The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/27/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Press conference wrapping up at the
Maryland Emergency Management Agency held by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan,
who, as he noted there right at the end, has only been governor for 90 days
at this point, but he has just taken very dramatic action against what he
described as lawless gangs of thugs. Governor Hogan has issued an
executive order in Maryland declaring a state of emergency that the
governor described as indefinite, so it`s a state of emergency that`s in
effect in the city of Baltimore. It starts now but it doesn`t necessarily
have an end date. They said it will last as long as they need it to.
The governor memorably explaining tonight that he issued that
executive order. He agreed to establish that state of emergency in his
words, 30 seconds after Baltimore made the request to the governor`s office
that the state of emergency be announced.
Now, the main difference this is going to mean in Baltimore with the
civil unrest in the streets there, with the incredible challenges that have
just escalated over the course of today, as we seen violence targeting not
only police but also property, looting, burning, the main difference is
that this will also involve the Maryland National Guard being called out.
We heard from the adjutant general of the Maryland National Guard
explaining in pretty blunt language what people in Baltimore should expect
now that military personnel are being called out to handle this crisis, in
addition to the police who are already out there on the streets. She said
she wanted people to know that these Maryland National Guardsmen and Women
will be armed, they will be in up-armored Humvees, which she described as
for their protection. She made the clear point of saying this is not
martial law, yet she said, because the military will not actually be in a
command position. They will be in a support position for the civilian
But still, this may mean up to 5,000 National Guardsmen and Women will
be on the streets of Baltimore as of tonight.
Now, as you see on the right side of your screen there, one of the
things we are also keeping an eye on tonight is reports of two fires. Now,
I don`t have a lot of detail yet on exactly what`s going on with these two
fires. We`re told that at least one of them is a three alarm fire that is
in East Baltimore. East Baltimore would not be the locust of the main
sites of protests. Those had been more in west and northwest in Baltimore.
But we are told tonight that there are two fires, including one large
one that you see here. We`re told one of the two fires has been reported
tonight is a three-alarm blaze. Again, there`s no reason for me to say
right now that these fires are related to the protests that we have seen
today. We saw smaller fires set today, including one police cars – or
excuse me, two police vehicles burned.
But this large blaze with multiple fire companies responding in
Baltimore, we don`t know if that is related to the rioting, to the
protests, and to the state of emergency that`s been called by the governor.
We`ll keep you posted as we learn more about these fires and more.
There`s a lot going on in the news right now and we are keeping an eye on
all of it. It does obviously begin in the city of Baltimore. We`re going
to have several live reports this hour from Baltimore. We`re going to be
talking with a city official.
We`re also going to be talking with my colleague from here at MSNBC,
Reverend Al Sharpton, who as you know as an activist, has been at the
center of organizing efforts of people who have been killed by police. He
also – and I`m not sure people know this as widely, but Reverend Sharpton
has time and time again been called on by families of people who have been
killed by police and also by local authorities, called on Reverend Sharpton
time and time again to wade into situations, to try to calm down tensions,
to try to stop violence once it has started in communities that are this
So, we`ll be talking with Reverend Sharpton tonight about his
involvement in the story, but also about strategic questions about how
things like this can be cooled down once they`re burning so hot.
Also later on tonight, we`re going to get a report from Richard Engel,
who is on the scene of that massive, massive earthquake in Nepal that is
being blamed for more than 4,000 deaths a this point.
There`s a lot going on. But we do begin tonight with these dramatic
and scary clashes between protesters and police that we have seen unfold
throughout the afternoon and into the evening in Baltimore today. This
rioting and looting broke out after the funeral of Freddie Gray. The
governor of Maryland, as you just heard, has now declared a state of
emergency in Baltimore. He has activated the National Guard. That could
mean up to 5,000 Maryland guardsmen and women involved in the policing
efforts trying to keep the peace, protect life and property in Baltimore.
We have been told that a number of police officers have been injured
today. Police in Baltimore said today that the number is 15 officers
injured, including two hospitalized. The governor tonight, giving a lower
number, saying that seven police officers were injured. We`re still trying
to track down what is the exact number of police officers injured and how
serious those injuries are.
Again, we`re told that at least two police officers have been
hospitalized, with injury serious enough to keep them hospitalized into
this evening. The mayor of Baltimore, in addition to what the governor has
done, has declared a city-wide curfew.
Starting tomorrow, no one will be allowed on the streets of Baltimore
between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., unless in the mayor`s words, you have a
medical emergency or you are on your way to work. Those will be the only
excuses allowed, and anybody else presumably will be subject to arrest
simply for being out on the street after 10:00 p.m.
Again, the police chief in Baltimore saying earlier tonight that 15
law enforcement officers were injured in today`s clashes, two of them
injured seriously enough that they`re still hospitalized tonight. The
number given by the governor more recently was that seven officers were
injured today. We`ll try to figure out which ones of those numbers is
Again and again today, Baltimore officials, Baltimore residents say
they have seen nothing like this in Baltimore sense the famous riots in
Baltimore in 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.,
in April 1968. Those riots in Baltimore lasted more than a week, a
thousand businesses looted or burned, a thousand fires set in Baltimore in
`68. It is a cultural touch stone in Baltimore. Some people say parts of
that city still have never recovered from the damage done in the riots.
