The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/19/14
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Chris, if you sign off like that one
night, you have to sign off with a tear gas check for the rest of the night
you do your show. So, you just set a benchmark for yourself, my friend.
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That`s right.
MADDOW: Thanks, man.
HAYES: All right.
MADDOW: Thanks to you at home as well for joining this hour. It is
now midnight here on the East Coast and 11:00 p.m. in Ferguson, Missouri,
where it is the tenth night of protests continuing at this hour.
There is a lot of other news going on in the world tonight. We`re
cognizant of that. We`re going to get to some of that over the course of
this hour on this show.
But this is a live shot of downtown Ferguson right now. Police are
not enforcing a curfew tonight. And protesters apparently are being
allowed more freedom of movement to keep circulating than they were last
night, more freedom of movement to keep circulating, to keep up a moving
protest column, essentially in downtown.
It has been a volatile situation in Ferguson on and off over the last
10 days – more on than off – since the shooting of 18-year-old Michael
Brown by a Ferguson police officer last Saturday.
Tonight, heading into this tonight, it had felt like a particularly
uncertain, perhaps a particularly tense evening in part because today, just
after noon time, only about four miles from the spot where Michael Brown
was killed, police today killed another young African-American man in the
St. Louis area. This time it happened in north St. Louis inside the St.
Louis city limits, again, four miles from where Mike Brown was the shot a
week and a half ago.
Today, this time it was two officers who reportedly fired shots at
this young man. They were from the St. Louis municipal police department.
So, that`s city police, not the same police force involved in the Michael
Brown shooting or in the police response to the Michael Brown protests.
But in this incident today, the young man who was killed is said to
have been 23 years old. He was African-American. He`s not been formally
identified by the police.
Unlike Michael Brown, police say that the man who was killed today,
that he – police say he was armed. They say he was armed with a knife.
He allegedly brandished that knife at officers and that`s why these two
police officers say they shot him.
The shooting, fatal shooting, reportedly happened 12:20 local time,
12:20 p.m. So, midday today.
Less than 90 minutes after that shooting today in North St. Louis, the
chief of the St. Louis City police was personally on the scene of that
shooting to give a public statement about what had happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: With what`s happening in Ferguson, are you not – did you
not tell your men to exercise utmost caution? Are you not concerned this
is going to make things even anymore?
CHIEF SAM DOTSON, ST. LOUIS CITY POLICE: That`s a great question. I
think officer safety is the number one issue.
So, if you`re the family of a police officer and somebody approaches
you within three feet within a knife, I think you have the right to defend
yourself and protect yourself.
So, I think it certainly is reasonable that an officer has an
expectation to go home at the end of the night.
I think we can all understand what`s going on in Ferguson, but I think
every police officer that`s out here has the right to defend themselves and
REPORTER: Chief, we`re already starting to hear people yelling. Are
you guys concerned about this?
DOTSON: Concerned isn`t the right word. I think it`s important
people understand what happened. So, we`re going to get that message out
as quickly as we can, through as many sources as we can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, St. Louis city police chief speaking on the street after
another young African-American man was killed by police in the St. Louis
In the shooting today, again, it was two officers from the city police
department and the young man who they killed was said by police to be armed
with a knife. The police also said that they did recover a knife at the
scene of the shooting. Local residents told reporters today that the young
man who was killed was well-known in the community. But, again, people
have not had him formally identified. Polices have not formally identified
this young man.
When that police chief spoke today, his remarks ended up being almost
as much a speech to local residents as they were remarks to the press. And
after the chief`s remarks, St. Louis Alderman Antonio French spoke to the
same agitated crowd, basically trying to talk them down and keep them calm
about this new police-involved shooting in the area.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO FRENCH, ST. LOUIS ALDERMAN: The last thing we need is
violence in our neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to be nice.
FRENCH: Listen. And that`s not going to be – that`s not going to be
on the police to make sure no violence is in our neighborhood. That`s
going to be on us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right.
FRENCH: No silliness over here. All right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understand this, we know our rights.
FRENCH: You know your rights. I know your rights, brother, too. I`m
going to make sure this man`s rights were exercised, too, and we`re going
to find out what happened. We`re going to be patient in our neighborhood.
You got people that got your back over here. You ain`t alone like they are
in Ferguson, you hear me? All right. All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. We`re with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That reference when he says, this isn`t Ferguson, we`re not
alone here, like they are over there in Ferguson. You`ve got people who
have your back over here.
Alderman Antonio French told us earlier tonight on this program in the
9:00 hour that what he was talking about there was a reference to local
politics. What he was describing there was the fact that residents in
Ferguson do not feel represented by their local government and their local
But that people in north St. Louis, where this new police shooting
happened today, they are better off in that regard. They should feel more
confident in their local institutions.
