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Jan 28, 2017

Split down the middle

Co-produced with PRX Logo

As Donald Trump assumes leadership of a divided nation, Reveal heads to Jacksonville, Florida, one of the most divided cities in America.

Trump has promised to make some big changes during his first 100 days in office. He’s talked about tackling issues such as immigration, education and law enforcement. And while some people can’t wait for these changes to happen, others dread them. In this show, you’ll hear voices from both sides, and we’ll revisit these people in the coming months as the administration’s plans unfold.

Jacksonville is our host Al Letson’s hometown, and the people there are pretty much split down the middle on politics. On Election Day, the vote was almost 50-50. Jacksonville considers itself part of the conservative Bible Belt, but many progressives also live there, and there’s a growing LGBT population and arts community.

On this hour of Reveal, we look at policing, immigration, education and other issues through the eyes of people with very different perspectives and find that residents here are not on the same page.

Credits

Support for Reveal is provided by The Reva and David Logan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Mary and Steven Swig.

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Transcript

Reveal transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. Please be aware that the official record for Reveal's radio stories is the audio.

 

  Section 1 of 5          [00:00:00 - 00:10:04]
(NOTE: speaker names may be different in each section)

 

Alex: From the Center For Investigative reporting in PRX, this is Reveal. I'm Alex. President Trump followed through on some of his most divisive campaign promises during his first week in office through a series of executive orders. The result, a potential Constitutional crisis and protests across the country. From San Francisco ...

 

SF Protesters: Let them come!

 

Alex: To Philadelphia.

 

Philly Croud: Let them in!

 

[00:00:30]

Alex:

 

And at least 28 other cities. They were reacting to Trump's order, which temporarily bans all refugees from entering the U.S. It also bans people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

 

Speaker 5: This is not in vain, and I guarantee that the families are grateful to each and every one of you.

 

Alex: This weekend, customs and border protection officers, started detaining and deporting travelers, even though they had valid visas, and in some cases, green cards. That led democratic Governor, Tom Wolfe, of Pennsylvania, to say this at a Philadelphia protest ...

 

[00:01:00]

Tom Wolfe:

 

These are legal immigrants, these are people who have gone through all the hurdles, and they have chosen to come and live with us here in Pennsylvania. And I say to them ... You are welcome here.

 

Alex: On Sunday, the Trump administration said green card holders would no longer be stopped from entering the country. And, federal judges in several states, ordered the government to stop removing refugees and other travelers with valid visas. But, it's unclear whether immigration officials were following those orders ... leaving people wondering if their friends or families would be let into the country.

 

[00:01:30]

Speaker 7:

 

We heard that he is on the plane, so, he got on the plane fine. The last communication that we had was that, "They are closing the doors of the plane, I'll turn off my cell phone." We are just waiting to hear from him

 

[00:02:00]

Alex:

 

We reached Ralph Basham, he was a commissioner of customs and border protection under George W. Bush. He told us that all the confusion could have been avoided if Trump's plan had been properly vetted.

 

Ralph Basham: Had they just taken 72 hours to process this with the Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Justice, all this chaos would have been avoidable. And, they could have gotten the president exactly what he wanted. Quite frankly, now that the judicial orders are out there, it's gonna actually prolong this process of getting to where the administration wants to be.

 

[00:02:30]

Alex:

 

Today, and over the coming months, we're gonna track how Trump's policies affect people on the ground, from the lens of my hometown, Jacksonville, Florida. On election day, Jacksonville was almost split right down the middle. A lot of promises that Trump made for his first 100 days would play out right here.

 

[00:03:00] Take, immigration for example. There are large groups of immigrants here, some of them undocumented. The Florida Coastal School of Law offers them legal help and representation. Ericka Curran runs the program

 

Ericka Curran: Our phones have been ringing off the hook, and we've had more requests for services. I think the requests for services have tripled in the past three weeks.

 

Alex: One thing they're asking about is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. President Obama used an executive order to create DACA in 2012. It's essentially a permit for undocumented people who enter the country as children to legally work, and continue school for a couple years. It isn't a path to citizenship, but it is a stop-gap.

 

[00:03:30] President Trump has promised to revoke it. That's one reason about a dozen families turned out for this immigration law clinic last month.

 

Ericka Curran: We have, in the past, hosted events, and people, particularly undocumented people are very afraid to come out, and come to events.

 

[00:04:00]

Alex:

 

They're cautious because of an agreement Jacksonville signed with U.S. Immigration, and Customs Enforcement, or ICE in 2008. It gives local law enforcement agencies the authority of federal immigration officials. So, a run-in with the police could get you detained, or even deported if your immigration status is in limbo.

 

Jacksonville's partnership with ICE is one of only two in Florida.

 

Ericka Curran: My students who are immigrants, you know, have came to class crying. They're afraid for themselves, for their families. They're afraid of mass deportations ... We've had students tell stories of hate speech they've experienced in Jacksonville, just in the past couple of months.

 

[00:04:30]

Alex:

 

Ericka finds cases to take on at these clinics, but neighborhood groups and churches also refer people who might need her help. That's how she found a 29 year old man we're calling "Michael."

 

Michael: I play guitar, piano, I like long walks on the beach ...

 

[00:05:00]

Alex:

 

Michael's trying to kid with us, but you can tell he's nervous. He's afraid of being deported, which is why we agreed not to use his real name. Michael was adopted from Mexico when he was five months old. Ericka says his parents assumed Michael would automatically become and American citizen, because they were Americans. But, it doesn't work that way ... And Michael never got his citizenship.

 

He hasn't been back to Mexico since his adoption, and he doesn't speak Spanish.

 

Michael: Just your basic, "Yes, no, thank you, and bathroom." And that's about it.

