The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/28/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Chris. Appreciate it, my friend.
It`s great to have you on the ground.
We`re going to be back to Chris and a number of other reporters that
MSNBC and NBC have the scene tonight.
I want to thank you at home for staying with us the next hour.
There`s a lot going on in the world today included what ended up being a
historic day today in Baltimore, Maryland, for the first time in 47 years,
for the first time in nearly five decades. National Guard was deployed in
the streets of that city. Last time the National Guard was called to
patrol Baltimore streets was April 1968, for the riots that followed the
assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Baltimore rioted for more than a week after that assassination, and
6,000 National Guard troops were deployed in Baltimore for those riots in
Today, the number of national guardsmen and women on the streets sort
of grew steadily over the course of the last 24 hours. It seemed to be an
initial deployment of about 500 National Guard troops. And it increased
over the course of the day to what is now expected to be a deployment of
There`s a total force of about 5,000 troops that could be deployed by
the Maryland governor if he says to. But right now, again, that deployment
of national guardsmen and women in the streets of Baltimore stands at about
2,000 and those thousands of National Guard members, should be clear, they
are in military fatigues, they are members of the United States military,
they are armed with live ammunition and military weapons.
And as always, in these rare cases when our own military is called out
into our own streets, it can be jarring visually to see that, desert
camouflage and those sand colored armored military vehicles rolling through
Beyond the National Guard, there are thousands of police officers from
Baltimore and from across the region in that city today. Other
jurisdictions including New Jersey and Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.,
all sent backup police officers to reinforce and relieve the Baltimore PD.
At 10:00 Eastern Time tonight, less than an hour from now, we`re going
to find out if those thousands of law enforcement officers and the military
and all these other agencies that have been called out, we`re going to find
out if they will be necessary to enforce a mandatory curfew that is slated
to go into effect tonight at 10:00 p.m. sharp.
This is live footage you`re looking at right now. But in less than an
hour, there will be a curfew for everybody on the streets of Baltimore.
Last night, city officials announced a week-long curfew between the hours
of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. It starts tonight for the first time.
Baltimore`s police commissioner explained this afternoon that this
10:00 p.m. curfew applies to everyone with very few exceptions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BATTS, BALTIMORE POLICE COMMISSIONER: We have no exceptions
other than for medical or coming and going from work that we will be
stopping people who are out after curfew that we`re taking that seriously.
We`ll be out in strong numbers making sure that we have no issues within
our city and we ask everybody to cooperate and be understanding at this
point in time. I know it`s a little – it throws people off who want to go
out to have dinner in different other events. But as we move forward to
calm, I`d say, you have a little patience with us as we move forward,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We will be stopping people who are out after curfew. We`re
taking that seriously.
That curfew, again, starting tonight at 10:00 p.m. That was Baltimore
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts asking for patience tonight as law
enforcement officials start for the first time to enforce this curfew.
Nobody exactly knows how that`s going. But the city obviously in lots of
ways still reeling from yesterday`s violence and fires and the destruction
and looting in Baltimore streets.
According to the mayor`s office, last night`s violence resulted in 144
vehicle fires, 15 structure fires, and nearly 200 arrests within Baltimore.
19 police officers were injured yesterday.
This morning, after that incredible night, it was very quiet. Schools
were closed. A lot of Baltimore residents as of very early this morning
were out in the streets cleaning up, trying to put back together what was
torn apart last night in their city.
Shortly before noon today, rumors started spreading on Twitter and
other social media that a mall on the western edge of Baltimore was going
to be the sign of some further silence today. Those threats did not
materialize throughout the day, but the folks who run that mall decided to
close it down. It was their call. The city says it was a voluntary
decision by that mall`s ownership. But whatever was threatened on social
media that caused them to close it down, nothing seems to have happened.
Around that same time – this was interesting – as we were learning
at midday today about the supposed threats against that mall, we also
learned about a hard to believe historic in a weird way development having
to do with baseball. Baltimore`s baseball team is the Baltimore Orioles.
They play at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in downtown Baltimore. Orioles
were supposed to play a home game last night against the Chicago White Sox.
For all the reasons that you think that Orioles game in Baltimore last
night was canceled, they also decided to postpone another game that was due
to be played today, also a home game in the orioles` downtown Baltimore
stadium. But in addition to that game yesterday and that game was
scheduled for today, they also have another home game scheduled for
tomorrow, for Wednesday.
Today, the Orioles announced that tomorrow`s game, the Wednesday game,
it will be played. They are not postponing that one. It`s going to be
played at home at the Orioles home stadium in Baltimore, but that game will
be, and I quote, “closed to public”, which means that the Baltimore Orioles
and the Chicago White Sox will be playing a professional baseball game in
Baltimore tomorrow in a completely empty stadium.
No lines for beer or peanuts. The wave might finally work. But, boy,
is that going to be weird. Nobody in Major League Baseball today including
the official historian of Major League Baseball could remember anything
like this ever happening before in American history.
