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Wildfires Continues in California, Oregon and Washington; Democrats Accuses Trump for Denying Climate Science and Safety Investigations on Coronavirus; Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), is Interviewed About Climate Change, Coronavirus and Trump; Devastation of the West Coast Wildfires; Kent Nishimura. Photojournalist, Los Angeles Times, is Interviewed About the West Coast Wildfires; Eradicating Police Brutality; "Policing the Police," a New Documentary; Jelani Cobb, Correspondent, FRONTLINE's "Policing the Police 2020," is Interviewed About Police Brutality. Aired 2- 3p ET
Aired September 14, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
Fires rage apocalyptic images from the United States being around the world. We go to the front lines with L.A. Times photojournalist, Kent
And, with the president under pressure, I'll talk about these crises and much more with Senator Tammy Duckworth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Jelani Cobb, Correspondent, FRONTLINE's "Policing the Police 2020": Calling for defunding or even abolishing the police, they were all, in
essence, asking the same question. Can this ever be different?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The challenges for America in eradicating police brutality. His story and journalist, Jelani Cobb, join us about policing the police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOAN C. WILLIAMS, PROFESSOR, U.C. HASTINGS COLLEGE OF LAW: I feel like we may well be facing a generational wipeout of mother's careers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Joan C. Williams at the University of California talk to our Michel Martin about tough choices facing working mothers in the age of
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour back in our London studio this week.
Now, wildfires of historic proportions are ravaging America's West Coast. They continue to burn millions of acres across California, Oregon and
Washington. Entire towns have disappeared and thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes. At least 35 are dead and dozens are still
missing. The pictures seen all over the world show complete devastation in some areas, and of course, this is all set against the backdrop of a
pandemic that continues to kill hundreds of people every day.
The fingerprints of the climate crisis are all over these wildfires, of course, teeing up a political brawl as Democrats accuse President Trump of
denying that reality. Not only as the president tried to muzzle climate science and roll back safely investigations, but the same is true of health
officials who disagree with him on coronavirus. With nearly 200,000 Americans now dead, these crucial tests of leadership will be decided at
the ballot box come November.
Joining me now is the Democratic senator, Tammy Duckworth, from Illinois. A retired army officer who served 23 years and was deployed to Iraq in 2004
where enemy attacks have left her a double amputee.
Senator Duckworth, welcome to the program. Thanks for joining me from Washington.
Vice President Joe Biden's response to these fires has been very, very strong. He has, you know, said that this is what's going to be destroying
American neighborhoods, not race riots and the like, but this kind of thing. And he said this is what, you know, climate can give jobs, or
rather, attracting climate science, can actually be a job creator rather than a job denier, as President Trump says. What do you make of the vice
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Well, he's showing good strong leadership, which is something we're lacking in the White House right now, Christiane.
You see a lack of leadership has led us to displace, and I happen to agree with Vice President Biden. I myself have introduced my martial plan for
coal country which would be a series of initiatives and would bring technology and investments into coal country to help them transition into
new forms of energy production.
Illinois is a major energy state. People think of us as an ag state, which we are, but we have fracking, we have oil wells, we have wind power, we
have solar, we have nuclear, we have it all in Illinois, and energy is an option for us and to get to that carbon neutral future, but also for us to
develop the technology that creates those good-paying union jobs.
AMANPOUR: Let me just place a little bit about of what Vice President Biden said.
We will get to that in a moment, but then let's talk about what President Trump has already said. You know, Gavin Newsom, who the president is
visiting in California, the governor, has said, to any climate denier, just come to California. This is absolutely happening in front of our eyes. And
yet, the president has talked so far about bad forest management and all it takes is good forest management to correct it.
I mean, what do you take from that, and what do you think the president, you know, is going to be able to do, because it is also a big election
issue, isn't it, climate? I mean, certainly, young people, both on the Republican side, and of course on the Democrat side, are very concerned
about a serious method of addressing this climate crisis.
DUCKWORTH: Well, what we need first is a commitment to a carbon neutral future, and we need to be energy agnostic in how we get there. And whether
or not you believe in climate change -- I mean, you should, the evidence is here. One of my military officers, a general, said to a bunch of us once,
she said, I don't care whether or not you believe in climate change, but the sea ice is melting in the Artic and that's opening sea lanes and Russia
is there, which means that U.S. military forces will have to go up into areas we've never had to go to before to defend those territories.
So, I don't care if you believe in climate change, the results are here, and we're going to have to act to resolve it. And that's exactly where we
are. The wildfires are here. You can deny it all you want, but you're not going to stop a wildfire. So, we need to do better, we need to get to that
carbon neutral future, we need to get more efforts into conservation, and we have an opportunity to create jobs while doing it at a time when we
desperately need jobs in this country.
AMANPOUR: So, many, many military commanders, many vets like yourself are saying that climate is a national security threat. I just want to play a
little bit of what the governor of California has said about this, because what's happening there is not just the fires, it's the record heat, it's
the aridity, it's the death of trees, it's poison water, it's poison air. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Forgive me, I'm being a little bit long-winded but I'm a little bit exhausted that we have to continue to bait this issue.
