The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 04/28/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Continue to watch and cover this – we`re
seeing a lot of police presence including the National Guard and most
people have left and gone home, but some people are still out there.
They do intend to enforce this curfew in Baltimore tonight, we`ll be live
on this throughout the evening.
We`ll continue to watch and cover this unfolding situation on Msnbc, our
special coverage continues right now with Lawrence O`Donnell, stay with us.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Thanks Rachel. It is 10:00 p.m. on the
East Coast and this is a special two-hour edition of THE LAST WORD covering
the first curfew imposed on the people of Baltimore in 47 years.
That curfew comes a day after rioting and looting broke out in west
Baltimore. In total, there were 144 vehicle fires and 15 building fires
last night, 235 people were arrested, 201 adults, 34 juveniles.
Baltimore City police say 20 police officers were injured in the activity
yesterday and last night. Let`s go right to Msnbc`s Chris Hayes there in
Chris, the curfew is now officially underway. I`m seeing a lot of people -
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Behind you, is that media or are there the people of Baltimore
still on the streets?
HAYES: You know, it`s a mix, I mean, something of an odd scene, I got to
be totally honest here right now. This kind of anticipation here, a large
There`s also community members, although frankly, a large percentage of
them have gone home. There`re some stragglers who have remained behind the
police line that has been in effect all day long.
That police line that is over my left shoulder has been there all day, has
not budged, has not moved, has not released a sound all day.
About half an hour ago, the SWAT vehicle parked behind that police line,
started running what sounded like a looped, taped message, possibly from
the mayor, possibly – someone told me it was a local state center.
It`s fairly garbled basically, saying we did an amazing thing today, we
showed Baltimore pride, you know, we were respectful, we cleaned up our
neighborhood, now let`s all disperse quietly.
The police have told media we can stay, which is why we are – we are out
here right now. There doesn`t seem to be any rush at this point or any
sense of a countdown right until 10:00.
The sense I have is that they`re going to kind of let things disperse
casually and do what they can, not to escalate the situation that does feel
like it`s on a glide path towards a peaceful resolution unless something
changes radically, and something could.
Because these situations tend to be like that.
O`DONNELL: Chris, about 12 minutes ago, the Baltimore police tweeted that
officers are making arrests at Patapsco and Ninth Street.
A group started attacking officers with rocks and bricks, that`s according
to the Baltimore police tweet report of that.
That`s not a curfew violation, that`s something they would have been
arrested for under any circumstances. Have you seen any indication of
that, any throwing of rocks and bricks?
HAYES: No, I mean, it has been the opposite of that all day today. I
mean, maybe there was a moment sort of mid day today where things got a
little tense, a bottle was thrown, there was – someone who was drunk at
the front line, he was pulled out.
But there was just this huge concerted effort. I mean you had Baltimore
residents, you know, linked arms between the crowd and the police for the
So, you have the police line, you have the resident line, and you had
people moving through the crowds, whether those were pastors or elders or
local college students, some I think were even gang members essentially
patrolling to make sure nothing like that happened.
Right now, it is, you know, it`s a little bit of a bizarre scene as these
scenes tend to be. But there – it is a peaceful scene as of now, and we
certainly have seen nothing like rock throwing.
That said, you know, I talked to two young gentlemen who were from a high
school whose – got let out yesterday, some of their friends were involved
in rock throwing yesterday.
Who told me, they – you know, they weren`t quite certain their friends
wouldn`t be out again tonight. So all of that kind of remains to be seen.
Whether the kind of ternar of the evening is in market contrast of the
ternar of the today which has been very concerted on sort of cleanup and
self-discipline and celebration of this neighborhood and what it stands
O`DONNELL: And Chris, the police did announce that they would have – they
had a 9:30 press conference half hour before the curfew, they have
announced that they will have a 10:30 press conference a half hour into the
That will probably be a progress report press conference. Is it your sense
that by 10:30 there will be no one out there who doesn`t have a legal right
to be out there?
HAYES: You know, I wouldn`t – I would bet on no. I think it depends on
what tactical decisions the police want to make. Let me compare to the
last time that I was at a countdown for a curfew which was in Ferguson.
That was a very different scene. As the minutes ticked towards that
countdown, there was a sense of ratcheting up tension, impending
There were huge phalanges of different officers from different levels of
government. The county and local and state troopers in huge amounts of
tactical gear marching towards people in this kind of confrontational
You had those LRAD sirens going off, you had people on bullhorns saying
this is unlawful assembly, disperse, you must disperse. There was a real
pressure-rise attempt to clear people.
That is not right now what we`re seeing, the decisions made that, that
would only – I would imagine, I can`t read the minds of the officers in
Would only escalate things, and from where I stand right now, engaging the
general atmosphere, that seems right. I mean, there is – there is, right
now, it doesn`t seem a huge urgency in this small area.
Again, I think what we`re seeing right here now in this square, which has
been kind of the epicenter of both sort of celebration and protests today
and heavy police presence and heavy community presence.
This is not necessarily representative of how DPD is dealing with things
all over what is a very large city, 40 square miles.
So, this might be a very different scene than what`s happening away from
the cameras, we should know.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Chris Hayes, we`ll be coming back to you. That`s
Elijah Cummings down in the bottom corner of the screen there, Congressman
Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Congressman.
He`s very near the CVS store that was burned and looted and burned
yesterday there. We`re going to go to Rehema Ellis now, our “Nbc News”
correspondent Rehema Ellis who was at the City Hall in Baltimore.
Rehema, the police have been careful in the last hour to emphasize that
this is a strict curfew, but it will be enforced with some discretion.
They left open the possibility that there are possible reasons to be out,
that they have not considered in the work and/or going to medical treatment
exceptions that they`ve allowed for.
But it could be that what we`re seeing now is the discretion includes when
to try to move large groups of people who remain on the street at what is
now 10:06 p.m.
REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS: Yes, I`m getting the impression that police want
to tamper their actions as much as they possibly can and stay within the
confines of what they have said and they`ve directed people to do, and that
is to get off of the streets.
And at the same time, they don`t want to – they don`t want to incite
people. They don`t want – they have begged people – as more angry than
they already are.
So to your point, the police commissioner said they`re going to exercise
some discretion, the governor said earlier that they are going to impose
this curfew in a way that is absolutely prudent and they would make
exceptions where necessary, that they would apply the curfew restrictions
Out here at City Hall, I have to tell you about an hour ago, there was
about ten or so young people making a lot of noise here around the City
They got everybody`s attention. But they were totally peaceful, making a
lot of noise, they are not here anymore. It is – it`s pretty calm here.
Again, you can see the barricades here at City Hall, there is a heavy
police presence here, so it doesn`t look like anyone particularly is going
to be violating that curfew here.
Of course, as you just heard, as Chris was pointing out throughout the
city, they`re keeping a watch over it. There`re so many people in this
city who really do hope that the curfew holds tonight.
They think that, that will help to lay a blanket of calm over this
community, over the city, and that`s what they want.
Everybody that I talked to today said they want calmness, they want peace,
they want their message heard.
And they know that when the flames of flaring and when people are shouting
and when there is a riot going on, the message that they came out to
protest about is not a message that`s being heard.
So they want to counter any of the excitement, any of the violence with the
calmness. And if the curfew helps to do that, many people say that they`re
O`DONNELL: Rehema, do we know who will make the call about enforcement?
Will the mayor be making that call?
Looking at these television images, looking at just how large a crowd of
people are still out in any given location after 10:00 p.m.
Will she be the one who basically orders the police to show restraint or go
in and make arrests?
ELLIS: I can`t say exactly, but I would suspect that there is going to be
a lot of cooperation and discussion about what they should do between the
mayor and the police commissioner talking with his deputies, with his
officers who were out on the streets.
Those who are engaged in this details, trying to make certain that this
curfew is indeed enforced. I think that said, they`ve been trying to –
they`ve been trying to be very measured in their actions throughout what`s
been happening in this community.
Some people say too measured and they have been having to do backtrack, if
you will, and try to explain it. The mayor said many times today that the
arm chair quarterbacking if you will, has been not helpful.
And that many people are not aware of all of the circumstances and all of
the – of everything that she is considering when she`s making a decision.
But there seems to be a lot of consideration between her and the police
commissioner, the Police Department.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rehema, we`ll be coming back to you. We have Toure
live near the CVS store, Toure, where are you exactly and what`s the
TOURE NEBLETT, MSNBC: Lawrence, I`m right across from the CVS, I can see
the line of police that has been there all day long. There were a lot of
questions about what would happen at 10:00.
Would they start firing tear gas? They gave us gas masks to wear in case
that happen. So far, the police have shown extraordinary restraint, they
have been telling people to go home, but they`ve been playing the tape from
the mayor telling folks to go home.
But they have not done anything as yet, I saw something happen at 9:00,
that was fairly extraordinary.
Somebody threw a bottle of water at the police and you can see the police
start to want to move and folks who have been standing in front of that
line with their arms locked almost all day long stopped the police from
He grabbed the folks who have been throwing the bottle and restrained them
and it was Bloods and Crips, Lawrence, that were trying to keep the peace,
move the people away from this line in front of the police.
It was pretty extraordinary. I spoke to a Blood earlier today, Nikko
Caldwell, do you have the tape of that right now to run?
O`DONNELL: I believe we – I saw you do that, I believe the control room
has that. Let`s – as long as there`s nothing active right there on the
street at the moment, let`s go to Toure`s tape of that extraordinary
interview with this gang member.
Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKO CALDWELL, RESIDENT, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: We are definitely promising
peace tonight. We weren`t founded on an idea of destruction, we were
founded on the idea of protecting our neighborhoods and the citizens of our
NEBLETT: We heard that the –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?
NEBLETT: Crips and Bloods are actually working together in this peace
initiative. How did that happen? How did the two groups come together?
CALDWELL: Well, the two groups came together because of the death of
Freddie Gray. I went to school with Freddie Gray in Wayne Mason(ph) and
now Middle School here in Baltimore, Maryland, on the west side.
And based on our ideology is that the Bloods and Crips were founded upon –
we decided to go back to our roots. Because we`re tired of the harm that
these police are giving us on a daily basis.
We don`t want that anymore, so we decided to unite, and for the record,
everyone in the United States that`s a Blood or a Crip that has a certain
type of beef amongst each other, I want you all to cross that and unite.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Toure, that was really an extraordinary conversation to hear
and you`ve been seeing them follow through on that.
NEBLETT: Yes, we have, they said that they would try to enforce peace
tonight. So far, we are seeing that, and they`re just one of the members
of the community who are working very hard to try to keep this peaceful.
And let me show you, let`s push it, now I want to show you, there is a
group of people who are standing in between the crowd that`s still milling
about and its phalanx of police trying to keep people away from the police,
trying to make sure that nothing happens.
Even as we have helicopters over, above us, saying go home, time to go
home, but the community is working very hard to try to keep this peaceful,
O`DONNELL: Toure, what is your sense of what the police attitude is where
you are? There clearly are some people there who are in violation, 13
minutes into violation of this curfew at this point.
NEBLETT: Well, we have to give the police credit at this point, see, now a
bottle just came flying at the police, so we`re being told maybe they`re
going to try to react now –
O`DONNELL: Toure, I`m going to have to come back to you –
Chris Hayes, I want to go to your camera position, what`s happening now?
HAYES: So we are – we have been told by police that we can stay in this
area. I think what happened was, there is a big media scrum.
There`s this kind of contagion effect, where there is a bunch of cameras
and a bunch of lights and the people rush towards it. There was one that
pushed up near the front of the line.
And I think that has tipped over the police ended now, they`re flying a
police chopper overhead saying all media needs to clear the area, I believe
is what they`re saying.
They`re also telling people to clear the streets. Earlier before, there
was a – there was a SWAT team – the SWAT vehicle over the bullhorn
telling people they need to clear the streets.
So they`re clearly wanting to get people out of here. And I do have to say
that, at this point, it is mostly us and the media who are – who are out
There`s maybe – oh, I don`t know, maybe about a hundred folks from the
community out here this hour into this – this chopper flying overhead and
you get the sense they`re going to start pushing harder.
