tv PBS News Hour PBS August 14, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: we'll devote the bulk of the program tonight to the unfolding story in ferguson, missouri. as confrontations between protesters and police escalate, we look at what's happening there and the conversations sparked around the nation. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this thursday, iraq's embattled prime minister, nuri al-maliki gives up his post. and american airstrikes and kurdish forces beat back a seige by islamic militants in the north. allowing thousands of refugees trapped on a mountain to escape. >> ifill: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the governor of missouri today ordered the state highway patrol to take over security in the st. louis suburb of ferguson. local police have drawn heavy criticism for their use of force against protesters last night. the crowd was demonstrating against the fatal shooting of michael brown, an unarmed black teenager. highway patrol captain ron johnson grew up in ferguson, and he'll be in charge. he said it's vital to break the cycle of violence. >> i plan myself on walking to the quick trip that has been called ground zero and meeting with the folks there myself tonight. and so we are going to have a different approach.
that we are in this together. that's the approach we are going to have tonight. and look at our resources to make sure we're not taking resources out there that we don't need. but when we do need those resources they will still be here. >> woodruff: we'll have the full story of the violence that erupted in ferguson last night and reaction from the white house on down after the news summary. >> ifill: iraqi prime minister nouri al-maliki finally stepped down this evening, as his support crumbled on all sides. he will now support haider al- abadi's nomination to be the new prime minister. there was also word that the u.s. has now decided not to expand a humanitarian rescue mission that might have put u.s. combat troops back on the ground. >> we do not expect there to be
an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain. and it's unlikely that we're gonna need to continue humanitarian airdops on the mountain. >> ifill: from president obama today, confirmation that the crisis facing yazidi refugees in northern iraq has greatly eased. fighters from the "islamic state" group had surrounded thousands of yazidis on mount sinjar. but military and civilian advisers sent in this week reported u.s. air strikes broke the siege. at the pentagon today, rear admiral john kirby said the air campaign and kurdish ground forces helped the yazidis escape. >> we believe that thousands of them were leaving every night. now, i can't give you an exact figure of how many every night. but certainly more than a thousand or so every night were leaving the mountain with peshmerga help. >> woodruff: kirby estimated about 4,000 people remain on the mountain, but nearly half are said to be herders who live there and have no interest in leaving. >> reporter: those who did leave continue to arrive in refugee camps and many say they will never return. >> ( translated ): my feeling towards sinjar? no way, no way can i go back.
how can my eyes see sinjar again when i witnessed hundreds of people die there? >> ifill: meanwhile, there were new clashes in western iraq today between islamic state" fighters and government forces around fallujah, in anbar province. the governor of the province appealed for u.s. air strikes there too, but american officials had no immediate response. in another development, france announced the imminent delivery of military aid to kurdish forces battling the militants. >> woodruff: in pakistan, thousands of anti-government demonstrators headed toward islamabad, the capital, where police have barricaded entry points. the protesters are demanding that prime minister nawaz sharif resign over claims he came to power a year ago through vote rigging. one protest convoy was led by imran khan, an opposition party leader. cars, trucks and buses left from lahore this morning, with more than 5,000 protesters. others joined along the way. >> ifill: three people were killed in egypt today as
security forces crushed small protests by islamists. they were trying to mark the anniversary of the killing of more than a thousand demonstrators one year ago. those demonstrations followed the military ouster of islamist president mohammed morsi. >> woodruff: a russian aid convoy edged closer to the ukrainian border today. more than 200 vehicles headed toward a crossing controlled by pro-russian rebels. ukrainian officials had demanded the convoy pass through a government border post so its cargo can be inspected. meanwhile, the ukrainian government dispatched its own shipment of relief supplies to the war torn region. it is sending 75 trucks loaded with 800 tons of aid. >> ifill: doses of a potentially life-saving drug have arrived in liberia to treat ebola patients. z-mapp is still untested, and these are the last known doses. the company that developed it says producing more will take months. also today, the u.s. ordered family members of embassy employees in sierra leone to
