VICE (2013) s06e28 Episode Script

The War at Home & Putin's Crimea

1 SHANE SMITH: This week on Vice: survivors fight back against domestic violence.
(GUNSHOT) TAMI WATSON: Firearms are part of the entire domestic violence discussion, good and bad.
GIANNA TOBONI: The judge is going to determine whether a number of domestic violence suspects have to surrender their firearms.
SMITH: And then, Putin's annexation the world forgot.
ISOBEL YEUNG: Would there be this much nationalistic sentiment had it not been for what happened in Crimea? (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (MAN SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (THEME SONG PLAYING) (CROWD SHOUTING) They're saying that right now, it's time for change.
We just liked each other from the first time we met.
There just was something about him.
He was passionate.
He was affectionate.
You know, he loved to cuddle, you know, but he had a temper.
After I had my third child, the violence after that really escalated.
Then I thought, "If we get married," I said, "Oh, yeah, I'm gonna be his wife, so I know he ain't gonna beat me, now.
" But it's like, it really got worse, 'cause he felt like he owned me.
I really went through it.
I done had a broken nose, dislocated shoulder.
I got drugged, I got spit on.
I got kicked.
One time, out of nowhere, the fists just came and hit me right across my nose, and blood just flew all over.
My face was disfigured, both of my eyes was black.
It's like, when he'd get angry, he'd black out.
He don't see nobody, he don't hear nobody.
He just wanted me to feel pain.
I can't even remember the times how many times that I called the police.
He never stood over a day in jail for that.
TOBONI: Domestic violence impacts millions of Americans every year.
In the most severe cases, it can be fatal.
Three woman are killed by an intimate partner every day on average.
Some law enforcement agencies are trying to prevent those homicides by intervening earlier.
KIMBERLY WYATT: He strangled her with both of his hands around her neck.
He took out a gun, and then he put the gun to her head.
TOBONI: This task force of lawyers, advocates, and police officers is focused on tracking and seizing firearms from those who have domestic violence protection orders filed against them.
That's because an abuser's access to guns increases the risk of homicide by 500 percent.
I have reached out to our crime scene analysis people to make sure that if we serve the search warrant, that we have adequate resources to get everything out of there.
JUDGE: You may be seated.
TOBONI: We're walking into a court hearing right now where a judge is going to determine whether a number of domestic violence suspects have to surrender their firearms.
There are 24 that she's going to rule on today.
KRYSTLE CURLEY: This is the hearing to make sure that they have complied with either surrendering their weapons or filing a declaration of non-surrender saying that they don't have any firearms or access to any firearms.
JUDGE: Have you had an opportunity to look at your order to surrender weapons, sir? (DEFENDANT SPEAKING) On April 30th, 2018, you signed a declaration of non-surrender.
Do you remember doing that, sir? (DEFENDANT SPEAKING) - Is this your signature here, sir? - DEFENDANT: Yeah.
While in custody, Officer Nichols reported a statement.
Uh, "I'm going to blast that motherfucking apartment.
I don't have a permit, but that doesn't mean I don't carry.
" Prior to this position, I was a trial attorney, did domestic violence cases.
And so, I dealt with the aftermath.
The incident had already happened.
Now the team has the opportunity to act before that something happens.
TOBONI: Once an order to surrender has been issued, it's up to Sergeant Dorothy Km and her unit to recover the weapons.
KIM: We recovered more firearms in the first quarter of this year than we did in all of 2016.
So all of these firearms are from DV situations? KIM: Yes.
Domestic violence protection orders where the respondent is known to have firearms.
Have you received any orders to surrender today? Yeah.
So, I ran the respondent's history, and he has no criminal history, but he does have two firearms in his purchase history, and then he also has a concealed pistol license.
Why did this victim file for a protection order? The relationship had ended, and for economic reasons, they were still living together.
And from what I gather, he's become a little bit more scary to her.
- It looks like that should just pop open.
- Got it.
TOBONI: The woman in this case was granted a temporary protection order, alleging that her partner threatened her, and she was hoping to fully separate.
KIM: When a victim is most likely to be assaulted or killed is during the 90 days during the break-up.
And I feel like this is one thing that we are doing to help prevent that.
TOBONI: Two weeks later, the woman in this case had a court hearing to extend her protection order.
- We caught up with her to find out how it went.
- (PHONE RINGING) TOBONI: So, how did the hearing go? (WOMAN, OVER PHONE) TOBONI: Many women describe feeling isolated by the legal system.
Survivors often don't report, and when they do, one in three women say they feel less safe after calling the police.
