made in the first autopsy. shh! stealth mode? yeah. [cricket sounds] shh! shh! [light switch clicks] don't pta meetings end at nine?
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rinvoq. make it your mission. peter: in the firstautopsy, there had been aserious error made. so, i immediatelycalled the attorney general's officeto alert them that there was a problemwith the location of the probe. mr. del tufo cameto my laboratory here and i showed him thevideo that documented the fact thatthe probe at that time was being inthe wrong place. i immediately toldthem that i wanted to try some experimentswith the living person. i said,a living person can do things that are difficult to tryto replicate with a dead body. but the grand jury was inprogress, and they wanted to have me get my testimony inbefore the grand jury ended.
so i think i basically had a weekend to accomplishmy experiments. looking at the trajectory of the fatal bullet, the fact that it's leftto right across the torso, we can concludethat mr. pannell's body was turned would be45 degrees to the shooter. i took the measuredlocation of the entry wound from the autopsy report andon the living volunteers i wanted something thatcould be felt that was palpable. lucien: in there is a small leadsphere taped to the measured in shoot site where thelaser is now oriented. this is a smallmetal detector and i placed on the inside ofthe coat a small lead sphere just oppositethis defect in the coat. and if i turn this correctly. (metal detector beeping) okay. we can see we've gotsomething metal right there.
it's not representedanywhere else. (metal detector beeping) and right,basically where the laser is is where the othersphere is located. with the arms to the side,the hole in the jacket associated with thefatal wound was way below the position ofthe palpable marker, and it became readilyapparent it was a seriousproblem. and let's, first of all,just extend it forward. so you have a subject out beyond this wall and you'regoing to point a pistol in your pocket. okay. extend your armforward, forward, forward. (metal detector beeping) peter: i was puzzled and ithought, well, maybe i can resolve the issueby having him raise both arms. (metal detector beeping) lucien: all right,stop, stop there. (metal detector beeping) right now,what i'd like you to do is respond as thoughyou're rotating to my call, coming fromover your left shoulder. so rotate to your left. (metal detector beeping)
that, of course,has caused the garment or his body torotate inside of it. so we have themessentially coaligned. (metal detector beeping) walter: this isforensic evidence that phillip'shands were raised. the bullet holesin his jacket lined up with the bulletholes in his back. when his arms were raised. r: sources say themedical examiner mistakenly found thatthe teenager's hands were at his side. that would havesupported the spath's story that pannell could have beenreaching for a gun. but an independent report showed the youth's handswere in the air. raymond: the symbolof raised hands is nothing new andis not obscure. it is known topeople in combat, even though theymay speak different languages and havedifferent cultures. it's known in law enforcement.it's even known to little children whoplay cops and robbers. it means i will offer no moreresistance and i am not armed. thelma: it's provenevidence that he gave his handsup. he surrendered.he surrendered.
that's murder. he justshot him when he gave up. it was a lie when theysay he reached for a gun. that was a lie. and when the truthcame out that his hands was up, i said, god,thank you so much. thank you so much. i just wanted to know the truth. m: phillip pannell wasshot in the back. his hands were raisedhigh in the air. and your answerto that's gotta be [cross talk] bernie: and we heardthe autopsy said, you know, philhad his hands up. we were all like that.that's it. he's going toget indicted. he's going to go tojail for what he did. (music)
(protestors chanting) william: it was avery challenging time to be a policeofficer in teaneck. cop: we are here todayto send a message. m: police didn't want to march.they had no choice. cop: he had a gun. (crowd chanting "he had a gun.") r: in a few minutes,the trial of police officer gary spath will begin. mike: it is extremely rare for police officers tobe put on trial. m: when you said that yousaw phillip being shot. witness: i didn't say i sawphillip get shot. m: just asking he motions, i give up.then pow. shot went off peter: but we'vebeen waiting a long to hear from officerwayne blanco, one of the only other people in authority at thetime of the shooting. thelma: i looked and i saw all white jury.
i said we don't have a chance. new details on this week's january 6th hearing. plus quid pro quo to ron desantis give the contract for charter flights to a gop donor? and as russia loses ground in its war in ukraine. i'm ayman mohyeldin let's get started. what all right folks save the date it's next week nick