But tonight, the fires are back and this time with the fires back in
Baltimore, this time, it is, again, part of something with nationwide
significance. Freddie Gray`s death last weekend, after falling into a coma
for something as yet unexplained that happened to him in Baltimore police
custody, Freddie Gray`s death is the proximate cause of what has blown up
in the streets of Baltimore today and tonight. But it is just the latest
in a recent string of police violence cases that have not only affected the
communities and families directly involved, they have blown up into a
national conversation and at times a national crisis about police violence
and how communities respond to it.
You can also put a marker here on August 9th, 2014, with the police
shooting of Michael Brown. Michael Brown was 18 years old and unarmed when
he was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown`s
death led to weeks of protests over the summer, last summer.
A few months later in November, a grand jury cleared the officer who
killed Michael Brown of all charges. They decided not to indict that
officer and during the protests that followed that decision, local
businesses in Ferguson, Missouri, were burned to the ground.
Another man, Eric Garner of Staten Island, New York, he died after
police put him in a chokehold while arresting him for selling loose
cigarettes on the sidewalk in Staten Island. Eric Garner actually died a
few weeks before Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson. But the protests in
Ferguson seemed to amplify the response to Eric Garner`s death and
thousands of people marched on Staten Island last summer to protest what
happened to Garner.
And then a grand jury decided not to indict the police officers in
Eric Garner`s death in December, protested started again with people
blocking highways and blocking bridges, not just in New York City but
around the country.
Meanwhile, police in Cleveland responded to a call in a local park.
Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice, 12 years old, had been playing with a realistic
looking air soft pellet gun. Within a blink of pulling up to him in last
three seconds of driving up to him in that park, one of the officers shot
and killed that 12-year-old kid. That was in November. No one has been
charged in 12-year-old Tamir Rice`s killing.
In February, it was police in suburban Madison, Alabama, who stopped
Sureshbhai Patel after somebody reported a stranger walking through the
neighborhood. Mr. Patel was a grandfather in Madison Alabama, to visit
family members. One of the officers slammed him to the ground so far, he
left Mr. Patel paralyzed. That officer was charged with felony civil
That same month, police in Pasco, Washington, who shot an unarmed man
who had been throwing rocks at him. They shot Antonio Zambrano-Montes 17
times as Mr. Zambrano-Montes ran away from them, 17 times. Mr. Zambrano-
Montes was killed. No one has been charged.
Last month in Inkster, Michigan, a man named Floyd Dent came forward
to say that he had been pulled over and beaten by local police in Inkster.
He was beaten very badly, left with a fractured eye socket and broken ribs.
It all happened to him in January, but the tape of his beating has been
playing on a loop in the Detroit area since it surfaced just a few weeks
ago. Last week, one of the officers was charged with felony mistreatment
of the prisoners, and the charge against Mr. Dent was erased.
Just today, we got video of the officers in the Inkster station house
appearing to try to spray Floyd Dent`s flood off their clothes and their
hands. And officers exchanged fist bumps apparently celebrating how well
that arrest and beating went for them. An attorney for Mr. Dent says his
client was actually at that moment lying there, still bleeding, still
needing medical attention just out of view of the camera as the officers
blew off steam and re-enacted the beating for each other.
The beginning of this month brought news of a shooting death of
unarmed Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina. That
confrontation began with a seemingly anodyne traffic stop, ended with the
officer firing multiple times at Mr. Scott`s back as Mr. Scott fled across
a vacant lot. He shot him as he ran away. The officer has been charged
with murder in that case.
As the nation was absorbing that news, word from Tulsa, Oklahoma, that
someone holding the title reserve deputy shot in the Tulsa sheriff`s
department had shot and killed a suspect in an undercover drug sting. The
reserve deputy, a 73-year-old insurance executive, says he meant to draw
his taser but he mistakenly pulled his gun and shot Eric Harris in Tulsa
fatally. Robert Bates, the reserve deputy, had been a long-time generous
donor to the sheriff`s department. That seems to be the way you get a
reserve deputy position. The Tulsa world reported that supervisors in the
Tulsa Sheriff`s office had falsified the training records of Mr. Bates, so
he allegedly be qualified for certain duties when he was not.
Last week, Robert Bates, the reserve deputy, pled guilty to
manslaughter in that case, but then the judge in the case allowed him to go
to the Bahamas for a family vacation before any further proceedings.
Today, in Tulsa, a top official in that sheriff`s department resigned
after an internal memo showed him asking staffers to modify the reserve
deputy`s reviews and records about hours of training. That hiring official
stepped down today in Tulsa.
Meanwhile though, the Tulsa sheriff`s department also inexplicably
released undercover video showing the man who got killed in the days
leading up to the day they shot and killed him. They really this video
showing Eric Harris selling drugs to an undercover officer before making an
arrangement to sell him a gun.
Why did they release that tape? It doesn`t seem – it didn`t happen
on the day of the shooting. It doesn`t seem to be relevant specifically to
the reason this reserve deputy pulled out his gun when he thought he was
puling a taser. The sheriff`s department said they released the video
because the media had asked for it, which could be true if anybody knew it
existed, but it looks like what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, last
summer, when the police chief released video of 18-year-old Michael Brown
from before the incident which Michael Brown was shot and killed.
Tape of a totally unrelated incident in a convenient store that
happened before he was killed, which the officer who killed him was not
present. The chief said the media had been clamoring for that convenience
store tape and he couldn`t continue to withhold it. Even though in
Ferguson, there doesn`t appear much record at all that anybody asked to see
that tape. They just felt the need to put it out there to try to make
Michael Brown look as terrible as possible.
