METROFOCUS: SEPTEMBER 19, 2019

Tomorrow, students all over the city and around the world will be walking out of school to participate in the Global Climate Strike.  We have the details from one of the leading organizers. Gridlock is expected as the United Nations General Assembly gathers, but behind the U.N.’s exterior is true beauty.  We have a private tour. Eric Garner’s mother Gwen Carr is demanding justice even after the recent firing of the former NYPD officer who administered the fatal chokehold that killed her son.

Aired on September 19, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS, GET READY, TOMORROW STUDENTS ALL OVER THE CITY AND ALL AROUND THE WORLD WILL BE WALKING OUT OF SCHOOL TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CLIMATE STRIKE IN HOPES OF BRINGING ATTENTION TO THE SEVERE AND DEADLY DANGER OF GLOBAL WARMING.

ONE OF THE LEADERS OF THE STUDENT MOVEMENT IS HERE WITH EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS MAJOR EVENT.

> THE DELEGATES HAVE STARTED TO GATHER ON THE EAST SIDE FOR THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ISOLATED FROM THE TRAFFIC AND GRIDLOCK THAT WILL SERIOUSLY AFFECT US ALL, THE BEAUTY INSIDE THE UN'S GROUNDS, IN MOMENTS, WE'RE GOING TO GIVE YOU AN EXCLUSIVE LOOK.

> AND A SEARCH FOR JUSTICE, ERIC GARNER'S MOTHER SPEAKS OUT.

FIND OUT WHY SHE BELIEVES THE RECENT FIRING OF THE OFFICER WHO ADMINISTERED THE FATAL CHOKE HOLD THAT KILLED HER SON DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS METROFOCUS STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A AND SIMON P. ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSLYN P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY:

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS' I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

GRETA THUNBERG WILL BE THOSE LEADING THE CLIMATE STRIKE, WHERE YOUNG PEOPLE WILL BE WALKING OUT OF SCHOOLS AND ON TO THE STREETS TO PROTEST IN ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN ANTICIPATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT ON MONDAY.

NEW YORK CITY IS GIVING PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS PERMISSION TO SKIP CLASSES FOR THE STRIKE, AND THAT MEANS THAT 1.1 MILLION CITY KIDS COULD POTENTIALLY BE PARTICIPATING IN THIS UNPRECEDENTED EVENT.

A NUMBER OF CELEBRITIES INCLUDING JADEN AND WILLOW SMITH ARE PLANNING TO JOIN THEM.

PART OF OUR ONGOING INITIATIVE, PERIL IN PROMISE, THE 16-YEAR-OLD NATALIE SWEET, COHEAD OF ZERO NYC, A STUDENT RUN ORGANIZATION LOOKING TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

CAN YOU GIVE ME A HISTORY ON WHAT'S HAPPENING TOMORROW AND HOW IT BECAME A PHENOMENON.

STUDENTS DO STRIKE IN FRONT O.UN AND ACROSS THE WORLD EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY.

THAT'S PART OF THE FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE MOVEMENT.

A BUNCH OF THE ORGANIZES ARE PART OF FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE, SO THIS STRIKE ISN'T UNUSUAL TO THEM.

I HAVE BEEN AMONG THOSE STRIKING AT THE UN.

I MISSED THE STRIKE LAST FRIDAY BUT I WAS STRIKING THE FRIDAY BEFORE THAT WITH GRETA.

THE REASON WE CHOSE SEPTEMBER 20th TO MAKE IT A BIG MOBILIZATION DATE IS BECAUSE THERE WILL BE MANY PEOPLE ALREADY ENGAGED WITH THE CLIMATE CONSIDERING THAT THE UN YOUTH ACTIVIST SUMMIT IS THE NEXT DAY, AND THE UN CLIMATE WEEK WILL BE FOLLOWING SO IN NEW YORK CITY, THERE WILL BE A LOT OF INTERNATIONAL YOUTH WHO ARE COMING TO THE SUMMIT SO WE WANT TO MAKE IT A CHANCE FOR THEM TO MOBILIZE AND MAKE SURE THEIR VOICES ARE HEARD BEFORE ATTENDING THIS MONUMENTAL SUMMIT.

