The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 7/7/2016
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: July 7, 2016
Guest: Marq Claxton, Janai Nelson, Melissa Rehberger, Scott Friedman
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: And that`s going to do it for us tonight, now
it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening,
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Steve, thank you very much.
O`DONNELL: Change has been too slow, that`s what President Obama said
tonight about police misuse of deadly force.
He wasn`t talking about the many justified killings by police when
officer`s lives are being threatened, he was talking about the bad
The ones we can all agree shouldn`t have happened. The ones that were at
best, a mistake, at worst, a crime. Change has been too slow. How slow?
I wrote this book 30 years ago. It`s about the killing of James
Bolden(ph), a black man who was shot in the back, in the back of the head
by Boston police.
It`s the classic case of bad shooting. And in the 30 years since this book
was published, nothing has changed. Nothing. Except the invention of cell
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, JOURNALIST: For a second day in a row, we have been
confronted by the graphic images shared across social media, a man dying
after being shot by police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His fiancee, Diamond Reynolds hits record, broadcasting
live to Facebook.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It showed a bloody scene inside a car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She then says 15 minutes go by with no medical
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He took his last breath in front of us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The video has provoked public outrage and protests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would this have happened if those passengers –
whatever the passengers were white?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was my son yesterday, it could be your son or your
daughter or even your grandmother tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The deadly incident in Minnesota comes amid the growing
outrage over another fatal police shooting caught on tape in Louisiana.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This morning I woke up to my wife literally crying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Justice Department is launching a civil rights
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What if this happened to
somebody in your family? How would you feel?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: There are protests and demonstrations and vigils across the
country tonight. More than a thousand people attended the vigil tonight in
St. Paul, Minnesota, where Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police
There are also protests tonight in New York City, Seattle, and outside the
White House in Washington. We will continue to monitor these
demonstrations and update you on what`s going on there throughout the hour.
Air Force 1 landed in Poland tonight where President Obama is attending a
NATO Summit. The first thing the President did when he got off the plane
was stop and say something about the killings by police of Alton Sterling
in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: All of us as Americans should be troubled by these shootings.
Because these are not isolated incidents.
They`re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in
our criminal justice system.
When incidents like this occur, there`s a big chunk of our fellow citizenry
that feels as if because of the color of their skin, they are not being
treated the same. And that hurts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That hurts. The latest cellphone video of a killing by police
in Minnesota shows how much that hurts.
It shows who that hurts. The video was made by Philando Castile`s
girlfriend Diamond Reynolds. She streamed it live on Facebook immediately
after the shooting.
It shows Philando Castile groaning in pain and dying in the front seat of
his car. In the car with him is his girlfriend, who wisely recorded that
video and her four-year-old daughter whose voice you can hear in the
Theirs are the voices of the pain of these tragedies. Tonight, the
President asked people to consider how they would feel if this happened to
someone in their families.
The voices you`re about to hear will force you to feel that. The video
begins in the car and then Diamond Reynolds is ordered to get out of the
car, she keeps the video recording even though she isn`t able to aim it at
And then it just becomes an audio recording of how much these tragedies
hurt and who they hurt.
The video we`re about to show now is shocking and it is deeply disturbing.
Many of you should probably choose not to watch it.
If you do watch it, you will never forget it and you will never forget the
sound of how much it hurts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIAMOND REYNOLDS, GIRLFRIEND OF PHILANDO CASTILE: Stay with me. We got
pulled over for a busted taillight in the back and the police just – he`s
covered – he killed my boyfriend.
He`s licensed – he`s carrying – so, he`s licensed to carry. He was
trying to get out his ID in his wallet, out his pocket and he let the
officer know that he was – he had a firearm and he was reaching for his
And the officer just shot him in his arm. We`re waiting for him now –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) –
REYNOLDS: I will, sir, no worries, I – he just shot his arm off, we got
pulled over on (INAUDIBLE) –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his
hand up –
REYNOLDS: He had – you told him to get his ID, sir, his driver`s license
– oh my God, please don`t tell me he`s dead. Please don`t tell me my
boyfriend just went like that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just keep your hands where they are, please –
REYNOLDS: Yes, I will, sir, I`ll keep my hands where they are. Please,
don`t tell me this – Lord, please, Jesus don`t tell me that he`s gone.
I can`t believe they just did this. I`m –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s OK, I`m right here with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: There`s so much strength and bravery in that video. None of it
from the police. A four-year-old girl had to grow up fast yesterday and
find the strength to comfort her grieving mother in the middle of a police
shooting, four years old.
It`s OK, mommy, it`s OK, I`m here with you. A mother who needs to stay
strong. She knows she needs to say, sir, when she`s talking to the man who
just killed her boyfriend.
She shouldn`t have to say, sir, but she knows she should say it if she
wants to stay alive and she has to stay alive. And she knows that.
She has to stay strong for her four-year-old daughter. And so, she does.