In other words, these two killings of young black men by police in the
St. Louis area, they may only have been four miles apart. They may only
have been 10 days apart. But one of them, the one that happened today,
happened in the city of St. Louis which is geographically white close, but
politically a world away from Ferguson, Missouri.
Ferguson, Missouri, which had black voter turnout in its last
municipal election, where they pick their local officials, black voter
turnout in the last municipal election in Ferguson, Missouri, was 6
In Ferguson, today, the scenes on the streets have been basically
peaceful and calm. Also in north St. Louis today, where this new police
shooting happened today, the scenes were basically peaceful as well. Even
though there were demonstrators gathered near the site of the new shooting
most of the day today. It was not rowdy. It certainly was not violent.
Last night, for context, it was in the 10:00 p.m. hour locally when
what had been a very peaceful day and evening of protests in Ferguson took
a turn. And we ended up last night having a very long and, frankly, at
times scary night of tear gas and police show of force and fires and two
gunshot victims and dozens of arrests on the streets in Ferguson.
At this 2:30 a.m. press conference, early this morning, so middle of
the night, early morning last night, the police announced at that point by
2:00 a.m., they had made 31 arrests, by this morning.
KSDK, the local NBC affiliate in St. Louis, was reporting the total
number of arrests at 78. Almost all of them, 75 of the 78, were for
failure to disperse. Of the 78 people who were arrested last night by
KSDK`s count, about 2/3 of them were locals from the St. Louis area and
others were from farther afield. Places as far as way as California and
This morning, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson was
interviewed by MSNBC`s Craig Melvin. And he expressed basically
exasperation about a couple different things about the way protests had
been going through last night.
One thing he said was the media has not been helping in some cases.
He expressed overall appreciation for the media being willing to cover
what`s going on in Ferguson, but he said in some cases, the media isn`t
helping. They`re making the situation worse by glamorizing some of the
worst offenders of the protesters who want to be violent – the way he put
He also cautioned that the justice that people are hoping for and
looking for in the Michael Brown shooting case is likely to be a long time
coming. He said the legal case about whether the shooting of Michael Brown
is going to be treated as a crime, whether it`s going to be prosecuted as
such, that determination is going to take a long time to sort out. He
worried out loud to Craig Melvin today that the city of Ferguson just
cannot take many more hard nights like they`ve had over this past week and
a half waiting for that justice to come to fruition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI HIGHWAY PATROL: We have to bring calm to
our community. Our kids cannot stay in their bed for months and not go to
school. Our officers can`t come out here for months and put their lives in
danger. Peaceful protesters can`t come out here for months and put their
lives in danger. These homeowners cannot be uncomfortable sleeping in
their homes wondering if a stray bullet is going to come in their home.
We have to let our legal system work itself out, and that`s what makes
our country great. And we`ll have to see what the outcome is. We`ve got
to – we`ve had our voice, and we`ve got to bring calm to this situation.
We`re going to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson speaking with
MSNBC earlier today.
And later today, once again, the city of Ferguson, its mayor and its
city council, asked for peaceful protesters to not protest at night
tonight, to only protest during the day. This time, though, when they made
that request, they also released a list of commitments the city would make
to try to address residents` concerns.
They described commitments to increase the number of African-Americans
in law enforcement, said they would try to get dash cameras an uniform
mounted camera for police officers. The city said they would try to engage
with young people more. They would try to rebuild and enhance the West
Florissant business district which is where so many of the protests have
Today was not the first time that the city of Ferguson asked people to
stop protesting at night. It`s not the first time, as you can see in these
images, that people in the streets have ignored that request.
But as far as we can tell, today was the first time that the city has
coupled that so far futile request to not protest with at least a list of
things that they`re willing to consider doing as a city to try to alleviate
In addition to this live protest that you`re seeing right now in
Ferguson, on the right side of your screen, what you see on the left side
of your screen there is that those are images from a march earlier today in
Clayton, Missouri, nearby – folks marching to the office of the county
prosecutor`s office to ask him to recuse himself from the potential
prosecution of the police officer in this case.
Protesters and local residents have repeatedly expressed worries the
county prosecutor can`t be trusted to fairly prosecute a case like this.
So far, the county prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, has resisted calls to step
Late tonight, the governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, said he will not be
asking that county prosecutor to recuse himself in the state. The governor
in effect in his statement tonight said the prosecutor could recuse himself
from the case, but it would be improper for the governor to try to force
the prosecutor out. The prosecutor, for his part, says he has no plans to
recuse himself but he would happily go if the governor did push him.
