The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/30/15
CHRIS HAYES, ALL IN: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks.
And thanks to you at home for joining this hour.
Tonight for a third night, Baltimore, Maryland, is planning to impose a
citywide curfew. As you know, Baltimore police said they plan to keep the
curfew going through the weekend.
But tonight will be their attempt to enforce night three. Curfew starts
throughout the large city of Baltimore at 10:00 p.m. tonight, goes through
5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. The National Guard is also in the streets for
a third straight night, supplementing Baltimore police and supporting
police that have been shipped in from surrounding communities and states.
Last night and the night before have seen some tension in the streets
around the time of the start of the curfew at 10:00 p.m. But honestly,
there has been no repeat this week of the large scale rioting and arson and
looting and violent clashes with police that we saw on Monday afternoon and
Monday night in the aftermath of the funeral of 25-year-old Baltimore
resident Freddie Gray.
Today, several other cities cross the country continue to hold
demonstrations and marches and rallies in solidarity with Baltimore,
including a big demonstration in Philadelphia today, ands into tonight.
There was also a good size march and rally in Cincinnati today, in Ohio.
Baltimore has been marching again today as well. Despite some rain today
in Baltimore, there was another good size crowd today demanding justice for
Freddie Gray, a big, peaceful march in Baltimore today.
Major developments in the story today – you`re looking a live shot here –
the major developments in this story were about honestly the investigations
into Mr. Gray`s death. The Baltimore police say that they have completed
their investigation, the police department investigation. They said today
that they handed over their information to the local prosecutor`s office so
she can make a decision on whether or not charges will be brought against
anyone in conjunction with Freddie Gray`s death. He died, of course, after
he was brought into custody and mortally wounded somehow on April 12th. He
died on April 19th.
The local prosecutor`s office also put out a statement today acknowledging
that her office received that information from the Baltimore police but
that prosecutor also said today that her office will not just rely on the
information from the police. The local prosecutor is saying that they will
include that information in what they are doing but they are also doing
their own independent inquiry.
So, we look at the live shots from the streets of Baltimore.
Let go to MSNBC reporter Joy Reid who`s been in Baltimore all week and has
been doing great reporting tonight.
Joy, tell us what it feels like tonight about an hour ahead of the curfew.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Rachel. And in
an hour ahead, just like last night, the square is full. It might be a
little bit more full, at least when we`re standing here.
And, Rachel, I don`t know if you can see over my shoulder, but just in this
area behind me, a few minutes ago, there was an intense conversation going
on between some young men from this community and the police captain who
oversees this area, a really intense conversation that has now moved in
If you can swing over and just look at the men, he`s right over there.
He`s sort of moving through the crowd, trying to talk to people about what
he`s saying is the process they need to understand. If I could
characterize the feelings of people that we`ve talked to in Baltimore today
toward the police, Rachel, it would be one word, distrust – maybe extreme
distrust. The conversation that people are having is about a lack of faith
in the process. They don`t believe these officers are going to be held to
They don`t believe any of the leaked information that`s coming out that
Freddie Gray was harmed somehow inside that vehicle or harmed himself.
People are using harsh words like murder, that they were saying that
Freddie Gray was killed, and they don`t expect accountability.
That former Friday deadline that was so important to so many people, to the
point where pastors were going into high schools to try to disabuse young
people of the notion that Friday was important, that it was a deadline,
releasing the information early was about dialing that down.
And even at a meeting at which national civil rights leaders from all
around, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, our own
Reverend Al Sharpton, the NAACP, came together to support the mayor,
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, to really give her some backup today – on the
streets of Baltimore all we are seeing is the raw emotion, anger and
distrust that people feel about this process, about what they see as a lack
of justice that`s coming for Freddie Gray.
So, we will just keep monitoring and seeing what happens. If I can quickly
introduce you to somebody that I spoke with earlier, come quick and tell me
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anani (ph).
REID: Anani, we had a conversation earlier. Do you expect there to be
justice for Freddie Gray? What do you think about the process so far?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, first of all, brutality breeds resistance, you
know? And there won`t be any process that will be given to us because we
know it takes time. And we know that something like this would be
unprecedented to charge police because this would start to trickle down and
hold more police accountable. And I think that right now it`s a recovery.
And they`re saying things and trying to retract statements.
I think they lack the honesty they need to tell the youth, the things that
ignited and upset the youth are repeating itself. The youth were braver
than most adults would ever do in their life.
What I notice now is they`re condemning the youth for what has happened but
they were the ones on the front line, they were the ones upset, they were
ones that brung all this attention to all the problems that plague
Baltimore youth, Baltimore citizens. And the majority of them are black.
That`s truth of the matter.