We have been live thing story over and over, month after month,
shooting after chokehold after beating, right? I mean, this list that I
just did by no means complete. You just pick a month and Google around and
up pops a story and now, increasingly, a video of police violence, mostly
involving an unarmed man who is not white.
Day after day, week after week, season after season, city after city,
and now, Baltimore. What you are seeing in this American city is the
latest local manifestation of what is turning out to be a national crisis
this year. In Baltimore, it began earlier this month with the arrest of
We do have cell phone footage of that arrest. I`m not going to play
it for you now once. You may have seen it already. I`m not going to play
it over and over again. It is short and difficult viewing, but it does go
some distance to explain what happened.
April 12th. We`ll show it once.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure, the guy was acting, they tased him – like
Now, I`ve been recording this (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I`ve been
recording it. I`ve been recording it.
What car they come out of, yo?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He on a bike, yo, right there, him right there.
He on a bike.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got it. Don`t worry about it. Don`t worry
about it, don`t worry about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The officers who arrested Freddie Gray in Baltimore say that
he saw them and took off running. That`s why they gave chase and stopped
him. They loaded him into the van, as you saw, he seems to be screaming in
Whatever happened over the next 45 minutes, Freddie Gray emerged from
that van across town at the police station with his spinal cord reportedly
nearly severed and his voice box crushed. One theory is that the Baltimore
police may have given Mr. Gray what they call a rough ride where they leave
him a suspect handcuffed but not buckled in. And they stumped on the
brakes, so the suspect goes flying around the back on the ground. More
than one person has been paralyzed in Baltimore before Freddie Gray.
Freddie Gray ended up paralyzed and in a coma. And on April 19th, a
week after he was arrested, Freddie Gray died. In the days after his
death, Baltimore saw a string of peaceful protests, as people came out
chanting in the streets “black lives matter.”
A larger protest included some vandalism and some violence, 35 people
were arrested and six police officers incurred minor injuries. But mostly,
city authorities were able to keep the peace without using force and
without taking people in custody.
This is how the mayor of Baltimore described things on Saturday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, MAYOR OF BALTIMORE: We`ve had these types
of conversations before, and I`ve made it very clear that I work with the
police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure
that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech. It`s
a very delicate balancing act, because while we try to make sure that they
were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we
also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that, as well. And we
worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best
position to deescalate. And that`s what you saw this evening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s what you saw this evening. That was the mayor of
Baltimore speaking on Saturday.
The mayor and the police chief and Freddie Gray`s family and local
leaders calling for calm, appealing for peace. And today in Baltimore,
they buried Freddie Gray. There had been calls for people not to protest
on this day, same kind of calls that we`ve seen in other stories like this.
Mr. Gray`s funeral began in the late morning and they buried him out
of the New Shiloh Baptist Church, right in Baltimore. It`s a huge church,
2,200 people capacity and it was filled and people stood outside. That
church is near schools and a mall.
And when school let out, after the funeral, this is what happened.
Local news on the ground tonight in Baltimore say these clashes began when
the schools let out and the kids flooded into the streets at once.
Whatever part of this might have been a peaceful protest, people also set
cars on fire, they smashed a police cruiser, they looted stores, they
hurled things at police who responded in some cases by appearing to hurl
things out and in some cases with rubber bullets.
Among the 15 officers who the mayor and the police chief of Baltimore
told us tonight were reportedly injured today, 15 officers, one was
reported this afternoon to be nonresponsive, to be unconscious. But again,
we`re told that two officers remain in the hospital tonight. We do not
have more information about their status right now other than they are
The governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, has declared a state of
emergency and is activated the National Guard. The city curfew will be in
effect for a week starting tomorrow. Nobody allowed on the streets between
10:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., except in the case of a medical emergency or if
you are going to work.
Even as the looting continues tonight, the mayor in the last hour
pledged that order would be restored in Baltimore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: With respect to how to get to order, let`s be clear.
You know, I`ve – the council president and I share the frustration of the
negative images that are being shown of our great city. But best believe,
we`re going to use all of those images to hold individuals who are
destroying our city accountable. So, once people start getting arrested
for the looting, for the destruction, I think they will understand that
this is not a lawless city, and the thugs and the – you know, it – I`m at
a loss for words because it doesn`t – it is idiotic to think that by
destroying your city that you`re going to make life better for anybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The mayor of Baltimore speaking earlier tonight.
I just want to follow to something that we`ve mentioned and that I
mentioned earlier, there are reports of fires burning in the city of
Baltimore tonight, including this large one on the right side of your
screen right now.
The WBAL chopper pilot, WBAL is the NBC affiliate in Baltimore, that
chopper pilot says that they are told by a police source that this large
fire that you see here is a senior facility that was under construction
that is burning or not thought to be any injuries associated with this
fire. There are reports that there are multiple fires burning in
Baltimore. Whether or not they are related to the protests that have
happened in the streets, and the clashes between protesters and police,
some of which have been violent today, obviously another huge challenge for
the first responders of Baltimore tonight.
Part of what we have seen today is the fire department, firefighters
being – having a hard time getting on site to respond to both car fires
and property fires that have been part of these protests. If this is
indeed an unrelated fire tonight that happens to just be happening in the
middle of this other state of emergency, it`s just not much of a challenge
of the first responders on the scene, again, regardless of the cause of
this fire and whether it`s connected to these political protests.
I want to bring in to the conversation now, Erica Green. Erica is a
“Baltimore Sun” reporter who has been out in the streets of Baltimore all
Ms. Green, thanks very much for being with us. Appreciate your time.