So, attorney general of Missouri, Chris Koster, he appeared in
Ferguson tonight on the street alongside the protesters, informing them
that a grand jury will be convened tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. to start
looking into whether or not charges will be brought in Michael Brown`s
shooting, again, that`s a state attorney general on the street in Ferguson
We`re also learning tonight from the local prosecutor`s office, the
county prosecutor`s office that the police officer who`s implicated in the
shooting of Mike Brown, that officer has already been interviewed by
Tomorrow, Attorney General Eric Holder is due to arrive in Ferguson.
He`ll be meeting with a local U.S. attorney as well as Justice Department
prosecutors who were already on the scene in Ferguson. Along with dozens
of FBI agents.
And this is some breaking news: on eve of the visit by the attorney
general tomorrow, “The New York Times” is reporting as of late tonight that
the Justice Department is now also apparently considering a broader civil
rights investigation into the Ferguson Police Department and its overall
policing pattern. So, not just the independent federal investigation we
know is under way into the Michael Brown shooting, but an investigation of
the Ferguson PD writ large.
According to law enforcement officials, who spoke to “The New York
Times” tonight on the condition of anonymity, in addition to this Michael
Brown case, “The Times” says that news reports about another incident in
2009 between an African-American man and Ferguson Police Department led the
Justice Department to consider taking not just a look at this specific
case, but a broader look at the overall Ferguson police and their pattern
of policing. That`s ahead of attorney General Eric Holder`s visit there
The thing that remains to be seen tonight is how things will con to
unfold into the wee hours tonight on what is the tenth night of protests in
Ferguson, again, these are live images. Protesters earlier tonight as they
were marching were shouting, “We`re young, we`re strong, we`re marching all
Joining us now from Ferguson, Missouri, is Yamiche Alcindor. Yamiche
is a national breaking news reporter for “USA Today.”
You`re not Yamiche Alcindor. Sorry.
Are we going – are we going to Trymaine?
Yamiche? Yamiche, are you there? I`m sorry. I think we had some
wires crossed. Are you there?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, USA TODAY (via telephone): Rachel, I`m here.
MADDOW: Oh, very good. Thank you. I`m sorry. That`s totally our
fault. I`m sorry about that.
Let me ask you where you are and what you`re seeing and how you assess
both the protests and the police tonight?
Are you still there?
In space, no one can hear you scream. Let`s move – all right. Let`s
see – we just had Trymaine for a moment at the truck location.
Trymaine, can you hear me?
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC.COM NATIONAL REPORTER: I can hear you.
MADDOW: Thank you. I`m alive.
LEE: I`m here.
MADDOW: Trymaine, thank you.
I want to ask you from your vantage point, having watched this unfold
over the course of tonight, what`s the pace of things right now, and what`s
going on between protesters and police as far as you can tell?
LEE: So far, it`s calm, and the last few nights if I`ve learned
anything at all, anything can happen at any point, so I don`t want to jinx
it and say that it`s so calm then something crazy happens.
But right now, it seems coming off of yesterday, they`re almost more
organized. There was a moment when some community leaders defused a
situation in the middle of the street and called for young people to
maintain calm and order.
And right now, the police have been lining the streets for a while in
small groups. But again, it`s been a peaceful night between protesters.
They`ve been energized. Just a minute ago they came by again still
chanting loudly in unison. So far, so good. Everything seems calm.
MADDOW: Trymaine, am I right to observe it seems like police are
giving people more freedom of movement tonight, that they are still
insisting that people don`t stop in one place and congregate in large
numbers, that they keep moving, but that police are essentially letting
them have more leeway in that regard than they had last night?
LEE: I wouldn`t go as far to say that.
LEE: They`re still relegated to the sidewalk. They still can`t
congregate in the street. It`s about the same as it was yesterday.
But yesterday, around 9:30, 9:45, that is when we had the first
standoff and that`s what led to an hour and a half later further down this
end near the quick trip station, all the drama that was unfolding.
So, yesterday was a little more tense because you actually had some
activity. Tonight so far, there hasn`t been any real activity in the
nature of what we`ve seen the last couple nights.
MADDOW: Trymaine, when you describe things seem a little bit more
organized and the protesters amongst themselves seem to be developing, if
not hierarchies, at least ways of communicating with each other in a
Is that something that you think is happening just by virtue of the
fact that people have been out night after night after night, so people are
settling into established ways of doing these things? Or is that product
of some real overt political organizing that people who have got discipline
and skills in that regard?
LEE: I think it`s a matter of both. There are few nights that got so
bad where the next day everyone`s, you know, trying to pick up the pieces.
And there was a press conference held by a group of – the Nation of Islam,
New Black Panther Party, a couple pro-black organizations who said it`s
time for us to reach down to our youth, and they talked about having a town
hall and getting volunteers.