This is a climate damn emergency. This is real, and it's happening. This is the perfect storm. It is happening in unprecedented ways year in, year out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, just the scene is apocalyptic. There he is standing, you know, in front of just -- you can barely see through the smog behind him.
Why do you think it's taken the president, I mean, a long time to address it? This is the first time he's going to be presumably addressing it when
he meets and talks with the governor.
DUCKWORTH: Because he's not a leader. Donald Trump hasn't led anything his entire life. All he's about is taking care of Donald Trump. This is
something that needed leadership on day one. Instead of providing leadership on the climate crisis, he actually withdrew us from the Paris
Accord. We should be rejoining the Paris Accord. We should be making these investments. And, you know, 100 military bases will be under water in the
You can see what's happening in California, its loss of agriculture, its loss of people's livelihoods, their homes. People are devastated and in
need of leadership right now, not a guy who continues to try downplay things because he thinks it's going to help him get re-elected.
AMANPOUR: And scientists are now saying this is not the new normal, it's going to get even worse. I mean, what we're seeing now, which is the worse
it's ever been, could get even worse without any dramatic intervention. The vice president raised the issue of another four years of President Trump if
he continued to roll back, you know, regulations and all sorts of environmental safety, and if they don't take this issue very seriously.
This is some of what the vice president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to act as a nation. It shouldn't be so bad that millions of Americans live in the shadow of an
orange sky and they're left asking, is doomsday here?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, as that question is posed, I want to ask you specifically to sort of maybe join up the dots between what's happening in the denial of
climate science by the administration but also the denial of the severity of COVID, as we've seen and we've all now been introduced to the
president's, you know, issues through the Woodward book, not telling the American people when he knew how dangerous it was. Just the idea of
muzzling and denying those kinds of life or death issues, how do you see it playing out?
DUCKWORTH: Well, Christiane, you've seen it play out. We're approaching 200,000 dead Americans because this president has downplayed the severity
of this virus from the very beginning when he knew there was at least, in his own words, it was at least five times deadlier than the worse of the
flu. Same thing with climate science, he's saying, oh, it's not that bad, and yet, you have people in Louisiana who are losing their home due to --
you know, he talked about coastal erosion, no, it's climate change that's causing it.
You have a president who continues to shirk his duties as commander in chief, as a leader in our nation, at a time when we actually have an
opportunity to create jobs, we have an opportunity to address this pandemic and to fight it back in established ways that we can respond to future
pandemics. We have an opportunity to invest in the technology that we're so good at developing here in this country to lead us towards a greener
future. And we have an opportunity to regain our place as leader of the free world, whether it is in national security alliances like (INAUDIBLE)
or whether it is in the Paris Accord to try to move the entire earth towards a greener future.
But we can't do it with Donald Trump because he's showing that he's now willing to lead anybody anywhere. All he's willing to do is go down to Mar-
a-Lago and play golf. That's not what America needs right now. We need to come together and we need to have some real frank talks about what we need
AMANPOUR: The Biden plan, as we all know, because it was issued months ago, is some $2 trillion of a climate response and a climate plan to try to
mitigate this. And as you say, also creating jobs. I wonder what you feel, personally, but also for the wider community of disabled, because
coronavirus is affecting many different constituencies disproportionately, including those with disabilities, and I just wonder whether there is any
mitigation, there is any help coming and how you personally are dealing with this.
DUCKWORTH: Well, the disability community is absolutely hard hit with this, and the Trump administration and congressional Republicans' attempts
to cut back funding for home health care workers, for example, is really hitting the disability community very, very hard. Also. we need to be
investing more money in Medicaid, we need to be investing more money in Medicare, and we need to make sure people have access to health insurance.
And their refusal to even open the Affordable Care Act exchange so people can actually have access to health insurance is shameful.
Bottom line, we need to fight back against this pandemic by making the right investments in science, in testing in the real data. Now, we're
hearing stories and reports that data is present. We've known that ever since they tried to suppress hospitals from sending real COVID datas -- on
data on COVID positive cases to the CDC, for example. A denial is not going to get us out of this situation. And addressing them and coming up with a
plan to attack all of the problems facing us is how we're going to survive and how we're going to thrive on the other side of this pandemic. And
that's not something Trump wants to do.
AMANPOUR: And we understand that Congress is going to start investigating some of the administration's attempt to manipulate the CDC information,
statistics, et cetera. But I want to ask you about the military, being a vet yourself. Some of the things that President Trump has been quoted as
saying about the military, obviously, you know, the World War II dead. He's accused the actual Pentagon currently of valuing alliances over trade
deals. He's accused them of wanting to start wars in order to profit from military sales. What do you say to that? How do you respond to that?