ERICA GREEN, BALTIMORE SUN (via telephone): Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: So, can you – can you give me what you`ve seen today in
terms of the trajectory and where it feels like the momentum is tonight in
terms of the continuation of this protest?
GREEN: Sure. So, I started out kind of at the very beginning of how
this all transpired. It started with a posting on social media of high
school students saying they were going to have a purge, a play on the movie
“The Purge,” which was a 24-hour time of lawlessness and they were going to
converge at a mall in west Baltimore, Mondawmin Mall.
That indeed happened around 3:00 p.m. Students and police confronted
each other there. The police were ready for that, because they did
intercept that message earlier in the day.
By the time I got there around 3:20, bricks were being hurled at
police officers. The crowds began to swell on both sides. Police officers
came in with reinforcements. People from the neighborhoods, students from
other schools, and I say students because, you know, even the police
officer have confirmed they did confront mostly school-aged kids, and
really it was just an intense hour-long, little more than hour-long
exchange, where the police were trying to hold lines and move students back
and kids back and probably residents at that point, to side streets of the
I did witness an officer severely injured, that came as a result of an
exchange of bricks and other things between the residents and the police.
The police did, in fact, start to return the bricks being thrown at them.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about that for a second. You were right there
on the front lines when that was happening.
GREEN: I was right there.
MADDOW: And I saw some of what you posted at “The Sun” and “The Sun”
has made great use of your reporting and your imagery. But just to be
clear, what you saw was people throwing – mostly young people throwing
bricks and broken bricks and rocks at police, and in some cases, police
throwing them back at the protesters.
But this officer who you saw injured, it looked like he was struck in
the head. Did you see him get injured or just the aftermath once he was
GREEN: It looked like he was struck in the head. What I captured was
his comrades, you know, carrying him back away from the front line where I
assume he was when he was struck. It was on that side street, and right
before the officer was brought out that the police began to return the
bricks. Of course, I did not see exactly what he was hit with, but – I
mean, bricks and glass littered the streets.
And so, yes, I`m going to assume it was brick. I don`t know for sure
but he was struck by something that really bloodied him up from his head.
MADDOW: What`s striking about that report, particularly because you
saw it firsthand as a reporter, is that you don`t expect police to be
throwing bricks. The police have talked about the fact that they are
willing to be tactically aggressive, willing to use pepper pellets, they`re
willing to use rubber bullets, other projectiles, we`ve seen them using gas
today. But if they`re throwing things back, that implies to me, this is a
lay observer, that the police feel – that the police are a little out of
control, or they may not be using disciplined police tactics.
Was that the perspective?
GREEN: What I will say is that I watched the police – this is just
what I saw. What I watched the police have things hurled at them for a
very long time, and they didn`t do anything. They – I mean, I have it on
video. They definitely returned, you know, they definitely threw things
But I just would say that given what I saw – I mean, these kids have
no fear. So, you know, I was very surprised that things didn`t escalate
more quickly. But I`m not going to say they`re out of control, that`s for
people to decide. But I will say that – you know, things were thrown at
them for a very long time before they got frustrated.
I think it may have been the sight of their fellow officer being
pulled out that way that may have incited that. I don`t know. But that
MADDOW: We are keeping an eye on the live shots tonight in terms of
what you expect over the course of tonight. We saw these very plaintiff
calls from the police and local officials, because so many people were
school age, people saying parents, find your children and bring them home.
If you are an adult and able body, get out there and put yourselves between
the kids and these police and calm this down.
Do you expect this will calm down tonight?
GREEN: You know, it`s 9:30. I think the curfew is at 10:00 and I
just – I mean, it`s showing no signs from what I can see and the officers
and from what I reported, reporting back from where they are, dispersed
throughout the city.
MADDOW: OK. Erica Green, reporter for “The Baltimore Post” – really
appreciate you being here. Thanks very much.
GREEN: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. In the midst of the reporting or the rioting
today in Baltimore, actually during the funeral for Freddie Gray in
Northwest Baltimore today, which was followed earlier this afternoon by
those riots, as Erica Green from “The Baltimore Sun” was just telling us,
while the funeral was happening today in Baltimore, 38 miles away at the
U.S. Capitol, simultaneous to that, the newest attorney general of the
United States was being sworn in.
Loretta Lynch, after an epic wait for confirmation, today becomes only
the second woman to hold the job of attorney general after Janet Reno. She
becomes only the second African-American to hold the job of attorney
general after Eric Holder. She`s obviously the first African-American
woman to ever hold the job.
And it turns out that her first day on the job, in fact, her first
hour on the job, started almost within earshot of these terrible riots in
the streets of Baltimore. Loretta Lynch`s Justice Department is already
committed to looking into the Freddie Gray case specifically to see if it
merits civil rights charges.
Today, the very first statement that Loretta Lynch issued as attorney
general was on the subject of these riots.
The statement read in part, quote, “I condemn the senseless acts of
violence by some individuals in Baltimore that have resulted in harm to law
enforcement officers, destruction of property and the shattering of the
peace in the city of Baltimore. Thos who commit violent actions,
ostensibly in protest of the death of Freddie Gray do a disservice to his
family, to his loved ones and to legitimate peaceful protesters who are
working to improve their community for all its residents. I will bring the
full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those
under threat, investigating wrongdoing and securing an end to violence.”
Her first statement at attorney general today.
Today`s split screen news of Loretta Lynch being sworn in as attorney
general and these riots in the vote less than an hour away showed just how
quickly today she got out of the confirmation frying pan and into the fire
of what it means to hold her very, very important new job.