And so, unlike those first few nights when it`s a bunch of young
people, without any adults in the situation, I`ll say. Now, you have
people who have been around the block a few times, who understand the
frameworks of political action and organizing, and now, they`re here.
Just a little while ago, there was a whole group of young people led
by one of the elders who was there chanting right along with them. I think
that`s the difference.
But then you talked about what`s happening in St. Louis and how
difference it is from what`s happening in Ferguson, where they seem
detached here and neglected. Now, they`re developing their voice, finding
their voice. Now the framework is being laid. Now there`s actually
communication between the elders and young people who have all that fiery
energy that everyone`s trying to control.
Because we`ve learned, if we`ve learned anything, if you don`t, you
know, harness that energy, bad things can happen.
MADDOW: That`s right. And if – and the key, the magic here is
channeling it rather than trying to control it, because whoever tries to
control it always loses, generationally.
LEE: That`s right.
MADDOW: Trymaine Lee, national reporter for MSNBC.com, showing not a
hint of the exhaustion I`m sure you must feel. Trymaine, thank you very
much. I really appreciate it, man.
LEE: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: Joining us now is MSNBC.com reporter, Erin Delmore, who`s out
on the streets of Ferguson tonight and is able to live street video from
her phone which is a neat trick and helps us see what she is seeing there
on the ground.
Erin, where are you and what are you seeing right now?
ERIN DELMORE, MSNBC.COM REPORTER (via telephone): Hi, Rachel. I`m on
Florissant between Ferguson Avenue and Canfield Road. This is the same
site of some hot tension last night.
Today, the mood is decidedly cool. Protesters are chanting for
justice, for peace. They`re singing, “We want justice” to the tune of “We
Will Rock You.” They`re saying, “I believe that we will win”, the U.S.
soccer team chant from most recent World Cup. It`s a decidedly cooler
night tonight in Ferguson.
I`d be remiss to say, that the air temperature is much cooler as well.
It`s a different night here in Ferguson.
MADDOW: Well, how about the temperature, or at least the mood ring
impression from the police? Is the – are police tactics noticeably
different? I just put Trymaine my observation that I thought police were
giving people more freedom of movement.
He said, no. Actually, the instructions are pretty much the same as
last night. Are you seeing police behave in the same way and use the same
kind of tactics they were using last night?
DELMORE: Rachel, I`m standing in front of the McDonald`s on Ferguson
Avenue. You can see a line of police. I counted upwards of 50. They`re
standing here in riot gear. There`s no sense of urgency. Their masks are
not down. Their batons are not at the ready.
They`re telling people that they must stay on the sidewalk, not on the
street, not on the McDonald`s property. This is a restriction of movement
that we`ve seen all throughout the night.
Earlier today, I saw a man who was standing in front of his food truck
with his three kids ages 8, 9 and 11. They were playing music. The kids
were dancing in front of a truck that said, “No shoot, no loot.” There are
people on top of the truck dancing as well.
An officer came over and asked that man to turn the music off. The
officer said he respected people`s rights but could not have them
congregating in one place.
I spoke to the man afterwards. He told me he felt the officer`s
response was fair, 50/50 were his words. And that`s typical of the mood
tonight here in Ferguson.
MADDOW: Erin, in terms of the behavior by the protesters, being made
by the protesters about how they want to protest and how they want to
interact with police. Are you seeing evidence of sort of emerging
organization or lines of communication among the protesters in which
certain groups are either not necessarily controlling the others, but
leading and giving direction in trying to shape things in a way that is
more to their liking?
DELMORE: It`s hard to say, Rachel, but there`s movement now across
from the burger joint where there`s a protester-on-protester fight earlier
this evening. Police are lining up across West Florissant. I`m showing
you video of this now.
I`m looking to see what has caused this development, and nothing is
To your question earlier, I would say that here in Florissant, there
is a degree of organization. I see the same three or four men who are
between 30 and 50 leading the protesters. These are the same men who are
putting their hands back and telling the crowd to slow their pace.
When the crowd speeds up, they say, cool it down, cool it down.
Beyond that, there`s a group of young people who are marching faster, but
their cheers are somewhat friendlier. They`re ones who are making cheers
to more popular tunes.
The group split off. They`re circling West Florissant but in
different pieces. It`s not one organized protest. There are small bits of
protesters who are marching independently, chanting independently. The
overall number of protesters has definitely decreased as the numbers have
MADDOW: Fascinating. MSNBC.com reporter Erin Delmore, able to both
describe what she`s seeing and show it to us live streaming video from her
own phone that she`s got with her right now.