O`DONNELL: So Chris, I`m not sure if you can hear me with the helicopter
there. But is it your impression that the police feel that the media is
actually part of what is keeping these people on the streets?
HAYES: I mean, it`s impossible to know. I mean, it is not just the media
here, Congressman Elijah Cummings is here, he`s walking around, he`s
talking to people, there are –
O`DONNELL: Chris, we`re going to –
HAYES: Other folks here that –
O`DONNELL: Chris, we`re going to come back to you, we`re going to go to
Elijah Cummings right now who is with “Nbc News” correspondent Ron Allen on
the streets there in Baltimore, Ron?
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS: Congressman Cummings, we`re from – let me give you
one second –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, what?
ALLEN: Mr. Cummings, “Nbc”, we`re live, if you have one second, please.
He`s having a discussion with some of the young men out here who are
obviously very angry, very agitated.
And he is trying to convince people to go home. He`s been out here for the
last hour or so, and there`s a lot of intense discussions going on here
Let`s see if we can try and get a word in here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes –
ALLEN: Congressman Cummings, we`re live on “Nbc News” –
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Yes –
ALLEN: Can you tell me – can you tell us what it is that you`re trying to
say to these young men to convince them to go home?
What is it – are they trying to – watch, wait, let`s calm down, calm
down, calm down, everyone calm down.
The police are banging their batons against their shields, people are
running in different directions, the police are advancing, they`re moving
forward very slowly, trying to clear out this intersection.
Very slowly, they have not moved very far, but we don`t know how far this
is going to go. Are you still with us here? –
O`DONNELL: Yes, Ron Allen, the people near you scattered, what was it that
made them –
ALLEN: Are you still –
O`DONNELL: Scatter so quickly? –
ALLEN: With us, Lawrence? Hang on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please get them out of here, you all.
ALLEN: What made them scatter was that the police started banging their
batons against their shields. There`s a phalanx of police up there under
that red light that you can`t quite see.
And they started to move forward, and you can see over in this direction,
to the right over here, they`re pushing forward and I just saw a big object
go into the crowd of police, which is a big concern –
O`DONNELL: OK –
ALLEN: The police have been saying –
O`DONNELL: Ron Allen –
ALLEN: That they –
O`DONNELL: Ron Allen, we`re going –
ALLEN: Come under attack –
O`DONNELL: Ron Allen –
ALLEN: So –
O`DONNELL: Thank you, we`re going to go to Chris Hayes, we`ll come back to
you. We`re going to go to Chris Hayes to check what he can see from where
he is. Chris Hayes.
HAYES: Hey, Lawrence, that police line moved for the first time literally
in about eight or nine hours. It has not moved all day, it just moved up,
when it moved up, people ran.
And as soon as it moved, a bunch of projectiles came in. I saw a few
rocks, a few bottles, you can see now people chucking water bottles at the
police, that`s a glass bottle that just broke behind me.
Police have their riot shields up, it`s mostly – it`s mostly water
bottles, but they`re definitely projectiles being tossed at the police now.
Again, there ain`t that many folks here right now other than the media. I
mean, there is maybe about a hundred, to possibly max 200, 200 people.
The police now crouch, as you can see in that position, their shields are
raised for incoming projectiles.
They`ve now increased the amount of area that they have taken,
reinforcements that have been fed to them from behind these buildings have
come through so that they can claim a larger portion of ground.
And you can hear now probably – I don`t know if you can pick up on my
microphone, you can hear the sound of broken projectiles being tossed at
them, they are holding their position, however.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Chris, this is –
HAYES: Elijah Cummings still out there in the crowd talking to people –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey Chris, this is Rachel in New York. Have they
told you as media to leave?
HAYES: It`s very unclear, earlier, we were told it was fine. The chopper
that flew overhead, I thought said something about media, but frankly, both
the chopper and the SWAT PA is extremely garbled.
It`s very hard to tell. We have the police now approaching and batting on
their shields with their batons, walking forward to clear the square, and
as they do more projectiles fly in, you can hear them, mostly water
bottles, but also glass, also rocks, water bottles being chucked at them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell who is throwing stuff?
HAYES: We`re being –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell who is doing the throwing?
HAYES: It`s honest – it`s honestly impossible to tell because they`re
being thrown – they`re being thrown from pretty far. People telling –
residents now telling people to leave, saying this is our city.
O`DONNELL: Chris, is the – is the bullhorn announcement that the police
are making, is that audible to the people there or is that being drown out
by the helicopters?
HAYES: It`s basically a kind of din in the background. I don`t – anyone
who is out at this point, I think, is sort of made a decision to be out.
Most of the folks, certainly the vast majority of people that I`ve been
talking to eight hours, sitting on this intersection talking to different
people walking around this neighborhood.
The overwhelming and vast majority of them have left. So there`s a small
contingent that`s remained behind, but again, as I look out right now,
wherever those projectiles were coming from, they`re from sort of behind
They`re being chucked from pretty far back. You can see down there, a
bunch of the folks – you see the guy waving his arms down there?
There`s a few of the folks who are manning the line earlier today that was
– that was sort of separating the crowd and the police.
And a few of them are now down there, milling about, trying to sort of push
people back and push them off in a way the – from the intersection.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris, is there still, according to people –
HAYES: But as at now, there`s –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Local folks who are trying to keep – trying to tell
people to go home. Are those negotiations still –
HAYES: Yes –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going on?
HAYES: Yes, definitely, they definitely are. But there`s also – there`s
also a bunch of young men out, some with sort of scarves over their faces
But the –
O`DONNELL: Chris, we`re going to – we`re going to go to Trymaine Lee and
see what he can pick up at his position. We`ll be coming back to you.
HAYES: That`s –
O`DONNELL: Trymaine Lee, what do you see?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, we`re not lost – 212-64 –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, 634 –
O`DONNELL: We don`t have Trymaine – we don`t have Trymaine Lee`s audio,
we`re going to go back to Chris Hayes.
Chris Hayes, we had a clear shot there, we have it right now of the front
line of these police officers with their shields –
HAYES: Yes, they`re –
O`DONNELL: Having –
HAYES: They`re –
O`DONNELL: Made that move, they have now stopped.
HAYES: Yes, they`ve advanced, they have probably advanced about a halve, a
100 feet from the line before, maybe a 150 feet.
And they`ve also kind of found out they formed that crescent there, they`ve
pushed down the vehicles all behind, they advanced – projectiles came at
them, they advanced again.
They took a defensive approach, they batted their batons against their
shields, you can hear them yelling out to each other when a projectile
Again, some of these – the officers have been rotating through that,
they`ve been holding that line for eight or nine hours today. But –
O`DONNELL: Chris –
HAYES: Some of the people I would imagine have been out here –
O`DONNELL: Have you seen – have you seen them make any arrests in the
last ten minutes since they began that move?
HAYES: I have not seen a single – I literally have not seen a single
arrest all day. There was one moment earlier when police went into the
crowd to clear for an ambulance, to put someone in that ambulance where
there was a paramedical emergency.
But for that in what is now going on, nine or ten hours that I`ve been at
this intersection – or eight hours that I`ve been at this intersection, I
haven`t seen a single arrest and I still haven`t seen one even as though
projectiles started to come in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris, one of the things that we`ve seen in crowd
control situations sometimes is that the police tell people to leave or
start corralling people in a way that seems to indicate that people should
But people don`t have anywhere to go, they don`t have a way to get away
from the police. Once they`re in a situation like this, it doesn`t seem
like that`s what`s going on here, right?
People do want –
HAYES: No –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To disperse at this –
HAYES: No –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Point, they can.
HAYES: Right, so this is the – that technique which has often referred to
as kettling –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes –
HAYES: In which police – NYPD will often do that if they have an area
that`s bound by some perimeter like in Times Square, they`ll sort of
surround people and push in, makes mass arrests – looks like tear gas.
Are there tear gas – or now lots – a few Molotov cocktails behind me and
a few fire crackers –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that tear gas fire –
HAYES: Now, big junks of rock –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By the police?
HAYES: By me –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was that tear gas fired –
HAYES: We know –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fired by the police?
HAYES: No –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No –
HAYES: No, I don`t think it`s tear gas fired by the police, I think it`s
basically – yes – no, it`s –
O`DONNELL: We`re seeing –
HAYES: No, hold on, hold on –
O`DONNELL: We`re seeing something thrown into the police, Chris, something
HAYES: Not –
O`DONNELL: And smoking –
HAYES: They`re not tear gas –
O`DONNELL: Just went into –
HAYES: It`s not tear gas –
O`DONNELL: The police –
HAYES: It`s not tear gas, it`s not tear gas, that`s coming from – it`s
coming from the crowd, and it`s basically fire crackers being sent to the
Police now – police now coming towards our camera position and you can see
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move back!
HAYES: All right, we`re going to strike, we`re going to strike, we`re
going to get out of here.
I understand, I understand, we`re going to keep things – we`re not trying
to cause anything here, we`re – all right, you got me, you got me on the
zoom, move back, move back.
We`re good, we`re good, we`re good, we`re good. We`re moving, we`re
moving, everyone chill –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all got to go –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re going –
HAYES: We`re going, we`re moving, we`re breaking down, we`re breaking down
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to break this up, you have to back out –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are we going to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re all connected –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re all connected.
HAYES: All right, am I live? You guys good?
O`DONNELL: Yes, we have you, Chris.
HAYES: OK, hey, guys, so we now have the police line right up against us,
they got bombarded with a barrage of what looked like smoke bombs,
A few Molotov cocktails, some bricks, some chunks of concrete, we`re now
trying to move this camera position back to give the police space here.
That smoke though, that should be cleared, the police –
O`DONNELL: OK –
HAYES: The police have not used –
O`DONNELL: Chris, we`re going to go to –
HAYES: See at least –
O`DONNELL: Ron Allen, we`re going to go to Ron Allen, we`re going to come
back to you and see what Ron has. Ron, what`s happening at your location?
ALLEN: You got me?
O`DONNELL: Yes, Ron Allen, what`s happening at your location?
ALLEN: We are – we are opposite where Chris is, we are at the back end of
this and we are retreating because the smoke from these incendiary devices
is blowing in the opposite direction.
So we can hold our positions at the moment. But you can see the crowd is
coming back here, nobody knows exactly what is being thrown, what`s being
It`s not tear gas because it`s not irritating at the moment, but it`s
getting thick out here and the police have moved, intersections basically
cleared now, we`re going to keep moving down the street, keep moving back
because it is getting thick.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ron, can you see what it is, that has been thrown at
the police? Is it fire crackers, a Molotov cocktails or can you – or gas
canisters? Can you tell what it is?
ALLEN: I don`t know exactly, putting a gas mask on.
O`DONNELL: OK, Ron –
ALLEN: I don`t know exactly what it is that`s being thrown in the air. I
don`t know exactly what it is, but it is – a bit awkward, somebody is
telling me they think it is tear gas.
Let`s move back, further back. Let`s move further back, please. People
are trying to get some cars out of the way here, they`re setting up this
barricade here with the trash because it`s kind of far (INAUDIBLE) –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s move back, move back!
ALLEN: We`re getting into our vehicle, can you still hear me?
O`DONNELL: Yes, we can. Ron, we saw at least one projectile thrown at the
police that was flaming and smoking as it landed at the police – at the
feet of the police.
Did you see anything thrown at the police?
ALLEN: Yes, I saw – I saw water bottles and so forth going out there and
then when they fired these incendiary devices, people pick them up –
people pick them up and threw them back at the police.
Over here, you can see now, they`re trying to block the roads, these people
who are out here trying to block the roads and perhaps sets this on fire,
this was what was happening last night.
There are a lot of different places, there were huge fires at intersections
where people were burning trash, burning cars, trying to block the police.
I think I can take this off now because the – the smoke is not that bad
here at this position now, we`re a couple of blocks away from where the
O`DONNELL: So –
ALLEN: But it`s – we`re probably now about a hundred yards from where the
police line is and people here are regrouping and trying to figure out what
to do next.
