The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/29/2015
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: December 29, 2015
Guest: Dan Kildee, Kimbriell Kelly, Michael Nutter
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: You bet.
HARRIS-PERRY: And thanks for being a talk show host and not a police
officer. I watched that segment.
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Rachel has the night off.
But we have important news tonight about the shocking story of national
importance that Rachel has been covering closely. The story of Flint,
Michigan, and how its drinking water end up contaminated with toxic amounts
And the lead is not just in the water of Flint, Michigan. It is in the
babies and the schoolchildren of Flint. Lead is devastating to the human
body and children builds up swiftly in kidneys and bones and livers and
brains and the effects are irreversible.
In just a matter of months, the children and babies of Flint, Michigan,
became two to three times more likely to show elevated levels of lead in
their bodies. And this is coming after the state of Michigan allowed Flint
to change the source of its drinking water without taking precautions.
This is the story of an EPA whistleblower who reported on high levels of
lead in Flint only to have the government of Michigan brand him, quote, “a
rogue employee”. It`s the story of a local doctor who proved that Flint
kids were getting sick from drinking the lead in their new water, only to
have the government of Michigan tell reporters that she had, quote,
“spliced and diced” the numbers and that she was wrong.
It`s the story of the McArthur Genius Award-winning drinking water expert
from Virginia Tech who dropped everything this summer and drove 15 hours
straight to Flint, Michigan, so that he could test the water himself and
who found high lead levels in Flint`s new water, only to have the state
dismiss him as basically a traveling huckster.
It`s the story of the new mayor of Flint who took the drastic step this
month of declaring a state of emergency in her city saying the town and the
kids need help, need it urgently and if they are going to recover from
what`s been done to them.
And it is most definitely the story off Michigan Governor Rick Snyder who
was the boss of the state appointed emergency managers in Flint and who was
the boss of the state environmental agency that bungled and botched its way
to a full-blown national crisis. The same agency that told the public,
there`s no broad problem with the water in Flint. And that everyone should
The science of what went so wrong in Flint is actually easy enough to
understand. Flint had been getting its water pumped from Detroit. It`s
about an hour`s drive away. So, to save money, Flint`s state appointed
emergency manager decided to stop buying Great Lakes water from Detroit and
instead start sourcing the drinking water from the local Flint River.
Then in April 2014, they made the switch. Lots of places get their
drinking water from rivers. It`s not inherently more dangerous, but river
water does tend to be saltier than lake water. And thus, it tends to be
more corrosive. You`re supposed to treat the river water so it doesn`t
corrode the pipes because if it corrodes the pipes, then it will cause them
to leach out the lead that`s holding them together.
People who end up drinking the lead, it will make them sick. In the case
of children in particular, it can permanently lower their IQs, contribute
to emotional and behavioral problems that follow them the rest of their
But don`t worry, you can avoid all that if you just treat the river water
properly to prevent corrosion. That is what the state of Michigan did not
do. Governor Rick Snyder`s administration let Flint make the switch
without the essential safeguards. Then, the Snyder administration ignored
the early warning signs and let the moms and dads and babies of Flint keep
on drinking that water for months.
But even with Michigan newspapers and Michigan public radio and the
Michigan chapter of the ACLU all spilling this news nonstop, it`s not been
clear how far Governor Snyder is willing to go to clean up from this mess
his administration has made. It was enough that Rachel on this show
addressed Governor Snyder directly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, TRMS: Governor, the water of Flint, Michigan has been
poisoned. And this – let me say here for a second, I think the resistance
to this being seen as a national story is because people think of lead as
being a long-term infrastructure problem, like, ah, things went bad in that
old city that needs work.
This is like – if you want to make an analogy to personal health, this is
not like something finally coming due after you`ve had bad diet and no
exercise for 20 years. This is the personal health equivalent of having
been shot. This is not something that went bad over a long period of time.
This is they flipped a switch to turn off one spigot last April and turn on
a different spigot and the spigot they turned on poisoned the kids.
The kids of Flint, Michigan, have been poisoned by a policy decision, all
at once. The town has been poisoned – under your watch, Governor.
Through the actions and inactions of people who report to you and the
people who you appointed.
The emergency manager who signed that international order to get ready for
drinking from the river, he reported directly to Governor Snyder and to no
one else. The emergency manager who sold the pipeline that should have
been the escape hatch, he reported directly to Governor Snyder and no one
else. The agency that did not tell Flint how to do this safely and that
ignored the fast rising lead levels in the Flint`s water and disparages
first the whistleblower and then the professor and then the local doctor
who all tried to help, that agency reported to and continues to report only
to Rick Snyder, the governor of Michigan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Clear enough? The science of how Flint, Michigan, came to
have its water in its kids poisoned is clear. The state failed to take the
precautions it should have taken, but the politics of what happens now, the
politics of how much help Flint gets and who gets held accountable for what
happened, that part is not so obvious.