Erin, thank you. And please keep the line open. I appreciate you
DELMORE: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more from Ferguson ahead. You`re
looking at live pictures from downtown Ferguson, Missouri.
Again, the mayor and city council called on people to not protest
after dark again tonight. That didn`t work. The state police, though,
said there would not be a curfew tonight. Thus far, things tonight in
Ferguson have been full of people, but definitely not full of danger, and
things have been peaceful tonight and well-populated. It`s about 20
minutes after 11:00 local time.
The city of Ferguson thought to be in an especially tense moment right
now, particularly because of this other shooting, but we`ll keep our eyes
open. Stay with us.
MADDOW: They`ve been saying tonight, “We`re young, we`re strong,
we`re marching all night long.” These are live images now from downtown
Ferguson, Missouri, where it is 23 minutes after 11:00 local time. This is
a tenth night of protests.
Tonight, as you can see – very peaceful protests in Ferguson,
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Again, these are further live images right now from the
street in Ferguson, Missouri. It`s now the tenth day of protests there,
which have made that town a focus or the entire country. In just a moment,
we`re going to be speaking with an attorney for the family of Michael
Brown, 18-year-old man who was shot and killed by Ferguson police a week
ago Saturday. That killing that started this whole crisis.
And while this story over the last 10 days has evolved to become a
national or an international story today, today, Egypt called for American
restraint against protesters. Even though this has become a massive story
involving now thousands of people, this story, of course, starts just with
the body of that young man, and with his family losing him.
After Mr. Brown was shot, the first thing that happened immediately
after the shooting that upset people so much locally was the fact that his
body was left in the street for hours by police.
This video was shot in the immediate aftermath of the shooting by a
young woman who lived nearby. Her name is Piaget Crenshaw. And the voice
that you`ll hear in the foreground here is her narrating her own video,
explaining what she`s looking at right after Michael Brown was shot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIAGET CRENSHAW: God bless his soul. Police shot his boy outside my
apartment. They killed him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Police later explained that they left Michael Brown`s body
laying in the street for so long that it was there in the street in the
middle of the day for hours because they wanted to protect the scene of the
shooting, because they said they had to, quote, “practice our due
diligence,” with that shooting scene.
But he laid in the street for hours, after he was killed. It has been
10 days since then, and still his family has not had the opportunity to lay
him to rest.
First, it was the county medical examiner doing its official autopsy.
The only information that they`ve released from that autopsy officially was
that Mr. Brown was shot multiple times. They would not even say how many
There was also a leak to “The Washington Post” from two sources who
said they were familiar with that county autopsy – a leak in which those
sources allege that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system when he was
killed, as if that information was more important to release to the public
than the number of times he was shot.
Because of the family`s distrust of local authorities, they also
arranged for a second autopsy to be done after that first one. So, after
that first officer was done by the county, then a second one was done by
experts brought in by the family.
Those experts did put a number on it. They did say Mr. Brown had been
shot six times. They released that information publicly.
And then this weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that
there would be yet another autopsy, a third one. The federal medical
examiner reportedly completing that work yesterday and as Attorney General
Eric Holder reportedly was briefed on the results of that federal autopsy
today, one day ahead of the attorney general visiting Ferguson. That is
planned for tomorrow.
The death of 18-year-old Michael Brown has become a flashpoint for the
nation. Again, these are live shots from Ferguson right now. But at core,
this is also very simply the death of a young man, and his body remains,
and his family still has the personal work ahead of laying him to rest and
Today, the family announced that Michael Brown`s funeral will be held
on Monday. They know that this will be an important event not just for
their family, but for their community and to a certain extent, for the
nation. The funeral on Monday is going to be open to the public. They`re
now having to seek out a venue large enough to accommodate the expected
turnout of people wanting to pay their respects.
Nobody knows what the consequences will be of the funeral of Michael
Brown. Nobody knows what the consequences will be, for the chain of events
his death in Ferguson has set in motion. But the family finally having a
answer to bury him is a reminder for all this means to all these people,
there is nobody who it can possibly matter to more than it matters to his
Joining us now is Anthony Gray. He`s an attorney for Michael Brown`s
Mr. Gray, thank you for being with us tonight.
ANTHONY GRAY, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN`S FAMILY: Thank you for
having me, Rachel. It`s my pleasure.
MADDOW: Mr. Brown`s family has been set for Monday. It will be a
service that the public is allowed to attend. Can you share any – share
with us any of the plans for the public service? Any of the family`s
thoughts into what they want to happen at that event?
GRAY: Well, we know what they want to happen is that they want to
have a dignified home going for their child, Michael Brown Jr.