It has happened in pro-soccer overseas maybe. It once happened in a
college baseball game because there was flooding near the game, but in
terms of a Major League ball game? They have never before played in a
completely empty stadium. Not even the Florida Marlins have done that,
although they try every year.
That audience-less Orioles/White Sox game which will look like a
regular Florida Marlins game, it will happen tomorrow afternoon at 2:00
p.m. in Baltimore.
As we were learning about that historically strange piece of sports
news today, President Obama was at a press conference today in the White
House Rose Garden alongside the Japanese prime minister who`s visiting for
a big state visit that includes a formal state dinner and the whole nine
And while he was giving this joint press conference with the Japanese
prime minister about a lot of issues of joint concern to the United States
and Japan, he also went off at length to speak with some passion about the
situation in Baltimore. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I`d say is this
has not been a slow rolling crisis. This has been going on for a long
time. This is not new. We shouldn`t pretend that it`s new.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We`re going to have more on the president`s remarks on
Baltimore coming up later on in the show this hour.
Although almost all, 99 percent, of what we saw today in Baltimore was
peaceful, there was one brief moment just after 2:00 p.m. this afternoon,
there were reports of some crowds in West Baltimore getting rowdy and
potentially tending toward violence, throwing bottles and traffic cones at
police officers. Police reportedly responded with tear gas.
There were a lot of reports immediately, though, that it really was
the crowd, itself, that calmed that situation down once it got started this
afternoon. It was the crowd – members of the crowd, itself, that reined
in that flare-up before it turned into a serious situation this afternoon
in west Baltimore.
For most of the day, though, the crowds gathered in the city, moved
through the city quite peacefully, in some cases even joyously. NBC`s
affiliate in Baltimore, WBIL, which has been doing great, great, great
coverage through this crisis in their home city. WBIL today described the
scene for most of the day today as, quote, “half protest, half festival.”
God bless you, Baltimore.
Baltimore`s mayor this evening called these last 24 hours a defining
moment in the history of that city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, MAYOR OF BALTIMORE: Last night was a very
rough period for our city. But today, I think we saw a lot more of what
Baltimore was about. We saw people coming together to reclaim our city,
clean our city, and to help heal our city. I think this can be our
defining moment and not the darkest days that we saw yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This evening, we also learned that Baltimore schools are
planning to be open tomorrow. They were closed today. It was a
controversial decision. The council of parent/teacher organizations in
Baltimore today came out and said they supported the Baltimore decision to
close schools today, even though it got a lot of national criticism,
including in the national media.
But after closing the schools today, they`re planning to have
Baltimore schools open tomorrow. At least that is the plan for now.
The head of the Baltimore school system tonight issued this letter to
parents saying that Baltimore schools` officials are in constant contact
with law enforcement. It says if the situation on the ground deteriorates
overnight, they may revisit the decision to open schools.
Quote, “Should we become concerned about safety, we will re-evaluate
our decisions to open schools tomorrow. In that case, announcements will
be made online via social media outlets and all local media outlets by 5:30
a.m. tomorrow morning.”
So, again, Baltimore schools planning to be open tomorrow, unless
something bad happens overnight and they reconsider, in which case they say
they`ll make the announcement by 5:30 a.m. at the latest.
In the same letter to parents, the schools chief of Baltimore also
promises to find and hold accountable any Baltimore students who were
engaged in illegal activity in the city yesterday and last night. Quote,
“We are working to identify those students who will experience consequences
in full accordance with the law and the city schools` code of conduct.”
It has been a long tense day in Baltimore. It has been a trying day.
There are thousands of police officers, thousands of National Guard troops
on the streets of Baltimore tonight.
Again, it is disconcerting to think about the fact that National Guard
troops on the streets of Baltimore are armed with military weapons and live
ammunition on the streets of any major American city.
But so far, the story of today is peaceful, peaceful protests.
Peaceful crowds, crowds policing themselves and community organizing like
you can`t believe.
Tonight is not like last night in Baltimore. This mandatory curfew
goes into effect in less than an hour. We will see what happens then.
Joining us now live from Baltimore is NBC News correspondent Gabe
Gabe, thanks very much for joining us. Appreciate your time.
GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You bet, Rachel.
Yes, we`re here at the corner of Pennsylvania and West North. This is
right next to that CVS pharmacy that was burned and looted yesterday.
I want to ask my cameraman to pan around here. You can see the scene.
There`s a lot of reporters here, but also a lot of protesters. They`ve
been here pretty much throughout the day, several days. They`ve been here
pretty much throughout the day.
Again, as you say, this has been a very peaceful protest. The crowd
has grown just a little bit within the past few hours, but as you can see,
this has been peaceful.
Now, within the past few minutes, we did see that police had got on
their blow horns and asked people to clear the streets. These people here
have cleared the streets. If the camera can pan over there, may be we`ll
able to see a large group moving in one direction.
Again, this hasn`t been violent in any way. These protesters have
been peaceful. However, several people that we have talked to here
throughout the day have expressed frustration at this curfew that takes
effect at 10:00. The big question right now, what will happen at 10:00
when this curfew takes effect?