We do not know if Attorney General Lynch will go to Baltimore the way
his predecessor Eric Holder traveled to Ferguson, in an attempt to be
calming influence in the protests and the riots there. But one person who
is going to Baltimore is the Reverend Al Sharpton. And tonight, the
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was asked about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Anyone who wants to add to the calls for peace in our
city is welcome. If Reverend Sharpton wants to come, if parents want to
encourage their children to act within the law, anybody that wants to be a
part of sending that message, I welcome it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now is the Reverend Al Sharpton, host of “POLITICS
NATION” here at MSNBC.
Rev, great to see you. Thank you.
REV. AL SHARPTON, POLITICS NATION: Good to be here.
MADDOW: You heard the mayor tonight saying that she welcomes any
intervention that will bring peace to Baltimore. What do you intend to do?
What do you think needs to happen next?
SHARPTON: Well, Reverend West and some of the activists called on me
this morning to come in and I said I would – we have a chapter of National
Action that works there, Larry Young and others, who have been on the
ground in the protests since this happened to Freddie Gray.
And one of the things that we have to stress is, if the objective is
justice and changing the accountability of law enforcement, we cannot do it
in violent way or becoming like what we are fighting. This goes through
the history of the civil rights movement.
You know, many people forget 50 years ago, yes, we had the Edmond
Pettus Bridge, but we also had the riots in Watts 50 years ago, the same
year. So a lot of people that romanticize the civil rights era, don`t want
to acknowledge, even in Dr. King`s days, Dr. King was very much alive in
`65, when Watts was burning.
You always have had people that have out of frustration acting in a
way that ends up adding more than it ends up is solving the problem. And
it`s usually police incidents that bring this on. When people feel they
have no way of redress with law enforcement, they explode. That is not to
excuse it. That is not to rationalize it. But that is the reality.
And I would want to go and work with the local grassroots folks, and
not the ones connected to the politics, city hall or whatever, to show what
works and what doesn`t, because the priority must be change and
accountability, as well as let`s not forget this family is the one that
suffered the loss. On the day they buried their son, they have to deal
with this kind of violence that they don`t want their son to be a symbol
And I think that these are the things I want to communicate, as I go
in, invited by Reverend West and now welcomed by the mayor.
The other thing that is important and it is interesting that you did
split screen on the attorney general being sworn in today and what`s going
on, this attorney general when he was a U.S. attorney here in New York,
prosecuted the police that sodomized –
MADDOW: Abner Louima.
SHARPTON: Abner Louima.
MADDOW: That`s right.
SHARPTON: I was very much involved in that movement. She put those
police – one of those police is still in jail tonight, 17, 18 years later.
So, you have one that has a record of saying yes, if the evidence is
there. No, if it`s not. She did not do Sean Bell (ph).
So I think it`s an opportunity to have a new tone set at the Justice
Department if they move forward, because Ms. Lynch has credibility in that
area. But I think at the end of the day, the anger and frustration, many
of us share and understand it – but the bottom line is, we want to see
change, not just to vent an emotional reaction, people calming down and
Yes, we need calm, but we need – for real peace, we need some
reordering of justice. There`s a difference between peace and quiet.
Quiet means shut up and suffer. Peace means let us learn to calmly deal
with these situations but deal with them we must.
MADDOW: I think, nationwide, people are very used to turning to you
and expecting to hear from you as an activist, as a national activist on
those issues when there is a family who needs somebody who knows how to
articulate their concerns and turn them to a constructive purpose. I think
the country sort of e expects that from you and seen you do that so many
I think what is less known about what you do is that in these
circumstances, very frequently, you are there on the ground working, as you
say on the grassroots level, to try to turn otherwise destructive,
potentially violent or violent anger into activism, into a constructive –
how do you do that? Like looking at the streets of Baltimore tonight,
watching these fires burn, looking at this escalating thing and all these
very young kids out there today, how do you with your record and with your
national profile make calm and cause people in a way that turns them toward
a more constructive path?
SHARPTON: One is you work with the people that`s on the ground who
they trust and know, who will take the flak. We get attacked by a lot of
the youngsters. We get attacked by some of the older people that are just
so frustrated. But you take that in order to say, OK, fine, you don`t
trust this, you don`t like this, some of us are older, whatever. But now
how do we solve the problem so there`s not another Fred Gray?
When you go through the litany of situations that you outlined I think
so well tonight, you understand what people nationwide are saying. Wait a
minute, every region of the country has a police situation now, a lot of it
because now we`re videoing. A lot of it, people were told for years that I
was hallucinating these things and we were making them up.
People are seeing it now and people are saying something must be done.
We`re facing a national crisis, we need a national solution, and
denigrating activists and the peaceful protests, the overwhelming majority
of people that have marched since Fred Gray, and in the cases, Eric Garner
and all, have been peaceful. To denigrate them, to blame them when someone
steps out of line is not the answer. The answer is let`s deal with the
Obviously, the system of accountability is broken. It needs to be
MADDOW: That`s right. And the message that it needs to be fixed in a
way that will be constructed to people feel like they been – people feel
like they have been heard and there isn`t another reason to go –
SHARPTON: Well, we can`t increase the brokenness and violence
increases the brokenness.
We fix means that we`ve got to step back from violence and say, wait a
minute, if a police officer is out of order, he should be held accountable.
Just like a citizen, it`s got to work both ways. But violence only, in my
opinion, makes it worse and adds to the burden of the victims.