As far as the itinerary, who`s going to speak and those things, that
information has not been finalized. I`m not privy to it. So, I don`t feel
comfortable disclosing that. They definitely want to have a dignified
service for their child.
MADDOW: Today, I have to ask you about the potential prosecution in
this case, the county prosecuting attorney has been refusing calls from the
community to recuse himself to allow special prosecutor to take on the
The prosecutor`s office did say today that the officer involved in the
shooting has met with investigators. He`ll be offered the opportunity to
speak with the grand jury. So far, though, the governor`s ability to
replace that county prosecutor with a special prosecutor, the governor has
rejected those calls. But those calls seem to be getting louder from the
What are your thoughts on that? What are the family`s thoughts on
that at this point?
GRAY: Well, the family`s thoughts are from the very beginning when
they saw how this information was being played out within minutes after the
shooting, they began to lose their faith and confidence in the local county
officials. I don`t think that has ever changed. In fact, I think some of
the events in the aftermath of that has worsened that feeling.
And so, I believe that they will support an independent or special
prosecutor in this case. They actually are joining the voices of those
that are asking for a special prosecutor, and I think they will be
satisfied if that move is made.
MADDOW: Has the family been kept in the loop and communicated with
adequately and in a compassionate way as this investigation has gone
forward? We know the grand jury meeting tomorrow will be considering
evidence in this case. Again, we know that the officer has spoken with
We know that there`s this political negotiating going on, or at least
political calls going on around who is going to be the prosecutor in this
Does the family feel like they have been adequately informed and kept
apprised of what`s happening all along?
GRAY: No, they haven`t. No. They do not feel that way because
that`s not the case. In fact, there has been no effort, to my knowledge,
for any of the individuals from the prosecutor`s office, from the police
department, other than Captain Ron Johnson reaching out to the family
pretty much breaking ranks and embracing –
MADDOW: Unfortunately, I have to jump in here because we have lost
the audio from Anthony Gray, attorney of the family of Michael Brown.
Mr. Gray, if you can still hear me, I`m sorry we lost your audio. It
dropped out completely there. We`ll try to get you back. Thank you very
much for being with us tonight, sir.
I have to say, on the left side of your screen there, what you are
seeing is police vehicles out on the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, right
now. It`s about 8:30 local time. I can`t say whether or not these are
equivalent numbers or if this is an equivalent mood to what we are seeing
this time last night.
It`s been a big day of developments in this case, including another
officer-involved shooting a few miles away from the site of the shooting of
Michael Brown. We`ll be keeping an eye on these live shots, and we`ve got
further news ahead.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, the on-the-ground reporting from Ferguson, Missouri, over
the last 10 days has occasionally been jaw-dropping – reporters so close
to what`s happening that audiences get what might be an unprecedented feel
for a major news event happening in real-time. Conflict between law
enforcement and the American public, consumable live, instantly on a
television or on a computer or on streaming video from cell phone.
The tons of visual material from that city streets has been shaping
the country`s understanding of what is happening in this news story in a
very, very direct way. But there is one way in which the events in
Ferguson are not being covered, because they can`t, because the police say
they can`t. And that is also changing way that people are able to
understand the evens there, and that story is next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: When we learned today that there`d been another officer-
involved shooting not in Ferguson but four miles away over the line into
nearby north St. Louis, there`s one thing about how we learned about that
that was just visually 180 degrees different than what we have been seeing
in Ferguson. This is where that shooting happened. And this is a scene of
where it happened right after it happened.
And it is a view of that scene from overhead, shot by a news
helicopter, and the shot got wider and you could se exactly in what
context, what kind of neighborhood this happened in, how big the response
was relative to the neighborhood. How many vehicles were on scene, how
many people were on scene, whether people were still arriving there after
the shooting or whether they were leaving from there.
An aerial view like this helps you get your head around what can
otherwise be a confusing or hard to quantity thing that you are looking at,
right? It helps you know what you`re looking at. It helps you understand
We have not had the benefit of that kind of perspective in Ferguson.
Literally, we have not had that kind of overhead visual perspective on
Ferguson since the protests there got intense and turned into a national
story. Early in this crisis, the St. Louis County police department got a
flight ban put in place for Ferguson. They asked the FAA to put a no-fly
zone into effect over downtown Ferguson after they said that a police
helicopter got shot at during an early protest.
The request to the Missouri governor, that flight ban over Ferguson
was renewed yesterday in order to, quote, “provide a safe environment for
law enforcement activities.”
So, law enforcement can fly helicopters over Ferguson to monitor
protests and to help with policing, but the media cannot fly helicopters
over Ferguson in order to monitor policing and film the protests.
