All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 05/15/15
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s nothing to celebrate. This is a matter of
HAYES: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sentenced to die for his role in the Boston
Tonight, the reaction from Boston and the long-shot defense strategy
that did not work.
Then, another police shooting caught on tape shows yet again how
faulty eyewitness testimony can be.
Actor Danny Glover on the new civil rights movement and actor Ethan
Hawke on his new role as a remote-control drone pilot in “Good Kill.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, right.
ETHAN HAWKE, ACTOR: Good kill.
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Friday, April 19th, 2013, a little over two years ago, the entire city
of Boston was on lockdown as law enforcement searched for a dangerous
suspect at large. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wanted in the attack on the Boston
marathon four days earlier. Tsarnaev had been on the lam since his brother
was killed in a shoot-out with police in the early hours of that Friday
morning. A resident of suburban Watertown, Massachusetts, while the city
was under lockdown, noticed a tarp flapping on the boat in his backyard and
thermal imaging determined there was a person hiding there, curled up
Law enforcement descended on the neighborhood, evacuating residents
and surrounding the area. Several times, gunshots rang out on the quiet
suburban street, and then not long after dark, a wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
was brought safely into custody. His capture capped off one of the most
tense and frightening weeks in Boston`s history, starting with the attack
on one of the city`s prized position, the world famous Boston marathon.
On Monday, April 15th, two homemade bombs went off not far from the
finish line. The explosions killed three people – 23-year-old Lingzi Lu,
a graduate student from China, Krystle Campbell, 29 year old restaurant
manager, and 8-year-old Martin Richard, a third grader.
Scores more were injured, many with severe leg injuries that required
amputation. In the days after, law enforcement officials raced to find the
people responsible. And after the FBI released surveillance footage of its
main suspect, one in a black hat and one in a white, an MIT officer who
encountered them on campus, Sean Collier, was fatally shot late that
The Tsarnaev brothers then hijacked an SUV, drove to the nearby suburb
of Watertown, where they engaged with a massive shoot-out with police in
the early hours of the morning. At some point, the older brother,
Tamerlan, ran out of ammunition and was tackled by police. Dzhokhar sped
away in the SUV, hitting Tamerlan who died of gunshot wounds and trauma to
his head and torso.
In the two years since Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was apprehended, federal
prosecutors have brought a capital case against him for the bombings and
all that followed. And Tsarnaev`s defense team took the unusual step of
acknowledging his role, focusing its strategy at trial on convincing the
jury not to give him the death penalty.
And they got support from a pretty remarkable source, the family of 8-
year-old bombing victim, Martin Richard, who wrote an op-ed in “The Boston
Globe,” arguing that the death penalty and the appeals that would
inevitably follow would only prolong their family`s pain. The defense also
appears to have had an impact on public opinion in Massachusetts, which has
become less and less inclined to give Tsarnaev the death penalty as the
trial has progressed.
The most recent “Boston Globe” poll taken last month, less than 20
percent said he should be executed.
The jury did not agree, however. Today, at a federal courthouse in
Boston, they condemned Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to the death. Family members of
the victims expressed some mixed emotions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy is not the word I would use. There is
nothing happy about having to take somebody`s life. I`m satisfied, I`m
grateful that they came to that conclusion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Having personally endured several things in my
own life that have dragged, this seems like another burden that will drag
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to watch my two sons put a leg on every
day, so I don`t mean closure. But I can tell you it feels like a weight
has been lifted off my shoulders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is nothing to celebrate, this is a matter of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Phillip Martin, senior investigative reporter
for WGBH in radio in Boston.
Phillip, you`ve been monitoring this trial closely. Was this a
surprise to you, the verdict today?
PHILLIP MARTIN, WGBH RADIO: It was a surprise to me. I think it came
as a surprise to quite a few people. I wouldn`t say people are shocked.
But there are two surprises. One is that the verdict came today. And the
second, of course, is the verdict itself.
It was felt, as you pointed out, in your introduction, the
demographic, this is an area where most people militate against the death
penalty. They`re not just against the death penalty. Many people militate
against the death penalty. They`re anti-death penalty.
A lot of that is because of Catholicism, a lot of that is because of
liberal leanings. And poll after poll has suggested that it was a two-to-
one, if you will, against the death penalty.
But this has nothing to do with the jury, of course. The jury, at
least theoretically, was not supposed to be privy to Facebook, to Twitter,
to the news of the day. So, we`re not sure how they were influenced by the
Richard op-ed what you mentioned for example.