 

[00:05:30]

Alex:

 

Michael assumed he was a U.S. citizen until he was 15, and started pestering his mom about getting a driver's license. Florida won't let undocumented immigrants get them, so he has to be careful. Driving without a license could land him in jail if the cops pull him over. Michael's worried about being deported under President Trump.

 

Michael: I'm gonna be totally honest, and I'm gonna say, when I found out the results of the election, I was a little angry ... a little angry ... That's a lie, I was a lot angry. Like, I felt like a little hope had died, for people like me.

 

[00:06:00]

Alex:

 

Michael's very much a Jacksonville guy ... A high school graduate, a church-goer, a hard-worker who wants to start a family. But, because he's not here legally, Michael lives with his self-employed parents, and works off the books for cash.

 

[00:06:30]

Michael:

 

I want to marry my fiance, you know, in the legal way, of course. And, I want to go to school. Music is probably one of my biggest passions, and I want to go to school for that. I want to travel, just be normal like everyone else ... Just be able to drive, and go places, and not really have to look back over your shoulder everywhere you go.

 

Alex: There's not much free legal help for immigrants in Jacksonville. And it took Michael awhile to find out about DACA.

 

[00:07:00]

Michael:

 

I'm trying to be really hopeful right now. But, at the same time, it is scary, and, as of right now ... I really don't know. We'll just have to wait and see what unfolds. And ... I really hope there is a chance ... I really do.

 

Alex: Not everyone agrees that Michael should be able to stay. Lake Ray, is an engineer who represented Northeast Florida for eight years in the state legislature.

 

[00:07:30]

Lake Ray:

 

I was born and raised her in Jacksonville.

 

Alex: He didn't run for reelection last year because of term limits.

 

Lake Ray: And actually, my family's an eight generation through my grandmother's side, is an eighth generation Floridian.

 

Alex: Lake is a pro-manufacturing, pro-trade republican who wants stricter controls on who can live in this country. He want's to make sure that immigrants are helping the American economy.

 

[00:08:00]

Lake Ray:

 

The intended goal, at the end of the day, is, finding out who's here, securing the borders, and not necessarily creating a path for citizenship unless there's some sort of quid pro quo. You know, what is the something? Somebody walking across our borders should not necessarily just be entitled citizenship.

 

Alex: Lake says he's sympathetic to people like Michael, but he's concerned that policies like DACA are tool lenient. Last February, Lake introduced a bill in the state house that would grant the governor military power to prevent restricted persons, immigrants, and refugees, from entering Florida. The bill died on the floor, but Lake says it's in line with what many Floridians want ... Tighter border controls.

 

[00:08:30]

Lake Ray:

 

The question is ... Is dealing with it in such a way that it benefits the economy, it doesn't break it. And, it continues to provide opportunities for the people who are here, who've been paying the bills.

 

[00:09:00]

Alex:

 

Lake endorsed Donald Trump during the campaign, and he hopes the new president will follow through with some of his hard-line promises on immigration. The DACA applicant Michael and his lawyer Ericka are optimistic, too, because Trump has suggested he may soften his stance on allowing undocumented young people to stay in the country, as long as they don't have criminal records.

 

Michael: You try living in my life, and not being legal, and see how much you suffer. You know, we're not all bad people ... We just got stuck in the situation. And, for people that are like me, I think that he should provide a way for us to become legal citizens, because, right now, I don't feel free ... Like I'm trapped.

 

[00:09:30]

Alex:

 

The new president says he wants to eliminate every unconstitutional executive order ...

 

  Section 1 of 5          [00:00:00 - 00:10:04]
  Section 2 of 5          [00:10:00 - 00:20:04]
(NOTE: speaker names may be different in each section)

 

Speaker 1: He wants to eliminate every unconstitutional executive order his predecessor made within his first 100 days, that includes DACA. It's not certain what the consequences will be for young immigrants who've already qualified, or for Michael, who's still not sure whether his application will be approved. One of the harder things about all of this for Michael is that some of the people in his extended family don't know his status, and they've voted for Donald Trump.

 

[00:10:30] Let's get back to Trump's executive order on immigration. On Sunday, Trump said, "The ban is not about religion, it's about keeping our country safe." But all of the countries he's targeted are majority Muslim, and the president now says when he lifts the ban on refugees, he wants to prioritize Christians. All of this, has some Muslims living in the U.S. worried about what will come next. Producer Anna Hamilton visited one Muslim family in Jacksonville.

 

[00:11:00]

Speaker 2:

 

I'm at the home of Rana Abduljawad and her husband Asif. When I arrive, I'm greeted by a rambunctious two-year-old. The scene here is like that of any parents with a toddler. Toys are scattered across the floor, and cartoons play in the background. Little Yasmin's current obsession though is my audio gear.

 

[00:14:30]

Rana:

 

She's really excited about all the stuff you have. She loves gadgets and ...

 

Yeah, button.

 

Yasmin: Ba bi.

 

Rana: Button.

 

Yasmin: Button.

 

Speaker 2: The Abduljawad's are three of the more than 8,000 Muslims living in Jacksonville. Rana says she knows some Muslims who normally vote republican, switched sides in this election.

 

What did you do on election night? Did you watch the election?

 

Rana: Yes. We're just ... I think we're speechless for a while. I mean my husband just couldn't talk for a little bit. We had to digest what we just find out and we went to sleep and I remember I couldn't sleep and he saw me sitting up on the bed. I was like, "I'm scared."

 

Speaker 2: Rana was born in Yakima, Washington. To look at her, you might not be able to tell she's Muslim. She attends Mosque regularly, but she doesn't wear a hijab, the traditional veil worn by some Muslim women. She has a day job at Merrill Lynch, and volunteers with refugees in an inner faith group in her after hours.

 

Rana: We're just like anybody else. My kid loves Disney and we are full time. We work. We're mommy and daddy, and we have the same lifestyle that everybody else does, and the only difference ... It's the way we pray, that's the only difference between me and you.