leave immediately due to the ebola outbreak. >> woodruff: there's word that actor and comedian robin williams was in the early stages of parkinson's disease when he committed suicide. his wife, susan schneider, announced it today in a statement. williams had a long history of substance abuse, but the statement said he had returned to sobriety. parkinson's disease attacks the nervous system, and destroys the ability to control movement. it is incurable. >> ifill: on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained more than 61 points to close at 16,713; the nasdaq rose nearly 19 points to close at 4,453; and the s&p 500 was up eight points to finish at 1,955. >> woodruff: we return now to the drama that unfolded in the st. louis suburb of ferguson, missouri, last night and dominated conversation across
the country today. it was a scene of utter chaos that riveted the nation's attention. stun grenades and tear gas exploded in the streets of ferguson. as heavily armed police aimed weapons from armored trucks. police said they used force when a protest that began peacefully, turned violent, with people throwing rocks and firebombs. >> you must disperse immediately. this is no longer a peaceful protest when you try to injure people. you must disperse now. >> woodruff: with that, officers loosed the barrage of grenades and gas, sending the crowd fleeing. >> we just said, "hands up, don't shoot!" >> reporter: is that all you were saying? >> that's all we were saying, "hands up, don't shoot!" >> reporter: were you in the front line up there? >> in the front line! yes! and they just start shooting! >> woodruff: both city and county officers were involved, and today they defended their
actions. thomas jackson is chief of the ferguson police. >> there is gunfire, there are firebombs being thrown at the police. i understand that what it looks like is not good. the whole situation is not good. we would like the protesters to stop the violence, we certainly don't want to have any violence on our part. we want this to be peaceful. if individuals are in a crowd that's attacking police, they need to get out of that crowd. we can't individually go in and say, "excuse me, sir, are you peacefully protesting, are you throwing rocks? are you throwing a molotov cocktail?" it's a crowd. >> woodruff: the "st. louis post dispatch" reported ten people were arrested. among them, st. louis city alderman antonio french, who'd been chronicling events on social media. including several vine video posts. >> what do we want? justice! >> woodruff: french was released
this morning. >> stop videotaping! let's grab our stuff and go. >> woodruff: "washington post" reporter wesley lowery recorded this exchange with police as he and a "huffington post" reporter were ordered to clear out of a nearby mcdonald's. the reporters were detained and later released without any charges. separately, members of an "al jazeera america" tv crew had to run for it after police fired tear gas as they prepared for a live report. today, the police chief denied the media had been deliberately targeted. but the stark images from last night reverbated far beyond ferguson. president obama interrupted his vacation on martha's vineyard. >> there is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. there's also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their first
amendment rights. and here in the united states of america, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the american people on what they see on the ground. >> woodruff: meanwhile, missouri political leaders spent the day in ferguson. u.s. senator claire mccaskill, speaking after a community gathering, sharply criticized police tactics. >> i think that the police response needs to be demilitarized. i think that the police response has become part of the problem as opposed to being part of the solution. >> woodruff: police chief jackson rejected the criticism. >> the whole picture is being painted a little bit sideways from what's really happening. and it's not military, it's tactical operations, it's swat teams. that's who's out there. police. we're doing this in blue. in a statement, u.s. attorney general eric holder also voiced concerns about police actions, and said the justice department has offered to provide technical assistance with crowd control. the night's events in ferguson have swept across the world wide web, in a torrent of videos,
tweets and re-tweets. the chant of "hands up, don't shoot" had already morphed into a rallying cry on social media. this morning, howard university, in washington d.c., posted a photo on its facebook page showing scores of students with hands raised and the hashtag "hands up, don't shoot." similar photos from across the country also circulated online. at the same time, the investigation continued into the incident that started all this, saturday's shooting of 18-year- old michael brown. the identity of the officer who fired the fatal shot remained a point of contention. authorities again said they're not ready to release the name, due, partly, to death threats. at one point, a twitter account associated with the activist group anonymous did publish a name that it said was the officer in question. that was flatly denied by