And for me and for other reporters on the courtroom today, when it was
announced that the defendant, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, would receive death
penalty, we were surprised. Shocked, no, but surprised, because we felt at
least one person or many people felt that at least one person on that jury
would say no to the death penalty and opt for life in prison at ADX
Supermax in Colorado.
HAYES: Phillip, the jury described what happened technically today.
The jury first had to come to their unanimous decision on each of the
aggravating and mitigating factors. That is to say, there`s a set of
statutory aggravating factors and mitigating factors supplied by the
defense, and where they found each and where they announced.
It seemed that some of the mitigating factors the defense had put
forward, you know, the remoteness of the Tsarnaev`s father, the sort of
experience of dislocation, they did not find persuasive.
MARTIN: No, they, didn`t find persuasive. And the least persuasive
was the argument that was considered the mitigating factor that Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev was influenced heavily, dominated by his brother, Tamerlan. That
was the least persuasive, as you can see from the jury slip that was sent
More persuasive was the belief by a quite a few members of the jury
that the father was mentally ill. And that was considered a factor, but
none of these mitigating factors was enough to offset the aggravating
factor, the factors that involved the life – the loss of Lingzi Lu and 8-
year-old Martin Richard and the other victim who is died during the bombing
and the subsequent actions that occurred in Watertown.
Though they did – there was not a unanimous agreement on the killing
of Police Officer Sean Collier, an MIT police officer. That was not part
of the unanimous decision. But the others were, it was enough to, of
course, just sentence Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death. The fact that the
majority, the preponderance of aggravating circumstances did not outweigh
the mitigating circumstances is what sealed the individual`s fate.
HAYES: You know, I`ve read so much coverage of people, even as these
verdicts are being read, interpretations of the body language of Tsarnaev,
and a lot of people interpreting him as sort of diffident, as stone, as
cold, as remorseless, even. There`s something profoundly unsatisfying, it
seems. Obviously, he does not testify at his own trial and he did not
testify in his own trial. People kind of wanting to shake this person and
say, what the hell is wrong with you?
And that, ultimately, there was never ever any satisfaction that the
jurors or others found in understanding what, why, why did you do this?
MARTIN: Well, I think that`s right. I think the defense chose to try
to paint him as human. And the prosecution, in their own words, said that
he was inhumane. And they pointed to his body language. They said he
seemed to show no remorse, albeit, the testimony by sister – a nun, Sister
Helen Prejean from New Orleans, she basically said he was remorseful, but
no one believed it.
But I chose to – I chose to interpret his body language as not so
much aloofness, but resignation. He seemed to be resigned to either life
in prison or to death.
HAYES: All right. Phillip Martin, thank you very much.
Joining me now by phone is one of the first responders to the Boston
marathon bombing, Carlos Arredondo. Carlos captured an instantly iconic
photo helping apply a tourniquet and apply first aid to Jim Bowman, a man
whose legs were blown off.
Mr. Arredondo, are you there? I don`t know if we have him there.
Mr. Arredondo, do I have you?
OK. Sounds like we don`t have him. Maybe we can get that worked out
technically, and we – Mr. Arredondo, are you here?
CARLOS ARREDONDO, BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING RESPONDER (via telephone):
Yes, I`m here. A lot of noise here.
HAYES: Excellent, thank you. I wanted to get your reaction. You
were there that day, you were handing out American flags in memory of the
son that you lost in Iraq, there at the bombing that day. You helped
people to safety. You`ve experienced a lot of tragedy in your own life and
I wonder your reaction to the verdict today.
ARREDONDO: Well, you know, it`s been a long journey, ever since then,
we`ve been going to the courthouse every day and we was pretty much waiting
for this moment. Some of us, myself, was hoping that this young man can go
for the rest of his life, to jail, and that he can pay – yes. Hello?
HAYES: Hello, yes, you were hoping that he would be sent away for
ARREDONDO: Yes, yes. We wanted – I was hoping that he can be in
jail for the rest of his life, like that. He cannot get away so easily,
like the death penalty.
HAYES: You think the death penalty is letting him get away easily,
ARREDOINDO: Well, do you know, for what they believe, you know, his
brother was killed and he run over, he even wrote in the book about now his
brother being in heaven and all that. So we was hoping, you know, that he
didn`t get killed and get away with that.
HAYES: He wrote, when he was – he thought he might die when he was
in that boat. He have writings in his in which he said he was jealous of
his brother for having gone, essentially, to the afterlife, as he believed.
Do you – how are you prepared to deal with what will likely be a
series of appeals that will extend end over a great period?