But for the most part, the square, the intersection up there is completely
cleared out now. There`s a few people there who are lingering, figuring
out their next move, but you can`t – you can`t go up there now because of
Because of the tear gas that`s really – it makes it difficult to breathe
up there. But we are in a position that`s safe, we`re in a position that`s
– where it`s not blowing at us.
We move to a safe place, and so we`re all right seeing things here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ron, is it –
ALLEN: I`m hearing that –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it clear to you that people who are being told –
ALLEN: It`s not tear gas, but I am not certain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are told by the police that it is not tear gas.
The police are being emphatic about that. Obviously you`re the one whose
on the ground experiencing it.
Question for you is, are people who are being told to leave able to leave?
ALLEN: Yes, people are able to leave. I mean the streets are open,
there`s a way out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK –
ALLEN: You can leave. It`s – and again, yes, I agree, it`s not – I have
experienced tear gas, it`s not tear gas, but it is irritating to your
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes –
ALLEN: Whatever it is, whatever the smoke is. And –
O`DONNELL: Ron Allen, we`re going to come back to you –
ALLEN: I can see some people actually walking back up in that direction.
O`DONNELL: Ron Allen, thank you. We`re going to come back to you. We`re
going to go to Chris Hayes now. Chris, you`ve been told by the police that
this is not tear gas.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, I – Ron, I had a clear
line from sort of watching down the line from where I was.
It`s not tear gas. It`s basically smoke bombs, smoke canisters that were
thrown at the police.
The police has, as of yet, not deployed anything to clear this area other
than their shields, batons and bodies. So, there has not been any
deployment of pepper balls, we haven`t seen any of that sort of orange
spray that we saw in some places yesterday, or green smoke, or tear gas.
All the smoke you saw on your screens came from a few people back here who
are chucking now the police, along with chucking some bottles. And, now,
there`s a group of young men who have sort of receded away from the
intersection, who tossed some stuff in the middle of the street.
O`DONNELL: Chris, could you –
HAYES: But the intersection I –
O`DONNELL: – could you try to –
O`DONNELL: Could you try to clarify something for us with the police.
Because it was Ron Allen`s impression, from the other side of that line,
that those projectiles came toward the crowd from the police.
They were picked up by the crowd and thrown back at the police.
HAYES: That is not – that is not what I saw and I – I can talk to the
officers in a second, although they`re not really in a talking mood right
O`DONNELL: OK, well, whatever you can get from them, Chris. We`re going
to come back to you. We`re going to go to Trymaine Lee now.
Trymaine, what`s happening in your position.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: So, I`m on the opposite side of
where Ron Allen is. The police have essentially cut off the bisection
here, the intersection here.
And so, protesters and other folks have started to move from that end of
the street and come on this side. It`s certainly not tear gas.
As we all remember from Ferguson, the smoke we`ve been wafting in the air,
you could feel the burn. It`s certainly not burning.
Also, if you take a look at the officers, they don`t have gas masks on
either. Now, the one thing, I didn`t hear a few moments ago. Still, there
are things flying into the crowd.
I heard a few bangings a little further down the street. It`s not clear
exactly what it is. Another thing, it`s actually eerily quiet out here.
The crowd has thinned out tremendously, so where most of the people on this
side, at least, are journalists.
O`DONNELL: Trymaine, I just want to clarify what we now know. The
Baltimore Police have just twitted, “Officers are now deploying pepper
balls at the aggressive crowd at North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue.”
So, the police are taking responsibility for having deployed pepper balls.
LEE: And that makes sense. The way that the tear gas wafts in the air,
even by secondary contact, you would have felt the burn.
And it`s not what`s going on. Now, you could tell it is smoky and it
doesn`t – it did make it difficult to be out here for a few moments but it
kind of cleared out pretty clearly.
O`DONNELL: Trymaine, does it look like the crowd is retreating. Has any
of this, in any way, worked in helping to enforce the curfew. Are people
LEE: It certainly seems to have worked as a deterrent. You don`t see
folks kind of digging in their heels and facing off in the way we had even
earlier in the week.
Folks have gone down that end of the street, here on Pennsylvania, going
down the further end. And they`ve shown some restraint.
I mean, there were bottles flying into the crowd, a few glass bottles, some
plastic bottles filled with liquid that kind of spilled all over the place.
And folks, officers, have essentially just kind of stood in formation,
pushed up a little bit, be there, baton and shields. And that`s about it
You heard a few commands, urging people to disperse from the area, to go
home. And for the most part, from my vantage point, they seemed to have
done just that – spread out a little bit and going down either end of the
O`DONNELL: Trymaine, we`re certainly seeing that, that they made this
advance across the street. But they`re now holding in this new position
across the street. Have you see any arrests made yet.
LEE: I have not seen any arrest made at all. And, again, unlike – not to
always go back to Ferguson, but to go back to Ferguson where you were in
this kind of cramped corner, four, five blocks, here, there are exit points
on each end of the street.
And so, from this vantage point, you don`t see much action. Now, you can
see – you saw the smoke on that side, and there still seems to be some
smoke. And there seems to be some activity over there.
That`s probably what you`re seeing right now. From my vantage point, I
cannot see it.
O`DONNELL: Yes, we have a close-up of that now, of what`s happening over
there now. And there is a lot of smoke over there.
It`s unclear what`s creating that smoke at this particular moment.
LEE: Again, it`s relatively quiet. You can tell that the crowd – I mean,
you had hundreds of people. And there`s another bang on the other side and
There`s a fire. Come swing around this way. You see there`s a fire over
by that building right there. We just heard a loud bang and, now, you see
That`s not a fire.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Oh, that is.
LEE: Yes, there is a fire. There is a fire.
O`DONNELL: And any indication what –
LEE: You see heavy, black smoke over this side, and you can see the
O`DONNELL: Yes. And any indication what started that fire.
LEE: It looks like some debris. It looks like trash or debris. It looks
like trash or debris in front of a stone building out there.
O`DONNELL: All right, Trymaine, I think Toure is closer to that.
LEE: But, again, there`s still heavy, black smoke.
O`DONNELL: Trymaine, I think Terray is closer to that. We`re going to go
to Terray and he`s going to tell us what he might be able to see there.
Terray, what can you see there.
TOURE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Lawrence, I see several, sort of, firecrackers
like Trymaine was talking about, big plumes of smoke. It is not tear gas.
I`m standing here without a mask and seems fine to me. The police are
holding their position for now. The streets are mostly clearing out.
The folks who are still here are mostly media. Some folks who are fairly
digging in their heels, daring to challenge the police to the last bitter
end but, for the most part, the streets are clearing out.
There are still helicopters above. So, you know, with this phalanx of cops
which is moving at this second, moving forward at this moment, but still
moving forward somewhat slowly, it`s somewhat tense but there`s not – the
police are not provoking the folks at this point.
I see more of folks throwing bottles, occasionally bricks, at the police.
Now, they seem to be moving a little bit more. Now, they – I think, now
they`re holding their position.
But nothing has been – now, I haven`t seen any of these firecrackers sort
of things come from the police. I keep seeing them go toward the police or
into the space in between the police and where folks used to be.
So, I`m not seeing the police shoot things at the people just as yet.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Toure, can you – can you see who is – from
the protesters side, who is throwing this stuff at police and is it all
coming from the same group or is it coming from – this stuff being thrown
from disparate areas.
TOURE: I have seen a few young men throwing things at the police –
bottles, bricks sort of things. These are the sorts of young men who are
out here, wearing bandanas and, you know, people who seem to be like, “I`m
going to challenge the police as much as humanly possible.”
Certainly not the folks who are out here trying to, you know, achieve
justice or get certain message across. So, they seem to be confirming the
stereotype of the folks who want to be out here, challenging the police to
MADDOW: So, it`s a small group of guys who are doing it. It does not seem
to be inciting any larger group of people to either be joining them or
doing anything else to confront the police at this point. It`s an isolated
TOURE: Yes, that`s right. That`s what I see. I see, I mean, I saw a
group of about five men wearing bandanas, one of them would sort of get the
feeling and sort of run up and throw something at the police, and then sort
of fall back and laugh.
And the other ones would sort of laugh with them. And then, five, 10
minutes later, another one would sort of run up and do the same thing.
I saw one holding a brick and sort of, you know, trying to pick his moment
for when he was going to throw that at the police. But, you know, the
police have taken 15, 20 bottles, some bricks, at them.
Have to say that they have shown remarkable restraint not really pushing –
not really putting the clamp down as they could at this time.
O`DONNELL: Here is the way the Baltimore Police have just described that
fire we saw. Two minutes ago, they tweeted –
“A group of criminals have just started a fire outside the library located
at Pennsylvania Av and North Av.” That`s the – word-for-word, what the
Baltimore Police just tweeted.
MADDOW: That`s the Enoch Pratt Free Library branch. They were right in
the middle of it yesterday, with burning cars and a lot of the worst stuff
They ended up bringing the kids who were at the library and patron who were
at the library, out through a side entrance. They closed their doors, they
turned their lights off.
They basically snuck out. But they opened as normal today, hosted a lot of
kids who were there because school was closed.
It`s hard for us to know from our vantage point that this is a significant
fire. It doesn`t seem like a significant fire brigade response to this
fire outside the library but maybe we can get some better vantage point on
O`DONNELL: That was one of the great positive stories of the day, Rachel,
that library and the kids –
O`DONNELL: – who were not in school, going to that library, finding the
place of welcome for the day.
MADDOW: In terms of that – in terms of the overall location here again –
I mean, in terms of our bird`s eye view, almost literally, what we can see
from the chopper, and what we`re able to piece together from our various
cameras on the ground – and you`ve seen these guys as our folks on the
ground have been physically moved through this intersection by the police
presence, by smoke, and by the other logistical needs of being there, the
big picture of what`s going on here is that there are – this looks like a
lot of people.
There are very small number of protesters and community folks who are out
in the street right now. This curfew went into effect 40 minutes ago in
Nobody exactly knew how it was going to look in the streets when the police
were so emphatic that they were going to enforce it. They talked about
ways they would enforce at the individual level.
They will be using “common sense,” in their own words, to assess people`s
individual justifications for being out on the street if they can,
individuals out on the street between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. tomorrow
But then, they also said, without elaborating, that they had a plan in the
event of groups of people out on the street, any large numbers of people
out on the street, to the extent that there were large numbers of people
out at this key intersection, out at Pennsylvania Avenue in North and West
You are not seeing large numbers of people there now. The large groups
that you are seeing are the police themselves and, honestly, the media who
is there to cover what might happen in this confrontation.
What we`ve seen over the last 40 minutes does involve some pretty
disturbing pictures of that incendiary – those incendiary objects,
whatever they were, and bottles, and rocks, and what appeared to be bricks,
and glass bottles.
Somebody, at one point, described seeing them all – Molotov cocktail, that
we had only heard that once, a number of things thrown at police. What
looked initially like, perhaps, police gassing the protesters, putting tear
gas canisters out or smoke canisters out to disperse people, does not now
appear to have been a police tactic.
It appears that those devices, including those smoke – smoke and many
devices originated with originated with the protesters side, not the police
side. So, we`re seeing the police take up space, but we`re not seeing a
kinetic confrontation here.
And we`re not seeing a lot of residents out on the street still.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes, it seems the police are still holding their
position at your location.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, they`ve – at this point, they`ve succeeded
tactically. They`ve taken the intersection that they wanted to take,
they`ve cleared the area, they`ve done it without – you know, I don`t
think any officers sustained injuries. I don`t think any citizens
There was a brief fire that, I swear, I just saw a guy in a sweatshirt with
a bandana over his face, take a bottle and doused the flame. He looked
like the kind of guy who may have been, a moment earlier, hurling a
They`ve now, you know, they`ve now taken this – this – this piece of real
estate and – again, Rachel made a point before. We say “crowd,” there
wasn`t really a crowd to speak of.