police, and twitter later suspended the account. >> woodruff: for a look at what's happening on the ground in ferguson, we turn to "usa today" reporter yamiche alcindor, who was there last night. she regularly covers social issues relating to criminal justice. i spoke to her a short time ago. yamiche alcindor, we thank you for talking with us. first of all, reaction to the governor's announcement that the missouri highway patrol is going to be taking over law enforcement there. >> residents here for the last two days that i have been here have really been complaining about what they consider military-tile policing. people are welcoming this announcement. a woman i talked to said she was scared to have her child in the street and she's going in extra early. i think people are rielle hunterly excited about. this even though they don't know exactly what's coming and they're still worried about what the highway patrol will do, people think if it won't be tanks or tear gas that it may be
better. >> woodruff: you were very much there last night, reporting on it, tweeting about it. what did you see? officials are saying people in the crowd were throwing rocks, throwing fire bombs. >> i did not see people throwing rocks and fire bombs but i know there are some images of people doing that, so i think that that might have actually happened. what i saw mostly was people crowding in different areas, picking up their arms, saying, don't shoot, hands up. people were in some ways aggressively walking up to police and kind of taunting them. at about 2:00 in the morning, i was at the ferguson police station and a group of six or seven people walked on to the ferguson police property and taunting the police there. soon after the st. louis county police showed up with about four trucks and 60 officers in riot gear. so i saw that. i also saw officers with rifles drawn, kind of pointed at people
they thought were taunting them or they thought might be shooting at them. >> woodruff: and yamiche alcindor, what about what happened between the police and news media, reporters? i saw you tweeted about police yelling at you at one point. >> police yelled at me, but they also yelled at people that were in the street. they were really trying to get people out and dispersed and i was taki about three to five people being arrested at 2:30 in the morning and the police did not take kindly to that. i was also told to leave with the protesters, they made an announcement saying leave the area. but they were very aggressive with people at the end saying you need to leave or you will go to jail. i saw the people being arrested and i took a picture and the police were not happy. i can understand they were trying to get people dispersed and the people were being arrested and that's my experience with the police here. for the most part, police have
been respectful of me as a journalist for the majority of the time here. >> woodruff: have temperatures cooled down at all? what's going on where you are? i see people are bind you. >> people are behind me. they're protesting. people are really not dying down. i thought the first couple of days here, okay, things will get quiet, people will go home and not think about this anymore, but i talked to men who lives feet away from the spot where michael brown was shot and he said i'm happy with what we're doing. this is the first time i've seen people so united and determined, and we want the officer's name and him charged with murder. people are really angry. four to five days into this, people are really upset and people are organizing and making voices heard through demonstrations and protests. >> woodruff: yamiche alcindor, u.s.a. today, thank you for talking with us. two reactions to what's
happening, tony messneger and brian fletcher. we welcome you both to the program. brian fletcher, how did the situation in ferguson deteriorate to this point, do you think? >> i don't think anyone really knows the answer to that.3 i believe it's a built-up frustration of generations of difficulties within the african-american community. unfortunately, this tragic accident happened to occur in fergen and it could happen in any large suburb in the united states. unfortunately, ferguson is getting the attention at this point. >> woodruff: your newspaper, the editorial page, tony messneger, has been writing about this. to many, looking in from the outside, it's hard to understand how the police force could be majority white and the community majority african-american. how can there be such a