Some legislators are taking a different approach.
NEWSWOMAN: Survivors of domestic violence can now carry a firearm without a license.
TOBONI: Most recently, Indiana passed HB-1071, a bill that allows people who file a protection order to carry a weapon without a permit for 60 days.
WATSON: Ladies, welcome to Watson Chambers Defense Institute.
- My name is Tami Watson.
- (GUN FIRES) And I'm going to be your instructor tonight.
Your mind is like a hard drive.
And tonight you're going to open that "how do I keep myself safe" folder.
TOBONI: Former State Trooper Tami Watson is the lead firearm instructor here.
She works mostly with women.
So, you've gone through the first two step classes.
We've learned grip, we've learned side alignment, and we've learned trigger press.
You have a list of firearms.
, You're gonna start with one particular gun and then you're gonna move down your list.
TOBONI: Tami testified in favor of Indiana's bill.
As a former police officer, you know how important law enforcement is in this country.
So why is this bill necessary? There's the saying going around, "I carry a gun, because a police officer won't fit in my bag.
" Firearms are part of the entire domestic violence discussion, good and bad.
We try to give women the opportunity to make themselves less of a target and a victim.
Do you ever have women come in who start to talk about - their domestic violence situation? - Absolutely.
To be honest, that's why I do a ladies-only class.
It is for women, by women.
Ladies, that's how your gun functions.
You can do this.
And stick with me long enough, I'll have you shooting like a boss.
TOBONI: Michele says it took years before she was able to leave an abusive partner.
She now encourages other women to train.
MICHELE HORNBACK: So, it started off with a lot of the brainwashing, making me believe that no one wanted me.
And then the last five years was a lot of the physical.
That's where he would start using handguns and other means of violence like choking, pulling my hair out, throwing me down the stairs.
It was crazy for me, because I worked in law enforcement, so I'd seen it every day, and I still didn't want to believe that it was actually happening to me.
After I had left, he showed up at my apartment.
He held me at knife-point, and he had threatened to slit my throat.
And I called dispatch.
The officer that arrived had known his family for years.
The officer said, "You might as well just keep your mouth shut, because I'm not reporting this.
" And he goes, "And I'll never disrespect his family.
" There's a recent bill that makes it easier for people with protection orders - Correct.
- to get permission to carry a firearm.
What do you think about that? I'm all for it because I think that we need to have more protection for people like us that are abused, because sometimes law enforcement's not always there to help us.
TOBONI: But arming yourself can come with consequences.
Access to a gun is consistently linked to an increased risk of homicide, even more so for women than men.
Finger off the trigger.
TOBONI: Even still, Dawn got to the point where she felt she had nothing left to lose after a man she had dated began relentlessly stalking her.
(MAN SPEAKING ON VOICEMAIL) After I got this phone call, I was a wreck.
And I kept asking the police, "Well, are you going to be at my house tonight?" - It was so distressing.
- TOBONI: What did they say? "Call us if you need us.
" TOBONI: Eventually, Dawn not only bought a gun, but started a business producing bags designed for women like her, who want to conceal carry.
Were you a gun person before this? Like, did you grow up with them? Guns were not in my world at all.
I had never shot a gun.
I never considered owning a firearm.
But I needed something where I could walk out of my house and not feel like today's the day.
TOBONI: At least six other states have similar laws, and they're widely promoted by pro-gun organizations as empowering survivors.
However, they're extremely controversial among domestic violence experts.
The presence of guns makes domestic violence so much more potentially lethal.
So, in homes where there's a gun, women are five times more likely to be killed.
Um, and that's just a ridiculous number.
But what do you do if you're a survivor who is being threatened and you feel like you need a gun in order to defend yourself? I can completely understand that instinct that says, "I need this gun to make myself safer.
" And I know women who are sitting in jail right now.
Because in a struggle, not even that they pulled the gun and volitionally shot, but their partners ended up dead, and nobody cared.
Having that kind of law just gives you the false security of thinking, "I have this to protect me, and anybody's going to think that it's okay.
" And people pay for it with the rest of their lives.
So, why not try to educate judges and prosecutors and the people who could change the legal system.
We've tried for the last 40 years, and we haven't made fundamental change.
You kind of have these images of victimization that cast victims as kind of white, straight, middle-class, weak, meek, and passive, and that point at which you fight back, then you're an angry woman, then you're a scorned woman, but you are no longer a victim of violence.
Rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, we have the same problem across all of these domains, that's it's women making claims about being abused, and we don't want to believe those claims.
CURLEY: I was a wreck.