 

Speaker 2: But for Rana, the feeling that she isn't American enough, is only growing stronger. In 2015, hate-crimes against Muslims reached the highest level since 2001. Since the election, the counsel on American-Islamic Relations has reported an increase in complaints to its offices.

 

Rana: My fears we gotta constantly put all these incident under the rug and act like its nothing happening, and the minority groups are going to continue to bleed.

 

Speaker 2: In November, just days before the election, Rana gave a talk to a Jacksonville audience about raising a Muslim daughter in America. In it she is well paced, clear, calm, and hopeful. At that time, most polls predicted Hilary Clinton besting Donald Trump.

 

Has your ideas about how you're going to raise your daughter changed since the election?

 

Rana: Absolutely not. It is very, very important to stick with the culture and the religion. But I cannot be afraid to because if I do that then obviously the other side wins.

 

Asif: What about the cheesecake too? You wanna bring the cheesecake out?

 

Rana: Eric? Oh my god, yeah [inaudible 00:14:16]

 

Asif: New York Style cheesecake is the best.

 

Rana: I know- [crosstalk 00:14:21]

 

Speaker 2: Rana and Asif invite me into their dining room for coffee and dessert. Asif props Yasmin up in her high chair with a slice of pie, and as Rana, Asif, and I eat, we chat about little things like night life in Jacksonville, traffic, California, and big things too. Rana tells me that she was in college in 2001 when 9/11 happened.

 

Is this ... Was it scarier then being in America as a Muslim or is it scarier now?

 

Rana: I think it's scarier now because then it was just words, a lot of words.

 

Speaker 2: Rana says Trump's rhetoric about Muslims only proves how much work lies ahead for her and America's Muslim community in the next four years. It'll take more of this, opening her door to curious strangers to help correct the stigma.

 

[00:15:00]

Rana:

 

'Cause now-

 

Asif: Pick me.

 

Yasmin: Papa.

 

Asif: What are you doing, bubbles? [crosstalk 00:15:22]

 

Speaker 1: That story was from producer Anna Hamilton. If President Trump would create a Muslim registry, how hard would it be? Well we looked into that here at Reveal that found that most of the information is already out there. In fact, it's for sale for under $20,000. To read more about that, go to RevealNews.org.

 

[00:15:30] This is Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting at PRX.

 

Speaker 6: Hi, I'm Andrew Becker, a reporter here at Reveal.

 

Speaker 7: And I'm Mike Corey, a data journalist.

 

Speaker 6: As you've probably heard, President Trump has said he's building a big wall, but it's still not exactly clear what he means.

 

[00:16:00]

Speaker 7:

 

We've been covering the U.S. Mexico border for years, and our newsroom has collected and analyzed a lot of data about the current border fence. If you go to RevealNews.org/Wall, you can see exactly where there's fence on the border today, and the huge gaps President Trump would have to fill.

 

Speaker 6: You can also read a story about how much it would cost to build a wall, and whether it's even possible to put a barrier along the entire border.

 

Speaker 7: Again, that's Revealnews.org/Wall. Check it out.

 

[00:16:30]

Speaker 1:

 

From the Center of Investigative Reporting at PRX, this is Reveal. I'm Al Ledson. We're in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida this week. To see how President Trump's plans for his first 100 days in office are affecting people in one of the most divided places in America. One area of where he has promised to make some big changes, policing. Under Obama, the justice department routinely investigated police departments. That it said abused power and discriminated against African Americans. During his campaign, Trump made it clear, there's a new sheriff in town.

 

[00:17:00]

Speaker 8:

 

I am the law and order candidate.

 

Speaker 1: Trump says he wants to increase police funding. After years of tension around police shootings, he wants to end what he calls, "The dangerous anti-police atmosphere." So, what will that mean on the ground in Jacksonville? To find out, Producer Amy Walters and I head to a neighborhood that's still reeling from a recent police shooting.

 

[00:17:30]

Speaker 9:

 

All right. So where are we?

 

Speaker 1: Right now, we are in Springfield. It's a neighborhood that's got a mix. People who are really struggling to get by and people who are pretty well off.

 

A century ago, Springfield was the wealthiest neighborhood in the city. The 1960s brought white flight and then in the 80s, things went seriously downhill. Like a lot of urban areas then, there was crime, drugs, and AIDS.

 

[00:18:00] But the thing about Springfield that you'll see from just riding through is how beautiful the housing stock is. So around 2005-6, the neighborhood really started to become gentrified. People were spending a lot of money to fix these houses up because they're beautiful houses and so the population began to shift.

 

[00:18:30]

Speaker 10:

 

Been here ... Had my 10 year anniversary this fall. I was just thinking about that today. Goes fast.

 

Speaker 1: Michele Tipoony lives in a century old two-story house. It was gutted before she moved in. Now, it's sports porches on both floors, just like the original. But this is still a neighborhood very much in transition. Something Michele's reminded of every time she locks the door.

 

Speaker 10: All right, I have my keys, my purse, and my phone, and I'm going to set the alarm.

 

[00:19:00]

Speaker 1:

 

That's a habit now. Ever since one day a couple years ago.

 

Speaker 10: It was one of those things where I wasn't paying attention and someone took advantage of that and I was mugged in my front yard.

 

Speaker 1: Soon after, she became president of the Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Counsel. Michele's a Republican. She didn't vote for Trump, but like him, she supports the police, and she has a close relationship with the sheriff's department.

 

Speaker 10: I would hope that funding will be available for these officers to have what they need to be safe and to do their jobs.

 

[00:19:30]

Speaker 11:

 

Yo man. Good to see you man.

 

Speaker 1: Good to see you too.