She stays strong and brave and records the video that outrages not just her
family and friends and her community supporters, but the governor of her
The video that changed the plans of the President of the United States
tonight. The President knew he had to find a way to talk about this to
people who already know how much it hurts and to people who don`t.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: When people say black lives matter, that doesn`t mean blue eyes
don`t matter, it just means that all lives matter, but right now the big
concern is the fact that the data shows black folks are more vulnerable to
these kinds of incidents.
This isn`t a matter of us comparing the value of lives. This is
recognizing that there`s a particular burden that is being placed on a
group of our fellow citizens.
And we should care about that. And we can`t dismiss it. We can`t dismiss
it. I will just ask those who question the sincerity or the legitimacy of
protests and vigils and expressions of outrage.
Who somehow label those expressions of outrage as “political correctness”.
I just ask folks to step back and think, what if this happened to somebody
in your family?
How would you feel? To be concerned about these issues is not political
correctness, it`s just being American and wanting to live up to our best
and highest ideas.
And it`s to recognize the reality that we`ve got some tough history and we
haven`t gotten through all of that history yet.
And we don`t expect that in my lifetime, maybe not in my children`s
lifetime, but all the vestiges of that past will have been cured. Will
have been solved. But we can do better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The President spoke directly to America`s police officers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I want to be very clear. We know you have a tough job. We mourn
those in uniform who are protecting us who lose their lives on a regular
I have joined with families in front of Capitol Hill to commemorate the
incredible heroism that they`ve displayed.
I`ve hugged family members who`ve lost loved ones doing the right thing. I
know how much it hurts. On a regular basis we bring in those who have done
heroic work in law enforcement and have survived.
Sometimes they`ve been injured, sometimes they risk their lives in
remarkable ways and we applaud them and appreciate them because they`re
doing a really tough job really well.
There is no contradiction between us supporting law enforcement, making
sure they`ve got the equipment they need, making sure their collective
bargaining rights are recognized.
Making sure that they`re adequately staffed, making sure that they are
respected. Making sure their families are supported.
And also saying that there are problems across our criminal justice system,
their biases, some conscious and unconscious that have to be rooted out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The President`s remarks were unscripted and obviously deeply
heartfelt and ended with the modest optimism that we can do better.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: People of goodwill can do better. And doing better involves
not just addressing potential bias in a criminal justice system.
It`s recognizing that too often we`re asking police to man the barricades
in communities that have been forgotten by all of us for way too long.
In terms of sub-standard schools and inadequate jobs and a lack of
opportunity. We`ve got to tackle those things. We can do better. And I
believe we will do better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We`ll have more on President Obama`s statement. After a break,
Tavis Smiley will join us later in the program.
And a police officer reacts to the killings by police that we`ve seen on
video this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m also a person that wears the uniform with the
blue. I`m also the one that – and puts their lives in danger. I wear
You`re afraid of people that don`t look like you, you have no business in
that uniform! Take it off!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And we`re continuing to monitor the protest in St. Paul and
around the country, we will have a live report next.
O`DONNELL: This is Times Square live shot of gathering in Times Square in
reaction to the two videos we have seen this week of killings by police.
We`re going to take a break, we`re going to be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This is not just a black issue. It`s not just a Hispanic issue.
This is an American issue that we should all care about, all fair-minded
people should be concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now Janai Nelson; Associate Director, Counsel of the
NAACP legal defense and Educational Fund.
Also with us, Marq Claxton; Director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance
and retired NYPD detective. Janai, I`d like you to just begin wherever you
think you should at this stage in this story.
Having heard the President tonight and these impromptu remarks which really
stopped us and certainly changed where news coverage has been going since
And also what we`ve been seeing in these videos.
JANAI NELSON, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND: Yes, where to
begin on an evening like this. This has been an extraordinarily difficult
week. This is all too familiar terrain.
And this is a moment where I think the national crisis that black America
has been experiencing for centuries and decades, but really in the area of
policing for so long.
As you said at the outset of your segment is, we`ve really reached a crisis
moment within the crisis that requires our action.
We have the civil rights community has responded, the federal government
has responded. The Department of Justice has increased the number of
investigations and its interaction with law enforcement across the country.
The Department of Justice is now requiring implicit bias training. There
have been changes, but what we haven`t seen is a reaction by state and
local law enforcement to this crisis.
We haven`t seen them adopt the recommendations of a task force. There has
been movement. There has been a reaction.
There has been change in certain areas, but not where it counts and that is
at the state and local law enforcement levels.
And I hope – I hope that these two tragedies will bring those actors to
the table and make a difference.
O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton, there`s so much to analyze in this new video that
we have tonight.
I would like you as a former police officer to talk about what you heard
from the police officer himself, his own verbal reaction to having done
that shooting and pumped probably four bullets into the car according to
the woman who was there recording it.
It seemed after the fact that he was highly agitated and himself deeply
disturbed by what he had done.
MARQ CLAXTON, DIRECTOR OF THE BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE AND RETIRED
NYPD DETECTIVE: Yes, he was in full panic mode, understandably and in full
shock. And he was raging, and really what was also concerning about that
was his partner, if there was a partner, really should have taken control
of that situation because he was, obviously, emotionally and mentally
unstable at that point.
