George Floyd TRANSCRIPT: 5/28/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. Thank you.
We`re going to be going back to Ali Velshi in a moment. Thanks, Rachel.
Before we go back, we have new video tonight showing another angle of the
Minneapolis police holding George Floyd on the street Monday night while he
is saying I can`t breathe. This video appears to have been recorded seconds
before the video that we have already been showing you this week that was
recorded from another angle, a closer angle, in fact.
In this video, we see more officers crouched right above George Floyd as he
says I can`t breathe and I must warn you, this video is also very
disturbing, very much as disturbing as the other video we have shown you.
This video that we will show you now lasts about 18 seconds.
And here is that new video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE FLOYD: I can`t breathe, man. Please, please, let me stand (ph).
Please, I can`t breathe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We are here tonight in the middle of a pandemic that has already
taken 100,000 American lives and we are changing our focus tonight to the
lose of one life because a 17-year-old girl in Minneapolis did the right
thing. If she didn`t do the right thing, this hour tonight, would be all
about the coronavirus pandemic.
But you see what it is about now because that 17-year-old girl Darnella
Frasier (ph) stood her ground Monday night and pressed record on her phone
and recorded the first video ten minutes of video that showed us what
happened to George Floyd on that pavement Monday night.
And without that video, none of this would be happening. The police story
of he resisted arrest would have been accepted as it was initially accepted
by the police department on Monday night. They officially put it in their
public statement about it that he resisted arrest. We have since seen other
video emerge showing George Floyd not resisting at any point in any of the
We`re going to go back to the streets of Minneapolis right now, I believe,
with Ali who is on the scene.
Ali, what are you seeing now?
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Lawrence, let me just tell you what`s
happening. After the flash bang started, after we first we saw the
appearance of the police after the protesters breached the police station,
the police moved to that corner right in front of us and were firing back
into the crowd. The crowd moved back. Now the crowd is moving back in
toward the police.
They are actually in many cases going in with hands up like this walking
toward the police. We are now sort of behind the crowd. They are between us
and the third precinct. You can see just beyond the crowd there is a red
light there. That`s the corner of the building. You can see there is
volleys now of debris that people are shooting and then flash bangs.
Now looks like we may have gas canisters now. The police are deploying
something. Not quite clear what they are. But we are seeing a lot of
debris. There is things getting thrown.
We`ll pull back a little bit. There is milk being spread around. That has
tear gas. I`m going to stick this on.
Give me a minute. I think we`re pretty windy and it`s all blowing that way
so I think we`re clear for now. They deployed tear gas. That didn`t happen
at all today.
It`s been peaceful today. There have been speeches. There have been people
out here protesting, saying things like no justice, no peace, this just
happened within the last 15 minutes. The protesters, somebody got over the
fence, there was a fence that had been installed since yesterday.
Somebody got over it, got to the other side and encouraged the crowd to
push those fences down, which they did. And then somebody got into the
police station and that`s when the police emerged on the roof.
They have now moved to ground level and this is the worrisome part. They
were on the roof moving into the crowd. The fence has been breached and
protesters are now getting closer and closer to the third precinct. Now as,
Lawrence, you know, the third precinct here is where the four police
officers were who were involved in the death of George Floyd on Monday.
So, this has been the center of attention at this point. Now, what we don`t
have is any police cars. We do not have National Guard vehicles here. We do
have heavy smoke in that direction.
Let`s just take a look, Miguel. We have a fire over there. Fairly big fire.
Quite dense. Last night this was all burning. This was the AutoZone. There
is a Target behind me. There is a car on fire in the parking lot behind my
But most of the attention is right here on the police station. We seem to
have a lull in it right now, Lawrence. It has been calm all day. I have to
say, this was not what we were seeing all day. It was peaceful protest, and
it has suddenly changed.
