Democracy Now! March 1, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! March 1, 2002
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

A federal appeals court overturns the conviction of three officers charged with brutalizing Haitian immigrant Abner Louima : police brutality, with Iris Baez, mother of a victim of police brutality : President Bush finishes meetings with three African leaders : interview with a South African activist and scholar about apartheid : Colombian government declares a war zone in a large part of southern Colombia, expands military special powers : Peace talks on the 38-year civil conflict have been called off.

9:01-9:06 HEADLINES 9:06-9:07 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:07-9:20 OVERTURNED: AS A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT OVERTURNS THE CONVICTION OF THREE OFFICERS CHARGED WITH BRUTALIZING ABNER LOUIMA, DEMOCRACY NOW! LOOKS AT THE FACE OF POLICE BRUTALITY, WITH IRIS BAEZ, MOTHER OF A VICTIM OF POLICE BRUTALITY A federal appeals court yesterday overturned the convictions of three white police officers charged in the 1997 torture case of Abner Louima. The officers Charles Schwarz, Thomas Wiese and Thomas Bruder had all been found guilty in an earlier ruling of brutalizing the Haitian immigrant. All had been sentenced to prison: Schwarz to 16 years for holding down Louima while officer, Justin Volpe, sodomized him with a broken broomstick; and Bruder and Wiese to 5 years for conspiracy to obstruct justice. But now it looks like the two of the men will go free and the third might. According to yesterdays court decision, the first trials of Wiese and Bruder did not present sufficient evidence to convict them of a crime. As for Schwartz, the judges ruled that he was denied effective counsel in his initial case. It has also said that some members of the jury were exposed to outside information during their deliberations that could have influenced their decision. Yesterdays ruling was yet another stunning twist in a case that became a national symbol of police brutality and ignited one of the first waves of protest against the Giuliani administration and the Police Department. Through successful prosecution, it was also one of the first cases to crack the blue wall of silence that has long protected officers at the expense of justice. But, as yesterdays reversal suggests, the legacy of this case is far from over. GUEST: MICHAEL RATNER, lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights GUEST: IRIS BAEZ, mother of Anthony Baez, killed by a police officer in 1994, at age 29. 9:20-9:21 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:21-9:40 AS PRESIDENT BUSH FINISHES A WHIRLWIND SERIES OF MEETINGS WITH THREE AFRICAN LEADERS, WE SPEAK WITH A SOUTH AFRICAN ACTIVIST AND SCHOLAR ABOUT APARTHEID There is a lot of news about Africa that simply does not make it into the mainstream papers. For example, President Bush has just met with leaders of three African nations in the last week. He met with the president of Angola this, just days after rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was killed; he met with the President of Botswana; and he met with the President of Mozambique. Then there is South Africa. Thabo Mbeki came to New York at the beginning of February for the World Economic Forum. He was not out there protesting; he was inside, marketing his New Project for Africas Development (Nepad). The project garnered widespread corporate applause during the WEF, and will soon be the subject of similar attention at the upcoming G-8 meeting in Canada. It is Mbekis solution to what he, and others in his government, have described as global apartheid. But is Mbeki, along with other Nepad advocates, really seeking to break the chains of global apartheid - or merely to shine them? Today, we speak with author and activist, Patrick Bond, about globalization, poverty, and the struggle for economic justice in South Africa. He has just completed a book called Against Global Apartheid. GUEST: PATRICK BOND, Alternative Information and Development Centre in Johannesburg. He is also an associate professor at the University of the Witwatersrand Graduate School of Public and Development Management. 9:40-9:41 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:41-9:58 THE COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT DECLARES A WAR ZONE IN A LARGE PART OF SOUTHERN COLOMBIA AND EXPANDS MILITARY SPECIAL POWERS AFTER THE REVOLUTIONARY ARMED FORCE OF COLOMBIA KIDNAP MEMBERS OF CONGRESS The Colombian government has picked up on the Bush administrations rhetoric of terrorism as it declares a war zone in a large part of southern Colombia and expands military special powers. President Andres Pastrana warned citizens to expect more "terrorist" attacks from the rebels yesterday, in his first televised address to the nation since breaking off peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia last week. Yesterday Pastrana rejected a one-year deadline to swap guerrillas in state jails for hostages held by FARC, including several members of Congress. The FARC hostages include Ingrid Betancourt, a presidential candidate with the small Oxygen Green party, who was taken on Saturday as she tried to enter the former rebel safe haven, a Switzerland-sized chunk of territory in the south, which Pastrana ceded to the FARC as a peace gesture four years ago. But after the FARC hijacked a civilian airliner and kidnapped a high-level senator, Pastrana reclaimed the zone and called off peace talks on Colombias 38-year civil war. Backed by an air force bombing campaign, the Colombian army has moved in onthe former enclave to reassert control. The FARC has emerged out of the jungle to step up attacks on power lines, knocking out power to more than 50 towns, mainly in southern Colombia. Today, activists in Bogota are will hold a demonstration to call for the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the FARC, and for the safe return of the hostages. We are joined by one of the organizers, the husband of Ingrid Betancourt, Juan Lecompte. GUEST: JUAN LECOMPTE, husband of Senator and Oxygen Green Party presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, kidnapped by the FARC on Saturday 9:58-9:59 OUTRO AND CREDITS

Date Recorded on: 
March 1, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
March 1, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. March 1, 2002
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