And not in the position either to continue with the enforcement operation
as botched and as crazy and as disturbing as it turned out to be.
O`DONNELL: And a word, Marq, from you about what you saw, and what I think
was the bravery and strength of – here is a woman and a mother in the
middle of this shooting and she has the presence of mind to keep that
CLAXTON: It was a fascinating display. I mean, really, I suspect – and
I`m no psychologist. I suspect as part of her defense mechanism
immediately and part of her trying to handle her level of shock or trauma
that she engaged a very calm and deliberate conversation.
All of her senses are fully aware. She was able to multi task, she was
able to not only listen to the police officer, giving her additional
commands but respond to him all the while narrating in the midst of chaos,
with her child, her four-year-old child in the backseat.
I mean, it just adds to just the horrific nature of what occurred there and
the senselessness of what occurred there and the pain and anguish and the
frustration that so many people are feeling across the nation in regards to
this and other incidents.
O`DONNELL: Janai, I felt like I was watching a woman who had internalized
the old lesson that parents have been teaching for years, say sir, say sir,
be very careful, all of that.
And the new lesson, keep that camera going, get a record of what this is.
And then that – the video is much longer than what we could show.
She goes through emotional curves in this where she`s being very steady,
being very calm and then there are the times when she realizes that he`s
gone and she literally starts praying, praying that he`s not gone.
And you can hear the anguish cries, the pain of what this means to her.
NELSON: Oh, absolutely. My heart goes out to her and the family of Mr.
Castile. Her strength, her composure was incredibly remarkable.
And so many people can`t understand where that comes from, but many of us
know where it comes from. In the same way that we now are faced with,
learning evacuation plans and going through drills to prepare ourselves for
The black community has been doing that forever. We know that in those
situations, if we want to come out of it alive, if we want to come out of
it intact and live to tell the story of that brutality, we need to act in a
We talk about the talk. It is really preparation for these acts of terror
by law enforcement that are rogue and really facing rampant paranoia as we
saw in that video.
We have to prepare ourselves for that, unfortunately, and that should not
be the sort of preparation that any resident or citizen of this country has
O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to go to a breaking news in Dallas, where
there are reports of shots fired after a demonstration there over the
deadly officer`s involved shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota.
Witnesses apparently have said that at least one Dallas police officer may
have been shot. Joining us now is Melissa Rehberger with more details.
MELISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC: Lawrence, I`ll tell you what we can. We are
looking at some live pictures right here of downtown Dallas, at what
apparently had been a peaceful protest, apparently, up until about 10:00
Where I`m just reading things off of Twitter right now, but apparently,
according to a lot of people on Twitter, several shots were fired.
Again, unconfirmed that at least two police officers may have been shot and
you can see an overwhelming police response right there in this live
picture on your screen.
According to a couple of people who are tweeting from the scene, that
apparently this person has a long gun.
Somebody is describing this person as a sniper and is apparently shooting
directly at police. Lawrence, again, that you said that these are
nationwide protests that have – that have been sparked by these two
shootings of black men by police officers just this week.
So, this is one of those protests, and according to witnesses, it was
peaceful up until just a short while ago.
So, again, I have to emphasize unconfirmed that shots have been fired in
downtown Dallas. Unconfirmed that police officers may have been shot.
Unconfirmed that it may be a person with some sort of long gun who is
deliberately taking aim at police. Lawrence, I`m keeping an eye on this
and I will update you with anything I find.
O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton, I just want to get your reaction to what we`re
learning out of Dallas right now.
Obviously, a difficult, tactical situation for police, seeing some video of
it there. You have – you have darkness, you have a big crowd and you have
How can the police best respond to what they`re facing there right now?
CLAXTON: Well, first off, this is a police officer`s nightmare. I`m
hoping that some of the reports coming out may be inaccurate.
But this is a police officer`s worst nightmare. You talking about the
possibility of a sniper fire into a congregation of police officers.
It will be difficult to take cover and concealment, the challenge because
of the darkness, you know, the lack of light, the presence of a lot of
So, I mean, tactically it really is, you know, a horrific situation. So,
you know, you have to pray and wish that everything turns out all right and
that these reports may be inaccurate, hopefully, they are.
But if not, the police officers have to really rely hard on their tactics
and basic survival mode and hopefully get a response from – you know, from
their brothers and sisters in the surrounding areas.
O`DONNELL: According to local news reports there, they have a report that
the shooter with the rifle, police moving people back from the area where
the shots were fired.
And Nbc 5`s Corey Smith there reporting that gunshots were fired at the
demonstrations. It`s now – it`s not –
CLAXTON: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Clear at this point exactly, Marq, who might have been targeted
by these shots.
CLAXTON: And that`s another thing, too, because the focus of the police
officers immediately is going to be on protecting the civilian population
first and foremost.