And they want to go ahead, as you said earlier. They want to disarm the
students. They want to tell them it`s not going to come out on Friday
because they don`t want to get them upset again and they keep getting their
REID: And just in your estimation, as somebody who lives here, what do you
think will happen when Friday comes and goes and it becomes clear that
there isn`t going to be a public release of information, what do you think
happens on Saturday and Sunday, as we see two big rallies coming to the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s what it seems to be is rallies. But the
children are more heartbroken because they don`t understand there is a
The people we elect, these public officials, they haven`t been clear about
that because everyone is trying to protect their image. They`re not giving
the youth, the citizens the accurate information that there`s a process
that has to go about. They need to show us step by step by step what`s
happening instead of being silent, and these are the things that ignite us.
So, when Saturday comes, when Sunday come, they want to uplift the curfew
and they want to say, OK, it`s gone and they want things to be back to
business as usual, you will once again have heartbroken youth, heartbroken
citizens that just still want justice for Freddie Gray and other things
that plague our community.
REID: All right. Well, Anani speaks for a lot of people and very
eloquently obviously. He expresses the feelings of this community, Rachel.
Not really good news to report about the vibe and the way people feel out
here. But this is raw and it`s very real and it`s definitely palpable, you
can feel the sort of anger.
But it`s also a peaceful, overall movement. We were just at a march early
today, quite peaceful. But people are angry, Rachel. People are angry,
they`re passionate and they don`t frankly believe that there`s going to be
MADDOW: Joy, let me ask you – you`re talking about the sense of distrust
and anger and the tension that you can feel right now between Baltimoreans
and the police. What about the way the police are handling the
demonstrations, and the way the police are handling the state of emergency,
and the way they`re handling the curfew. Is the policing of this situation
right here also a tense confrontation sort of thing?
It doesn`t look like it. It looks like a relaxed relationship relatively
speaking between the protesters and police, between the concerned community
and the police who are out there in the streets trying to make sure Monday
doesn`t happen again.
REID: Yes, absolutely. I mean, you can really tell that the marching
orders of the police department here are to be very, very restrained. Even
when there have been shows of force in the sense of showing their physical
presence and the body armor and the shields, there`s been a lot of
restraint and there`s been a lot of conversations between local officials
and the way they want this curfew to be policed.
As you can see, it`s with minimal force and it`s sort of dialing back.
I`ll quickly ask Anani about how the policing of this has been so far?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, ironically, this is something that we`re used to.
You know, it may be on a broader scale but the police police our
communities a lot, and that`s one of the – probably one of the main
reasons that Freddie Gray ran, in the attempt to show that they`re
protecting business, it puts fear in the hearts of us because we expect the
same people to protect us and we pay their taxes. They also are the ones
that brutalize us.
So, even though it may be a peaceful demonstration as you see, the thing
that goes on constantly is the brutality, the snatching up, the jacking up.
So, even though we see them here, there is an anxiety and the fear that
happens with them being here, even though it`s peaceful, they`re still puts
us on edge. It doesn`t makes feel like we`re protected but more or less
the businesses and property are protected.
REID: Yes, I`ve heard that for the last few days, even though the police
are comporting themselves, very calmly and serenely, people feel they`re
here to protect the businesses. They`re here to protect the property, the
buildings. But there`s just not the relationship.
And I think it`s one of those things where you don`t have police officers
that have enough relationships with the members of the community to walk
through the crowd as the captain did and he is local. So, he was able to
do that and did have a conversation.
But again, it wasn`t a conversation between people who seemed to be on
accord, it was very tense, it was very confrontational. And I just think
that`s the way it is. And that`s a systemic problem that I don`t think
gets solved with three and four days of being calm in the way they`re
policing this community.
MADDOW: MSNBC national reporter Joy Reid with an incredibly articulate
young man, thank you very much for doing that. Let`s see if we can get him
a camera of his own, we can hire him temporarily as a D.J. for us because
that was great reporting from him as well. Thanks.
REID: I agree. Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Tell him he should give as a call.
MADDOW: All right. When I say D.J., I mean digital journalist.
You know, every once in a while, you start talking about where things are
coming from in their own community and realized that you`d like not only to
hear more from them but you`d like them to be the reporter in their own
neighborhoods for the national media`s behalf. I feel like that`s been
happening all week long as we`ve been talking to people on the streets in
As we`ve been reporting tonight and all week, the city of Baltimore is
under curfew. It`s the third night in a row. It`s supposed to be set for
an entire week. The Baltimore police suggested it will continue through
the weekend and may end on Monday.
Since the situation in Baltimore seems to be getting better by the day or
at least not returning to the levels of violence we saw on Monday, the
protests since Monday have been almost 100 percent peaceful. Some people
are calling for the curfew to be lifted ahead of when the city says it
wants to lift it. People are saying they want it to not extend through the
weekend, and not extend to Monday, but instead be lifted now.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, the ACLU Maryland, sent a
letter to Baltimore`s mayor today, arguing that curfew is an infringement
on people`s right to protest.
Today, Baltimore`s police commissioner addressed complaints like that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BATTS, BALTIMORE POLICE COMMISSIONER: What I`d like to caution,
because we`ve had two days of quiet and the city has become stable and
settle itself down, we have resident and business people who are saying,
can we take the curfew away? Things are settled. Can you kind of retract
some of the curfew ordinance?