 

A few blocks from Michele's house, I meet up with Biko Miso Biko.

 

Speaker 11: Nice to meet you.

 

Speaker 1: He feels differently about the police. Was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but basically he's from Springfield.

 

Speaker 11: Okay, wow. [crosstalk 00:19:49]

 

Speaker 1: Biko and I go way back. He was 12-years-old. I worked at a community center here and Biko is one of my star mentees. He's 25 now and has become an activist in the community.

 

[00:20:00]

Speaker 11:

 

We don't trust the police around here. No, a lot of us that-

 

  Section 2 of 5          [00:10:00 - 00:20:04]
  Section 3 of 5          [00:20:00 - 00:30:04]
(NOTE: speaker names may be different in each section)

 

Biko: We don't trust the police around here. A lot of us that stayed in this community have a problem with police officers here.

 

Narrator: Rising rent means he doesn't live here anymore but, he still works in the area. Odd jobs, teaching kids, gardening, this is where his heart is.

 

But Springfield can be a tough neighborhood: Biko's been shot twice here. Just like Michelle, he won't give up on this place.

 

Biko: Around here, what I try to find is never lose focus on whatever job you can get, just get it.

 

[00:20:30]

Narrator:

 

Biko says he would call the police if there's an emergency, but there's fear there too.

 

Biko: Since I was about 15 years old, the police that's present here are the most disrespectful. I remember that officer one incident on Phoenix avenue, he slapped my friend and called him a nigger and tell him to go. Me and my friend crossed the street and I just looked at him like "Man, this got to stop." There's none of that relationship between the police and a community here.

 

Narrator: Things seem really tense, but their relationship between the police and the community could be getting worse.

 

[00:21:00] Ben Charnock, a reporter at the Florida Times union, a partner on this story, just broke some big news.

 

Ben Charnock: In the last 10 years, 124 people have been shot by Jacksonville sheriff's office, deputies, or what they call officers or sergeants or SWAT teams, undercover narcotics, we're counting all of them, even off-duty officers.

 

[00:21:30]

Narrator:

 

Out of the 124, how many of those shootings were of African Americans?

 

Ben Charnock: 96.

 

Narrator: 96. That's over 75%. But only 30% of Jacksonville is black. Out of those shootings, Ben found only two Jacksonville officers have been fired. Three, others resigned, and not a single officer was ever convicted of a crime, prosecuted, or even arrested.

 

[00:22:00] One of those shootings was on May 22nd, 2016, right here in Springfield. Jacksonville Sheriff's officer Tyler Landreville shot and killed Vernell Bing Jr. Landreville was white, Bing was black, and he was unarmed. He had no gun, and it's still an open case.

 

It was pretty early in the evening, and there were kids playing in the park, just like they are now. Here's Biko.

 

Biko: Me and Bing were close.

 

Narrator: Were you really?

 

Biko: Yeah, me and him were friends, we were like his bigger brother and stuff like that, so when that happened man, it really came home with us, you know.

 

[00:22:30]

Narrator:

 

We're standing at the corner of Ninth and Liberty: Biko stops and points to one of the kids from the park walking by.

 

Biko: The boy up front, he witnessed the shooting.

 

Lee Davis: Yeah, I was standing right there at the Oakland county gate.

 

Narrator: Lee Davis points across the street. He sounds young because he is. 12 years old. His account pretty much lines up with what the police say happened. Lee was playing in a park and watching his little sister when he heard sirens. He ran to find out what was wrong, and saw a red Camaro speeding right towards the spot we're standing.

 

[00:23:00]

Lee Davis:

 

As the car was coming down, the police came around the corner and hit the car.

 

Narrator: The Camaro slammed into a police cruiser. Lee says the police officer got out of his car, un-holstered his gun, and pointed it at the driver who was stumbling out.

 

Lee Davis: And he started shooting at him, and then Vernell got out of the car and started walking and that's when the officer shot five more times, and then he hit the ground.

 

[00:23:30]

Narrator:

 

The police report counts just five shots in all. At that point, Lee knew not to stick around.

 

Lee Davis: My mother always told us "If you hear a gunshot, run."

 

Narrator: Lee got away safely, but Vernell Bing did not. He died in the hospital the next day.

 

[00:24:00]

Chief Chris But:

 

The police officer was giving commands to the suspect who was in the car.

 

Narrator: This is chief Chris Butler describing the incident at a press conference later that night.

 

Chief Chris But: The suspect did not obey the commands, he got out of the car and something happened to cauae the officer to un-holster his weapon and to shoot the suspect.

 

Narrator: We don't know what that something was that caused the officer to shoot, because this is the only thing the Jacksonville sheriff has said about what happened that day.

 

They did open an investigation right after the shooting. State and federal agencies also started their own investigations, but Ben Frazier has been frustrated with the progress. He's a community activist who runs a website called The Black Viewpoint, and he has his own opinions about what happened.

 

[00:24:30]

Ben Frazier:

 

We say it was poor judgements in the very least, and the very most it was execution at the hands of a police officer of an unarmed young black man.

 

Narrator: Eight months after the shooting, it's radio silence.

 

[00:25:00]

Ben Frazier:

 

The community simply wants to know what happened, but neither JSO-

 

Narrator: The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

 

Ben Frazier: Or the FBI-

 

Narrator: The Federal Bureau Of Investigation.

 

Ben Frazier: Nor the state attorney's office has ever told us since May 22nd, 2016, just what the hell happened. We think we deserve more than that.

 

Narrator: Is that typical of the JSO?

 

Ben Frazier: We think that there's been a history of them not being very transparent.

 

Narrator: It's not just Jacksonville: a lot of Americans have been disappointed with investigations into police shootings. President Trump's talking about more authority for police, which worries people who think officers need to be held more accountable.