And in doing so, they then have to also consider their own personal safety
and deploy some tactical moves in the hope to end this at this type of
But it`s a police officer`s worst nightmare, just random unidentified shots
coming down a group of you and your colleagues is really – it`s a
difficult situation to even attempt to defend against.
O`DONNELL: And Janai, this is what people organizing these vigils and
these demonstrations are hoping never happens.
NELSON: That`s right, there have been so many peaceful demonstrations and
there have been so many wonderful acts of expression to deal with this
grief, to try to bring attention to these critical issues that have gone
off wonderfully and peacefully.
And I hope that everything turns out well tonight for everyone involved,
including the officers on the scene in Dallas.
I think what this underscores though is that, there`s a real unraveling
happening here between the relationship of law enforcement and the
communities that they are charged to protect and serve.
And we all – we all lose when that relationship is frayed. No one wins
and we all have to bring our best thinking, our best efforts and our best
collaboration to the table to solve this crisis.
O`DONNELL: Marq, there`s a point the President made tonight in his remarks
about better relations with the community, means safer relationships for
the police with any community.
And this is something that –
CLAXTON: Yes –
O`DONNELL: People have been trying to impress upon police forces for a
very long time.
CLAXTON: Yes, it`s part and parcel of community policing program, you – I
think police agencies have proven years ago, that if you establish
respectful and courteous relationships with the community, the community
will then supply you with information, be very cooperative.
Work with you, really act as a buffer in areas that had experience high
crimes. So, it`s very important to have this kind of collaborative
It shouldn`t simply be about the community and then this over-militarize
the aggressive police force. You really don`t accomplish your goals of
public safety very well if you follow that route.
I think the president`s comments tonight were significant. And most
significant, I think his acknowledgment or stating that these are systemic
issues that need to be addressed. The challenge that he will have and what
his task force has had and the recommendations not being implemented is
compelling law enforcement agencies to adopt some of those changes and
whatever additional necessary changes are out there. That will be the
challenge. Police agencies do not willingly, just lie down and abide by
change, especially revolutionary change that deals with transforming
O`DONNELL: We have some new video that just came in that was shot moments
after the report of shots fired. Let`s take a look at this new video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Don`t shoot. Hands up. Don`t shoot. Hands up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re shooting. They`re shooting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: They`re shooting, Janai. That`s the last thing we hear on that
NELSON: Yeah. There`s really no police chief in America who can be
looking at this video and looking at the videos that we`ve seen in the past
couple of days and not be rethinking some of the policies and practices in
his or her department. Not thinking, is there something wrong, is there
something we could be doing better, is there some corrective measure we can
take to end this problem and to bring it into a new phase of the
relationship between the community and police. Again, no one wins here.
And we are needing a solution desperately.
O`DONNELL: Let`s take another look at that video that just came in. This
is the video taken. And you can hear the shots right at the beginning of
this. This is other new video that we have taken right after the shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Don`t shoot. Hands up. Don`t shoot. Hands up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re shooting. They`re shooting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Marq, it`s impossible to see who`s on the ground there and
whether that person on the ground is as a result of the shots fired or not.
This is one of those stories that`s going to be developing pretty quickly
over the next hour.
But again, the tactical response so far from the Dallas Police seems to be
working the situation is calmed. We don`t see crowds behaving in any kind
of uncooperative way in that shot and we have no more shots fired.
CLAXTON: Well, there`s a saying at – in the NYPD. As a matter of fact,
it`s on every locker in the NYPD. That`s proper tactic save lives. And
this applies to what`s going on there in Dallas and it also can apply to so
many of the incidents of fatal police shootings that we`ve seen lately.
Too often, it`s bad tactics that – and through the officer are creating
jeopardy as a result of bad tactics deviating from police policy and
procedures and losing just common sense that creates the perfect storm and
an opportunity for fatal encounters to occur. So, I think, too often
officer creating jeopardy is at the root cause of so many. And if you go
back to several of them, you can see that officer created jeopardy is at
the root cause of many of these fatal encounters.
O`DONNELL: And Janai, this is a – as far as we know at this point, one
person with one gun firing shots in a big crowd. And according to the
video we`re seeing now, instantaneously the crowd disperses and gets out of
this dangerous area and police apparently have completely control of it
NELSON: That`s right. It looks like the situation is contained. And I`m
no expert at this but just looking at some of the footage, it looks as if
that was done without the use of any military equipment or any, you know,
outside machinery. And I think that`s a really key element to underscore.
We should have learned a lesson from Ferguson and the protests that
occurred there and the horrible aftermath that was instigated by an
outsider`s response to peaceable protest.
So I think we need to be recognizing that there will continue to be
protest. There will be people in the streets expressing their grief,
expressing their anguish. And we have to find a way to deal with that that
doesn`t violate anyone else`s rights and allows people that free
expression. And of course, that protects our law enforcement as well.
O`DONNELL: Let me go back to Melissa Rehberger who is monitoring the
situation there. Melissa, what`s the latest.
MELISSA REHBERGER, JOURNALIST: Hi, Lawrence. This is according to KXAS.