MADDOW: Reverend Al Sharpton, the host of “POLITICS NATION” here at
MSNBC, leader of the National Action Network, and a life-long activist on
issues like this – thank you, sir.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
MADDOW: Good luck in Baltimore.
MADDOW: As the clashes between rioters and police in Baltimore were
escalating this afternoon, as police were being pelted with rocks and other
objects, and people were getting hurt, a news chopper caught this footage
of what appeared to be officers rushing an injured colleague away from the
fray. This is just before 4:00 p.m. this afternoon.
Shortly thereafter, the Baltimore police department said several of
their officers had been injured, describing some of the injuries as
serious, including police officers having broken bones and one officer who
they described as nonresponsive, as unconscious.
By this evening, Baltimore police chief said that the number of
injured officers stood at 15. He said two officers remained hospitalized,
while the rest had been released after treatment from minor injuries. The
chief did not go into detail on the injuries but he said that they were in
large part caused by flying debris.
What we still do not have at this time, of course, is any sense of how
many civilian injuries there are, or how serious they might be. But that
tends to be the number you don`t get, if ever, at least until a long time
down the road.
Joining us now is Neill Franklin. Mr. Franklin spent over two decades
with the Maryland State Police. He`s been out on the streets of Baltimore
Mr. Franklin, thank you very much for your time tonight. It`s
pleasure to have you here, sir.
NEILL FRANKLIN, FORMER MARYLAND STATE POLICE OFFICER: Rachel, thanks
for having me on tonight.
MADDOW: So, we are told that there will be a curfew put in place as
of tomorrow night in Baltimore. We`ve seen these protests escalate over
the course of day. Nobody exactly knows what`s going to happen tonight.
But the National Guard will be joining the policing effort.
From your experience and what you know about Baltimore, what do you
think is the best strategy for law enforcement to respond to a situation
like this one?
FRANKLIN: Well, I think with what you see now is the course of action
to take. Obviously, we need resources in people. The governor has made
that available. We have local law enforcement from many other
jurisdictions joining in tonight. Right behind me, Baltimore County police
department has assembled and are ready to go.
So, that`s where the Baltimore police department was at a disadvantage
earlier today when I don`t think many people expected the level of
violence, the level of action that occurred at the mall, Mondawmin Mall in
northwest Baltimore. And then once police started deploying, it was a
little difficult to deploy the number of officers needed to bring that
under control, to disperse the crowd.
And as long as that took, things got a little bit out of hand. Well,
I should have said a lot out of hand.
But now, we have the numbers of law enforcement personnel, boots on
the ground as we would say, assembled and in place and I think you`re going
to start to see us get a handle on this issue.
We will get through this. We will get through tonight. We will get
through tomorrow and the rest of this week.
My concern is, where do we go from there to prevent this from
happening again? Because if we don`t solve the systemic issues of policing
and the criminal justice system, then we`re going to be back here again and
again and again.
MADDOW: What we saw today from the police officers in the street were
some tactical decisions that they talked about and some tactical decisions
that they didn`t. As we just discussed with “The Baltimore Sun” reporter,
there was at least one incident which police picked up broken bricks and
rocks that were thrown at them and threw them back at the protesters. We
did also see police use nonlethal projectiles of various kinds and very
kinds of gas, we saw them start to use tactical and up-armored vehicles.
The adjutant general of the Maryland Guard said tonight there will be up-
armored Humvees on the street of Baltimore as of tonight, as National
Guardsmen and Women start to fill in among the police.
Is there – is that – as the police response starts to become more of
a military response and starts to look more like a military response, is
there a possibility that creates a more militant attitude among the
FRANKLIN: It`s possible, but you`re going to have to expect that
appearance. I say the appearance of a military response.
I don`t think you`re going to see the things that we saw in Ferguson.
You`re not going to see that here in Baltimore. But, obviously, the police
officers have to have the equipment, the vehicles available to protect
themselves. Some of these rocks are literally boulders, bricks being
thrown at them.
As they deploy, as they move from one place to another, they need
protection. For example, when one of the vans pulled into the location at
the mall carrying extra police officers to be deployed, someone hurled a
part of a brick through the back window of this van. So, it`s a regular
van. We can`t use those in some of the areas, we need the armored vehicle,
just as one of those times when you are going to need those vehicles to
move police officers safely, and others, who may be caught in the middle of
this unexpectedly, and others, civilian citizens, in and out only some of
these problematic areas.
So, there`s not much of a choice here now. We`re a to place now where
we have to get control of the city again, and we`ve got to do it quickly.
And then from that – I mean, the messages are being sent out, I`m so
glad to see the clergy in the city take to the streets, gathering other men
to take control of their neighborhoods. We need that. We need the mayor`s
office, we need city hall and we need to continue reserve of these police
officers that have been put in a very tough place.
MADDOW: Neill Franklin, veteran officer with the Maryland State
Police, who`s been out in the streets of Baltimore today – thank you so
much for your time tonight, sir. I appreciate it.
FRANKLIN: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. On Saturday night, during the ninth inning of the
Baltimore Orioles-Boston Red Sox game in Baltimore, this was the message
that flashed on the jumbotron in center field. “Due to an ongoing public
safety issue, the mayor of Baltimore City and the Baltimore County Police
Department have asked all fans to remain inside the ballpark until further
notice. Thank you.”
