All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 04/30/15
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
With me from Baltimore is MSNBC`s Trymaine Lee, and as the city heads
into its third night of a 10:00 p.m. curfew, we`ve got major developments
today in the case of Freddie Gray who died on April 19th after sustaining
fatal injuries while in police custody a week earlier.
Baltimore police announced this morning, they handed the results of
their investigation to the state`s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, who was just
sworn in in January. It will be up to her office to decide whether to
Police also revealed that the police van carrying Gray made a
previously undisclosed stop on its way to the station, discovered only
after reviewing footage from a privately owned camera.
Today, a local ABC station in Washington D.C. reported new accounts of
Freddie Gray`s injuries from anonymous law enforcement sources who claimed,
quote, “The medical examiner found Gray`s catastrophic injury was caused
when he slammed into the back of the police transport van, apparently
breaking his neck, a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back of
And the identity of the mystery second prisoner who was in the van
with Gray, the subject of a very controversial “Washington Post” report,
has now been revealed. Today, he spoke to an investigative reporter with
our local NBC affiliate in Baltimore. We will have that exclusive extended
interview just ahead.
First, let`s bring in MSNBC national reporter Trymaine Lee in
Trymaine, you and I remember talking last night when we were out in
front of city hall about how that “Washington Post” story, the headline of
which was a quote attributed to a police document leaked of a police
account of what that man you just saw said that he was – Freddie Gray was,
quote, “intentionally trying to injure himself” and how that was going to
play in Baltimore when folks woke up today. What has been the reaction?
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: Folks are obviously concerned.
And after a couple of nights of calm, folks are, once again, on edge. I
spoke to a number of people today, and they feel that some of the leaks are
just trying to seed the foundation for some sort of counter-narrative.
But what`s been troubling for folks is this idea that there was a stop
that police found out today that one of the officers – the officers who
were involved in the arrest made some mysterious stop and that it was
captured on some private video, and they just learned that today. And many
people said that in this police department which is 40 percent black, it`s
not so much about race, it`s about corruption.
So, these ideas are feeding the concept among many people who just
don`t trust the police. They don`t trust this investigation. Again, we
talked yesterday that all of these leaks, all of this kind of stirred up
paranoia and hysteria among people who are pushing and fighting for justice
only throws the situation in much more precarious situation.
HAYES: Does it feel tenser there today than it did yesterday?
LEE: I wouldn`t say it feels a little more tense at all. I think the
resolve seems strengthened. When earlier today when there were these two
marches, one that began here on the west side, another began on the east
side, and the two met not far from city hall. It seems that folks are
getting more organized and they`re getting, you know – they`re getting –
it`s bolstering their energy.
HAYES: Trymaine, I want you to stay with us.
We also are now getting some live pictures from Philadelphia.
Yesterday, of course, New York had a solidarity rally for Freddie Gray.
Tonight, Philadelphia, a huge march. Hundreds perhaps thousands. You
can see them there in downtown Philadelphia. And there are some very, very
tense exchanges happening with police at this moment. That is – you are
looking at a live helicopter shot. You can see the kind of pushing and
shoving right there at the frontlines between protesters and police.
Police using their batons to push into the crowds, grabbing some members of
the crowd as you see there on the frontlines.
This all developing live right now in Philadelphia, culmination of a
march that started about an hour, hour and a half ago. Folks calling for a
march in solidarity, in support of protesters in Baltimore, part of the
movement that is grown out of Ferguson and other places where we have seen
protests against police brutality. We will continue to monitor those
pictures in Philadelphia.
Now, we still don`t know how exactly Freddie Gray ended up with 80
percent of his spinal cord severed at the neck. We do know or appear to
know that it happened during the roughly 45 minutes between Gray`s
apprehension by the Baltimore police and his arrival at the western
district police station where paramedics were called.
Thanks to information released by the police and some top notch work
by reporters on the ground, we are getting a clearer picture of what
exactly happened to Freddie Gray in those fateful 45 minutes on April 12th.
It all starts at 8:39 a.m. at the corner of West North Avenue and North
Mount Street where Freddie Gray is described as hanging out with a friend.
Four police officers pull up on bikes, and after making eye contact with
one of them, according to multiple accounts, Gray takes off running.
One minute later, 8:40, he`s apprehended about a block and a half
away, in the 1700 block of Presbury Street. Officers find an illegal
switch blade on him. According to police charging documents, Gray was
arrested without force or incident, but eyewitnesses describe Gray crying
out in pain and being handled roughly by officers loading him into the
police van, part of which you can see in that infamous cell phone video.
Minutes later, the Van comes to a stop about a block away at the
corner of North Mount Street and Baker Street. Now, according to police,
the driver stops to fill out paperwork and he says Gray is acting, quote,
“irate” in the back of the van. At this point, Freddie Gray is removed
from the van and placed in leg irons. Once again, that`s caught on camera
by a bystander. The van drives on.
