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CNN's Amanpour for March 26, 2021. Aired 3-4p ET.
Aired March 26, 2021 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much, as always, for watching.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone, and welcome to Amanpour. Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAOLA RAMOS, VICE NEWS HOST: I'd say there's at least 100 people here. There are children from the ages of 5 to literally 3 months old.
AMANPOUR: Inside the harrowing trek to America. Vice News Host Paola Ramos tells us what migrants really face on their dangerous journey through the
jungle. Then, gridlock in yet another Israeli election as Palestinians gear up for theirs, the first in 15 years. Candidate and Former Foreign Minister
Nasser al-Qudwa on what all this means for peace and human rights in the region. Plus.
TRACIE KEESEE, COFOUNDER OF THE CENTER ON POLICING EQUITY: You have a lot of - thousands of officers who want to serve, who really want to do the
right thing. And you have some that are attracted to it for all of the wrong reasons.
AMANPOUR: Reimagining policing. Tracie Keesee and Phillip Atiba Goff, cofounders of the Center on Policing Equity, tell our Michel Martin what it
will take to bring real reform.
Plus. A world class pianist returns home. Mahani Teave on what drove her to create Easter Island's first music school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christian Amanpour in London. A group of Senate Republicans is at the U.S./Mexico border today, a
response to the wave of migrants trying to gain entry into the United States. Texas Senators Cruz and Cornyn are calling the situation a crisis,
while President Joe Biden says that it's not.
He says the surge is something that happens every year at this time for seasonal reasons. Still, the number of children and unaccompanied minors is
a cause for concern. While the focus right now is very much on the border, it's important to remember that the actual story is outside the border, and
that the journey there can start much, much further away than we realize.
Vice News Correspondent Paola Ramos headed down to Colombia's border with Panama and joined migrants as they trek through the dangerous jungles known
as the Darien Gap. Here's a clip from her report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAMOS: On the trail are poisonous snakes, scorpions and jaguars, yet far worse are the gangs looking for prey. The migrants are vulnerable to being
robbed at any time, and many women become the victims of sexual assault and rape. So far, the two women that were in front of me at the beginning have
been left behind.
They started with shoes, and I saw them completely barefoot by the time I left them. At this point, I don't really know where they are. Ahead of me,
it's pretty silent. It's pitch black. The one thing you can hear, though, the murmuring of children. That's the one thing that you can hear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Paola Ramos is joining us now from New York. Welcome back to the program, Paola, and you have been following this issue of migration for a
long time. Tell me why you chose that particular border?
RAMOS: I think when we're trying to understand what is driving migrants to the United States, you have to understand the desperation.
And I think, in that border, through that jungle, you understand that migrants are so desperate to reach the United States, they're so desperate
to attain this American dream that we're constantly talking about, that they are willing to risk their lives and cross up to ten days through one
of the world's most dangerous jungles, which is in (inaudible).
So, in that jungle, you recognize what desperation means. You also recognize that migrants aren't just coming from Central America, they're
coming from all different parts of the world. And you understand that the journey to U.S. may look many different ways.
AMANPOUR: And we heard, obviously, in the clip you talking about jaguars and scorpions and - and what else is there that makes it so dangerous? Ten
days through the jungle is unbearable to even think of. Are there - are there, I don't know, gangs and other such things?
RAMOS: That's right. Of course. So to give everyone an idea, this is 66 miles of jungle, right. This is between Colombia and Panama. In the
Colombian side of the jungle, that's controlled by Glandin Welfo (ph). Glandin Welfo (ph) is one of Colombia's most powerful cartel groups. And
so, there really is no way of crossing that part of the jungle without their yes, right, without their affirmation.
So, you first depend on them to cross. You're not only then encountering different types of animals, but once you make it to the Panamanian side of
the border, it was so dangerous that even our crew, our VICE News crew had to leave because the Panamanian side is what is more known as the lawless
Every single migrant that I spoke to once they had finished that route, every single one of them told me that they had been robbed in that side,
that they had seen dead bodies, and many, many people had seen other people being raped, and that is everything that is happening on the Panamanian
side of El Ladian (ph).
I didn't talk to single person that had not been attacked and in a different version of that (ph).
AMANPOUR: So I don't know whether you crossed as, you know, with the migrants on the Panamanian side, but you certainly talked to some of the
coyotes. So, of course, those are the human traffickers.
They're the smugglers. They're the people that extort or extract money from the migrants, and they're also the people who are telling the migrants
right now that, hey, you can come across because Joe Biden says it's OK, which he doesn't.
But I want to play a click of you talking to one of these coyotes.
(BEING VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There's been a change since the election of the new president. The same way it happened eight years ago
when Obama was still president. There was a high flow of migrants around these parts.
RAMOS: Would it be fair to say that migrants have become a business for you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I wouldn't' call it a business. It's just another job.
RAMOS: And you charge them how much?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): $350 or $400.