ARREDONDO: Well, you know, that`s another thing, we wasn`t trying to
do it. We was trying to avoid that as well. Not just myself, but many
other survivors, was hoping that this didn`t happen like that, you know,
because that means we have to continue dealing with this person for a long
time. So, the grieving process is going to be much longer, than we
expected, you know. We was hoping that this would be over by today, you
know, the ended up the way ended up today.
HAYES: All right. Carlos Arredondo, thank you for joining us on this
day. I really appreciate it.
ARREDONDO: Thank you, sir.
HAYES: Mr. Arredondo is a really remarkable individual, if you want
to Google a little bit about his back story.
I`m joined now by Harvard law professor, Nancy Gertner. She is a
retired judge on the U.S. district court of Massachusetts. That, of
course, is where this trial was conducted.
What was your reaction to today`s verdict?
NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: I was shocked. I was profoundly
shocked. In one sense, the outcome – juries are never representative in
the sense that, you know, they vote as the public does. They`re always
This jury was unique, as other death penalty juries are. It is
essentially, a random sample, a fair cross-section of those in the area who
believed in the death penalty. And only of that subset, those people who
believed that they could impose it. So the distance between this jury and
the public in Massachusetts is greater than in in case.
HAYES: This is a really important point. My understanding is that,
according to what the Supreme Court has held, that jurors can be excluded
or are excluded if they have a principled objection, if they don`t believe
in the death penalty. And when you`re in a state like Massachusetts, in a
city like Boston, you`re then excluding a very hefty portion of the
GERTNER: Right. In other words, there`s no question that the judge
had to disqualify. The Supreme Court has said that. There`s no question
that that had to be done.
But what it did in this case was dramatic. The difference between
these 12 decided and what the public that was equally affected, Boston was
a victim of this crime, the distance between them and the rest of the city
was very dramatic.
And it`s also, in other programs, I`ve heard people say, this was a
result that was compelled by the law. That`s not at all true. The jury
has enormous discretion in a death penalty case. Mitigating factors are
very vaguely defined. They weigh and they balance. This jury had
discretion. And another jury might have found something different.
So it`s very, very troubling, because it`s so at odds with what the
HAYES: Part of this has to do with the fact that Massachusetts
doesn`t have the death penalty. The last people put to death in
Massachusetts was way back in 1947. So, this is anomalous, deeply
Do you think the federal government should have taken a plea? I mean,
it seems that very early on, they could have essentially struck a deal for
life and not had this entire process. There are some who say the process
has been vital and cathartic to air all the facts. There are others who
say that it was a waste of resources to go through all of this.
GERTNER: Well, you see, I actually think they went for the death
penalty in part. If you recall, when this case happened, there was
enormous pressure to talk about making this go before a military tribunal,
having him go before a military tribunal, and it was critical to show that
a civilian court could do this. And so, I felt that they were pressured to
accept a death penalty, to go for the death penalty.
But they had an option at any moment, we know that now, to accept a
plea of life without parole. Would the facts have come out? The same
facts would have come out. We had no surprises in this case. There would
have been a plea colloquy in which the facts would have come out. The
victims would have been able to speak.
And the significance of life without parole and a plea to that would
mean that it would have been over. This is not over.
HAYES: Nancy Gertner, former federal judge, thank you.
GERTNER: You`re very welcome.
HAYES: All right. Still ahead, news that the Amtrak train that
derailed Tuesday night may have been hit by something before the crash.
We`ll go live to Philadelphia for the very latest, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are cleared hot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Master arm, on. Weapons hot.
HAWKE: Three, two, one, rifle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time of flight, 12 seconds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: “Good Kill” is a brand-new movie about drone warfare and the
people operating those drones right back from here in the United States.
I`ll talk to the star of that film, Ethan Hawke, a fascinating conversation
about his role in that, coming up.
HAYES: We`ve got breaking news tonight in the investigation of the
deadly crash of Amtrak train 188. After the NTSB interviewed the train`s
engineer and two assistant conductors, the agency has sought assistance
from the FBI.
The lead investigator described the engineer, 32-year-old Brandon
Bostian, as being extremely cooperative with the investigation, but Bostian
does not remember the crash or anything that might have gone wrong before
However, one of the conductors does remember something strange
happening just before the crash. She told investigators about radio
transmissions she heard between her train`s engineer, that`s Bostian, and
the engineer of a train from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation
Authority or SEPTA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT SUMWALT, NTSB MEMBER: She said she heard the engineer talking
to a SEPTA engineer. She recalled that the SEPTA engineer had reported to
the train dispatcher that he had either been hit by a rock or shot at. She
also believed that she heard her engineer say something about his train
being struck by something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The NTSB has not independently confirmed the conductor`s
recollection, but they`ve asked the FBI to help them investigate it.