DUCKWORTH: He's a liar. He lies. After all, this is the president who appointed as the defense secretary a Raytheon lobbyist. If he's anti-
defense industry, then maybe he should start with who he appoints to be the secretary of defense. He's also the guy who continued to sell arms to Yemen
after a bipartisan vote in the United States Senate prohibiting him from doing so, and he vetoed that resolution.
So, let's be clear where this president stands. He likes to use the military like a bunch of toy soldiers that he can parade out to stroke his
own ego. But when it comes time to actually support the troops, when it comes times to actually approve things like treatments for veterans who are
still suffering from their service in Vietnam, he's not there. He uses the military for his political gains, but he's not there for the troops, he's
not there for their families, and he doesn't understand courage because he's never expressed it himself.
AMANPOUR: And, Senator Duckworth, you know, it doesn't escape us, anyway, our colleague Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered by the Saudi regime and
America, under this administration, continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia. But also, I wonder if you can speak to this, because part of the
president's election rhetoric has been to blame China for the virus, as you know. And it is extraordinary that he has been blaming China for so-called
lack of transparency and not fessing up or admitting how dangerous it was, when now we see he himself by his own admission was doing precisely that.
That's one issue.
The other issue is, what do you say -- I mean, do you think any of your colleagues, Republican leaders in Congress were aware of the president's
feelings on coronavirus and knowledge about it early on? And why did they not stand up and say, you know, a lot more serious things when they could
DUCKWORTH: There are no leaders in the Republican side of the Senate at this point in time, I'm sorry. We've been in negotiation -- for example,
negotiating for the next COVID relief package to help families that are really in trouble right now, and Mitch McConnell hasn't shown up to a
single one of those negotiation sessions. So, the Senate Republicans are absent. They're AWOL. And frankly, I'm very disappointed in my Republican
colleagues for not standing up to this president.
Recall that this president was telling folks that, you know, this virus would be disappeared just in a few weeks like magic. At the same time, he
was also saying what a great job the Chinese were doing. But recall also that most of the cases of COVID that came to this country came out of Italy
and Spain, from folks who were visiting Europe, not the folks who were coming in from China. He's just using race as a way to distract the
American people from the real problem, which is him in the White House.
AMANPOUR: Senator Tammy Duckworth, thank you so much for joining us today.
Now, the apocalyptic images of the devastation wreaked by the West Coast wildfires, razed buildings, burning red skies cloaked in smoke have caused
shock and awe around the world. Kent Nishimura has been risking his life documenting all of this. He's a photojournalist with the Los Angeles Times.
And he's joining me now from Burbank in California.
Kent Nishimura, welcome to the program.
Just tell me from a personal perspective how on earth you get so close to these fires? I mean, it just looks like something -- well, it is the likes
of what we've never seen before. How are you doing it physically?
KENT NISHIMURA. PHOTOJOURNALIST, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Well, thanks for having me. I mean, being present and being there to show the rest of the
world what exactly is happening in California currently and -- I mean, I, along with other photographers that are covering it, are all -- we're all
outfitted with the proper safety gear and everything else that allows us to be as close as the firefighters are.
AMANPOUR: Have you ever seen anything like it? I mean, I know you've been documenting these fires for a long time, and to be as close as the
firefighters are, I mean, that is seriously very, very, very scary to hear you say that. You've been doing -- I think it's called the Creek Fire.
That's burned some 200,000 acres.
AMANPOUR: Tell me about how that has been progressing and what is the status of the Creek Fire?
NISHIMURA: I've actually been broken off from the coverage of it. But the Creek Fire, like I had seen it immediately blow up on my Twitter and social
media, and I had spoken with my bosses about going up to cover it. I mean, honestly, it's been an experience. The best way that I can describe kind of
what the fire, what it sounds like, is that it sounds like baking, cooking on a griddle, and as you get closer to it, there is kind of like a
whooshing noise that almost sounds kind of menacing.
And part of that is because of, like, the weather that the fire generates on its own, but, I mean, these fires have been breaking out all across the
West Coast right now. And in the last years, they've become -- they've burned hotter and have burned faster and more widespread in recent history.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I mean, you said you wanted to go out there and show the world what's happening, show the rest of America what's happening in your
state and up the West Coast. What are you seeing? I know you're sticking very close and you're documenting a lot of what the firefighters are doing.
What is standing out for you? Because they must be exhausted. This is now an annual event that goes on for weeks, if not months. I mean, what are
they going through?
NISHIMURA: I mean, from the firefighters that I've talked to, they literally are going from one fire to the next with a little break in
between sometimes. But they're constantly jumping. There were a couple firefighters I had met in the CZU Lightning Complex that immediately, while
they were still on the way to the Bear Creek Fire, or the Bear Fire in Orrville, and there were also firefighters like that were coming from all
over the place, coming over to the Creek Fire as well. I mean, and they seem exhausted. I mean, they're constantly working, constantly fighting the
fires and doing everything they possibly can to protect towns as well as to mitigate -- [technical difficulty]
AMANPOUR: We've got some video of you driving through shake a lake, and it's pretty amazing from last week. And I just wondered, what are you
seeing in terms of civilians, towns, villages, outposts of habitation?