SO, YOU KNOW, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OTHER COUNTRIES BEYOND NEW YORK THAT ARE PARTICIPATING IN THIS?

WELL, SWEDEN IS PARTICIPATING, THAT'S GRETA'S HOME COUNTRY AND WE HAVE STRIKES IN CHINA, INDIA, THERE ARE OVER 150 STRIKE LOCATIONS AND I THINK THAT WAS WHEN WE FIRST STARTED, NOW THERE ARE OVER 750 STRIKE LOCATIONS ACROSS THE WORLD.

THAT'S AMAZING, WE HAVE NEVER SEEN A CLIMATE MOBILIZATION LIKE THIS BEFORE.

IS THIS STRICTLY LIMITED TO YOUNG PEOPLE OR ARE ADULTS INVITED.

ADULTS ARE INVITED TO THE PARTY BUT IT IS THE YOUNG PEOPLE MOVEMENT.

YOUNG PEOPLE WILL BE AFFECTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE, AND WE WANT OUR ADULT ALLIES TO STAND WITH US AND CERTAINLY TO VOTE WITH US.

THAT'S SOMETHING THAT MYSELF, I'M ONLY 16, I CAN'T DO THAT, AND I KNOW A LOT OF US ARE IN THE SAME BOAT.

IT IS A YOUTH LED MOVEMENT AND IN NEW YORK, WE'RE ACTUALLY PRIORITIZING HAVING THE YOUTH SPEAK AND BE AT THE FRONT OF THE MARCH BUT WE ARE SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL FOR ALL THE ADULT ALLIES, FROM CLIMATE NEXUS 350.

WHO ARE SOME OF THESE PEOPLE AND SOME OF THOSE ORGANIZATIONS, WE WERE TALKING ABOUT IT JUST BEFORE THE CAMERAS TURNED ON.

GREEN PIECE IS ONE OF THE CLIMATE ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING US WITH THIS, AS WELL AS 360 AND CLIMATE NEXUS AND PEOPLE'S CLIMATE MOVEMENT AND THERE ARE ORGANIZATIONS THAT AREN'T NECESSARILY CLIMATE ORGANIZATIONS BUT THEY HAVE BEEN PROACTIVE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUPPORTING US, SOME THAT KIND TO MIND ARE PATAGONIA, LUSH, THE MAKEUP AND BEAUTY COMPANY, AS WELL AS TUMBLER AND WORD PRESS.

AND THERE ARE WORKERS FROM AMAZON AND GOOGLE I THINK THAT ARE ACTUALLY, THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE GIVEN THE TIME OFF.

THEY'RE JUST GOING OUT.

THOUSANDS.

THERE ARE OVER A THOUSAND WORKERS FROM AMAZON, GOOGLE, AND I THINK MICROSOFT IS THE OTHER COMPANY THAT WILL BE MOVING TO STRIKE, AND THEY WILL BE JOINING THE NEW YORK CITY STRIKE, AND WE'RE REALLY HELP TO HAVE THESE ALLIES WITH US.

IT'S HONESTLY IMPORTANT TO SEE WORKERS LEAVING THEIR WORKPLACE FOR THE CLIMATE.

WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO THIS FIGHT?

WELL, I GOT INVOLVED MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL WHEN I ATTENDED A SMALL LOCAL CLIMATE CONFERENCE AND THAT'S WHEN I FIRST FOUND OUT ABOUT ZERO HOUR.

SO ZERO HOUR WAS IN THE PLANNING STAGES.

I WAS NEVER INTERESTED IN CLIMATE ACTIVISM BEFORE BUT THE WILDFIRES WERE THAT YEAR, AND MY COUSINS WHO LIVE IN CALIFORNIA, THEIR SCHOOLS WERE ACTIVELY SHUT DOWN BECAUSE OF THE SMOKE IN THE AIR.