Again, most of the people, the vast majority seem to be peaceful. But
what happens if a small contingent wants to cause trouble? That`s what
police are trying to balance right now and make sure that this doesn`t
escalate very quickly, Rachel.
So, again, right now, we`re here. The crowd is dispersed even within
the past few seconds. Hopefully this calm holds past the 10:00 hour.
Back to you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Gabe, as you`ve been watching the protesters and people who
are out at that site talk amongst themselves and make decisions about what
to do, does it seem to you that there is leadership within the crowd, that
there are community leaders or anybody else taking it upon themselves to
give advice to urge people to do specific things or not do specific thing,
or is it pretty organization – is it a pretty organic situation?
GUTIERREZ: Well, it`s – it`s a little bit of all things. There`s
lots of different groups here, obviously. There are community leaders here
that are urging residents to stay calm, really to not, you know, get in any
sort of confrontation with the police.
Even just a few minutes ago, there were a few protesters and a few
community residents had locked arms and moved away from the police. Every
time there has been some sort of minor confrontation between some of the
demonstrators, perhaps, that they may be throwing a water bottle at the
police or something like that, that happened earlier this afternoon.
Almost immediately, other members of the community stepped in, urged
people to get back. They urged people to deescalate the situation very
quickly. And what they really want to do is to shift the focus back to
Freddie Gray and not to the violence that we saw yesterday.
But, and right now, the situation was – I don`t want to say it was
celebratory a couple hours ago, but there was music playing, people were,
you know, kind of taking back their streets. Taking back their community
and wanting to move forward past this violence.
Right now, there`s a lot of uncertainty about what`s going to happen
when 10:00 rolls around. There`s the police helicopter hovering overhead.
You see the crowd has dispersed, and police have been telling people to
move out of here ever since 9:00.
So, the hope is they will take this hour and disperse and we won`t see
any of the type of violence that we saw yesterday, Rachel. But back to
your question, yes, there have been members of the community that have been
taking a stand and urging people here to really not escalate this
Back to you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Appreciate it. Gabe Gutierrez, NBC News correspondent on
scene at Pennsylvania and West North Avenue, which has become the epicenter
for both as you can see media coverage of what`s been happening but also a
place for people to be gathered both in the neighborhood in which the
protests have been concentrated in part because of their proximity to where
Freddie Gray was arrested and injured – injuries in police custody that
ultimately led to his death.
This was also very near the site of some of the worst looting and
burning and violence last night. So, it`s become a real locust – a real
point of focus, at least, in West Baltimore.
Huge news day today. Ahead, we`re going to have much more on this
current situation in Baltimore, including some forceful remarks today from
But we are throughout the night keeping an eye on the clock. They`re
going to be enforcing this 10:00 p.m. curfew for the first time tonight.
Police say they will not be shy about arresting people who are still out on
the streets at 10:00 p.m. There are a lot of people still out on the
streets and it`s about 45 minutes from 10:00 p.m.
Stay with us tonight.
MADDOW: We were just talking about that intersection of North Avenue
and Pennsylvania Avenue. We were just speaking to Gabe Gutierrez. So many
folks are still out tonight as we bear down on this 10:00 p.m. curfew.
Take a look at this footage from that spot. From North Avenue and
Pennsylvania Avenue from earlier this afternoon. This is what broke out in
sort of the midst of the action there this afternoon.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: That is the Baltimore brass factory, local band of six brass
musicians and percussionists. One of the band members told the “Washington
Post” that he and his band mates decided to show up and play in the streets
to bring the healing of music. He said, quote, “That`s how I can best help
people get their mind off the negativity. It`s all about putting some love
into the air.”
A reporter from the “Baltimore Sun” captured this scene earlier
tonight as well. Just before nightfall, same neighborhood. It looks to be
kind of an impromptu roller circle right in the middle of the
demonstrations. That has its own calming effect.
And then, of course, now, famously, there was this moment from last
night during a really, really tense hours of those protests.
MADDOW: Yes, Baltimore, that is in fact a really good Michael Jackson
impersonator putting on a one-man show to “Beat It” in the middle of the
street with a line of police in riot gear just off in the distance.
You know, when Baltimore decides to keep the peace, when Baltimore
residents decide to show how to stay out in the streets, but keep the
peace, they do it their own Baltimore way. God bless you.
More ahead. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: So, we are awaiting a press conference by the Baltimore
police. We`re going to bring you that as it starts tonight. Baltimore, of
course, is looking to enforce a 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. citywide curfew
tonight for the first time.
MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid tonight has been at a community
town hall event at the Empowerment Temple in West Baltimore tonight. It
was hosted by the temple`s pastor, Dr. Jamal Bryant, who you saw last night
and yesterday was the person who gave the eulogy at Freddie Gray`s funeral
yesterday in Baltimore before the violent protests last night started.
That community meeting that Joy has been at just wrapped up ahead of
the 10:00 p.m. curfew tonight. Joy Reid joins us now.
Joy, thanks very much for joining us.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rachel.