NISHIMURA: Well, for the most part, because of the evacuation orders, there are -- everybody -- all the civilians are -- most of the civilians
are evacuated out of the danger zones. There are some holdouts. I know that there was a -- some men that decided to be hold outs in the middle like
(INAUDIBLE) Lake. There were on a couple boats. And the Times, actually, we did a story about a family that -- you know, they kind of built their -- a
small empire for themselves in the Sierra Nevadas in the region, and the fire came through and basically tore through a lot of it, including, you
know, the Cab (ph) family. Their grandfather, Stephen Sherry. Stephen was one of the holdouts on the post in the middle of the lake, and he just
didn't want to leave.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it's extraordinary. Listen, Kent Nishimura, thank you so much for joining us. And we were at this unbelievable fog of smoke and your
lungs must have been filled with it. I mean, it's just a -- it just is a hellacious landscape. Thank you for the work you're doing and thank you for
Now, this summer of discontent is also being dominated by the struggle for racial justice as we know and the issue of police reform shows the stark
policy differences between the president and his challenger Joe Biden. After the killing of George Floyd and the global outcry that followed,
Jelani Cobb, one of the nation's foremost journalists on race and politics, felt compelled to revisit his 2016 documentary called "Policing the
Police," which charted Newark, New Jersey's attempt to reform its police force.
Four years later, what does he found? Here's a bit of that documentary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JELANI COBB, CORRESPONDENT, FRONTLINE'S "POLICING THE POLICE 2020": One think I noticed right away were the protests. Unlike in other cities where
the police confronted protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas, in Newark, Mayor Baraka, was leading the march.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And Jelani Cobb joins me now from New York. Welcome back to the program.
This is a very powerful documentary. It's going to air on PBS tomorrow. Tell me a little about leadership. We've been talking about leadership,
whether it's on climate, whether it's on coronavirus, and of course on racial justice and policing. You really focused and profiled Mayor Baraka
of Newark. And he's done something quite new and novel and different from many, many other mayors across the country. Tell us a little about that to
COBB: Sure. And so, I'll say up front that I've known Mayor Baraka since our college days at Howard University. And so, I have a kind of background
to him, and his family has a long history in Newark. I mean, he's the son of the poets, Amiri and Amina Baraka, and, you know, activists and people
who have been kind of significant contributors to the city's life there.
And so, when he came to Avas (ph) in 2014, he was fairly well-known in the city. But also, he came in at a moment of crisis. The Department of
Justice had said that there was a pattern and practice of the violation of the people's constitutional rights by the Police Department there. And, you
know, as the, you know, kind of political saying is, you don't let crisis go to waste. What they had done is really use that as a springboard to try
innovative and different approaches to policing, to try to see what policing could be like in the city.
AMANPOUR: I want to get more into that, but first I want to ask you to explain part of that by what you've said at the start of the documentary.
You say, in this country, race is a shorthand for a set of life of probabilities. How does that relate to policing? What do you mean by it
specifically as it relates to policing?
COBB: Sure. Well, we know that race is a nonexistent biological category, but socially, it carries a great deal of weight. We can look at someone's
race and have some idea of the probabilities of their livelihood infit mortality, of their life expectancy, of the disparity between their
projected life earnings and the life earnings of someone who racially is categorized as white. And a whole array of different, really, life outcome
dynamics that correlate to what someone's skin looks like.
And, you know, policing is one of those institutions where we see disparities in use of force, we see disparities in sentencing for the same
sorts of offenses. We see the criminal justice system being reflective of the same sorts of inequities that we see in housing, in employment, in
education and so on. There is a line that Mayor Baraka has in there where he said that the police are, as an institution, no different than any other
American institution in terms of they have the same attitudes, the difference is that the police just have guns. And so, it makes those
attitudes -- the acting upon those attitudes have potentially legal outcomes.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to ask you what you've learned and what's changed or not from when you first started this back in 2016 to the update you're
doing right now. So, this documentary shows your night out as you follow the -- I think it's the Newark gang unit, the police gang unit.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And you follow them and you see some, you know, pretty difficult things. Tell me what you saw and what's happened to that gang
COBB: Yes. Well, when we first went there in 2015, you know, it was kind of like the Wild West. The police would conduct what is euphemistically
referred to as stop and frisk, but they were doing things that were far more invasive. You know, they would stop people on the street and grab them
and pull the waistband of their underwear away from their body and look down into their private parts to see if a person had weapons or drugs
stashed. And this would happen in public, on the street, in a kind of way that would not be countenanced by any other kind of community, certainly
not a suburban white community.
And, you know, we saw the police tackling people, you know, kind of jumping out of the car in groups and tackling people along the street and then
searching them and finding no drugs and sending them on their way. And, obviously, this has great constitutional implications in the kind of
policing we were seeing there when we first got there in 2015.