And this is not to question law enforcement`s stated need for a flight
ban. Over the course of the last 10 nights, almost every night police have
said there were reports of shots fired. Police have said over and over
again that gunfire has been part of this experience, especially late at
night in this town.
Tonight, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said that police
received calls of shooters on top of buildings in downtown Ferguson. Last
night, at what appeared to be some of the most difficult clashes so far,
police reportedly arrested 78 people and in the course of the night, they
say they confiscated two handguns and at least one Molotov cocktail which
they showed off to reporters at about 2:30 in the morning as a way of
trying to convince reporters that police directions to the media really
were about keeping reporters safe and not just about suppressing the
reporting of the news.
Police say that they have been shot at. They say that their
helicopters have been shot at. They say that is why it would be unsafe for
media helicopters to be up there. That is their stated reason why news
organizations can`t fly over the scene to report from that helpful wide-
view perspective. It`s not a crazy argument.
But that said, the no-fly-zone decision which was just renewed
yesterday has been really consequential for the country in terms of trying
to understand what`s going on there, especially where the police response
is intrinsically part of the story. I mean, look at this. When you see
these images on the ground, the situation obviously looks very chaotic. It
is chaotic. This is from overnight images from last night in Ferguson,
along one stretch of a major street, just one stretch.
And we watched these images as they were coming in live just after
midnight here in New York.
And from what we could see, and from what reporters on the ground
described to us from their individual vantage points, it appeared that
people were running from a police response. They were being pushed by that
police response up the street, toward another line of police that was
pushing them back into the opposite direction. From the best we could
tell, with cameras and eyes at ground level, it appeared that these
protesters were caught or at least they may have been caught between police
lines and basically an impossible position.
And it was hard to know for sure, but that`s a really important part
of the story. That we honestly cannot witness from the perspectives that
we are allowed and we thereby cannot communicate to you at home trying to
be an educated news consumer about this story. We cannot communicate an
important part of what police are doing on the streets of this town. We
can see what`s directly in front of our ground level vantage points, but it
has been impossible to tell how scenes like this related to, say, the
That kind of perspective is why news organizations use helicopters in
the first place, without after view from high up. In a circumstance like
this, it`s hard to get beyond the running moment-to-moment experiential
And frankly, that is not enough to accurately and objectively report
on the rationality and reasonableness and the effectiveness of police
tactics and protesters` tactics. It`s hard to tell what`s happening when
you can only see it from five feet off the ground.
And part of the reason we cannot tell what`s happening from a better
vantage point, the media just literally cannot show it. Physically, the
media is not being allowed to show what we need to be able to show in order
to characterize this in a way that is objective and makes the most sense.
Joining us now is Patricia Bynes. She`s a Democratic committeewoman
of Ferguson Township in the city of Ferguson.
Ms. Bynes, thank you very much for being with us tonight. I
appreciate your time tonight.
PATRICIA BYNES, FERGUSON DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEEWOMAN: Thank you for
having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, can you tell us from your perspective where you think the
community is and where the police are tonight in terms of the trajectory of
these protests? How long they`re going to go on, what the demands are,
what the protests are likely to be like from here on out?
BYNES: Well, let`s see, we have some good news coming up with the
attorney general coming into town tomorrow. And also I know that we`re
looking – Bob McCulloch, the prosecutor, is moving forward with a grand
So, people are seeing some movement which is the main thing people
have been wanting to see out here is the fact that they want this case
taken seriously. So, I think that that has helped quell some anger about
what`s going on. They want to make sure that there is justice for him and
his family and this community.
So, I don`t know how long this is going to take. I don`t know how
long people are going to protest because this also is just not about mike
Brown. This is about police brutality. This is about racism. This is
about racial profiling. And this is about a community that`s trying to
find its voice.
So, that doesn`t have a specific timeframe, but I`m thinking as things
move forward in the investigation, and in pursuing this case, people will
probably start changing some of their strategies in protesting and maybe
start having more meetings, town halls.
I know there are lots of things scheduled. That`s where I think very
soon we`ll start seeing this transition.
MADDOW: Very interesting point.
To that point, the mayor and city council in Ferguson today put out a
statement, once again, asking people not to protest after dark. Obviously
that instruction is not being heeded by people out on the street. We can
see there tonight.
But they also listed a series of commitments that the city was
considering in terms of trying to address people`s concerns, everything
from trying to get a more diverse police force, to trying to get dash cams
and uniform cams on those police, trying to engage more with young people
in the city.
MADDOW: I saw that happen today. And in print it seemed like
something – haven`t heard a single person reference it all day, nor does
anybody seem to be treating it as an important development in the story.
Is the city government just not being treated – not being seen as
relevant to this case now?
