All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 04/27/15
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: That`s a live news press conference from
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Joining me now from the ground in Baltimore is NBC`s Brian Mooar.
Brian, do we have you there?
Likes like we don`t have Brian.
Let`s go back into that presser, please?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re seeing unprecedented type of violence
throughout the city, mainly towards the west side of Baltimore. We`re not
going to tolerate that. The police department is not going to stand for
We`re fully deployed at this point. We canceled leave for all our
police officers. So, they are deployed on the streets as we speak. Each
shift is fully staffed. We called in outside resources from all over the
state of Maryland to give us an assist here.
We`re not going to tolerate this. Our priorities right now is to
restore order in the city. Our priorities right now is officer safety, and
the safety of the community. Thank you.
JACK YOUNG, CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT, BALTIMORE, MD: Good evening.
I am deeply saddened by what`s taking mace in the great city of
Baltimore. This reminds me of 1968 when the riots were taking place after
the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, where people were destroying
their own stores and properties in their own community.
This is unacceptable. This is not what Freddie Gray`s family wanted.
They asked that there be no protest, marches or anything of that nature
today, and the organizers of those marches are not participating in what`s
taking place today.
As the mayor stated, these are thugs who are seizing upon an
opportunity to show their anger, their distrust, and their frustration at
the police department. This is not the way to do it.
We have the Department of Justice in here, along with the state`s
attorney that is doing the investigation of this murder or killing or
whatever you want to call it. Some are saying murder, some are saying the
killing. But we have to let the Department of Justice and the state`s
attorney office do their job. We can`t rush to judgment.
A lot of people are saying, let`s get this answered now. Our job is
to get it right. It`s your job as the media to report that.
I just want to stay this, because I`m heart broken and I`m disturbed
how the news media are focusing on the negativity of this city and not
looking at the great things that are going on in the city. We have young
people who are out there protesting peacefully, but you`re not focusing on
them. You`re focusing on those that are burning down buildings and rioting
throughout the streets of Baltimore.
Show the positive people who are out there trying to stop these folk
from doing this. These are not the people living in Sandtown-Winchester
that are out there looting and burning down the stores. These are people
that are not even connected to that community.
So, the media need to make this perfectly clear. It is not the people
that are living in Sandtown-Winchester, or the people who live in Gilmore
Homes, these are opportunists out there destroying our city and we`re not
going to tolerate it.
I thank the mayor for asking the National Guard to come to Baltimore
so we can get some order and some peace in their city, because justice will
prepare, but we cannot resort to violence and destruction of property.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Thank you very much, council president.
Before I take questions, I would like to hear from Councilman Scott
and I open up to questions.
COUNCILMAN BRANDON SCOTT (D), BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: Thank you, Madame
I`m not going to be as nice as everyone else. I`m simply pissed off.
This is the city I love and chose to dedicate my life to.
And we cannot stand idly by and let thugs or whatever you want to call
them, I don`t say they`re thugs, we`re just going to call them cowards,
ruin our city.
So what I`m going to say is, if you are an adult and you`re out there
participating in this, you are ruining the future for these young people,
and I`m calling on every abled man and woman who wants to stand up to get
out there and get in between these folks. When we leave here, I`m going
out there, get out there and stand tall and stand up for your neighborhood.
We cannot let this be a repeat of 1968. The neighborhood that they`re
in right now are still being burned down from 1968. This is why we have to
pull our – pulling (ph) these people.
These young people are showing frustration. They`re – at the end of
the day, they`re still our young people, and we have a lot of work to do
with them, and folks are going to have to do, this is going to be the
starting point for that. We`re going to have a lot of healing to do, but
we cannot continue to let this go on. We have ignored them for too far
long. Adults have to step up and going to be adults, and take control of
our children and take control of our future.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Thank you.
I open it up for questions.
REPORTER: Madame Mayor, what are saying to people who say you waited
five hours before you made the first announcement about what`s going on
inside your city?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Well, we`ve been managing the situation. I
understand there`s a call that – you have to balance actually doing the
work of managing with having precedence, and the police department
throughout the day has been putting out information. I`ve been working to
make sure we`re managing this.
There`s a lot of moving parts and I wanted to make sure I was
dedicated to that before we came out and spoke.
REPORTER: But also, at this particular time, it`s the 7:00 hour, you
look at all the monitors behind you, this is the city you ran to be mayor
of. Are you proud of it tonight?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I`m proud of the people in the community who say we
don`t want this anymore. There are people marching to bring calm to our
community. There are people who want so much for there to be peace and to
protect the values of our community. I`m proud of them.