That according to this police are looking for the shooter. They have not
found the shooter. We are hearing that one officer has been taken to the
hospital. Another officer is hurt but is in a restaurant because it is too
dangerous to take him out of the place where he is.
According to XAS, this happened just before 10:00. I also want to read you
something off of “Dallas Morning News”. They`re having reports of shot
fired as we have seen bystanders are recording hearing multiple shots from
the area of market and Main Street, that that is Downtown Dallas, which I`m
not familiar with. But that`s what we`re looking at right here.
There are reports, again, and at least one officer being injured, not
confirmed yet. People are being asked to leave. According to this, some
are walking, others are running and If you are in Dallas watching this, you
need to know that DART has suspended all bus and rail service in Downtown
as they look for the shooter. And that is all we know now.
O`DONNELL: I want to go back to Marq Claxton. Based on your law
enforcement experience, when you hear that set of reactions, suspending bus
service. What is your sense of what that means to the scale of this
CLAXTON: Well, they`re ramping up the search itself and they want to have
clear and concise control over a particular area. And what will happen
next is there will be a methodical block by block, street by street, you
know, facility by facility search. So in order to do that, they want to
clear the area as much as possible with the – from the civilians. They
want to control and cordon off their search area. And methodically go area
and space and spot until they are able to apprehend the individual who
committed these acts.
O`DONNELL: And, Marq, what do you make of an injured officer staying in a
restaurant because it`s too dangerous to try to move at that point. Does
that – would that indicate to you that his injuries might not be that
severe, meaning, they`re survival able, certainly, or if they were – if
they thought he needed immediate medical treatment, would they take that
chance on moving him?
CLAXTON: What – the feeling that I have is that they`re probably waiting
for some additional resources in order to transport the officer out of that
restaurant. And they feel that the normal resource they would use or the
options that they had available are not safe. There`s possibly a sniper, a
person shooting outside of the restaurant and therefore they don`t want to
take an injured officer or expose other officers to the potential gunfire
So it`s quite possible that they will bring in some – it`s quite possible
for an armored vehicle or some other vehicle that will pull up directly
next to the restaurant and transport that officer for additional care. It
seems, to me, just based on what`s been said so far. That it`s likely they
are more concerned about the gunfire outside of the restaurant than the
nature of the officer`s injuries at this point.
O`DONNELL: Melissa Rehberger, do you have more updates for us?
REHBERGER: Yeah. We have some more information trickling in from KXAS by
Corey Smith who is across the street from the Federal Courthouse right now.
Police say there is still an active suspect, possibly in the area. There
have not been any more reports of more shots fired.
We`re told at least one officer was taken to Parkland Hospital. Reports
have two officers are hurt. Again, one taken to the hospital, another is
being hold up in a restaurant. Police officers are focusing apparently,
Lawrence, on a parking garage Downtown across from the Greyhound Bus
Station and a McDonald`s and that`s what we have right now.
O`DONNELL: OK. The “Dallas Morning News” reporting a witness saying it
sounded like six to eight shots. And Janai, this is obviously horrible
outcome for Dallas and for the people who are involved in that vigil
tonight. They have took only one person to completely change what was
NELSON: That`s absolutely right. And we`re in the midst of morning. We
have the family of two victims already mourning. And we`re a nation in
morning. And we certainly don`t need to add anything further to that. So
I`m hopeful that the officers, if they were injured certainly survived and
do well and I hope that the situation is contained at this point.
O`DONNELL: And Marq, if they`ve identified a building, a parking garage or
a place they believe to be the location of the shooter. I would imagine it
will take them a while to clear that building floor by floor.
CLAXTON: Yeah. And you also will require additional resources. A lot of
police departments have technical response units. You may include
aviation, whatever operational units you have in the area. You want to
throw them into the mix because you want this search and apprehension of
the perpetrator to be as quick as possible but done in an ultimately safe
way. You don`t want to have additional injury. You want to really take
control of the situation and see the – be methodical about searching for
this individual, so. Everything and any resource that you may need at this
point, you`re going to call for it and it will get the job done.
O`DONNELL: And Marq, let`s just go over the next stage assuming that they
do apprehend or stop an individual. That doesn`t mean it`s over. They`re
not in a position now to know whether this was only one individual.
CLAXTON: That`s correct. That`s correct. So what will happen, once they
clear the perimeter, if you will? They`ll begin this process. And if they
apprehend a suspect then I`m sure they`ll take the suspect for further
questioning. They`ll try to collect whatever evidence is available, if
there is any evidence available, physical evidence available, whether it be
a weapon or some other item. And it will be methodical.
It`s a long-haul process because you want to make sure that you get any and
everyone involved in this type of an incident. You don`t want to leave
anyone out there. You don`t want to take one person where there may have
been two or three people who operated together in regards to this.
