PBS NewsHour full episode, April 17, 2023

PBS NewsHour full episode, April 17, 2023

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GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening. I'm Geoff Bennett. AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz. On the "NewsHour" tonight: Communities search for answers in the wake of multiple shootings killing and wounding teenagers in recent days. GEOFF BENNETT: Civilians are caught in the crossfire as Sudan's army and rival forces battle for control. AMNA NAWAZ: And, after being released, a Florida man faces a tough reality, being forced to return to life behind bars.

CROSLEY GREEN, Returning to Prison: I'm praying that the good lord will just bless me again, give me freedom again, which I think I'm truly going to get. (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening, and welcome to the "NewsHour." A spate of Saturday night gun violence has left more American families grieving. Police in two states are imploring people to come forward with information on the shooters.

GEOFF BENNETT: In Dadeville, Alabama, a gunman killed four people at a birthday party. And, in Louisville, Kentucky, two people died when someone fired into a crowd at a public park. We start tonight in Alabama, where authorities have yet to release many details or name a suspect. MAN: To my young people out there, I want you to know that you are not going through this by yourself. GEOFF BENNETT: Another community in mourning after four people were killed and at least 15 teenagers were shot when gunfire broke out Saturday night during a sweet 16 birthday party in the small town of Dadeville.

Bre Hutchinson is one of the many victims, now recovering. BRE HUTCHINSON, Shooting Victim: I grabbed on to somebody. I don't know who. And I was yelling for help. And nobody would help me, so I had to like, gain my strength and to walk outside after being shot.

GEOFF BENNETT: A GoFundMe account has been set up to help victims cover their medical expenses and for the families who now have to make funeral arrangements. Dadeville police have refused to provide many details about the case, but they are asking members of the community for help. SGT. JEREMY BURKETT (Alabama Law Enforcement Agency): If you are at home right now or you know somebody that has any information about what occurred last night, I cannot stress this enough, ever how minor you think it is, we absolutely need you to share it. GEOFF BENNETT: A county coroner today identified the four people who died in Saturday's shooting as 23-year-old Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 19-year-old Marsiah Emmanuel Collins, 17-year-old Shaunkivia Nicole Smith, and 18-year-old Philstavious Dowdell. Dowdell was at the party celebrating his sister's 16th birthday, and committed to play football at Jacksonville State University this fall.

Dadeville High School Football coach Roger McDonald. ROGER MCDONALD, Dadeville High School Football Coach: We went undefeated regular season and made it to the playoffs three years in a row, and he was a big part of that. He was just a leader and, as far as his ability, just an electrifying player, but just a special kid, always smiling, you know, "Yes sir, no sir, thank you," well-respected, just everything you want out of a teammate or a player. GEOFF BENNETT: According to the Gun Violence Archive, Dadeville marks the country's 15th shooting this year where four or more people have died. Today, a bipartisan group of 162 U.S. mayors sent a letter to Congress demanding gun safety

legislation, asking the question :"How many children must die, how many adults must die before our nation takes action to reduce gun violence?" AMNA NAWAZ: Anger also grew this weekend over a recent shooting in Kansas City, Missouri, where a Black teenager was shot after showing up at the wrong House. Residents are calling on police to charge the shooter. GEOFF BENNETT: Our communities correspondent in Missouri, Gabrielle Hays, has the story. PROTESTERS": Justice for Ralph! GABRIELLE HAYS: Outrage and sorrow filled the streets of Kansas City Sunday morning, as America learned the name of yet another blank teenager on a growing list of those who've been shot, Ralph Yarl. The 16-year-old high school junior was hospitalized Thursday night after being shot in the head while trying to pick up his younger siblings. Police say Yarl mistakenly knocked on the wrong door and was shot there twice in the head and in the arm.

Yarl is now in stable condition, but with a life-threatening injury. He was released from the hospital and is now recovering at home, his father told a local newspaper. His aunt joined protesters yesterday. WOMAN: My nephew is alive and he is healing. It is not the story that that individual intended for us to tell. GABRIELLE HAYS: Police have not yet publicly identified who shot Yarl, but the homeowner was taken into custody on Thursday and placed on a 24-hour hold.

He was then released with no charges yet pending further investigation. They are looking into whether the shooter was protected by Missouri's stand your ground laws, which allow for the deadly use of force in self-defense. STACEY GRAVES, Kansas City, Missouri, Police Chief: We recognize our frustration this can cause an entire criminal justice process. The women and men of the Kansas City Police Department are working as expeditiously and as thoroughly as we can. GABRIELLE HAYS: Police have not yet shared the shooter's race, but civil rights attorney Ben Crump, representing the Yarl family, says he is white.

In a statement released today, Crump questioned the police's decision to release the suspect, calling him armed and dangerous. The shooting has deepened already existing wounds in Kansas City, which organizers say has a long history of police distrust. DEE PORTER, The People's Coalition : We are not getting feedback, and especially if it's a person of color. That is an issue. And it's a constant issue with Kansas City Police Department and people of color in this community, Northland, Midtown, all of Kansas City.

It's like a slap in the face. It's disrespectful. It literally shows us what you think about our lives. GABRIELLE HAYS: Kansas City's Mayor Quinton Lucas says he's been in touch with the family.