Joining me now by phone from Philadelphia, NBC News correspondent, Tom
And, Tom, I`ve got to say, I was watching that press conference today,
kind of amazed. I mean, it felt like a massive plot twist in this
investigation. What do you make of it?
TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, a bit of
a bombshell. That said, you know, we did know, we had heard several days
ago, that there was this regional train that had been hit by a rock or
something, a projectile of some sort, but we thought that was an isolated
event, and it still may be.
What`s happened here is that the NTSB said, we looked at the
windshield from the locomotive on train 188, the train that derailed, and
we see something that we want the FBI to take a look at. Is it damage from
the derailment or is it damage from something that occurred before the
derailment? A projectile of some sort? That`s why they`re bringing them
But, you know, the question is, you`ve still got a question that will
accelerating dramatically over the course of the full minutes before the
derailment. Seventeen seconds prior to the crash, it was exceeding 100
miles per hour. What`s interesting here in the narrative is that the
engineer reports, once he left the North Philly station, he doesn`t
remember anything. He has no recollection until he came to, he claims,
after the derailment, in which he suddenly, you know, picked himself up, he
had suffered a head injury, and he, at that point, looked for his cell
phone and called 911.
So, you know, you can see here the questions starting, is it possible
that this train, 188, was hit by a projectile. Is it possible the engineer
COSTELLO: And is that why the train continued to accelerate? Listen,
this is a big hypothetical here. But, obviously, that`s where – that`s
what the questions are all about right now.
HAYES: And I think one of the things, you know, obviously, we don`t
know, right? But this is one of the things that cautioned folks is I
think, obviously, immediately, everyone turned to the engineer. We now
have him identified. You know, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that
in general very fastidious, loved trains, loved train safety, took, we
believe, a drug and alcohol test, so it may turn out result.
So, it may turn out that this is his fault, but also, I think, caution
that, today, perhaps that we`re going to find out something that`s
extremely exculpatory in that respect.
COSTELLO: You know, I`ve got to tell you, I`ve covered the NTSB for
almost 11 years now, and in almost every major investigation that I have
been on, from trains, planes, to major highway accidents, something comes
along that kind of upsets the apple cart. Something comes along that kind
of challenges your first assumptions. And that may or may not pan out, but
Now, the NTSB is a very transparent organization. They will tell you
everything that they`re doing, without drawing conclusions. So, just the
fact that they`re bringing in the FBI, we should not immediately suspect
that there is a criminal action here, but rather that the NTSB is crossing
their T`s and dotting their I`s. I think that`s what`s going on right now.
It is not unusual for the FBI to join the NTSB in an investigation.
They have expertise that the NTSB relies on.
HAYES: And we still do not know, the bottom line, why that train was
accelerating into that bend. But –
COSTELLO: And that`s the bottom line, Chris. We don`t know and is it
possible that this train would have continued to accelerate without this
engineer actually, you know, allowing it to accelerate, or being asleep at
HAYES: That`s the big question. Tom Costello, thank you very much.
Still ahead, new evidence of just how unreliable eyewitnesses can be.
HAYES: Last night on ALL IN, after we showed you my experience going
through a state of the art virtual reality police simulator, we held a
discussion with three retired NYPD officers about how policing can be
improved and what it`s not doing in its training. Many of you submitted
questions for those officers on our Facebook page.
For example, Basu Malik (ph) asked, “If you remove the revenue
incentives and performs incentives that cause police to force interactions
with civilians, would that lead to less civilians being killed?”
Dr. Robert Gonzalez, who helped oversee training for the NYPD
responded, “Clearly, the overuse of stop and risk, the lack of discretion
and racial profiling cause officers to have more contact with the public.
It`s those contacts that on occasion cause reckless policing and mistakes
After Ashley Battle pointed out, quote, “There`s a long history of
officers turning blind eyes to what officers have done.” Eric Sanders,
retired NYPD officer, now a lawyer, responded, “This is true,” adding “the
blue culture is tough to crack, but serious cracks have developed over the
years. Today`s police agencies are much better handling misconduct.” He
concluded that more still needs to be done.
Viewer Darcy Butler asked about the impact of sleep deprivation on
police. Steve Osbourne, former commanding officer of the Manhattan gang
squad responded that, “For 20 years, I was constantly sleep deprived.”