RAMOS: Many migrants have lost their lies trying to make this trip.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes, it happens. They are desperate. They are willing to do whatever they have to do in order to
enter the Untied States. They don't know what lies ahead. They just want their American dream to come true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So you know -
AMANPOUR: -- he says they want the American dream, but I guess did - you know, you saw him close up. I guess you could look into his eyes. Do they
have any sense of what they're doing to these people? You know, taking their money, abandoning them, and, you know, condemning them to a terrible
existence and maybe even death?
RAMOS: Well I can tell you that they think that they're doing them a service, right? They think that without their help they would essentially
die as they're trying to trek the Colombian side of El Ladian (ph), right? And that's one of the questions that I asked him and why are you doing
They don't see it as a criminal act. Obviously we - that's a whole other discussion. They are - let's remember, they are working within Glanelolio
(ph). You know, they are cartel groups. They're not just trafficking migrants. They're also trafficking cocaine in those very same territories
that I was in, but they see this as a way to help the migrants survive this extremely treacherous jungle.
And I had to say, yes, migrants - the cartels have directly profited from this whole border crisis or border surge, however you want to name it, and
that's something that was true not just now but also under President Trump, right? Under President Trump more than 24,000 migrants crossed that same
jungle, amongst them at least 4,000 children.
And so, the cartels are one of the people that are directly profiting from all of these stranded migrants that are all over the continent.
AMANPOUR: And Paola, you know, people in the press conference said to President Biden it's because you're a nice guy that they're coming, and he
just - he just batted that away. He said, you know, was Donald Trump a nice guy? They still came and even in higher percentages, but there is a crisis
in terms of the children. There are much more children and unaccompanied minors coming across.
And Biden laid out some of the desperation that these families are facing, which lead them to make these treacherous journeys or, in fact, send off
their kids. Let's just listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not like somebody's sitting on a hand tuned (ph) table in Guatemala - I mean, in somewhere in
Mexico or in Guadalupe saying I got a great idea.
Let's sell everything we have, give it to a coyote, have him take our kids across the border into a desert where they don't speak the language. Won't
that be fun? Let's go. That's not how it happens. People don't want to leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So when you talk to the people who are leaving, what did they say to you? What was - what were some of the reasons that they told you
they were leaving because he's right. People don't want to leave their countries if they don't have to.
RAMOS: Of course. I mean, they're absolutely desperate for many reasons. I spend a lot of time with Cubans, right? Many Cuban people told me they're
simply being completely surveilled by the government. I think often when we talk about Cuba it's hard to describe what that type of oppression looks
like. Essentially many migrants told me that they felt suffocated, that they felt like they could not be free.
And so, that is what impulse many to take this journey. I was with a lot of migrants from Haiti. The poverty is still excruciating. The violence has
gotten to such point that if you are a father or a mother and you want to give your son a better opportunity, Haiti is not a place where you can
envision that future for them, right?
And then we also have to think about the pandemic. A lot of these migrants started their journeys. Some of them then started building their lives in
countries like Chile or Ecuador and then came COVID. And under COVID some of the small opportunities that they had suddenly disappeared.
And so, many of the migrants that are met are people that restated their lives in Chile or in Ecuador, and then once again they saw themselves with
no other option but to continue migrating north. And many of the migrants that I met that did this trek through the jungle are now the ones that are
stranded in Mexico still waiting to continue this journey north.
And so, one of the takeaways is it never really stops. You know, they don't really know when the end is, and desperation is so hard that it just - it
keeps - it keeps them going on. And that I think is something that is very hard to describe in reporting. It's very hard to show what desperation
looks like to show what would impulse a mom to carry a child through at night. And I hope that's what we do with this piece.
AMANPOUR: Well you did a pretty good job of that because you can see the desperation. You can see the tiny children. You can see the mothers trying
to look after them.
You can hear the voices of the civilians, men and women, who are desperate, losing their shoes, having to hike up hills, you know, not having enough
food and water and being terrified.
And to that point you mentioned a journey from Haiti to Chile and then onwards. A man called Snyderson (ph) is somebody you met on both sides of
your trip, and when you got to Panama you saw that he had got there. And this is what he said to you when you got there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a lot of mafia on the road, on the way. They all have guns. They took my money. They took my son's clothes. They raped
RAMOS: Did you see that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Some Cubans got raped. That guy there, they shot him. The baby was in front of him. He sat on the floor, and they shot him.
They took everyone's money. Everyone's.
I felt like crying because I didn't know if I was going to live, or die and leave my son behind.
RAMOS: I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw people dying on the way.
RAMOS: Did you see dead bodies?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Dead bodies.
RAMOS: More than one?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, like three people. Yes. They died on the way. If I had to take that road again to live, I'd prefer to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, that is really dramatic testimony. He talks about the assault and rape of women, the killing of people en route, the fact that he
lost everything en route and probably wouldn't have done it again had he known what was in store.
You heard a lot of those kinds of stories. What do they - what do they do once they get to Panama?
RAMOS: So once they get to Panama, once they finishing trekking El Ladian (ph), they then have to be transferred to at least three different shelters
that are set up by the Panamanian government. And after that - after they go to the third and last one where they do have some sort of cons (ph) like
with the U.N., with UNICEF, and with the Red Cross, they then start the next phase of their journey.