QUINTON LUCAS (D), Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri: We're working hard to uphold the principles of justice in this community and to make sure that there's fairness throughout. GABRIELLE HAYS: A GoFundMe started by Yarl's aunt described him as academically driven and musical as the section leader in his marching band. She says he has aspirations to attend Texas A&M and major in chemical engineering.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Gabrielle Hays. AMNA NAWAZ: In the day's other headlines: A grand jury in Ohio opted not to indict eight Akron police officers in the killing of Jayland Walker. He was shot at least 40 times last June after an attempted traffic stop and a chase. The state attorney general says Walker fired first and police opened fire when he appeared to reach for his gun again.

The family is seeking a federal civil rights investigation. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy pledged today that House Republicans will soon pass a bill raising the federal debt ceiling for one year. But in a New York speech, he said they will also mandate a 1 percent cap on future spending increases. That drew immediate pushback from top Democrats, as each side accused the other of risking fiscal disaster.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Without exaggeration, American debt is a ticking time bomb that will detonate unless we take serious, responsible action. Yet how has President Biden reacted to this issue? He has done nothing. SEN.

CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): He went all the way to Wall Street and gave us no more details, no more facts, no new information at all. I will be blunt. If Speaker McCarthy continues in this direction, we are headed to default. AMNA NAWAZ: The current debt limit stands at $31 trillion. The U.S. Treasury warns, the government will hit that limit this summer and be unable to

pay its bills. Also today, two senators returned to work, one veteran, one a freshman. Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was back on the Senate floor after recovering from a head injury. And newly elected Democrat John Fetterman returned to the Capitol following treatment for clinical depression. The judge overseeing the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against FOX News delayed the start of the trial in Delaware today. He gave no explanation, but it was widely reported that settlement talks were under way.

Dominion accuses FOX News of falsely claiming it rigged the 2020 election against then-President Trump. The suit seeks damages of $1.6 billion. Federal prosecutors have charged two men with setting up a Chinese secret police outpost in New York City's Chinatown. Today's announcement was the latest in a series of such cases. They accused the Beijing government, officially the People's Republic of China, of persecuting dissidents abroad. BREON PEACE, United States Attorney For Eastern District of New York: And today's charges send a crystal clear response to the PRC that we are on to you.

We know what you're doing. And we will stop it from happening in the United States of America. AMNA NAWAZ: The Justice Department also charged more than three dozen Chinese national police officers with using social media to harass dissidents in the U.S. Elon Musk's SpaceX called off the debut launch of its Starship vehicle and Super Heavy rocket today.

Engineers at the South Texas launch site found a stuck valve in the first-stage booster minutes before the scheduled blast off. They could try again on Wednesday. Ultimately, the nearly-400-foot rocket and spaceship are meant to carry humans to the moon and to Mars. The 127th Boston Marathon is in the books, with runners from Kenya scoring a sweep. The race marked 10 years since bombs exploded at the finish line, killing three people and wounding hundreds more. Evans Chebet won the men's race for the second year in a row.

Hellen Obiri took the women's title in just her second marathon ever. And on Wall Street today, stocks managed modest gains, as quarterly earnings reports began arriving. The Dow Jones industrial average added 100 points to close at 33987. The Nasdaq rose 34 points.

The S&P 500 was up 13. And a passing of note. Acclaimed jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal died of prostate cancer on Sunday at his home in Massachusetts. Starting in the 1940s, he came to be known for a stately style, in contrast with the popular bebop form of his youth. Along the way, he inspired the likes of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock and earned a long list of awards. Ahmad Jamal was 92 years old.

Still to come on the "NewsHour": House Republicans target the Manhattan district attorney bringing criminal charges against former President Trump; a Russian opposition leader is sentenced to prison for denouncing the war in Ukraine; a new book gives a fresh perspective on the meaning of time; plus much more. GEOFF BENNETT: More than 180 people have died in the brutal battle for control of Sudan. Another 1,800 have been wounded since fighting between rival military factions first broke out early Saturday.

The two sides are now digging in, shattering hopes that Sudan could achieve a peaceful transition to democracy. Plumes of smoke billowed above the Khartoum skyline as shelling and gunfire pounded the capital for a third straight day. The deadly struggle for power between rival military factions rages on. The Sudanese army is battling a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces for control of the country. RSF forces released a video today purportedly showing them in control of the Sudanese military's headquarters in Khartoum and an airport in Merowe. The two generals were once allies who teamed up to oust longtime dictator and indicted war criminal Omar Hassan El-Bashir back in 2019.

The clashes, which erupted Saturday, stem from a disagreement over how to integrate the RSF forces into the military. They now threaten to derail efforts to restore civilian-led government after decades of military rule. TAGREED ABDIN, Sudan Resident: We have nothing to do with this. GEOFF BENNETT: Local residents like Tagreed Abdin are stuck in the crossfire.

TAGREED ABDIN: We're just caught in the middle. And I don't have a preference. I don't even -- it's like just this is our new normal now.

GEOFF BENNETT: Millions of civilians are holed up in their homes across Khartoum as gun battles rage in the densely populated urban area. Thousands of troops are positioned in nearly every neighborhood. The humanitarian situation in Sudan was already precarious. Now it's even more so.