It was maybe two or three dozen young men. And police are now taking more
I imagine, they`re going to sort of keep this area kind of contained and
under their control for the foreseeable future. But they have succeeded in
clearing the square.
And the question now becomes, you know, we – I talked to someone tonight,
earlier today. He said, “Look, Baltimore is a big city. And it`s going to
be up to people all over the city to sort of either exercise restraint or
stop other folks from doing stuff.”
I mean, the fact of the matter is there was a kind of gravity and momentum
to both what happened yesterday and the kind of confrontation you just saw
now play out, that – you know, isn`t just starting out of nowhere
necessarily across the city.
But as for this intersection, the police have, with pretty – I would, if I
can editorialize it, with pretty disciplined restraint, succeeded in
essentially achieving their tactical aims.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Chris, for that update. We`re joined now by Pastor
Jamal Bryant. He delivered the eulogy at Freddie Gray`s funeral.
Reverend Bryant, what is your reaction to the way Baltimore is responding
to the curfew tonight.
JAMAL BRYANT, PASTOR, EMPOWERMENT TEMPLE CHURCH: Yes, gravely and woefully
unfortunate, and its real contra-distinction from what happened here at the
church tonight was emergency crisis town hall meeting, some 2,000 people
Have to think about turning the page for a new chapter in Baltimore. To
come out of that and to see this footage is really regrettable because we
really were hoping that tonight will be a night of calm, that we could, in
fact, recalibrate the movement that`s not about rioting but is really about
finding ourselves in the place of where we can get accountable policing.
O`DONNELL: Well, Reverend Bryant, as far as we know right now, it was just
one small – relatively small crowd just at the intersection of
Pennsylvania and North.
And we don`t, at this point, have reports of any significant violations of
the curfew anywhere else.
BRYANT: I`m very delighted to hear that. We sent out troops of men, both
Muslim and Christian, as well as gang members who signed a peace treaty
earlier today, urging young people to stay out of the streets and be in the
house at 10:00 o`clock.
And so, if it`s just a small motley crew of those who are consciously and
willingly defying the law, it`s regrettable. But we`re thankful for those
who have complied to what it is that we`re under in this season.
O`DONNELL: Jamal Bryant, many people, most people in Baltimore are at home
right now, certainly with their televisions on. What would you say to them
about what`s happening in Baltimore now and what your hopes are for the
next few days.
BRYANT: I want to say to those who are watching, thank you for not adding
to the sting that Baltimore cried on last night. Thank you for showing the
world that we are people of high dignity, that we have a regard of the law,
and we`re looking for the law to work on our behalf.
Let me also say to Baltimoreans that this can no way deflate our momentum
on Sunday. It will be the largest march we`ve had outside of city hall at
All of the houses of faith are converging downtown so that we can
demonstrate what it means to, in fact, lift our voices for what it is that
we want, which is, in fact, an equitable justice system in Maryland so that
all of us can, in fact, walk without fear of the police.
MADDOW: Pastor Bryant, it`s Rachel Maddow here in New York. Hearing you
talk about the efforts that you`ve been a part of to get people out on the
streets in a constructive way, to get out the message to not violate the
curfew, to not have another violent day, a second violent day in Baltimore
and all of the different types of resources you and other Baltimore leaders
have been able to bring to bear on that, it has been a remarkable thing to
I just wonder, through that organizing and through this big town hall that
you had tonight, this large event with so many people speaking out, there
was all that focus on what not to do.
What about what there is positively to do. Is the next thing you`re going
to be focused on, that march, or is there – are there other constructive
or over – things you`re planning to do to channel the energy and the anger
in your community right now.
BRYANT: Oh, yes. Well, it was broken into two parts. One is the
opportunity for vent. And the second was to strategize. We`re going to
start a citywide voter registration campaign.
We`re one week – one year away from our critical election. We`ll be
voting for mayor, for U.S. Senate, for Congress and for new U.S. President.
And the black church is not going to be on the sideline. We`re going to be
on the frontline of that.
We`re going to be engaged in real tactical training on what it means to
practice the principles of non-violent protesting, as well as we`re going
to be raising up men in our community to serve as marshals so that our
young people and our seniors will be able to protest without there being
O`DONNELL: Pastor Jamal Bryant, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. We really appreciate it.
And I hope the people of Baltimore appreciate everything you`ve been doing
to try to bring peace back to Baltimore.
BRYANT: Please pray for my city. Thank you so much.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. We`re joined now by Gabe Gutierrez, NBC News
Correspondent on the street in Baltimore. Gabe, where are you and what`s
GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Lawrence. Good
evening. We`re here at the corner of West North in Pennsylvania, near the
Not far from where Chris Hayes was reporting a short time ago, the police
have continued to advance just a few more feet. People can say, as you`ve
been reporting, that this has been a period of relative calm over the last
hour or so.
The curfew came and went. Right now, all we can see here is mostly media,
very – not very many residents here at all. Few dozens that were here
have gone about a block down, have been on the side and watched from there.
For most part, people have dispersed over the past hour or so.
As you mentioned, there had been some firecrackers thrown, perhaps a
Molotov cocktail or two. No tear gas or anything that we`ve seen. Police
were able to disperse the crowd without any major confrontation.
So, that is something that residents here have been wanting. And it
appears at this point that that`s something that they`ve achieved.
There here have been no arrest, at least, here from our vantage point. As
you can see behind me, there are some armored vehicles here. The police
had been in full white gear.
Now, they just seem to be holding some batons. A few more officers over
here are maintaining their positions.
And you hear the police helicopters hovering overhead. But, for the most
part, it seems to have calmed down quite a bit over the last hour.
No major problems here to report and, again, no arrest that we could see
from this position. Lawrence, back to you.
MADDOW: Gabe, one of the things though – one of the things that we can
see from our news chopper view is that it looks strategically, like what
the police have done is basically move their perimeter line of police
officers, this pretty tightly-held line, so that they are taking up –
they`re effectively occupying that intersection and not – and taking up
that space in a law enforcement capacity, and just axing it out in terms of
it being available for anybody else to be there.
Does it seem like that`s what they`re doing, they`re just taking over that
space and they`re going to be holding it indefinitely.
GUTIERREZ: Right. And it was really a few feet at a time.
GUTIERREZ: As you can see, they`re kind of – the officers are right –
not far behind me at all. An hour ago, they had been posted at the other
end of this intersection and, little by little, have been moving forward.
Now, when they first started to do that, there was a little disturbance.
There were several people in the crowd that hurled some objects at the
There was some uncertainty of whether that could escalate very quickly.
There were some smoke bombs thrown, potentially by people in the crowd.
And so, that smoke gave way to a little bit of somewhat of a chaotic
atmosphere, but it didn`t stay long. The smoke dissipated, the crowd
dispersed and the police have been moving here. There`s a few feet.
Now, they`re posted here. Again, as you can see, pretty calm, a lot of
flashing lights, they`ve moved past this intersection.
The road obviously shut down. And they`re still monitoring the situation
from overhead. But no arrests that we can see, Rachel.
And it seems to – they seem to have achieved that relative calm that they
were searching for, at least, here from our vantage point right now.
O`DONNELL: Gabe Gutierrez, NBC News, thank you very much for that.
We`re now joined by Neill Franklin. He is a former training commander of
the Baltimore Police Department. Neill Franklin, we are 51 minutes into
We`ve seen one relatively limited police action, just a movement of the
line of police that provoked, then a movement of the crowd. No arrests
reported so far.
How do you this – how do you think the police enforcement of this curfew
is going so far.
NEILL FRANKLIN, FORMER TRAINING COMMANDER, BALTIMORE POLICE: Well, I think
it`s going quite well. The police are at the ready. They are prepared and
are going to be to be ready for anything that may occur in areas around the
This, where they`re at now, at what we call Penn North, is obviously the
hot spot. It was that last night.
It was just a few blocks away from where it all started at Mondawmin Mall
with our school children. So, they`re at the ready.
They`re going to respond to whatever they need to. But, overall, I think
we`re going to see little activity as relates to violence and destruction
And when it does occur, when it pops up, the police are going to move in.
They`re going to make the arrest. And they`re going to be prepared
for days to come.
O`DONNELL: Neill, there`s been many references tonight by the police
department that there will – that there will be discretion used in
enforcing this curfew. What are the kinds of discretion that you would
like to see used.
FRANKLIN: Well, the types of discretion that I would like to see used are
– I mean, you`re likely to still have some stragglers out there that
aren`t involved in actual destruction and violence.
And to be a little patient, give it a little time. People are going to
have to get used to this curfew. This is the first night of it.
So, just like what any law that`s new, we give people time to understand
the law, to learn, first of all, to learn that it is in effect.
Just because we`ve launched this curfew tonight, it doesn`t mean that
everybody knows about it yet. So, just a little discretion. You`re going
to have some stragglers out there who aren`t involved in criminal activity.
So, gauge that appropriately and respond appropriately, accordingly.
O`DONNELL: And –
FRANKLIN: You know, I –
O`DONNELL: Go ahead.
FRANKLIN: – I would like to say that, you know, the real champions
tonight are the citizens of Baltimore. And I think we`ve seen that, you`ve
shown that and I appreciate that, letting your viewers know what`s going on
here, and the efforts that are being made by the citizens out there.
These community leaders, they have come together not just tonight but
you`re going to see this in days to come as well. We can do this and we
will do this in this great city.
O`DONNELL: Neill Franklin, you know Baltimore well, you knot that hot spot
well. Why is that the spot tonight that has had the problem.
FRANKLIN: Well, you know, I think it has a lot to do with what occurred
yesterday. A lot of the people who joined in with those school children
were opportunists, opportunists from that particular area.
So, you`re not going to see it migrate to another part of the city because
those are people who lived in that particular area.
You know, when we had the unrest, as I referred to it, an uprising with the
school children who were trying to get their voice heard, you get these
other criminals – well, not other criminals – you had these criminals
join in, opportunists to do harm to our community, to do damage, to do
They live in our community. They`re not going to migrate to other parts of
the city. So, that`s why it`s still concentrated at what we refer to as
Penn North, Pennsylvania Avenue and North Avenue.
MADDOW: Neill Franklin, thank you very much for joining us, particularly
helpful with all of your experience all those years in Baltimore. Thank
FRANKLIN: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: I want to bring in to the conversation now, our own Thomas
Roberts. Thomas joins us by phone.
Thomas, I understand you`re pretty near, on the other side of the police
line there. Where are you and what do you see.
THOMAS ROBERTS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I`m on the south side, Rachel,
just below the intersection here at Penn and North. So, I`m in front of
the police line.
As you`re talking to Gabe Gutierrez, he was explaining how they were slowly
making their way through the intersection. So, I`m on the other side of
I`m beside one of the main terminals for the metro station. I`m looking at
a sign that somebody taped up, “If not for last night, today wouldn`t be
I think that`s the feel that I`ve gotten in Baltimore today and talking to
a lot of people and the fact that they are frustrated that there were
certain people, some bad actors that tried to take place or take the city
last night into a different place than they want to take it this evening.
We have seen some singular bad actors here on the street tonight, with
throwing some firecrackers and some smoke bombs back and forth. But the
police have been very detailed in how they`ve come through to clear this
I think one thing that got added to this compliment of police force was
sheriff`s deputies from Harford County. They were hanging out just outside
of the intersection, to the east of the CVS.
And they were waiting to come in and reinforce. So, it`s almost like they
were moving down North Avenue from one direction and then sweeping in to
compliment them once they got through the intersection off of Pennsylvania.
So, right now, they remain static in this line and they haven`t moved in
some time. Also, there hasn`t been a lot of activity on the side of the
street where I am since the first – since the first tosses of bottles and
glasses they got thrown, and then some of the fireworks.
And it seems that they`ve been able to push back anybody that was trying to
act up or act in coordination. I know one person on this side who was
Right by the metro stop, there are different advertisements and street
signs that are kind of big and triangular. And there were some kids in –
how do you use that word – hanging out behind that sign, one of which
threw something at the police and then would duck back behind the signs.
They`ve since left from that position. But most of the people that we saw
in this intersection, they would throw something, they would run.