Now, there are a lot of protesters along the side behind my photographer
not involved in what is going on. You can see the hands up there, a lot of
people with hands up moving toward the police. They are closing in. You can
see this crowd moving. There is probably now 25 or 30 feet between the
police and protesters and there is no barrier between them.
One thing the Minneapolis police have not done today is gotten into direct
conflict with protesters. That, I think, in the next few minutes is about
O`DONNELL: Ali, how long did you get any sense from these people whether
there is an organized schedule of what they want to achieve tonight or is
this pretty kind of chaotic situation right now?
VELSHI: I don`t know it was organized and chaotic. Until 20 minutes ago, it
was an assembly of people with various beeves about what was going on and
one of them is the Hennepin County attorney has said that there is some
evidence that this may not have been criminal and people are saying come
on, I`ve seen two pieces of video. We saw the first piece of video, more
flash bangs behind me, then we saw the piece of video of George Floyd being
arrested that didn`t look like an energetic arrest and a third piece of
video that people say I saw what I saw. How can there not be an arrest? How
can there be doubt about an arrest?
That`s what the frustration is. I would argue it`s frustration and well
voiced all day. Something changed in the last 20 minutes or so in which it
became a lot more confrontational and I will say, Lawrence, we did not see
any police presence here through the day at this precinct. There were some
police in the area. Something is going on over there and more gas
canisters. There we go.
All right. Just want to make sure the wind isn`t coming our direction.
That`s tear gas released into the crowd. This was happening last night.
There were a lot of hopes tonight there wouldn`t be tear gas. Let`s push
back. We got tear gas coming towards us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s tear gas.
VELSHI: Lawrence, we`ll put on our protection here for a moment.
O`DONNELL: I want to bring in Mark Claxton to this discussion as Ali
regroups. Ali, I don`t know if you have sound with that.
VELSHI: I do. I got sound and I can speak to you, too.
O`DONNELL: OK. Good.
Then, Ali, how many people would you say are in that area? It looks like a
few hundred maybe.
VELSHI: Yeah, so there is a few hundred in this area right in front of us,
this general area.
Then there are probably a few hundred more in the shopping mall next to me
where Target was burnt down. There is activity there all day. There are
several other places with protest including the Hennepin County courthouse
and St. Paul, there are protests tonight and fires.
Over to the left when Miguel gets a second, he`ll look at the fire burning.
We can`t see the flames but there is heavy smoke to the left of us and
heavy tear gas in front of us now. So it`s not – this is the center of
gravity for the protests but there are in the larger, say, 20 block area,
probably several thousand people but only sort of hundreds in a group at
any given time. That`s what we`re seeing now.
This intersection you`re looking at right now 20 minutes ago was
completely, completely filled. Now, you`ve seen people retreat. Obviously,
because we got tear gas coming out and flash bangs.
There is still a group of people you can see directly in front of me, they
are as close as they can get to the police. The tear gas has had the effect
of pushing people back because it is doing that but it`s a windy night,
which means it`s not effective to use tear gas when there is this much
wind, it will blow all over the place.
The police have not used it until now. They basically used the flash bang.
You can see behind me, keep in mind, there is the police district. Those
are the active protesters and a group behind us, far back from the danger
VELSHI: It does appear the tear gas has dissipated and for the moment the
police cars (INAUDIBLE). But there are more flash bangs and now helicopters
in the sky around us, (INAUDIBLE)
O`DONNELL: Ali, I`m going to bring Marq Claxton into the discussion. We`re
having a little bit of trouble hearing you at this point.
And Marq is a former NYPD police detective. He`s the director of the Black
Law Enforcement Alliance.
Marq, what is your reaction to the police tactics you`re seeing of what you
can see on camera tonight?
MARQ CLAXTON, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE DIRECTOR: Well, basically, the
police are just kind of responding to individual incidents. It`s not a
larger game plan. One reason is because it`s obvious that you have mixed
motives and mixed motivations within this demonstration crowd and the
police have to be more reactive than proactive. They want to make sure they
stay as focused as possible as disciplined as possible and to focus on
those things that they consider to be an actual threat, not necessarily
just those individuals who are just demonstrating non-violently without
much provocation, without throwing objects, et cetera.