I`m also very concerned, because what I`m seeing is not – it`s just
not acceptable. I shouldn`t – I went to one of the elementary schools in
the western district, Gilmore Elementary School, this morning, and talked
to some fourth graders. The first question the young lady asked me, why
are people trashing my neighborhood?
I didn`t have a good reason – I didn`t have a good answer for her.
It is so frustrating that people think that this makes sense to destroy our
community when we know that those people who live there that are already
hurting are going to pay for that.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Not yet. We can get that information to you.
REPORTER: Mayor, what do you make of the criticism that your words
might have encouraged some of the activity on the streets?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I say the very blatant mischaracterization of my
words was not helpful today. I was asked a question about the property
damage that was done, and in answering that question, I made it very clear
that we walk a balance – we balance a very fine line between giving
protesters – giving protesters – peaceful protesters space to protest.
What I said is, in doing so, people can hijack that and use that space
for bad. I did not say that we were accepting of it. I did not say that
we were passive to it. I was just explaining how property damage can
happen during a peaceful protest.
It is very unfortunate that members of your industry decided to
mischaracterize my words and try to use it as a way to say that we`re
inciting violence. There`s no such thing.
REPORTER: There is no order to the police to hold back, to let some
of these happened?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Absolutely not, absolutely not. And I`ve never said
anything to that – to that fact, absolutely not.
What we did was manage a peaceful protest in the best way possible,
and when it got violent and destructive, we responded to that. We have an
obligation to protect people`s first amendment rights. We also understand
through the best training and best practices that we have to do everything
that we can to deescalate.
And those were the tactics that were deployed yesterday. Did people
exploit those tactics or that space that we gave – that we facilitated to
have peaceful protests? Yes, we did. But we didn`t endorse it.
We didn`t – you know, I didn`t – we don`t endorse it, we didn`t
allow it. We went into – we went in using best practices to –
REPORTER: You don`t think it`s a mistake?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: – to allow people to have a peaceful protest.
REPORTER: The de-escalation strategy?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: That`s best practice.
Any other question?
REPORTER: What are the plans now that night has fallen?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: As I mentioned, we have the juvenile curfew for 14
and under, that`s 9:00 p.m. We will be enforcing it. Fourteen to 17 is
10:00, we will be enforcing it. Tomorrow, there`ll be a city-wide curfew,
10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. in the morning.
Let me be clear what that means is, if you are not – if don`t have –
if you are on the streets in which it will be for two reasons, medical
emergency or you`re going to work. That`s it.
REPORTER: On the police officers who were injured, you know, seven
were injured, one was unconscious. Do we have any update on that?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: OK, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, unfortunately, at this point, 15 police
officers are injured. Of the 15, two are still hospitalized at this
moment. The others have been released with minor injuries at this point.
REPORTER: Do you know how the two officers were injured? Two
hospitalized. How were they injured so badly?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what we know right now, just preliminary is
that objects breaks, bottles, I`m not sure exactly specifically what it
was, but it was flying debris that caused the injuries.
REPORTER: Did they have helmets on? Did they get hit in the head if
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some did, some did not.
REPORTER: Do we know how many groups and large? How many people are
involved in this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of a number, I can`t tell you. I can
tell you, earlier, part of the day, around dismissal times of schools, I
know around the Mondawmin hub, we did see in excess of 75 to 100 school-age
kids that was causing a lot of problems up there.
A majority of the officers that were injured in the incidents that
occurred around Mondawmin hub was coming from flying debris. From what we
could tell, it looked like it was school-age kids. The good thing is that
we have a lot of video that we`re easily able to over the next couple of
days to track them down and fight out who is responsible.
REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) know on social media know this was going to
happen? I mean, everyone knew that Mondawmin Mall was being mentioned on
social media, that students were planning on meeting there. (INAUDIBLE)
department to stop this before it got out of control?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we – yes, we monitor social media. It`s no
surprise, and we did know that there was mention of something that was
going to occur there. So what we did is we pre-deployed. So, we actually
were out there before dismissal time.
REPORTER: Are you satisfied with how the department handled the
response at Mondawmin looking back?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, what I can say that I`m not happy 15
officers were injured at this point. I`m not happy at all. Should we have
done things differently? You know, we have to sit back and really assess
that, but it`s – right now, like I said, the 15 officers were injured.
Two of them are still hospitalized. It`s unacceptable.
REPORTER: – people you pulled off the streets through all this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prior to me coming over here, it was maybe 27
REPORTER: Mayor, moving forward, what role will the National Guard
play in assistance with the police? And how do you see this ending? It
seems from what we`ve seen today that this looks virtually impossible to
stop. I know it`s not, but it appears that way. How do you plan on
getting ahold of this whole situation?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: In a couple of ways. First, the National Guard will
be deployed in collaboration and cooperation with the Baltimore City police
department. There are several ways that they can be used and we will
determine that. It has not been determined yet.