AMANPOUR: It has been disbanded now, right, presumably because of the problems with the unit?
COBB: Yes. That gang unit was disbanded shortly after the film aired. And it really was -- we never intended to do two films, but, you know, as
circumstances kind of lent itself to that, especially in looking at how the world really was responding to the George Floyd moment that, you know,
started in May of this year. And, you know, what we saw was that, you know, the department, you know, still has its problems but it's certainly a
better department than it was when we first went there by the indications of many of the people we talked to.
AMANPOUR: Yes, and that's what I'm really interested to get at. Let's just go back, though, because one of the things that was implemented in New
Jersey -- in Newark, was this thing called a consent decree. Can you explain what that is and how that improved the situation in Newark?
COBB: Sure. So, a consent decree is basically an agreement between the federal government, specifically the Department of Justice, and a local
police department, and the agreement stipulates that they will implement specific reforms in order to create a better, more functional police
department. The mechanism for the DOJ doing that comes out of the 1994 Crime Bill. Crime Bill.
And so, in the case of Newark, you know, they stepped in and they have a list of things that they want to see improved and they appoint a federal
monitor who is charged with overseeing the implementation of those reforms. One of the things that we heard, which seems kind of shocking, but the
federal monitor there, a man by the name of Peter Harvey who is a former attorney general of New Jersey, and he said, one of the things that we
needed to do was make sure that law enforcement officers actually understood the law.
There were lots of things that police thought they could do legally that actually are not legal. And, you know, that has been the kind of basic
fundamental introduction to the constitutionality of different parts of policing that, you know, they started with. And then kind of gone on from
there with scenarios and moved through various other kinds of trainings that were supposed to produce a different mindset and different actions on
the part of police in the city.
AMANPOUR: I actually found that fascinating, what Peter Harvey said to you, that he actually thought rather than defunding the police in that
terminology that suddenly gained currency, he thinks there should be more investment, precisely along lines that you say, to beef up, you know, their
knowledge and their experience and their training and the rest.
What do you say to that? Because obviously a lot of people in the community are talking defund the police. So, tell me where that stands, because it
also scares the be bejesus out of another side of the country.
COBB: Yes, it does but I'm not sure that it should. And the reason I say that is, you know, Peter Harvey does make a point. He says that, if you're
talking about defunding the police, fixing the police departments actually costs money too. So, you don't want to have a problem and then deny
yourself the revenue that you need in order to fix the problem.
The other part of it, though, is that I have heard -- the first time I heard anyone say the ideas that have generally become associated with
defund the police, which is that you should be finding alternate social service organizations that can handle things that police are ill-equipped
to respond to. Like for instance, mental health crises and you know a slate of other things that police do that doesn't fall directly in the purview of
The first time I ever heard that was from a police officer. And probably the second, third and fourth times I ever heard of that were from cops. You
know, they said they have us doing things that we really shouldn't do. We should be focusing on the things that we actually are trained to do. And
so, I think in some ways the language is -- the rhetoric is probably more radical than the practicality of the approach to it.
AMANPOUR: Right. Yes. That's interesting. I wonder if that's a message that should go out more wider in terms of trying to get more of the police and
certainly the union leaders on board, because you also had a really interesting conversation with one of the so-called police union chiefs
there in New Jersey. And you had shown him some of the -- again, I mean, just shocking videos of people just going about their business and suddenly
being jumped on and tackled to the ground for things that ended up not being anything.
Let's just play this little bit of sound of your conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COBB: Well, I think the best what people would say is the problem, if you have an interaction with police, a system is set up that will generally
exonerate the police officer irrespective of what happens.
JAMES STEWART, JR., PRESIDENT, NEWARK FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE LODGE #12: You know, that - that's -
COBB: I mean that's the criticism people are making.
STEWART: That's -- I'm glad you mentioned it. But the investigation reveals what the officer is allowed to do, right? You know that's the beauty and
the curse of social media. You see a video. Everyone loses their mind. He can't do that. He can't do this. Well, maybe he actually can. Maybe the
law, maybe why so many cops are not convicted, which is you know part of the uproar, is because they actually acted within their rights and within
the law based on what occurred at that time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Jelani, I was really fascinated because you said to him there is a difference between what might be legal and what is right. And it was
the first time I saw a flicker in his eyes. I wonder if that sort of struck you. Because he suddenly sort of thought, well, maybe if we looked at these
videos a little bit more, maybe we could go over them, do an after-action report and perhaps do something different. That's what I took away from it.
Am I being overly optimistic?
The reason I say that is because I talked with Jim Stewart a number of times previously, and we kind of know the contours of the conversation when
the two of us sit down. We can anticipate where we're going to wind up. But I was trying to point out, you know, that she saw what the police officer
did as falling within the confines of the law. And I was raising a broader, I think, ethical question of saying that any community or member who
witnesses that is not going to walk away with a favorable view of the police. And a viewer attempting to have a police department that has a
functional relationship with the community that is charged with serving, you can't simply say this is legal.