 

[00:25:30] With Trump as the new backdrop, police departments like Jacksonville's dot have a lot of incentive to change. Ben Charnock, the reporter at the Florida Times union, has been going back and forth with the sheriff's office for months now. He says they haven't been open about the investigation process or the results.

 

Ben Charnock: Sheriff Mike Williams, the top dog there, never agreed to an interview with me on this, and his spokespeople made it clear that, that didn't mean he would never do an interview with me, it just meant he would never do an interview with me about police shootings.

 

[00:26:00]

Narrator:

 

The Jacksonville's sheriff office did offer Ben an interview, not with the sheriff, but with the undersheriff Pat Ivey. Ivey did admit they could be more transparent about how eaxctly these investigations work.

 

Pat Ivey: Maybe we haven't done the best job of explaining that process-

 

Ben Charnock: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Pat Ivey: There is a very defined process ...

 

[00:26:30]

Narrator:

 

But the public still doesn't know what that process is. Jacksonville investigates its own officers behind closed doors, while other cities often outsource these investigations to prevent a conflict of interest.

 

And about that investigation, we found Jacksonville police never interviewed the 12 year old who witnessed the shooting, Lee Davis, or a handful of other eyewitnesses we talked to in our reporting.

 

Yet Ivey says he's proud of how these investigations are handled.

 

Pat Ivey: I think that we've done a good job, and I know we're good at it.

 

Narrator: And one more thing: there's a special piece of legislation that does even more to protect police officers.

 

[00:27:00]

Ben Charnock:

 

The law enforcement officer's bill of rights.

 

Narrator: That's Ben Charnock at the times union again. He says the officer's bill of rights gives police, like Landreville, an advantage during internal investigations, when the department is trying to figure out if he should have fired his gun.

 

Ben Charnock: It explicitly creates this space in which the officer who shot a civilian doesn't have to say anything until they have access to pretty much all the evidence that is going to be used against them.

 

[00:27:30]

Narrator:

 

Chuck Canterbury loves the law enforcement officer's bill of rights. He's the national president of the fraternal order of police, which represents police unions. He'd like to see it go national.

 

Chuck Canterbur: And of course if we were successful in passing it, we would ask the president to sign it.

 

Narrator: Before he was sworn in, president Trump said he would leave that kind of legislation to the states, but empowering law enforcement, that's still his vow.

 

So what is the African American community in Jacksonville supposed to think? I asked Canterbury.

 

[00:28:00] In the last ten years, there have been 124 police involved shootings, 94 African American. It just seems to me in ten years that there hasn't been one mistake?

 

Chuck Canterbur: Mistakes aren't crimes. Now, it happens every day, my friend. If the officer perceived that that individual, based on his experience was gonna raise that weapon, the officer does not have to wait until that weapon is raised against him, if they have articulable reasons to believe that that suspect was about to cause them to be in jeopardy.

 

[00:28:30]

Narrator:

 

I recognize that it's a really hard job, that people get into situations and you've got like five second to react, and so things happen. But I also think that when you're talking about in ten years, 120 some-odd shootings, somebody has made mistakes here.

 

[00:29:00]

Chuck Canterbur:

 

I don't think that you can actually say that. That is by no means a huge number of shootings in cities the size of Jacksonville, with the crime rate that Jacksonville has.

 

Narrator: Under president Obama, the justice department opened a review of how the Jacksonville sheriff's office handled the Bing case, but it wasn't resolved. What will happen under the Trump administration? Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions was pretty clear during his conformation hearing. He criticized how the justice department would step in and investigate police departments after high profile shootings.

 

[00:29:30]

Jeff Sessions:

 

I think there's concern that good police officers in good departments can be sued by the department of justice, when you just have individuals within a department who have done wrong, and those individuals need to be prosecuted.

 

Narrator: Back in Jacksonville, some people are still waiting to hear why Vernell Bing was shot. Biko still wants accountability for the police, and officer Tyler Landreville is still working for the Jacksonville-

 

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Al Letson: -and Officer Tyler Landreville is still working for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in an administrative role. But Biko seen another cop involved in shootings back here on the streets.

 

Biko: I mean you see these officers keep repeating the same crime and placed back in the same area. How would you feel if, I knowing a murderer that murdered somebody, placed back in the same community? What's gonna happen again? Eventually, he gonna murder somebody else. No, no, no accountability and he just coming back in the same area to repeat the same thing. And what are we to do? We feel hopeless.

 

[00:30:30]

Al Letson:

 

Michelle Tappouni, the president of the Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council, has a completely different take. With the Trump administration, she's hoping that the police will have the resources they need. She's police as a way to protect the community.

 

Michelle: Our intent is we moved here because we liked the diversity and we wanna keep it that way. But how do we do it where everyone's still healthy, happy, safe environment and everyone has an opportunity to really excel.

 

[00:31:00]

Al Letson:

 

We're gonna keep up with Michelle and Biko to see how Trump's presidency affects them both, and we'll keep you in the loop. You can see more of the Florida Times Union Investigation on their website, Jacksonville.com. They've gathered information on each one of those 124 police shootings. When we come back, a look at education under President Trump. And why one gay couple decided to rush to the alter. This is Reveal, from the Center of Investigative Reporting in PRX.

 

[00:31:30]

Julie:

 

Hey listeners, Julie B. Chan here. Reveal's digital editor. If you don't already follow us on Twitter, you should consider it. It's the best place to get our latest stories and share feedback about the show. And starting today we've got a little something extra to sweeten the deal. We're gonna offer a first listen of our latest episode to one new Twitter follower each week. Here's how it works. Every Friday, we'll randomly select one new follower from the previous seven days and send them a password protected link to the next episode of Reveal, before anyone else gets it. To enter just open up the Twitter app on your phone and give us a follow. We're @reveal.