And the community meeting that was here at the Empowerment Temple
actually is just breaking up now so people are heading presumably home and
that is going to be the challenge, everybody trying to get in by the
I`m here with Asma Hanif, who attended the community meeting tonight.
And, Asma, what brought you out tonight?
ASMA HANIF, COMMUNITY RESIDENT: What brought me out is because when
you diagnose people like we see in Baltimore city, you have to ask
yourself, are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
I wanted to be able to understand what the problem is and to then join
in being a part of the solution. I work with children in the public school
system and I`ve heard their pain, I have felt their sorrows, all of these
things. And they really want to be able to voice what is happening with
And we have to figure out a way in which to do that where we don`t
further, you know, marginalize them or further, you know, push them back.
So, I wanted to be able to be a help.
REID: And you said you work with children. What did you make of the
decision to have children stay home today rather than be in school?
HANIF: OK. I`ll try not to get into trouble here. But I do agree if
you make the children stay home, what you do is take away some place that
they can be safe, because one of the things that I do is as a nurse I
provide, you know, sports physicals for the children to be able to play
sports. Because, to get them off the streets and on the playing field.
So, what we did today, we put them back on the streets and we gave
them nothing to do other than get in trouble. And that`s exactly what
children do. They have to make up activities on their own and figure out
what they`re going to do with six, eight hours of the day.
REID: And, finally, what do you expect to happen tonight? The curfew
is coming upon us relatively quickly. Do you plan on going straight home?
What do you expect to happen in your community tonight?
HANIF: I expect to go straight home, just so you don`t have to come
and bail me out, as well as I feel that even though it makes sense
logically to keep the children out of trouble, but is this really what we
want to do to turn Baltimore into a police state where now, you know,
everybody`s being penalized because of, you know, a major problem of social
REID: Yes. Rachel, what we heard inside – thank you, Asma – was
really emotional testimony. People were getting up on the microphone one
after the other and telling really searing personal stories, in some cases
becoming emotional, tearing up talking about the relationships between the
community and police. Not a great deal of trust here, not a great deal of
trust in the leadership of the city, but definitely trust in themselves.
You heard people trying to take back their community and to really
empower themselves, using the church and this interfaith effort that was
multidenominational, it`s Muslim, it`s Christian, it`s Jewish. And,
hopefully, it will have a positive and lasting effect.
Back to you, Rachel.
MADDOW: MSNBC national correspondent, Joy Reid.
It is remarkable – Joy, thank you – to see this upsurge in community
organizing really is what it is, in Baltimore. Baltimore is a city that is
– it`s a big city. It`s a real city. It`s got real communities where
people are deeply rooted. It is not a transient place that people move in
and out of like a lot of lot of suburban communities where we`ve seen
previous conflicts with police boil over into unrest over these past few
months and past year.
Baltimore is a city who knows who it is and has a lot of deep-rooted
community institutions. And we`re seeing them spring into action today in
the midst of this crisis in their streets.
Tonight, about 35 minutes from now, is going to be the start of a
citywide curfew. It`s an experiment in Baltimore. They have not yet tried
to enforce a citywide curfew. But 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., they say that
anybody on the streets without a good excuse will be subject to an arrest.
The list of good excuses is short. You`re either on your way to or from
work, you`re having a medical emergency, or it was mentioned today possibly
it might be OK if you`re on your way to the airport.
But other than that, they`re going it to be trying to clear the
streets. Though a lot of people still out tonight. Again, these community
organizations stepping up to be as constructive as possible – we saw a lot
of constructive organizing today in Baltimore.
We`ll have much more ahead. Right now, we`re awaiting a press
conference from the police. It`s expected to start shortly. We`ll bring
it to you live as soon as it starts.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Baltimore`s looking to enforce a 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
curfew starting tonight. The city`s mayor announced last night that this
curfew would go into effect for a week. Tonight is the first night –
we`re awaiting the latest news from the Baltimore police about how they`re
going to enforce it.
Let`s go to the police now.
CAPT. J. ERIC KOWALCZYK, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Good
evening. I apologize in the delay coming out.
We have a situation unfolding in the southern district where one of
our officers was injured by a group. I don`t have the exact circumstances
around that. I know that is an in-progress situation. We were trying to
get more information as soon as it came out. As soon as I have more
information about that, we`ll obviously let you know.
We`ve also been getting a lot of questions this afternoon about some
of the shootings that have taken place in the city. As of right now, there
was no connectivity to the events that are taking place. If that
information changes, we would let you know.
But right now, our detectives are investigating the cases and does not
appear to be any connectivity. Obviously, the curfew is the thing that
everybody has the most questions about. I`m going to try to give you as
much information as I can about that before we hit the so10:00 hour and
then we`ll go from there.
What I can absolutely tell you at 10:00 the curfew will be enforced.
At 10:00, we will enforce the curfew.