And quite frankly, part of what is legal and not, you know, the barometer for that has been the effectiveness of the police union itself in lobbying
the legislature and the governor to pass laws that give them this kind of broad leeway. And so, you don't -- you can't simply look at it
legalistically if you're talking about the holistic relationship of police to their communities. And I think that's what I was trying to get at in
that discussion with him.
AMANPOUR: So, news is also using community interventions. There is a very interesting group of people. Some of them are former gang members, some
have come from California to help. The mayor has diverted some 5 percent, I think, of the public safety budget to the street team to try to diffuse
some of the potential problems. Let's just put a little bit of this part of the program and then we'll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COBB: Talk to me a little bit about what's happening here and by the street team is walking down Brookdale Street.
SOLOMON MIDDLETON WILLIAMS, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NEWARK COMMUNITY STREET TEAM: July 4th weekend, we had a double homicide on this block. You know, we
talked directly to the family members who have been impacted, and if there is a plan for retaliation, then we convince them not to retaliate. We
always say that we cannot stop the first bullet but we sure can stop the second, third and fourth one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Really, really interesting part of the documentary. What was the relationship of the street team with the actual police?
Was it tense? Did they work together? How did it work out?
COBB: According to all parties, it started out kind of tense. You know the police were like, who are these people, what are they doing. And certainly,
because the Newark community street team is made up of people, some of whom are former gang members, some of whom are people who were doing things that
had a detrimental impact on their communities. There wasn't a lot of love lost between the two. But what seems to have developed is a functional
And you know what the street team is involved in is essentially diplomacy. The diplomatic work of - of de-escalating conflict in communities, the
things that police are probably not credible enough to do, but these are people who are respected in their neighborhoods, people who grew up in the
And when I sat down and talked with them, it was really kind of a fascinating thing, because the work that they do is dangerous. They do not
have badges. They do not have bulletproof vests. They don't have anything other than their credibility and their knowledge of how to navigate
conflicts that have arisen in those neighborhoods.
And they talk. They go and sit down and talk with people, and they tried to ratchet down the level of intensity or animosity among the parties having a
AMANPOUR: Just in our final question, you know, some - some of the issues that we've seen paradoxically have come from police departments that have
gone through reforms. That was apparently the case in Minneapolis, apparently also in the case of Breonna Taylor. It was a terrible --
obviously a terrible misapplication of it. But it apparently was due, according to "The New York Times," to some change of tactics in terms of
microtargeting neighborhoods. So, it can you know no matter how much you reform, it can also go wrong.
COBB: Sure, and I think that -- I don't think that's a reason to not reform. And, you know, one of the things that happened, if I give you kind
of an example, the street team, they were talking about the director, Aqeela Sherrills, who had been involved in negotiating a peace treaty
between the Crips and Bloods in 1992.
And the day after the treaty went into effect, somebody went -- someone was shot. And they said, oh OK, the treaty is over. And he said, no, no, no,
the treaty is the commitment to coming back to the table and making sure that we navigate the situation to prevent this from happening again.
And I think that's the same thing that's applicable to the issue of police reform. That none of these things are perfect. There is not a panacea. Even
the consent decree program has a mixed record. But the best way to approach it is with the commitment to make - to create a better relationship between
police and communities.
AMANPOUR: I have to go, but are you optimistic or pessimistic?
COBB: I'm guardedly optimistic.
AMANPOUR: Good. Good. Jelani Cobb, thank you so much.
And FRONTLINE's Policing on the Police 2020 or rather "Policing the Police 2020" is on PBS tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
Now, pandemic lockdown forced working parents to find a way to reconcile their jobs with running a household and home schooling. Who is doing the
lion's share? Well, working mothers, says our next guest.
Joan C. Williams is the founding director for the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California. And she tells our Michel Martin about the
tough choices working mothers are often forced to make.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MICHEL MARTIN, CNNI HOST: Thanks, Christiane. Professor Joan Williams, thank you so much for talking with us.
JOAN C. WILLIAMS, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR WORKLIFE LAW: Delighted to be here, Michel.
MARTIN: You spent your career, I mean, really, the last four decades, talking about the barriers to women's success in the paid work environment.
Just give it to me straight. How bad is it right now?
WILLIAMS: Well, it's a mixed picture, but it's pretty bad. I feel like we may well be facing a generational wipeout of mothers' careers. I have spent
decades trying to help mothers support their families and care for their families at the same time. And we've made a significant amount of progress.
But what is happening under COVID is truly, truly, truly sobering. Because mothers have joined the work force by taking advantage of kind of a care
infrastructure. We call this our childcare, our kids' teachers, the aides who take care of our elderly parents.
And all of that disappeared overnight. And what's happened is that mothers have been left trying to do three jobs. Their own job, their childcare
worker's jobs, and their kids' teachers' jobs. And very often for that sandwich generation, the job of caring for elderly parents as well, because
they don't want people coming in because elderly people are much more subject to severe cases of COVID, as we now know.