We will – once we get the exact number that will be deployed, we will
make the determination of how to best use that number to provide backup and
support for the Baltimore City police department.
With respect to how we get to order, let`s be clear. You know, the
council president and I share the frustration of the negative images that
are being shown of our great city. But best belief we`re going to use all
of those images to hold the individuals who are destroying our city
So, once people start getting arrested for the looting, for the
destruction, I think they will understand that this is not a lawless city.
And the thugs and the – you know, I`m at a loss for words, because it is
idiotic to think that by destroying your city that you`re going to make
life better for anybody.
And once – and after we – as we start to review the tapes that we
have from our own police video, as well as what we`re able to see from the
different outlets, we will be holding people accountable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re getting one more.
REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) Al Sharpton coming to Baltimore, is that sort
of an invitation that you welcome?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Anyone who wants to add to the calls for peace in our
city is welcome. If Reverend Sharpton wants to come, if parents want to
encourage their children to act within the law, I met with young people
this afternoon, young people who want peace. Young people who want
justice. They were given their own suggestions of how young people
themselves can add voice and try to add a sane message, a message that
says, we don`t – it`s not in our name that you were doing – that you are
destroying our city. Anybody that wants to be a part of sending that
message, I welcome it.
Thank you. We`re working that out with the city school police – I
mean, with the school system. Thank you very much.
HAYES: That was a live news conference with the Baltimore Mayor
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and city council members, including the council
president, spokesperson for the police department as well, announcing
there`s also going to be a curfew, also announcing or reiterating the
National Guard will be deployed in concert with local police, that pursuant
to an emergency – state of emergency declared by the governor just about
an hour ago.
Joining me now from the ground in Baltimore is NBC`s Brian Mooar.
Brian, what is the latest?
BRIAN MOOAR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest, as you just heard,
Chris, is the mayor, who is struggling to explain why things spun so
terribly out of control today, from a peaceful funeral with a message of
change through peaceful protests, of giving the city government, giving the
city police department a chance to investigate the death of Freddie Gray
and to take whatever actions are deemed necessary, if the actions that led
to his death are, in fact, criminal.
Two criminal acts on the street, and we saw this sort of spin out of
control, Chris, right here on MSNBC in real time, a group of young kids
that looked like teenagers basically near that mall, confronting police.
Police seemed to have a handle on it. But then more and more young people
Yes, there were more police. But the police were not really engaging,
especially after the point where we saw at least one of those officers
apparently gravely injured on live TV, taken away by his or her colleagues
to an armored personnel carrier and driven off. At that point, it seemed
like that little area became quarantined by authorities and was a
controlled burn, if you will.
It looked like the mayor in trying to talk about de-escalation and
best practices, was trying to explain a situation that they hoped would
work, and just failed miserably. Now at this point, it looks like faith
leaders of the community are trying to come in and ease tensions, get these
kids back in their homes and off the streets. Something police have been
unable to do during this long evening.
HAYES: NBC`s Brian Mooar on the ground in Baltimore. Thank you very
All right. To reset what is happening right now, you`re looking at
live pictures from Baltimore, where in the wake of the unrest caused by the
death of a 25-year-old man in police custody, the mayor has just announced
a 10:00 p.m. curfew. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has declared a state of
emergency and activated the National Guard. We expect to hear from him
within the hour. We are awaiting that press conference. Don`t go
This all after chaos broke out today in Baltimore as a group made of
largely, it appeared, of teenagers and young people looted and damaged
businesses and property, including the CVS pharmacy, which was set on fire.
Looting is seen at a number of Baltimore businesses, including a cell phone
business and a bar, numerous vehicles were set ablaze, in the violence,
including this police car as participants threw rocks, bricks and bottles
at police in riot gear who in some cases threw the projectiles back at the
This afternoon, a police spokesman reported a number of officers had
sustained serious injuries in the clashes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. ERIC KOWALCZYK, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT: This afternoon, a
group of outrageous criminals attacked our officers. Right now, we have
seven officers that have serious injuries, including broken bones and one
officer who is unconscious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That number of injured police as we just learned from Colonel
Darrell De Sousa, chief of patrol from the Baltimore Police Department, is
now 15. Two of whom we heard from him as well just moments ago are still
hospitalized. Baltimore police deployed pepper spray against the crowd
this afternoon, tear gas and pepper balls were being deployed in an effort
to control the unrest.