And what comes next was not known until this morning. The police
department revealed today that a privately owned camera recorded the police
van making a previously undiscovered stop on its way to central booking at
the corner of North Fremont Avenue and Mosier Street. We still do not know
anything about what may have happened during that stop, what the cause of
it was, or what police may have done there.
But at 8:59 a.m., almost 20 minutes after the arrest, the van makes a
third stop, Druid Hill Avenue and Dolphin Street when the driver requests
an additional unit to come and check on Gray. According to police, the
officers respond and are able to communicate with Freddie Gray, but they
have to pick him off the floor of a van and put him back in his seat.
Now, at some point during the stop, the van is requested at another
location to pick up a second prisoner. We don`t know what time it arrives
there at 1600 West North Avenue, just a couple of blocks from where Freddie
Gray first encountered the police. A second prisoner when the police
department has declined to identify is loaded into the van separated from
Gray by a metal divider. Ands the van proceeds to the western district
police department. At 9:26, the fire department gets a call about an
Now, this second prisoner has been the subject of intense controversy.
“The Washington Post” published a report late last night based on a leaked
document that this second prisoner told investigators Freddie Gray was
banging on the walls inside the van and trying to injured himself.
Well, WBAL TV investigative reporter Jayne Miller managed to track
down that second prisoner. The source, the subject of that article, and
here is her interview with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAYNE MILLER, WBAL TV INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: So, on the morning of
April 12th, what happened?
DONTA ALLEN, SECOND MAN IN THE VAN WITH FREDDIE GRAY: Well, the
morning of April 12th, I went in the basement store right here on Penn
North Avenue to get a cigarette. You know what I mean? They shut the
store down. See, they helping us out, right? They shut the store down. I
come out the store without the cigarette because I already done smoked it.
That`s how they cool with it. They let smoke a cigarette right there.
So, when I come out the store, they say, well, where the cigarette at?
These are the police. They asked me where the cigarette at? I`m telling
them I already done smoked it.
They get to checking me, checking me, right? When they checked me,
all right. When they check me, I ain`t got the cigarette. They ran me
straight through, put me on the ground, hit me in my face. All my brothers
right here know, they seen it. Hit me in the face and all that.
So, when they put me in the van, I did not know nobody was in there.
There`s two sides of the van. I want you all to realize, two sides of the
van. One side and there`s another side. Three people can fit on one side
and three people can fit on the other.
There`s no space in there where a man could hurt himself intentionally
by himself. Before he got in that van, he was hurt. When he got in that
van, he was already deteriorated. I know this for fact because when we got
to that police station, he was dead.
JAYNE MILLER, WBAL TV REPORTER: Wait. Let`s back up. When you got
in the van, did you know there was a prisoner?
ALLEN: I did not know. I had – I had it in my mind that somebody
might be in this van because I heard a little banging. The little banging
that I heard I thought he was hitting his head. I did not know what was
going on, right, until I got down to the police station, oh, they playing
games. When I got to the police station, they did not hear – hear me when
I heard them say we gave him a run for his money.
MILLER: Did you ever see Mr. Gray in the van?
ALLEN: I did not – I still haven`t seen Freddie Gray to this moment.
Last time I seen Freddie Gray was the day before they locked him up and did
that stuff to him.
MILLER: Did you tell the police that you heard him banging his head
against the van?
ALLEN: I told homicide that. I don`t work for the police. I did not
tell the police nothing.
MILLER: What do you think – tell me what you heard. Once you got in
the van, what did you hear?
ALLEN: When I got in the van, I didn`t hear nothing. It was a smooth
ride straight to the police station. All I heard was a little banging for
about four seconds. You know what I mean?
I`m thinking he is banging his head the whole time. Now I know what
was happening. They did something to him, and his body was wobbling back
there. You know what I mean? So he can`t hurt himself back in those paddy
wagon, you know? They don`t strap us in there.
MILLER: Tell me again what you have actually –
ALLEN: What I actually heard?
MILLER: Yes, what you actually heard?
ALLEN: I just heard a little banging, you know? Just little – you
know what I mean? Boom, boom – little banging. Just little banging. I
know it was just him back there because he was dying.
When we got to the police station, they said he didn`t have no pulse
or nothing. They called his name. Yes. Mr. Gray. Mr. Gray, that he
wasn`t responsive. So, when I got in inside the police station, I was in
the bullpen. The lady come in there like he got – he must have came back.
They talked he swallowed something. Y`all know he ain`t swallow
nothing, y`all beat that man before y`all brung him inside that van, and
when he got inside that van, I didn`t know he was in there.
I knew Freddie Gray was in the van when I got to the police station
and then they going to try –
MILLER: No. OK. Let me – I just want to keep this focused on the
four minutes. You were in the van four or five minutes with Mr. Gray.