disconnect or a discrepancy between the two? >> i think the important thing to understand looking from the outside is how divided this community is by jurisdiction. ferguson is a suburb of st. louis. st. louis the city is not even in st. louis county. it's its own city. the largest police forces in the region are st. louis county and st. louis city. we have 90 municipalities in st. louis county, ferguson one of those, many very small, many have police forces that they can barely afford, and so your best police officers are going to the county or the largest municipality st. louis city, so it's harder for the smaller police forces to actually develop strong forces that are worthy of their community and that match the demographic makeup of their community, and so that's part of what we have here soivment you're saying -- >> woodruff: so you're saying it's asalary issue that causes the police force not to be
representative of the community? >> i would say salary is part of it. i would say it's primarily an issue where you have all these different little municipalities fighting for some of the same officers as compared to what we've advocated for on the editorial page which is por fore community to become one larger community with one large police force that can be representative of the community, one large fire department that can be representative of the community, instead of all these tiny different municipalities having their own forces. >> woodruff: brian fletcher, how much has that lack of representation, you think, contributed to the tensions there in ferguson? >> i personally don't feel that contributed at all. i will tell you my vision of why there is a difficulty of having very few african-americans on most of the st. louis suburbs. one is there's a lack of african-american men and women going through the police
academy. we constantly tried, when i was mayor for six years, to hire african-americans. when we did s they were recruited from other surrounding municipalities because they had the same exact issue of seeking more african-american police officers, and they were allowed to pay more money than we have budget for. it's not for lack of trying. there is not enough candidates available within the african-american community to hire them. i would like a list provided to us if someone has a list and we have been trying to do that. unfortunately, they're taken from us by other larger communities. even though ferguson is not small, we are approximately 22,000, and we are the fifth or sixth larges largest municipalif those that tony mentioned. >> woodruff: given that, i certainly think that's part of the explanation, but tony messneger, are there other steps that could have been taken, should have been taken, in your mind, to get the community working closer together with law
enforcement? >> well, i think part of it is just taking it seriously. in the first editorial that we wrote, for instance, we talked about the annual racial profiling numbers that come out. in the state of missouri, it's a state law every police force has to produce racial profiling numbers every year on traffic stops. for eleven of the last 14 years, the state has gotten worse in the racial profiling numbers. more blacks as a percentage of population are picked up in many municipalities based on those numbers and every year the numbers come out and every year people don't pay that much attention to it. i don't believe that we have paid enough attention in our community, in our state to the seriousness of this driving while black situation or how i mentioned in one of the editorials walking while black, as this situation might have been. these are serious situations that have built up over a generation or so, and that's why that anger is exploding so much on the streets of ferguson and
delwood and all the other municipalities around there now. >> woodruff: ryan schallenberger is a former mayor. how do you see that? >> well, there is -- brian fletcher is a former mayor. how do you see that? >> last statistics showed about 83% or 84% of the polls being african-american by our police officers. but let me explain why the misconception. the surrounding communities ferguson are over 9 po% african-american. if you have ten individuals pulled over by a ferguson police officer, chances are it's going to be in the low to mid 80 percent just by the pure fact of numbers. the other thing that skews that is many african-americans have low wages, they may not have
tags, insurance. when an officer doesn't see a tag or plate, he'll pull them over. doesn't matter to have the clr of the individual. i'm not saying there is not racial profiling, i'm just giving you the reason why i believe the numbers are as far as our city is concerned. >> woodruff: i the hear you bot. tony messneger, how much difference do you think it will make having the missouri state patrol in there providing law enforcement going forward and how much confidence do you have that the investigation will be carried out in a fair and transparent way into what happened? >> first of all, i think the governor was too slow to act and made the wrong decision. there was already state patrol there. i think he would have been better off taking city of st. louis police officers who have better training in this sort of specific urban situation and put them in charge. i understand there were some discussions about that. the governor chose to go a different way. i hope it is beneficial. i hope it is helpful.