My life had started to crumble, and I just was just miserable.
I didn't know too much about domestic violence or anything, so I never really seeked help.
I always ran to my grandmother.
And the last time, before she passed, she had tears in her eyes.
She said, "Baby, you have to get out.
" She said, "Somebody's going to get hurt.
" TOBONI: On March 30th, 2005, Catina shot and killed her husband during an altercation.
He died within minutes.
She was charged with second-degree murder.
I was sentenced to life in prison.
I couldn't think.
I barely was breathing.
Because, like, I'm about to leave my kids for the rest of my life.
I'll never see the outside again.
TOBONI: In Catina's case, the evidence of abuse presented didn't sway the jury's decision.
Her current lawyer, Christen DeNicholas, has argued that's because her first trial was deeply flawed.
The errors were extremely grave.
For instance, when they were selecting a jury, one of the questions asked of potential jurors was, "Would you hold it against Catina for staying in the relationship?" And a lot of the jurors, the potential jurors, said, "Yeah, I think we would hold that against her.
" No attorney ever took the initiative to get any kind of psychological assessment.
An expert can help explain a lot of things that are kind of counter-intuitive for the average person.
TOBONI: The Supreme Court of Louisiana agreed.
Earlier this year, they threw out her conviction and life sentence, ruling that an expert's testimony might have changed the verdict.
(CHEERING) TOBONI: After serving 11 years in prison, Catina is free on bail while she waits a new trial.
CURLEY: I'm just taking every day one at a time.
Living life.
Enjoying life, and enjoying this freedom.
Trying to get back to the Catina I used to be.
In 2014, Russia shocked the world when it seized the peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in one of the most brazen annexations of territory since World War II.
Today, Crimea is far from a global priority, but its impact is far-reaching.
So over the past year, Isobel Yeung has been tracking the long-term fallout of this dramatic land grab.
(WOMAN ON STAGE, SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (BAND PLAYING) YEUNG: This is Crimea in early 2017, nearly three years after the Russian takeover.
It is the day of the Founders of the Fatherland.
In other words, a very patriotic celebration, particularly for the people of Sevastopol, who use this day to celebrate their pride in Russia.
(MAN SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) YEUNG: In a controversial referendum, over 95 percent of Crimeans voted to join Russia in 2014.
Though the annexation and the referendum are not recognized internationally, many of the Crimeans we met were eager to obtain their Russian citizenship.
(WOMAN SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) YEUNG: A lot of Crimeans are hoping for a return to the peninsula's glory days, when it was known as a popular tourist destination for Soviet elites vacationing along the Black Sea coast.
YEUNG: We're in the southern town of Alushta, which has seen a massive amount of development over the last three years.
That's largely thanks to Mr.
Alexander Lebedev.
Lebedev is a Russian billionaire with a combative reputation.
He spotted an opportunity for an energetic tycoon like himself.
YEUNG: You're building a church, you're building a theater, - you're building a clinic, you're building hotels.
- LEBEDEV: Yeah.
You own pretty much all of this, then.
This is an investment of about 200 million euro, dollars or whatever.
And I've never picked up a penny of profit.
I love the place, and I treat it as a mission.
I've picked up a few missions in life.
It's always better to put some butter.
Some butter? I'm sorry, I'm such an amateur.
Why is that Russia is so focused on developing Crimea? Well, I have no doubt that Putin is very much interested to show results in Crimea.
That's beyond any doubt.
But he has something to prove here.
Well, the whole Russian nation has something to prove here.
And what is that they need to prove? That they'll be running the place much better than it was run by Ukraine.
Ukraine neglected completely Crimea.
And so, what the Russians are doing, they're investing ten times, 20 times more money into infrastructure.
Even putting back all of the tourists within such a shorter period of time.
YEUNG: The projected boom in tourism that Russia's support would bring excited a lot of local business owners.
People like Oleg Zubkov, who runs a safari park.
Oh, my God, let me out.
(ZUBKOV SPEAKING) - YEUNG: Are you sure? Oh, my God.
- Yes, yes.
YEUNG: I hear that you wanted these beasts to play a role in Crimea's return to Russia.
(ZUBKOV SPEAKING) YEUNG: But Zubkov's initial enthusiasm for a Russian Crimea soon turned to disillusionment when his business began to suffer.
How much is your business down by? YEUNG: Why do you think that is that tourist numbers are down? YEUNG: More worrying than the dip in tourists, though, is the fact that Crimea is running dry, in large part because in 2014, Ukraine dammed the North Crimean Canal, which previously provided 85 percent of the peninsula's freshwater.