ALLEN: I was in the van approximately up to 20 minutes – 15, 20
minutes at the most. You know what I mean? They wait 30 to 35 minutes to
get this man some medical attention because they want to cover their
(EXPLETIVE DELETED), and now since they can`t cover their (EXPLETIVE
DELETED) on that, they`re trying to use me as a fact to cover their
But (INAUDIBLE) I don`t work with no police, right? And the second
thing is, y`all got to realize this. This is the same thing they`re doing
like they did back in the day with the BBP when they infiltrated with
(INAUDIBLE). They infiltrated. They`re doing the same (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
to me right now.
I`m not no snitch. I`m not no (EXPLETIVE DELETED). None of that for
TV, none of that, yo. I`m going to keep it 100, yo. I love my (EXPLETIVE
We ain`t around here doing none of that. These polices is – they
MILLER: When you got to the district, did you hear a conversation
among the police officers?
ALLEN: No. When I got to the police station, I heard them saying,
well, y`all, we gave him a run for his money. Basically saying they did
something to him, man.
MILLER: Run for his money. What did you say that to mean?
ALLEN: I took that to mean they did something to him. Whatever –
they can take it how they want to take it. People can take it how they
want to take it.
When people say they give someone a run for their money, they got over
on them or did something to them physically or mentally that was wrong.
You feel what I`m saying? That`s what I took at it as.
MILLER: Did you say to homicide you thought he was banging his head
against the van?
ALLEN: I told homicide he had – I told homicide he had to be banging
his head because I didn`t know what was going on at the time. He had to be
banging his head against the grill, because I did not know the police beat
him up or anything at that time. So, when we got to the police station,
I`m putting all the pieces to the puzzle together, and I see, oh, OK. So,
when they let me go, they wrote me a citation and they didn`t give it to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now Jayne Miller, WBAL TV investigative reporter
who conducted that interview. We also have Trymaine Lee live in West
So, Jayne, this is really key, and I don`t feel there is a lot going
on here. You can read, let`s say, a lot of pathos into this gentleman
essentially wanting to come forward. I don`t it`s too much to say to clear
his name essentially as there was – you know, an article that essentially
said he said a thing he says he didn`t say.
So, what are the key things to take away from what this second
prisoner is saying about that van ride?
MILLER: I think the key thing to take away is he couldn`t have seen
Mr. Gray. He could have seen Mr. Gray. I asked him, I think we aired the
whole thing. I asked him, did you hear him say anything? He didn`t hear
him say anything.
We have reported that at that time when Mr. Allen is loaded on to the
van at that stop that by that time according to our sources, Mr. Gray was
unresponsive. A couple of minutes later when they get to the western
district, he has no pulse.
That doesn`t come from just Mr. Allen, but comes from also our own
reporting. What we have reported is that paramedics were able to get a
pulse back by the time they got him to shock trauma. Obviously, he was in
a very bad shape.
HAYES: So, that`s a key point. I`m sorry. I just want to stress
that because obviously the timeline is confusing.
When he says, because I thought he was mistaken when he said, they`re
saying he doesn`t have a pulse. But he really didn`t a pulse when they get
to the Western District.
MILLER: No, that`s correct. That`s correct. He was unresponsive
when the paramedics finally got there, and I say “finally got there”
because there is some confusion about the way the call went out, so the
paramedics thought they were going to answer a call for a broken arm. Not
a non-breathing person.
And that`s a real significant difference because time is of the
essence with this kind of injury. This is the injury that is similar to
the Christopher Reeves injury with the severe broken neck spinal injury,
and the whole key is to get care quickly. We believe now based on this
disclosure of this additional stop of the van, that the injury most likely
would have occurred in probably the first 10, 12, 15 minutes of this ride,
which means it was another pretty substantial time before he actually got
And that`s going to be the key to this case. This case is all I know
– I know the video is there, and there`s the video of what happened in the
initial arrest. There`s no video of what goes inside the van, but the
information that was turned over today by the Baltimore Police Department
to the Baltimore city prosecutor`s office, the state`s attorney`s office,
confirms what we have been reporting and that is that what happened to him
happened according to the autopsy and the medical evidence in this case –
it happened inside that police wagon.
So, this is all about when did it happen? Why did it happen? And
what police did not do to, first of all, secure him and also to take care
of him after he was injured? That`s what this case really boils down to.
It also, I will add, it also involves the somewhat controversial
element of why they arrested him in the first place. So, all of that is in
play, but the autopsy does not have any evidence in it, any information in
it that he was injured during that initial arrest. This is all about
suffering that very, very severe injury once inside the wagon.
HAYES: I just want you – I wanted reiterate this point too, because
people – that cell phone video of the initial arrest is very difficult to
watch. It`s obviously been played a million times. People conclude the
first time I saw it – the first time I saw it and I have you on the air
talking about it, people say it and they think this guy can`t walk there.