but for it to be helpful, the militarization situation is going to have to be dialed down. the tear gas and rubber bullets and the dogs, that stuff's going to have to go away, and i'd like to think that's going to work. seems to me the political system is now engaged all the way up to the white house and, so, in an ideal situation, things will calm down a little bit. i think it will take a couple of nights for that to happen. if the same police officers are out there but under a different leadership, i'm not sure how much of a difference that's going to make. i'd like to think that things will be calmer tonight. i'd like to think that it will slow down. as to the second situation, what happens in that investigation will have a direct effect on how intense the protests are from -- going forward. i think that the prosecutor, the f.b.i., whomever is ultimately in charge of this investigation,
is going to have to be transparent and be transparent soon. right now, we just don't have enough information and, so, the people in the community, primarily african-american people, do not trust the state of the investigation right now. >> woodruff: and former mayor fletcher, very quickly, do you have confidence in this investigation? >> i do. i believe ultimately that a thorough investigation will be done. judy, i want to indicate this is not indicative of the ferguson community. that is proven. but the arrests so far that have been doing e looting are not from ferguson, they're from surrounding communities, one as far as dallas, texas. if you ask them what street in ferguson they live on, you're interviewing a lot of residents, and this is not indicative of a wonderful community that's been here for years and we're meeting tonight as community leaders to
overcome the negative publicity we're getting and i believe unjustly so. i don't believe in the history of ferguson we've ever had an african-american teen ever shot by a police officer. unfortunately, it's a tragic situation but it's more about ferguson, it's about a national and regional situation that's wider and, unfortunately, i think that the memory of michael brown is being exploited by many people who don't care about him or the family, they care about their own personal concerns and that's the sad part about the situation. we have a lot of healing to do in ferguson and i am going to be a part of that and i'm going to ask others to join with us. >> woodruff: former mayor brian fletcher and tony messneger, editorial for st. louis post-dispatch. >> ifill: one of the many issues in ferguson that's attracting
national attention is the extent to which local police are becoming ever more heavily armed or as many put it: militarized. hari sreenivasan in our new york studios picks up that part of the story. >> reporter: most notably, many have been talking about how military equipment is making its way from the department of defense to police departments around the country. matt apuzzo has been covering this for the new york times and joins me now from its washington d.c. bureau. matt, what kind of equipment are we talking about? >> for starters, the pentagon makes it very hard to track equipment that goes from the military to local agencies. i mean, the best data we can get comes at the county level. but in a response like this where -- you know, where it's basically all hands on deck for a county response, you know, a number of m-16s -- m-16s are very common. under president obama, there have been tens of thousands of m-16s transferred to police departments nationwide after, you know, being used in the
military. we've seen there have been some trucks, there have been some aircraft. this is part of a program that began as part of the drug war, the idea being, in the '90s, we need to give this surplus military equipment to police departments as a way to fight drug gangs and, like a lot of programs, after 9/11, it was sort of re-engineered for counterterrorism purposes and expanded and, you know, you've really seen after the drawn-out two wars, you've seen a huge amount of military equipment transferred from the pentagon to state and local police departments. >> sreenivasan: how widespread is this and what happens to the equipment if police departments don't want it? >> it's very widespread. it's one of the more popular programs as far as the police go because it's free. we bought a bunch of m-wraps, mind resistant trucks for fighting in iraq.
now we're not fighting in iraq anymore and we have all the extra trucks basically offered to police departments for free and they're saying if you want the trucks you can have them and if you don't want them strap them. >> sreenivasan: so the police departments you've talked to in your reporting, do they say any particular reason that they need an armored vehicle that can withstand a mine patrolling their streets? >> most police departments say, look, i don't think we necessarily needed to sustain a mine explosion but we wanted a bullet-proof truck and this was available for free or go out and buy it. for the past ten years, federal grants have been paying for police departments to buy this stuff outright, so the idea that this is all just coming from the pentagon, that's just one part of it. so what you're seeing is you're seeing police departments saying, well, jeez, if it's free, what's the down side? >> one of their concerns is their citizenry and communities in certain areas are heavily armed. is there any legitimacy to that
claim saying we're almost outgunned when we go out thre and we don't feel protected. >> there's an argument police should be protected. nobody i talk to say police shouldn't have protection, but the idea that the streets of the united states are so dangerous as the police are outgunned isn't borne out by the data. we're looking at violent crime in the united states now is at a generational low and police shootings have been steadily declining -- shootings against police. i should note that while the federal government and private groups keep data when people shoot police, no such data is collected when the police shoots people, and what's interesting about this is what we're seeing in ferguson is we can have the discussion about what military equipment should go to police departments, but you can be certain that what's happening in ferguson is only going to encourage more police departments to buy this stuff.