BYNES: Well, because of the regionalism in St. Louis county, Ferguson
is just a small municipality overall in the St. Louis region. So, yes,
they should be commended for working on things, but this is just not a
Ferguson issue, and people – we see ideas. We want to see execution as
So, we should be having the dialogue. We should be throwing out
ideas. This is not just limited to Ferguson. This is a regional issue,
and it`s going to take regional leaders to come forward and not just have
more good ideas, but start moving things forward in this area.
MADDOW: Patricia Bynes, Democratic committeewoman in the city of
Ferguson. Thank you very much for getting out there and talking with us.
I appreciate your time. Thank you.
Again, on the left side of your screen here, these are live shots from
downtown Ferguson. You see a large police presence right now. At this
point, we`re not look at officers in SWAT-type gear, but we have seen
tactical-style vehicles out there.
There`s plenty of people out on the street tonight. This is night 10
of protests in Ferguson. There was another officer-involved shooting in
nearby north St. Louis today.
We`ll keep you apprised. Stay right here.
MADDOW: As you can see in these live images, protesters are on the
move tonight in downtown Ferguson, Missouri. These are live images. In
this crowd, we have seen some protesters wearing gas masks tonight. There
is another large police presence in evidence in downtown Ferguson right
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: In November 2012, on Thanksgiving Day in 2012, an American
photojournalist working in the Middle East went missing.
James Foley had covered war zones across the Middle East for the news
agency, Agence France-Presse, and for the news Web site “Global Post”.
But in 2012, while covering the raging civil war in Syria, he was
kidnapped. At the time, there were other instances of Syrian rebels
operating in the region abducting foreign journalists for ransom money.
But when James Foley was kidnapped, it was radio silence from his captors.
A full year after his abduction, James Foley`s father told “Agence France-
Presse”, we haven`t been contacted by anybody asking for anything. No
The Foley family created a Web site asking for help finding their son,
appealing for any information.
But this American photojournalist, James Foley, he had been missing
for more than 600 days when today his image appeared on a video connected
to the terrorist group ISIS. The video is far too graphic to show here.
Nobody needs to see it for any reason.
But it includes what appears to be the gruesome beheading of James
Foley and it describes his murder for payback essentially for recent U.S.
military operations against ISIS in Iraq.
Tonight, the White House put out a statement saying they were still
working to confirm the authenticity of the tape, but it says, quote, “If
genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American
journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and
The videotaped execution of a Western hostage is a tactic. It is a
tactic that`s been used a number of times over the last decade. It is
intended to have a specific desired terroristic effect. In 2002, a “Wall
Street Journal” reporter named Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in Pakistan. Mr.
Pearl was later executed by his captors on camera with the threat that more
abductions and beheadings of Westerners would follow.
Two years later in 2004, an American businessman from Philadelphia
named Nicholas Berg was captured in the war in Iraq. Nick Berg, like
Daniel Pearl, was later executed by his captors on camera, again, with the
threat that more abductions and beheadings would follow.
This is a tactic. It is murder and propaganda.
In the video that was released today, the men who killed James Foley
showed and named the next hostage they say they intend to execute, another
American freelance journalist who had been reporting in the Middle East for
“Time” magazine. This is a tactic, but this is also very much the grim
reality right now for the family of American journalist James Foley and for
the very concerned family of the other journalist who has been threatened.
Just a short time ago, Mr. Foley`s parents released a statement that
says in part, quote, “We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave
his life trying to expose the world to the sufferings of the Syrian people.
We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. We
thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son,
brother, journalist and person.”
James Foley was from Rochester, New Hampshire. He was a graduate of
the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He was 40
MADDOW: We do have late breaking news tonight regarding the police
shooting of Michael Brown 10 days ago in Ferguson, Missouri. Many
protesters and residents and local leaders have said they believe the St.
Louis County prosecutor should recuse himself from this case because they
don`t trust that prosecutor to be able to handle the case fairly.
Well, tonight on the eve of the county grand jury starting to consider
evidence in this case, Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri has now put out a
statement saying he will not ask the county prosecutor to recuse himself.
The statement effectively says if the county prosecutor ought to be recused
from the case, he should do it himself.
The governor`s statement says, quote, “There`s a well established
process by which a prosecutor can recuse themselves from a pending
investigation, and a special prosecutor be appointed. Departing from this
established process could unnecessarily inject legal uncertainty into this
matter and potentially jeopardize the prosecution.”
Again, that statement tonight from Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri,
appearing to indicate that he will not ask the county prosecutor to step
down and be replaced with a special prosecutor, as has been demanded
We`re going to be keeping an eye on the situation in Ferguson
throughout the night tonight. Keep it here on MSNBC.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Good evening, Lawrence.
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