There wasn`t much of an interaction after if they would lob something
toward the police line. But, right now, all remains pretty quiet.
Again, I`m on the other side, the south side. It`s pretty quiet over
there. It`s me and my producer and a few other cameras, and that`s it.
MADDOW: Thomas Roberts, at that intersection, south side of that
interaction, Pennsylvania and North. Thomas, thank you for that.
You know, to the point of the sign that Thomas was saying that he saw,
“Were it not for yesterday, today would be forgotten,” I mean, there is a
strategic and moral and really interesting question about the role of
violence in bringing attention to long-standing problems.
I mean, the frustration expressed in that sign is that had there not been
violence yesterday, there wouldn`t be huge national media interest and huge
national political interest in what`s going on West Baltimore and in the
concern over Freddie Gray`s death.
The fact is that violent protest gets a lot more attention than even large-
scale, constructive, non-violent protest. And that`s what makes non-
violent protests hard.
It`s also what makes it have a long-standing, hard-earned, longer-term
effect. But, as we see, Baltimore today has been remarkable, to see all
these people with different types of political capital in their own
community step up and say, “No, well, there`s not going to be a second day
of violence. Go home, turn around,” putting themselves between protesters
and the police.
To know that their challenge is to make that constructive protest stick and
to make that as important and as catalytic as the violence almost
O`DONNELL: And as violence as last night was, 235 arrests yesterday and
last night, none reported so far tonight. No arrests we saw in that first
– about 20 minutes in, we saw a real police action against a crowd that
The shot you`re seeing now was filled with contention. Just a half an hour
ago, a crowd kind of fighting back toward the police. But that crowd has
That crowd is not there now. There is no struggle going on at that
location at this point. We are now coming to the end of the first hour of
this curfew in Baltimore.
This is MSNBC`s continuing coverage of the enforcement of that curfew in
Baltimore which has not been in effect for its first hour. There were a
few hundred people on the streets of west Baltimore at 10 p.m. including a
lot of media and leaders like Congressman Elijah Cummings, who we try to
get a little bit of an interview with there but couldn`t quite pull it off.
Police held their line for the first 20 minutes. There was no real
activity and then around 10:25 we saw smoke filled the area around
Pennsylvania Avenue and North Avenue. Scene of yesterday`s looting was in
Some of the people in the crowd appeared to throw objects at the police or
were picking up objects that they were throwing back at the police. The
Baltimore police started to deploy pepper balls. The crowd was ordered to
disperse and right now the streets are mostly clear.
A fire started near a local library reportedly from a Molotov cocktail.
Rachel, the real news tonight, at this hour, one hour into this curfew is
that well over 99 percent of the residents of Baltimore have observed this
curfew from the start. We saw our cameras could show you no more than 100,
maybe 200 people on the streets in violation of the curfew and they weren`t
in violation of the curfew for very long.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That`s right. And, you know, with the police
will – I will give the police credit for the clarity with which they
communicated their intentions around to the curfew. There have been - it
was not necessarily true yesterday when they first said that they were
going to do it. There was some confusion as to a juvenile curfew and then
there`s a long-standing daytime curfew for kids a lot of being school –
O`DONNELL: Always been a juvenile curfew for 14 and under 9:00 p.m. So,
this is the addition to that.
MADDOW: In addition to another day time curfew –
MADDOW: – because essentially, the Truancy Law, which said that schools,
they ought to be in school. There was a - there was a little bit of
essentially noise alongside that signal yesterday but then today the
Baltimore police at least were very, very clear. As of 10 p.m. we will
enforce this. Make no mistake, we will enforce this.
They talked about the enumerated exceptions for which people would be
allowed to stay on the street the fact that police officers would use some
reasonable amount of common sense and discretion in terms of giving people
permission to stay out there on the streets if need be but everybody`s got
to go. And when they said they had a plan to deal with large numbers of
people being arrested, if they had to, if large people stayed out it seems
like they did not have to put that plan into effect but they did take up
O`DONNELL: We`ll go back to Chris Hayes who`s been at that intersection of
North and Pennsylvania, been in the thick of it. Chris, what`s the
situation there now?
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Lawrence, it`s pretty calm. I mean, they have
succeeded in taking this area. They not got slot vehicle behind us that`s
sort of doing some cleanup operations to clear the intersection.
You can see the officers behind me aren`t even in their riot gear, besides
the helmets, they don`t have their big shields and their big batons, so
therefore they`re like at least confident that they have this secured. And
again, they`re facing a few cameras here in the media. But basically we
have a situation where they have managed to take what was the epicenter of
congregation today and disperse it which I think was probably going to be
the biggest challenge in terms of what you were saying, Lawrence, about
observing the curfew.
One thing I will say, comparing the reaction of Ferguson police officers,
in particularly St. Louis county police officers, we were in Ferguson, you
know, the first sign of a bottle thrown meant the tear gas came out, they
marched forward, the LRADs came out total complete zero tolerance
escalation. That has been a very very different story here in Baltimore
tonight where the Baltimore police took a lot of incoming projectiles.
They selectedly used pepper balls which are much much much less toxic than
actual tear gas. They kind of create smoke but they don`t create that sort
of wrenching burning sensation. So, it`s a much much lower key, more
patient response at least on this intersection, in this corner compared to
what I - what I saw in Ferguson this summer.
MADDOW: Chris, thank you. We`re going to be check back in if you will, so
I want sort of a wide - as wider perspective as we can get right now for
with all the different cameras that we`ve got on the ground and all the
reporting capability that we`ve got. Let`s go to Toure right now whose
been essentially across this hotspot from Chris Hayes. Toure, where are
you and what`s happened over the last few minutes?
TOURE NEBLETT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We`re standing about 30 or 40
yards away from Chris` position as he said things are getting a little
quiet. I think there`s more media out here than citizens although there is
still about 15 or 20 folks who seem determined to stay out here as long as
The most dramatic thing I saw, Rachel, one of the young men who I earlier
saw throwing bottles and bricks at the police. He came back running away
from where the police line was as if he had been sort of shot in the
stomach. We saw no blood. He was on the ground for about 15 minutes. But
I don`t know who shot him. I don`t know what happened. How he got shot so
we can`t say that the police did that. But it was sort of –
MADDOW: Wait. Hold on. When you say you saw that he appeared –
NEBLETT: Some people are suggesting –
MADDOW: When you say he appeared to have been shot, do you - what do you
mean by that specifically?
NEBLETT: It - it - it appeared to the people who are with us helping us
see the situation that he had been shot, whether he`d been reacting as if
he had been shot by a rubber bullets or with the rubber bullets.
NEBLETT: Certainly not with a real bullet. There as no - we could see him
on the ground and there was blood but he was sort of cringing as if his -
you know, intense stomach pain as if he`d been shot by a rubber bullet.
But again, we`re too far away from the police to be able to say that a
police officer actually did that or have seen a police officer actually do
NEBLETT: So that is the most dramatic thing we saw from this position.
Just to speak to something that you said earlier, that was very interesting
that we saw here, that we see in Ferguson, that, yes, when the protest
escalate to something violent, then yes, the national media comes and the
world pays attention and without that a lot of times the world does not pay
But then it becomes hard and I`m – I wonder if you would agree with this.
It becomes hard to create a broad coalition of national sympathy for your
position when you are being violent in that way –
MADDOW: Oh, absolutely. Yes.
NEBLETT: – toward property in your community, toward the police. So,
you get the attention but then you lose people`s sympathy, so you`re taking
one step forward perhaps and three steps back.
MADDOW: Yes. It`s the great strategic conundrum, right? Like the
violence builds nothing but it does gets you a heck of a lot of attention.
And sometimes if attention, if you can sort of deconflict it and see
attention is not the same thing as constructive change, you can get to a
better strategic place.
But right now people are saying, “You wouldn`t be here had there not been
violence in our community. ” I think they`re right. I think they`re
right. And the question is how to build a constructive forward thinking,
you know, building kind of movement in a way that still gets the attention
that they need and helps put one foot in front of the other.
O`DONNELL: Toure, the –
NEBLETT: Yes. And I mean, you know, if the folk –
O`DONNELL: I just to - I just to hop out on this thing about with the
person you saw who might have been hit with something, the 36 minutes ago
the Baltimore police tweeted they were deploying pepper balls at that time.
So that may very well be what that young man was hit by.
Thanks, Toure, we`ll going to go to Ron Allen, NBC News correspondent at
another location on the street there. Ron, what is happening where you
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lawrence, as you can see there`s
the phalanx of police behind us, they`re about 30 yards away or so. They
moved sort of in a direction of that way through the intersection to clear
it. And I don`t think the objective was so much to occupy this piece of
turf, so much as it was to disperse this crowd and people are gone.
The only people who are standing around here now are media and some
activists who are - who are here but most of the residents who are around
here, protesters if you will, they were, in fact, have gone. There was a
moment when something was fired by one side or the other that was very very
acrid, very choking and it – a lot of people thought it was tear gas.
Now, what it was exactly? I don`t know but I know that it caused people to
just take off and run and I felt it burning my eyes, burning my throat and
we pulled back several blocks. We went around that building, down that
street to get away from it.
The air is now clear and, again, there will be - or the accounting of what
exactly happened, but whatever happened it was effective because people are
completely gone now. It`s very quiet out here. We`ve seen the number of
huge armored vehicles I guess they are.
Again, I don`t want to - I don`t want to be precise about exactly what kind
of vehicle it was. It`s an armored vehicle, a military style vehicle,
several of them were patrolling around the streets here clearing out this
This street now as you can see is completely empty. They have pulled down
here and asked everybody to just clear out. There`s still helicopters
flying overhead. Several of them just a very - for a short period of time
there it was a very very intense situation.
Right after 10:00 o`clock or so, we were out here with a number of elected
officials including Representative Elijah Cummings, local state senators,
other who were pleading with people to please go home. Please go home.
And there were confrontations between some of the people who are here, some
of the activists and some of the protesters demanding and saying they had
the right to be here. A lot of confrontations and then all of a sudden
there were these munitions that were fired or thrown, firecrackers,
whatever they were, but they caused the crowd to start to disperse, people
were coughing. Everything`s going back and forth.
And the first thing that was going back and forth - going at the police, I
could say, appear to be these water bottles, these plastic water bottles
that were thrown at the police. They responded or perhaps they initiated
this as well by banging their - their - their shields with their batons
moving forward and then you saw what happened.
But, again, now I guess a half hour – I`ve lost track of time, a half hour
or 45 minutes later, things are calm. The streets are quiet. There are -
there are no people in that direction or that direction or in that
direction, as well. And the police are here holding their ground and again
just telling all of us to stay out of the street, but at this point the
mission seems to be accomplished.
What`s going on in other parts of the city? Unclear, but here it`s
peaceful, it`s quiet and the police work is done because nobody is here.
O`DONNELL: Ron Allen, NBC News, thank you for that report. We`re joined
now by Jason Downs, he is one of the attorneys representing the family of
Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died in police custody. The protests
of that are what has given us all of the events that have led to tonight.
Jason Downs, what is your impression of how the police are enforcing this
curfew? We are now one hour and 11 minutes into the enforcement of this
curfew. How do you think the police are doing with it?
JASON DOWNS, ATTORNEY: Well, at this point, it appears that those streets
are right now peaceful and that`s exactly what Freddie Gray`s family wants.
They are not asking for any violence. They are actually asking for the
exact opposite, they are looking for peace. These specifically indicated
that Freddie Gray would not have wanted any violence.
And, frankly, violence would do nothing but distract from the real issue,
the real issue being how was Freddie Gray`s spinal cord severed. So, right
now we`re just looking for peace and the fact that there is peace Mr.
Gray`s family is happy about that.
O`DONNELL: I`d like you to listen on something that the mayor said today
to Al Sharpton on this network about the Maryland law enforcement officers`
Bill of Rights, a law that is - about 13 states has laws like this but this
law has been in effect since the 1970s in Baltimore. We don`t have the
clip of it right now but what she said was that she was down at the
legislature last year trying to fight for reforms in that law. How would
that affect the way police now, police Baltimore?
