tv KQED Newsroom PBS December 14, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm PST
kqed news room, i'm thuy vu. this week, protests continued over the shootings of unarmed black males by white police officers. >> the movement is not just like it was 50 years ago. it has arrived today. >> demonstrations swept through several bay area cities. many were peaceful, but there were also clashes of vandalism. on wednesday, an incident involving a police officer sparked additional controversy. we'll have scott shafer's conversation with organizers, but first, i talked about the chronicle reporter vivian about the incident. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> for people who are not completely familiar with the oakland incident can you give a quick recap of what happened? >> well, it began like a lot of other protests in these recent weeks, it began with about 100
people marching in berkeley and ended up in oakland. and somewhere in oakland, around lake merrit, two police officers were outed by the crowd. two people in the crowd recognized them as police officers and you know began to challenge them a little bit. >> they were in plain clothes? >> they were in plain clothes, wearing masks over their faces. a bit of an argument resulted. one protester took a hat from one of the officers and according to chp, somebody punched the officer in the head. and then the crowds started coming in on these two officers forcing the officer in drawing a gun. >> so was the officer justified in drawing the gun? >> well, the chp police chief avery said they were very much justified. he said the officer originally pulled the baton out. and claims when he pulled the baton out, he also pulled the
badge out as is the chp custom. our photographer was there with the gun pointed right at the camera. he said he didn't see a badge or anything like that. >> now, some protesters have disputed the chp's account, of course. and also there are some lawyers who feel this this was really completely unjustified. oakland has a crowd control ordinance in place. this was the chp. but it took place in oakland. is this a violation of oakland's crowd control ordinance? >> well, when it comes to mutual aid, according to the representative of the protester who was very seriously injured during the occupy protests, when it comes to mutual aid the police department that is in charge of that jurisdiction should be the one closer, and most up front with the group. the plain clothes police officers were closer than the
oakland police. >> so -- but doesn't the ordinance say you have to be in an emergency situation, feel your life is being imminently threatened before drawing that weapon? and under that policy is this justified? >> i was always -- i have been to a few police department trainings when it comes to weapons. and the way -- the thing is, you do not pull your weapon unless you're willing to shoot it. in this case, this officer has been criticized a lot because when it was pulled out his finger was not on the trigger. it seemed like he was just using it to intimidate the crowd. but as chief brown had mentioned, this officer very much feared for his life. the crowd was coming in. his partner was on the ground, he had just gotten hit in the head and he was very much fearful for his life. >> few people would dispute that police officers have a tough time out there. night after night they're working long hours to provide
some kind of control and security with these protests. they're subjected to abuse, there are splinter groups of anarchists that they have to deal with. you have been out there, and what has it been like, even with the photographer? >> definitely, when you get a lot of people together at once it will always be a tense situation. especially with the recent protests. they have been focusing on police brutality and injustices with the police seen this this nation. with that, there have been very tense situations with the police and protesters. they will yell at the police officers and throw bottles and rocks at them. and at the same time, the police officers responded with more force than a lot of people say is really necessary. it has been tense at times butç has come from both endings. that night, our photographer said he was actually more scared of the protesters. he said they prevented him from
taking photos and actually took his memory card at one point. but other nights, when police officers are shooting tear gas, deploying other items, other people say they were scared of the police officers at that point. >> so this incidenr9rpáhinflamed tensions between officers and protesters. where do we go from here? are there talks of charges or reassessment or when officers draw their weapon. and when is it appropriate to be in a crowd in plain clothes and not identify themselves. >> the california highway patrol, that officer who pulled his weapon is still on active duty. chief brown has said he doesn't believe he has done anything wrong. that he was acting out of fear for his life. but that there is an investigation going on for use of force as in any kind of threat situation like this.