So, you really have to stay on your P`s and Q`s at this point and
understand your mission and focus and be cog aware there are individuals
within that chaotic crowd not part of the disorderly behavior and
disorderly conduct that`s occurring.
O`DONNELL: Marq, the recommended use of tear gas in most police departments
is simply to establish a safe buffer zone they don`t think of it as
actually a violent police tactic. It`s not supposed to be because the crowd
is supposed to get away from the gas so they`re not affected by it.
Is that what you`re seeing in their use of it tonight?
CLAXTON: Well, it`s kind of hard on the screen to kind of determine that
but normally – too often what we find is that there is a little rush by
police agencies in responding to type of demonstrations that begin the
military process and that includes using the grenades, they`ll use tear
gas, and the danger with the tear gas and this came out during other
demonstrations in the past is that some of these chemicals are flammable
and the fires that are raging at the locations may be attributable to
devices that the police deploy as a defense mechanism.
You really have to be mindful and careful of it. And also you can`t steer
and guide tear gas effectively. It`s out there, the wind will determine
basically the direction of it. So, you`re going to have all kind of people
that are impacted. It`s not a really good tool for a directed defense or
O`DONNELL: I want to go back to Ali on the streets of Minneapolis.
Ali, we have a helicopter shot of a fire there. What do you know about it?
VELSHI: Right there, right behind me. You can see it right there behind us.
It looks like it might be half a mile from here and you can just see the
ash and flames now. This was a heavy smoke cloud awhile ago. We now see
And, again, last night, there was a lot of fires. This building in front of
us was an AutoZone. It`s gone. There is a building under construction
that`s gone. There is a housing project, it`s gone. There was a factory to
make medical supplies, it`s gone.
So, there were a lot of fires last night. We haven`t seen that again until
tonight. I have got some reports of activity, fire activity in St. Paul.
But you can see, this is cleared out. As Marq was just saying, tear gas has
I took the mask off for a second to get a sense of it and you feel it and
you can`t really see it anymore, it is windy and that is not ideal
circumstances in which to be using tear gas but it has the effect the
police were trying to have. This area has been cleared out. Again, it`s
unclear how long that will stay that way for and it`s unclear what the
police are doing.
It is not – you can still see the police on the roof. They are regrouping
and some of them are on the roof of the police station. The crowd has
backed up fairly substantially.
The other thing, Lawrence, there are a few centers of gravity with the
protest. There is the area where there is the courthouse and city hall.
There is the area in which George Floyd was arrested and died, which is
actually fairly distant from here.
The protesters have been moving around. Earlier this afternoon, I was in
downtown Minneapolis restaurants, places like that open for takeout have
shutdown. People have boarded up their restaurants and their places of
business because they are worried of the degree spread around the city.
At the moment, because this is the police station, this is the center of
activity and the police seem to have pushed it back. I think once the air
clears, we`ll see whether people come back. There is still some activity of
protesters throwing things. I have seen cars now moving out which means
people who have been here for a few hours might be thinking it`s time to go
home – Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Ali, stay with us. We`re going to be coming back to you in a few
minutes to catch up on exactly what is happening there and let us know if
we need to come back sooner. We have not identified exactly where that fire
is and what is burning, where that is a business or exactly what it is
that`s creating that fire. We do not know.
We are joined now by Senator Tina Smith. She is the junior senator from
Minnesota, a Democrat.
Senator Smith, I know this is a painful night to see flames in Minneapolis
and these protests. What is your reaction to what you`re seeing in
STATE SENATOR TINA SMITH (D), MINNESOTA: Well, this is just a couple of
miles from where I live, so this is so shattering to me. This is a city
that I love. I understand. I`ve had so many conversations with people in
the community. I understand their grief and their anger and their
And I also, as I look at these images, I`m reminded that this is the home
and these are the businesses of so many Minnesotans. This part of
Minneapolis is growing. It`s vibrant, it`s incredibly diverse.