MY FRIEND ALEXANDRIA VILLA SENOR WHO IS A CLIMATE ACTIVIST, THE THIRD TO START AFTER GRETA, HAD TO MOVE FROM DAVIS, CALIFORNIA, BECAUSE OF THESE FIRES, SO I CAN SEE THE EFFECT THAT THEY HAD ON MY FAMILY AND MY FRIENDS AND I WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT I COULD HELP THEM OUT AND DO WHAT I CAN BECAUSE I LIVE IN A PRETTY PRIVILEGED COMMUNITY OF NEW YORK CITY, AND HONESTLY, I DON'T HAVE THE EXPOSURE THAT A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE DO, SO I JOINED SZERO HOR TO SEE HOW I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND HOW OTHERS CAN DO THE SAME.

HOW REPRESENTATIVE ARE YOU OF YOUR CLASSMATES AND PEERS, DO MOST YOUNG PEOPLE AGREE WITH YOU?

MOST YOUNG PEOPLE DO.

ONE OF MY CLASSMATES SAID WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF STRIKING AND HONESTLY I FEEL THAT TO BE ABSURD BECAUSE I DEMANDED ACTION FROM OUR LEADERS BY ACTIVELY DISRUPTING THE SCHOOL DAY, BUT ALSO BECAUSE THIS IS GOING TO BE OUR ISSUE THAT AFFECTS US THE MOST.

EVERYONE IS GOING TO SUFFER BECAUSE OF CLIMATE CHANGE INEVITABLY IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

THE SCIENCE SAYS THAT.

ONE OF OUR CORE CHEERS IS UNITE BEHIND THE SCIENCE.

IF MY PEERS AREN'T UNITING BEHIND THE SCIENCE, I WANT TO DO FRG I CAN TO INCITE THEM TO ACTION, TO INCITE THEM TO REALIZE, WE'RE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, I'M IN YOUR PHYSICS CLASS, WE KNOW ABOUT THE SCIENCE.

BESIDES INCITING YOUR PIERCE TO ACTION, WHAT ARE THE GOALS THAT YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE THROUGH THIS GLOBAL STRIKE?

WELL, GENERALLY THE MISSION IS TO CALL OUR WORLD LEADERS TO ACTION.

DESPITE THE FACT THAT THERE'S A UN CONFERENCE, THE UNITED STATES SPECIFICALLY HAS BEEN INACTIVE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE EPA IS ACTUALLY ROLLING BACK ON SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WE HAVE SEEN THAT HAVE BEEN GOOD FOR THE CLIMATE.

OUR EPA STEPPED OUT OF THE PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD, THAT WAS A BIG STEP BACKWARDS, WE ARE DEMANDING GENERAL ACTION BUT THERE ARE MORE SPECIFIC GOALS ON OUR WEB SITES, STRIKE WITH US.ORG AND GLOBAL CLIMATE.NET, SOME ARE ACCEPTING A GREEN NEW DEAL SO 100% DIVESTMENT FROM THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY BY 2030, AS WELL AS PROTECTING INDIGENOUS AND FRONT LINE COMMUNITIES AND PROTECTING BIODIVERSITY AS WE CAN SEE IT BEING DESTROYED IN THE AMAZON WILDFIRES AND OTHER PLACES.

ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC THAT WHAT YOU BELIEVE NEEDS TO BE DONE WILL BE DONE IN TIME?

I AM OPTIMISTIC.

I SEE THIS MOVEMENT OF YOUTH THAT STARTED FROM A COUPLE OF STUDENTS STRIKING ALL THE WAY TO AN ESTIMATED OVER 100,000 STUDENTS JOINING THIS MOVEMENT ON THE NEW YORK CITY STREETS AND THAT'S ONLY ONE CITY.

THERE ARE 750 OTHER STRIKE LOCATIONS THAT WILL BE TAKING PLACE AND TO SEE THIS MOBILIZATION GIVES ME HOPE.

NATALIE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME TODAY.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

SUCH AN IMPORTANT ISSUE, THANK YOU.

THE UNITED NATIONS, FORMED IN THE WAKE OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR, THIS COALITION OF NATIONS STRIVES TO MAINTAIN PEACE, PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS AND REDUCE POVERTY AND SUFFERING AROUND THE WORLD.

NEW YORK IS THE HOME OF THE UN ADDING TO ITS STATUS AS THE WORLD'S CITY, BUT THE EARLY INFLUX OF DIPLOMATS AND HEADS OF STATE AND THE INCREASED SECURITY AND TRAFFIC CONCERNS THAT FOLLOW CAUSED MANY NEW YORKERS TO QUESTION WHY IS THE UNITED NATIONS HERE.