Police appealed to parents to, quote, “locate their children and bring
them home”, as the Baltimore Orioles postponed tonight`s scheduled game at
Camden Yard. The University of Maryland at Baltimore, , many local
businesses closed early due to the violence, which may have been spurred,
some speculated, based on this flyer which calls on high school to engage
in a so-called purge, which reportedly widely circulated among Baltimore
students. Others say students were organizing a peaceful walkout in
commemoration of Freddie Gray`s life.
The clashes broke out following the funeral of Freddie Gray, that is,
of course, the 25-year-old black man from that neighborhood in Northwest
Baltimore where we are seeing these images, who died on April 19th in the
custody of Baltimore police, and after suffering and as-yet unexplained
severe spinal chord injury that – again, more than two weeks after his
arrest, more than a week after his week, not been accounted for by
Joining me now on the phone from the streets of Baltimore, “Huffington
Post” reporter Arthur Delaney, who has been out there all day.
Arthur, you are there in the streets in northwest Baltimore when the
CVS was burning. There was a police car on fire. What was the scene like?
How did it get to the point it got to?
ARTHUR DELANEY, HUFFINGTON POST (via telephone): Well, it started off
with police expecting teenagers to start rioting or attempting to start a
riot around 3:00 and they actually shut down the Mondawmin Mall before that
happened because they expected it. And sure enough, these kids all showed
up, and they were basically just throwing rocks and running away from
police who put on their riot helmets.
But then a few hours later, about a mile away in downtown West
Baltimore, it was a lot more chaotic. Stuff was on fire. People were
looting stores and in the street it was just a much more and anarchic
scene. And I don`t know who the people who are involved at that point and
the more violent stuff were actually teenagers or not
HAYES: It seemed when things started again, it started around 3:00,
around when school was letting out. It was after the funeral. It was at
the site of Mondawmin Mall. There had been some activity on social media
according to several people, not just police sources, but others, that
there was an event planned at the Mondawmin Mall. Clearly, the police
anticipated that and a group of young people showed up. That`s where we
saw that kind of rock throwing standoff.
That rock throwing got pretty intensive. I mean, there were all sorts
of projectiles being thrown from police as far as we could tell. From the
live shot overhead. What did it look like on the ground?
DELANEY: It was like pieces of concrete and entire bricks were
littered about the street afterward. You could see them hitting the police
and the police getting hurt. It did look like they were trying to be
restrained. They would charge at the kids and the kids would run away.
And then they were continuing to be restrained a little later downtown
when stuff was on fire and fire department took a while to get there while
CVS burning and police were just holding the line as people continued to
throw rocks and bottles at them.
HAYES: I`m curious, in terms of characterizing who these young people
were that sort of started this initial confrontation that has grown and
spiraled a bit. If they were shouting things, if they were invoking
Freddie Gray, if it was less about that or more just anger directed at
police. Have you heard them articulated anything?
DELANEY: Everyone is talking about Freddie Gray. At the very
beginning, at the outset, the kids were saying, you all started this.
That`s what they were yelling at the police. They say, you know, we want
So, it`s definitely focused on Freddie Gray, even though it was
violent from the start and spiraled out of control. It was organized on
social media. I interviewed a teenager who said they were following the
hashtag, #JusticeforFreddieGray, and she`s believed they would actually go
through it, and she has been in this funeral which is basically around the
corner from mall that morning and see what actually happened. (INAUDIBLE)
word sort of sat there for a while so they could get around the police
HAYES: It also did seem like police have been at least sort of
carefully instructed on which tactics they could use. There was a lot of
advanced warning at least they were giving, about when they would deploy
things like pepper spray, we haven`t seen them coming early with the heavy
tactical presence we saw in Ferguson.
And then as the day went on, we began to see more SWAT vehicles,
things like LRADs (ph), we saw green smoke, tear gas. Did that response
escalate throughout the afternoon?
DELANEY: In the first 90 minutes, I did see pepper spray and intense
armored police vehicles, just trying to have a show of force to intimidate
the crowd. We`re still at that time mostly seeing like teenagers. I can`t
say whether that was effective or not.
It did seem like they had control of the area around the mall after 90
minutes or so, but it turned out, just a few blocks away, even though the
police were all there in their lines and in their riot gear, stuff was just
getting set on fire and stores were being smashed and looted.
So, you know, it didn`t look like they were trying to use a lot of
strength, but I don`t know whether it worked or not.
HAYES: The neighborhood that you are in that has been the epicenter
is the neighborhood both near Mondawmin Mall, it`s also the neighborhood
near where the funeral was, it`s also near where Freddie Gray lived in a
neighborhood called Sandtown-Winchester.