He`s already got an injury. Something happened prior to this.
And I just think it`s really clear to highlight for folks, and this is
also the – the ABC affiliate in D.C., that from what we know of the
autopsy, the injury sustained had to have essentially been sustained in
MILLER: Correct. It needs that much energy. It needs that kind of
force. That is correct.
What you are seeing in that initial arrest, it doesn`t feel good to
get arrested like that. That`s standard procedure is for police to
handcuff an individual, put them on the ground, put their knee in their
back, bring their legs up. It`s not – it`s painful.
MILLER: It`s done to control an individual, but if you watch that
cell phone video carefully, you can see at the very end of it that he does
get into that van under his own power. That`s what it appears.
All right. So, finally, I want to ask about this sort of mysterious
stop that appeared today that we didn`t know it happened yet and which was
apparently only revealed by some other footage. What do you make of that?
What should we make of it?
MILLER: Well, if I were to – the question I would have of the van
driver at that stop is where did you make that stop? Did you make that
stop because you heard something in the back of the van that maybe
indicated to you that something had gone wrong, because the next thing he
does is drive a little bit further and stop again and call for other
officers to come and check on his prisoner.
MILLER: And the police commanders have said at that point, there
should have been a call for a medic, and there wasn`t.
MILLER: I think that new stop that we`re talking about, if I were –
if I were asking the right questions and I am in this case, my question
would be does that indicate that at that point, that van driver knew that
something was wrong.
HAYES: Trymaine, let me ask you this. Trymaine, are the details of
this sort of filtering out – are folks sort of focused on this today with
this sort of the revelation of this stop?
LEE: Some people are and some people aren`t – haven`t heard much
But when you listen and you hear that young man say that, you know, I
don`t work with the police. It speaks the volumes in which there`s this
big gap between police and the community. But it also speaks to the broad
distrust that you know, dealing with police can end up getting you hurt, or
somehow your words getting twisted.
So, listen, it`s not lost on anyone because people in this community
feel that this has always been par for the course. And so, again, many
people – a number of people have heard about some of the details. Others
have been out here focused on marching all day long, even right now as the
night is descending. The crowd is getting thicker. People are trickling
in and out, and there is a certain vibe you`re beginning to feel.
I`m not sure what that means at this point, but – you know, it`s
starting to change a little bit.
HAYES: Yes. Let me point out two things, Trymaine, about that
interview. Last night when that “Washington Post” article was published,
the reason given for anonymity was to protect the prisoner. They basically
said, you know, all this is being done anonymously. We can`t say who gave
it to us, what the prisoner`s name is because we want to protect the
prisoner because we fear for him.
What happens that article is published, and that prisoner comes
forward voluntarily to say the safest thing for me is to put my face to
this and explain what happened and give my account. So, that to me is
It`s also interesting to me that he makes a distinction between
homicide and the police. He says I don`t work with the police. I did tell
this to homicide. I told homicide what I heard, which I thought also was
Trymaine Lee is there in West Baltimore. He`ll be with us for the
And the attorney for the family of Freddie Gray will join me just
Also, when the media descends on a city sometimes residents of that
city are not so thrilled, and when FOX News`s Geraldo Rivera arrives, all
bets are off. That spectacle, ahead.
HAYES: You`re looking of live pictures from Philadelphia this hour,
about two hours into a march rally in solidarity with Baltimore in
commemoration of the death of Freddie Gray, demanding answers and to end
police brutality. Those folks have had tense confrontation with police
just a few minutes ago.
We showed you a frontline of police with batons, clashing with
protesters, a little bit of shoving back and forth. That crowd now on the
move making its way through Chinatown in Philadelphia. We will, of course,
continue to monitor that.
It`s not just Philly that`s in the streets tonight. There`s been
protests over the country. Many more planned for tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: I want you all to realize, two sides of the van. One side and
there`s another side. Three people can fit on one side and three people
can fit on the other.
There`s no space in there where a man could hurt himself intentionally
by himself. Before he got in that van, he was hurt. When he got in that
van, he was already deteriorated. I know this for fact because when we got
to that police station, he was dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. Joining me now, Jason Downs, attorney for the
family of Freddie Gray. That interview you just saw, the gentleman who is
in the van with Freddie Gray.
Mr. Downs, your response – your reaction to the “Washington Post”
story last night and now, this gentleman coming forward to sort of clarify
a little bit about what he did and did not hear, what he did and did not
see in the van.
JASON DOWNS, ATTY. FOR FAMILY OF FREDDIE GRAY: Well, I think it`s
important that we first start the discussion by distinguishing between
facts and speculation and the fact is very clear, that there`s a metal
divider between the two sides of the van, so this other gentleman did not
have the opportunity to see Mr. Gray.