Over the past few days, Governor Snyder has addressed the Flint water
crisis directly and pointedly. Last week, he told a local TV station his
greatest challenge this year was, quote, “Flint with their water
This morning, we saw the headline with Governor Snyder listing the Flint
water crisis as his biggest disappointment of 2015. And then late today,
the story took a turn, because late today, a bipartisan task force
commissioned by Governor Snyder made a preliminary report in a letter that
task force, told the governor that the state`s own environmental agency
bears the primary responsibility for what went wrong. The task force
members say they have more work left to do but they told the governor in
boldfaced type that responsibility and accountability cannot wait.
And late today, Governor Snyder cited that letter as he announced the
resignation of the director of the environmental agency that failed to
protect Flint`s water. Then, the spokesperson for that agency, the one who
told the public to relax about Flint`s water, he also resigned.
And it seems it`s not over yet. Governor Snyder says there will be more
news yet to come. In a statement posted this afternoon, the governor says,
quote, “Changes in leadership and staff are not enough.” He`s directing
state agencies to work with the outside scientist who have tried to help
Flint, the same scientist the state disparaged just weeks ago.
The governor had been telling us he sent the Michigan state police to meet
with Flint about an emergency response. Now, he says he himself called
Flint`s new mayor and plans to meet with her so they can talk about the
ways the state can offer more assistance.
And the governor himself apologized, quote, “I want the Flint community to
know how very sorry I am that this happened.”
So, that`s big news on this outrage of a story from Michigan.
Resignations, promises of change and apology from the governor, big, big
But meanwhile, the children of Flint, Michigan are poisoned, poisoned
because of choices made by city officials who were not elected by the
people of Flint, but instead were installed by Governor Snyder.
So, we know he`s sorry. We know who`s resigned. What we don`t know is
what the governor is willing to do to fix this problem that his
Does Flint get the help it needs to make sure the pipes carrying its water
are not leeching anymore lead into sippy cups and baby bottles and drinking
glasses? Will Governor Snyder be held personally accountable? Will there
be a federal response? Will the families and children of Flint be OK?
Joining us now is Congressman Dan Kildee of Flint, Michigan.
Congressman, thank you for joining us tonight.
REP. DAN KILDEE (D), MICHIGAN: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, tell me, do you see these resignations and this apology
from Governor Snyder as some sort of turning point?
KILDEE: Well, it`s certainly acknowledgement of responsibility which is a
step in the right direction, but whether people resign, are fired, or
apologized, that all may be appropriate. But what is necessary is that the
governor take action now to make sure that the effect that this lead has
had on these children can be mitigated.
There are things that can be done to overcome to offset, perhaps not to
overcome but to offset the effect of lead. And the governor needs to step
up and make it right by getting these kids the nutritional support that
will minimize the effect of lead or at least mitigate the effect of lead on
their future. The kind of educational support, early childhood education,
for example, can in part offset the developmental challenges that come with
There are lots of other things that he can do. But it has to be more than
just holding people accountable by having them resign, or making an
apology. These are people. This is my hometown. These are people whose
futures can have been negatively affected by this terrible mistake made by
the state government and they need to do, the state need to do everything
that they possibly can do to make it right for the people of Flint. They
can`t fix it completely. They can`t undo it.
But they can do what they can do. And it has to be much more than just an
apology and much more than people losing their jobs.
HARRIS-PERRY: So talk to me a little bit about these families about your
hometown. You know, obviously, the month of December, we`ve been in
holiday season. People are home cooking. You think how many times you
turn on the tap to do everything from wash the dishes to prepare the meals.
And I just kept wondering if you`re meeting families and if they`re talking
to you as their representative about what they`re facing in this moment.
KILDEE: Well, I go home every weekend and hear about it all the time from
people. They`re worried about their kids. They`re worried about whether
this lead exposure will be yet another hurdle that these kids in Flint,
Michigan have to overcome in order to try to make their way in life.
I mean, the city has already had a lot of struggles. We`ve lost 90 percent
of our manufacturing jobs, half of the population. It`s a very poor city.
So, in many ways, these kids have had the bad luck of being born in the
wrong zip code and now through an act of the state government have yet
another hurdle to overcome.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, I want to ask you about that zip code thing for a
second. Just to point out it`s both about these individual families, but
also, obviously, zip codes are also about housing and property values.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, everything that you`ve talked about here in terms of the
challenges that Flint as a city was already facing, now with this – I
mean, so if I am a family and want to get out, what`s the possibility of
being able to sell my house, for example, right now?