And it`s on the northwest side of Baltimore, I want to give a little
context here. This is from 2011. The Baltimore city health department
issued a profile of that neighborhood, just so folks are looking at these
images that are being beamed out across the world right now, get a sense of
the background context of what that neighborhood is like. The unemployment
rate is double the city-wide average, so is the poverty rate. There are
twice as many liquor stores and tobacco outlets per capita in Sandtown-
Winchester, as in the city as a whole.
The worst domestic violence of any neighborhoods, the Health
Department analyzed and among the worst rates of non-fatal shootings and
homicides. I saw other data that said that a quarter of the juveniles on
the neighborhood had been arrested over a four-year period I think spanning
from 2009 to 2014.
It is, Arthur, you were there, it is an intensely concentrated area of
DELANEY: That`s right. And a few of the young people we interviewed
talked about Freddie Gray as if he was one of their own. Like one young
man was telling me he was like an older brother to me. It wasn`t clear how
well they knew each other, but people were taking what had happened very
personally, sort of as an affront to the community there.
So, in some ways he`s a symbol of what some people feel has been going
HAYES: Arthur, did you get a sense from the police at all if the
police that were deployed there, I know a notice had gone out to Baltimore
police I believe yesterday for them to bring riot gear to work. There had
been some training.
My sense was that these were reinforcements brought in. A lot of the
police patrolling the area today aren`t police that are in the western,
that aren`t police that generally patrol those streets and those
DELANEY: No, and we thought some police were from out of state. A
couple I saw were from Virginia. But, you know, they had all the
(INAUDIBLE), they had the baton tonight, it wasn`t like they were out
swinging, there was definitely a marked restraint. Except for when people
were getting pepper sprayed, which would seem to happen whenever the
tension really rose and it seemed a little more dangerous.
HAYES: All right. Arthur Delaney, who`s been doing some fantastic
reporting all day for “Huffington Post” – thank you, Arthur.
Joining me now, Reverend Jamal Bryant, he`s the pastor of the
Empowerment Temple in Baltimore. He today delivered the eulogy at Freddie
And, Reverend, I want to get your reaction what has transpired in the
hours since the eulogy you delivered today at Freddie Gray`s funeral.
REV. JAMAL BRYANT, EMPOWERMENT TEMPLE: Absolute and complete dismay
if not horror. We have made a covenant with the community, the city at
large, that on this day there would be no protests, no marching, as it was
the request of the family, that this would be a moratorium.
So, you can imagine the shock and amazement coming from the burial,
getting the news of a code red that this had taken place is really
disappointing and unfortunate, because it doesn`t mirror or reflect the
ideology of this movement, which is in and to itself non-violent, and all
the more is peaceful. It is our resolve that violence doesn`t bring
justice and it is counter to what it is that we`re aiming for.
HAYES: You can sense some of the national coverage of this and some
of the local coverage I picked up on, a growing condemnation, criticism of
the mayor of Baltimore for not taking essentially a heavier hand. And I
wonder what your response is to that criticism?
BRYANT: Really understanding an absence of knowledge of the law. In
Maryland, we have something called the officer`s bill of rights, which
would suggest that an officer has ten days before they have to testify,
they can lawyer up. And all the more once they do testify, it`s not
admissible in court.
Under the officer`s bill of rights, you can only be given paid
vacation unless you`re charged with a felony. So, as a consequence, the
mayor`s arms are proverbially tied behind her back. She really can`t do
anything until we get those three reports back from the Department of
Justice, the state`s attorney and the internal investigation here.
After that is when we will be able to move forward. And this coming
Friday is when we`re expecting this, and all the more reason why we`ve been
trying to bring everybody to calm so that we can see what can happen.
But none of those six officers can be terminated until charges have
HAYES: You`re obviously a pastor in Baltimore, you`re of that
community. And I wonder what you want to tell folks that are watching
tonight? We`re watching images of looting in West Baltimore. We`re
watching things burn, police cars burn, youth throwing rocks at police.
This is probably the most coverage West Baltimore is going to get on the
national media all year. And I round myself up in that sort of self-
condemnation of the media`s coverage of West Baltimore.
What do you want to say about the place where you are a pastor and
West Baltimore in general for folks that are now watching it under these
BRYANT: You`re not the first one to do this PR campaign against
Baltimore. HBO is our flagship with The Wire and The Corner who has
already painted a broad sweeping stroke of poverty and crime. And just
before you brought me in, you gave the raw data of the statistics of what`s
taking place in that community of tobacco sales and alcohol sales.