>> sreenivasan: what about a couple of members of congress today, even the attorney generics say they're very concerned about the militarization. anything likely to happen? it seems like a congressional program with some support. >> yeah, i mean, there hasn't really been any opposition to this program. you know, the criticism of the so-called militarization of police has largely come from libertarian quarters for several years. they have kind of been the lone voice on this. institutes and magazines have been writing a lot about this. in ferguson, you're starting to see what's happening there kind of galvanize some of the more traditional liberal voices against this in ways that they've kind of just been on the sidelines on this issue, but you're right, the idea this is a new concept to members of congress, certainly this is not true. it's been no secret these
transfers have been going. the military transfer program is very popular as are the grant programs. >> sreenivasan: all right, matt apuzzo from the "new york times" joining us from washington, d.c., thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: today's pleas for restraint, safety, peaceful protest and justice went well beyond missouri of course. afternoon, "the eyes of the world are on us." we explore how some of these issues and images are resonating around the country. eric liu is eric liu is an author, educator, and civic entrepreneur. he is the founder and ceo of citizen university. and jelani cobb is an associate professor of history and director of the institute for african american studies at the university of connecticut. he is also a contributor to the new yorker. he's been filing from ferguson and joins us from st. louis. >> woodruff: jelani cobb, something the former mayor of ferguson said a few moments ago is this could happen anywhere. you have been on the streets of ferguson for the last few days. do you agree with that?
>> well, i think recent history shows that not only could it happen anywhere, it has happened in several other places. there are some really terrible overlaps here, one of which is a striking irony that tracy martin, the father of trayvon martin, who was slain two years ago under circumstances i think we're all familiar with, he was scheduled to actually be in this area for an event that will take place on august 24th promoting non-violence called peace fest, and he agreed to attend this program a week before michael brown was killed. he's now coming here under very different circumstances. so we've seen all these things happen before. that notwithstanding, i think it's very troubling to say in the context of a community that's grieving, that's devastated and that certainly feels a great deal of resentment in the way in which it's being
policed, that there is nothing atypical about what's going on here, that this is something that could have just alighted anywhere but just happened here. >> woodruff: eric holder, pick up on that. why would it not be atypical and does it explain the depth of some of the anger we're seeing? >> i think one of the questions protesters have been chanting in ferguson is simple -- what if it was your town? i think people across the country watching things unfold are beginning to reckon with the fact that this is not only the product of the extraordinarily segregated and charged circumstances that you might find in ferguson but th in every town in this country right now there is alienation and every town in the country there are young people who because of the color of their skin are receiving brutal mistreatment by law enforcement and there are communities all across this country right now where people crossed lines of race and class simply do not see ech other.