KILDEE: Well, property values have fallen. We had the housing crisis
across the country. The housing prices in Flint had completely collapsed
before that and went even further as a result of the housing crisis.
So, this is why this crisis while it clearly affects the health of these
kids and the governor should step up and do something about that, it also
hurts the already really damaged reputation of this community. I mean, how
can we rebuild ourselves if we are known as a city that can`t even deliver
safe drinking water to its children?
So, while I think the state needs to act to offset the problem that be it
caused, it also needs to look at the secondary effect of all this. We need
help regrowing our economy. And the state now has an even greater moral
responsibility, not just to deal with the health, not just to deal with the
infrastructure, both are really critical, but to help us rebuild our city
by making sure we have all the help possible to overcome yet another big
problem that the state government really put on the city of Flint which
already has been struggling.
HARRIS-PERRY: Congressman Dan Kildee of Flint, Michigan, we appreciate
your time tonight. I know that Rachel is going to stay on the story. So,
expect more calls from this show.
KILDEE: Thank you very much.
HARRIS-PERRY: Coming up, Donald Trump on a plane. No, really. Donald
Trump kind of made some news today on a plane today in Omaha, Nebraska.
More on that.
Stay with us.
HARRIS-PERRY: Breaking news we`re just getting in at this hour about a
magnitude 4.3 earthquake that just truck in California. The earthquake had
an epicenter just east of Los Angeles. And it was reportedly felt across
There are no reports of fatalities or injuries. But according to “The L.A.
Times,” there have been four earthquakes in the area of magnitude 3.0 or
greater just in the last ten days.
We`re going to keep an eye on the situation there and bring you more as it
HARRIS-PERRY: Last night, one of the presidential hopefuls had one of
those humbling moments that can only happen on the campaign trail.
Democratic candidate Martin O`Malley held an event in Iowa and only one
person showed up. His name was Kenneth. And Martin O`Malley, former mayor
of Baltimore and former governor of Maryland spent an entire hour chatting
with Kenneth about the issues.
At the end, Kenneth was still not ready to commit. Iowa voters, they take
their responsibilities seriously.
But, listen, there was a big snowstorm in Iowa yesterday. Many
presidential candidates just canceled their events. Martin O`Malley
soldiers through all of his planned stops despite the weather.
It`s not like Martin O`Malley is Rick Santorum who attracted just one
supporter at an Iowa event in June when it was definitely not snowing.
Governor O`Malley was joined by five people at earlier event yesterday and
12 at another.
And, honestly, if you can get almost 20 people to brave snow and icy roads
to see you, well, that might be a win in Iowa.
The Iowa caucuses are just 34 days away. And there are kind of convoluted
several hour process held on a weeknight in the dead of winter. Supporters
can be a bigger asset there than high poll numbers, which is not to say
that anyone expects Martin O`Malley to win Iowa, but on the Republican side
of the presidential campaign, this has become a central question. Do the
candidates who are doing best in the polls have the infrastructure on the
ground to actually pull off wins in the early contests?
Donald Trump was asked about this earlier this evening at a press
conference that he held on board his plane before an Iowa rally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, as you know, and even if
you look tonight despite the bad weather, the place is packed. They just
had it on television. They showed it`s packed. And we get by far the
Now, will they show up for caucus? I think the answer is yes. As you
know, we have Sam Clovis and we have Chuck Laudner and they have incredible
people under them. But you know, we`re going to see what happens on
I really think all of those people and maybe even friends of theirs that
weren`t at the rallies or the speeches, I really think they`re going to
come out and caucus and we`re going to have a very good victory. But, you
know, we`re going to have to see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: There have been mixed reports about Donald Trump`s ground
game in Iowa and New Hampshire. “The New York Times” noted last week his
campaign appears to have no pollsters, no advertising team and no research
or voter contact operations.
Though we just found out Mr. Trump did get access to the RNC`s enormous
voter lists, which gives his campaign data on more than 200 million people.
If Donald Trump doesn`t have a good ground game and if the old rules of
presidential campaigning still apply, it`s possible he could suffer a
sudden collapse once people actually start voting. This has been an
election season in which all the old rules seemed to have gone out the
Jeb Bush has spent more than $38 million on ads to languish in the single
digits. Donald Trump, he has dominated the polls for months and he`s not
run a single TV ad. But that may be about to change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`ll be spending a minimum of $2 million a week and perhaps
substantially more than that.
