Glenn Beck attacked Van Jones for contributing a section to a human rights curriculum for New York State schools focused on raising awareness of police brutality. Beck falsely suggested that Jones accused all New York police of being violent.
Beck Lashes Out At Van Jones For Raising Awareness Of Police Brutality
Beck: Van Jones Teaches That "The Wisdom About Police In New York" Is Illustrated By One Instance Of Police Brutality. From the March 3 edition of Glenn Beck:
December tenth. Over one thousand New York school students took part in the inaugural webcast of Speak Truth to Power curriculum. It was distributed by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and New York State United Teachers. Well, okay, those don't sound bad, right?
Well now, guess who has an entire section here? 'Cause we've got a lot of people here on the front. We have Desmond Tutu. We have the Dalai Lama. We have -- oh, we have Van Jones. Van Jones.
The curriculum legitimately features people like Eli Wiesel who survived the Holocaust. His message should be heard. But Van Jones? Where's the Van Jones, here it is. Here's Van Jones looking all pious on this one, it's-- it's fantastic. Van Jones, here's the kind of wisdom that you have coming from Van Jones in this.
It's the wisdom about police in New York that your kids can get in the Van Jones section. Ready? "A guy is kicked. He's stomped. He's pepper sprayed, gagged, (because the police don't want him bleeding on them) and then left in a cell. Well that's the sort of stuff you would expect in Guatemala, but it's happened just 15 or 20 minutes from here." You didn't see that anywhere. That the police side of story was told in this. But don't worry, I'm sure one side of every story is just plenty.
In a section titled "Who Do You Think Is Protecting You?" Van presents the International Declaration of Human Rights. Sorry? "The right to life, liberty and personal security. Freedom from torture and degrading treatment." Are we insinuating that the police are torturing and degrading? How do you define degrading?
And it goes on. One hundred and twenty minutes is devoted to the objectives in this lesson, including: know who Van Jones is, and why he's a human rights defender. Understand the issue of police brutality within the US and internationally. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/3/11]
Van Jones Simply Used An Example Of Actual Police Brutality To Raise Human Rights Awareness
Jones Used A Real-World Anecdote To Illustrate Police Brutality. In the human rights curriculum Speak Truth to Power, Van Jones wrote of the need to raise awareness of both police brutality and its remedies:
That need became clear, after we had been doing this project for a while, in the Aaron Williams case. This was the African-American man who died in police custody. We had a really close relationship to the process. Sometimes you have to have a certain amount of professional distance, but this case was not like that at all. Here the family and Police Watch volunteers merged efforts and spent those two years literally arm-in-arm. We went through three separate disciplinary hearings for the same officer on the same case within eight months, and we lost the first two times and we finally won in 1997. I'll never forget the look on the officer's face. It had gone beyond Aaron. This case became a question of not letting the authorities get away with this level of wholesale disrespect and disregard for human life and for the rule of law. Community witnesses, several dozen of them, all said that after Aaron was down on the ground and handcuffed, the policeman was kicking him in the head with cowboy boots, and that he was identifiable because he was the only officer in plainclothes.
Aaron had been sprayed in the face with pepper-spray, which is not a gas, like mace--it's a resin. The resin sticks to your skin and it burns and it continues to burn until it's washed off. The police never washed the resin off Aaron. And so this guy is beaten, he's kicked, he's stomped, he's pepper-sprayed, gagged (because they didn't want him bleeding on them), and then left in a cell. Well, that's the sort of stuff you expect in Guatemala, but it happened just fifteen or twenty minutes from here. [Speak Truth to Power, page 69, accessed 3/3/11]
The Police Officer At The Center Of The Case Was Fired. From The San Francisco Chronicle:
The San Francisco Police Commission voted unanimously yesterday to fire Marc Andaya, the officer at the center of one of the department's most controversial in-custody death cases in decades.
The commission's action culminates a two-year battle that began the night of June 4, 1995, when burglary suspect Aaron Williams died shortly after a fight with Andaya and several other officers who tried to arrest him in front of his Western Addition apartment.
The four-member commission found that the 36-year-old Andaya lied about his disciplinary record when he applied to join the San Francisco force in 1994, omitting two federal lawsuits and dozens of complaints filed against him during his 10-year career as an Oakland police officer. [The San Francisco Chronicle, "S.F. Panel Fires Officer In Aaron Williams Case," 6/28/1997, via Nexis]
Jones Was Condemning Police Brutality, Not The Police In General
Jones: "Obviously, Just Because Somebody Calls And Says, 'Officer So-And-So Did Something To Me,' Doesn't Mean It Actually Happened." In Speak Truth to Power, Van Jones wrote:
Now, obviously, just because somebody calls and says, "Officer so-and-so did something to me," doesn't mean it actually happened, but if you get two, four, six phone calls about the same officer, then you begin to see a pattern. It gives you a chance to try and take affirmative steps.
Look, we get ten phone calls a day here from survivors of police misconduct and violence. Some of it is, "Officer so-and-so called me a boogerhead," or something minor like that, but it also goes as far as wrongful death. [Speak Truth to Power, page 69, accessed 3/3/11]