(ZUBKOV SPEAKING) YEUNG: But the Kremlin says it has a solution to the water problem, the tourist problem, and just about every other problem in the peninsula: the Kerch Bridge.
We visited while construction was still ongoing.
We're standing on the biggest bridge in Russian history.
It's going to be 12 miles long, it stretches all the way from Russian mainland, which is just over there, to Crimea.
President Putin triumphantly opened the mega-project earlier this year.
(PUTIN SPEAKING RUSSIAN) YEUNG: Now that Russia has further cemented its grip on Crimea, both physically and symbolically, we traveled to Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, to meet the people still pushing for reunification.
(DRUMS BEATING RHYTHMICALLY) Today is the day of the defenders, and there's a lot of people out here to celebrate.
(CROWD CHANTING) (CROWD CHANTING) YEUNG: This is a very nationalistic crowd.
There's a lot of far-right militias, who are coming here to make their voices heard.
What are you guys doing here today? (MAN SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Do you think the Ukraine can take Crimea back? YEUNG: The hangover of Crimea only emboldens these far-right militia groups, many of whom are actively fighting Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, where a bloody conflict has claimed over 10,000 lives since 2014.
But other Ukrainians have focused on curbing the Kremlin's soft power.
Ukraine is currently home to over one-third of Russian Orthodox churches, which are often criticized for being vessels for Putin's propaganda.
But in a historic decision, Orthodox leadership finally agreed to grant the Ukrainian church independence from Moscow.
YEUNG: What does this mean to Ukrainian people? I believe that this moment shows our cultural identity.
It helps to unite all Ukrainians in one nation.
How did the situation with the annexation of Crimea impact what's happening now? Ukrainian people, they are usually quite passionate, but, step-by-step, Russia showed her aggression, and we have to fight back.
- (BELLS RINGING) - (CHOIR SINGING) We've arrived here in Kyiv at a very opportune moment, because the president is about to make his first speech to Ukrainian people, to talk about the declaration of independence of the Ukrainian church from the Russian Orthodox church.
(MAN SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) YEUNG: This is about more than religion.
And while Ukrainian parishioners attended Sunday mass, President Putin took the news as a major blow.
The Kremlin immediately denounced the Church's decision, and even said it would defend Russian believers if threatened in Ukraine, sparking real fears of further violence.
The fear of escalating conflict rang true.
Just this week, Russia shot out and seized three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors.
who were in the shared waterway of the Kerch Strait.
Moscow has maintained a Geo-strategic naval base on the peninsula for decades, allowing them to reach Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and Syria.
As part of an effort to monitor the militarization in the region, Ukraine established the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs, headed by Vadym Chernysh.
So what can you tell us about any military developments you can see here? So, from your satellite images, you've picked up three new, uh, missile bases here.
(CHERNYSH SPEAKING) YEUNG: So, essentially, this ministry was formed in order to try and take back what Ukraine sees as occupied territories, including Crimea.
What actual work are you doing to achieve those goals? We are trying to win hearts and minds of Ukrainians who live within occupied territories.
Isn't it a bit late for that if most people are now happy with the fact that Russia has taken Crimea? We have been trying to support our population, because they are Ukrainian citizens.
Russia influences a lot.
They use their secret service.
They use their propaganda, bribe.
They demonstrate some, some success in infrastructure development.
And they don't want to show problems with human rights in Crimea.
YEUNG: Russia's abysmal human rights record has trickled down to Crimea, leading the US to announce additional sanctions in November 2018.
Here in Kyiv, the Crimean Human Rights Group works to collect testimonies and evidence of illegal detention and torture.
(OLGA SKRYPNYK SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (OLEKSANDER SPEAKS) YEUNG: Oleksander Kostenko was eventually moved to a prison and held for over three years in what he claims are baseless charges of assault and possession of illegal weapons.
(KOSTENKO SPEAKING) YEUNG: The team here has documented dozens of cases like this one.
The founder, Olga Skrypnyk, was also forced to flee her hoe in Crimea in 2014.
YEUNG: What kind of activities were these people involved in, in order to get picked up by the Russian authorities? Recently, have things gotten better or worse? YEUNG: There's almost no reliable data on what's actually going on in Crimea.
And Russia holds a tight grip over all information coming out.
Recently, even traveling to the peninsula has become difficult.
So, we wanted to catch up with Oleg Zubkov, the zookeeper, to ask if things really have become worse.
Has their been any change in atmosphere there, I mean, now that the Russians have been there for four years? YEUNG: Was all this worth it?