That was the jumbotron in the 9th inning of the game, the time most
fans were thinking about leaving the ballpark and going home. But the
Baltimore police locked everybody inside. They closed the gates to the
baseball stadium and would not allow anybody to leave. That was because of
what was going on outside of the stadium that night. What began as largely
peaceful protests in Baltimore on Saturday turned into a night of violent
clashes between police and protesters who are angry over the death of
Those protests on Saturday lasted until late into the night. Six
officers incurred minor injuries. There were about three dozen arrests on
This is what appeared on the Camden Yards jumbotron earlier today.
“Your attention, please. After consultation with the Baltimore City Police
Department, tonight`s game between the Orioles and the White Sox at Oriole
Park at Camden Yards has been postponed.” They called off the game.
The city of Baltimore, beyond just a baseball team, has effectively
been shut down over the street protests and fires and looting that began
this afternoon after the funeral for Freddie Gray. Those protests have
continued late into the night tonight. A 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew,
we`re told by the Baltimore mayor, is due to go in effect tomorrow.
Joining us now is City Councilman Nick Mosby. He represents District
7, which is an area where many of the protests have been taking place
Councilman, thank you very much for joining us. I appreciate your
NICK MOSBY, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL, MEMBER: Thanks for having me on,
MADDOW: How are things in district seven tonight? How are things in
the streets of the part of Baltimore that you represent? What do you think
is going to happen tonight?
MOSBY: So, the actual arrest and all the incidents leading up to the
untimely death of Mr. Gray took place in my district, as well as most –
the majority of the protests at the western district. And tonight, a lot
of the pictures that you guys are seeing of the rioting and looting.
The one thing I would like to stress, Rachel, this is one small
glimpse of all that`s been taking place over the last two weeks. It`s been
an amazing time for young folks in Baltimore who normally feel
disenfranchised by the justice system and political system. They feel
disconnected. They feel without a voice.
A lot of them stood strong, stood tall and really exercised their
voice in the right way. The unproductive violence we saw today is just one
small snippet of it. But the majority of the time, you know, they were
very strong and very passionate and unfortunately this is going to
overshadow all of the work that they`ve done today.
MADDOW: In terms of what you are expecting as a city leader and what
you are hearing from mayor, law enforcement, other authorities that are
trying to respond to what has happened today, what do you think of this
curfew that`s planned, the state of emergency that`s been called, the
activation of the National Guard potentially, there will be thousands of
national guards men and women on the streets in the Baltimore, alongside
the police response? It`s not martial law, but it will be a militarized
response, including up armored vehicles and military weapons.
How do you feel about that response?
MOSBY: Rachel, I have a low complex start around that. Actually, I
just left West Baltimore, west north avenue, where a group of probably two
to 300 men walked the community and really brought calm and allowed the
police officers to leave. I understand and know that at the end of the day
that violence is not acceptable anywhere.
It`s critically important that we develop ways of calming down our
communities. And unfortunately, we might need some tactical assistance in
But the bigger point, you know, how we go from here, how we grow from
here, how we heal our communities is really about the relationships with
these young folks. Again, these young folks who felt disenfranchised for
decades, they`re living out the sins from generations ago.
Unfortunately, you know, they`re doing it in a way – sorry, being
undereducated and uneducated in a way that`s more violent as opposed to
being intellectual about it. But it`s critically important that we get to
our children. They`re screaming out for our help. They`re begging for our
help. And tonight is not acceptable.
However, this should be a wakeup call. This is not a Baltimore city
thing, West Baltimore thing. This is an urban America thing.
It`s critically important that in these communities that are social,
economically depressed, that we provide real opportunities for these young
adults. And that`s where the anger, the frustration, and the actions that
you`re seeing tonight.
Again, it`s not acceptable. It should not go unnoticed, and it should
not go uncorrected (ph). However, I just want to lay out to your audience,
this is bigger than Freddie Gray, you know? This is a culmination of
systemic issues that plague these communities for decades.
MADDOW: In terms of trying to bridge that generational divide you`re
talking about, it has been striking to see those protests today kickoff
basically when school got out, to hear the police and local authorities say
that these are school-aged kids, to see even on Saturday night that some of
the people arrested were juveniles, so people under the age of 18, to hear
those sort of cries today that parents should find their children and get
them home, put themselves between these children and these protests. I
mean, you`re a young man yourself, Councilman. Talking to Reverend
Sharpton, he was talking about the criticism that he has felt, that he`s
too old to be connecting with young people who are so concerned here.
Do you feel like there`s a constructive dialogue between adults –
constructive-minded, civil rights-minded adults and the young people who
are so fired up?
MOSBY: I think unfortunately we do not listen enough, attentive
enough. We do not allow their voices to be heard in a way. And when
you`re dealing with a population who has been failed by the educational
system, unfortunately, they don`t necessarily know how to articulate
themselves in the right manner. You know, they feel voiceless.
Well, this movement that started in a very productive manner, going
productive 95 percent for the time, provided them the opportunity for that
voice. Unfortunately, through the frustration we`ve seen tonight, that
voice was done in a way that was violence. And again, you know, we have to
correct it. We have to go through it.
But this is a call to action. I mean, at the end of the day, all
change begins with our youth. That`s the history of this country. That`s
the history of this world. And that`s where I hope to organize. That`s
where I hope we can mobilize, you know, some of the young brothers we`ve
been talking to on the streets.
I just left a rally of about 200 and 300 men, where we walked the
streets, we hugged them, we loved them. We told them to stop the violence.
They did stop. The police was able to go away.
But now, we have to build on that. It`s all about relationships.
Unfortunately, we didn`t proactively have the relationships to get in front
of this, and that`s why we`re on national TV from a negative perspective.