They go to Costa Rica, and then from Costa Rica they start crossing through Central America. And again, Snyderson (ph) just like (inaudible), he's
currently in Mexico as well.
And so, it is - it is just one thing after the other right? It's this endless journey, and to me that was one of the most striking things, right?
After someone like Snyderson (ph) sees those images, right, after he encounters people being raped, after he sees dead bodies, after he sees
that his own child can be at risk, this idea of the American dream is so engrained and so powerful that he has it in him to continue going on.
I think that's one of the things that we're - we keep hearing in this immigration debate. I think what President Biden and what a lot of people
are trying to do is to ask the American people that question. If you were someone like Snyderson (ph), what would you do? No, and again I hope these
images speak for themselves.
AMANPOUR: Except now he's trying to tell them don't come, and he is saying that - and the administration is sending PSAs, public service
announcements, taking out ads in parts of Central America to try to get that message across.
He's saying that we have to get the infrastructure for proper asylum processing back to where it was before the Trump administration gutted it.
So final question, is that message getting to them that they should wait, that the Americans will take and process asylum claims but they need to
RAMOS: It's not, and I think that's the conclusion that I very quickly arrived to through this trek. It's not. You can hear the administration say
don't come just yet. Wait until the border's open. The desperation doesn't know how to wait. Know desperation isn't scared of that. Desperation will
take you anywhere.
And so, what I've - what I've found countless times at the border, what I've found at El Ladian (ph) is that in this moment there's a lot of mixed
messages between what it means to be a country of immigrants but then have the border close, right?
Between what it means to allow some asylum seekers in but not some of them, but what I will tell you is that that is certainly not stopping the
majority of them to come because for them, as we just saw, it is a matter of life and death. And in those circumstances we keep going on.
AMANPOUR: And of course for the United States it's a matter of trying to have a proper immigration reform and a proper immigration future. Paolo
Ramos, thank you very much indeed for joining us, and you can see her full report this Sunday at VICE on Showtime.
Next the eternal Middle East conundrum. Israel is in gridlock again after a fourth inconclusive election in two years while Palestinians are gearing up
for their first election in 15 years.
Hamas won the last one back in 2006, and this all has major impact on U.S. policy, and especially on that elusive peace deal. The former Palestinian
Foreign Minister, Nasser AlKidwa, is running in May's parliamentary elections. People are disillusioned with politics as usual, and he has
formed a new and independent party. Nasser AlKidwa is joining me now from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
Welcome to the program. So listen, can I start by asking you how you got to this point of running and creating a new party because you were part of
Fatah. You are, you know, the nephew of the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and now you've been thrown out of the - of the party. Why have you
decided that it's so necessary and urgent that you would risk being thrown out of your own historic political tribe so to speak?
NASSER ALKIDWA, FORMER PALESTINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well thank you. Thank you, Christiane, for having me first, and secondly, let me say this. I was
not planning to be expelled from my party, and I don't recognize this expulsion anyway.
Let me add also that we don't have a party. We have a gathering - a political gathering that might develop into something more formal at the
later stage, but in regards (ph) to your question how did I get here, I think there is a general Palestinian feeling that the situation has got
very bad. In terms of both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in terms of the internal Palestinian situation.
And as such there was a feeling that there is a need for a change - deep and broad change that could face those difficulties and try to provide
answers, and we have done just like - just that.
I mean, we quickly formed this Palestinian measured in graphic (ph) assembly and we established - we put together a program - very serious
program, comprehensive that will provide not only analysis but provide answers and moreover specific tasks for those who might be elected to the
legislative council at a later stage so they can be, of course, judged on the basis of that.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you. You know, let's just take what you say is wrong with internal Palestinian politics before we address the conflict
between you and Israel. You know, I spoke to Hanan Ashrawi, another very well-known to the international community Palestinian official. She, too,
resigned, you know, because she didn't like some of what was going on.
This is what she told me about what the Palestinian people are sick of and what they want.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
HANAN ASHRAWI, FORMER PLO EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER: We do want good governance. We do want complete representation. We do want an accountable
system of government, and like many systems of power that have been in place for a long time, they tend to fossilize with time. And I think what
we need is a jog (ph) to jar and to say that this cannot go on anymore.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
AMANPOUR: So Nasser AlKidwa, do you agree that Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian authority has fossilized?
ALKIDWA: Well the main - the main thing is the overall situation, and let me say that it do agree generally with what my friend, Hanan, said. There
is a need for good governance. There is a need for the rule of law. There is a need for a real fight against corruption. There is a need for
democratic rights among people.
We have been always proud people that enjoy our freedoms and exercise this freedom proudly. So it's a bit difficult. It's really difficult for some of
us, for all of us probably to live into or under these conditions, these circumstances, and that's why again we want that serious change, deep and
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you because there's talk that potentially Fatah, the dominant party on the West Bank, and Hamas, which is in control of
Gaza, might go to these elections in a joint list. Is that even conceivable? What would that actually mean for Palestinian politics vis-a-
vis your own society, with Israel and with the United States? Would Hamas be acceptable?