O`DONNELL: And Janai, this changes the nature of demonstration vigils in
Dallas, remains to be seen, how it might effect the situation anywhere
NELSON: That`s right. It`s unfortunate that it is taking the focus off
the issues that brought us here. And you know, it`s important that we
remain very clear headed about what happened. We already are seeing on
twitter the accusations that this was result of Obama`s very candid and
necessary conversation. And we have to be able to have open and honest and
real conversations about our racial divisions and the problems that we
confront without them blaming and scapegoating if something goes wrong,
that is wholly unrelated to that. So I hope we all remain clear headed and
in the same way we don`t cast the gates all police officers. We certainly
should not do the same for protesters or those who are in mourning.
O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Jim Cavanaugh MSNBC law enforcement analyst
and a former ATF agent in charge. Jim Cavanaugh, given all the information
we have at this stage, one witness reporting six to eight shots – witness
indication that it`s a long gun. And apparently one, only one at this
point and still no suspect apprehended or in any announcement of it when
apprehended suspect. Where do you think the Dallas Police are now in this
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, they`re swarming at
Downtown area right there, Lawrence. So I use to be the assistant special
agent in charge of the Dallas division and those are the streets, right in
front of my office. The Federal Building, the Greyhound Bus Station a few
It`s a series of sky scrapers or some smaller buildings that have lower
elevation. There`s parking garages, you know, it`s urban city, but there`s
an elevated position where a shooter with a long gun could get to shoot at
an officer. And so – and you could, you know, hide. I mean it`s a
labyrinth of buildings and alleys and parking garages all throughout there.
You can see some of the grassy area. It`s all right in downtown Dallas,
Right there by the bus station, The Federal Court, all right in there.
O`DONNELL: And Jim, what would be – how long would you expect it to take
to get an all-clear in a situation like this?
CAVANAUGH: Yeah. Good question Lawrence. It could be a while somebody
could slip out. I mean, if you fired from a parking garage or, you know, a
roof of a building three or four Buildings tall, you can slip out the back
into the grass, you know, down in the Alley. Get in the car. I mean, this
can take a while.
You know, Dallas has a lot of officers, you know, their force may be 3,500
officers now. It`s a – somewhere around that. And so they`ve got a lot
of people to bring in there. And they have great SWAT teams and tactical
abilities. Bit it`s such a concentrated urban center. There was large
crowds, you know, doing their peaceful demonstrations down there but
someone, you know, it looks like, wanted to shoot uniformed officers. They
could get away. It just depends how fast they could have, you know, sealed
it. It`s going to be a challenge.
O`DONNELL: Jim, you know the area well. Obviously, who else is responding
to this at this point do you think in addition to the Dallas police?
CAVANAUGH: Well, all the federal agencies are right Downtown there. The
FBI, the ATF, the DEA, the Marshal Service. They`re all going to lend a
hand. But Dallas PD is very strong. You know, when you`re there and a lot
of people out at night. They`re going to get all the help they can from
the federal agents, of course the Dallas – the Texas Department of Public
Safety, you know. Everybody will help.
But I think the challenge is what you`re describing, it`s the immediacy of
it. Can they get the perimeter set up? Can they locate a person with a
rifle? A rifle is very loud. It`s going to crack in those Downtown
canyons, you know, when those building canyons, it`s very loud. It`s
louder than a pistol. And witnesses will probably be describing some of
that noise later, depending on the number of shots were fired as well.
O`DONNELL: We`re joined by MSNBC`s Cal Perry. Cal, what`s the latest
information we have on this?
CAL PERRY, MSNBC REPORTER: A lot of confusion, the city has gone into,
what I will describe as a state of near lock down. There are reports on
social media that NBC cannot confirm that there have been second volley of
What this highlights is what we`ve been seeing for the last 24 hours which
is anger and a real anger about the history of race in this country. And
what`s happening here is we`re trying to decipher between the rumors and
what is actually going on the ground. And it`s very difficult because of
the atmosphere that we`re seeing not just in Dallas but we a protest here
in New York City. We`ll see protests in Minneapolis.
But Dallas right now is in what the police are defining as an active
shooter situation. They`re locking down various parts of the city to try
to keep that shooter isolated where he is. But right now it`s a lot of
confusion as we wait to find out as the SWAT teams sort of go through these
O`DONNELL: Is there any indication in social media that that word of what
has happened in Dallas is spreading to any of the other demonstrations and
PERRY: No. In fact, the outcry has been one of how could this have
happened, things got out of control. I have to tell you all day, we were
monitoring really dangerous chatter centered around Atlanta and centered
around Dallas. There was an incident overnight in Atlanta where somebody
committed suicide in one of the main parks in the city and people cried out
for investigation because the suicide was via hanging. And it cried out of
the past pains that America has been through.
But so far, the chatter on social media, beyond, again, this unconfirmed
report that there has now been more gunfire in the city of Dallas, has been
an outcry for the police. Because we`re – we`ve seen these kind of
protests in cities across the America. And up until about an hour ago,
they`ve all been very peaceful. The one in New York I just came from in
Time Square was really just a tussle over pedestrian traffic. And the
police were cooperating with the protesters and vice versa. This is
obviously something very different.