they may pass each other but they don't see each other and in that sense we're all reckoning with the possibility or the reality that in every town in the united states right now, the potential for this kind of understanding and tragedy exists and part of our responsibility, i think, is to figure out what we can do, whatever town we live in, so ensure that what's unfolded in ferguson doesn't unfold again where we live. >> woodruff: jelani cobb, seems like in the last 24 to 48 hours, this has gone from the question of what happened to michael brown to something else, it has touched another cord, and i wonder whether it seems like that to you and whether the anger seems focused around that singular event? >> no doubt this became a very different story even in the 48 hours i have been here. initially, this was very much focused on the circumstances around the death of michael brown, but now it's expanded
into, you know, bigger questions about policing, questions about militarization of police, as you talked about in your earlier segment. i had a conversation with community activists and people who live in the area where mr. brown was killed and they talk about economic disenfranchisement and a whole array of other things that touch upon what's going on in this community. if i can, i'll say one thing in addition to this, one of the things i heard over and over again when i talked to people out in this community and i said, you know, what exactly do you want in the short term? what do you want immediately? what do you think would pacify some of the anger that you see happening in these communities? and they said, we would like for the officer to be named and we would like for there to be transparency in the process in which he is being investigated. and i heard that again and again. so i think what the police department may not have recognized or maybe recognized too late was the steadfast
insistence that they would not name the officer is going to fuel another set of problems, based on what i've heard, even people who are activists and police officers have all been taken by surprise to the extent which there has been a durable anger that people were not satisfied with protesting one day but came out the next day and the next day and the next day and pledged to do so for the amount of time the officer remains anonymous. >> woodruff: let's talk about the idea of durable anger, eric holder. one of the things making rounds in the social immediatey is pictures of people putting their hands up in the air and saying don't shoot. does that speak to people beyond who are in the street, this idea that you can say that and still become a victim?
>> the pictu with african-americans with hands up saying don't shoot, i look at that picture and i am stirred because i feel a deep sense of connection that in the united states in 2014 this is happening, but i feel shamed as well that we're not able to have a conversation about this about the conditions of unequal justice that unfold without it being quickly polarized and partisan and the reality of why this has become a national story and phenomenon is as jelani cobb was saying, the response to police in ferguson to the protesters, the way they have run roughshod over freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, over the right of young people to be african-american and out in public has been shocking to the conscience and raises a very simple question of what country is this? there is something deeply striking about how un-american
the images seem and i think one of the challenges we face right now is it's only un-american if we stand up and do something and say something about it. if we just turn away, avert our gaze and say, wow, that'sñr something awful happening in that part of the country or that weird community then, in fact, norms set in where we told rate this. so -- tolerate this. i want to take a moment where people are saying hands up don't shoot, 50 years after the civil rights act signed into law. 49 years after the voting rights act, the fact this is still happening is an abomination and you don't have to be an american to say that. >> woodruff: jelani cobb, where does political leadership come into this, has it been sufficient and does it matter? >> i think, you know, again, living i don't live in this community but based on whatever heard from people in the
interviews i've talked to a couple of dozen people at this point and, you know, the thing i heard frequently that they thout the political leadership was ineffectual, that people had come too little, too late, there were questions about whether or not the governor would be involved, yesterday, whether or not they would bring the national guard in, a lot of people were wondering about how this would be handled. it also seemed that on the ground there was a kind of ad hoc quality so, ho out there, people kind of saw the line of defense where there were lots of officers blocking the area where the quick trip stood. but what you couldn't see unless you were up close is there were officers from different municipalities, state people, local people, and seemed as if there was a kind of overlap. you could kind of wonder what the central command was, who was calling the shots and what the real strategy was. that said, there was another thing to be added, two quick
things, one, this is not solely been black. black and white people have been out there protesting about what happened and it was very important for them to convey that. the other is people in riot gear, i don't think that's what incensed people. there were many people in the community who did not want to see more rioting, but the idea that there were police officers who were on top of armored vehicles with assault rifles mounted on tripods and pointed to the crowd did nothing to convey that this was a group of people who were interested in prier serving law and order, it seemed much more like a group of people there to intimidate. >> jelani cobb and eric holder, thank you both for your observations. >> ifill: we'll be back with margaret warner for the latest on iraq.