AL-KIDWA: Well, unfortunately, it was more than conceivable. I think it was part of - of a deal that actually was concluded between Fatah and Hamas.
And while, by the way I am big supporter, strong supporters, of any attempt to achieve reunification and achieve unity. Nevertheless, I thought that
deal had something lacking credibility, lacking substance, and something that might lead to even entrenchment of this split rather than ending the
And that's why I came out publicly against - against the idea, as well as against the idea of the joint list between Fatah and Hamas. Let me say this
also, that the opposition to the idea is great internally inside Fatah and inside Hamas and that's why it might not take place in real life.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me just - let me just give sort of numbers to what you mean the opposition is against. There are polling, by a respected
Palestinian polling organization, that says, Mahmoud Abbas, the current President of the Palestinian Authority, would only get 9% in a future
Ismail Haniyyeh, who's head of Hamas in Gaza, would only get 14%, but 22% that said that Marwan Barghouti would get their vote. Now, of course, he is
the Palestinian activist and leader who's in jail inside Israel. Is there any way that the system allows Palestinians to vote for a jailed leader?
And what would that mean?
AL-KIDWA: I think the system should allow Palestinians to vote a jailed leader to any - or any other leader. I mean, that should be free choice for
every Palestinian. And I - I was hoping that Marwan Barghouti, my friend and my comrade, would join our movement and join our trend and support it.
Nevertheless, I respect his choices and let's see what will happen later on when we arrive to the presidential elections. We said that if he runs after
the support that should be given to the Palestinian National Democratic Assembly, we would support him.
So, anyway, this is - this is now left to - to the future and we'll see what - what will happen. Generally speaking, polls in the Palestinian
society might not be that accurate. It's cultural matter. And, by the way, we in the Palestinian MBA are very young and probably we were not around
when this - this poll was taken.
AMANPOUR: Right. And so let me ask you the - obviously the international question, and that is about the peace process. You know, many, many people
don't believe that there is a two-state solution on the table any more. Do you believe in it? And -- well, first of all, do you believe that the two-
state solution is possible still to achieve?
AL-KIDWA: There is no doubt about that. It's the only way forward. Nevertheless, let me say this. The turn two state solution has become
linked to the never-ended peace process, never-ended perpetual negotiations that - that is useless, totally useless.
for Palestinian people, for instance, are committed overwhelmingly to their national right, their national identity, their national state, by the way,
that does exist by virtue of the natural right of the Palestinian people, by virtue of the historic right, by virtue of international legitimacy, by
virtue of the recognition by the majority of states - of the - of the state of Palestine.
So by virtue of all of this, the state does exist. Under occupation, yes, subject to settler colonialism, yes, but this is the struggle, the struggle
for liberty and national independence. Now, if this comes through negotiations, all the better, of course, we want that.
But unfortunately, the Israeli trend, general trend, which has now proved - proved again to be right and more extreme right and a little bit of center
and things like that. Unfortunately, this trend seems not to be willing to have a serious solution.
It seems to be one thing, everything, so we have minister that would come publicly and say this is all ours, utter craziness. That has to end, and I
think important part of it has to come from the United States, from the new Biden administration. I hope that this will be the case. And then, if this
does happen, we'll be able, probably, to move again forward.
AMANPOUR: So that was going to be my next question because you just said Israel, you know, makes these claims. And, of course, the previous
administration, the Trump administration, gave Israel what many called the carte blanche to continue its control of so much of the West Bank, and also
broke off diplomatic relations with you, with the Palestinian authority.
Now the Biden administration has said it wants to resume them. They want diplomatic relations with you, the Palestinians. Should you go back to
AL-KIDWA: Let me - let me say this. First, there are some Palestinians that they claim all of the land of Palestine as theirs. The only difference
that the Israeli's saying that now come from the top, come - come from the - the cabinet, and that's - that's very dangerous indeed.
As far as Trump administration, I think they violated the established policy U.S. policy. Before I speak about international law and
international positions, U.S. policy itself was drastically violated and, frankly, what Trump administration presented was basically the policy and
position of Israeli settlers, extreme right, and the policy and positions of Christian Zionists, if the term is - is correct, an extreme part of - of
That was the deadlock. That was a road that leads to nothing but more blood and more sweat and more suffering and more difficulties, and it should have
ended. For Palestinians, to tell you the truth, the most important thing at the time of the U.S. election was who was leaving, not who was coming, and
if there was a sigh of relief that Mr. Trump has left.
And that was very good news, not only for the Palestinians, I think for the whole world as well. Now we want to see a movement back to the established
U.S. policy, a movement back to respect of international law, a movement back to more balanced policies and position vis-a-vis the Palestinians and
And if this happens again, yes of course, we would be ready to move forward and to meet every - to meet the other side in the middle based on respect
of our mutual rights. And that, let me specify again, respect for the existence of the state of Palestine.
AMANPOUR: Nasser - just very, very briefly, and finally I want to ask you because there's been suggestions of elections in - in the West Bank for a
long time, and each and every one of them have been canceled over the years. Do you believe that these parliamentary elections in May and then
the presidential in July will actually go ahead?