O`DONNELL: I want to go back to Melissa Rehberger. Melissa, do you have
anymore details for us?
REHBERGER: Well, Lawrence, I`m reading the “Dallas Morning News” and what
we`re getting is more reaction from witnesses and the crowds. And I`m
going to read some of it to you. And it goes along with some of the video
that we saw earlier where everybody just started screaming and running and
There is a report of a woman who brought her three teenage kids to the
protest because she believed that it would be peaceful and in fact it had
been. And then when chaos broke out and the gunshots were heard, they all
got separated for a few very frightening minutes and only got reunited
because they all had cell phones. Thank goodness, they were able to find
Somebody who described himself as a former military person said he heard
someone fire back with what sounded like an AR 15 that may explain the
other shots that we were just hearing. One witness says that the shooter
was strategic and described the sounding as tap tap pause, tap tap pause
and then everybody just started running. And you saw the crowd that was
there earlier, Lawrence. You can just imagine what that looks like.
O`DONNELL: Yeah. It`s could be – the crowd seems to have done everything
that the police would want them to do. They seemed to just gotten out of
the way as fast as possible.
PERRY: I think there was a realization that this was a very different
situation than any of the protest we`re seeing in other cities. The second
location, again, unconfirmed reports is the Omni Hotel and it`s about a
half a mile. That`s where you`re seeing that video of people stream.
They`re streaming from that protest site away from the Omni hotel which
police have now closed off.
O`DONNELL: And we don`t have to go to the scene. We have Scott Friedman.
He`s a reporter with KXAS in Dallas. He is on the scene. Scott, what is
the situation there?
SCOTT FRIEDMAN, KXAS REPORTER: Well, Lawrence, it`s very tense where we
are right now. We`re in the west end section of Downtown, Dallas. And
police here with guns drawn. They have told us to stay back at the
particular corridor we`re at here. They`re still concerned about possibly
one of the shooters being up high on a building.
I just talked to – with a witness a minute ago who is describing one of
the officers who was shot. He was standing near of that officer when he
was hit. The witness described about 60, he thought about 60 shots fired
when that officer was hit.
This is just one location. There are a number of other locations. We have
police right now. We`re seeing militarized SWAT vehicle directly at the
street just a few minutes ago. And there`s an area around El Centro
College that seem to have veered in on a shooter there, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Scott, are you saying that there`s – you spoke to an
eyewitness who saw a police officer shot?
FRIEDMAN: Yes. Yes. Witness who was standing near an officer. And he
said it was one of the first couple of shots that he heard where the – and
the officer fell to the ground. Officer was taken away injured. The
witness is not sure of the officer`s conditions.
We have heard reports as we`re listening to police radios as for who are
headed into the scene here. Other officer shot as well. This is just one
location that there was a report of an officer down. Again, we`d be
cautioned that early information based on a radio traffic, police radio
traffic that we were hearing on the way in to the scene.
O`DONNELL: And Scott, when you hear that police radio traffic, is there a
way to know when you hear an officer down announcement. That that does or
does not refer to the officer down announcement you heard right before
that. You know, could it be duplicative. How do we know whether it`s
duplicative or additional?
FRIEDMAN: It`s – you know, all I can say, Lawrence, is then that there
are two different locations, three locations where we`ve had report of an
Again, we`ve been cautioned that early, radio traffic police are too busy
right now dealing with the situation for us to get much information
confirmed. That in fact we can`t even approach the location here at our
corner with the officer down.
Every time anyone – people just walking along the street, moved a few
steps closer to where they were. The officer again was (inaudible) have
said move back, stay away. This is not a safe area. They`re trying to
block off some of the cross streets here. Where again, you know, they`re
concerned because they don`t know. We don`t have a clear picture right
now. You know, one gunman or more. They try to keep people backing away
from some of these building where you got those cops right here on the
O`DONNELL: Scott, please stay with us. I want to go back with Melissa
Rehberger. Melissa, do you have more details?
REHBERGER: Yeah. Lawrence, just a little bit more witness information
from the scene. And I`m reading it off of the “Dallas Morning News”.
Apparently this protest has been so peaceful, in fact, that police officers
were posing for pictures with protesters. And people were commenting how
wonderfully peaceful it was and what a good learning experience it was for
As a matter of fact the Dallas PD has been live tweeting the entire event
with pictures and talking about where the protesters were. And I noticed
on their twitter feed that, right around the time this happened they – I
don`t think they tweeted anything since.
O`DONNELL: All right. Thanks Melissa. I want to go back to Cal Perry
here in the studio. Cal, this is one of those situations where social
media could be faster in many – with many bits of information than we may
get through traditional sources. Is there anything developing on social
media that seems ahead of the curve on this information?
PERRY: Yeah. And what Melissa was just talking about, some of the
officials inside the Dallas Police Department are now asking the media to
sop broadcasting any locations of police officers. So that`s just one more
indication that this is an going situation. And that this here is not .
O`DONNELL: And that would be local media because .
O`DONNELL: . we don`t have .
PERRY: That`s right.