I would say this – although we`ve had two days of peace and quiet, we
still have a weekend to make it through. I ask for your patience, I ask
for your understanding as we move through.
We have two very large marches that are going to take place throughout the
weekend and in a very short notice as I walked in, I was instructed and
told that we have a lot more protests that are popping up by the minute.
And even if we didn`t, we have other cities that have large protests that
their activities impact our city, too. So at this point, we`re going to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now is Sonia Kumar. She`s a staff attorney for the
ACLU of Maryland.
Ms. Kumar, thanks very much for joining us this hour. Appreciate your
SONIA KUMAR, ACLU MARYLAND: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Why has the ACLU asked for Baltimore to lift this curfew?
KUMAR: You know, we`re really actually joining a chorus of sort of
individuals, organizations and businesses that you and other media have
been talking to all week about sort of saying, you know, we`ve shown we`re
OK right now, we have the right to be out in our city, going about our
The situation is under control. We`ve had several – we`ve had a number of
protests that have been entirely peaceful, thousands of people in the
streets, and it`s we`re sort of ready for the sort of extra sense that
we`re under an extra sense of surveillance and sort of military style
enforcement, we`re ready for that to – for this extra layer to be rolled
MADDOW: In terms of the curfew enforcement thus far, obviously nobody
really knew what was going to happen when Baltimore started to enforce
this, this 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. There was a bit of a violent
confrontation that didn`t last very long the first night they tried to
enforce that. Since then, it seems to have been enforced mostly peacefully
and overall the level violent clashing between protesters and police seems
to be a lot lower since they instituted the curfew. We saw earlier, in the
week before, it was in effect.
In some ways, do you think it has been effective?
KUMAR: Yes. I mean, I think it`s absolutely true that people have really
shown that the curfew is really no longer needed and I think it`s important
to sort of – you know, you all are not seeing this but we are surrounded
by people who are engaged in incredibly important conversations about how
we`re going to make our city better, how we`re going to address policing
and those conversations are being cut short because people are forced
inside, sort of in the absence of any real need for that.
MADDOW: One of the things that we`ve been watching on social media today
and it`s hard for us to verify, but I will say we`re seeing a lot of
reports that seem to reinforce the impression that the curfew is only being
imposed in certain parts of Baltimore. Baltimore is a big city. It`s more
than 600,000 people.
What`s being discussed online today and what`s starting seemingly be a
source of anger is that the curfew only really applies to mostly black
neighborhoods and that in wealthier parts of the city, parts of the city
that haven`t seen big protest activity, that the curfew isn`t being
enforced in those places and they can live as usual.
Is that your estimation that that`s happening? Is that part of your – the
reason that you`re objecting?
KUMAR: That`s absolutely one of our concerns. You know, there`s always a
sense in which – you know, we often have rules that are going to be what
we call facially neutral. But the question is whether they`re being
enforced selectively, right? And that`s absolutely a concern and that is I
think actually at the core of the topic of discussion sort in the weeks –
in the time since Freddie Gray`s death is that all of this comes back to
the sense that there`s selective enforcement of policing in our society and
in our city of course.
And so, there`s a concern in which sort of this is another example of that.
And it`s really clearly not needed. We`re all calling for sort of a chance
to reexamine how we`ve done things. Let`s start by lifting the curfew now
that it`s really clear that it`s not needed.
MADDOW: Sonia Kumar, staff attorney for the ACLU of Maryland – I have to
say, as soon as I heard they were considering a curfew and imposing it, I
sort of set my watch as to when we would be talking to our first staff
attorney from the ACLU of Maryland, we finally got you here now. Thanks
for explaining us explain your perspective on it. Much appreciated.
KUMAR: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We have much more ahead from Baltimore and elsewhere.
Tonight for the interview, we`re going to be speaking with a legendary
civil rights attorney from the city of Baltimore who is now acting as an
attorney for Freddie Gray`s family. I`m very much looking forward to that
conversation. That`s an exclusive here tonight. You`re going to want to
Plus, we`ve got a lot more ahead, including some images from what`s turned
into a really large and at times very confrontation protest in
Philadelphia. We`ll be back with some live shots and also some shots of
what happened in that march earlier tonight, right after this.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: We`ve been keeping an eye on streaming video today from cities
across the country where protests have been going on in solidarity with the
Baltimore protests. We`ve been watching those feeds all day. This is one
of the more dramatic scenes that broke out earlier this evening.
This is in Philadelphia as protesters were trying to get to what looked
like an on-ramp to the expressway in Philly. Big pushing and shoving match
broke out between the frontlines to the protesters and police officers and
including bike cops and randomly there were some bikes in the middle of it.
It ended up not as bad as it looked right then but this big march from
Philly is ongoing right now.
And we`ve got a live report from that, next.
MADDOW: So, you`re looking here at live images of Philadelphia tonight.
Sizable demonstrations and protests have been going on today in a number of
different cities. It`s been particularly big and at times contentious in
Philly, demonstration in Dilworth Plaza this afternoon. It was entirely
peaceful, as were a couple of marches that followed.