Those who are able to locate one of the few open markets find bare shelves. MAN: All the water, all milk, everything is empty here. NABA MOHIE: People right now want food, medicine, shelter, electricity. But, above all, they want peace and security. GEOFF BENNETT: Special correspondent Naba Mohie is in Khartoum. NABA MOHIE: There is an electricity blackout.

It's affecting everyone. Patients cannot go to hospitals. The hospitals are not operating very well.

And, also, ambulances cannot go everywhere because of the violence in the streets. So it's a catastrophic situation for everyone, for children, for women, for elderly people. GEOFF BENNETT: At least six hospitals in Khartoum were also forced to shut down after either being damaged or threatened by the violence.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urgently appealed for calm, as the U.N. Security Council met in New York. ANTONIO GUTERRES, United Nations Secretary-General: The situation has already led to horrendous loss of life, including many civilians. Any further escalation could be devastating for the country and the region. GEOFF BENNETT: The African Union and Arab League also held emergency meetings over the weekend.

So far, their efforts to end the bloodshed have not been successful. For more on what has caused this upheaval and the prospects for ending the violence, we turn to Kholood Khair. She's a Sudanese policy and political analyst and is also the founding director of Confluence Advisory, a Sudan-based policy think tank.

Thank you for being with us. And we should say that you are in Sudan's capital city. What's it like right now in Khartoum? What are you seeing? What are you hearing from the people that you encounter? KHOLOOD KHAIR, Founding Director, Confluence Advisory: Well, there's a pretty constant soundtrack of different types of firepower and different types of gunfire.

We're hearing from sort of small arms, small bullets to heavy artillery, and even sort of bombs being dropped from planes. And this is the third day running. So it's getting pretty desperate. We're hearing a lot from people who feel stranded. They haven't had electricity for, some of them, more than 36 hours. They're not able to access medicine or hospital care.

And, of course, we have heard of a large number of casualties and fatalities as well. GEOFF BENNETT: Help us understand how we got to this point, mounting tensions between Sudan's two most powerful generals, each backed by a formidable force, all of this boiling over into an open conflict. KHOLOOD KHAIR: At the heart of it, it's a contest for power.

Both of these generals were on pretty friendly terms until very recently. In fact, they staged a coup together in October of 2021. But, recently, their differences superseded their mutual desire to avoid accountability and to avoid having to reform their forces. And that pretty much happened during the time of a framework agreement December of last year.

So, over the past four months, we have been seeing this ratcheting up of tensions between them. They have brought in troops from all over the country into Khartoum. There's been lots of bellicose language from both of them. And, in the end, one of them had to commit fully to an agreement, which he didn't want to. And this precipitated this sort of exchange of firepower. GEOFF BENNETT: Return to civilian rule was supposed to mark a new era in Sudan.

How does this deadly violence affect that goal? KHOLOOD KHAIR: Yes, ironically, the very thing that the generals wanted to avoid, which is security sector reform, reform of the ways in which they run their troops and their institutions, as well as accountability for crimes, particularly those committed on civilians, those are the very things now that will be front and center after this confrontation in Khartoum. And that's because, in many ways, people are shocked and dismayed at how this political contest, which has always been fought in other parts of the country, is now being fought bang-smack in the middle of the capital. GEOFF BENNETT: U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken is calling for an immediate end to the hostilities in Sudan. He says he spoke with top diplomats from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two countries that have considerable interests in Sudan. What more can the international community do here? KHOLOOD KHAIR: It's imperative that it's not these countries don't just use the influence on the generals, but, more importantly, their leverage.

Countries in the sort of region around Sudan, particularly Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, have considerable leverage over these generals. And that's what they should deploy to get them to at least commit to a cease-fire in the immediate term. I think we have to question to what extent the international community, which has for quite a few months backed this very unpopular deal that essentially allowed the generals to feel that they could have this kind of all-out war, or at least partially contributing to it. They have to question and rethink the way in which they engage with these generals, whom they have framed as reformers.

And, very clearly, anyone sitting in Khartoum or indeed Darfur today will tell you that these are not reformers, and they are very self-interested parties who want absolute power. And they should be treated as such in any future mediation. GEOFF BENNETT: On that point, is there any resolution in sight? KHOLOOD KHAIR: Judging by the language of both of these generals over the past few days -- and we have to remember we're only on day three of this conflict, although I can tell you it feels like a lot longer.

The language from both of them doesn't suggest that either one of them will give in voluntarily or that they will voluntarily seek a cease-fire. It seems like this is an existential conflict for both of these generals, and that they will want to see it through to the end. Certainly, we're hearing of an uptick in activity by the Sudan armed forces, who have the advantage of an air force, which is why, I'm not sure if you can hear behind me, but there are sounds of bombardments, which we have been hearing pretty much all over the past 48 hours. So I don't think that we're seeing even the zenith of this conflict yet, let alone its resolution collude. GEOFF BENNETT: Kholood Khair, joining us tonight from Sudan's capital city, Khartoum, thank you for being with us.

KHOLOOD KHAIR: Thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee headed to New York City today for a hearing honing in on Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg. He's the prosecutor who brought criminal charges against former President Donald Trump earlier this month. The hearing was billed as a look at Bragg's record on prosecuting crime in the city, but it quickly turned into a fiery political back and forth between protesters, witnesses and members of Congress. Lisa Desjardins has more. LISA DESJARDINS: In the Big Apple today, a drama cutting to the heart of divide.