PERRY: And the concern there being that the shooter is somewhere watching
live news coverage which is a new development recently in 2016 that the
shooter can be up to date with the cell phone and the twitter just like we
are and monitoring SWAT teams as they go through these buildings. But what
it tells us is that this is an unresolved situation. So for people who are
in the Dallas area, this is an active shooter situation with at least two
crime scenes so far.
O`DONNELL: Jim Cavanaugh, I`d like to get your reaction to that that
request that and the news media not reveal specificities about officer
CAVANAUGH: Yeah, absolutely. You don`t want to put out any loom in a
tactical officers or locations they might be responding to because that
would – just as Cal said, give the shooter information you don`t want to
give. And you want to get in there and surprise some more. Give a
perimeter around him.
The key, Lawrence, is going to be, do they have a witness? Do they have
someone, an officer, someone who saw where the shots originated from? That
was some astounding reporting of a witness saying 60 shots, 60 shots fired.
You know, that`s a lot of shots. It`s a – if you have a rifle, that`s a
couple of full thirty round magazines. If that many shots were fired from
an elevated position, someone should have picked up the muzzle flash. You
know, someone should have heard it, saw it, looked toward it.
You know, that that could have certainly witnesses would see that right
away. And maybe they were able to hone in, you know, on an area. Some of
the trouble we have in the D.C. sniper case is, you know, they didn`t fire
that much. They fired one or two shots and then they were gone. And you
know, we round up, you know, chasing them for a number of weeks across the
capital region if they were – that they were just like ghost marauding
If the shooter stayed and shot 60 rounds, they may have been able to get a
location and been able to get closer and surround him.
O`DONNELL: I want to go back to Scot Friedman who is on the scene in
Dallas, on the street there. Scott, were you getting – have you been able
to speak directly to any police officers there?
FRIEDMAN: Lawrence, that`s pretty – only those – the one across the
streets from me who have guns drawn and everytime we came around the corner
near them, they have yelled at us and everybody else on the street to get
back, stay back out of the area. They don`t want anybody approaching them
right now. It`s still a very active situation here.
I`m looking down the street right now and I`m seeing a Dallas SWAT vehicle,
an armored vehicle now moving around one corner. It headed – it looks
like to the other end of the block just down the street from me here. More
officers that just walk by here now with guns drawn.
You have multiple agencies on the scene. We`ve got a federal agent that
we`ve seen out here in the last few minutes. We have transit police across
the Dallas Police (inaudible). Plain clothes and uniformed officers, SWAT
officers who all converged down the scene.
Really all of the roads in and out of this – the sort of west side of
Downtown Dallas as we came in here have been closed off and everybody who
was out here, restaurants, in bars in the area is just staying right now in
their locations because the officers don`t want them to move at all, across
any of these streets.
O`DONNELL: Scott, could you review for us the evidence that you heard from
the eyewitness there?
FRIEDMAN: Yeah, when I arrived here. I had an eyewitness who told me he
was standing near a police officer who was shot. They could not tell where
the shots were coming from. They say they were other officers who were in
the area who are looking up, immediately looking around, trying to figure
out the direction of fire and from what the witness could tell, the
officers were not able to pinpoint where the shots were coming from.
That officer was taken away. The witness we talked to is not able to
determine the officer`s condition. But the witness described hearing, what
he said was 60 shots fired at the time. He said it seemed to go on. He
said, it felt like minutes. He knows it wasn`t minutes but it felt like
minutes because the shots continued and continued.
O`DONNELL: Scott, do you know whether this witness is familiar with fire
arms and familiar with distinguishing shots?
FRIEDMAN: Lawrence, I don`t know. You know, it`s a chaotic situation
here, when we got here. We, you know, talked to this gentleman and he`s
describing what he heard and saw. I`m not sure how familiar he is, you
know, with firearms.
O`DONNELL: And what is your plan in covering this at this point? You`re
kind of locked into one position there.
FRIEDMAN: Yeah, I`m in – at this point we`re just – we`re trying to, you
know, speak with police sources by phone and from all locations. We really
can`t move. Everybody who is out here right now is immediately involved.
All the Officers down here immediately involved in the situation and then
trying to keep people safe, keep them back from where they`ve – they had
concerns if there may still be an active shooter.
O`DONNELL: And, Scott, how much media is there. It`s oftentimes in these
situations, news media is collected in one spot. Are you – are there news
media resources now spread out in different areas, cut off from each other?
FRIEDMAN: Yeah, actually – definitely spread out. In fact the
photographer that I`m with, we just – we got separated around the corner
from each other. Again, because officers with guns drawn were telling me
to move to one side as we approach the area. So people are on corners
around the edges of where the action is happening here, scattered across
the western edge of Downtown.
O`DONNELL: Scott Friedman, thank you very much for these live reports from
the street there in Dallas where shots have been fired during a
demonstration, protesting police used a deadly force in other parts of the
country. We have been covering this live, breaking news here during the
special edition of THE LAST WORD which has become live coverage of the
situation in Dallas.
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