 

[00:32:30]

Al Letson:

 

From the Center for Investigative Reporting in PRX, this is Reveal. I'm Al Letson. Today we're looking ahead to President Trump's first 100 days in office. He's made several promises, some effecting education. Trump's pick for education's secretary is billionaire investor Betsy Devos. She faced some of the toughest criticism after a confirmation hearing, mainly because she didn't seem to get basic education policy. When asked about a 1975 federal law that ensures kids with special needs get an education, she said it was up to the states to follow that law or not. New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan, followed up.

 

[00:33:00]

Maggie Hassan:

 

I wanna go back to the Individual Disabilities in Education Act, that's a federal civil rights law. So do you stand by your statement a few minutes ago, that it should be up to the states whether to follow it?

 

Betsy Devos: The law must be fol ... Federal law must be followed where federal dollars are in play.

 

Maggie Hassan: So were you unaware what I just asked you about the IDA, that it was a federal law?

 

[00:33:30]

Betsy Devos:

 

I may have confused it.

 

Al Letson: Even before the hearing, public school advocates weren't happy with Devos because of her support for school choice. Including charter schools and vouchers. A charters are part of the public school system, but they're run by private groups. Vouchers provide parents with money to send kids to private or religious schools. Both of them take money away from traditional public schools. Trump has said he would pay for a voucher program for low income families by sending 20 billion dollars to the states in the form of block rents. Charter schools are popular here in Florida. There's 650 of them. 30 in Jacksonville. Reporter Lindsey Kilbride WJCT, our partner on today's show visited one of those schools recently.

 

[00:34:00]

Speaker 8:

 

So let's take a moment and look at our instructions.

 

Lindsey: I went to Wayman Academy of the Arts. It's an elementary school with a focus on visual and performing arts.

 

Speaker 8: We are building words.

 

Lindsey: I'm in seven year old, Nyesha Grant's second grade class.

 

[00:34:30] So how do you like school?

 

Nyesha Grant: Good.

 

Lindsey: Yeah? Why do you like it so much?

 

Nyesha Grant: Because it teaches how to help reading and math.

 

Speaker 8: Seven Four, are you ready?

 

Speaker 11: Yes!

 

Lindsey: Nyesha lives in Eureka Garden, it's a section 8 federally subsidized apartment complex. It's directly across from the school. About a third of the school's 300 plus students live there. I meet up with her mom Tracy Grant at their apartment.

 

[00:35:00]

Tracy Grant:

 

Most of the kids that go over to Wayman ... It's convenient. You can get up and walk the kids right across the street.

 

Lindsey: Tracy's the president of Eureka's Tenant Association. She's been living here for more than six years now and it hasn't been easy. With Tracy's help a little over a year ago, a city inspection found more than a third of the complex's apartments had code violations. Including gas leaks and mold. And then there's the crime.

 

Tracy Grant: First night I was here, there was shooting. And I mean literally first night, I mean I'm walking past between two different apartment buildings. All you hear is Pow! Pow! And I'm like, I had my two girls and we were on the floor and then it was consistent after that. And then it's like oh so and so got shot or this person got shot and I'm like, really. This is not the lifestyle I want my kids to be around. At that point, I was like okay, I gotta do something.

 

[00:36:00]

Lindsey:

 

With all those problems, The Wayman Academy seems to be one of the bright spots in the community. Tracy says, "It feels like something you'd have to pay for, like a private school."

 

Tracy Grant: More attention. It's not a class size, it's more attention. Regardless if that have 30 kids, most of the teachers there, they personally know most of the kids.

 

Pastor Mark: I'm Pastor MarK Griffin, I'm the founder of Wayman Academy of the Arts Charter School, we are one of the oldest charter schools here in Duval County.

 

[00:36:30]

Lindsey:

 

Pastor Griffin started the school 17 years ago. He's an African American Pastor who runs a church next door. He's also a Republican who recently lost a bid for a state house seat.

 

Pastor Mark: We saw a lot of students and a lot of parents who could not afford a private school education, but we felt that they needed to have the same kind of choices and options of any other family.

 

Lindsey: Wayman's students did well enough on state testing last year to earn a B from the State's Department of Education. Before that the school made C's and D's, Griffin says, "It wasn't easy to get the school's grade up." Partly because he believes charters are at a disadvantage. He hopes that changes.

 

[00:37:00]

Pastor Mark:

 

I think more access to financial resources and technology, and making sure our teachers have the same access to professional development. And just really, evening the playing field.

 

Lindsey: He says, "Right now it's especially hard for a charter school to succeed in low income areas. Because if the school doesn't do well when it opens, families who can leave, do."

 

[00:37:30]

Pastor Mark:

 

Parents who do have options for their children, who normally gonna be a high performing students even in that particular school, they will withdrawal that child after year one.

 

Lindsey: When a school loses kids, it also loses money. Pastor Griffin says, "If President Trump's administration can help change some of those rules, then maybe more charter school operators will be encouraged to open, and become successful in low income neighborhoods."

 

If I come back to you in a year, what do you expect if anything, will have changed as far as charter school operations, law wise. What would you predict?

 

[00:38:00]

Pastor Mark:

 

It's kinda hard to say. I would hope that we will have a more charter friendly and a more choice friendly environment. Not only at the federal level, but also at the state and local level.

 

Lindsey: Griffin says he's hoping for a better relationship with the public school board. The Superintendent, Nikolai Vitti says he isn't against charter schools.

 

[00:38:30]

Nikolai:

 

This conversation always gets down to are you for or against, and it's just more complicated than that.

 

Lindsey: In fact Vitti says some charter schools have pushed traditional public schools to be more innovative. And he says schools like Wayman, that are run by a non-profit and offer options to parents in low income neighborhoods, that's what charters should be doing. But, for profit companies come into districts all the time and open up charters in affluent areas. Vitti's less supportive of that. He says they don't necessarily out perform the rest of the district.