REPORTER: Jeb has spent $40 million, and you –
TRUMP: He hasn`t spent $40 million. He`s wasted $40 million. There`s a
big difference. Jeb has wasted $40 million.
TRUMP: So I`m going to be doing big ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, South
Carolina. And they`re going to be very substantial and I think they`re
very well done. I`ve seen the first two or three of them. We`re very
proud of them.
I don`t think I need to spend anything and I`m very proud of the fact that
I`ve spent the least and have the best result. In other words, I spent
If you look at a guy like Bush, he actually spent $59 million and he`s
nowhere. And others likewise have spent millions of dollars and they`re
nowhere. If anybody goes after me, I will spend a lot of money against the
people that go after me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Donald Trump has said before that he was going to start
running ads. The ads never appeared. But if we are going to get $2
million a week income Trump TV ads, then we are entering a new phase of
this election season.
Joining us now is MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt.
It is so nice to have you right here with us tonight.
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Lovely to be here, Melissa.
Thanks for having me.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, Donald Trump is not wrong, that he has managed perhaps
the best free media presidential campaign in modern history. But what
would – what would the ads look like from him?
HUNT: That`s still an open question at this point. I think the main
question is he going to run biographical spots? I mean, if we were looking
at this as a normal campaign, we would divide it up into, hey, am I selling
myself or am I trying to contrast with other candidates. I think attack
ads from Donald Trump have the potential to be brutal. We`ve seen just
Donald Trump`s free media attacks, as you called them, be pretty effective
So, I think an actual paid TV spot could potentially be deadly.
HARRIS-PERRY: A lot is being made of this idea of a ground game. We
started with the kind of Iowa snow. I`m reminded Iowa unlike New
Hampshire, it`s in part about turnout but also about what happens in those
school gymnasiums in those spaces. Trump`s supporters are the kind of
people who strike me as good caucusers.
HUNT: I think that it`s an open question. I would remind you, Republican
caucuses are a little bit different in Iowa than Democratic ones. So, they
still, once they`re in the room, they listen to a speech from somebody from
the campaign, and then they actually vote by secret ballot. The Democrats
have a little bit of a different process.
HARRIS-PERRY: As in like pep rally, yes.
HUNT: More like that, exactly.
That`s exactly what the Trump campaign is trying to do. I was out in Cedar
Rapids with the Trump campaign a couple weeks ago. They have their
volunteers going into the gymnasiums and the release strength is the
The scale of these rallies is in some ways unprecedented. They`re not
wrong when they say they have thousands of people available to them. The
problem is that many of them are new to this process and it can be an
intimidating process. And it takes a lot of effort. You have to get out
of your house on a probably cold, maybe snowy blizzarding February night,
go down to the school gym, sit there and listen to all this stuff.
So, they`re going kind of row by row, they have these volunteers saying,
hey, this is what it means to be a caucus captain. This is what it means
to show up to caucus at all. The voters that I talked to, most of them –
one woman said the last person she voted for in a caucus was Jimmy Carter.
HARRIS-PERRY: Oh my.
HUNT: That`s the scale of effort that the Trump campaign is looking at.
And these other Republican campaigns know that he`s going to bring new
voters into this process. They`re making that assumption. The question
is, how many. They don`t know. It could be in the thousands, it could be
overwhelming. But it also could be many, many fewer. And that`s the Trump
campaign`s hurdle here.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, this is a fascinating idea to me, that the draw you have
new voters would be coming in here on the Republican side.
I mean, we heard from Mr. Trump this week, a critique of President Clinton,
of Bill Clinton. But typically when we think about somebody who attracts
new voters, those who haven`t showed up before, it has happened in general
elections around Democrats. Is this kind of conservative populism
something relatively new for the party, for the Republican Party?
HUNT: I think in some ways, it`s a combination of that populism you talk
about. It`s also part celebrity. I mean, you run into people at these
rallies who say, oh my friend called, I`m a Rubio supporter, but he said,
hey, you want to see Donald Trump? Of course, I want to go see Donald
Trump. Who doesn`t want to go see that?
HARRIS-PERRY: Somebody at the rally said they were a Rubio supporter.
HUNT: In Iowa, you can find people like that.
Yes, no, it happens. You know, I`m not sure that this is the same – some
people impaired this to Barack Obama in 2008 in Iowa because people talk
how he brought so many new people in. I think that some of the our sources
say in some ways Ted Cruz`s campaign might be more like Obama`s, might be
more on point because what Cruz`s campaign is trying to do is really
activate conservative base voters who have maybe fallen out of the process.