And, you know, news flash. If somebody is doing three jobs, they can't pay the same amount of attention to their job at work.
MARTIN: Let's dig into some of these things. Let's take some of these things sort of separately, if we can. First of all, let's just talk about
the job loss. And by women count -- women accounted for 55 percent of the 20.5 million jobs lost in April. This is according to the Bureau of Labor
statistics. Why is it that women have disproportionately lost their jobs?
WILLIAMS: I think discrimination is a very important factor. Even mothers, and I think this is such an important point, who are doing everything the
way they always did, rising to the occasion at work, even those mothers often find that people want to get rid of them just because they figure,
oh, her attention is elsewhere. And so, we see things that -- we see a pattern where mothers have taken their three months of leave and then they
return, but when they return, the employer clearly is trying to push them out. Hyper scrutinizes what they're doing. Changes their hours to a
schedule the employer knows that the mother can't work
And so, I think that some unscrupulous employers are using this worldwide crisis to force a whole generation of mothers out of the workplace and off
the career track.
MARTIN: That's interesting because we keep seeing these, like, cute videos that go viral of, you know, kids coming in while the parents are trying to
sort of do interviews and things like that, and people seem to be responding warmly to it, at least that's what we see online. But what I
think I hear you saying is the reality of it is that a lot of employers are not responding to the current environment. They're not responding to the
fact that parents are having to work at home or caregivers are having to work at home, and it's actually a more hostile environment than I think a
lot of people have been led to believe that it is. Is that true?
WILLIAMS: I think it's a really bigger picture, Michel. I think - I mean, I have heard from people at one very large American company that now they
feel that they can bring their family into their work life in a more open way than they ever were able to do before. And it's because their manager
is talking about their elderly mom, that they're taken care of, they see the dogs and the kids and everything. So, that is definitely going on.
And another thing that's going on which is really striking is that I have talked to some couples that, one woman in particular that I'm thinking
where she said you know before the pandemic - excuse me - before the pandemic, my husband and I split things. I did 80, he did 20. Now she said
it's more 50-50 because he sees what I was doing. And it's harder not to contribute equally when we're both in the house. So, there are some bright
spots, but we also hear from people whose employers are getting really upset if for some reason you know the dog gets sick in the middle of a Zoom
call so it's a mixed picture.
The other part that is kind of a COVID silver lining is that, I mean, I and others have been talking about job shares, remote work, workplace
flexibility for 20 years. And we long knew that the only thing that was holding back remote work was a complete failure of imagination. Just like I
don't know - I don't understand it, I'm not going to go there.
That failure of imagination with respect to remote work was solved in three weeks flat where so many jobs went - went remote. And 73 percent of
executives say that the remote work has been a success. And I think that's going to be a really important step going forward, even after COVID,
because I think the resistance to remote work is really diminished in many corridors.
Now, of course, the people can remote work. There is a certain class structure to all of this, all right?
MARTIN: One of the others I should jump out, there are a number, but one is that you know 14 percent of women say that they're considering quitting
their jobs due to work family conflict related to COVID-19, but so are 11 percent of men. And so, which is something that I think a lot of people
might be surprised by.
So, do you think it's a main factor here that people have still have stereotypes about women that are in the paid labor force, or is it the fact
of being a caregiver just for some employers they just think, you can't possibly do the job I need done because you're taking care of people.
WILLIAMS: I think it's both. I think that some employers have -- just think that a mother is not going to be able to go flat out in the same way that a
man can. It's just pure stereotypes, and we see that time and again.
I also think that some other employers feel they have been very flexible for quite a long time, and we all thought this was going to last you know
for six weeks or 14 weeks, and then it may last for 18 months. And the employers go like this. I'm up to here. I've had it. Moving on.
I also think that there are some employers who are really rising to the occasion in an admirable way and opening their eyes with respect to not
only telecommuting but also flexible work in a way they never thought they would six months ago. Because, of course, once you're working from home,
workplace flexibility is just a reality. I mean very few people are going to sit you know in their seat eight hours straight if they're working from
home. And so, that's why I think it's such a mixed picture.
But at the bottom end of the privilege ladder, I think it's really important to point out that we have heard from these women. Women being
ordered back to work, telecommuting ending. And them facing the choice of going to work and leaving their small children home alone or staying home
and ending up evicted with unable to feed them.
And that has always been a reality in the United States. It is the ugliest face of work family conflict. And if you think about it, that mom really
has two choices that put her at risk. If she stays home with no money, ends up homeless on the street and loses her kids to that reason. Or she goes to
work and leaves her kids home alone and she loses her kids because someone calls Child Protective Services. That is the most alarming face of work
family conflict, and we are hearing from those women on our hotline.
MARTIN: And I presume that black and brown women would be disproportionately affected by that reality, simply because black and brown
women tend to be - they don't have to be frontline workers, they tend - they are just disproportionate share of workers deemed essential. Isn't
that right? You know, grocery store workers, you know people who work in, you know, frontline jobs.