>> woodruff: now, to more on iraq and the united states involvement there. i'm joined by our chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner who's heading to the country on a reporting trip tonight. >> woodruff: glad to talk to you. so big developments from baghdad this week. >> huge. >> reporter: the announcement of a new prime minister and then late today the surprise word from prime minister maliki that he's stepping down. >> this is second pleasant surprise on the political front they've had in a week. first of all, i'm told they were surprised at how quickly, relatively quickly the shiite parties recognize that maliki
had to go and coalesced around somebody else. they really thought it would take longer even though it was a deadline of last sunday. so you had the sistani and grand ayatollah wage in and critical critical -- so there was relief of that. secondly, to have maliki resign, originally called the army out into the streets and there was a fear there would be that kind of a coup or, even after he withdraw, talked about challenges it in a court, so it clears the way for formation of a new government. that stayed, as administration officials said, look, there are huge differences within the the shiite coalition not to mention among sunnis, shiite and kurds, and you just take abadi, he new p.m. designate, even though he
spent most of his exile in the west, not iran as maliki did, he comes from the dawa party and two of his brothers were executed. >> woodruff: let me ask you about the ethnic minority group the yazidis trapped on the mountain in northern iraq. how did the administration come to conclude after originally saying they were going in and rescuing them and having a major operation that that wasn't going to be needed? >> it is amazing. i believe they were only on the mountain about 240 hours. there were special operations forces and some a.i.d. people. this is a big mountain of 60 miles long, very, very rugged terrain, and at least they were
on the northern side where a lot of yazidis had been escaping, they found 4,000 to 5,000 and half of them herders. i have to say some yazidi spokesmen are questioning that and saying they couldn't have probably got on the south side where people are in much more desperate shape than the i.s.i.l. and i.s.i.s. positions are on the south rim, but this was very much the conclusion and, again, a pleasant surprise because the white house, which already was looking at a lot of different options from bying in large u.s. military aircraft -- i mean i talked to people on wednesday when they were really looking at these options to this was not a faint at all, and the fact that the president will n have to do that as well as the fact that these people aren't as in desperate shape is a relief. >> woodruff: and finally the big question, the rest of iraq, i.s.i.l., the islamic state, this group threatening big
chunks of the country, what does the administration think it needs to do? >> well, it holds a third of the country, a huge chunk of the country, and the administration -- you know, the president essentially promised if this new government coalesces and everyone buys in, sunni, shiite, kurds, everyone is willing to support an iraqi-led operation on the ground. they're looking at air strikers increased intelligence operation which they're already doing, more training, more weapons. a kurdish leader said to me yesterday, ah, but the air strikes can't be totally effective unless the u.s. puts special ops, intelligence people, whatever, on the ground to call in the air yaks. the official i talked to today said that's certainly on the table but no decision has been made yet because that can be seen as running afoul of the president's promise not to put american combat boots on the ground. >> you're done a lot of
reporting and you're doing a lot more. you will be on the ground. going to be reporting there all next week, margaret, and we look forward to that. >> thank you. i hope i can say the same. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. the missouri state highway patrol took over security in ferguson. that's after local police drew heavy criticism for forcibly breaking up protests over the killing of a black teenager. iraqi prime minister nouri al- maliki announced he's stepping down after all, as his support crumbled on all sides. and baseball owners selected their chief operating officer, rob manfred, to be the new commissioner for major league baseball. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, for those sending kids off to college this fall, what do you know about the people getting paid to teach them? on making sense, a former adjunct professor invites
parents to consider the labor economics at work at american colleges and universities. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on friday, we'll travel to south sudan. and explore the humanitarian crisis facing internally displaced refugeees. i'm judy woodruff >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you on-line, and again here tomorrow evening with david brooks and ruth marcus. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by bnsf railway.
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. this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and susie gharib. >> record setter, one stock today set an all-time record for the highest price ever. we'll tell you which one it is and whether it's still a buy. >> pennies from heaven, j.c. penney gave investors a big surprise late today and shares soared. can the gains stick? >> and the golden years, many retiring boomers want to have fun, and all they are spending is having a big impact on the travel industry. the final series, ageing in america tonight on "nightly business report" for thursday, august 14th. good evening, everyone and welcome, the markets end the day just modestly higher but at the highs of the day, but it was a record-setting day of another kind because one stock has gone where no other stock