 

[00:39:00]

Nikolai:

 

As a district, we are graded as a B district, that's with or without charter schools. If charter schools in Jacksonville were given an aggregate grade, they would have a C as in cat. So that alone tells you, that performance is not equal.

 

Lindsey: He wants to make sure that oversight of charter schools stays in place, especially after Trump named his pick for education secretary. Betsy Devos is anti regulation. Instead of government oversight, she's in favor of letting the market place decide. The theory is, if a school isn't doing well, parents won't send their kids there and it will fail. Not all parents buy that argument.

 

[00:39:30]

Julie Delagoal:

 

Hey Carter! Carter.

 

Lindsey: So how old is carter?

 

Julie Delagoal: He's 17. He's applying to colleges. He had lunch with a scout today so.

 

Lindsey: Oh wow.

 

Julie Delagoal: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: Julie Delagoal has three kids. Her youngest Carter is a senior. She's been a PTA president and writes in blogs and local papers, in favor of tradit-

 

  Section 4 of 5          [00:30:00 - 00:40:04]
  Section 5 of 5          [00:40:00 - 00:52:29]
(NOTE: speaker names may be different in each section)

 

Lindsey K.: President and write some blogs and local papers in favor of traditional public schools. She says, "The narrative that charters offer better, more innovative programming is a hollow promise."

 

Julie: Competition doesn't automatically ensure higher quality. What it the marketplace is threatening to bring right now in the form of voucher schools is some religious schools teaching that human beings and dinosaurs were hanging out at the same time.

 

Lindsey K.: Florida already has a voucher system. Corporations get a tax credit if they donate money to a program that lets low-income kids choose a private school. 69% of Florida students who used a state private school voucher last year chose a religious school. The largest teachers union in the state has been challenging it for years saying those dollars should go to public schools. All that makes Julie nervous about Trump's $20 billion federal school voucher plan.

 

[00:40:30]

Julie:

 

First of all, Duval county is not one of his experimental counties. Worst case scenario is that we're on the verge of dismantling public education.

 

[00:41:00]

Lindsey K.:

 

Trump doesn't specify where his $20 billion for school choice will come from. The New York Times speculates Trump could dip into the $15 billion of Federal Title 1 funding. That serves the nations poor students. If that were to happen, it would even take money away from charters like Wayman Academy. As for Superintendent Vitti, he says he hopes Trump will get rid of some of that red tape in education, but he's worried about losing federal dollars under the new administration. He thinks there is more to education reform than school choice.

 

[00:41:30]

Vitti:

 

It can be part of the puzzle. It can be one strategy of many, but if every conversation, if all the solutions go back to choice, you're never going to add scale and prove public education for this country.

 

[00:42:00]

Al Letson:

 

Thanks to Lindsey Kilbride of WJCT for that story. So, we've talked today about the policies that President Trump may change in his first 100 days, but there is one thing Trump says he will not change, the right for same sex couples to marry. Here he is on 60 minutes just says after he was elected.

 

Pres. Trump: It was already settled. It's low. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean, it's done.

 

Lesley S.: So, even if you appoint a judge that-

 

[00:42:30]

Pres. Trump:

 

It's done. These cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They've been settled, and I'm fine with that.

 

Al Letson: But there's more to LGBT rights than just gay marriage. Since election day, people across the country have been worried that things could change under the Trump administration. And then, on the day Trump took office, all mentions of the LGBT community disappeared from the White House website. Trump has surrounded himself with conservatives, like his Vice President Mike Pence. Pence has said that gay marriage could lead to societal collapse. In Jacksonville, the Trump administration has stoked fears and hopes, because this is a very divided city. LGBT rights and discrimination are still hotly debated.

 

[00:43:00]

Speaker 7:

 

If I could ask everyone in the audience to please take your seat and quiet down.

 

Al Letson: This city council meeting happened just a few weeks ago. For people in Jacksonville, it was deja vu, because for the past five years, these same meetings just keep happening.

 

Speaker 7: But a side comment on society at large, and this council in particular that the most important item on the agenda of the new year is proposing to grant special priv ledges to a deviant group.

 

[00:43:30]

Speaker 8:

 

What is the last line in the pledge of allegiance? Liberty and justice for all.

 

Al Letson: This is a debate about a change to Jacksonville's Human Rights Ordinance, or HRO. Pretty much every American city has one. It's the law that protects people from discrimination because of race, color, creed, gender, disability, a whole list of characteristics. There's a movement here to expand Jacksonville's HRO to include sexual-orientation and gender identity, and this is what the city cannot agree on.

 

[00:44:00]

Speaker 9:

 

From a public health and safety, this is a risk to our community, given the proven high STD, AIDS, suicide rates and the mental health of this population.

 

Speaker 10: My partner and I got married in Jacksonville. We own a home in Jacksonville. We are employed in Jacksonville, and we would love to spend the rest of our lives here. We love Florida [crosstalk 00:44:34]

 

[00:44:30]

Al Letson:

 

Every other major city in Florida already includes LGBT people in their Human Rights Ordinances. Jacksonville is the last hold out. Now, people on both sides of the issue have a strong perception of what might happen with gay rights under Trump. We're gonna start with the conservative Christian side. Marshall Wood is a retired former pilot and businessman. I meet him where he used to work, a company called Malone Air Charter. Beautiful day.

 

Marshall Wood: It's gorgeous here at the plane. That has about a 2500 mile range, or nautical mile range, flies cross country at 45,000 feet at about three quarters the speed of sound in absolutely luxury. It's a wonderful airplane.

 

[00:45:00]

Al Letson:

 

And the owner lives here in Jacksonville?

 

Marshall Wood: He's a very powerful man here in Jacksonville. Yeah.