AL-KIDWA: I hope so, and I keep my fingers crossed. Let me put it that simple.
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, there's a lot of finger crossing to be done in your region, and we will continue to follow it. Thank you so much for
Now, the trail of Derek -- the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer charged with killing George Floyd, is set to begin on Monday. Our
next guests delve into the challenges with policing as America grapples with institutional reform.
Phillip Atiba Goff is one of the country's leading scholars on law enforcement and race. And Tracie Keesee is a former Captain with the Denver
Police Department. They cofounded the Center for Policing Equity, and here they are talking with our Michel Martin about strengthening relations,
relationships with the communities they serve.
MICHEL MARTIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Christiane. Tracie Keesee, thank you so much for joining us.
TRACIE KEESEE, CO-FOUNDER, CENTER FOR POLICING EQUITY: Thank you for inviting me.
MARTIN: Phillip Atiba Goff, thank you so much for joining us.
PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, PSYCHOLOGIST, CO-FOUNDER, CENTER FOR POLICING EQUITY: Thanks for having us.
MARTIN: Dr. Keesee, I want to point out that you're a 25-year police veteran in addition to your academic work. You retired as a Captain of the
Denver Police Department, and I do need to know that a police officer was killed as he went to respond to what became a mass casualty event in a
super market in Boulder. What does this moment bring up for you?
KEESEE: It brings up a lot of things. First, it brings up the emotions and the feelings of when you lose an officer in the line of duty, the
devastation that it brings not only to the community in which he served, but to his family and the seven children that are left behind.
To look at what's happening in these last couple of, you know, days tells you just how complex the situations are that we are really truly dealing
with when we talk about policing, when we talk about public safety and law enforcement.
It is exactly what we talk about when we have -- you had an officer who ran towards danger as he was trained to take his -- you know, lose his life,
and then on the other conversation to have -- a conversation around how officers are treating black communities and other communities of color.
MARTIN: There are just so many threads in American life are colliding at this point that speak to your work. I mean, the officer who has been
charged in connection with the death of George Floyd, that trial is about to begin. The anniversary of the death of Breonna Taylor, her family has
just reached a significant settlement with the City of Louisville. Another set of trials that's going forward or charges that are going forward are
connected to the mob attack on the U.S. capitol back in January.
And one of the disturbing things that has emerged is a disproportionate number of those currently charged either have ties to the military or ties
to law enforcement. What's that about?
KEESEE: It's not new. I can tell you that's what that's about. The issue of white supremacy in the military and policing is not a new issue. What's
new is the fact that the light really now has been shown on it and people have to respond.
So, the question that a lot of us have, not just, you know, retired officers or current officers, I'm sure the military the same way is, what
do you do? How do you begin to address those issues and those folks that are inside these organizations and then how do you screen so you don't
continue to bring them in?
And so, again, it's not new. But it also really does add to what communities across this country have been seeing in the way in which they
have been treated, in the way in which they are being approached about their own public safety. I can tell you a lot of my law enforcement
colleagues who were very much about previous administration and being pro law enforcement, we're at a loss for words, when you have a group of people
that you continue to claim support law enforcement and yet you take the life of law enforcement.
So, I think that we really have to -- we have that conversation about, what did we really see on that morning? And what we saw was white supremacy on
display and folks really not wanting to deal with the outcomes of that.
MARTIN: Is it your sense that some people are attracted to this work because they see it as upholding the authority of a certain group of people
over other people?
I think some people -- I would hope that some people now know the history of, say, the Ku Klux Klan infiltration of police agencies, for example, or
sort of an overlap between people who actually belong to white terrorist groups in their off time and then, you know, belong to law enforcement
agencies and -- but I think a lot of people think that that's of the past. I mean, I'm sure some people think, well, that's not -- that's back then,
but that's not now.
KEESEE: No. And I would say there may be some who that feel that way. But if you really want to ask what's going on inside the organization and the
feel of what is happening when we talk about white supremacy, ask officers of color. We, on a daily basis, have conversations with black officers from
across this country who will tell you they are (INAUDIBLE) experiencing it, they are navigating it, they are managing it, they're trying to get to
retirement because of it.
And so, when you ask who is really thinking about, you know, who is attracted to this particular profession, you have a lot of thousands of
officers who want to serve, who really want to do the right thing. And you have some that are attracted to it for all of the wrong reasons. And part
of the conversation that we're having and we continue to have is the stools that are used to screen people in and screen people out.
And what we find, you know, even as we look across this country, you can look at processes for people trying to join the police department and you
can tell who is going to be screened out before they get a chance to go into the economy. It's typically black men and it's typically women of
And so, one of the interesting conversations that's really happening around this, right, and I think this is from the new administration is to invest
millions of dollars into recruiting so police organizations can reflect their community.
What is sort of tone deaf about that is not asking about the experiences of black officers and women in policing to know whether or not that is the way
you want to go. You can certainly invest millions of dollars spent in recruiting across this country, but once folks get in, it's completely
different than what they were told it was going to be. And unless you deal with the culture of policing, you're not going to retain people.