WHEN MOST NEW YORKERS HEAR THAT THE UN IS IN SESSION, A GENERAL GROAN OFTEN FOLLOWS.

U.S. COMMISSIONER FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, PENNY ABARWDINA MAKES THE CASE THAT IT ENRICHES ECONOMICALLY AND IS WORTH THE INCONVENIENCE.

THE COMMISSIONER GAVE AN INSIDER'S TOUR OF THIS INTERNATIONAL AND UNIQUELY NEW YORK INSTITUTION.

HI, EVERYONE, I'M NEW YORK CITY'S COMMISSIONER FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS.

TODAY WE ARE HERE ON THE UNITED NATIONS CAMPUS FOR A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT WHAT MAKES THE UN A PRETTY SPECTACULAR PLACE HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I WANT NEW YORKERS TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT THE UN ISN'T THE OTHER.

THE UN IS VERY MUCH PART OF NEW YORK CITY, SO YOU KNOW, WHILE YOU LOOK AT THE DIPLOMATS, YOU THINK THEY'RE VISITORS HERE FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME ACTUALLY THE UN IS NEW YORKERS LIVING IN OUR COMMUNITIES AND PARTICIPATING IN THE GLOBAL CONVERSATION AND WE CAN UNIQUELY OFFER THAT TO NEW YORKERS BY BEING ABLE TO HOST THE UN IN NEW YORK CITY.

EVERYBODY THAT WORKS AT THE UN AS WELL AS GUESTS TO THE UN AND VISITORS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, THIS IS PRETTY MUCH THE FIRST THING THAT THEY SEE.

FROM LUXEMBOURG, DESIGNED BY A SWEDISH ARTIST WAS CREATED AFTER JOHN LEN NON'S DEATH.

THIS IS THE ORIGINAL.

THERE ARE ABOUT 17 OTHER REPLICAS AROUND THE WORLD.

WHILE THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT ARE ICONIC ABOUT THE UNITED NATIONS, FOR ME PERSONALLY, THIS IS WHAT I THINK OF WHEN I THINK ABOUT WHAT THE UN MEANS TO THE WORLD.

THIS IS FAMOUS FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS, THE GORGEOUS ROSE GARDEN.

THERE ARE OVER 1,500 ROSES HERE, AND ONE OF MY PERSONAL SHEROES ELEANOR ROOSEVELT HELPED CONCEIVE OF THIS IDEA.

SHE WAS ONE OF THE KEY WOMEN IN WOMEN'S RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS, A LEADER AT THE UNITED NATIONS, AND A PROUD NEW YORKER.

YOU KNOW, WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF NEW YORKERS WORKING HERE AT THE UNITED NATIONS AND THIS IS QUITE THE REFUGE THAT THEY GET TO COME SIT, THINK, AND BRAINSTORM TOGETHER IN THIS BEAUTIFUL SPACE.

WELCOME TO THE TOP OF THE UNITED NATIONS, YOU CAN SEE AND FEEL PRETTY MUCH EVERY BOROUGH ON A CLEAR DAY.

SOON AFTER THE UNITED NATIONS DECIDED THAT THEY WERE GOING TO MOVE TO THE EAST COAST, NELSON ROCKEFELLER HEARD THAT THE UN WAS SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING PHILADELPHIA.

HE WENT AND TALKED TO HIS DAD, JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER AND ENCOURAGED HIM TO BUY THIS PIECE OF LAND, I BELIEVE IT WAS ABOUT $8 MILLION BACK IN 1946, 1948, AND HE GIFTED THIS TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND AT THAT POINT, NEW YORK CITY WON THE UN, WHICH IS SOMETHING WE ARE STILL VERY PROUD OF.

SO THIS IS THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

THIS WAS RENOVATED IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, AS YOU CAN SEE, THERE IS A BRIGHTNESS AND FRESHNESS TO THIS SPACE.

THIS IS WHERE ALL 193 COUNTRIES ARE ALLOCATED SIX SEATS FOR THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

THERE ARE THREE CHAIRS FOR EACH COUNTRY HERE AT THE TABLE.

THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, THIS BEAUTIFUL SPACE IS OPEN AND USED BY CIVIL SOCIETY AND I HAVE PERSONALLY HAD THE PLEASURE OF SEEING YOUNG PEOPLE COME TO THIS PODIUM, NEW YORKERS, YOUNG NEW YORKERS.

WE HAVE CREATED AN OFFICE AND AN INFRASTRUCTURE THAT SUPPORTS AND SERVICES THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY.

BUT ACTIVELY SUPPORTS NEW YORKERS.

AND THAT WHAT THIS OFFICE DOES IS CONSTANTLY BRINGING TOGETHER THE NEW YORKNESS OF THE UN, BRINGING THE UN TO OUR NEW YORK CITY COMMUNITY, BUT ALSO BRINGING NEW YORKERS INTO THE UN.

> I CAN'T BREATHE, THE LAST WORDS OF ERIC GARNER AS HE DIED WHILE IN A POLICE CHOKE HOLD.

AFTER FIVE YEARS OF INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS AND NATIONAL PROTESTS, NEW YORK CITY'S POLICE COMMISSIONER FIRED DANIEL PANTALEO, THE NYPD OFFICER SEEN DETAINING GARNER, THE ACTIONS THAT LED TO HIS DEATH.

THE FIRING IS THE LATEST CHAPTER IN A CONTENTIOUS AND EMOTIONAL CASE THAT HAS DRAGGED ON FOR YEARS, AND PROMPTED CALLS FOR REFORM THROUGHOUT NEW YORK'S ENTIRE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

BUT FOR THE GARNER FAMILY, GETTING DANIEL PANTALEO STRIPPED OF HIS BADGE DOES NOT MARK THE END OF A QUEST FOR JUSTICE FOR ERIC GARNER BUT RATHER A CONTINUATION.

GARNER'S MOTHER, GWEN CARR HAS BEEN FIGHTING FOR JUST THAT.

WE WELCOME YOU BACK TO 'METROFOCUS' AND VISITING WITH US AGAIN.

.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME, JACK.

MY FIRST QUESTION TO YOU IS WHAT WAS YOUR IMMEDIATE EMOTIONAL REACTION WHEN YOU HEARD THE POLICE COMMISSIONER SAY THAT INDEED HE WAS GOING TO FOLLOW THE RECOMMENDATION AND FIRE DANIEL PANTALEO.

WELL, ACTUALLY WHEN I START LISTENING TO, YOU KNOW, HE WAS EXPLAINING WHAT HE WAS GOING TO DO, I WASN'T SURE HOW IT WAS GOING TO GO BECAUSE AT FIRST IT WAS IN MY MIND, OH, HE'S NOT GOING TO FIRE THIS OFFICER.

THEN AS HE CONTINUED TO TALK, WELL, NEIGHMAYBE HE WILL.

THEN AT THE VERY END WHEN HE SAID THAT HE WOULD FIRE THE OFFICER FOR HIS WRONG DOING, I JUST WAS OVERWHELMED, GOT VERY EMOTIONAL, AND I JUST BROKE DOWN INTO TEARS.

I WAS -- IT WAS A STEP THAT I WAS HOPING THAT WOULD HAPPEN BUT WASN'T SO SURE THAT IT WOULD, AND EVEN WITH THE FIRING OF PANTALEO, IT WAS NOT JUSTICE FOR ME, BUT IT WAS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

WHEN YOU SAY I UNDERSTAND A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, BUT WHY DO YOU SAY IT WASN'T JUSTICE FOR YOU?

WELL, ACTUALLY, FOR ERIC, THERE IS NO JUSTICE.

BECAUSE HE'S GONE.

NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, IT'S NOT GOING TO BRING HIM BACK, AND FOR ME, THAT WAS SOMEWHAT OF CLOSURE BUT NOT JUSTICE.

JUSTICE WILL BE WHEN ALL THE OFFICERS WHO WAS INVOLVED IN MY SON'S MURDER THAT DAY WHEN THEY STAND ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR WRONG DOING, THEN THAT WOULD BE A SENSE OF JUSTICE.