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Do you feel safe in New York City right now? REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT (D-NY): The common denominator in most homicides across the country is a gun.

LISA DESJARDINS: The House Judiciary Committee holding a field hearing on crime in New York City. Testimony was gripping and heartfelt. JOSE ALBA, Former Manhattan Bodega Clerk: I am not working because I'm terrified for my life that someone in the gang will come after me for revenge. MADELINE BRAME, Mother of Homicide Victim: We care about being able to let our child go out to the park and play without getting shot in a stroller. LISA DESJARDINS: But Democrats immediately called out the event as a deceptive stunt aimed to undermine the prosecution of Donald Trump by New York City. REP.

DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): This hearing was called for a purpose, to intimidate a district attorney for doing his job and upholding the rule of law. REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): It is the GOP leadership in Congress doing what it has done best for the last six years.

And that is to act as the criminal defense counsel for Donald J. Trump. LISA DESJARDINS: Quickly, the event about a deep divide became a showcase of it, with protesters outside the room, furious with Republicans and Trump and the audience inside, many personally hurt by crime, railing at Democrats as not respecting them. MAN: You're a bunch of lying phonies, every one of you. REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Capitol Police will remove the gentleman from the audience. LISA DESJARDINS: It was an impassioned and sometimes feverish collision over what and who is the problem.

Republicans say crime. REP. HARRIET HAGEMAN (R-WY): We have to address the fact that there are people who are willing to kill and stab and hurt other people. LISA DESJARDINS: Major crime in New York City is higher than it was two years ago. But over the past year, it's been going down.

Democrats say all this is about a different threat to the law, that Jordan is using the power of Congress to attack the local prosecutor, Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office is right around the corner. ALVIN BRAGG, Manhattan District Attorney: Everyone stands equal before the law. LISA DESJARDINS: Bragg is the one prosecuting former President Trump on 34 counts of accounting fraud. Trump has a furiously counterattacked, charging that Bragg is corrupt and the case political. Jordan's a Trump ally, and his moves here raise both the seriousness and the stakes for all branches of government. How unusual is this? DAVE RAPALLO, Georgetown Law: It's extremely unusual.

It's unprecedented, I would say. LISA DESJARDINS: Dave Rapallo worked as chief investigative counsel for the House Oversight Committee under Democratic Chairman Henry Waxman. He says Jordan, like all chairs, faces one key limit. DAVE RAPALLO: Under current law, a committee investigation has to serve a valid legislative interest. LISA DESJARDINS: Jim Jordan in his subpoena of a former Manhattan prosecutor addressed that, writing that his committee could consider legislation to insulate presidents from political prosecution.

Prosecutor Bragg had a fast response. He sued. Last week, he asked courts to block Jordan's subpoena, calling it a brazen, unconstitutional move to intimidate investigators At stake, not only the future for former President Trump, but also for the legal system and Congress' power long term. DAVE RAPALLO: I think the stakes are high. And I, personally, am a little concerned not just that the committee might lose the case, but it might result in the judicial opinion that is a terrible precedent for Congress, when it may want to conduct legitimate investigations in the future. LISA DESJARDINS: Right now, the situation is a political volcano and explosive, as it was in the hearing.

REP. DANIEL GOLDMAN (D-NY): We all know why you're here. So don't play the political games. You want to have a meaningful conversation, let's talk. LISA DESJARDINS: This is just one of many investigations and throbbing tension points that Congress brings back as it returns to Washington this week.

Republicans are pledging to hold more hearings on crime in more cities. Democrats say they're ready to respond, including with information about crime in Republican-led areas -- Amna. AMNA NAWAZ: Fascinating report. Lisa, you did mention the Republican investigation into Alvin Bragg and the standoff that's ensued. So where does all of this leave that probe? LISA DESJARDINS: There will be action in that this week. On Wednesday, a federal district court judge here in New York will hold the first hearing there.

That's to determine whether or not Chairman Jordan can go ahead with his subpoena a former prosecutors, again, something unprecedented. The truth is, though, that these kinds of cases traditionally have taken months, if not years, in the federal court system. Meanwhile, the case against former President Trump is expected to move forward, perhaps to trial even next spring. So, Jim Jordan may not be able to get his subpoenas granted in time for that trial, the thing that he's investigating. AMNA NAWAZ: Lisa, you also mentioned in your report, there are limitations to what Congress can do in these circumstances.

Help us understand what you meant by that. LISA DESJARDINS: This is a fascinating area of law, of course. And it goes to back to the Constitution and the 10th Amendment, which essentially grants states all of the powers which are not specifically enumerated to the federal government. For years, that's been interpreted to mean that states have oversight of district attorney, states and local governments. There's a precedent going back to 1800, the time -- near the time of Chester Arthur, that the Supreme Court made it very clear that, for Congress to investigate something, it does have power, but it has to have a legislative or congressional purpose, meaning, hypothetically, it has to have some kind of law that it could come up with that is varying on this.