MARTIN: I'd love to hear more about the culture piece. Maybe, Dr. Goff, you want to pick it up here? I'm sure some people are listening to our
conversation and they're feeling, well, gosh. I mean, that's a hard job, as evidence by the fact that a man was just killed for doing it, right? So, I
think some people would say, well, why would you do that job if you were a bad person, if you wanted to hurt people? People who do that job are people
who want to help people. How can bad things happen if good people who want to help people are doing that job?
ATIBA GOFF: You do have people who want to dot right thing for a living, show up at the door and say, I'm ready to serve. That's a powerful
statement, I'm ready to serve, and they mean that. And they're trained to put themselves between danger and the rest of their community.
We can't let go of that and forget that as if that doesn't happen. It just happens. I want to bring his name, Officer Goodman, who was a hero on
January 6, where everybody said, look at this black man saving all of Congress.
That is a sworn officer, right. It's a sworn officer who was called a traitor by the people on the steps of the capitol. It's not just about who
shows up and does law enforcement, it's also what we allow, what we require law enforcement to do as a residence of communities, right?
Law enforcement didn't just show up in Central Park, they were called. Law enforcement didn't decide that they wanted to be the first responders to
substance abuse and mental health and homelessness, we decided we were going to take money out of the social services that serve those communities
and we were going to send law enforcement instead.
Think about that just for a second. As a country, community by community, city by city, state by state, we decided instead of having services for
folks who are having the worst time of their lives, we were only going to have that support them, services that help them to get better, we were only
going to have services whose job was, whose mission was to determine the need for punishment.
So, on two levels, we've got to get the right people into the job, but we have to decide what the job should be. Because if the job is only going to
be wherever there are black and brown people struggling, I want to send badges and guns.
I want to send people whose job it is to determine should we take away liberty, should we take away life? If that's our decision, don't blame law
enforcement officers or law enforcement executives for the fact that that's what happens when they show up, blame us because we kept deciding that that
was the mission of law enforcement.
So, that double duty, getting the right people in, but deciding the right mission for those people, that's what countries across the country are
freaking out. If we want to straighten the size, the footprint of the way that we punish, what could public safety look like? And the reason you're
hearing people say reimagine is because often we're stuck in the trap that either you have to have cops or you have to have lawlessness as if there is
no other way to put a society together.
MARTIN: Now, talk about that. I mean, because you've mentioned a number of jurisdictions as a way to reimagine the way policing is done, the way
justice is done, have elected say reformist prosecutors. And that's important because, you know, prosecutors determine, you know, what cases
will be brought and how those cases will be disposed of. Presumably they're going to change the incentive for the behavior on the -- that's happening
on the streets.
But what we've seen in a number of these jurisdictions is a furious reaction to these reformist moves, even though these are people who are
elected, you know, by the people. Well, what do you make of that? Like what does that say?
ATIBA GOFF: I think it's really clear that there are some forms of power that are being threatened in a way they don't like, right. And I want to be
also clear this, too, is not new. Whenever folks came by and said, the power that shapes the United States into a white supremacist society is
going to be challenged. White supremacy said, hey, you might have forgotten about us. We're still here. That's where violence happens, mass violence,
where threats happen, where the FBI is mobilized against the notion of just black liberation.
If you think about sort of a simpler version of it, not just the prosecutor, but the battle cry that sort of cohered this moment in the long
struggle for black emancipation and liberty, black lives matter. How anodyne a statement is that? Black lives are nifty. Black lives are not to
be degraded, to be, you know, discarded. That has led to folks calling for further prosecution, to new federal penalties for black identity
When power is threatened, this is what you see. And the power in the United States is not just corporate power, though it's also that. It's not just
elected power, though it's also that. It's also the power of white racial politics, and it is being threatened now more directly than we've seen in
over the past several decades.
MARTIN: Dr. Keesee, what are your thoughts about this? Do you see an appetite in these departments for -- well, what do you see as a person who
has done that job, who has been on the street, who has been in patrol cars, who has been on, you know, patrol and who works with people, you know,
throughout your career and now, of course, has a look at it from a research perspective? What do you see?
KEESEE: As we look at the work that's going on across the country, what you see are communities exercising their power where historically, it has
been sort of counted on that they weren't paying attention or they were just good with it.
What is interesting about that power and what we see in the conversations that we're having with our chiefs. We have a lot of chiefs that really want
to make sure that they are providing the right type of service for the community. I want to say that just flat-out. They want to see it.
Where you find a lot of the struggle happening is understanding how that should happen and what does it look like. There is a tremendous amount of
concern in regards to as, you know, we've all been talking about, what do we do and how do we sort of help get through this sort of spikes in violent
crime? How do we make sure that victims need services get those services? And so, we're really trying to manage that piece.
That's in addition to how do those service really, in an equitable sense, get even sort of parsed out? So, if you have folks that have mental health
issues, and you'll hear this in law enforcement, there isn't a chief that will tell you, we should be the number of folks answering those calls with
people with mental health crises. They just won't.