There are hundreds of small businesses, many of them owned by people of
color. In fact, earlier today, I was over in the community and I saw
literally hundreds of people on the sidewalks sweeping up the shattered
glass. So I urge peace tonight to the people who are there and I am just
praying. I am also hearing the anger and the frustration of people who are
wanting and expecting and deserve justice in this –
O`DONNELL: Do you have confidence in the criminal investigations that are
being conducted now, both the federal and state investigation?
SMITH: Well, I think it is extremely important that these officers are
charged. I think that what community are looking for is accountability. And
that means that they can see there are consequences for the actions that
these officers take or in some cases didn`t take. To see the members of the
force standing around and watching while Mr. Floyd`s neck was being pressed
to the ground and he literally appears to be suffocating is just
devastating to watch.
So I need to see action. I think that that is where so much of the anger
and sadness is coming right now from my community because they also want to
see action. I want to say we`re asking the Justice Department to step up as
well and do a comprehensive look at the patterns and practices in the
Minneapolis Police Department around racial discrimination and violent
policing. This is the systemic accountability we need.
O`DONNELL: Senator, do you believe that police department has a problem and
has had a problem for awhile?
SMITH: I do believe that. You know, I was once the chief of staff for the
mayor of Minneapolis. I know this police department. I want to say I have
respect for Chief Arradondo. I knew him when he was a junior officer and is
the chief of staff for the mayor.
One of the things that grieves me is that I know there are officers in the
police department that are good professional, compassionate individuals to
make sure there are bike helmets for kids in the summertime and show up at
national night out events. So nonetheless, this department has significant
challenges, systemic challenges that we have got to address.
O`DONNELL: Senator Tina Smith, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
We really appreciate it.
SMITH: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: We`re going back to Ali Velshi on the streets of Minneapolis
Ali, can you hear us and can you tell us what you`re seeing?
VELSHI: Yes, we – yes, so we`re about a block away now from a building
that is fully involved in a fire as you can see. The problem we had last
night with fires is that it`s difficult for the fire department to get in.
They came in under police escort and were protesters were throwing things
at them so we got an issue here in that the fire is a block away. You see
some police barriers being put up. The crowd is moving towards the fire.
I see on 27th Street, 27th Avenue there are more people coming down this
way. So we have a fully engulfed fire in an area that doesn`t have space
between the buildings. This is what happened last night. You had AutoZone
catch fire, you had building next to it catch fire, you had another
building beyond that catch fire and now we`ve got several buildings between
where I am and a block away and that is a fully, fully involved fire. That
entire building you can see from the smoke and you can see the flames is
But I will tell you again, Lawrence, there are five police officers on the
top of that precinct. They seem to have gotten back on the roof and no
other police presence here. There is police and appears to be a police
escort of the firefighters over there. This is potentially another flash
So, a lot of tension around here. A lot of the protesters who have been
protesting peacefully all day sort of stayed a little bit further back.
There is still tear gas. We saw another canister and more flash bangs from
the police. There is this crowd pushing towards the police station and
trying to protest there. There is another crowd there that`s going towards
We do not know what started this particular fire, but it is raging now and
there is danger to the buildings around it. So, south Minneapolis right now
is still a very, very tense place in all directions, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Ali, stay safe and we`re going to come back to you as the
We`re joined now by Jelani Cobb. He`s a staff writer for “The New Yorker”.
He`s professor of journalism at Columbia University and an MSNBC political
And, Jelani, you wrote beautifully and movingly about this situation today
in “The New Yorker”. What is your reaction to what`s happening in
Minneapolis tonight and this week?