And that`s something that the Obama campaign did very effectively in 2008.
I think a lot of people showing up for Trump haven`t been engaged in
politics before, and I think, you know, we`re seeing that across the board,
whether it`s people who are watching these debates there at sky high
numbers. You know, people who are tuning. I mean, anecdotally, you go out
to lunch and people at the table two tables over are talking about Donald
Trump. That just didn`t happen in 2012.
HARRIS-PERRY: I mean – and again, that`s part of why he`s accurate in
that assessment that he has not had to spend money and yet has that level
of kind of discourse around his campaign.
Kasie Hunt, MSNBC political correspondent, here, live, it`s great. New
HUNT: Thanks, Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: Much more ahead tonight including what I guarantee you is
the greatest piece of archive tape that you have seen in a very long time.
Stay with us.
HARRIS-PERRY: You`re probably used to seeing this kind of thing all the
time. A presidential press conference, not really just any old press
conference at the White House. There`s a certain level of prestige and
decorum that goes along with being a member of the White House press corps.
There`s the occasional shout at a question or abrupt response but,
generally, there is a sense of kind of orderliness during these kinds of
But sometimes when they`re on the road, it`s a different story all
together. Watch this because it`s kind of amazing.
JOHN PALMER, NBC NEWS: More than 50 cars were in the motorcade that
brought President Carter into downtown Belgrade. A flatbed truck carrying
press pool 20, American reporters and photographers was in front, in fact,
too far in front. At times, cameramen couldn`t seen see the president`s
car, much less take a pictures of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pull that down. Pull it down now. You pull this truck
PALMER: Despite the urging of White House aide Rick Moore, the driver
continued to roar along at top speed, preferring to heed the advice of an
overzealous security agent in the cab of the truck who didn`t like the idea
of photographers getting very close to the heads of state.
Then there was another problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t go to the polls. We go to the tombs.
PALMER: The truck was supposed to go directly to Tito`s tomb rather than
to the presidential palace where the driver was heading.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down, everybody down. No, no, no.
PALMER: Again, a breakdown in communication.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, we don`t, no, no. We go to the tomb.
PALMER: Press pool 20 finally made it to its destination. Or almost.
John Palmer, NBC News, somewhere near the presidential party in Belgrade.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, another White House reporter has just given NBC`s John
Palmer a run for his money. That`s ahead.
HARRIS-PERRY: In a Chicago courtroom today, the police officer who shot to
death 17-year-old Laquan McDonald pled not guilty. Jason Van Dyke was
charged with first degree murder last month, just hours before the release
of a dashcam video that shows the veteran officer shooting him McDonald 16
But even as we approach the beginning of that trial, it`s clear at least
for now, there will not be a trial for the officers who shot Tamir Rice,
the 12-year-old fatally shot by Cleveland police outside of the city rec
The grand jury`s decision not to indict the officers involved in the
shooting prompted outrage and protests and gut-wrenching memorials. It`s
also highlighted what feels like this sense of helplessness among those
desperate for accountability.
Yesterday, activists turned to Cleveland Cavaliers all-star LeBron James
for help, using the #NoJusticeNoLeBron, they`re asking James to put his
season on hold to lead a collective sit-out until the Department of
Justice, quote, “imprisons the police officers involved in the Tamir Rice
Tamir`s death, along with that of Laquan McDonald, are just two of the
police involved shootings that have risen to national prominence this year.
But they are just two stories among hundreds.
According to data compiled by “The Washington Post,” close to 1,000 people
were shot and killed by police officers in 2015, at least 82 of those
people have been killed in the last 30 days.
If you look over the data, over the last decade, it`s even more staggering.
Thousands have been fatally shot by on duty officers. But as “The
Washington Post” also points out, few of those law enforcement officials
ever end up prosecuted.
As of this past April, only 54 officers were charged in the last decade.
“Washington Post” also found that in the cases that have already been
decided, the majority of officers were not convicted. In fact, even when
they were convicted or pled guilty, they tended to get little time behind
bars on average, four years and sometimes only weeks. Why?
To help me answer that, my next guest. Kimbriell Kelly is an investigative
reporter for “The Washington Post.”
Ms. Kelly, thank you so much for being here.
KIMBRIELL KELLY, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: So talk to me a little bit about this “Washington Post”
series and the data that you all have collected. What led to this decision
to chronicle these police shootings?
KELLY: What started this was essentially last year with the death of
Michael Brown. Essentially, we decided to look at that case because people
were saying that because of a white officer was killing an African-
American, you know, was this a pattern? And so, we decided to take a look
at all the shootings.