NOW, THIS HAS BEEN INVESTIGATED, AS I MENTIONED IN OUR INTRODUCTION HERE, FOR YEARS NOW, AT VARIOUS LEVELS.

THE GRAND JURY IN STATEN ISLAND CHOSE NOT TO BRING ANY STATE LEVEL CHARGES.

THAT'S CORRECT.

AND FAIRLY RECENTLY THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT DECIDED NOT TO SEEK ANY FEDERAL CHARGES, ANY CIVIL RIGHTS CHARGES AGAINST DANIEL PANTALEO.

WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THAT DECISION BY THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT?

IT TOOK MANY YEARS, AND WE'RE TOLD THERE WAS SIGNIFICANT DIVISION WITHIN THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ABOUT WHETHER THEY SHOULD MOVE FORWARD, THE DECISION WAS MADE NOT TO.

DID THAT SURPRISE YOU?

IT DIDN'T ACTUALLY SURPRISE ME, BUT IT DISAPPOINTED ME BECAUSE THEY SHOULD HAVE -- NO MATTER WHO IS IN OFFICE, I FEEL THAT THIS IS A DEMOCRACY, AND THEY SHOULD TAKE A FAIR LOOK AT WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED TO MY SON TO MAKE A DECISION, NOT BECAUSE OF THE ADMINISTRATION THAT IS IN CHARGE AT THAT TIME, BUT THEY JUST DECIDED NOT TO GO FORWARD AND THE REASON WAS SO LUDICROUS TO ME, AND I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS SUCH A DISAPPOINTMENT, SO DISPARAGING TO ME, THAT THEY WOULD NOT CONTINUE WITH THE CASE, SO I DIDN'T STOP.

I'M STILL -- I STILL HAVE HOPE BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS TO SEE THAT THIS IS WRONG.

THE WHOLE WORLD WATCHED MY SON BEING MURDERED ON VIDEO.

EVERYONE, THEY PROTESTED, THEY SUPPORTED ME, I HAD DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK, THE CPR, JUSTICE COMMITTEE, THEY ALL CAME TO MY AID TO HELP ME TO FIGHT FOR THIS.

BECAUSE I KNOW I COULDN'T GET THIS FAR WITHOUT THE HELP OF THE MEDIA, WITHOUT THE HELP OF THE ORGANIZATIONS, AND THEY SEEN THAT I WAS SERIOUS ABOUT THIS FIGHT, SO THEY GOT BEHIND ME.

HOW DO YOU ANSWER PEOPLE WHO ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE SITUATION AND THEY WATCH YOU AND LISTEN TO YOU AND SAY, WHAT A TERRIBLE TRAGEDY, A TERRIBLE LOSS OF LIFE, BUT THEN THEY SAY, HOWEVER, THIS ENTIRE SITUATION WOULD NEVER HAVE HAD TO TAKE PLACE IF ERIC HAD NOT BEEN INVOLVED THIS THIS ACTIVITY THAT WAS AT SOME LEVEL ILLEGAL AND IF HE HAD IMMEDIATELY COOPERATED WITH POLICE.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THOSE PEOPLE?

WELL, I SAY TO THOSE PEOPLE HE WAS -- THEY WERE ALLEGEDLY ACCUSING HIM OF SELLING CIGARETTES THAT DAY, WHICH HE WAS NOT SELLING CIGARETTES THAT DAY, NOT SAYING THAT HE DIDN'T SELL CIGARETTES.

BUT EVEN IF HE WAS, EVEN IF THEY CAUGHT HIM SELLING A CIGARETTE, IT'S NOT A DEATH SENTENCE.

WHY WOULD HE KILL MY SON?

WHY WOULD HE MURDER MY SON FOR SELLING A CIGARETTE, WHICH HE WASN'T DOING THAT DAY?

SO I'VE SEEN PEOPLE -- I MEAN, I HAVE ACTUALLY SEEN LIKE AN INTERACTION WITH POLICE OFFICERS AND ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL WHERE THE POLICE ACTUALLY DEESCALATED A SITUATION WHERE THERE WAS ONE MAN CHASING ANOTHER MAN WITH A GUN, AND THE OFFICERS CORNERED HIM AND SAID I WOULD PUT THAT DOWN IF I WERE YOU, SON, I WOULD PUT IT DOWN, AND INSTEAD OF SAYING -- NOW, THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN JUSTIFIED, YOU KNOW, HE GOT THE GUN IN HIS HAND AND THEY'RE SURROUNDING HIM.