What is not being reported is how those neighborhoods have been red-
lined and so they`re not able to get small business loans. What nobody is
asking is how many of them have been contaminated with lead paint
poisoning, that why it is in that same area there`s a subpar public school
system, how the governor who just called the state of emergency has just
lowered funding for public education and increased funding for the penal
And so it is a horrible lot and predicament. And we`re praying that
if anything positive will come out of this, is that the band-aid has been
ripped off, the sheet has been pulled back and you can see how abject
poverty is taking place and having its effect, tightening its noose on
those who are just seven miles away from Johns Hopkins, from the Inner
Harbor and the headquarters of Under Armour.
So, Baltimore has access to wealth, but it`s not being equitably
distributed. And we hope that through this you would understand it`s a
much larger issue than Freddie Gray.
But we`re talking about inequity all the way around. And we pray that
through this it will be
unearthed and it will finally be addressed.
HAYES: What happens tonight, pastor? I saw some members of the
community – some elders were out, some members of the Nation of Islam, a
group called The 300 Men March were out, that`s a group that has come out
in force in West Baltimore and other neighborhoods to try to essentially
interrupt incidents of violence before they can start. I saw them in the
streets earlier through social media. There are some pastors out.
I mean, what happens tonight and through the night and into tomorrow,
where does this go?
BRYANT: We`ve just dispatched a large army of pastors who are going
to be walking through the streets
tonight, calling for calm, asking for young people to return.
Tomorrow night at 7:30, we`re having an emergency citywide crisis
meeting at the Empowerment Temple, the church I pastor, asking not just for
an opportunity for people to vent, but also to come up with some solutions.
The people in Baltimore are overwhelmingly frustrated and flustered.
We`ve not had this kind of breakout since 1968 with the assassination of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And so for us to sit on this kind of pain,
this kind of anguish all these years, the only thing that`s more surprising
is it hasn`t happened long before now.
But we cannot commiserate over spilled milk. We have got to figure
out how we`re going to pick it up. And how we`re going to move forward.
There`s still a focus that has got to be addressed on how it is that we
bring redress to some of the flawed characteristics that are taking place
Baltimore police department. And I pray that that starts tomorrow.
This has been a horrible day, but we believe we`re starting a fresh
page tomorrow, and as a consequence, we`re not going to stop the fight.
We`re just going to stop the way that we fought today.
HAYES: Pastor Jamal Bryant, Empowerment Temple, AME Church in
Baltimore, delivered the eulogy for the funeral for Freddie Gray today.
Thank you, pastor, I appreciate it.
BRYANT: Thank you.
HAYES: The pastor mentioned something that I would like to just add a
footnote to as you watch these images and think about the neighborhood
where this is happening. He mentioned elevated levels of lead poisoning.
It turns out that Freddie Gray`s family filed a lawsuit against the man who
owned the apartment they rented for negligence because they had been
exposed to lead poisoning.
According to that lawsuit, Gray and his sisters, the lab tests
conducted in the 1990s showed that he and his two sisters had levels of
lead in their blood nearly double of what the state of Maryland defines as
the minimum for lead poisoning. That case was eventually settled, but I
gives you a sense.
Joining me now Michael Eric Dyson, MSNBC political analyst, professor
of sociology at Georgetown University. Michael, you were in the pews today
at the funeral. What was that service like?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, it was an incredible
service. You just spoke to one of the most eloquent and articulate
spokespeople of this rising generation of leaders the Reverend Doctor Jamal
Harrison Bryant who delivered a stunning eulogy that not only talked about
the pain and the pathos that has besieged that community. That urban
terrain has been besieged by such tragedy and such negligence. And he
spoke brilliantly and eloquently to that. He encouraged his listeners not
to be boxed in by stereotypes and be boxed in by the kind of restraints
that have been arbitrarily imposed upon them, but to break free of them and
challenge to people there to move to the next level.
And so it was an extraordinary testimony to the resilient spirit of
African-American people that in the midst of tragedy and trauma, in the
midst of the horrible depression that can be visited upon a population when
there seems to be no way out, to see them rise up together and be
determined to move forward was extraordinary.
But what was also important, the Reverend Jesse Jackson delivered an
analytical insight into the forces of oppression that have besieged that
urban terrain as brilliantly as Dr. Bryant did. And what he talked about
of course was not only the factors that Dr. Bryant spoke of, but the ways
in which the Baltimore Ravens and the Baltimore Orioles with their tax
exempt status and their being given tremendous goodies to stay into the
So you`ve got the urban blight contrasted to the extraordinary
accumulation of capital for some people.
This is what Dr. Bryant was speaking about when he says they have the
extraordinary rise of capital, just not equitable access and distribution
So when you put that together, it is quite easy to dismiss what`s
going on now as a bunch of hooligans and looters.