But around 8 p.m., as we just showed a moment ago, you could see there was
a brief but intense clash between protesters and police, some demonstrators
apparently trying to get on to the Vine Street expressway, or on to the on-
ramp. Police were blocking the on-ramps for a while. It was a big shoving
match. It looked for a while that it might get more out of control than it
After that tussling, the police decided to let those protesters go through
to where they wanted to be and the protesters moved through and moved on
One group of protesters in Philly tonight gathered outside the federal
detention center outside the jail, chanting, “We are one, we are one.” No
word on any arrests yet. It has been a bit of an intense night in Philly.
Joining us now by phone is Mike Newall. He`s a metro columnist for “The
Mr. Newall, I know it maybe a little bit hard to hear us depending where
you are right now. But thanks for joining us.
MIKE NEWALL, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER METRO REPORTER (via telephone): My
MADDOW: Can you tell us where you are and what the protests have been like
in Philly tonight?
NEWALL: Yes, sure. I`m at the parkway. I ducked in somewhere to be able
to hear you. But, yes, as you said, there was a brief moment around 8:00
on an entrance ramp to one of our freeways where the police held the line
for a moment, there was some pushing and shoving. They did, like you said,
let them go, let them pass through.
We have reports of three arrests, a few minor injuries, one of the chief
inspectors looked like he suffered a bloody lip in the melee. But other
than that, we were very fortunate, there were times the protesters were
aggressive in the marching through the downtown areas, about three hours.
Police are reporting no property damage, just a few arrests.
I think it was very lucky or the police handed it very well to not have
anything escalate further than this did on that ramp.
MADDOW: Mike, is this one of those situations where there has been a
single group of people moving that has been en masse from place to place or
has it been either multiple marches that started in different places, or
one group that`s been splintering into smaller groups as they move?
NEWALL: We had about a thousand people meet – estimate of about 600 to
1,000 people meet at city hall for an intense or very, you know, emotional
but peaceful protest. Two marches splintered off from there. One went to
Temple University and the other went through downtown.
I haven`t heard any problems with the marchers that headed to Temple and
the marchers that headed toward downtown. There was one group that
continue to be picking people up along the way or anything, but that was
the group that came to the brief confrontation on the ramp.
MADDOW: OK. Mike Newall, metro columnist for the “Philly Inquirer”, we`d
love to stay in touch with you tonight as this protests continue, Mike.
Thanks for joining us.
NEWALL: Thank you.
MADDOW: Again, those protests moving through Philly. As Mr. Newall from
“The Inquirer” said there, this has been going on for a long time in Philly
tonight, started off as a group of about a thousand. That group split in
two different groups and they have been moving through the city.
As you see, when they move through the city, they have been blocking some
motorways. There was one intense confrontation, pushing and shoving
confrontation with police, but there are no reports of property damage.
And at this point, only small numbers – very small numbers of arrests
reported as those demonstrations continue in Philly and some other cities
around the country tonight.
All right. Still ahead, we`ve got the attorney for Freddie Gray`s family
who is going to be joining us tonight. And we`re looking down the barrel
of the third night of the curfew being imposed on the streets of Baltimore.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, still ahead tonight, we`ve got that exclusive interview with
an iconic civil rights lawyer who is acting as one of the attorneys for
Freddie Gray`s family in Baltimore. I`m very much looking forward to that.
We`re going to get his take on the state of the investigation that was
leaked last night and today about that investigation which has a lot of
people very angry. We`re going to get his take and the Gray family`s take
on what Baltimoreans should expect to hear in the coming days about this
case, even as a couple of large rallies are planned this weekend in
The situation in Baltimore, I mean has the city in a continuing state of
emergency. It has the National Guard out on the streets. It`s got a
curfew that`s expected to be in effect not just tonight but through the
weekend and into Monday.
And nationwide, it`s got the nation fairly riveted to Baltimore`s response
and to what Baltimore is going through.
And we will continue our watch on Baltimore tonight and other cities
protesting in solidarity with Baltimore.
You should know that there has been a bit of a flurry of other news going
on in the world while this has been happening. Just tonight, you should
know, Andrea Mitchell has gotten a scoop that the Obama Presidential
Library is going to go to Chicago, rather than to New York City, which
where the president went to college, or to Hawaii, which is where the
president was born and spent much of his childhood. New York and Hawaii
were both thought to have a claim on the library but it`s going to Chicago.
NBC News confirming the Barack Obama Presidential Library will go to
Chicago. And it is expected but not yet confirmed that it will be
connected to the University of Chicago. Again, no official announcement
yet but Andrea Mitchell tonight got that scoop for NBC.
Today also happens to be the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, the
day helicopters carried away the last Americans in Saigon as the side that
American troops had supported in the Vietnamese civil war lost that war and
the North Vietnamese swept into Saigon and took the city 40 years ago today
the last Americans off the roofs in Saigon – April 30th.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders today has declared today he is running for
president. Bernie Sanders is now the second Democratic nomination to
officially enter the race, after Hillary Clinton did so two and a half
weeks ago. In announcing his bid, Sanders said, “Do not underestimate me.”