meanwhile, he defends his plain clothes officers and defends using them in these protests. even for chp, their main objective is to protect the freeways. he says they were there to collect intel to find out what the protesters were saying. >> we'll, we'll see where it goes from here. >> thank you, vivian. >> thank you. >> and now we would like to take a closer look at what the protesters hope to accomplish. scott shafer sat down earlier with two of the organizers. >> it was 50 years ago this month that the free speech movement was born at uc berkeley. some say the past incidents this month were in keeping with the civil disobedience. joining me are the representative with the group by any means necessary, and zach murray who organized a unique african-american protest called black brunch. welcome to both of you. >> thank you. >> let me begin with your group was one of the key organizers
over the past ten days or so. what was your goal? and do you feel like it has been accomplished? >> well, our goal is to build a new civil rights movement, take a stand against racism. and most recently get darren wilson jailed. >> the police officer who killed michael brown. >> and our goal is to make sure that young people are able to come forward and we can shift the balance of power on the side against racism and against the new jim crow. >> why do you think these protests have struck such a chord not just here in the bay area, but across the country? >> i think the level of racism in society is worse than it has been in most people's lives today. it is the new jim crow we're seeing. but why we're seeing so many people come forward, we have to build a new independent movement. >> independent of what? >> independent of the major political parties and major politicians. but also one that really takes a
stand against the grand jury system as a whole. that repudiates the grand jury decision in ferguson, and to fight against the situation such as with darren wilson, that no more will we let the police officers use a badge to kill. those days have to be over. >> what inspired you to get involved? >> yeah, i have been waiting for a moment to get involved, for this to catch on, for more people to get involved. more interestingly, i think it is time to stand up and speak about injustice for blacks and demand concrete change of the system. i completely agree that there needs to be an independent movement because our political parties, both of them, have failed us. and a lot of times are sort of doing these injustices the exact same way. a lot of young people are
looking for something different and an opportunity to really make an impact. >> yvette, tell us about the tactics, one thing that got a lot of publicity was going onto the freeways, highway 24. what do you feel like it accomplished? and do you feel like you're done with that? what was the purpose of it and what is next? >> yeah, i think the tactics are driven by what we're fighting for and have to be flexible on the basis of that. the highways have gotten a lot of attention and that is really important. but we also have to build a movement that is accomplishing our goals. so in order to get not just darren wilson, but starting with him and other police officers jailed we have to build a mass movement that takes direction in other ways, too. so one of the things we're organizing is a whole campaign to get as many student groups, community organizations, unions, municipalities like city councils to call for and
repudiate the grand jury decision and to jail darren wilson. >> let me ask you this, these protests were mostly peaceful. a few isolated incidents of violen violence. what did you take away from the media coverage? how did it influence you in the decision to do the black brunch? >> yeah, i have been attending these meetings since the ferguson verdict. and immediately was put off by the demographics of the crowd. i didn't feel that the people in the -- that those folks were not really super represented in the audience. i lookedñr around and didn't se folks i was sort of familiar with and sort of felt uncomfortable initially. so we organized black brunch in response to that to create space for our healing. because ultimately there is a lot of real pain that the situation in ferguson and staten
island has caused. so we need to create space and a way for them to understand the pay is very real. >> and tell us about black brunch, a few of you went into the upscale restaurants. >> yeah, the goal was to create the pain for people who don't regularly have to think about it. so we went into the different establishments, but also mentioned the fact that every 20 hours a black person, a man, woman or child is murdered by police, by a security guard, by an armed vigilante, and we want to remember their names and want people in the establishments to remember their names. the business as usual is every 20 minutes a black person is killed by the police. and we're going to disrupt business as usual as long as that continues. >> yvette, it has been more than 20 years since the rodney king
riots in los angeles, some would say not much has changed. what will be different this time? what will it take to really make a fundamental change in the system? >> i think that we've got to have new leadership that comes forward and new young leaders to come forward and really fight to channel that anger and rage that is going to continue to grow as long as these killer police officers are allowed to go free. we are looking for new young leaders who really want to make a fight and change history in our direction. >> i'm sorry i cut owe in the last few seconds, do you feel like you're in it for the long haul? >> i think we have to take the evidence there and make the links, black people are arrested more there, in san francisco, an astounding 10.8 times greater arrest among black folks.