WILLIAMS: Absolutely. The class structure in the United States is racialized, but then yet, Michel, I really - I really hesitate to use that
formulation which is used again and again and again --
WILLIAMS: This was really something that happens because of social class. Now, if you look at social class, black and brown more likely are at the
bottom of the social class structure. But there's also a lot of white people who are in exactly the same situation. And when they hear again and
again, oh, black and brown, black and brown. They are like, what about me?
So, I think it's - I think again, it's complicated. Both are true. It is disproportionately black and brown for people, but we have to remember a
lot of white people also are being affected by this, poor white people.
MARTIN: But you wrote something that does affect, this is does affect all Americans. This is something that you wrote about earlier this year. You
said, with most of us working from home these days, Americans' workday has increased by 40 percent, roughly three hours a day, the largest increase in
the world. That has to affect most people. Why is that?
WILLIAMS: It's completely -- completely crazy. I mean the research on -- first of all, making a workplace safe in the age of COVID takes a lot of
extra work. So, it takes a lot of extra work for service personnel, just literally more work. I mean if you're going to go around putting up
plexiglass and cleaning every x number of hours, that's more work. So, that's I think, a lot of what's going on at the bottom of the income
But at the top, those white-collar workers who are telecommuting, the research on telecommuting for a really long time has found that workers who
telecommute work longer hours. They tend to work longer hours because they don't have that commute and they don't have that sharp distinction between
work and non-work and family.
And so, it's not -- but the other thing which is really a lot deeper is that we still, in the 21st century, where we have most American families
with children are two-earner families. We still find the ideal worker as someone who starts to work in early adulthood and works full-time, full
force, overtime whenever needed for 40 years straight.
What does that assume? That assumes you have somebody else bearing and taking care of your children. That makes no sense. And so one of the things
that we've seen most recently is that some employers, in an attempt to balance it all, have tried to be very kind and understanding to parents and
dump the extra work on people without children.
Well, of course, the next step is going to be a lot of resentment against parents, right? But that is what happens if you fail -- if you are working
with a definition of the work force that's really suited to the work force in 1960 rather than the work force of 2020.
In the work force of 2020, workers in the course of their lives are going to have a variety of caregiving responsibilities whether or not they have
children, and that has to be part of the picture of good management.
MARTIN: I wonder whether this country has just never come to grips with the notion that people will be both in the paid labor force and be caretakers
at the same time, and that that occurs over a huge swath of life, as you put it, whether you have children or not. But the reality of it is that
caretaking is something that if you don't fulfill your role, you go to jail. Whether it's or you get a visit by Social Services whether it's
caretaking of a child or caretaking of a vulnerable senior. That's a fact. I just wonder. Is the United States sort of unique in not seeing caretaking
as something fundamentally, culturally important, socially important, morally important?
WILLIAMS: I think you're exactly right. I mean European countries have a very robust care infrastructure because they see that that's what produces
the next generation of citizens. Otherwise we're the last generation never living. Having children is not a private frolic like hang gliding. Having
children is raising the next generation of citizens. It is simply different.
And so, but in the United States, very often having a child is like, well, you know, it's like sort of a hobby. So, I think all of that is true. I
think that's a real blindness in the United States. But I also think in the United States we have a blindness about what is the role of work in a good
life. And that affects people without children in the United States, because I mean -- I've traveled quite a bit in Latin America and in Europe,
and they think we're crazy.
They think we you know live to work. They say, we work to live. And so -- especially - I mean this is, again, this really differs by class. But one
of the weird things about the United States is that it's the elites that overwork obsessively. And so, I think two things need to happen. Certainly,
we need to recognize that parenthood, and taking care of elders is part of reproducing our society.
And number two, we have to understand that, you know, we have a slash - we have slash and burn capitalism, is what I call it right now. And one of the
ways that we clear-cut the forests is we overwork the workers to the extent that they burn out, that if anybody is given a tiny break, there is this
There is a very simple answer to this, which is that studies going back to World War II have shown that actually the most productive worker is
somebody who works extremely efficiently six hours a day. And if you're working 12 hours a day, there is a lot of inefficiency there because that's
just not how human beings were built to work decade after decade.
MARTIN: Professor Joan Williams, thank you so much for talking with us.
WILLIAMS: Always a pleasure, Michel. Great to see you.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
AMANPOUR: That's advice to live by.
And finally, tonight, tennis player Naomi Osaka has won the U.S. Open Final this weekend. It is her third grand slam win. But what makes her truly
stand out almost more is her activism. Osaka has been raising awareness of racial injustice throughout this strange sport season and throughout this
She wore seven different masks with the names of black people who had been killed by police and in alleged racial violence in the United States. It's
drawn praise from observers and heartfelt thanks from the families of the dead. Naomi Osaka using her platform for more than just a trophy.
And that's it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.