So, I think it`s important to start with that fact. And it`s also
important to note that this gentleman just said clearly he heard what he is
calling a light banging or – and a little banging.
And so, we should also focus on the fact that you should not check
your commonsense at the door just because the law is involved. At this
point, commonsense dictates that Freddie Gray did not and could not have
severed his own spine. And I think it`s important to keep those things in
HAYES: From what we know of the reporting through Jayne Miller and
some others of what the autopsy, the preliminary autopsy at least says is
the spinal injury that Mr. Gray sustained would just require a tremendous
amount of force, the kind of force that would be as in Christopher Reeves
being thrown off a horse or being associated with a car crash and not just
– not just something that physically one could do to one`s self.
DOWNS: That`s correct. I mean, frankly, it doesn`t even take a
doctor to tell you that you`re going to sever your own spinal cord.
DOWNS: But we`re also going to wait for the medical records, wait for
the autopsy reports to see the autopsy report to draw our own conclusions,
but before we make any definite conclusions as to exactly how much force
was necessary to sever his spinal cord, we can say that he didn`t sever his
own spinal cord.
HAYES: Today was the day that the police handed over whatever their
investigation is to Marilyn Mosby, who`s the state attorney for Baltimore.
She`s been in office around 100 days. If I`m not mistaken, she`s never
prosecuted a homicide case. She also comes from a family of police
officers, which has been brought to light. Her husband is the councilman
for the district in which Freddie Gray was a constituent.
Are you confident in Ms. Mosby`s independence and her ability to bring
appropriate charges if that is what, you know, the facts require?
DOWNS: Well, what we have to remember is that Ms. Mosby is in charge
of an independent agency. So, what we have to do is let Ms. Mosby
independently investigate this case. So, I can`t draw conclusions as to
the results of her investigation, or frankly, the competency of her
investigation until we are actually privy to that investigation.
At this point, all we know is that she is conducting an investigation,
and we are hopeful that she conducts a thorough and an impartial
HAYES: Are you in contact with her office? I don`t mean in any
improper way. I just mean in the way that often prosecutors will be in
contact with the families of victims in crimes that they`re investigating.
DOWNS: Well, at this point, we`re certainly not in a position to
confirm or to deny whether we are conduct with Ms. Mosby`s office. We can
say that we are hopeful that her investigation is thorough and competent,
and we certainly at this point aren`t privy to any of the details of her
HAYES: Do you have an expectation of a timeline? We have already
gone four to six weeks. The question now becomes, OK, well, the state`s
attorneys office is going to look at this and maybe come to some
conclusion. But that could take a week or ten months. I mean, what is
your expectation to what a timely conclusion to the investigation and
decision of criminal charges would be?
DOWNS: Well, what we don`t is we don`t want to rush to justice. We
want accurate justice. We want truthful justice. So, we are hoping for a
truthful and a thorough and frankly transparent investigation. That`s what
we`re hopeful for.
HAYES: So, that sounds to me like what you are saying is you are
willing – you and the family are willing to be patient and you are
confident that that patience will bear fruit in the sort of integrity of
whatever investigation is conducted by this office.
DOWNS: The Gray family is certainly willing to be patient. But
they`re willing to be patient as long as there`s transparency. So, we`re
not looking for an investigation conducted in the dark. We`re looking for
a transparent investigation and the Gray family is certainly willing to be
patient when it comes to a transparent investigation that we hope is going
to be a thorough investigation.
HAYES: Let me ask you this, Mr. Downs. I`m not a lawyer myself.
But given the fact that Commissioner Batts has already admitted that
the police in the van violated two protocols. They did not strap him in
initially, which is a violation of protocol. Don`t you facially have a
civil wrongful death suit here?
DOWNS: We certainly won`t draw any concludes until we receive all of
the information at this point. It is a step in the right direction that
the police commissioner has acknowledged that there were mistakes made and
that the police department did not follow their own internal regulations,
but that still doesn`t answer the question as to how Freddie Gray`s spinal
cord was severed, and that`s the question we want to know the answer to.
HAYES: Jason Downs, attorney for the Freddie Gray family, thank you
All right, as the nation`s criminal justice system takes center stage,
presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a special problem: how much –
how clearly will she call for a reversal of the policies that she and her
husband embraced when he was president? That`s next.
HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid as we
look down Joy at images in Philadelphia.
You have got a bunch of folks behind you there in Baltimore. We saw
huge marches in New York last night. It does feel like what`s happened
this week – and I think particularly that Washington Post article last
night has this movement very keyed up again.
I think we maybe don`t have
sound for joy, who is having a hard time…
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris.
So I can`t quite hear you. I heard just a little bit what you were
saying. I know you were talking about some of the protests that were
happening across the country.