DOWNS: Well, right now police officers have ten days to essentially get
their stories straight and that`s something that a normal citizen like you
or I, we wouldn`t have that opportunity, so if you or I were arrested today
we would not have ten days to get our story straight. So that is one of
the reasons that the community is frustrated when it comes to the
interaction between police officers and citizen, police officers are
afforded the right to refuse essentially to make any statements about a
particular case for ten days.
And if that - if that law were not in effect, then the police officers
involved in this case would not have had that much time to essentially come
up with a story as to how Freddie Gray`s spinal cord was severed.
O`DONNELL: Now, what are you expecting to happen on Friday, on May 1st.
The police have said that they will complete their investigation, does that
mean they will just hand their information to the state prosecutor? Will
there be any public aspect to what happens on Friday?
DOWNS: Only the police department knows that right now. At this point we
are hoping that the police department will conduct a transparent
investigation but at this point right now that`s just not true. There are
documents and there are things that the police could be turning over right
now that just won`t change, for example, the radio runs in this case, what
were the police officers saying to each other immediately prior to this
incident starting, during this incident, after Mr. Gray was in that van.
Those are things that could be disclosed right now because theoretically
they should not change. But the fact is we don`t have that material right
now and very much looking forward to receiving that material. We don`t
know whether it`s going to be Friday or next Monday but we do know it could
be right now, today and it has not been disclosed.
MADDOW: Mr. Downs, one question for you about how things are going to
unfold and the relationship between the legal avenues that you`re pursuing
on behalf of Mr. Gray`s family and what`s been happening in the streets.
Obviously, we`ve got a bunch of simultaneous investigations. We`ve got the
Baltimore police department, as you were just describing investigating
There`s an independent investigation essentially commissioned by the
family. There is somewhat of a federal investigation into what happens.
One of the things that we saw over and over again today on what was this,
you know, 99.9 percent peaceful day of protests with of all of this
constructive engagement among community leaders and protesters and people
who are angry about Mr. Gray`s case. Is that people were saying, “Listen,
don`t make this about politics. Don`t make this is about a broader issue.
This is about justice for Freddie Gray.”
Given all those different investigations going on, what is justice for
Freddie Gray look like and what should people be hoping happens next?
DOWNS: What we should be hoping happens next is we get to the bottom of
exactly what happens to Freddie Gray`s final cord. How was it severed?
How did it go from being a 25-year-old man, healthy, taking a walk to get a
cup of coffee on a Sunday morning to being unlawfully arrested and then his
spinal cord was somehow severed?
We are just hoping that one of these investigations turns up a truthful and
a complete and an accurate answer as to how Mr. Gray`s spinal cord was
severed. We are certainly conducting our own independent investigation but
our investigation necessarily relies on receiving certain information from
the police department so we are hopeful that one of these investigations
will get it right and we are certainly pushing to receive information from
the police department.
O`DONNELL: Jason Downs, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We
really appreciate it. MSNBC`s Rehema Ellis is at Baltimore City Hall.
She` joining us now. Rehema, what is happening there? I just want to tell
our audience that the shot you`re seeing on camera is about 20 national
guard Humvees moving through the streets of Baltimore to go into position.
REHEMA ELLIS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Reaction from today, tonight and
tomorrow. People want to know what`s going to happen tomorrow, people want
to know what their futures are going to look like because they know what
today was like. They want to know what`s going to happen tomorrow. And
they know what happened yesterday. You got to be a future man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I live in the future.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to take a break now, we`re going to be back with
more of our live coverage, special two-hour coverage of the enforcement of
the curfew in Baltimore. That, the curfew, is now one hour and 16 minutes
old. There are no current violations of that curfew. There are no reports
of any arrests for violating that curfew. We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: We`re back with our live coverage of the curfew in Baltimore
which is now 1 hour and 18 minutes old. There has been no arrests. There
was one police action to disperse one crowd at the corner of Pennsylvania
Avenue and North Avenue, that`s the spot that was expected to be difficult
to clear. It has been cleared.
You`re looking at live images of Humvees, national guard Humvees moving
through the streets of Baltimore and moving into position. There is no
emergency situation that they are on their way to. The Baltimore police
have been very busy tweeting every development tonight of any kind and they
haven`t issued a tweet in 24 minutes. That is one indication of just how
calm things have been in Baltimore so far this evening.
MADDOW: One thing I would say just about those vehicles that you`re
looking at particularly in these last seven or eight months as we`ve had
all of the different incidents that have happened after Ferguson.
One of the conversations that started was the idea of militarized policing,
about policing presence that seems militaristic in American communities.
This is something different. This is not -istic at all. This is not
(eyes) at all. This is the military. Those are U.S. military vehicles,
those Humvees that you are seeing. The reason they`re that light color is
because they`re painted camouflage for the types of wars that we`ve been
having over the last few years. And the strange shapes that you see in
terms of the rooves of those vehicles, those are or can be used as gun
turrets. Obviously they don`t have anybody up there manning them in gun
turrets right now.
But this is not the local police using militarized tactics and equipment.
This is the – these are troops and they`ve got military equipment,
military vehicles, these are uparmored Humvees, they`ve got military
weapons, they`ve got live ammunition.
Obviously, we`re not seeing them engaged in any sort of military tactical
behavior tonight but that`s the addition to the law enforcement there. It
is of a very different kind and it`s a big deal for our country and our
democracy and whenever we see the actual U.S. military in our streets.
O`DONNELL: Rachel, one of the important notes of tonight is something that
we are not saying, that we could have spent some portion of the last hour
and 20 minutes saying, and that is, “Have they learned nothing from
Ferguson?” It seems to me that all enlightened and semi enlightened law
enforcement officials throughout the country were watching our coverage of
Ferguson and all of the national television coverage of Ferguson and
learning lessons every night with what they were seeing on these TV
MADDOW: Yes. And - I mean, I think tonight at least especially – if you
take the word and the judgment of our reporters on the ground who are very
close to that one conflagration we saw today, it seems like the Baltimore
police have learned those lessons. Obviously, they`ve hardened themselves
as a target.
They`re in these hardened vehicles. They`ve got helmets on. They`ve got
riot shields down in front of their helmets. In terms of the space guards,
they`ve got riot shields that they are holding in some instances. But we
saw the police essentially act as an inert force, as a force that absorbs
abuse and did not reflect it back to the people who are dealing it out to
We saw the police use those shields and the degree to which their own
officers were protected as a way to let their officers deny space to
protesters without physically confronting them. As best as we can tell
from the reporting and angles that we`ve got, the projectiles that we saw
flying tonight including the gas and the sparking stuff and the incendiary
stuff that looks so dramatic, didn`t come from the police. It appears to
have come from the protesters.
The police absorbed it, took up space, drove the protesters back without
having direct confrontation with them and they again seem to have secured
the peaceful – you know, peaceful takeover of places that they were most
worried about tonight. So, as a police force, we`re seeing a very hardened
target but not seeing aggression. It`s a psychologically intimidating
thing to see vehicles like that, they`re on American street but they`re not
using them in an aggressive tactical way.
I think you also got to give a ton of credit to the community institutions
of Baltimore, to bring out people who had credit, who had capital in these
communities to tell young people in particular to stand down and to not be
the ones who were going to be throwing stuff at police tonight, not be in
those fights and not let today be like yesterday. That worked today.
O`DONNELL: NBC`s Rehema Ellis is at Baltimore City Hall. She is joined by
community activist Michael Scott. Rehema.
ELLIS: Lawrence, I should tell you we`re three miles from the area of Penn
and North where you saw a lot of that smoke rise up as police were trying
to clear that intersection. And here it has been calm all night and
Michael Scott, community activist with (equity manners), your reaction to
what you`ve seen over the last couple of nights in your city?
MICHAEL SCOTT, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: I`ve seen the amazing resolve and will
of citizens. I`ve seen Baltimore youth initiative high schools, kids out
talking to the mayor and youth all over the city. I`ve seen the Druid
Heights Community Development Corporation making sure that the senior
center behind the burned out CVS had food, that meals on wheels could be
They have more food than they need right now. I`ve seen the Living Well
make sure that the doors are open so that youth had a place to go.
ELLIS: So, you`ve seen your community respond in a positive way.
SCOTT: Extraordinary, I mean, and even clean up. You can`t even tell it
happened in the morning afterwards.
ELLIS: And some are now asking, tonight they`re going to say, “What about
tomorrow?” So many thinks that people were on the streets and protesting
for, they want to know how does this translate into real change for people
in the days to come?
[00:25:00] SCOTT: Well, I think we`re hearing a new conversation, right?
I mean, I think the conventional wisdom and conventional conversations are
often just wrong. And so, I think we are hearing people demand a new form
of citizen participation. We`ve brought in the largest faith-based
organizer in the country, PICO, so not only money we`re receiving through
our website but also - on their behalf, but also the human resources and
financial - I mean, the in kind resources to make sure folks are trained in
how to do this.
And that`s in the worst case but also in the best case scenario to make
sure conscious capitalism is coming so that we can rebuild in a way that
has our future in mind.
ELLIS: In a conscious community where you`ve got - the majority of this
community is 63 percent African-American and there`s been chronic
unemployment here. How do you change things so that people get jobs? Jobs
equal hope for so many people?
SCOTT: Absolutely, jobs is a big part of it. I mean, I think, you know,
understanding, cutting the incarceration rate is important but also, you
know, investing in green jobs, solar panel stuff, and coating. These are
not necessarily skills that you necessarily need a college degree for but
if you`re smart, if someone brings you along, you can earn a fair and
decent living ways. And so we see a lot of those things that are
opportunities in other cities that we need to bring here.
ELLIS: Michael Scott, thank you. He is optimistic about tomorrow.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rehema Ellis, NBC News. We`re joined by Chris
Hayes, once again. He`s at the corner of Pennsylvania and North where the
only disturbance occurred tonight. That was - broke out just about an hour
ago, so any of the video you are seeing from us that shows you the
confrontational developments of the evening, that is - that stuff is now at
least 50 minutes old, some of it 45 minutes old. This has been a calm
situation there, Chris, hasn`t it for about the last 40, 45 minutes?
HAYES: It`s a pretty - it`s a pretty calm scene here. Things are just
dispersing. (Inaudible) the media also are (inaudible) the police have
stayed here on this - on this street corner and they were able to clear
this area. Like you noted about an hour ago, there was some exchange, some
projectiles thrown at them, some pepper balls thrown fired as well.
Someone Toure said appeared possibly to have been struck by a rubber
A few other people in the area who (retreat about) rubber bullets. Well, I
have no personal confirmation of those were deployed but as of now a pretty
quiet scene. And I believe Reverend Al Sharpton I believe is joining us
also in Washington. Rev, your reaction to how things played out this
evening on the first night of the curfew?
AL SHARPTON, REVEREND: Well, I think that so far it has been relatively
successful in terms of not having an escalation at all of violence as one
that was in Ferguson. We`re not seeing the police behave in an aggressive
manner, near that level that we saw in Ferguson, though clearly there is
military equipment there as Rachel points out.
And I think that you have to give a lot of credit to the people in the
community. I spent the afternoon in Baltimore, spent some time in meetings
with the mayor and our local chapter there of National Action Network. And
I think that the efforts that you`ve seen, that we just heard from one of
the community activists have been awesome and I think that you can no way
underestimate the impact they`ve had because they had the capital in the
They had the credibility and they`re talking to their kids or kids that
know them and I think it has paid off so far. The big question is going to
be though do we secure justice for the family of Fred Gray and do we have
the change that the mayor was talking about when she talked about the state
legislature and other things that will deal with the structural change that
is needed to deal with the situation that remains something that is - is
unnerving to many people that believe the police have not acted in a
respectful and fair manner.
HAYES: Rev, can I ask you a question. I saw someone – or someone said
this to me earlier, I saw someone actually say the - almost the same thing
on social media. They pointed out, I think if I`m not mistaken, April 29th
if the date of the L.A. riots, I believe that was April 29th, 1992, and
someone said something like, you know, basically nothing has changed except
for how often we`re able to videotape things.