And there are questions about whether or not there is a role for Congress in this area. AMNA NAWAZ: Finally, Lisa, bring us back into that hearing room today, because we did expect some strong disagreement, for sure. But that really descended into some very heated moments. You were in the room. Tell us what you took away from being in there. LISA DESJARDINS: Amna, you and I and our viewers, we have all seen a lot over these past few years.

And, also, this is New York. New Yorkers are not shy about their opinions. They have strong opinions. I expected that in that hearing room today. What I didn't expect was that sense of, larger than politics, cultural disappointment and dissonance.

What I'm talking about is an idea that I got from all different sides in that room today that these years of disagreement and divide over the issues you're heard about, guns, crime, former President Trump, what he represents, that the lack of resolution on those issues itself is pushing forth an even greater feeling of discontent. And, in that room, that bubbled up past discontent. I almost saw a fistfight in that room today. So it just struck me that, really, politics is feeding into this, but this was something more than politics at play at well, sort of a tempest in our country that seems to be going ever strong at this moment -- Amna. AMNA NAWAZ: That is Lisa Desjardins reporting for us tonight from New York. Lisa, thank you, as always.

LISA DESJARDINS: You're welcome. GEOFF BENNETT: Russia took another step in its crackdown against dissent today. In a Moscow courtroom, the noted opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza was sentenced to 25 years in prison for denouncing Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine. As Stephanie Sy tells us, Kara-Murza joins hundreds of other Russian opposition leaders and activists now behind bars.

STEPHANIE SY: Vladimir Kara-Murza was convicted of treason. He received one of the harshest sentences for a political dissident since President Putin came to power. He was arrested in Moscow last April after delivering a speech to the Arizona House of Representatives, where he called the Putin regime's actions in Ukraine war crimes. As one of Putin's fiercest domestic critics, he was a key figure in the adoption by the U.S. Congress of the Global Magnitsky Act, which targets human rights abusers in Russia and around the world. Before his arrest, he survived two assassination attempts.

For more in his sentence and the price of speaking up in Russia today, we turn to Alina Polyakova, president and CEO at the Center for European Policy Analysis. Alina, thank you so much for joining the "NewsHour," as always. The judge himself was under Magnitsky sanctions for human rights violations. It was a closed-door trial. Put this sentence into context for us.

ALINA POLYAKOVA, Director, Center for European Policy Analysis: Well, of course, Vladimir, whom I have known for many years, is an incredibly courageous person. He went back to Russia. He is a British citizen and a legal U.S. resident. His family is here in the United States.

He went back to Russia to fight for his country, to fight for a Russia that could be free. And this sentence passed down by a sham court, this was not a trial. This was a sentencing event. He was charged with high treason. For what? For basically calling what the Putin government is doing for what it is, which is a brutal war in Ukraine. And it's very, very likely that, after the sentence, he will be transferred to a very, very harsh penal colony.

This is the highest so-called crime that the Russian government could charge him. And the judge, of course, being sanctioned himself for human rights violations under the Global Magnitsky Act, cannot be called an impartial judge in this case, by any stretch of the word. STEPHANIE SY: His wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, reacted at an event hosted by The Washington Post today. She said -- quote -- "This sentence is the high recognition of the effectiveness of Vladimir's work.

This sentence shows that they're so afraid of him." Does Kara-Murza's conviction neutralize the opposition to Putin? Or did he have enough impact on his fellow Russians? Was he effective that the fight for human rights and democracy can continue without him? ALINA POLYAKOVA: You know, Vladimir himself has said multiple times that he feels that his only failure -- and I'm paraphrasing here -- has been to not convince enough of his Russian citizen colleagues, friends, the people of Russia that the regime that they're currently living under is one that cannot be sustained and it's a repressive regime. Of course, it's really difficult to see a positive path forward here.

Like other political prisoners in Russia, Vladimir Kara-Murza faces a very bleak reality now; 25 years is truly a life sentence for him. But he remains, I think, incredibly courageous in the face of what many would be really beaten and defeated by. And, of course, Evgenia, his wife, who you just quoted, has been crusading on his behalf and advocating both the British government -- of course, again, he's a better citizen -- and the United States, where he has been residing with his family, to really raise greater condemnation, to push back on the Russian government's sentencing, to do whatever we can to elevate his case to a global stage. STEPHANIE SY: Tell us what you know about Vladimir's health. He had been previously diagnosed with something called polyneuropathy, Which I understand affects the nerves, and which his lawyer has linked to previous poisoning attempts.

What is his current condition? And is he getting medical care? ALINA POLYAKOVA: Well, of course, visits by his legal counsel, as well as by independent medical professionals, has not really been happening, to say the least. What's clear is that Vladimir is very, very ill. He does have a serious neurological condition that has been the result of a previous poisoning by the Russian government in 2017. And that requires a lot of medical care, requires a lot of physical therapy.

After that poisoning, he walked with a cane for a very long time. And it's our understanding now, based on the information we're able to get, is that that condition has worsened very, very rapidly and significantly, to the point where he has trouble walking. He's having trouble using one of his arms. In fact, even this sham trial had to be postponed from March because he wasn't able to go into the courtroom. So what we really need now is for him to at least be able to see an independent doctor who might be able to help him to receive access to medical care. This condition, to be clear, in the conditions that Vladimir is currently living in, will likely be fatal.