I have to step aside just for one a minute so you can see these kids
REID: So, Chris, aside from being adorable, I think what they
represent – and we talked to a guy earlier when we were at another
location where there was sort of a big protest happened today and he made a
really great point. He said that what`s happening right now is essentially
the babies have gotten the attention of the country. That really kids,
young people, really young people in some cases and these are some of the
youngest that we`ve seen, they`ve managed to galvanize an entire movement
without really having a cohesive national leadership.
And so really the fact that they`ve been able to have this movement
and to have it replicate in city after city, every time there is a death of
a young black man or a death of a not so black man, somebody like Eric
Garner, whose mother was at the National Action Network`s meeting this
afternoon where they were trying to bring together the sort of organized
civil rights movement that we know of, the NCAACP, the National Urban
League, the National Action Network, and try to find a way to coordinate
that with this, they have appropriated the no justice/no peace mantra of
the Sharpton era movement that was really begun in the late 80s. And
they`ve layered on to it black lives matter.
This is a movement that is not stopping. I think it is picking up
steam around the country. And you can see it`s not stopping here in
Baltimore either, Chris.
HAYES: MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid in the streets of
Baltimore. Thank you very much.
All right, lots of reassessment of the 1990 criminal policy of the
Democratic Party, Bill Clinton
in particular, someone who voted against the 1994 crime bill, will join me
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: We now have a political situation
where billionaires are literally able to buy elections and candidates. Let
not kid ourselves.
I believe that in a democracy what elections are about are serious
debates over serious issues, not political gossip, not making campaigns
into soap operas.
We`re in this race to win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There are now two official candidates in the race for the
Democratic presidential nominations with independent Vermont senator Bernie
Sanders, staunch liberal, making it official today, promising a candidacy
focused on reducing income inequality and child poverty, making higher
education free and getting money out of politics.
Now, the issue that is suddenly front and center in the incipient
Democratic primary in the wake of what`s happened this week is Baltimore,
is the reform of the criminal justice system. And that`s an issue on which
the Democratic Party, frankly, has a lot to answer for.
Both Hillary Clinton and former Maryland governor Martin O`Malley, who
is expected to enter the race very soon, are pushing for criminal justice
reforms, but critics have pointed out their records don`t square with their
new rhetoric. As Baltimore mayor, O`Malley implemented a no-tolerance
policing policy that led to the ACLU and the NAACP suing over a, quote,
broad pattern of abuses involving arrests made without probable cause.
And Hillary Clinton has touted the crime bill her husband signed as
president in 1994 which imposed tougher sentences, put more police on the
streets and provided more money for prisons.
Now Hillary Clinton and her party seemed to want to make a definitive
break with the criminal justice policies they helped create.
Joining me now, Democratic congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia who co-
chaired the over criminalization task force in the last congressman.
And Congressman Scott, you voted against the crime bill back in 1994.
Is that correct.
REP. BOBBY SCOTT, (D) VIRGINIA: I did.
HAYES: You were not in the minority I think of the Democratic Party,
but there were a lot of Democrats who voted for it. The president pushed
it very hard. Why did you vote against it?
SCOTT: Well, it made the wrong choices. The choice that was made was
to codify slogans and sound bites, very popular sound bites, but it just –
- all it did was loaded up the prisons. If we made a choice to follow the
evidence, follow the research, we`d have made other choices. It had things
like abolishing parole and three strikes and your out, mandatory minimums,
things that have loaded up the prisons to the point now there have been
studies that say we have so many people in prisons in the United States
that our incarceration rate is actually counterproductive, that is to say
so many people in prison, you`re messing up so many families, you`re
wasting so much money, you`ve got so many people with felony records having
trouble getting jobs that you`re actually adding to crime rather than
HAYES: So, why did – why did members of the Democratic Party and the
Democratic president Bill Clinton, why did they push it? Why did they pass
it? Was it just politics? Was it just pandering?
SCOTT: Well, you`d have to ask them why they voted for it. I`m
explaining why I voted against it.
HAYES: Well, but you know, you were there. You heard what the
Here, let me give you the most cynical interpretation. We`re the
Democratic Party people think we`re soft on these criminals that we coddled
them, we get beat by the Republicans who bang us over the head with law and
order. We`re going to show how tough we are. We`re going to prove to
America how tough we are and that`s what this bill is about.
SCOTT: Well, you`ll have to ask somebody who voted for it.
All of the evidence was – three strikes, for example, was the best
vote getting slogan or sound bite during the 1994 election cycle, number
one best vote getting slogan. Said beat anything you could say about
social security, health care or anything else.
But if you studied it, there`s no evidence it does anything to reduce
crime and yet it will load up the prisons and get us to point where
incarceration rate is counterproductive. We know if we made a different
choice, follow the evidence, if you want to reduce violent crime, you have
to get young people out of the cradle to prison pipeline and getting them
into the cradle to college to career pipeline.