I mean, that`s what 23 years ago at this point. Have things changed since
1992? Have things changed in terms of the specific experience of the
police in these neighborhoods and also the prospects for young folks in
these neighborhoods? Has it changed since 1992? Has it changed in 1968?
Which is the last time Baltimore saw some widespread unrest.
SHARPTON: You know, we celebrated, Chris, 50-year anniversary of the Selma
March. I was a kid then. And Watts happened the same year. Forty-seven
years ago, I was a kid when that King died and Baltimore burn, but I
remember the 1992 riots. I was in L.A. protesting. And we have not seen
a lot of change in terms of police community, in terms of the law and in
terms of the incidents. What has changed is that we now have social media
and the ability to video.
For many years people that have been active like me were accused of making
things up or hallucinating. What we have now is people are actually seeing
what we`ve been talking about.
I don`t even think that there is necessarily more incidents. I think that
people are seeing it more. The question is, whether we are going to use
the fact that many Americans, if not most Americans, now believe there is a
problem because they`re watching choke holds, they`re watching people run
in north Charleston and get shot in the back, whether that will translate
into legislative change and I think we must see that.
I think we are on the brink of seeing the possibility of real change but we
have not arrived yet. We`re just arriving at where the American public is
seeing, what many of us have lived and seen day after day for many years.
HAYES: Rev, let me ask you this also, you know, one of the things I`m sure
people were saying this to you today, you`re talking about community
members coming together and really feeling this intense sense of both
sadness, frustration and pride. Pride in the neighborhood, pride in
Baltimore, we kept hearing that today.
I heard frustration from people, at one point yelling at us, yelling at the
camera saying, “Look, you`re here, you want to show things popping off.
You want to show things burning and you want to capture one tiny sliver of
what is actually happening in Baltimore and west Baltimore. I`m curious
what you say to police officers who I basically have heard say the exact
same thing to me.
I mean, police officer after police officer that I`ve talked to here in
Baltimore or I`ve talked to in Ferguson or around the country, you know, in
the last six to eight months will say, “Look, yes, you`re going to focus on
these incidents of brutality. You`re going to focus on the bad
[00:01:45]() focus on these incidents that have video tape, but you are
not, you`re failing to capture how hard the job is and how well many people
do the job.” What do you say to that?
SHARPTON: I say that they have many police that do a real good job. I
think that police risk their lives every day. But my response to them is,
therefore, you ought to help us get rid of the bad apples and you are to
help expose the cops that are brutal or that break the law just like you
tell us in the community that we ought to give up those that are doing
things wrong and criminal in the community. You have to have it both ways.
And what we`ve not seen is a lot of demonstration in that effort.
So do I think most police do good jobs? Yes. But I want to see police
turn in bad police and we wouldn`t have to march and protest because they
would be enforcing the law. The law must be enforced whether the culprit
wears blue jeans or blue uniforms because they step outside of being
police. And I also agree with those that say that when there`s violence,
we get all of this attention. When there is not violence, you don`t get as
And the institutional and infrastructural inequalities, the lack of jobs,
the high unemployment in Baltimore, the squalor and lack of capital
investments in parts of the community. Those are not news stories and they
should be because that`s what is at the bottom of the rage and anger that
you`re hearing from young people. Is even if they can`t describe it and
give an analysis, they know the life they`re living is not fair and is not
equal to many other Americans and it is of no doing of their own.
And we doesn`t focus enough attention on it and those of us that do are
demonized for focusing the attention rather than showing the conditions
that people have to live in every day.
HAYES: All right, Rev. Al Sharpton in Washington, D.C., thanks you so
much. I`ll going to throw it back to you, Lawrence and Rachel in studio in
O`DONNELL,: Chris Hayes, before you go, I just wanted to pick up on your
point that you began with which was your memory of the L.A. riots some 20
years ago, President Obama today in the Rose Garden in an extraordinary
news conference which was supposed to be about Pacific Trade and was
supposed to with the – and was asked more question about this and he
extemporize in what is one of the best presidential speeches ever given on
this subject. And at that time, Rachel, he said, the president`s reference
was this is not new and he used the phrase decades, it`s been going on for
That`s just using his own personal experience because we know it`s been
going on and these problems have been going on literally longer than
President Obama`s been alive.
MADDOW: What was remarkable today in that press conference is the setting
of that, of course, is what`s going on in Washington right now? Thirty-
eight miles away from the scenes that we`re looking at in Baltimore which
is that the Japanese prime minister is visiting. It`s not just an average
visit with a world leader, it is visit - a formal visit of a head of state,
capped with a state dinner.
There`s only been eight of those in the Obama presidency. It`s a big
formal freaking deal in Washington. This is very important in terms of the
U.S./Japanese relationship and in the middle of that President Obama in
part in response to a question from a reporter did a 14-minute semi off the
MADDOW: Six-point. Yes, –
O`DONNELL: Enumerated his points. And it was way more – it turned out to
be way more than six.
MADDOW: Yes, and he wasn`t speaking from the teleprompter. This has not
appear to have been a written speech but he was speaking from notes, I
can`t keep six points in my head. At my best whether let alone if I`m
having a press conference on a totally unrelated subject. But the
president speaking at length, somewhat extemporaneously and with incredible
passion today on this issue.
And it`s been interesting to see, you know, seeing Reverend Al, they`re
talking about his own activism on this subject, saying other community
leaders and some of the attorneys for the family talking about how they
want to turn this toward a constructive pursuit of justice for Freddie Gray
but also try to build something constructive out of the tension at
Baltimore right now. And they`ve talked about feeling supported by people
like Eric Holder, the hope that they will also be supported by the new
Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
People generally feeling like President Obama has been making remarks and
talking about this in a way that makes them feel understood, but that only
- it only goes so far. It`s how do you - how do you get something
practical out of that even once you believe that you are being heard. And
all of that is about organizing political strategy and political capital.
And you see Baltimore right now as a - as a - as a stable community in a
big city with a lot of community institutions, a community that knows who
it is and where they`re from and - and - and what they`re capable of.
Seeing them try to turn this into something that is going to improve the
conditions of life in west Baltimore and the relationship between the
people in Baltimore and their police force.
Seeing them try to turn it so quickly into something they want to be
constructive. It`s been a lesson. It`s been a political lesson for the
country right now and it`s not just about this rioting, it`s about the way
Baltimore is stepping up.
O`DONNELL: Several modern presidents have had situations like this
developed during their presidencies, certainly in the 1960s, George H.W.
Bush was president during what was the L.A. riots. President Obama has, as
I said, addressed this already, before today, he had spent more time on
this subject, more words on this subject, directed more attention toward it
through his attorney general than any president in history.
Certainly his words were being listened to in Baltimore today. I`d like to
listen to just some of that now, beginning where he began and that was
talking about there being absolutely no excuse for the violence, for the
rioting, for destroying a CVS. For destroying a business in a community.
His first note was no excuse for what we saw in terms of the looting and
violence. Let`s listen to that.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s no excuse for the
kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive. When
individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they`re not
protesting. They`re not making a statement. They`re stealing.
When they burn down a building they`re committing arson and they`re
destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own
communities that rob jobs and opportunity from people in that area.
O`DONNELL: Rachel, certainly no president could have spoken with such
direct authority to those high school kids who we saw on the street
yesterday throwing stones at police and who were not doing that today.
[00:40:00] MADDOW: Yes. And you have seen over and over again in
Baltimore - I mean, you think - you think about the cultural institutions
in Baltimore, the civil rights history in Baltimore. I mean, today I got
on Twitter at some point looking for something totally unrelated and was
very surprised to see Ray Lewis as the number one trending topic in America
on Twitter today.
And I thought, “Ray Lewis?” Something going on with the NFL that I don`t
know? No. It was Ray Lewis giving one of his trademark, you know, super
intense screaming football-style pep talks, but in this case to the people
of Baltimore specifically to the youth of Baltimore saying, “Go home. Do
not riot. This is not the way to do this. We`ll fix this other ways.
This is not the way to do it.”
To see, you know, a football hero, you know, and Ray Lewis (has a) lot of
things, but he is a football hero among them. To see that, to see gang
members honestly. People are not making any bones about the fact they are
gang members. Gangs, signing a peace treaty as we heard from Pastor Jamal
Bryant earlier today, but they also putting themselves out on the street as
gang members saying, “We recognize that we`ve got capital in this community
because of it. You may not like it, but we will police our own streets and
we will protect our own people by making sure this does not turn into a
more violent situation like it did yesterday.” I mean, seeing the gang
members come out.
O`DONNELL: I`ve seen nothing on television quite like Tour‚`s interview on
this network with one of the gang –
O`DONNELL: – earlier this evening, live on television saying, “We don`t
want this. We don`t want this violence.” We`re joined by MSNBC`s Steve
Kornacki who`s been monitoring what`s been going on on social media and how
that tells the tale of what`s happening in Baltimore.
Steve, I`ve been following the Baltimore police tweets tonight. That`s
been a pretty full account in real detail of what`s been happening. What
else is out there?
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, actually we have some
news for you in the last few minutes actually and this is not from
Baltimore, but it is in a way related to Baltimore. This is getting a lot
of attention right now in social media and that is that there has been a
shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.
This took place at a solidarity rally that had been organized in relation
to the - related to the events in Baltimore. This was taking place on
north Florissant, in Canefield. That`s the intersection. If those street
names sound familiar to you, that is basically very close to where a
teenager Michael Brown was shot this past summer, it`s on west Florissant.
That is where all of the protests you member from last summer, they were
taking place mainly right there, right around there.
Now, the shooting occurred within the last hour. A man who was at this
protest was shot in the leg. Other protesters and a photographer from the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper then carried him to safety. To a local
restaurant, I believe it`s called Northern Chop Suey. He was carried to
Police arrived on the scene there were reports on social media, these are
unconfirmed reports. These were on social media, of protesters throwing
rocks, maybe bricks at - some protesters are throwing rocks and bricks at
the police cars. Reports on social media police threatening to make
You had an Alderman also from St. Louis, his name is Antonio French,
another name that might be familiar to people who remember the Ferguson
story. Antonio French tweeting out just moments ago that this - that this
shooting is not related to the protest. Trying to still figure out exactly
what it was related to, but again there was a shooting within the last hour
in Ferguson at a solidarity protest.
O`DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, thanks for that update. We are just now
minutes away, moments away from a Baltimore police press conference. We`re
going to take a break here right before that press conference. We will be
right back with that press conference.
O`DONNELL: We`re back with our special live coverage of the enforcement of
the curfew in Baltimore. That curfew is now one hour and 43 minutes old.
It has been relatively uneventful but images you`re seeing of that
confrontation between police happened at about 9:30. About 30 minutes into
MADDOW: About 10:30.
O`DONNELL: About 10:30. I`m sorry. Ten-thirty, it was - it was quickly
dealt with by police. And Rachel, very effectively dealt with. It really
- they got this situation under control pretty quickly and people just made
the decision, “OK, that`s it. We`re going home.”
[00:45:00] MADDOW: There had been a lot of people at this intersection all
day long. This has been the site of some of what was described as an
almost festival-like atmosphere and very very peaceful protesting. And
even things like singing and dancing at this intersection today. There was
- this was a site of violence yesterday. Today, it was a very different
scene but the sheer number of people at that intersection today created
worry that when the police tried to clear it, it was going to be hard to
When the police an hour before the curfew went into effect, started making
a concerted effort to tell people to go. They were supported by members of
the community, particularly community leaders of various stripes who
reinforced that message and said, “Yes, we are going to go. We are going
to be off the streets by 10.” And most people went. That did leave some
stragglers who did have a confrontation with the police at about 10:20.
That was resolved quickly.
O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by NBC News Correspondent Gabe Gutierrez.
Gabe, what`s the situation where you are?
GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there Lawrence. So, we`re
here at the intersection near the CVS. And as can you see behind me is
we`re witnessing an actual changing of the guard here throughout the
afternoon. We had seen the state police and officers from neighboring
counties in full riot gear.