He told the press that he has never run a negative ad in his political
career, and he will not run a negative campaign now.
But he did point out when asked about differences between himself and
former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he did point out that he, Bernie
Sanders at least, had the good sense to vote against the Iraq war when she
voted in favor of it.
From Afghanistan, the “New York Times” just had a provocative scoop in
which their reporters Azam Ahmed and Joseph Goldstein reported that the
U.S. combat mission on the ground and in the air in Afghanistan is still
going. The combat mission is going great gangbusters despite political
claims in Washington that the combat mission is over.
“The Times” also had another scoop about the American Psychological
Association collaborating secretly with the Bush administration to support
the torture of prisoners by U.S. personnel during the time George W. Bush
was president. Psychologists are blowing the whistle now on the American
Psychological Association, saying that group helped Bush White House and
the CIA make torture seem legal during the Bush years, and they changed
their own ethics rules to try to OK medical personnel participating in
torture sessions which would otherwise be very clearly against medical
In Nepal today, full five days after the earthquake that devastated that
country and killed more than 5,000 people, today incredibly, a teenager was
pulled alive from the rubble. After five days trapped and unable to move,
he was pulled out alive. Just incredible.
In Kansas, the policies of Republican Governor Sam Brownback have so
starved that state that half a dozen school district courts are ending
their school years early because they can`t afford to keep the schools open
until the end of the school year. Still, though, Sam Brownback found a
half million dollars to set aside a public taxpayer money, he`s found a
half million dollars to see aside as a defense fund for the radical new
anti-abortion law that he just signed. He signed it already earlier this
month. You can see him here. He was flanked by giant poster board blowout
photos of fetuses when he signed it. But now, he`s just started a tour
around the state to reenact the signing again at schools around Kansas,
ones that aren`t closing early because he took their money to use it to
defend his abortion bill.
Republicans in Congress have announced plans to make it legal in
Washington, D.C., to fire someone if they have an abortion. That`s nice
for Washington D.C.
Republicans in Colorado have just zeroed funding for a successful public
health program in that state, which reduced that teen`s pregnancy rate by
40 percent, and reduced the state`s abortion rate among young women by 35
percent. It`s been wildly successful in Colorado. It makes IUDs available
to young woman who couldn`t otherwise afford them. So, they have safe,
That program has been studied nationwide as a model program in Colorado
because it`s been so successful. But today, an all-male committee in the
Republican controlled Colorado Senate killed the program because – because
Republicans politics are like that in the states and in Washington and all
around the country.
But even as those incredible politics stories keep breaking around the
country this week and the news does keep chugging along, right, and the
presidential politicking ahead of 2016 builds steam, we`re expecting at
least three more candidates to announce next week, even as all that happens
in the news universe, what the streets of Baltimore have done nationally –
which I think nobody really expected – is they have put criminal justice
and policing reform, sentencing reform, right at the top of the national
conversation, right at the top of the national political agenda.
Congressional leaders of both parties reportedly this week scrambling to
find and endorse criminal justice reforms of some kind, some sort of reform
proposals to respond to the anger in the streets of Baltimore, and what has
called that anger in the first place.
Presidential candidates cooking up policy positions and new stump speeches
on policing, and sentencing and criminal justice reform and race. We are
in a new era all of a sudden of criminal justice reform as popular American
And it`s not exactly a bipartisan thing but it is at least something that
is very interestingly partisan.
Twenty-three years ago, it wasn`t Hillary Clinton running to be president.
It was Bill Clinton running to be president. In the months leading up to
that 1992 election when he was first elected president, while he was
campaigning for president in 1992, the country was consumed by and
horrified by and traumatized by the 1992 riots following the acquittal of
police officers who beat an African-American man named Rodney King on the
side of an L.A. highway.
Rodney King`s beating was captured on tape, which was very unusual on those
But when no one was held accountable for that beating, L.A. rioted for six
straight days; 53 people died in the L.A. riots, 53 people. There were
thousands of arrests. The country was scared.
And Democratic Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in the middle of that, he
became the tough on crime Democratic presidential candidate of 1992. The
tough on crime bumper sticker had previously been on Republican cars, but
with his patented magic triangulation strategy, Bill Clinton took that
Republican campaign promise and made it Democratic-ish.
Bill Clinton, of course, won that year. In so doing, he made Poppy Bush a
one-term president. And so, we got President Bill Clinton in 1992, and we
got more than just Bill Clinton tough on crime rhetoric, we got his tough
on crime bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Americans said we want more police on the
streets. President Clinton heard you. Now, there are gong to be 100,000
fewer bureaucrats and 100,000 more policemen in your communities.
You said violent criminals ought not to be free on the streets. President
Clinton heard you. Now we have three strikes and you`re out for violent
I want to single out for special recognition, the chairman of the Senate
Judiciary Committee who has fought tirelessly for this bill for six long
years, Senator Joe Biden. Would you stand, Senator Joe Biden?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: There`s Joe Biden right behind al gore at that signing ceremony.