So this truly is a life sentence for him that he's very unlikely to survive if this continues. STEPHANIE SY: And, Alina, quickly, we just reported a few days years ago that another popular opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, who is serving an 11-year sentence in a penal colony, is suspected of having been poisoned again. What does it tell you about Putin's state of mind and political calculus now that two of Russia's most powerful opposition leaders are imprisoned? ALINA POLYAKOVA: Well, very similar to Alexey Navalny, the sentencing of Vladimir Kara-Murza, it's -- there's no execution day, but this is a slow death that they're both being sentenced to.

And the -- what I think that tells us about the state of the Russian society is that people are gripped by a deep fear, because both of these individuals have name recognition in Russia. They're known people, maybe not to all Russians, because the Russian information is so controlled by the government. But they certainly have been prominent political activists, journalists in their own right. And the Kremlin is very much trying to make an example of them.

The Russian government has also done this to just average Russian citizens who dare to speak out against the Kremlin's own lies about what is happening in Ukraine. And it's quite concerning, but I think what we're seeing in Russia is really the emergence of a North Korea-like government. STEPHANIE SY: Alina Polyakova with the Center for European policy Analysis, thank you so much for sharing these insights about your friend.

ALINA POLYAKOVA: Thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: After more than three decades behind bars for a murder he says he did not commit, a man who was released on house arrest during the pandemic is now going back to prison. But, as William Brangham reports, many questions remain about whether Florida is locking up an innocent man for the rest of his life.

It's part of our ongoing series, Searching for Justice. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Today was supposed to be a day of celebration for 65-year-old Crosley Green, a chance for this grandfather to be with his family and celebrate his continued freedom. CROSLEY GREEN, Returning to Prison: You going to walk out here and ain't going to come see me? WILLIAM BRANGHAM: After 32 years behind bars, Green was freed in 2021, awaiting appeal of a murder conviction he says he's not guilty of. So, for two years, he's been living in Titusville, Florida, under house arrest. CROSLEY GREEN: This my first day out in the afternoon like this away from home, OK, out to a park anywhere, really.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So did you have to get permission to do this? CROSLEY GREEN: Yes. Yes, I had to get permission to do this. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Wow. CROSLEY GREEN: So, it mean a lot to get away from the house in an afternoon like this and just enjoy myself. You say I can't throw? Watch this.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But on his way here, he got terrible news. He's being sent back to prison to serve the rest of his life sentence. So, Green put on a brave face, but decided to wait to tell his family.

CROSLEY GREEN: I want to enjoy my day out here with the kids. And I want the kids to enjoy their day. I want to enjoy my family.

And I want them to enjoy me. JOHN TORRES, Florida Today: The Crosley Green case, in my opinion, is just a racial hoax. It's a case of just pure injustice. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Reporter John Torres of Florida Today has covered Crosley Green's case since 2009.

And he hosts a podcast about it. JOHN TORRES: Somebody was killed, and a Black man was blamed. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In 1989, a man named Chip Flynn was shot in an old orange grove in Mims, Florida.

The woman Flynn was with that night, his ex-girlfriend, Kim Hallock, told police an unknown Black man shot him. FMR. SGT. DIANE CLARKE, Brevard County, Florida, Sheriff's Officer: He had been shot. Asked him who he was.

Who did this? And all he would say was: "I'm hurt. Take me home." WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Diane Clarke was a patrol sergeant with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office back then. She was first on the scene and talked to Chip Flynn before he died. So, he never said that: "A Black man shot me or some stranger shocked me"? FMR.

SGT. DIANE CLARKE: No, he never said who shot. And that's what we're trying to get out of him was, who did this, so we would have something to go on. And he would -- all he would say is: "I'm hurt.

Take me home." WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Acting on a tip, police arrested Crosley Green. He lived in the area, and police knew the 31-year-old because he was a small-time drug dealer. JOHN TORRES: So this is where Kim Hallock and Chip Flynn were parked in a lover's lane area, back over there, I believe. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: At trial, John Torres says three witnesses testified they'd heard Green confessed to the killing, but all later recanted, alleging they'd been coerced.

Despite there being no physical evidence tying Green to the crime, he was convicted of kidnapping, robbery and murder. JOHN TORRES: A Black man was picked up and put on trial. An all-white jury sent him to Florida's death row. And there's no physical evidence in the case. Every witness has recanted.

There is nothing that ties Crosley Green to this case at all. And the one witness who survived the attack, she told police several accounts of what happened that night. And the responding officers who showed up to the scene of the crime, of the murder, they all believed it was her.

FMR. SGT. DIANE CLARKE: There's no way he shot him. It's just -- he didn't do it.

And I will say that to my last breath. And it kind of will probably haunt me until the day I die. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Clarke and her fellow officer told prosecutor Chris White he ought to consider Kim Hallock the likelier suspect. While the "NewsHour"'s attempts to reach Kim Hallock were unsuccessful, she told The Washington Post in an interview published today -- quote -- 'I testified to the truth.

Green needs to go back to where he belongs." You have all of these reservations about the story that this woman Kim Hallock is saying about an unknown Black assailant. Did you share those with the with the prosecutor? FMR.