Adding, “It definitely affects you, especially ambush-type situations.”
Officers answered many more of your questions. We`ll post those to
our Facebook page, tonight, Facebook.com/allinwithchris.
HAYES: For the past few days on this program, we`ve been showing you
surveillance video from a scary incident in Manhattan Wednesday morning,
seemingly showing a hammer-wielding man attacking one police officer and
being shot by another officer. But what this video seems to show though
does not square with what the people who are on the scene right there
thought they saw. One eyewitness told “The New York Times” the man was
trying to get away from the officers. You know, the video shows the man
attacking one of the officers. Another eyewitness told “The Times” quote,
I saw a man who was handcuffed being shot. The video clearly shows the man
was not handcuffed. These sorts of mistakes are absolutely part of the
course. Less than two weeks, we saw an incredible illustration of the
unreliability of eyewitness testimony live on FOX News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Mike Tobin is live for us. He`s on the phone.
What has happened, Mike?
MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, about 2:45, we saw a guy
running from the cops here, right at the intersection of North and
Pennsylvania, which has been the epicenter of the unrest here. And as he
was running away, that officer drew his weapon and fired and struck the
individual who was running away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, it turns out that`s not what happened. The Baltimore
police tweeted the report was not true. No one had been shot. Afterwards,
it appears that a gun had fallen and gone off while the man was running.
He had dropped to the ground. FOX had to apologize for its false report.
Now, no one wants to go on the air and be wrong. Mike Tobin seems to have
really, absolutely, genuinely thought he saw a man get shot. He was not
making that up. This gets to a huge issue, intuitively, we tend to think
that an eyewitness is our most reliable way of knowing what happened in a
given situation. But social science has shown us over and over, that
simply is not the case.
Joining me now, former public defender David Feige, author of the book
“Indefensible.” All right, David. Let`s start with how eyewitness
testimony functions in a courtroom. How seriously do jurors take it
DAVID FEIGE, FORMER PUBLIC DEFENDER: They take it completely and
utterly seriously. It is considered the gold standard and it is anything
but. It is an unreliable kind of evidence that is taken and lovingly
burnished and polished until it`s presented in a court of law by witnesses
from the stand who then appear to be unbelievably certain.
HAYES: Right. By the time they get to that stand, we should also
say, first of all, it`s been a long period of time.
HAYES: They`ve also gone through a lot of rehearsals essentially on
what they`re going to say and how they`re going to act. And we know from
the evidence that the more times you tell a story to yourself, the more
certain you become of the facts, even when you`re wrong.
FEIGE: That`s exactly correct. You get locked down and locked into a
story. And by the way, that`s the point. Because prosecutors in
particular don`t want to put witnesses up on the stand who then have shaky
memories. They want them to be rock solid and they go over that testimony
over and over and over again, until it sounds incredibly convincing.
HAYES: Now, and until then, what do we know about what the social
science says about memory and eyewitness testimony?
FEIGE: It says that basically everything you think is wrong. That,
in other words, we imagine that the eyes and the brain are like a camera,
accurately recording what they see. And what we find over and over again
is that we see, most often, what we expect to see. We are very bad at
recording things that are surprising. That our brains fill in the spaces
between events, to create a coherent narrative, which we then tell.
HAYES: And here`s the fascinating thing about this research. They
fill them in, in the moment.
HAYES: I mean, contemporaneously. So in this case, you see someone
run and hear a gunshot, fall to the ground, and the brain fills in, someone
drew a weapon in a shooting, your brain is filling that in as it is
FEIGE: That`s exactly right. That`s exactly right. Because, we`re
trying to make sense of the world.
FEIGE: Our poor little brains are just trying to figure out what`s
going on out there. And this is how we do it.
HAYES: Okay. So then the question becomes, and we`ve got, you know,
this social science research has gotten very robust and very mature and has
been very developed. Has that caught up to the courtroom at all?
FEIGE: Yes and no. Not sufficiently. It came up in the context of
eyewitness identifications, and particularly in the context of lineups, in
the question of whether you should show people simultaneously or
sequentially, the question of whether or not there`s unconscious bias in
when you show lineups. So in that context, it`s been creeping in, but in
the larger context, the fear is, the wheels come off the cart if you
really, severely, undermine the reliability of eyewitness testimony.
HAYES: Right. I mean, what do you have a trial based on? It seems
so central to how we adjudicate facts?
FEIGE: But, you know, look, this is one of the problems. And it`s
one of the reasons we`ve got a lot of innocent people in prison, right?