The great Martin Luther King, Jr., whose noble crusade of nonviolence,
said riots are the language of the unheard. He said I refuse to condemn f
what`s going on in the inner cities then of Watts and of Detroit and many
urban cities across America without also talking about the contrasting and
broader landscape against which that violence is pitched. And he talked
about the American government.
Now in our case, I think we have to talk about state brutality,
because police people are the most immediate emblems of the authority of
the state to protect them or subvert them. And the tragedy is many white
Americans who look at that and many others who feel protected when they see
the police or hear the sirens coming, they don`t feel a sense of horror and
terror, they don`t feel that oh my, my
life may be now ended. They don`t feel like irrationally when the cop
stops them they will get up and run.
And it seems irrational to others except those of us who have been
subjected to this arbitrary
form of terror.
So that reality forces us to come to grips with something that doesn`t
happen until there`s violence. Your cameras, our commentary would not be
in Baltimore talking about the slow terror of
expulsions from schools, rising rates of lead poisoning. The export of
jobs to places across the waters that have no ability to refuel and recycle
that capital back here.
So when you put all that together, it`s easy to point a gun of
analysis at these people and shoot them with the bullets of our
condemnation as opposed to picking up the narrative that says all of them
have already been besieged. And we have to together find a way out of
HAYES: Michael, let me show you just a little bit of some of the
frustration that was evident on the streets with the rioting today on the
streets of Baltimore. It was just one of the people, our affiliate
interview today. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it like seeing all this?
UNIDNETIFIED MALE: Crazy, crazy. I can`t believe we`re out here like
this. You see my brothers down here at the 300 Man March.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want you to describe what do you see across
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Craziness. I think – I think our young brothers
is hooligans, honestly, hooligans.
UNIDENTIFID MALE: And you see someone across the street that just
came out of that liquor store right now with a canister of liquor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he stole it.
You know, it`s crazy, for our young brothers to be doing that these
days is crazy. That`s all I can say is crazy. I don`t have any words for
it, honestly. I ain`t steal nothing. I would have never stole anything
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see you didn`t steal anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. It`s crazy to me. It`s…
UNIDENTIIFED MALE: Are these people from Baltimore or from out of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, to be honest with you, everybody out here is
from the hood, right here. You know, they are opportunists, because these
people out here don`t have anything. And everybody will justify something
by their own means.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Your response, Michael?
DYSON: Well, look, there`s enough of that prevails that people say,
look, we`re not thugs, we`re not hooligans, we`re not given over to this
kind of ecstatic chaos that urban terror reveals.
But at the same time, I think what`s interesting, you know, I`ve been
watching the NBA playoffs. And sometimes somebody will hit somebody in the
ribs, the referee won`t see that, but the person who retaliates the referee
sees and throws the flag. This is what`s happening here.
What we`re seeing now is that – what we don`t have cameras on and
commentary about is the theft of capital from these urban post-industrial
conditions, what we don`t see is capital flight, jobs going out to the
suburbs and exurbs. What we don`t see is the fact that many police people
live in York, Pennsylvania and come over to Baltimore and extract revenue
from that city, and they don`t give back to the tax base, but take it back
to their communities, and yet they are policing people who are not their
friends, neighbors, relatives or kin.
And as a result of that, there`s a sense that these people are
So yes, you see the utter chaos that they are besieged in and engulfed
in, but at the same time, what you don`t see is a camera or a commentary
about the broader backdrop against which these occur.
So this isn`t justified what we see going on. You see people in that
neighborhood say, look, this is crazy, this is self-destructive, this is
horrible. And guess what we say? How can you live in a community where
you`re destroying your own future and prospects? Many of them say we don`t
have a future or a prospect. This will never occur.
HAYES: Yeah, there was a moment in the press conference earlier today
– again, if you`re watching right now, those are images from earlier
today. Night is falling obviously in Baltimore. There are some folks out
on the street, there are a lot of sort of elders that have been dispatched
to the street to try to calm things down. That`s earlier today. A shot of
some of that right now as night falls.
Things seem to be calming down in a city that has been ravaged by
rioting, by looting, altercations, rock throwing, police deploying tear gas
and rubber bullets it appears at one point, although that is as yet
unconfirmed. Social reports indicating that.
There was a moment earlier today when the mayor Stephanie Rawlings-
Blake of Baltimore talked about the `68 riots that burned down parts of
West Baltimore and said that the city has still – and parts of the city in
West Baltimore had still not recovered from that, and that struck me as
kind of a searing condemnation of generations of leadership at every single
level that it could possibly be the case that 47 years after those riots,
that West Baltimore is yet to be rebuilt.