SGT. DIANE CLARKE: Yes. I said then I don't -- I personally don't believe that this is any Black man. You need to look at Kim Hallock. I feel she's involved in this.

And it's in his notes, but it didn't matter, I guess. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Green's lawyers say prosecutors initially offered him a plea deal: Admit your guilt, and you would have a lesser sentence. Green refused. CROSLEY GREEN: No, I will never take a plea deal on something I didn't commit or do. I wouldn't care if they -- if they had offered me five years, three years, I wouldn't have took that plea, because I didn't do that crime. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, for nearly 20 years, Crosley Green was on death Roe in Florida.

But then, in 2009, lawyers at this law firm in Washington got his death sentence change to life in prison. And, what's more, lawyers here say they made a key discovery. Jeane Thomas of Crowell & Moring says prosecutor Chris White never shared with Green's defense team the notes he took about his meeting with Diane Clarke and the other officer. JEANE THOMAS, Attorney for Crosley Green: He writes in his notes: "Diane and Mark think the girl did it." WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That succinctly? JEANE THOMAS: That succinctly.

Now, if we had been able to put those two white first responding officers on the stand in his trial and use the information that was developed from these notes in this trial, again, before an all-white jury, we believe that it would likely have changed the outcome of the trial. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In 2018, a federal court agreed, ruling that that omission was what's known as a Brady violation, withholding material that could have helped Green's case. It ordered that he be released or retried. The state of Florida appealed. Prosecutor Chris White, now retired, told the "NewsHour" he has no doubt that Crosley Green is guilty and that a judge and jury agreed.

About those written notes that he didn't turn over, he wrote -- quote -- "Officers' opinions as to guilt are inadmissible in evidence. So it never crossed my mind that I had to disclose theirs." Three years later, during the pandemic, and still waiting on the state's appeal, Green was released on home arrest into the welcoming arms of his family.

Over the last two years, he started life again. He got a full-time job, devoted himself even more to his faith, found a loving partner and got engaged. He says he still believes in America's justice system. CROSLEY GREEN: Of course, I have still faith in the justice system. I have thought a lot of times that God did this for a reason.

God spared my life. I'm still here. You notice that? He got something planned for me, because I'm not sad. I'm not angry. And I know hate no one. That's all in the past with me.

I'm just looking forward. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But, last year, the 11th Circuit Court ruled in favor of Florida, reinstating Crosley Green's life sentence. When the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal, his legal options had run out. CROSLEY GREEN: My lawyer called me today as soon as I got off work. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And now he has to tell his family the latest, that he has been ordered back to prison. CROSLEY GREEN: The judge -- the judge made a decision that I got to surrender myself.

But I want you all to know I'm OK. I'm OK. But I need you all to hold me up.

Keep standing up. Keep holding me up. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: His family says they're still struggling to understand how this is happening. SHIRLEY WHITE, Sister of Crosley Green: There is no evidence, but yet still you're -- you are fitting to send him back to prison again. What is the purpose of tearing our hearts open all over again? O'CONNOR GREEN, Brother of Crosley Green: I really don't understand the system.

I really don't. They done fail us and failed us and failed us so many times. It's just like, what's next? WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Green's lawyers say his only hope now would be parole or a grant of clemency from Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis. CROSLEY GREEN: So, I'm taking it every moment I can take to feel and love and do the things I want to do.

And I'm praying that the good lord will just bless me again, give freedom again, which I think I'm truly going to get. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You do? CROSLEY GREEN: You know? I really, truly think I'm going to get my freedom. I can't say when. But I'm going to get it.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: This afternoon, Crosley Green surrendered himself to police in Orlando, Florida, and he will soon be returned to prison. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm William Brangham. GEOFF BENNETT: We're all used to being on the clock and often being ruled by it. But a new book by Jenny Odell takes on the very notion of time. It's a follow up to her bestselling title "How to Do Nothing."

Jeffrey Brown has the story from San Francisco for our arts and culture series, Canvas. JENNY ODELL, Author, "Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock": I feel like this is just a really therapeutic contrast to the more deadening sense of clock time, where all the time feels the same. Time is just kind of stuff. JEFFREY BROWN: And part of it is just get away from the clock. JENNY ODELL: Yes, like literally get away, yes, right, right, right.

JEFFREY BROWN: It's easy enough to get a sense of timelessness on a walk at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area at Fort Mason overlooking the spectacular San Francisco Bay. But Jenny Odell actually wants us to focus on time, just in a new way. She met us recently at the Long Now Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at fostering longer-term thinking, to talk about her new book, "Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock." JENNY ODELL: There's obvious the sense of not having enough time, always rushing against the clock. There's also, I think, the feeling of being worried about the climate. So, there's a sense of kind of impending doom, this longer historical timeline.

And I was trying to find a different way of thinking about time or a different relationship to time that didn't feel so painful. JEFFREY BROWN: Then there was the pandemic, the period when she was writing when time and place took on a new strangeness. Odell, 36, is an Oakland-based artist and writer who's taken her work into some unusual places, including a Bay Area dump, where she examined and displayed the history or the past life of a given piece of trash, from how and when it was made to now. JENNY ODELL: I'm really obsessed with seeing something new that was right in front of you the whole time. That's kind of like my favorite thing,and so sort of an odd angle on the familiar, the every day.