And that`s one of the reasons. Seventy five percent or so have to do with
unreliable eyewitness identification. And by the way, it`s not just
eyewitness, like that guy did it, it`s the what happened of it all that is
HAYES: Right. That`s right. David Feige, always a pleasure, great,
thanks for your time.
FEIGE: Great to see you.
HAYES: All right. Up next, news about Dorian Johnson who was with
Michael Brown who was shot and killed in Ferguson and was an eyewitness.
HAYES: Twenty three-year-old Dorian Johnson appeared on this program
last August 11th, two days after Michael Brown was shot to death in
Ferguson. Johnson was walking with Michael Brown on the day he was killed.
And late last month, he filed a $25,000 lawsuit against the city of
Ferguson, it`s for the police chief and Officer Darren Wilson alleging
among other things that Wilson fired at him without probable cause. Not
long after Johnson filed the suit, he was arrested in St. Louis for
allegedly interfering with the arrest of his brother, as long as well as
resisting arrest. An unnamed source told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that
when he was arrested, Johnson had a cough medication mixed with what police
believed to be an illegal narcotic on him.
We later learned an analysis did not find narcotics, which makes you
wonder who the anonymous source was and whether a reporter burned by that
source is having second thoughts about passing along their speculation.
Dorian Johnson spent seven days in jail, seven days before he was freed on
bond on Wednesday. Johnson has become a somewhat infamous figure to some,
because his story about what happened to Michael Brown, including the claim
Wilson shot Brown in the back or shot him with his hands up was ultimately
determined by either forensics or a grand jury and federal investigators
and the Department of Justice not to be credible. And for that, Johnson
has been condemned in some corners of the Internet and other parts of the
right-wing media as a liar. But if there`s one thing we know about
eyewitness testimony, as we saw this week, with the inaccurate witness
accounts in the midtown Manhattan hammer attack, and as we see time and
time and time again, it is because just because someone recounts something
incorrectly, it does not mean they were lying.
HAYES: Mass incarceration has become a major focus of the civil
rights movement taking shape around police shootings over policing and the
Black Lives Matter movement. And I sat down this week with actor and
activist Danny Glover, who`s been fighting for civil rights for over 40
years. It`s one of the first things I asked him about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANNY GLOVER, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: I think there`s several things that
come into play right here. And it`s important to acknowledge that these
issues are real issues. Now, it`s certainly the violence against women as
well. Those are real issues that we have to confront right now. They
could provide a bridge to talk about the real issues that affect mass
incarceration. The fact that as I told the mayor of a city one time, she
wanted me to go talk to people in the community. I said, for what. What
are the political projects? What are the – projects? What are the
employment opportunities? Real employment opportunities for the people?
What am I, to stand up there and say, I`m Danny Glover, simple as that?
That doesn`t change their real life. How do we affect and impact
people`s real lives. Now, this becomes mass incarceration, black lives
matter, or the dream keepers, all have become a movement that begins to
look at the real historic issues that have prolonged and continue to
exasperate themselves in the 21st Century here in this country, then we`re
on to something. Because we have to develop another narrative. And the
narrative we`re going to develop in the post-industrial age are not the
narratives that were developed at the beginning of the 20th century and
throughout the 20th century. Because we`re going to have to talk about
work in another way. What kind of work that brings us closer together as
opposed to alienating us from each other.
That`s the kind of conversation we`re going to have to have. If we
look at the situation of Black Lives within this new narrative, and look at
what is happening with these lives in this new narrative, we understand, we
understand that, for this to change in an evolutionary process, or not
even, a transformative process as the word I would say, for this to change,
we`ll going to have to change something else. Because this narrative, as
Michelle Alexander talks about, in her, in the new Jim Crow, mass
incarceration, because this narrative has really been a narrative
throughout this country`s history. It`s been a narrative throughout this
country`s history, from the bacon rebellion, to the emancipation
proclamation. Through Jim Crow, through the civil rights movement and all
that. This has been the same narrative. And it doesn`t, it doesn`t work.
HAYES: If I went in a time machine and talked to Danny Glover in
1967, about what`s going on in 2015, do you think he would be heartened or
depressed when I reported back?
GLOVER: I would be both. I would be disappointed that we hadn`t gone
further than we had, you know? And I`m saying, from 1967, we`re talking
about nearly 50 years. I would be disappointed we haven`t gone further
than we have. And secondly, I would have been encouraged by how the
movement in its way transformed itself, metastasized into something else.