JELANI COBB, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, it`s horrible. It`s just all
horrible. And to see, you know, the fires and the tear gas and, you know,
bedlam break out in the community, which I`m sure nobody wants to see and
also know that there`s a kind of symbiotic relationship between scenes like
the ones we`re seeing right now and the video, which is even more horrific
than we might imagine because we can only see one officer pinning Mr. Floyd
to the ground but now from the new angle, we see there are multiple
And so, this person is not only handcuffed but being held in place by the
weight of other police officers, which makes it even more for someone to
place his knee on his neck and keep it there for seven minutes. And so,
it`s a horrible, cyclical, redundant and seemingly seasonal kind of action.
We can see these things happen over and over and over again.
They are captured on video. There is a cycle of outrage in the
administrative processes don`t deliver justice in most instances and then
we see it again and again.
O`DONNELL: Jelani, the very first protesters in this story were the
witnesses who were watching that knee that was in – that was on George
Floyd`s neck and they were standing there protesting and we see that in the
video that Darnella Frasier (ph) recorded, the 10-minute long video, this
17-year-old girl holding her ground recording the video and every witness
to what those police are doing are protesting while George Floyd is still
alive and they are telling these police officers, accurately, what they are
doing, that they are going to kill this man.
And so, the protests we`re seeing tonight actually began when George Floyd
was still alive and the last minutes of his life when Derek Chauvin, as we
see in this photograph right now was looking at the protesters when they
were telling him to stop doing that. That`s where this protest began.
COBB: Yeah, and I`ll say this also about Mr. Frasier, having covered these
stories, I was concerned for her safety because the person who captures the
video in the Eric Garner case was harassed by police subsequently. The
person who captured the video in the Walter Scott case in South Carolina
where a man was shot in the back by police fatally, that person was hard
harassed. I was immediately concerned saying I hope this young person is
I mean, this is – she`s insulated from the behavior that we saw in
response to other people who had done, you know, similarly heroic stuff
under these circumstances.
O`DONNELL: You wrote today that this is a disturbing and horrifying story
but not surprising.
COBB: No. I mean, I don`t see – I mean, I don`t know how many of these
stories we covered quite frankly. I covered Trayvon Martin. I covered Eric
Garner. I covered Freddie Gray in Baltimore. You know, Renisha McBride.
This is the whole lost of these stories that I`ve covered. It`s a genre of
newspaper reporting or news reporting and it continues again and again and
deeply anchored in our history.
And, you know, I can say for a moment that when we saw the major uprisings
and rebellions in the 20th century and watch in Harlem, in Chicago, in
various places, in Detroit, they have all been connected to instances of
police use of excessive force. You know, Rodney King famously in 1992 in
Los Angeles. You just kind of walked through. Baltimore, all these examples
again and again and again, it`s not like we lack an understanding of why
situations like this emerge.
O`DONNELL: We`re going back to Ali Velshi in the streets of Minneapolis.
Ali, what are you seeing there?
VELSHI: Yes, I just went up for a walk to get a closer vantage of what`s
going on. It`s an interesting situation in that the protesters are getting
closer and closer now to the fire. There is a conundrum here because there
is no love lost tonight in the streets of South Minneapolis between the
police and protesters, but at this point, the firefighters are getting up
close to the protesters.
We`ve seen this a couple times where firefighters have had to come in
particularly last night. We got another fire over there, Miguel, in a
building closer to where we were earlier. The firefighters are having
difficulty getting in. A couple of times, one time today the police had to
come in. There was a stabbing. I don`t know whether it was related to this
or not, there`s stabbing here. They`re coming to get someone , and they
came in it, it was not – it was a very tense situation. The protesters
were confronting the police.
We have a situation where protesters are now getting closer and closer to
firefighters and that building is under no control at this point. It is not
– the fire is not under control. It burning completely wildly and it is,
I`m very concerned it`s going to encroach on the buildings getting closer
So, that`s the immediate problem that`s occurring right now, and as I said,
in the direction from which we came, which didn`t look like there was a lot
of activity there, there is another fire burning over there. We got fires
in St. Paul. You can see the smoke over here and behind me is where we were
earlier, the third precinct.