IF THEY'D HAVE SHOT HIM, THEY WOULD HAVE SAID, OH, THEY FEARED FOR HIS LIFE, THEY HAD A LOADED WEAPON BUT THEY CHOSE NOT TO TAKE HIS LIFE, AND I THINK THAT WAS VERY COMMENDABLE OF THEM.

DO YOU THINK THAT PERHAPS ONE OF THE LEGACIES OF YOUR SON'S DEATH MIGHT BE SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU JUST MENTIONED TO US NOW, BETTER TRAINING IN TERMS OF POLICE OFFICERS, BETTER RECOGNITION OF THE IDEA OF DEESCALATION, A BETTER DEVELOPMENT OF SKILLS THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL IN THOSE TYPES OF SITUATIONS SPECIFICALLY, AND GENERALLY, BETTER WAYS TO CREATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN POLICE OFFICERS AND THE COMMUNITY.

DO YOU THINK PERHAPS THAT IS STARTING TO HAPPEN?

THAT WOULD HELP A LOT.

BUT IT WOULD ONLY HELP IF THE POLICE OFFICERS ARE THERE TO DO THEIR JOB.

THERE ARE SOME POLICE OFFICERS WHO ARE ON THE FORCE THAT HAS THEIR OWN AGENDA.

THEY HAVE THEIR OWN SCHEDULE.

THEY'RE NOT GOING BY POLICE POLICIES, THEY'RE NOT GOING BY THE LAW, THEY'RE DOING THINGS THEIR OWN WAY, AND I FOUND THAT OUT WHEN I WENT TO THE DEPARTMENTAL TRIAL FOR MY SON.

THINGS THAT OFFICERS SAID THAT ONE OFFICER SAID BECAUSE MY SON WAS -- ONE OFFICER TWEETED, I MEAN, TEXT THE OTHER OFFICER, AND SAYS, OH, I THINK ERIC GARNER IS DOA, AND THE OFFICER SAID NOT A BIG DEAL.

SO NOW THAT REALLY REALLY GOT -- NOW, THAT OFFICER DOES NOT BELONG ON THE FORCE.

ANYTIME SOMEONE WHO'S IN YOUR -- THIS IS YOUR TOWN, THIS IS YOUR CITIZENS THAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE POLICING OR SUPERVISING POLICING AND YOU'RE GOING TO SAY NOT A BIG DEAL BECAUSE A CIVILIAN IS LAYING ON THE GROUND, AN UNARMED CIVILIAN, LAYING ON THE GROUND, DOA, AND IT'S NOT A BIG DEAL.

NOW, THE SHOE SHOULD BE ON THE OTHER FOOT AND I WANT YOU TO SAY NOT A BIG DEAL OR SOMEONE SAY THAT ABOUT YOUR CHILD AND HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO THAT.

YOU MENTIONED IN YOUR LAST COMMENTS HERE SOME POLICE OFFICERS AND I'VE SAID THIS BEFORE, AS A PROSECUTOR, I PROSECUTED SOME POLICE OFFICERS.

AS A DEFENSE ATTORNEY, I DEFENDED SOME POLICE OFFICERS AND MY BELIEF HAS ALWAYS BEEN, MY BELIEF, THE VAST MAJORITY OF POLICE OFFICERS ARE GOOD PEOPLE DOING A GOOD JOB, THE PROBLEM IS SOME ARE NOT.

AND THAT'S WITH ANY PROFESSION, YOU WILL FIND THAT, AND THE DIFFERENCE IS WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT POLICING SOME WHO ARE NOT DOING A GOOD JOB ARE MUCH MORE PROBLEMATIC THAN IN OTHER PROFESSIONS.

RIGHT.