GLOVER: That it begins to – and maybe we begin to answer those
questions. What I felt as a young 20-year-old kid in 1967 and feeling that
coming out as a child of the civil rights movement, just on the preface or
the involvement in the black power movement, I felt a sense of empowerment,
in a way. You know, I felt a sense that things were – we could make
things happen and change. There was a building of a certain kind of
consciousness. And when I look to that now, I see, I see all those
movements, 50 years from now, all those movements have in some ways been
eviscerated. All those movements have transformed to the different aspect.
We just celebrated the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. The
way people galvanized themselves around that war, even though we didn`t
stop the Nixon government from bombing Laos and Cambodia and other places
beyond, we also – but we also built up a sense around here, that we made
And those demands, in political action, and the action of protests, in
some sense, changed the nature of how the war was reported and how it
reported. Now, we may have some revisionist history about the wars, 50
years or 40 years after the fact, and who won, but we won. We won.
Despite the fact that three million Vietnamese and countless numbers of –
hundreds of thousands of Laotians and Cambodians died in the process, we
made a point. And I think we have to marshal the same kind of energy in a
different kind of way. Because we have different instruments now. We have
social media. We have different ways in which you can talk about the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was part of my interview with actor and activist Danny
Glover, who I just couldn`t get enough of when he was here the other night.
Up next, I talk drones, warfare and technology with actor Ethan Hawke, star
of the new movie, “Good Kill.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is that real? You ever get to like fly in a war or
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Blew away six Taliban in Pakistan just today. Now
I`m going home to barbecue.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: “New York Times” calls the film “Good Kill” a contemporary
horror movie. It`s a fictional depiction of one of the hallmarks of modern
combat in the age of Obama, “Drone Warfare.” Actor Ethan Hawke plays Major
Tom Egan, an Air Force pilot turned drone operator, who engages in remote
control strikes by day and then goes home to his family at night. I had
the chance to talk with Ethan Hawke about the film which is with his latest
collaboration with the Director Andrew Niccol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ETHAN HAWKE, ACTOR: I first worked with Andrew Niccol in Galatica.
And he has an uncanny ability to put his finger right on exactly a problem
of where technology meets. You know, genetic engineering was one where
we`re making this huge – and being able to heal people and help our
children. But at the same time, we`re table to design human beings, which
is very complicated ethical problem. And the drone program is here we have
probably the most sophisticated, useful, brilliant tool the U.S. military
has ever had, but how it`s used opens up a whole new set of ethics, for me
to prepare for the part, is strange, because it`s in this landscape, this
sociopolitical landscape that`s incredibly complex, but in the middle of it
is really a portrait of depression. Is a guy in the Air Force, who`s
having a whole philosophical identity crisis, about what the nature of,
where aviation is.
HAYES: Well, I think one of the most fascinating parts of the film,
is the fact that he wants to fly and this is what flying means now, right?
It`s almost like –
HAWKE: That, I think, is the hardest thing for him, he`s been a
soldier for his whole adult life, so compartmentalizing work and
relationship stuff is stuff he probably is familiar with. He`s never done
it the same day. I mean, you know, when my grandfather was coming home
from World War II, it took him a year to get home. You know, so he could
leave it the front liner with there. This guy is fighting the Taliban in
the afternoon, and then picks his kids up from school. Okay, well, he can
handle that. But it`s also so remote, you`re not there, your life`s not in
danger. So you don`t have any self-respect or dignity about the courage of
your own convictions. Plus, it`s not even hard to do. Flying an F-16 is
HAWKE: Flying a drone, you know, the training is not that complex.
HAYES: The thing you said about the difference between your
grandfather coming home and this, I remember when the first profile started
coming out, drone pilots, in these bases in Nevada, having the thought and
this guy talking about, literally, this has never happened in human
history. No one has ever done this thing.
HAWKE: So as an actor, that`s interesting.
HAWKE: For me, we get to play a character we`ve actually never seen
before. A along history of war in cinema. A lot of Great War films. But
this guy is somebody we don`t know. We haven`t seen before. I find that
HAYES: It also occurs to me that the work that you`re doing as a
soldier, whether in combat or remotely like this is in some ways kind of
the opposite of what you do as an actor. Right? Like you`re working hard
to maintain separation, to put things in one place and keep part of
yourself here. And the work you`re doing as an actor is –
HAWKE: So to blur those lines.
HAYES: – exactly to open up, right?