But what they will tell you is there are some of those calls as well where you have folks who have not been on their meds, that may be violent, how do
we help protect those workers who are going in, who we believe are the right people to be going in? So, you hear those really healthy
MARTIN: I'm thinking about that -- the case and another case from Colorado, Elijah McClain in Aurora, Colorado. And he's walking along the
street, going home, he's tackled by police of no reason that anybody can determine, really. He's injected with a powerful sedative, and he dies.
And how do we think about something like this? I mean, what needs to change so that something like this does not happen again?
KEESEE: There was a lot of work done after Elijah McClain's death. They did an incredible -- I don't know if you've seen it, they did an incredible
review of the entire process to even say that the stop was not legal, but what he needed was a mental health service.
Even, you know, as you go on these calls like most of us have and you walk into these spaces and you yourself are saying, I'm not what these people
need. I'm not what they need, but all I have is this. So, if there is something in there that may be able to provide some level of comfort or
provide some level of service, then if I can, I will.
The number one thing we're really around some of the pushback on the reimagining work is, well, if you get rid of -- you know, first, the
narrative is, well, you're going to get rid of all the armed officers. That's not it. It is really reduce that footprint to have the officers
doing exactly what they say they want to do and that's crime.
When we do the analysis on 911 calls, you know what at least 2 to 4 percent of those calls are violent crime, the rest are social service calls. That
tells you that we're out of alignment here about what we should be doing and providing this community.
MARTIN: Another sort of issue that has emerged in recent weeks, even though it's clearly been going on for quite some time, is the rise in
assaults on people of Asian descent. And I'd like to ask you, how do you think we should think about this?
Because you're already seeing the conservative media a desire to move the focus to black on Asian crime, that is happening. That is a thing that is
happening. We're seeing a focused -- a renewed focus on, again, this notion that defunding the police is the cause of this spike in assaults.
OK. How do you think we should think about this? How should we be talking about this?
ATIBA GOFF: Yes. So, I think part of the reason why it's confusing in the space that we are right now is because we've been so dishonest about our
history, right. When you have folks at the bottom of the social hierarchy fighting with each other, it's really easy to take the camel in and focus
in on them and say, why do they hate each other so much, and not zoom out and say, it's in part because they've been given so few resources. There
are other people who are benefiting from this, right.
So, part of the way that we should be thinking about this is that you've got immigrant communities with -- you know, born in the United States or
native to the United States communities that are put in terrible positions of vulnerability, economic vulnerability and a lack of social power. So,
that creates tension because ain't nobody got enough in those communities.
Those tensions become racialized in the service of folks who are extracting all of the resources out of those communities in the first place. If we had
a broader lens, a broader understanding of who is benefiting and who is actually suffering, we would blame the folks who have very little far less
than we do.
The other piece of this is that we tend to frame conflict in the United States around race as if only black people and white people exist, as if
not that contest, that sin of slavery, we call it the original sin, but how do you have stolen people doing all this labor unless you also have land
that's been stolen, right?
So, the genocide for native and brothers and sisters, we have to acknowledge that, and the imported indentured servitude that Chinese
laborers got to do when they were forces to build railroads also an incredible backbreaking disgusting racialized form of violence that helped
build the capital resources of the country.
So, when we frame racism as if it's a white thing happening to black people and we don't frame it as part of this larger project of extraction of
resources from black folks and brown folks and red folks, right, from Asian folks and native folks, everybody, right, if we don't frame it that way,
then it's easy to think that the problem is between whoever we catch on camera in that moment.
MARTIN: I wanted to ask what you think the Biden administration should be doing right now.
KEESEE: So, one of the things we want to make sure is happening, especially with this new administration, and there is an understanding that
policing is really local. We have violence interrupters throughout this country who have stepped in in communities and have done things that police
could not do. You have to invest in that work that is happening, and there seems to be, for some reason, a reason not to want to do that. To want to
put it in some kind of structure that feels acceptable other than what may work and doesn't look like the way we think it should.
And there are a lot of things that believe in the George Floyd act that will be helpful. For us, we always talk about data collection. In some of
that work, there's conversation about collecting data for us. We collect everything. Do not sort of restrict. Be very clear. And we have, you know,
a lot of things on our website that helps guide those things where you can figure out what should everybody be collecting so we truly can begin to
look at what we need to do and to supplement the work that is happening on the ground.
ATIBA GOFF: The thing that I want folks to be able to do, as you've been hearing bits and pieces of, I want us to gain the kind of historical
literacy with consequences. There are things that we have done in this country to accumulate wealth and power in incredibly concentrated ways, and
it's always been on the backs of immigrants and darker-skin folks, right. That is not known, not as widely as it needs to be. It is not acknowledged
and we don't act on it.
So, if we don't have a full accounting of the ways in which this country has benefited from our terrible treatment of vulnerable folks, there's no
way to build the structures that prevent that exploitation going forward, including policing.
MARTIN: Tracie Keesee, Phillip Atiba Goff, thank you both so much for speaking with us today and sharing your expertise.
ATIBA GOFF: Thank you, Michel.
KEESEE: Thank you so much, Michel.