That was not just a bill. It was not, you know, some little messaging bill
that didn`t really do anything. That 1994 crime bill that Joe Biden helmed
and that Bill Clinton put as the center of his campaign for the presidency,
it was the biggest change in criminal justice policy at the federal level
since World War II.
The Democratic law resulted in big increases in the number of police
officers on the streets, the number of prisons, the number of prisoners,
mandatory minimum sentences, the federal three strikes you`re out law, the
increase in the number of death penalty-eligible crimes, all under a
Democratic president put together by Democrats in Congress – huge
Democratic support in the Congress.
The only Democrat who voted against that bill in the whole Senate was Russ
Feingold. All of a sudden, in the Clinton presidency tough on crime became
an unimpeachably Democratic promise.
Now, though, that tide is going in the other direction. There`s no longer
a national fight between the parties, or within the parties, about who is
tougher on crime. That has been in part by the real world consequences of
the tough on crime policies from the `90s, right? We`ve got huge prison
populations, huge criminal justice budget, poor outcomes in terms of any
deterrent effect that these policies are supposed to have. And, of course,
we got the shockingly disproportionate effects of those policies on
minority populations, specifically on African-American men.
But that shift in the national conversation has been driven more acutely in
the past year by the horrible and nationally resonant stories of police
violence, whether it was Eric Garner in New York, or Michael Brown in
Ferguson, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Walter Scott in South Carolina, and,
and, and – now, of course, Freddie Gray in Baltimore, who was arrested by
Baltimore police, placed in a police van and then dead within a week of
that encounter for something we still don`t understand.
Those deaths and so many more have acutely forced this topic of criminal
justice reform and policing reform on to the national stage.
This week, several candidates and would-be candidates for 2016 published
essays altogether, all in one book detailing their proposals on criminal
Chris Christie, and Hillary Clinton, and Ted Cruz, and Martin O`Malley, and
Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio, and Jim Webb, all of these different disparate
political characters all appearing in the same criminal justice reform
Yesterday, Hillary Clinton gave her first major policy speech since
announcing her presidential run, and it was all about this topic, all about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we have seen in
Baltimore should indeed I think does tear at our soul.
There is something profoundly wrong when African-American men are still far
more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes and
sentenced to longer prison terms than are meted out to their white
There is something wrong with a third of all black men face the prospect of
prison during their lifetimes. And an estimated 1.5 million black men are,
quote, “missing” from their families and communities because of
incarceration and premature death.
There is something wrong when more than one out of every three young black
men in Baltimore cannot find a job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton in her first policy speech since announcing her
run for president, she went on in that speech actually to praise some
Republicans for their work on criminal justice reform, shouting out Mike
Lee, senator from Utah, and Rand Paul, senator from Kentucky, as people who
have constructive ideas on criminal justice issues.
You wouldn`t expect that from a policy speech in the heart of a
presidential campaign, but on this issue, there`s a lot of agreement. I
mean, on mandatory minimum sentences, on felon voting rights and drug
treatment as an alternative to incarceration, and body cameras for police
officers, and ending the era of mass incarceration all over, there is
bipartisan consensus in our politics right now, even at the sharp end of
our politician right now. It is a competition for reform ideas. It`s not
a competition anymore to see who is toughest on crime.
Our national conversation has absolutely taken a U-turn on this subject. I
mean, it was already shifting before this year but now it has become really
dramatic. Since Ferguson, it has accelerated. And since Baltimore this
week, it has taken over.
It is fascinating. I mean, if you`re interested in national politics,
right, it is fascinating that there`s not sharp partisan divide. That does
constructively make everything possible. I mean, national conversation
don`t usually change this fast. The fact that it has changed this fast and
that there isn`t a partisan divide may mean that we get a whole new set of
national policies on this issue. Watch the space.
But in the meantime whether or not we get a new national conversation, or a
new bipartisanship on this subject, or new national policies on this topic,
while that`s all being sorted, on the ground – this is Baltimore tonight.
It is not a big picture matter in Baltimore on the streets right now. It`s
not an abstract political discussion. Right now, it`s very specific, and
it is very much about justice for Freddie Gray and for Baltimore.
MADDOW: Baltimore`s looking for the third night in a row to enforce a
citywide curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
MSNBC`s Trymaine Lee is out at the intersection where a lot of people have
been gathering over the course of these three nights, even right up until
the time that the curfew is starting to be enforced.
Do we have Trymaine with us now?
Trymaine, thanks for being with us.
What do you think is going to happen as we head toward 10 p.m.? Do you
think the curfew will go into effect tonight the way it has the last couple
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: I`ll tell you, what, Rachel – last
couple of hours, at first it was kind of calm, there had been a big march
and rally, everyone was excited and exuberant. The rain came down and kind
But we came out here to this corner by the burnt out CVS, and folks started
getting kind of chippy. Some small pockets were kind of swelling into the
street and obstructing traffic.