You can see that they are now in a relaxed posture. No not only that,
within the past few minutes we did see the National Guard moving to this
neighborhood. Certainly a very peaceful resolution to what people had -
there was a lot of uncertainty leading up until this 10:00 curfew taking
Our cameraman did see two people being arrested not far from here about a
block away or so, but other than that just very minor clashes between the
demonstrators and police. And as we had been describing, they moved just,
you know, several feet over that hour from 10 to 11:00.
And now we see that some of these local police officers as well as state
police, they`re actually leaving the area and the National Guard is moving
in. Again, just some debris on the roads from some of these demonstrators,
but overall a very peaceful resolution tonight. Guys, back to you.
O`DONNELL: Gabe Gutierrez, thank you. We`re joined now MSNBC National
Corresponded Joy Reid. Joy, waiting a press conference from the police
department. It`s going to be a pretty positive press conference based on
what we know now.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We are waiting that press
conference, Lawrence, any minute now. That should be getting under way and
the Baltimore police department has been tweeting throughout the night sort
of various things that are going on including that press conference,
including obviously the news that everybody but credentialed media should
be off the streets.
It`s pretty quiet out here. None, but the media and what`s left of the
National Guard and the police force, so very quiet right now. It will be
interesting to see how extensively they answer questions at this press
conference about the substance of this issue rather than just about the
I`m presuming they`re going to want to just talk about how the curfew is
going. The sort of small skirmishes by the CVS that we saw earlier
tonight. But there are a lot of questions and I know I`d love to ask them
and we`ll see if the media is able to get an answer about specifically the
Freddie Gray case. I would not hold our breath waiting for that.
MADDOW: Joy, one of the - one of the things that we`ve heard from the
Baltimore police spokesman at the last press update that they gave earlier
this evening was that an officer had been injured. Has been involved in
some kind of incident.
They didn`t have a lot of detail, they said it was in the southern
district in Baltimore. An injured officer, injured by a group. We didn`t
have any further information at that time. Have you heard any further
updates on that?
REID: I don`t have any further updates on that, Rachel. That may be
something that comes up at the press conference. The only things that at
least the police department has been talking about on social media was one
minor fire, things like that.
There`s been very little information coming out about officers and their
specific, you know, what they`ve been dealing with tonight. Just from what
we`ve been able to see they`ve been restrained though so we`ll try to get
some information on that as well.
O`DONNELL: Joy, stay with us. Chris Hayes, the images that we just saw
earlier with Gabe Gutierrez and now see them behind you, of officers with
their face shields up, their body shields down on the ground, completely
relaxed position. To see those images one hour and 48 minutes into this
curfew, is one of the most hopeful and positive signs we could possibly
HAYES: Yes, absolutely. I mean, we were seeing something of a changing
of the guard here. It appears a line of National Guard Humvees are now
rolling in as police are going to go home and probably get some rest.
There`s been a huge police presence deployed here all day for many, many,
many hours, so it looks like these National Guard Humvees that are rolling
in are going to - I don`t know if they`re going to secure this location or
they`re just going to park the Humvees here and essentially be on watch.
There is a whole bunch now roll into this area.
We can get this off to the right here, a whole number of the National
Guard, of course, National Guard from Maryland deployed pursuant to the
state of emergency signed by the governor yesterday. And they now appear
to be rolling into the area. But yes, it`s - you know, there was real
concern all day, everyone I talked to felt like today, tonight would be
something of a tipping point. They were very worried about a trajectory
that would set them on a path towards something like what did happen here
tonight in –
[00:50:00] O`DONNELL: Chris, we`re going to leave it there. Chief -
Commissioner Batts is starting the news conference. This is Police
Commissioner Anthony Batts.
ANTHONY BATTS, POLICE COMMISSIONER: – update on what`s going with the -
within the city of Baltimore. Our first night with the curfew, with the
help of many agencies, state police, the National Guard, we have deployed
throughout the city as a whole. No major events earlier in the evening.
We had a group march down into the downtown area to city hall. We had no
major issues with that. We had a small group within that group of about
four to five people that we stopped and had a conversation with, but
allowed them to proceed on. That group had no issues. Very proud of them,
they came down, did the First Amendment rights and went back and return to
the area that they had come from.
You saw the activity that took place at Pennsylvania and North, there again
very pleased with the community and the citizens and the residents there
policing themselves. There was music, there was dance. The people had the
conversations, we had officers stationed out there, but it was a very good
event for the day.
Congressman Elijah Cummings was out there. He was talking to the crowd. A
lot of the men, the 300 men were out talking to the crowd making sure that
they were quiet. The mayor was at different places throughout the city
today making sure that she was seeing and having a number of different
meetings with community people.
Just a background after the events today, we`ve had one - or correction,
two arrests for looting in the Central District. We`ve had one arrest for
disorderly conduct in the Eastern District. Also we had one officer had a
drive-by brandishing of a weapon in the same Eastern District within the
last 30 minutes.
In the Western Districts, where that`s North and Pennsylvania. In that
area we`ve had about approximately seven arrests. In totality in the city,
after the curfew went up we`ve had about ten total arrests. I get reports
from the organization that we do not have a lot of activity or movement
throughout the city as a whole, so the curfew is, in fact, working as the
mayor had called.
One of the interesting things today that I just kind of happened by and we
weren`t really answering the questions is that as I exited a building to go
to a meeting today, we had pretty close to about 12 or 15 young adults
waiting in line to become police officers at the Baltimore police
department. In light of the activities and issues I asked them, “Are you
still willing and able and wanting?” They were very much enthusiastic and
excited about becoming members of the Baltimore police department which
says a lot.
Again tonight, I think the biggest thing is that citizens are safe. The
city is stable. We hope to maintain it that way. We are going to place
the National Guard out at North and Pennsylvania probably for approximately
a two to three-block radius to sustain that area and stabilize it and make
sure that everything is OK and residents are safe. Is there any - are
there a couple questions that I can answer for you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the injured officer in the Southern
BATTS: I don`t have the information on that. We were taking rocks earlier
in the Southern District. We had a young leader out there who did a very
good job of responding in a very peaceful way. They ended up arresting, I
believe it was what I was told about three to four juveniles who were down
in that area. So, I don`t know about the injured officers but we`ll follow
up with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The arrests, the ten arrests are they all for curfew
violations or for various –
BATTS: They are - they are for various - (Tank) kind of given you a
feedback on it. Without my glasses. In the Central District we had two
for looting. In the Eastern District, one disorderly conducts. And then
in the Western District, we had I believe, the vast majority for curfew
violations, that was seven total. Ten all total.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, all ten were after curfew -
BATTS: Yes, ma`am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All ten were after curfew?
BATTS: Yes, ma`am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a point around 10:35 when there was (cleared
out around) Pennsylvania, there`s about a dozen protesters and the press is
over there and then the line of police have helmets, (INAUDIBLE) –
BATTS: We - as the skirmish line moved forward I know several times off to
their flanks which are off to the sides of them. They were taking rocks
and glass that were coming in. They were trying to push the crowd away and
out, apparently it worked.
Firing the pepper balls. We tried to deploy smoke with the wind shifting
it did to kind of also blinded us at the same time. So we have to hold and
let the smoke clear and then they were like - I said they`ve taken rocks
and pellets. They were trying to push people further. They also use the
armored cars to go out and push the participations off of the street.
[00:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Folks, we`ll have another briefing tomorrow
between 12:00 and 1:00. For the next couple of hours we`ll continue to put
updates out over our social media accounts. Anybody that has questions,
you can send them to our news (BPD) address and I will keep you updated in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about an officer being shot at, you know, on
pellet. Was that –
O`DONNELL: And that is the summary from Police Commissioner Anthony Batts,
a total of ten arrests tonight after 235 yesterday and last night. Only
seven of those arrests were for curfew violations. Joy Reid, there were a
couple of other arrests, one for brandishing of weapon and one for
disorderly conduct, but this is at this stage a remarkable success for
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake who made the call on this curfew.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Lawrence, this was a call
that not everyone agreed with. We talked to some people at the church
where we were for much of the night who were not exactly big fans of the
idea of a curfew, precisely because of the fear that it would increase the
number of negative contacts between police and let`s say the very young
people who would probably be the ones most likely to defy it.
But as you just said, a very small number of arrests, just seven that are -
anything sort of related to the curfew violations or, you know, anything
that we would think of a sort of negative behavior related to these ongoing
protests. So a good night and just - I think just the restraint shown by
the police officers we can see that happening.
Obviously, their marching orders were to be very calm and to take it with a
grain of salt. I can tell you that we drove across from the west side here
to city hall through a police checkpoint. They were quite cordial, you
know, it was very professional. It was empty.
There are not a lot of people in the street. And that the church that we
were at when the service was over at 9:00, people high-tailed it out of
there and two of person they said they were headed home and that they
wanted to be in doors. And so, even the Pastor Jamal Bryant said that`s
where he was headed too when he finally did leave after talking with you
guys. So, all quiet so far.
MADDOW: Joy Reid, you`re over - to be clear, you`re over near the city
hall location where you`ve got that camera there? All right, about three
miles away from –
MADDOW: – about three miles away from where you are, Joy, we`ve got Chris
Hayes. He`s back at Pennsylvania and North which - it was interesting, the
commissioner tonight, Chris, was talking about how the location there at
Pennsylvania and North is not going to be handled tonight by Baltimore
They are essentially going to at least for the foreseeable future hand over
custody of that intersection to the National Guard. He said that that two
to three-block radius, presumably that`s what you saw, what you were
describing earlier was kind of a changing of the guard, it is the national
guard coming in and taking over responsibilities there.
HAYES: Yes, the National Guards are setting up - setting up shop here.
And there`s a bunch of vehicles that have been deployed in the
intersection, police have fallen back. You got the sense that there was
some sort of presence, particularly of county tactical units that had been
kind of kept away from sight of the crowd but near enough to deploy if
But right now this line of Humvees has rolled in. And you can see behind
me this intersection is completely cleared. It`s essentially all law
enforcement of various stripes, and National Guard will be standing watch.
We have National Guardsmen in their camouflage and fatigues and their
assault rifles and their helmets pacing around, guarding this area right
MADDOW: It is a - I mean, it is - it is, even in a peaceful circumstance
like this, I will still say as a citizen, it is jarring to see members of
the U.S. military deployed on American streets. We`re used to seeing
heavily militarized police but to actually see the military itself is a
I will say looking ahead, this is supposed to be the first night of a week-
long curfew. We don`t know what the rest of tonight is going to be like.
We don`t know what subsequent days are going to be like and we don`t know
how Baltimore is going to react.
Just internally in coming days, as more information becomes known about the
Freddie Gray investigation and as people decide on their own terms how they
want to react and how they want to protest if they want to keep doing that.
This is going to be - this is still a work in progress but tonight it is
quiet and heavily armed on the streets of Baltimore.
O`DONNELL: It is - it is now about an hour and a half from the worst point
in the conflicts that we saw tonight. And, Rachel, I have to say when that
smoke was filling that intersection, it looked like we were in a very
difficult situation –
O`DONNELL: – and it didn`t look like there was going to be an easy or
quick way out of this.
MADDOW: That`s right, and –
O`DONNELL: It was - it was really terrifying to sit here and watch.
MADDOW: What`s - it`s hard to watch because in part it`s our
responsibility to explain what`s going on. It`s very hard to see the
trajectories from which things are going and where they`re going toward,
who might be responsible even with multiple people there on the ground.
What happens in a situation like that and why it does activate a fear
response is that it is a chaotic, it is a chaotic situation. That was a
short-lived period of chaos which appeared to involve a small number of
people and since then Baltimore is calm.
[00:60:00] O`DONNELL: Now, two hours basically into this curfew and it is
holding and the police have succeeded in enforcing it. Thank you very much
to Joy Reid and Chris Hayes for joining us from Baltimore. Up next,
MSNBC`s coverage of the events in Baltimore tonight continues.
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