Stephanie Shu, Wnyc Studios, Bruce Wright discussed on On The Media

On The Media
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

This week on The New Yorker radio hour, staff writer gia tolentino talks with the actor Stephanie Shu. Hugh plays a young woman who has a complicated relationship with her immigrant mother, and in the same film, she plays an all powerful interdimensional supervillain. Stephanie Shu from the hit film everything everywhere all at once. That's next time on The New Yorker radio hour from WNYC studios. Listen, wherever you get your podcasts. A New Jersey couple is found dead in their home, and the investigation raises more questions than it answers. There's no fingerprint dust in the house. The rug that they were killed on is still rolled up upstairs, like how could you have done anything DNA testing you didn't do? Shit. I'm Nancy Solomon, and I've been trying to figure out what happened to John and Joyce Sheridan. Listen to dead end, a New Jersey political murder mystery from WNYC studios, available on Apple podcasts. This is on the media. Matt Katz, sitting in for Brooke gladstone. A half century ago, a black judge in New York City tested the constitutional premise of bell. That it should only be used to make sure defendant shows up to court. He offered Lowe or Nobel for black defendants who couldn't afford it. And in 1972, he set $500 bail on a man accused and ultimately acquitted of attempted murder in the shooting of a police officer during a stick up at a steakhouse. The judge's name was Bruce Wright and in post civil rights Harlem and the heels of Jim Crow laws that criminalized black people's existence, he was a hero. I believe, with almost religious zeal, that I must honor the admonition of the last will and testament of Frederick Douglass. Which was to all black people in this country. Agitate agitate agitate, and I don't think that my right to agitate stops at the courthouse door. For agitating the police unions who are allied with the dominant New York City tabloids of the era, Bruce Wright was dubbed first by the daily news and later the New York Post, turn him loose Bruce. That reputation was the reason he said he was banished from criminal court to civil court for four years. Here he is in 1987. Hardly anybody understood or was willing to honor the United States Constitution, especially the Eighth Amendment that says very plainly that bales shall not be excessive. The public, because of the tabloid press, I suppose, had general hysteria about crime assumed that people who were charged were automatically guilty. Bruce died in 2005, but his son is now the chairman of the New York county Democrats, basically the Manhattan democratic political boss. This is headquarters, baby. Keith writes political clubhouses on a 135th street in Harlem. It's tiny, lived in with the morning papers on the table. There are folding chairs out front and right is finishing a cigarette when I walk up. We're here to talk about his father's fights with the newspapers, but right as a schmoozer with other stuff he wants to chat about first. Like his ambivalence about his upcoming law school reunion. I just don't like people Tapping me on my belly and shit. Oh, you gain a little weight, haven't you? And about how he grew up with Jewish kids and even went to Hebrew school for a bit. My Friends were going to hang out with them. For like a week, two weeks. You remember any prayers? Whatever, how would you? And his work at a lobbying firm in midtown, which he says is similar to his former job as a New York State assemblyman. I call it constituent services for white folks. All the I used to do for free, you know, white folks who pay for it. So. Wright's political Clubhouse is down the block from the apartment. He grew up in and still lives in. Three blocks up is a street named for his father. When the papers first called his dad turned him loose Bruce, Wright was in high school. I remember all the white kids coming in and he was coming up to me. What's wrong with your father? What's wrong with your father? Talk to my father about it, and he said, listen, Eighth Amendment of the constitution. Provide that no unreasonable bail should be said. Nobody's been tried. Nobody's been convicted in bail is just to ensure that a person returns to court. And so then I started espousing my knowledge of the constitution when I was 17 years old and all the smart white kids. Oh, damn, this black guy was new something. But there were threats. I'll never forget when I got an envelope in the mail. I got it full of excrement with a note saying if your father didn't stop doing what he's doing, this is what you and your whole family are going to look like. And that was because it was bail policies. Absolutely. Which people would have known about because of the papers. Exactly. Nobody would have known but for the New York Post publicizing it. In Harlem in the 1970s, the community had judge rights back, holding rallies to express their support. Instead of being honored for his courage, compassion, integrity, and ability, he is vilified and subjective to investigations. So he was really questioning the bedrock in the foundation of the American criminal justice system because it really does come down to if you have money. If you have money, you're good, but if you don't, you're going to languish in prison. In 2019, New York State passed a bowel reform law, which eliminated cash bail for most of those charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. The law would keep thousands of people waiting for trial out of the notorious Rikers Island. New York's deadly jail complex known for suicides, brutal assaults, and lack of medical care. But the New York Post founded by Alexander Hamilton and owned by Rupert Murdoch saw calamity. The headline the day bell reform went into effect. Welcome to New York. The state where criminals go free. The sub head get out of jail law starts today. Another story same day, it's the year of the perp. From the day the law went into effect until this past April, the New York Post has mentioned bell reform more than 400 times. Yes, we counted and read. Almost all of the stories framed bell reform in a mostly negative light, a constant drum beat of editorials, columns, letters to the editor and news stories that made it seem as though bell reform was going to turn to New York into something out of the horror movie the purge. We're all crime is legal for 12 hours. At the siren, all emergency services will be suspended. Your government thanks you for your participation. The post literally ran an article with the police union boss saying New York was now on the verge of the purge. This is the American work. The post amplified the views of the NYPD and its police unions. Bell is good because keeping bad people locked up keeps everyone safe. Of course, studies show that committing a serious offense while out waiting for a court date is rare and that sending people to dangerous gels often does more harm than good, but that context is relegated to the bottom of the stories or nowhere at all. In other words, the same as it ever was. You got to look at history. The fight hasn't changed. And all along the way in New York Post has always been there. Fighting us tooth and nail. Ten days after bell reform went into effect and alleged unarmed serial bank robber was let out. Supposedly due to bell reform. An unnamed police source told the post that the suspect set upon his release, I can't believe they let me out. What were they thinking? The police union tweeted the article. A week later, The New York Times printed a follow-up. Turns out that since he didn't have a weapon, he might have been released even without the new law. 17 days into bell reform, the post ran a story about a New Yorker released on bail that they nicknamed brickman,.

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