 

Al Letson: Marshall was a pilot here, and helped run this charter plane service ... And you think that the HRO is more hindrance to small business.

 

[00:45:30]

Marshall Wood:

 

I absolutely know so, because I spoke with the Kleins from Oregon.

 

Al Letson: The Kleins were that family who ran a bakery and refused to bake cakes for gay weddings a couple years ago. They became the poster family for Christian business owners who say they have a right to refuse service to gay people. Their bakery closed last fall.

 

Marshall Wood: And it is morally reprehensible, in my view, that Americans who have a small business can be literally crucified by an HRO amendment for which there is no need.

 

[00:46:00]

Al Letson:

 

To Marshall, bills like the HRO threaten the religious freedom of Christians. He believes business owners should have the right to not hire a gay person if it goes against their faith. But not all business owners here in Jacksonville agree with him. Civic leaders and the Chamber of Commerce are pushing for the HRO expansion to pass. They say the city needs it to stay competitive. Marshall Woods' other objection is to gay people, in general, to what he considers their effect on American society.

 

[00:46:30]

Marshall Wood:

 

Man is hierarchal. That's why men invent sports. Who's the best? Women have quilting bees because nurturing and loving, they are the civilizers by God's plan, but when you destroy that dynamic of the husband/wife relationship with an artificial construct, you destroy the culture.

 

[00:47:00]

Al Letson:

 

Marshall has a lot of extreme right-wing views that are more in line with 1957 than 2017. His ideas about gay marriage destroying American culture sound a lot like Vice President Mike Pence. Trump, however, was a little harder for Marshall to get used to, at least at first.

 

Marshall Wood: I don't think he's necessarily a bad guy. I think he's subject to male behavior. He's chased a lot of skirts, and he's built a lot of casinos that I don't think are a good thing, but at the same time, he did produce jobs. He does understand how business works.

 

[00:47:30]

Al Letson:

 

So, he came around. When it comes down to it, the most important values for Marshall are, as he puts it, "Faith, family, and free enterprise." He expects Trump will uphold them. The LGBT community here fears that may happen at their expense. Across town, at theater Jacksonville, I meet Ron Shrieve and Daniel Austin. They're both actors and teachers.

 

Male Speaker: What's up? How you doing?

 

Al Letson: Full disclosure. Ron and Daniel are buddies of mine, and I've done several productions in this theater. This long-time couple had an entirely different reaction to Trump's election. Here's Daniel's take on Trump.

 

[00:48:00]

Daniel Austin:

 

I hope and pray that he doesn't do anything to LGBTQ rights. I don't think he will be able to, and I hope that he doesn't, but I know the people he's surrounding himself with are people that are very against it, and that's something that I have to keep my eye on. It's something where I feel like I can't turn my back for too long.

 

Al Letson: Ron says Jacksonville feels like a small town, a bless your heart Southern town. Where the same people who are friendly to his face voted against adding gay people to the city's HRO.

 

[00:48:30]

Speaker 14:

 

Sometimes, that's very warm, and welcoming, and inviting, and other times, it's very ostracizing, and that's the complex part, is Jacksonville is simultaneously welcoming you with open arms, and sometimes giving you the back hand at the same time.

 

Al Letson: Seeing the HRO expansion getting voted down so many times has been rough, and then on election night, Ron and Daniel watched as their candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost. Here's Daniel.

 

[00:49:00]

Daniel Austin:

 

I went to bed at night going this looks hopeless, and when I woke up in the morning and saw that yes, it was official, it was happening, and I just felt something that was almost unexplainable inside of me that said wake up, understand what's going on, and do your part. Do your part. I looked at Ron. He was washing a dish in the sink, and I said I think we should go down to the court house today. I think we should go get our marriage license. I think it's something that's really important that we do for ourselves, and he said, "Okay."

 

[00:49:30]

Al Letson:

 

The ceremony was emotional and fast. Afterwards, Daniel posted a photo to the pro-Hillary Facebook group Pantsuit Nation, which has almost four million members.

 

[00:50:00]

Daniel Austin:

 

And I just said, "Hey we decided to get married today, you know, knowing what happened," and so many people were posting that day about how upset they were, obviously, about losing the election, and there were 40,000 people that responded to our photo, wishing us well and congratulating us and telling us about how we made them smile on day where they didn't feel like smiling about anything. That in particular meant so much to us, and filled us with so much joy that we could bring joy to other people just by choosing love, and living our life, and that's what we're gonna continue to do no matter what. We're always gonna do that.

 

[00:50:30]

Al Letson:

 

And we'll continue to explore what Trump's America will mean for both his supporters and the opposition. We're gonna be checking back in to see how his policies affect the people we talked to today and others like them around the country. Stay tuned.

 

Today's show as edited by Cheryl Devall, Deb George, Laura Starechesk, and Taki Telonidis. Our producers were Amy Walters, Anna Hamilton, and Katharine Mieszkowski. A big thanks to our partners, WJCT for help producing and reporting today's show, especially Jessica Palombo and Karen Feagins. And to Ben Conarck at the Florida Times Union where you can follow his investigation of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Thanks to AG Gancarski, and also WHYY in Philadelphia for product support on today's show. Our sound design team is the Wonder Twins. My man, J-Breezy, Mr. Jim Briggs and Claire C-Note Mullen. They had help this week from Katherine Raymondo, our Head of Studios Christa Scharfenberg, Amy Powell is our Editor in Chief, Susanne Reber is our Executive Editor, and our Executive Producer is Kevin Sullivan. Our theme music is by Commerado, Lightening. Support for [inaudible 00:51:51] provided by The Reva and David Logan Foundation, the Fort Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. Reveal is a co-production of the Center for Investigative Reporting in PRX.

 

[00:52:00] I'm Al Letson, and remember, there is always more to the story.

 

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