HAWKE: It`s interesting. You know, what? My only insight into like
Major Tommy Egan`s life is how hard it is, if you`re playing a really
complicated person, like, let`s say you`re playing Macbeth or something and
you go from rehearsal to having to do to a parent/teacher conference. So,
the first part of the day, I`m teaching my body what it`s like to kill
somebody for the first time and grieve over that and go mad and do all
that. And then you have to kind of pull yourself together and say, see
how`s he doing with math. You know? You feel a little schizophrenic. And
I can imagine if you`re doing that over a long period of time, that it
would knock you off-center, or at least have the ability to, if you weren`t
really put together real tight.
HAYES: There`s also this aspect to the film, which is, again, in
terms of the things about it that are tremendously distinct and
tremendously broadly applicable, which is the private world that you have,
that you then have you share with your spouse, right? Like, everyone doing
every job has some private stresses, frustrations, angers, fits of anger
that aren`t – that are hard to communicate or access sometimes in the
midst of a relationship.
HAWKE: Yes, look, I can relate to that. You know, it`s super hard to
explain to somebody who`s not an actor what`s hard about doing a movie.
Because there are a lot of things about doing a movie that are really easy.
They`re really (inaudible) and people treat you nice and get you coffee.
So what was hard about your day again? And, you know, in some ways, it`s
not hard – and it`s hard for me to understand what my wife`s going
through. I mean, that`s classic male/female or anybody who`s in any kind
of a relationship. And I think that`s what I love about Andrew`s movie.
Is that ultimately, it`s really neither left nor right in its political
landscape, he tries to come at it as a humanitarian.
HAWKE: I mean, and that`s what`s – what`s interesting is how – we
push ourselves forward to achieve these incredible things. I mean, the
idea that we`ve created this instrument called the predator that can do
these unbelievable things. But what do we do with it and how does that
intersect with our actual humanness. I`ll tell you something funny about
that. We were at the Tribeca Film festival and I walked out to do the Q&A
and about 90 percent of the audience had their phone and they weren`t
actually at the Q&A, they were just filming it. You know, I was looking at
this sea of phones everybody. And I thought, is anybody actually going to
watch this later? I mean, they`re not even here right now. It just seems
ironic to me.
HAYES: Yes, I mean, the fact of the matter is, war is often the
pioneer and the forefront of technology, right? And so like experiencing
war through a mediated screen, like, we`re all just getting there in our
HAWKE: Now we`re dating through a screen. Now we`re – all that
stuff is happening.
HAYES: You know, there`s a really interesting – there`s literature
on – long literature on PTSD, and one of the really interesting and
consistent findings is that being shot at is – can be less traumatic,
often less traumatic than shooting. Right? That being the instrument of
violence is really the target.
HAWKE: It`s really, really interesting.
HAYES: And he`s in this situation, in which he can only be the –
HAWKE: You know, I hope this isn`t too long of an answer, but I`ve
done a lot of reading about that, because I find that fascinating. Like,
in the civil war, they often had the problem of, why those battles took so
long, is guys would stand and load their weapon. At the end of the battle
field, they would pick up their guys with the rifle loaded 27 times.
Because if you would see the guy, first of all, most of them had very
little military training.
HAWKE: There`s much, you know, movies love to make stories about the
idea that the heart of men is black and we`re all these secret serial
killers and all this secret darkness and in truth, there`s a lot of light.
And that light is hard to squash out. It`s fascinating, people would
rather be killed than, A, run away – they don`t want to be a coward. They
want to stand by their friend. But they actually don`t want to kill that
guy. And there`s a huge problem – remember, what the officers were most
heard saying was, shoot straight, because they were shooting over or
shooting under if they were firing. And that`s I thought about that a lot
playing this character.
Because here`s a guy, he`s just doing the shooting. And there`s very
little, it`s hard to have honor in that. Whereas if you`re flying an F-16
over Baghdad, you may get shot down. You`re being shot at, your plane may
crash, you may be tortured when you land. You could be the guy on the news
getting your head – I mean, it`s scary. And so there`s a huge self-
respect you have when you have the courage of your convictions, you put
your money where your mouth is, you are willing to die for your country.
Right? There`s a huge pride there. Even if you don`t like the ethics of
that soldier and you don`t like the politics of the administration that
soldier is working for, fine. You still have to respect that individual.
HAWKE: But the drone pilot, what Tommy Egan is going through, he
doesn`t respect himself at all. Because it ain`t hard to do and he`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: My great thanks to actor Ethan Hawke for discussing his latest
film, “Good Kill” with me. That is ALL IN for this evening. A reminder
next week, on Tuesday, as I do every Tuesday, I`ll be answering your
questions. Just head on over to our Facebook page at noon eastern time on
Tuesday, ask me anything.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now on this Friday. Good
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