But I want to show you what`s happening right now. A big group of
protesters have locked arms and they were blocking this intersection. Now
they`re going directly into the middle of the street.
Now, a while ago the police helicopter circled and made an announcement for
your own safety, get out of the roadway. Clearly now, the size of the
group that has taken over the roadway has gotten even larger. There seems
to be a coordinated effort. They`re locking arms and now consuming the
Meanwhile, there are police lining up on either side of the street. They
don`t look like they`re in any position to take any action but they`re just
MADDOW: Those people moving, are they moving toward or away from a police
LEE: No, that`s the thing. The police haven`t established a line in the
roadway. The police are actually on either way waiting for an order. Now,
I did see Commissioner Batts right around the corner. He just met with
Rep. Elijah Cummings, shaking hands with some of these guys.
Again, right now, the police are in a holding pattern, just watching and
waiting. The helicopters are starting to fly a little lower as you see
them shining the light down. But again, we`re 15 minutes away, folks are
gathering, the crowd is swelling. You know what, it`s only a matter of
The last couple nights again they`ve been quiet, somewhat peaceful and a
little after the curfew, folks started to dissipate. We`ll see if tonight
offers that same kind of thing. But as of right now, folks look they`re
ready to dig in a little bit.
MADDOW: Trymaine Lee, we`ll be back with you as this curfew settles in
tonight 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Trymaine, thank you.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us here. We`re looking at night three of
the curfew in Baltimore.
MADDOW: So, we`re going to show you kind of a split screen here for a
second. We`re going to show you what`s going on in the streets of
Baltimore as we head into the third night of curfew and state of emergency
in that city.
On the other side of your screen, we`re going to show you something that
happened on Monday night in the middle of the worst of the violence after
that day of looting and violence and arson and rioting in the streets of
Billy Murphy, who is a civil rights icon in Baltimore, comes from a very
prominent family of civil rights activists in Baltimore, who has been
retained as a lawyer for Freddie Gray`s family, on Monday night, he stood
up and made a bit of remarkable speech essentially out of press conference
with the Gray family, appealing for calm, and making a case for the country
to understand what was happening in Baltimore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM “BILLY” MURPHY, CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: How many of you think this is
the end of the – of Baltimore, Maryland? Nobody believes that.
We are a similar city to almost everyone in this country. And this is
happening all over the place. It`s happening in big cities, small cities,
medium sized cities, in rural areas. This is a part of our history.
You know, the first part of it was when the police were used to enforce
slavery. That is not a moral endeavor. And after slavery came,
segregation, Klans, the Black Codes, sundown towns. Guess what the police
regard after that? It was to enforce those immoral laws.
And then came the aftermath of World War II, when black men came hopeful
after risking their lives only to on be told they were (AUDIO DELETED)
And then came the so-called civil rights era, where, as quickly as we
gained the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1965, there was a
counterrevolution. His name was Richard Nixon. And he increased the
number of police in the black community five-fold.
And it got worse. There was a guy named Ronald Reagan who increased the
sentences meted out to black people four-fold.
Then there was a guy named Bill Clinton, who said nobody would be tough on
crime than him.
And then finally we got this failed war on drugs, which increases
dramatically the number of interactions between black men and the police.
As there been an increase in police brutality? Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now for the interview is William H. “Billy” Murphy.
He`s the Gray family attorney, former circuit judge in Baltimore.
Mr. Murphy, thank you very much for your time. It`s nice to have you here
MURPHY: It`s an honor to be on your show.
MADDOW: Oh, thank you, sir.
Let me ask you about the big picture specific to Mr. Gray. There`s
multiple investigations happening. State`s attorney says she will do her
own independent investigation. She has received information from the
Baltimore PD. They say they are done with their investigation. Some leaks
have started to happen to the media about what might have turned up in
those investigations already.
From your position as the Gray family`s attorney, what do you think the
importance is, the status is right now of the investigation?
MURPHY: Well, I think the police have not finished their investigation
because it would be stupid to do that. They`re going to continue to pursue
additional witnesses and follow additional leads. But that doesn`t mean we
have to and should have confidence in their ability to investigate
themselves. That would be stupid.
So, that is why the state`s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, is conducting what she
believes will be an independent and thorough investigation. She will take
from the police investigation what she believes has integrity and add it to
Likewise, there`s a federal investigation where we think that will take a
much longer period of time because that`s extraordinarily thorough. And
they have to re-interview everybody. And then there`s ours and we intend
to take advantage of all of these investigations to the extent of the law
permits, and come up with what we believe is an accurate view of what
happened that night.
MADDDW: Is part of what`s going to happen here from your perspective, from
the family`s perspective, that the effort to get justice and accountability
for Mr. Gray`s death will also be part of a larger agenda that the
Baltimore police needs to be reformed, that there need to be reforms in the
city addressing broader issues? Are you staying very narrowly focused on
MURPHY: Absolutely. There is a documented, long history, just in the last
four years. You have over 300 cases that had to go before our board of
estimates for approval. And then you have at least – almost twice that
many which did not have to go for approval.