We know that if you make the investments early and get young people on
the right track, keep them on the right track, you can reduce crime and
save money. But it doesn`t poll as well. Putting people in prison –
there`s a children defense fund calls it the cradle to prison pipeline.
You get people into that and it polls well but it doesn`t make any sense.
HAYES: Kweisi Mfume, your colleague in congress, back when he was in
congress in the 1990s as well, he told last night – he sort of called out
Harry Reid who talked about we need to reassess this – basically said,
look, Democratic Party had huge majorities in both houses and a Democratic
president for two years and there was not anything done to reform criminal
justice. Is he right?
SCOTT: Well, I think there`s consensus now about reforming the
criminal justice system. I think a lot of people have figured out that
we`re wasting a lot of money and not reducing crime as we should. We had a
– last year, I was part of a task force, a bipartisan effort, and we`re
developing legislation based on those findings. Those who were in prison
get out. We want to make sure they`re less likely to commit a crime when
they leave than when they came in.
Sentencing reform to make sure that the sentences fit the crime And
not the draconian sentences that often violate common sense. And also a
preventive approach to get young people on the right track and keep them on
the right track.
That kind of reform I think not only can significantly reduce crime
but it can save a lot of money. And you get people on the left and the
right that have come to the conclusion that we can do better than we`re
doing. And I think we`re going to have good support for a criminal justice
HAYES: Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia, thank you very much.
Two statistics I wanted to share – a 46 percent increase in prisoners
sentenced to more than a year under Bill Clinton, more than 50 percent
increase in the black prison population, that happened in the 1990s.
We also saw the violent crime rate fall over the 1990s and continue to
fall in 2011.
OK, I mentioned my conversation with former Maryland Congressman
Kweisi Mfume about the realities and politics of criminal justice reform.
During that conversation, Mr. Mfume indicated that the 1994 crime bill
was passed in the House by a voice vote, not a detailed roll call vote that
would have preserved every member`s position.
But the final vote on the crime bill was a roll call vote. It passed
the House 235 to 195 with the vast majority of yes votes coming from the
Democrats, including then Congressman Mfume. He voted for crime bill.
Mr. Mfume he tells “All In” tonight that he was referring to the
initial House vote on the crime bill, which was passed by a voice vote
before being sent
into a conference committee with senate negotiators.
HAYES: Under the banner “Philly is Baltimore,” Philadelphia
protesters organized a rally and marched today that continues at this hour.
And you see them there walking down the middle of the street.
They`ve been at it for several hours, including a number of moments of
very, very tense standoffs with Philadelphia police. This action, just one
of many around the country in solidarity with Baltimore as part of a
growing nationwide movement against police brutality.
Yesterday in New York we saw 60 arrests and some other tense moments
with police. There are calls for more demonstrations tomorrow both in New
York, here in New York, and around the country. Stay tuned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not only about just Freddie Gray, there`s a
lot of Freddie Grays everywhere in America. And everybody is tired of it.
We`re tired of it. Like, I mean, there`s never going to be no justice.
The system was never made for there to be justice for us. It was never
made like that. So it`s never going to be.
So, it`s going to take for all y`all to be here, it`s what it takes?
This right here for all this for the destruction of Baltimore to happen for
y`all to get here? That`s ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A woman talking to my colleague Joy Reid as we await a press
conference from the police. We`ve witnessed the fall-out in communities
country brought on by high profile deaths of black men at the hands of
police. Ferguson, Staten Island, North Charleston, Baltimore, each
incident igniting the sparks of protest. At times, an arrest. Each
incident grabbing the attention of the national media.
While, in Baltimore I heard mixed reviews on the media coverage from
the people living there. Some were grateful for the national spotlight,
some furious about the way their lives and their community were being
Enter Fox News and one of its marquee reporters Geraldo Rivera.
On Tuesday night, as I watched from about 20 feet away, one protester
seemed particularly frustrated with the scene around him and let Mr. Rivera
know exactly what was on his mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I know who you are. I know what you work for.
I`m not calm. I am calm. But we`re not thugs. We`re gathered here today
intellectually having a – no, don`t walk away once we start talking,
that`s the problem with the media.
GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You`re not talking, you`re
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you want to report that we`re thugs and
we`re breaking (EXPLITIVE DELETED). But you`ve got these two big black
people protecting you from all these black folks. We`re the ones that need
protection. Report for us. You`re working for Fox News. Adam Jackson
just went on Sean Hannity. Why you running away?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ve got Geraldo on the run, y`all. Look at
this, he`s got Geraldo on the run.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, because you`re not (inaudible). Because we
But, listen, a black man can raise his voice and you don`t have to be
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But let him talk, though!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I want you and Fox News to get out of
Baltimore City, because you`re not here reporting about the boarded up
homes and the homeless people under MLK. You`re not reporting about the
poverty levels up and down North Avenue.