JEFFREY BROWN: That's kind of what you're telling us we should do? JENNY ODELL: Yes, with time, exactly. Yes. It's like what could be more commonplace than time? JEFFREY BROWN: Her first book, "How to do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy," challenged a social media-obsessed culture to refocus and pay attention to life around us, including the natural world. It struck a chord and became a surprise bestseller during the pandemic, when activities like gardening and bird-watching took on new popularity. But she says there was a problem. JENNY ODELL: A lot of people who read that or heard me talk about it agreed with the concepts, but had a kind of objection about time, which was that they didn't know -- they couldn't imagine having the time to do the things that I was talking about.

(LAUGHTER) JENNY ODELL: Yes. So -- and so and I thought... JEFFREY BROWN: And that is the issue, right, is how... JENNY ODELL: That is the issue, yes. JEFFREY BROWN: Odell knows many people don't have the privilege of controlling their own time. But she does believe that understanding the relatively recent history of, say, time is money -- think of the shelves of productivity guides -- can help both individuals and society.

Her book takes the reader to the Oakland Port to examine the industrial model of time and into the woods to consider nature's time, as on her own walks on local trails. JENNY ODELL: There's a type of flower that grows there called the Douglas iris that comes up. It's one of the earlier flowers.

And one year, I saw it a little bit what I thought was early, and then I just -- I had this moment of realizing that the Douglas iris does not know what February is. JEFFREY BROWN: A more prosaic example of individuals making more of their own time: JENNY ODELL: I interviewed someone who was an admin for a working moms Facebook group, and she had the insight that it would probably make a lot of sense for her to get six other moms together, and each one of them would make dinner for the other people in the group one night a week. Like, if they do these things together, everyone will have more time.

JEFFREY BROWN: While we all want to save time, Odell is focused more on saving the meaning of time itself. Still, I couldn't help but notice something. I see you're wearing a watch. I'm wearing a watch. JENNY ODELL: Yes. Yes.

(LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: So, we're both on the clock in that sense. JENNY ODELL: Yes, we are. Yes. Yes.

JEFFREY BROWN: I mean, do you advise us to take it off? JENNY ODELL: No. I mean, I always say like -- someone recently asked me, should we -- should we smash all the clocks? And I said, no, we should just put them in their place, right? Like, no, you -- it's a tool. But I -- my hope is that it's not the primary way that you think about time.

JEFFREY BROWN: For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown in San Francisco. AMNA NAWAZ: Jennifer Doudna is a Nobel laureate in chemistry and professor of biochemistry, biophysics and structural biology at the University of California, Berkeley. She has also been a pioneer in CRISPR gene editing.

Tonight, Doudna shares her Brief But Spectacular take on the future of her field. JENNIFER DOUDNA, Nobel Laureate Biochemist: Early in my work on CRISPR, I had a dream one night about a colleague of mine asking me to explain CRISPR to a friend of his. And the friend turned out to be Hitler. And it was Hitler with a pig face and a horrifying look that made me imagine some of the worst aspects of what genome editing could bring about if it were used irresponsibly. And I woke up from that dream thinking that it was so critical that we as scientists think together about how we use our technologies responsibly.

I like to describe CRISPR as an editor for the genome. It's a way of changing the code of life in a precise fashion, very much like we might edit a document. With CRISPR, we can literally alter a single letter in DNA all the way up to a large segment of that text. And that means that we can now correct disease-causing mutations and help address climate change.

Some of the ethical considerations around CRISPR focus on human health, especially altering human embryos. And the reason that is such a profound use of the technology is that it results in changes that are made that are inheritable. And so we have to really be thoughtful about how we would deploy a technology for that purpose. The other area where there's a lot of talk is using CRISPR for environmental applications, meaning altering whole sets of organisms.

I think there's an extraordinary opportunity to address challenges of disease and, frankly, preventive medicine that haven't been possible in the past. On the flip side, I do worry that the use of CRISPR and other technologies could get ahead of themselves. So it's very important that scientists and technologists and engineers stay on top of this as these technologies develop. In early October of 2020, I got a phone call. It was a call from the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, telling me that I had won the Nobel Prize in chemistry that year with my colleague Emmanuelle Charpentier. And what happened very shortly after that was that I realized that, for many people, especially women and girls who reached out to me, it was a symbol for them of what might be possible for all of us to achieve.

And that's what means the most to me about it. Today, we're facing so many challenges in our society, inequities, challenges to our health, challenges to our environment. And, with CRISPR, we have a technology that can, in principle, address all of these things. It's a wonderful tool that we can use to manipulate ourselves and our environment in ways that will benefit the planet. My name is Jennifer Doudna, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on the future of CRISPR.

AMNA NAWAZ: And you can watch more Brief But Spectacular videos online at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief. GEOFF BENNETT: And, before we go, a news update. Prosecutors have filed two felony charges against a man they say shot a Black teenager in Kansas City; 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was trying to pick up his two younger brothers, when he mistakenly went to the wrong house. AMNA NAWAZ: The 85-year-old white man is charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest. GEOFF BENNETT: And that is the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm Geoff Bennett. AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz. On behalf of the entire "NewsHour" team, thank you for joining us.

2023-04-19 22:51

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