MADDOW: City Councilman Nick Mosby – Councilman, thank you for your
time tonight. Good luck tonight with your constituents on this. I
appreciate it, sir.
MOSBY: Thank you so much, Rachel.
MADDOW: Again, City Councilman Nick Mosby represents district seven
in West Baltimore, which is both where a lot of the protests have been
tonight, it was also where Freddie Gray had that encounter with the police,
the arrest of Mr. Gray, which resulted in his death, ultimately.
Joining us now is Joel Anderson. Joel`s a senior national reporter
from “BuzzFeed News”. And Joel has been reporting from on the ground in
Baltimore all night long tonight.
Joel, thanks very much for joining us. Appreciate your time.
JOEL ANDERSON, BUZZFEED (via telephone): Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Can you give me some sense of what you`ve seen in terms of
the trajectory? One of the things we`re trying to figure out here is that
with this curfew going into effect tomorrow, it`s unclear what that`s going
to mean tonight, and whether people are tired after seven hours of this
protest now or whether this is likely to be an all-night thing.
ANDERSON: It`s really hard to predict. But, you know, at times, the
protests – the people out on the streets are gaining momentum, that
there`s going to be some larger conflict. All of a sudden, as soon as that
energy builds, it sort of dissipates.
So, it`s really tough to know. Like I said, I got here in the town
around 3:00, and it seemed really, really dangerous. I thought there was
going to be chaos all afternoon long. And then a couple of hours, it
settled down, and then it built back up. Right now, it seems like it`s
sort of calmed down a bit.
MADDOW: In terms of the injuries today, one of the things that
happens on reporting on incidents like this, you get more or less detailed,
but definitely specific information about injuries to police officer. We
were told, for example, on Saturday night that six police officers incurred
minor injuries. We were told today by the Baltimore police chief that 15
officers were injured, including two seriously enough that they were still
hospitalized tonight. Obviously, tons of concerns for those officers for
putting themselves on harms way for their communities.
Also, though, there`s concern about the level of violence out there on
the streets and whether or not civilians and protestors themselves are
Did you see any of that?
ANDERSON: You didn`t see a lot of that. For whatever reason, there
were not a lot of protestors or people in the street that got hurt. It
certainly feels like there`s the potential for that to go around. There`s
people throwing bottles out there, people breaking into stores. There`s
chaos around one store and you don`t know what`s going to happen.
So, I haven`t seen a lot of injuries out in the streets tonight.
Certainly it`s at that break going into tomorrow, you might start to see
more of that and see more reports of that.
MADDOW: Joel, one last question for you, and that is about the
interventions that the councilman was describing in terms of respecting
members of the community, in particular, men in the community stepping up
to be a calming influence. Did you see evidence of that today?
ANDERSON: Oh, absolutely. A lot of the older residents were
definitely trying to step in. Prevent confrontation with the firefighters
putting out fires in West Baltimore. I mean, they`re some of the most
people that are the most frustrated right now. They decried a lot of the
violence, of the looting.
So, yes, they`re definitely trying to reach out to some of these kids.
They`re getting mixed results from that, but they`re definitely trying to,
you know, calm some of this anger down.
MADDOW: Joel Anderson, senior national reporter for “BuzzFeed News”
who`s been on the streets of Baltimore all day today – thanks very much,
Joel. Appreciate it.
ANDERSON: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: All right. Well, you are looking at what we`ve got now in
terms of images from Baltimore, Maryland, today. Earlier today, riots and
looting did break out on the streets. Baltimore have seen days of mostly
peaceful protests about the police involved death of Freddie Gray, who was
arrested by police on April 12th. He was dead by April 19, after something
happened to him in police custody which put him in a coma and ultimately
The governor of the state of Maryland, Larry Hogan, has been on the
job for 90 days. Today, he called a state of emergency in Baltimore,
activated the National Guard. The National Guard adjutant general taking
pains to say tonight this does not mean martial law, does mean that the
military will be taking control. They will be operating in a support
environment for the police, but it will be military personnel with military
vehicles, up armored vehicles out on the streets of Baltimore.
The mayor of Baltimore has ordered a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00
a.m. starting tomorrow. The mayor of Baltimore says that curfew will last
one week. It`s 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. for everybody at large, but if
you`re under the age of 14, it will be a curfew that starts an hour earlier
at 9:00 p.m.
The police chief in Baltimore says 15 officers have been injured. One
officer this afternoon has reported to be unresponsive and unconscious
after serious injury.
These protests today game after the funeral was held earlier today for
Freddie Gray. He did die April 19th. He suffered a severe spinal cord
injury during or immediately after being arrested by Baltimore police.
That 2,200-seat church where they held the funeral today was packed with
mourners, plus standing room filled, plus an outflow to the outside of the
Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland delivered a speech
promising justice for Freddie Gray.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I`ve often said that our children
are the living messages we send to a future we will never see. But now our
children are sending us to a future they will never see. There`s something
wrong with that picture.
And so, family, it is our watch. We are the adults. We are the ones
who are passing through. And for me, I`m in the twilight years. But I am
telling you, we will not rest, we will not rest until we address this and
see that justice is done. We will not rest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Democratic Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.
We`re told that after that funeral today, Congressman Cummings joined
a group of 200 to 300 Baltimore men who walked through the streets of those
neighborhoods calling for peace.
That does it for us tonight. But MSNBC`s coverage of the situation on
the ground in Baltimore continues now on “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE
Good evening, Lawrence.
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