DYSON: Yeah, that`s a powerful point. And it struck me the same way.
It`s like, this is the condemnation of what we the leadership is doing
there, are doing there. That`s a condemnation of what
they have inherited and what they refused to see. And so what you`re
seeing the accumulated aggrievement (ph) of populations who feel that they
are desperately invisible.
And the only time they become visible is when they strike out in such
So are we going to be there when there`s peaceful condemnation of
their conditions? Are we there when they deliver searing analyses of what
has led them to become who they are? No.
But we`re there when the fires besiege that community. We`re there
when they`re engulfed in pain and tragedy. So that doesn`t justify it, but
it does say let`s step back and say if you can`t clean that up in 47 years,
that`s not a condemnation of the people who are subjected to it, that`s a
condemnation of the city and the state and the government, which refuses to
help them or is unable to help them in serious fashion.
HAYES: Let me also say this, we are awaiting a press conference from
the governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan. He, of course, has signed an
emergency order, a declaration of the state of emergency for the state of
Maryland. The national guard are being deployed. There is a curfew that
has been put in by the mayor that I believe applies to juveniles from 10:00
p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Folks on the street have to have a reason to be out on the street.
Larry Hogan of course recently elected just in the last election, a
Republican governor, following the two terms of Martin O`Malley, the
Democrat who was once mayor of Baltimore, then governor. He is traveling
in Europe, although his folks have issued a statement expressing empathy
with the family of Freddie Gray condemning the violence that we saw today.
I want to say also we are now – we also shouldn`t lose sight of the
fact that there parallel investigations happening into the actual death of
Freddie Gray, which as of this late date, given the fact that he was
arrested on April 12, I don`t know if we have the footage of his arrest,
which of course has been rolling quite a bit, that as of this late date we
know there was the spinal chord injury. We just still don`t know in the 45
minutes that he was in police custody, in which this – what ultimately
would be a fatal injury was sustained, we still do not have any kind of
definitive account of what actually happened.
The Gray family lawyer has issued a statement begging people to stop
this saying how heartbroken and dismayed they are by the images they have
seen coming out of Baltimore. There was widespread calls, as you heard from
Reverend Jamal Bryant earlier today, for a kind of day of peaceful
observation, silenced moratorium, mourning today in the wake of the
funeral, and that has obviously not been the way things turned out.
Now we will get a state of emergency.
And Michael, I`m curious where you think this does go next. I mean,
obviously, there are calls, and you can see them in the questions the mayor
of Baltimore got, you can see them in some of the national press coverage
of the mayor, a certain comment she made that I think was widely
interpreted, though I would say not quite properly interpreted, as
essentially excusing property destruction, or saying the police were given
the orders to let property destruction happen.
But there is strong political pressure from certain quarters on her to
see a more aggressive police response.
Well, you know, look, she`s got a difficult job. You saw her today.
She was offering unqualified, unconditional condemnation of the violence
she saw. She didn`t excuse it. She didn`t tolerate it. She didn`t try to
give many reasons as to its existence. She said it`s wrong.
And at the same time, she knows she can`t go into these populations,
from which she has emerged, laying down the riot act, so to speak, without
understanding what the precipitating events
So she`s got to be very careful here. She got to insist upon law.
And she`s got to insist upon law and order. And at the same time she`s got
to say, look, it`s been very difficult on the other side, because the law
has not been equally applied to the people who are here.
You referred to the service earlier today. In that service, what
emerged was, why is it that we tell black and brown populations, hey, don`t
adhere to that no snitch law. You`ve got to tell the truth. Come forth
with information, and yet police people have a no snitch rule as well.
They don`t come forth with saying, yep, I know this was wrong. Let me tell
So, people perceive that there is a disparity between the kind of
standards that are induced and events when it is applied to the police, and
when they are applied to urban populations. She`s got to balance that.
She`s the mayor of that city. she`s got to hold the line in terms of the
urban chaos that she sees rising up, and she`s got to also be empathetic to
the people who are unfairly victimized by the excessive use of police
And this young man, Freddie Gray, died under mysterious circumstances
heretofore, but we know that his – you know, his severe spinal chord
injury led to his death. So, she`s got to balance that out. And it`s a
very difficult job indeed.
HAYES: We should also note in Freddie Gray`s circumstances, and we
should sort of make sure that – his death and the explanation for it, or
the counting for it, remains front and center. Obviously it`s the trigger
We see – it appears the Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, this is a
big test for him, newly elected, Republican governor of a Democratic state,
about to address the media. Take a listen.
(LIVE COVERAGE OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE)
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