What that case also did was bring to the forefront a lot of the holes that
were in the data-keeping in terms of fatal police shootings which are kept
by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. And so, we undertook a year long
investigation where we essentially counted every single fatal police
shooting and we ended up finding out there were nearly a thousand this year
which was nearly twice as many as the FBI had reported.
HARRIS-PERRY: For me, this is such a critical idea that simply data
collection constitutes almost an activism or at least of kind of journalism
that we often don`t have an opportunity to see, right, where you go and
actually find the answers to these central questions.
How different is the world if we think there are a thousand people shot and
killed by police than 500?
KELLY: Well, I think it`s a lot different. What you have is, now the FBI
taking a look at our numbers and saying, you know what? We need to look at
how we aggregate our data. And so, for 2017, they`re saying we`re going to
look at not only the number of fatal shootings, we`re going to look at more
And that granular data should be able to tell us what really the breadth
and scope of not only police shootings are across the country but the use
of force. And that`s something we don`t know right now.
HARRIS-PERRY: So the other piece, I think that is so critical in the
reporting and writing that you`ve done has to do with when there is a
shooting and when there actually is an indictment in and a trial, how
infrequently police officers are in fact held accountable in the sense of
actually getting time.
What is that about – what is happening in that moment?
KELLY: Well, it`s kind of interesting because you sometimes you know, you
see a sigh of relief from communities protesting when there isn`t an
indictment. When there is an indictment, people are excited because they
say justice is going to be served.
But what we found during our first investigation early this year was that
even though there was a prosecution in most cases, the cases ended up in an
acquittal. The charges were dropped or the cases were all-out dismissed.
And so, like you mentioned with our numbers, even with a prosecution, even
if the grand jury came back and said, we are going to try this case, we
have found that when those cases go to a jury, when those cases are decided
by a judge, that the resolution is still the same – an acquittal, a
dismissal or charges being dropped.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, those numbers, that data, that reality, I want us to
hold that in our mind and then listen for a moment to the father of the 19-
year-old who was shot by Chicago police over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My son was laying there, and he was still alive and
moving. And no one, no one at all assisted him at any time while he was
there. And at which point I looked back and saw Ms. Jones laying there and
once again, yelled, screamed as loud as I can. Someone get an ambulance.
Someone get someone to help my son!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Given what you know, what do you think is likely to happen?
KELLY: Given what we know and like I say, we`ve spent the last year at
“The Washington Post” looking at what happens when these cases are
prosecuted, the Department of Justice has decided they`re going to come
into Chicago and they`re going to investigate.
What we found is these investigations generally take about a year to a year
and a half, 18 months. So, we`re talking about you know, looking at
findings about what may or may not be happening in Chicago potentially in
And that`s when the findings could get released in terms of what the
patterns if there are patterns or practices of constitutional violations
there. After that, you know, the hard part starts. You know, usually
there are four, five, sometimes ten-year agreements with the Department of
Justice to try to turn that department around.
And those agreements usually start with policy changes with new training
and with recordkeeping because in many of these cases you find that
departments just aren`t keeping track of these use of force or excessive
uses of force.
So, what you are going to see in the future, it`s going to be a long road
and take awhile before you might actually see some change within these
HARRIS-PERRY: Kimbriell Kelly, an investigative reporter for “The
Washington Post”, and a reminder for me today of the value of empirical
evidence – Ms. Kelly, thank you for your time tonight.
KELLY: Thank you, Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: OK, there`s much more to come tonight, including a very much
needed best new thing in the world.
We`ll be right back.
HARRIS-PERRY: Good news for the folks in our graphics department. That
long list of Republican candidates running for president has just gotten a
little bit shorter. You`ll recall back in September, Rick Perry was the
first one to drop out of the race followed by Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal
and Lindsey Graham.
And now, the latest candidate to drop out in the middle of the holiday
season, George Pataki. Blink, you would have missed him.
Tonight in an ad that aired in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, he
announced he is suspending his campaign.
He was certainly one of the more experienced candidates in the Republican
field at least in terms of political leadership. He`s a former mayor and
state legislature and, of course, a three-term governor for the state of
Unfortunately for him, his extensive political experience did not translate
into the electability. Not only that, but his dropping out signals a
recurring theme on the Republican side of the race.