Right now, our officers are driving around the city. They`re using
the public address devices on their police cars to inform people that the
curfew will be enacted at 10:00. Our police helicopter has been making
public announcements over the P.A. system that we`ll enforce the cure few
at 10:00. The city is in the process of using our reverse 911 system to
contact every resident in the city with a landline and inform them we will
enforce the curfew at 10:00. We will enforce the curfew at 10:00.
We are asking our media partners that are covering locations that have
groups of people where we might have officers deployed to please stay clear
of the officers if they begin to move in to enforce the curfew. We do not
want to see any media that are covering the events arrested.
Obviously, media has every right to be there. We encourage you to be
anywhere that our officers are. We`re just asking that you stand clear if
in the unlikely event what we hope to be an unlikely event our officers are
forced to enforce the curfew.
And with that, I will take any questions that you might have.
KOWALCZYK: So, again, as we discussed earlier, our officers have a
wide range of discretion with the curfew. If you`re coming home from work
or on your way to work, if there`s a medical emergency and you`re en route
to seek medical treatment – obviously, those officers have discretion.
We also have discretion for other situations that night arise. Our
officers are going to use common sense to enforce the curfew. What this is
about is preserving the public peace, so if we find someone out in
violation of the curfew and the decision is made that they are not out for
one of the purposes that we`ve talked about, they will be arrested.
REPORTER: How will the curfew be enforced with these large groups of
demonstrators? Is there a plan in place?
KOWALCZYK: There is a plan in place. The large group of
demonstrators that are out, our helicopter has been flying over repeatedly
advising the curfew be enforced. In fact, you`ve seen a fairly large
number of the people have departed from the areas where we had larger
gatherings. And those that remain, if they`re still there at 10:00, we
will enforce the curfew.
REPORTER: Sir, you said where that officer was injured again?
POLICE: This in our southern district. Right now, that is ongoing
situation. As soon as we have more information, we`ll put it out on our
Twitter site, @BaltimorePolice.
There was an interaction between a group of people and group of
officers. What exactly that is, what connectivity that might have is
something we`re going to look into. Because it is happening right now, we
wanted to make sure to get adequate information out as quickly as we could.
REPORTER: Can you – there seems to be a little bit of confusion
about whether or not the youth curfew during the day –
REPORTER: – can you explain that?
We talked earlier about the youth curfew during the day. The
emergency powers give the police commissioner a wide range of discretion
with regards to juvenile curfews.
Right now, we have not acted upon that discretion. We are not going
to enforce the juvenile criminal component of the curfew law tomorrow.
When schools open, there is a daytime curfew law that has been in
effect for generations. That is not this. The criminal portion will not
for juveniles, will not be enforced during the daytime right now.
REPORTER: Can you talk about the circumstances that would lead the
commissioner to enact that –
KOWALCZYK: I don`t want to speculate about what circumstances could
lead to that. What we know right now is today we saw, again, what we`re
used to in Baltimore, a group of protesters, people coming together to
voice concerns that they have for the city. They did so in a manner that
was peaceful. It is what we`re used to seeing in Baltimore.
In fact, in some of the coverage I saw that there appeared to be
people dancing and appeared to be instruments there.
Apologies. I think I lose to a helicopter.
We saw what we`re used to seeing in Baltimore and that`s people coming
together. They did so in a manner that was peaceful. We saw that across
the city today. We saw a march take place across the city.
There is a shift in the language and the tone right now. We`re hoping
that everything remains peaceful. We would like everything to remain
This is – we want – we want people to see what Baltimore is, and
it`s a peaceful city. It`s a city where people aren`t afraid to come
together to exercise their First Amendment rights and do so in a manner
that is uplifting and that`s what we saw today. That`s what we`re hoping
continues until the curfew.
KOWALCZYK: There have been a couple of incidents, some interactions.
We have not affected any arrests in the last couple of hours. But there is
growing indication in some of what we`re seeing that the mood has shifted a
little bit. We`re hoping that that`s just a tone and that at 10:00 when
the curfew goes into effect, everyone will have gone home peacefully.
REPORTER: Are you prepared to arrest hundreds if not thousands of
people if out after the curfew? What kind of charges will they face? What
does the night look for somebody?
KOWALCZYK: We can put out the wording for the criminal charges,
that`s something we can make available to everyone.
I don`t want to speculate about how many people we may or may not have
to arrest. Our hope is the messages we`re putting out that we`ve been
talking about this all day, the public address to people through our police
cars, through the helicopter, the reverse 911 calls. We truly hope that
the message is getting out that this police department will, in fact,
support the – enforce the curfew across the city.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last question.
REPORTER: How will curfew enforcement look like?
KOWALCZYK: I`m not sure I follow the question.
REPORTER: Describe the process of enforcing the curfew.
KOWALCZYK: The process is very simple. If we see people out on the
streets of Baltimore after the curfew hour, we will determine what the
reason is that people are out, and if they are not out for one of the
enumerated reasons going to or from work, a medical emergency, or some
other valid reason such as coming home late from a trip and your plane just
landed – again, our officers have discretion, but short of those things,
if you`re in violation of the curfew ordinance, we will effect an arrest.