so if we're going to be serious about this we have to address the injustice. >> all right, zach murray, both of you, thank you so much. there is lots more to talk about. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> and still to come, a stormy season for the 49ers, but smooth sailing for other local teams. and speaking of storms, the bay area is still recovering from thursday's deluge which dumped from 2 to 6 inches of rainfall in one day. for many cities it was one of the wettest days in years. does the heavy rainfall bring any relief from the three-year droughts and what are the climate and weather patterns? with me, a senior fellow at the
institute of california. welcome back to the program, ellen. >> thank you. >> you lead the city's water research. does this big storm make a difference? >> it makes a difference. i just got an e-mail from a farmer friend in central valley who got half an inch in his fields. people are happy about it. but doesn't mean the drought is over. >> so what else needs to happen? it was a big storm. i was reading numbers today. 166 billion gallons from the storm, enough for 2.5 million per year. you're saying it doesn't go far enough. what needs to happen? >> so this is early in our rainy season, we're probably a little bit ahead of the average today. our rainy season lasts all the way through april, we have to have another few big storms in order to really catch up. the estimate is that we need 150% of normal in order to catch up because it has been so dry for the last three years. >> so we have quite a ways to
go. what does it mean for the environment? this rainfall, it must have been great for the eco system. and the salmon rush i would imagine. >> these big storms are part of california's naturally variable climate to get the big storms like this. so our native species is pretty well adapted to it, so it is great for them. >> a study recently published by the american geo physical union found this is california's worst drought in 1200 years. that is so astounding when you think about it. does your smiling mean you agree or disagree? >> so you know there are a lot of different ways to slice and dice the numbers. and by some metrics, you can say in terms of the number of years of dryness since we have been measuring rainfall these have been the three driest years in a row that we have had. so yeah, it has been the bad
drought, not the single driest year in history by some other measures. i think those are numbers for scientists to have fun with. but it has been dry. >> no matter how you slice it is still a bad drought, is there a link between drought and climate change? >> that is also something scientists have been looking at to try to see whether or not this drought is consistent with what the models are saying, are predicting for california. what we know is that california has been getting more and more longer and the;kú wet bursts being shorter and more intense. and that is expected to continue. we also know that this was the hottest year on record. that is not disputed. what is the big question for some of the folks looking at the sort of climate science now is can you pinpoint this particular drought and say it is caused by climate change?
and that is up for debate. >> so you're right. there is some dispute. and some people are saying no, it is just natural, climate varying ability. but there is a school of thought out there that while that may be true, greenhouse gases, wouldn't they lead to increased heating? >> for sure, we know, you can look at california's temperatures over the past 90 years. the past three decades have been much warmer than any time in the previous nine decades. and this last year was the hottest on record. so clearly we're seeing a warming trend. and when it is drier that makes any drought feel more dry, because it dries out the soil. >> so how does the recently passed water bond help us prepare for dry years? >> so the bond has a lot of things in it that can help california become more resilient. and a lot of people have focused on the fact there is money in there to help build storage or to help with underground storage
facilities that can help to store water for droughts. but there is also money in there to help us become more resilient in terms of more water use efficiency, cleaning up some ground water basins that are polluted and so on. so it has a lot of things that will help. >> so what is the bottom line, helen, should we prepare for next year being dry as well and prepare for floods as well? >> we always have to prepare for both droughts and floods. and we can't know what the coming year is like until we get more storm. >> so the bottom line is conserve, conserve, conserve. >> correct. >> ellen henneck, thank you. thank you. what a time to be a bay area sports lover, giants fans have much to celebrate about. the warriors are on an amazing winning streak, and to the relief of many, decided to redo
the design for their new stadium, which was ridiculed for looking like a toilet. not all is well, though, the 49ers are having a rough season sparking questions about coach jim harbaugh's future. scott shafer sat down earlier with the sports writer mark purdy to get the lowdown. >> mark purdy, what a great time to be a sports writer. >> oh, yeah, you never have to worry in the morning if there is something to do or not. >> the golden state warriors off to their best start ever. they won 14 straight. what do you think the difference, having this coach, steve kerr, as head of the team. >> well, there is always a debate on how much the coach makes the difference with the player, they're on the field, they make more money than the coach and can kind of control the action they want. in this case, what steve kerr has done is really tap into the mind set of the best players which every coach has to do.