DO YOU FEEL IN THE YEARS SINCE ERIC'S DEATH, AND THE CONVERSATIONS YOU HAVE HAD WITH COMMUNITY LEADERS, WITH POLICE LEADERS, DO YOU FEEL -- AND LET'S FOCUS HERE ON NEW YORK CITY, DO YOU FEEL LIKE WE'RE MAKING PROGRESS IN BETTER RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN POLICE OFFICERS AND THE COMMUNITY AND BETTER TRAINING?

I THINK IN SOME AREAS WE ARE, BUT, AGAIN, IT COMES DOWN TO THE POLICE OFFICERS AND IT COMES DOWN TO THEIR SUPERIORS.

POLICE OFFICERS IS ONLY GOING TO GO AS FAR AS THEIR SUPERIORS ALLOW THEM TO.

NOW, YOU SHOULD KNOW THE PEOPLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHO YOU ARE POLICING.

YOU SHOULD HAVE A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PEOPLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHO YOU ARE POLICING.

I KNOW WHEN I WAS A KID, IT WAS -- TO ME IT WAS BETTER BECAUSE THE POLICE OFFICERS WHO USED TO PATROL, THEY PATROLLED ON FOOT.

AND IF THEY SEE YOU DOING ANYTHING, THEY KNEW YOUR PARENTS, THEY WOULD TAKE YOU TO YOUR PARENTS OR THEY WOULD GO TO YOUR PARENTS' HOUSE AND SAY, OH, I SEEN YOUR SON ON THE CORNER.

HE WAS SHOOTING DICE OR I SEEN HIM DOING WHATEVER.

BUT IT WAS SUCH A BETTER COMMUNITY AND COMMUNICATION WITH THE POLICE OFFICERS AND THE COMMUNITY.

WE DON'T HAVE THAT NOW.

THEY RIDE AROUND IN THE CARS.

THEY DON'T GET OUT TO EVEN INTRODUCE THEMSELVES TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD, AND I THINK THAT WE HAVE TO COME BACK TO THAT IN ORDER FOR US TO HAVE BETTER RELATIONSHIPS.

IT MAY WELL BE AT THIS JUNCTURE THAT THERE MAY NOT BE ANYMORE OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS WITH REGARD TO ERIC'S DEATH.

BUT I KNOW YOU HAVE SAID THIS IS NOT THE END OF THIS JOURNEY FOR YOU.

WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH NOW, AND HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF MOVING FORWARD WITH THIS?

WELL, I'VE BEEN UP IN WASHINGTON, I TALKED TO THE LEGISLATURES UP THERE, TO THE CONGRESS, AND I'M ASKING THEM TO HAVE HEARINGS ON, YOU KNOW, LIKE WHEN THE DOJ SAID THAT THEY'RE NOT MOVING FORWARD, I WANT THEM TO DISCUSS THIS WHY DIDN'T THEY MOVE FORWARD, PICK THIS APART, AND SEE IF THEY WERE JUSTIFIED IN MAKING THAT DECISION.

YOU KNOW, I'M NOT JUST GOING TO STOP HERE BECAUSE THAT -- THE COMMISSIONER SAID HE'S NOT GOING TO FIRE -- HE'S NOT GOING TO BRING ANYMORE CHARGES TO THE OFFICERS THAT WERE INVOLVED IN THE -- IN MY SON'S DEATH THAT DAY.

THIS IS HIS FEELINGS AND I HAVE MY FEELINGS, THAT I'M STILL PUSHING FORWARD.

THIS IS MY JOURNEY FOR NOW BECAUSE IT'S NOT -- MY SON IS GONE, BUT THERE ARE OTHER LIVES OUT HERE THAT WE HAVE TO SAVE.

AND I THINK THAT THIS SHOULD BE A STEP IN WAKING UP THE WORLD, WAKING UP THE CITY TO SAY, HEY, WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.

LET'S WEAN OUT THE BAD POLICE OFFICERS SO THAT WE'LL HAVE A BETTER CITY.

GWEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US, AND YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN VERY OPEN IN SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS AND YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT ALL OF THIS, AND AS WE SAID, HOPEFULLY FROM A TERRIBLE TRAGEDY MAY WELCOME SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US.

AND WE'LL TALK TO YOU AGAIN.

OKAY.

THANK YOU.

YOU BE WELL.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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