All right, folks. Let me just tell you this. We will do another
briefing in an hour. We will continue to update on Baltimore police
Twitter @BaltimorePolice. Thank you.
REPORTER: Thank you. Let me get the spelling of the name, please?
Eric with a K –
MADDOW: That is the Baltimore police department spokesman repeatedly
assuring the press tonight and through the press, the public, we will
enforce the curfew, we will enforce the curfew, we will enforce the curfew.
That curfew, again, slated to go into effect tonight in about 23
minutes. It`s the first time Baltimore will be trying to effect this
curfew, 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. everybody. It applies to everybody.
As the spokesman just said there, the enumerated exceptions to the
curfew tonight are very few. If you`re going to or from work, if you have
some sort of medical reason, or as he described, if police determine that
you are out for another reason that is acceptable, that would not adversely
affect the purpose of the curfew, which is as he described it to preserve
They will arrest you. They said they also in response to a question
from the press, police spokesman also said that there is a plan not just
for individually approaching people and determining their own personal
reasons for why they might be violating the curfew, but there is a plan, he
said, for how to deal with any large groups of people who are still in the
street at 10:00 p.m.
What you are looking at right now is one of the larger groups of
people on the streets of Baltimore that just about 20 minutes away from the
curfew are still out there.
We just spoke to NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez who`s there on that site. A
number of reporters there on that site. What everybody`s describing is
that within the last hour, there has been a movement of people, in pretty
large numbers, away from this area. But there are still a lot of people
One last thing, in terms of how people on the street know that the
protest – that the curfew is going into effect, police spokesman described
that there are essentially loud speakers, there are P.A. announcements
being made from Baltimore police cars that are circulating throughout
Baltimore streets. They`re also making public address announcements from
Baltimore police helicopters that are flying over the city streets. He
also said they`ve activated reverse 911 technology in the streets of
Baltimore which means they – in his words, they are calling every single
landline in the city of Baltimore to tell people that the curfew is going
I would just note, of course, if you are home and answering your
landline, that means you`re at home already, so you don`t need to be told
to go home.
They`re being very clear about what they`re going to do, but how this
is going to work on the streets is yet to be seen.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Joining us live from the streets of Baltimore is Trymaine
Lee. He`s national reporter with MSNBC.
Trymaine, thanks very much for being with us, about 15 minutes before
this curfew goes into effect.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: I`ll tell you what, it`s an
eerie feeling you felt in Ferguson the first night of the curfew, and you
wondered, which way would it go? How would law enforcement respond? How
would the protesters and people respond?
A few minutes ago, I heard what sounded like a recording of the mayor
urging people to go home peacefully and quietly. Now, even though the
crowd has thinned, folks are still hunkered down.
If you can see behind me, folks are still gathered in the street,
gathered along the side of the road. You still see the police officers
lined up with a military vehicle behind them.
Again, this feels so much like Ferguson felt, except for the fact
Ferguson was for the most part was confined to four, five blocks in a few
places. This is a major city. This is West Baltimore.
And one other thing that`s different, in Ferguson, folks will tell you
how angry they were at the police. I spoke to some folks today who were
angry about their existence here in West Baltimore, saying they felt
neglected, they felt isolated, they felt that the city officials had long
One young lady said it`s not about Freddie Gray. It`s not about what
happened last night. It`s about money and the people in this community
don`t have any. She said people were talking about go get your kids. They
said their parents aren`t there so the kids are left to their own.
That`s what we`re dealing with here. That`s the sense you feel. In
about 15 minutes, we`re going to see, you know, how strongly people want to
come out and express themselves. Be it anger at the situation, anger at
the police, whatever it is, but the police are ready.
During that press conference earlier, they said they will be enforcing
that 10:00 curfew. That`s the fact. They`re going to enforce it. Now,
how vigorously, we`ll see.
MADDOW: Trymaine, obviously, one of the things we`re seeing
specifically where you`re at and the shots we can see behind you, there`s a
ton of press there, a ton of reporters there. You can see photojournalists
there. You can see TV journalists there. A lot of people looking to cover
Is it your sense with – we saw a little bit of this in Ferguson which
is why I`m asking. Is it your presence of the media affecting what`s
happening on the ground and whether or not people are wanting to stay out
there? Are protesters interacting with the media as the media?
LEE: I think – I think it depends. Earlier the same young lady who
was expressing herself in such an angry way was saying the only time the
media shows up is because they want to politicize it in some way and get
attention in some way. Other times, you heard people say, just like in
Ferguson – stay, don`t leave, capture this.
But when there`s such a media presence, you can`t help but feel we`re
altering the situation in some way. Now, in some meaningful way? I don`t
know. The fact you look around and see cameras and you see lights, and you
see reporters with note pads everywhere you turn, it has to mean something.
Now, again, like in Ferguson if the tear gas starts, if they start
pushing, here we are just with them.
So, again, undoubtedly, we`re having some impact. To what degree, I`m
not sure that this point.
MADDOW: Trymaine Lee, national reporter with MSNBC – just an
excellent reporter. It`s great to have you there. Thank you very much.