Two years ago when the 300 Men March, and we walked from the top of
(inaudible) to Milton and North, you weren`t here. But you`re here for the
black riots. You`re not here for the death of Freddie Gray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Trymaine Lee you – I don`t know – I guess were you up in
North and Pennsylvania when that whole scene played out the other night,
but it was an articulation of a sentiment that you and I heard in
Baltimore. We heard it also frankly there Ferguson and have heard it other
places, a feeling that the way that the national media has covered the
story, and we are part of the national media, let me be clear, has
essentially been to elevate the worst element and not actually listen to
what people are saying.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: It`s often, as you know, such an
uncomfortable dance, especially with us being here with a heightened sense
here. But when we – there are moments – there are moments late at night
when everything thins out but us, and here we are is just the media, it
makes for an uncomfortable optic.
But also coming up in journalism, we`re not supposed to become part of
the story. And sometimes it seems that we are becoming part of the story.
And what impact do the cameras have?
A moment ago people running up behind us to try to get on camera. How
are we actually altering what`s happening? And that`s a very uncomfortable
At the same token, we hear time and again there are so many people who
want us out here because they feel that it`s some sort of buffer or
protection from the
police. Others are just uncomfortable with us being here.
HAYES: What have people been telling you about how – one of the
things with Baltimore, the folks I was talking to on North and Pennsylvania
the morning after
the fires were set and the looting, I think people were frustrated that
that was the thing that brought attention, right, that there was this big
march Saturday night, 4,000 peaceful folks, there wasn`t a lot of attention
to that, the White House Correspondents` Dinner was that night.
A bunch of people breaking property, throwing rocks at police, fire
set and that was the thing that brought attention. And there was real
palpable resentment about that from a lot of the people I talked to.
LEE: Yeah, you`re exactly right. There`s that resentment that we
wouldn`t be here unless things got out of control, which to some degree is
kind of true.
And there is this one sign posted on a bus stop that said “if not for
last night, today wouldn`t matter.” And that`s kind of the thing, it`s a
double-edge sword. Because on one hand, we know that there are so many
people doing positive work in the community. There are young organizers
who are figuring out how to teach non-violent civil disobedience, there are
people who are working with other established community leaders.
On the other hand, you know, you can`t deny the other side of things.
People are kind of getting a little wild and out of control and we`ve seen
that with the fires, and with the clashes with the police. It`s the
double-edge kind of sword.
But again, the fact of the matter is, without the optics of things
burning, without the heightened sense that something could go wrong, we
wouldn`t be here.
But that is part of this sad narrative that we play as media. As you
see late at night, we`re waiting for something to happen, because that
And that`s why so many people in the community don`t feel comfortable
with us and don`t trust us, because they don`t know are we just, you know,
trying to capture the moment, or we have our own motives.
HAYES: Right. Right, that`s right.
And there are times where – and there`s a lot of reporters who were
in Baltimore, obviously there`s a lot of local reporters doing amazing work
and have been covering this before the national media descended.
There`s lot of national reporters doing incredible work, listening to
people, trying to get the story, trying to further the story.
It is a big story. The press goes to where the story is.
But there is also that aspect where it`s like this desire for
theatrics and this sense – people aren`t stupid. They understand when
they`re being manipulated. They understand when they`re being exploited.
They understand when the cameras come in to basically say dance for us and
they get that. Like people – it`s not going over unnoticed the fine line
between people doing reporting and doing that kind of thing.
LEE: And when you feel it goes from minute to minute. Just ten
minutes ago somebody told me to go the F home, we don`t want you. We want
our home back. And the next minute someone says Trymaine Lee, MSNBC.
HAYES: I`m so glad you`re here.
LEE: And so it`s that double-edged sword.
HAYES: Trymaine Lee…
LEE: But I do want to – I`m sorry real quickly, I just want to pan
over to this crowd now. The crowd is actually starting to swell from the
sidewalk. On two occasions, the helicopter circled above and said for your
own safety get out of the roadway.
So I mentioned earlier, starting to get a sense that things are
ramping up a bit. Folks are now starting to stretch into the roadway. So,
it`s just the beginning maybe of a long night. Who knows.
HAYES: All right, stand by, Trymaine Lee, we`ll be right back.
HAYES: I`ll leave you tonight with this image. It`s a Baltimore
it`s the kind that police officers in Baltimore will place suspects into
after arrests. Tonight, if there are arrests, if things get out of hand,
people will be cuffed and put in a van like that.
It`s that kind of van that Freddie Gray was in when he sustained the
injury that killed him. And you`ve got to think since he`s died, dozens,
hundreds of people are being placed in vans like that, crimes they
committed or crimes they didn`t commit, thinking to themselves if they`re
going to be the next Freddie Gray.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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