With George Pataki now out, this means that of the top six most politically
experienced Republican candidates, five are poof, gone, out before anyone
has even cast a single vote. Isn`t politics something?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Roughly 58,000 veterans are experiencing
homelessness in America today. A number that fortunately, has fallen
sharply in the past few years, but whatever the number, these brave men and
women have served this country with courage and grace, too many of them
have come home only to fight a new battle, a battle to keep a roof over
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: OK. How about a good news story to round out the year? The
slip that you just saw was first lady Michelle Obama in June of last year
announcing a brand new White House initiative to fight homelessness among
Michelle Obama, our first lady, and Vice President Biden`s wife Dr. Jill
Biden have teamed up over the years for a variety of issues to help
veterans. And this is an ambitious plan to say no American veteran should
be left homeless on the streets in any American city.
It was called the mayor`s challenge to end veteran homelessness and it was
a call to action to mayors and county leaders and governors across the
country to commit to ending veteran homelessness by the end of this year,
More than 800 city and county officials signed onto the challenge and it`s
gotten some real results. Last month, the state of Virginia became the
first state in the nation to effectively end veteran homelessness. They
provided housing for every homeless veteran in the state who wanted it.
Cities like Mobile, Alabama, have done the same thing and New Orleans,
Houston and Las Vegas.
And now one more American city can be added to the list, the city of
Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced
this month that Philadelphia has effectively ended veteran homelessness in
that city. The number of homeless veterans in the state of Pennsylvania
skyrocketed between `09 and 2013, and the problem is particularly acute in
the state`s largest city of Philadelphia, but now, according to state
officials, about 1,400 former homeless veterans have been placed in
So, right now, in the city of Philadelphia, every veteran who wants a
permanent home has one. The task of housing all these veterans was not an
easy one. The mayor says that a coalition of agencies called Philly Vets
Home helped carry out the process which determined eligibility through the
V.A. and a permanent housing plan for them using financial resources
provided by the federal government.
Mayor Nutter was among the 800 city and county officials who accepted
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama`s challenge to end veteran
homelessness by the end of this year. And well, he did it. He made the
announcement earlier this month, standing alongside Julian Castro,
President Obama`s secretary of housing and urban development. This
achievement comes at the tail end of Mayor Nutter`s time in office. He`s
just wrapping up his second and final term.
Joining us now for the interviewer is Michael Nutter, the mayor of
Mr. Mayor, thanks for your time tonight.
MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER (D), PHILADELPHIA: Thanks, Melissa. Thank you very,
And this work is some of the most important work that I will have ever done
in my 20-plus years in public office. We`re very, very proud that
Philadelphia joins the ranks of the many cities that you mentioned earlier.
It was great to have Secretary Castro in Philadelphia.
And a couple days before that, I actually saw President Obama and First
Lady Michelle Obama at the White House at the Christmas party with my mom,
and first lady could not have been more excited. She already knew the
news. And was really, really happy about it. But we`re excited here in
HARRIS-PERRY: So, we were talking last night on the show about the idea of
moon shots, of setting a setting a designated deliverable goal and going
for it. And here you`ve actually achieved it, right? You`re walking
around on the moon of ending veteran homelessness in Philadelphia.
How important is that way of doing business for our big social problems?
NUTTER: Well, it`s critical. First of all, you have to set goals and they
should be ambitious, not unrealistic, but they should be ambitious. You
know, with a stretch to try to achieve them.
And when the first lady, Michelle Obama and the second lady, Dr. Jill
Biden, made this announcement, I immediately said we have to be a part of
this effort. First and foremost, as I heard the clip, the first lady said
these men and women have served our nation, served it well, they allow us
to do the things that we do and sometimes even take for granted because of
And now face a challenge when they get back home that in many instances
they can`t even have a roof over their head.
So, Marie Nahikian, our director of the office of support of housing, she
and Kelvin Jeremiah, the Public Housing Authority, have teamed up and as
you said, the Philly Vets Home Coalition, they got to work. And I was
very, very clear with them. We`re part of this challenge, we`re going to
meet this challenge. We`re going to do this by the end of the year.
But they deserve the credit for making this happen. And I could not be
HARRIS-PERRY: So you have only a few days left as mayor in the city of
HARRIS-PERRY: But, sir, you`re –
NUTTER: Unfortunately, yes.
HARRIS-PERRY: But you`re not even 60 years old. You have lots of moon
shots left in you. What is next?
NUTTER: Well, you know, we have achieved a number of things in
Philadelphia. You know, Philly is a big city, fifth largest city in the
United States of America. President Obama appointed to My Brother`s
Keepers Alliance advisory committee and I`m going to continue on my work
Mayor Mitch Landrieu and I created Cities United, Anthony Smith is director
there, focused on stopping violence in the African-American community, men
and boys. And so, that is the kind of work that I want to continue right
here in Philadelphia, but also raise many of these issues to a national
Philadelphia is currently the largest city in America with an African-
American mayor. And I`m very proud to be the mayor of my home town. But,
you know, the charter says I have to go, so I have to work on.