i think he may trust them a little more than mark jackson who did a great job of teaching the team defense, offense, okay. but kerr, he really trusts stephen curry and clay thompson, his two guards. and earlier down the stretch usually when the coach called a timeout after the rebound, instead he didn't call timeout. he let curry come down -- >> so he is getting more out of the player insis? >> i think he is getting more consistently, i mean,s players have always been good. but to be consistent you can't just be good, you -- >> and unlike some teams they're really playing like a team, not depending on one guy like a lebron james. >> i think they're doing it on the jackson guy, too, he allowed the guys to play together as a team. if this makes any sense, as they
want to play together as a team. and that when they buy in that way that is when you really got something good. >> yeah, well, let's stay in oakland and talk about the a's, because billy -- >> i think he just made a trade while we were talking. >> he probably did. he took apart the team that was loved by the fans. >> but this is the way billy bean operates and if it is possible the a's fans would get used to it. i do not get as much blow back from fans, but you know, i'm on twitter, and i'm on facebook and e-mail and i hear a lot from the fans. billy bean has turned over the team several times, been general manager for 70 years. they have made the playoffs eight of those 17 years. so the fans have kind of come to trust him. that said it is really hard to be an a's fan. because you just get dizzy every year there is a new cast of characters. and you can't get really attached. it is -- it is kind of almost
like a social experiment. >> i wonder if it works the other way, too, such as the players don't feel as attached to the team. >> there is the question of the clubhouse dynamic, and there really is can i get to be friends with this guy when he might be gone? there is so much player movement. you look at the guys to be inducted into the hall of fame. in the old days, joe dimaggio played for one team. today, there is the debate on which logo goes on their cap. >> or how they retire. >> so it is the way baseball is today. players move around a lot more. >> yeah, let's talk football. 49ers hit a low i think it is fair to say last year. they lost to the raiders in oakland. raiders were excited. they have been horrible this year. when you look at the 49ers slide this year what stands out for you? >> what stands out for me first, there has been a real kind of
rumbling and indigestion between the coach, jim harbaugh -- the story was they were going to somehow trade the head coach for cleveland, i said it sounded crazy. turned out there were some legs to it. when you're a player and you hear what, wait, they're going the trade our coach? i do think it has an effect. jim harbaugh says it shouldn't matter, we're playing football. but as you watch that team this year the defense is fine. but the offense it is just like watching a nervous breakdown out there. you can take a pie chart and decide for that. the offense has been hurt, the quarterback has not played well and doesn't seem confident. the wide receiver is not getting open. i think it still stems back from like starting at the front offe office. >> so if harbaugh leaves, what
is colin kaepernick's future. >> that is a good question, the contract he signed is such that yes, he gets some guaranteed money. there are outs for the 49ers, more than what quarterbacks hav, with other teams. i think it depends on the new coaches. you and i are sitting here, i guess the contract runs through next season. and he is going to want to -- he is not going to want to quit because he is owed $5 million from the 49ers, they will either fire him or he will have to make out a trade. whoever the new coach is has to love the quarterback as much as jim harbaugh loved the quarterback. it could get real interesting. >> we've seen a number of athletes participating in social movements, hands up, lebron james with i can't breathe, all references to the police killing of unarmed black men, why do you think it is happening?
>> i think it is happening because these guys, particularly the nba guys are more connected to the world than their predecessors were 20 years ago with the social media and listening to the fans. i think they kind of plug into that more than guys 20 years ago. you know, muhammad ali was socially active, did this stuff, the guys who did the fist. they got heavily criticized for it. so the next generation of athletes purposely was not political. the other athletes followed him. he was afraid it would hurt his endorsements. the fact that lebron james put on the t-shirt, i think it gives the other guys clearance to do it. it will be interesting to see how the other sports entities handle it. >> all right, mark purdy, thank you for joining us. >> and that is all for tonight, for all of kqed's coverage, please go to kqed.org for more
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday, december, 14: late night deal, the senate passes the $1.1 trillion spending bill that keeps the government running. and in our signature segment, two years after the tragedy at sandy hook elementary, we look at connecticut's gun laws which are now some of the most restrictive in the nation. >> i can't let it be a senseless tragedy because it was a preventable tragedy. >> you can change a magazine in literally one second. >> we've seen a dramatic drop in murders in our state. >> the law's not going to catch possible mass murderers? >> that's correct. >> sreenivasan: next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made