So that`s a remarkably bad record of police brutality. And it`s also a
remarkably bad record of public officials giving a damn, and they don`t and
they haven`t, but now they must, because the entire nation is looking at
this and they want to hold people accountable.
You see, I think the American people have gotten fairer and fairer as time
goes on, especially young people. And they didn`t realize this was going
on because there are so many cover-ups for so long. And now that we have
cell phones, video cameras, they`re getting a taste of what reality is for
black people. They don`t like what they say. So yes, I have confidence.
MADDOW: Do you think the national attention – do you think the national
attention is helpful? We`re now starting to see national attention and
policy proposals from national politicians. Is that people just
capitalizing on all the attention or do you think that will be helpful in
MURPHY: Well, I think that there is an enormous amount of pressure for
change, given what the public has seen in video after video after video.
That stuff is real. That stuff isn`t close to being fair. It`s so immoral
and brutal that it touches the hearts of people regardless of their race,
color, creed, or whatever.
And so, those people are now a part of what we believe will be a national
movement to end this, just like they were a part of the gay rights
movement, just like when they saw the brutality involved in the civil
rights era. They were quick to come to the aid of what`s right.
MADDOW: Are you frustrated, sir, about the leaks to “The Washington Post”
last night and, some of the other media leaks that we`ve seen about what`s
purportedly part of these investigations?
MURPHY: Well, you get used to it after a while. That doesn`t mean it`s
good, and we expected this from the police and their supporters because
they`re trying to change the focus from what happened to Freddie Gray the
Freddie Gray himself. And that is what always happens. That, too, will
pass and when we get to a courtroom, things will dramatically change.
MADDOW: Looking at 10:00 p.m. deadline, the third night of curfew in
Baltimore, the police are saying the curfews will be extended through the
weekend, they may end on Monday.
Do you think that has been constructive? Do you think having the National
Guard in the street has been constructive? The policing of the
demonstrations – has it been contractive or has it been part of the
MURPHY: Well, no one ever likes to call out the National Guard because you
don`t know with any certainty how people who are not used to that level of
force are going to react. But fortunately, things will work out. And I
think it will have a prophylactic effect on future violence, at least we
hope it will.
MADDOW: The ALCU tonight, some other organizations are calling for that
curfew to be rescinded. They`re saying the conduct of people in the
streets and especially the way community leaders have stepped up and calmed
things down when they need calming down shows that the people don`t need a
curfew, effectively, this is curtailing people`s right to be constructive
in protests and vent their thoughts. Do you have any thoughts about that?
MURPHY: Well, curfews have always been controversial. And I generally
support the view that they`re illegal because everybody has the right to
peaceful assembly. It`s guaranteed in the First Amendment of the
On the other hand, difficult times cause us to take temporarily, at least,
a different view of the situation. It`s like yelling fire in a crowded
theater, that`s not the exercise properly at least of your First Amendment
So, there is a balance that has to be struck, and I like it the way it is
for now. But after a few days, I`m not going to like it anymore.
MADDOW: Billy Murphy, William H. Murphy Jr., the Gray family attorney –
thank you so much for your time tonight, sir. I know you were very, very
busy. I`m glad you were able to make time for us.
MURPHY: Thank you for bringing me on your wonderful, wonderful program.
MADDOW: You`re very kind. We hope to have you back soon, sir. Thank you.
All right. Joining us now is MSNBC reporter Trymaine Lee who is in
Baltimore just ahead of the curfew.
Trymaine, are people clearing out?
LEE: I`ll tell you what, the crowd – for the most of it, the bulk of it
has cleared out, but there are still some holdouts that are in the center
of the street. The helicopters are flying lower, shining the lights down
on the streets, giving the directive to disperse.
The police chief is out here ahead of the curfew. He said his guys are
trying to wait it out, they`re hopeful things will work out. But, again,
here we are, another night, another curfew. Folks are hanging in there.
MADDOW: And that motorcycle experience is just somebody showing off or is
that a police situation?
LEE: That certainly is somebody showing off.
MADDOW: Baltimore famous for its – one of the things in Baltimore is
Trymaine, in terms of one of the things we`ve seen the last couple of
nights has been community leaders and others, people trying to be
constructive in the streets telling people to leave, telling people to get
home, not leaving it just to police to make those – to make those
arguments. Are you seeing that tonight or is there no need for that
LEE: You know, there`s really no need. I did see a few of the players who
had been out here night after night after night. But even as we speak,
it`s actually clearing out. So there doesn`t appear to be any need.
But I know a lot of those folks, the clergy, the community leaders, have
been working behind the scenes as well as on the front lines. But tonight,
it`s actually clearing out.
MADDOW: MSNBC reporter Trymaine Lee, Trymaine, I know it`s been a very
long day. Thanks for being with us tonight. Good luck tonight.
And that does it for us now, but our coverage of Baltimore and other
stories, continues now with Lawrence O`Donnell.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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