But the work continues. And whether in elected office or not, this is my
passion, this is my commitment, this is my focus. And so, making sure that
President Obama`s work, My Brother`s Keeper, continues here in
Philadelphia. Very, very important to me.
And the groups that are working on this effort to uplift our men and boys
of color in Philadelphia, but cities all across the United States of
America. And so, I`ll take a little bit of a break. The inauguration is
next Monday, handoff the baton to the mayor elect. And then I`ll take a
little bit of a break and then come right back out with important work that
I care passionately about and how I`m going to spend my time continuing to
The president`s agenda, continuing to make sure that the Democratic
National Convention, which is in Philadelphia next summer, I worked on that
with our team, make sure that`s successful. And then, I`ll be involved in
presidential politics as well.
So, there will be more than enough for me to do for me to do. But my
focus, my passion is about this city and cities across the country, working
with, again, former mayors like, you know, Doug Palmer and Shirley Franklin
and Wellington Webb and so many others.
So, there`s work to be done. And I`m proud of what we`ve been able to
accomplish, but there`s still more to take place in Philadelphia, in cities
all across the United States of America.
HARRIS-PERRY: Mayor Nutter, I appreciate that you took your mom to the
White House Christmas party. I also appreciate –
NUTTER: She was pretty excited.
HARRIS-PERRY: I also appreciate that you point out that it`s Dr. Biden and
First Lady Obama who set this up. I`m excited about your work with men and
boys of color, but just don`t forget the lady, sir. Girls as well.
NUTTER: No. Well, actually at our MBK summit just last week, I announced
in that summit working with the White House, we`re going to actually
incorporate much of the work of the women and girls council from the White
House in our work here in Philadelphia. It really is about family and
bringing all of these folks together.
So, we`re paying attention to the women and girls as well.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. As Anna Julia Cooper said, not the boys less,
just the girls more.
Michael Nutter, the mayor of Philadelphia, best of luck in your remaining
days in office.
HARRIS-PERRY: And up next, we have the best new thing in the world. Stay
HARRIS-PERRY: I`m going to borrow a favorite segment of Rachel`s, because
today, we have a best new thing in the world. Are you ready? Here we go.
When President Obama or any president for that speaks, the video of him
that you generally see is what we called the pool cam. So, instead of
every network and newspaper website setting up their own cameras at these
events, they share the pool camera. It`s kind of an efficient solution to
providing access for so many people and organizations.
And, similarly, the press corps covering the president also has a pool
report. So instead of every single outlet having a reporter follow the
president`s every move, there`s a rotating group of reporters who take
turns writing the pool report. That report is then distributed to all of
the news outlets to be used in their coverage.
Here`s an example of a report from the day of President Obama`s leaving for
family vacation. “Marine One was wheeled up for Joint Base Andrew at 5:24
p.m. POTUS walked across the South Lawn, with Sasha Obama and the first
lady walked a few yards behind with Malia.” You know, not exactly
But that is the kind of stuff you get from pool reports and this is what
it`s like working in the White House press corps.
This weekend, however, while covering the first family`s trip to Hawaii,
Gardiner Harris from “The New York Times” attempted to turn the mundane
into the magnificent. And my God did he succeed.
Here`s a selection from one of his first reports of the day describing the
scene. “The water is aquamarine, but the sky is decidedly gray. Think
`Miami Vice` and that great wordless scene with Phil Collins` `In the Air
Tonight` playing in the background as Crockett and Tubs drive through the
night to confront the bad guys.”
Ten points for the “Miami Vice” reference and it was just getting started.
In describing the president`s trip to the beach, he veered into a personal
“But beyond the break, the ocean snarls into a sapphire blue, the kind of
dark forbidding color that speaks of great depth and sharp teeth.” “Your
pooler,” this is him talking about himself, “swam into those depth depths
early this morning under a nearly full moon. About a mile out, the hotel
key in your pooler`s briefs oddly folded by a freak wave created a pinch
that felt like a creature`s jaws.”
I think my favorite moment from Mr. Harris` dispatches comes when he`s
describing the notable absence from the Obama family trip to a local shaved
ice shop. Quote, “FLOTUS was not present, as she rarely seems to enjoy
public eating frozen garishly colored sugar water with little of the mouth
appeal that cream brings.”
He really wrote mouth appeal. Mr. Harris, for handling his pool duties
with such flair, and flipping through this weekend`s press reports into the
highlight of the work day – you, sir, are the best new thing in the world.
And God bless you and your reports` incredible mouth appeal.
That does it for us. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Right now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
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