We`re going to talk to a Baltimore City councilman who represents the
district where Freddie Gray`s arrest went down and where much of the
violent protests yesterday and last night happened. He`s going to be
joining us in just a moment as we close down on this curfew, 15 minutes
from now in Baltimore.
That councilman is going to be joining us from city hall. We`re told
that he will not have a problem with the curfew closing in on him in these
last few minutes, but all eyes on the streets of West Baltimore tonight.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: One small thing to know heading into tomorrow, right now,
we`re minutes away from the citywide curfew in Baltimore taking effect for
the first time. It`s from 10:00 p.m. tonight to 5:00 a.m. tomorrow. We
will see how that goes. Baltimore police pledging this curfew will be
enforced starting a few minutes from now.
We`ll be watching to see whether the block party atmosphere that was
at times pretty awesome to watch today gives way to quiet streets tomorrow
or to not that.
A few hours ago, though, the Baltimore Sympathy Orchestra announced
they would do their part to try to continue the block party side of things
that we saw this afternoon.
The Baltimore Orioles may be planning to play a Major League Baseball
game in front of an empty stadium with no fans allowed tomorrow in downtown
Baltimore. As weird as that is, at the same time that game is going on
tomorrow, the Baltimore symphony now says they will play a free concert for
Baltimore outside – noon tomorrow, free concert by the Baltimore symphony
outside symphony hall. Tomorrow at noon.
They say, quote, “It seems we could all use a lit music in our lives
right about now.”
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: So, one of the important things to know about the logistics
from hereon out is that schools are due to be open again tomorrow in
Baltimore, that announcement coming late today from the Baltimore schools
Today, though, Baltimore schools were closed, and that meant school
kids had to go somewhere. Neighborhood libraries opened as usual today.
The manager of this library in West Baltimore, right at the site of
neighborhood kids streaming back into that library branch today when they
opened, that branch of that free library, seeing the kids come back today,
quote, “made my heart melt. The library is a safe place.”
There are 85,000 kids in Baltimore public schools, 84 percent of them
qualifying for free lunch or reduced cost lunch. What that means in
practical terms is that no school equals no lunch for school-aged kids.
So, today, Baltimore stepped up on that front, too. Restaurants and
community centers and churches offered free lunch for school kids with
schools closed. You can see the organizing on that today, #BaltimoreLunch.
One school opened their rec center for the day. The principal of that
school Joe Manko (ph) told us nine out of ten kids at his school at Liberty
Elementary qualified for free or subsidized meals.
Today, people from the neighborhood around t that school brought
breakfast, lunch and dinner for a few dozen Liberty Elementary kids who
showed up even though school was technically closed.
Then, there was just spontaneous community gatherings, like when NBA
player Will Barton invited people from Baltimore to join him in Cloverdale
Park for a conversation and a block party. Will Barton is a Baltimore
native. He drew a big peaceful and young crowd.
The story is not over in Baltimore, not by a long shot. It is already
a way more complicated and frankly a way more constructive story than what
you have seen just from the burning cars and the angry fights that we
showed all night last night.
Joining us now is Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby.
Councilman Mosby, thanks very much for your time tonight.
NICK MOSBY, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCILMAN: Rachel, thanks for having me
MADDOW: We`re heading towards this curfew tonight in less than ten
minutes. What have you been hearing from your constituents and what do you
want to happen tonight?
MOSBY: I want folks to want to obey the curfew, understanding and
knowing that this situation is so fragile. I just hope that we`ll be able
to get through the night very peace – you know, with peace and, you know,
none of the unproductive things that we saw, you know, transformed last
MADDOW: In terms of the police and their expectations for how they`re
going to enforce this thing, they say that on an individual level, they`ll
try to ascertain if people have a good reason to be on the streets.
They`ll use common sense to figure out if people ought to be arrested.
They say they`ll have a plan in place if there are large groups of people
still on the streets.
As a councilman, do you intend to or do you plan to be involved
somehow over the course of the night as you see these enforcement efforts
MOSBY: Say that one more time, Rachel.
MADDOW: Do you expect that you`ll be involved over the course of the
night as police start enforcing this curfew?
MOSBY: Yes. I mean, I`m going to be directly involved. I was out on
the street pretty late last night. And I expect to do the same thing, just
driving through the district, just seeing what`s going on.
I mean, one thing that worked last night that unfortunately all the
violence over-shadowed was going on to the corners, speaking to so many
young guys, really calming the situation to allow the police to kind of
move in and control the situation. That is what this city is about. I
mean, all the positive reporting that you just talked about, the
communities coming together, it`s the real story of Baltimore.
Unfortunately, you know, the 5 percent of the time throughout this
entire movement or process, we`ve seen the negativity. You know, that is
going to over-shadow all the productive steps that Baltimore has taken.
You know, last night hit our city hard. It`s going to be something
that will potentially have residual effects for decades. But I think what
you have highlighted several times today, the resiliency of Baltimoreans,
that is what we`re going to continue to see throughout this process.