AMANPOUR: So much acknowledging and such a reckoning still to be done. And finally, tonight, a musical odyssey to one of the most remote places on
Earth. Mahani Teave's love for classical music began as a child when the first piano arrived on Rapa Nui or Easter Island as it's best been known
ever since the first European explorer named it back in 1772. She went on to become an international concert player. Here performing Chopin (ph) in
Seattle from her new album, Rapa Nui Odyssey.
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AMANPOUR: But then Mahani gave it all up to create the first music school at home. It's a fascinating story and Mahani Teave is joining me now from
Welcome to the program.
I mean, I'm really excited because we've never had anybody join us from so far away. I think you're 2,000 miles off the Coast of Chile in the Pacific.
So, tell me what and why you decided to end your -- you know, your global concert career and take it back home.
MAHANI TEAVE, CLASSICAL PIANIST: Hello, Christiane. Thank you so much for the invitation for the program.
About ending a career, I don't think it was -- that was exactly my intention, but I did have a feeling that I needed somehow to help my island
and children that are here, that I had a chance to pursue this musical dream, but all the talents that are here in the island and needed
developing and nurturing, we're not having that chance.
So, I felt, OK, there are so many wonderful musicians out there. I think they don't need, you know, another pianist. Like I wanted to play because I
wanted to give music to the people, and I did not want to continue doing the concerts, which I did, but my idea was not to continue, you know,
playing concerts every other day or things like that. So, it was to actually be able to combine both things, to do the concerts but also to be
able to create a music school to the island to give chance to the children here.
AMANPOUR: So, tell me, when you were a child, you encountered your first piano. Was it the first on the island? How did that get to you and how did
you learn? How did you become a pianist?
TEAVE: Well, it was somehow just in my blood, this desire to do music. And when the first piano arrived, I was just so excited. I had heard a bit of
classical music from my -- from the ballet classes I was having. A teacher had come for a year and then she left. But I have had the chance to listen,
you know, to the "Nutcracker" and other beautiful music and I was just overwhelmed with the desire to learn the piano.
And when that chance happened, it was just amazing. And I knew later the teacher was -- or a few months later, actually, like 10 months later, the
teacher was having to leave the island and a famous Chilean pianist came to the island and heard me and told my family, you know, if you want to give
your daughter the opportunity to study, you better leave the island because otherwise, she won't be able to develop that talent.
So, we moved to Chile. And later, I had the chance to continue studying in the United States with an amazing teacher who I profoundly admire and love,
(INAUDIBLE). And then I continued in Germany. And it was just a tremendously enriching chance that I was having to be able to develop and
grow in this which I love so much.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's amazing, you brought all these gifts back for the children of your homeland, of your island. And also, you have made it a
point to create this school out of all sorts of stuff that's been left there by tourists. Tell me about what you're doing for the environment and
how you built the school.
TEAVE: Yes. Well, our idea with other Rapa Nui dreamers, I would say, who also went out of the island to study and bring back tools to help our land
was, in a way, to be able to -- from the different aspects of environment and music and nature and medicine, to be able to help the island in a way
because we want to help the planet.
But a place where you need to start is at your own home, you know. And our idea was that by doing this on the island, that is a small cosmos in
itself, we could somehow maybe inspire other places as well and maybe ideas could come that could be replicated in other places.
So, we created NGO Toki Rapa Nui and built the first music school with recyclable materials, the so-called garbage. We did in a model called
Earthship Biotecture led by Michael Reynolds. And we have six years of garbage in our walls and solar panels, spring water collectors, thousands
of tires and tens of thousands of bottles and cans.
And other of the founders are needing projects that are also related to sustainability. Like the self-autonomy, like food sustainability of the
island through agricultural projects which can help diminish the carbon footprint of -- the bringing all of these products from outside.
And the idea is in a way that we can bring back this ancestral knowledge, this (INAUDIBLE) where we are complete beings (ph). Like through the music,
we cultivate our intellect, our spiritual our emotional part, but we also need to be taking care of our body through what we eat, our planet. I mean,
we have to be aware and take responsibility about everything that we are doing daily. On a daily basis is where we actually start making a change.
And not waiting either for governments because that's too slow.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Of course, we all do need the world's government to get on with it. But we've just been looking at pictures of the ancestral stone
structures that Easter Island, Rapa Nui is so famous for. And you're about -- we're going to play a performance of yours. It's taken from ancestral
music. What is it about this piece that you find special that we're going to play?
TEAVE: This is a song that's very memorable to our people because it tells the story of the first king of the island who arrived with the original
ancestors of ours. The Rapa Nui who were immigrating from a land called Hiba (ph) that was having a natural catastrophe.
And so, they were searching for a land for our people and we -- they arrived in Rapa Nui. And this is the story about the king when he's about
to pass away. He calls the spirits of (INAUDIBLE) on them to take him back. So, it's a very -- it's like the hymn of the anthem of the island, in a
AMANPOUR: Well, that's great. And we're going to play it after we say good-bye. So, thank you so much. And a new documentary on Mahani Teave's
her life, "Song of Rapa Nui," is available now on Amazon Prime. As I said, we leave you with more of her wonderful music.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.
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