MADDOW: You must be happy to have seen community institutions,
churches, impromptu groups of adults, and responsible young people stepping
today and being so at the forefront, so loud, so overt about their efforts
to control the response and make it constructive.
After our conversations last night, I thought all day today, you must
have been proud to see that.
MOSBY: Yes. Extremely pleased by the participation and leadership of
But, really, Rachel, not surprised. I mean, I don`t care where you go
in the worst community, take me to the worst block, the worst corner.
There`s going to be more folks who care about that community, than one or
two wrecking havoc on it, for a balance perspective.
And that is the typical Baltimore story. Block by block, there`s
community leaders. As you said, Baltimore is a very rich city with history
and with culture specifically around our neighborhoods. That was clearly
evident tonight as you have showed throughout your pieces.
MADDOW: Nick Mosby, member of the Baltimore City Council representing
district seven, which is at the heart of a lot of this – sir, thank you
very much for your time tonight. I know it`s going to be a daunting night
with the curfew going into effect. Good luck to you.
MOSBY: Thank you so much, Rachel.
MADDOW: Really appreciate you being here, sir.
All right. We are about four minutes away. Excuse me, control room.
Oh, I want to bring in – I`m sorry about that. I want to bring in my
colleague, Steve Kornacki, who has been keeping an eye on social media and
watching social media tonight in terms of its both predictive value and
what it can show us about what`s happening tonight in Baltimore.
Steve, what do you got?
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: Yes, Rachel, I want to tell you about an
incident that`s been developing in the last half hour. This is actually
fair amount of distance away from sort of ground zero for all the activity
last night where all the sort of eyes are right now.
This is from the Baltimore police. This tweet you`re looking at here.
This came out just a few minutes ago, saying that officers are making
arrests at Patapsco and 9th Street. They say a group started throwing
bricks and rocks at officers. One officer was injured. They`re now making
There have been unconfirmed arrests on social media from citizens on
social media saying that there were shots fired. There`s no confirmation
of anything like that from police or officials right now.
But again, the interesting things here is, this is taking place not
near where all of those scenes are that you`re seeing on television, not
where most of the reporters are. This is in the Brooklyn section of
Baltimore. This is far south. This is miles south from where that CVS
This is very – this is a low income section of Baltimore. There`s
apparently a somewhat pronounced number of the Bloods, the gang, the Bloods
in this neighborhood. Police saying they are now making arrests there.
Rocks, bricks are now being thrown at officers and one officer injured.
MADDOW: Steve, thanks for keeping an eye on that.
You know, we`ve been told by the Baltimore police that Their twitter
feed should be seen as a very active means of communication as stuff pops
in policing in Baltimore. And we have seen that over the course of this
This is a live shot of the scene in Baltimore right now. Protests
today, again, were overwhelmingly peaceful in nature. We are now on the
cusp of the new 10:00 citywide curfew that`s due to be enforced by
Baltimore PD. It`s going to be a test of this hard one, peace in Baltimore
today, so much has happened over the last 24 hours.
The day started with hundreds of people showing up at first light to
clean up, to sweep up and clean up after last night`s violence in
Baltimore. It also started with members of the National Guard deploying on
the streets by this afternoon. Nearly 2,000 national guardsmen and women
in place, along with 1,000 cops from Baltimore and surrounding towns, even
state troopers from neighboring states and D.C.
It will be law enforcement`s job to enforce this curfew when it goes
into effect. Nobody knows exactly how that`s going to work on the streets
“USA Today” reporter Yamiche Alcindor posted this video several
minutes ago of people saying they would refuse to go home, they would
refuse the police`s entreaties to leave and get off the streets tonight.
Just moments ago, the Baltimore Police Department spokesman said they
were making arrests after being attacked with rocks and bricks, an instant
that stick is just describing. Baltimore police spokesmen tonight said on
camera officers would have some discretion of how they enforce this curfew
that is due to go into effect in less than a couple minutes now. They say
if you do have a valid reason for being out of the streets, they will
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOWALCZYK: Well, I can absolutely tell you is that at 10:00, the
curfew will be enforced. At 10:00, we will enforce the curfew.
Right now, our officers are driving around the city. They`re using
the public address devices on their police cars to inform people that the
curfew will be enacted at 10:00.
Our officers have a wide range of discretion with the curfew. If
you`re coming home from work, or on your way to work, if there`s a medical
emergency and you`re en route to seek medical treatment, those officers
We have discretion for other situations that might arise. Our
officers are going to use common sense to enforce the curfew. What this is
about is preserving the public peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was the Baltimore police spokesman within the last hour
talking about how they`re going to enforce this curfew which starts
basically right now. You are still seeing on these live shots that there
are people in the streets. We`re seeing a lot of police presence,
including the National Guard, and most people have left and gone home. But
some people are still out there.
They do intend to enforce this curfew in Baltimore tonight. We`ll be
live on this throughout the evening.
We`ll continue to watch and cover this unfolding situation on MSNBC.
Our special coverage continues right now with Lawrence O`Donnell.
Stay with us.
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