That police station, police seemed to have pushed people back. There is a
ring of protesters around it, too. What the police have done is gotten back
on the roof where they have sporadically fired tear gas. That`s why I have
the mask in my hand now and they will throw a couple canisters out and
people will stay back.
The protesters are not moving substantially back. That`s what we got. You
heard another flash bang from the police. You have a ring of protesters
around the police station. You have what appears to be a crowd of
protesters moving toward this fire where the firefighters are working.
So I was just trying to get there to get closer and get a sense of what is
going on. This is an angry crowd now, protesting again, knowing full well
they`ve got some subject or some focus of their protest. What was the
police station is now this burning building exactly two blocks away from
the police station.
That`s where we stand now. The crowds are now getting heavier. You can even
see traffic here on 27th Avenue, we are at 27th Avenue & Lake. And this is
interesting because we`re a block away from a fire, but because of the
absence of a police presence on the ground, they can`t control what`s going
on here. So there are cars, there are people. It is now becoming yet more
dangerous situation in the streets of South Minneapolis tonight. Lawrence?
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Ali, we`ll be coming back to you. We are
joined now by Rodney Floyd. He is George Floyd`s brother. And Attorney
Benjamin Crump is with us, who represents the Floyd family.
Rodney Floyd, first of all, let me just say I am very, very sorry for your
loss. We spoke with another member of the family last night, and I don`t
know how to express to you my sorrow for what you`re going through. What is
it like for you tonight? Here you are on your third night of living with
the loss of your brother.
RODNEY FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD`S BROTHER: Again, it`s taken second by second. I
mean, it literally seems like Monday all over again. I mean, it`s living in
the moment, heartfelt, just grieving.
O`DONNELL: Have you been able to watch all of the video that has been
released of what happened to your brother?
FLOYD: Unfortunately, yes. And the second thing that - turn it down? Can
you hear me?
O`DONNELL: We hear you.
FLOYD: Okay, yes, so of course, I was able to watch the video and looking
back at the video thinking about it, again, seven minutes in that video my
brother was unconscious, lifeless, and he kept his foot on his neck for
actually two minutes and lifeless body at seven minutes, and he was looking
constantly down at my brother. He sees he`s lifeless. Don`t matter to him
at all, and all of them. And in nine minutes, finally lets up.
And I mean, (inaudible) video at the other angle, the second video when we
see behind the van, you see the other officers, one on his legs, one on his
back and the other one with his knee on his neck, and I mean that`s so
horrific. My brother even urinated on himself.
I mean we have all seen the video that know no humanity and a brown man
urinating on himself, begging for air, gasping and pleading. Minneapolis
trained killers, they got trained police officers. I don`t know what they
are trained at. Using lethal force on a guy that`s being very compliant, I
mean I`m going to have to recommend somebody to train the whole academy out
O`DONNELL: Rodney Floyd, knowing that this problem of the white police
officer killing the unarmed black man has been with this country for the
entirety of our history, is this a worry that you had in your own life that
something like this could happen to you or could happen to your brother?
FLOYD: Well, yes, I`m worried about it since childhood, since teenage
years. And not just to me or my brother, to every black man, black boy,
teenager in this country. We don`t understand why it happens to us. And
yes, I`m worried every day. I go out. I mean, it`s sad, we shouldn`t have
to live this way. There`s no law to protect us, I think we need - we might
(inaudible), we need somebody make a law for us so we can survive.
O`DONNELL: Rodney, how did you find - let me ask you, Rodney, how you found
out that your brother was killed and what was that moment like when you got
FLOYD: Well, again, the great people of Minneapolis, great, great people, I
have friends send me a video and unfortunately saying, hey, look at this
video, it`s very disturbing. And again, it`s at 5 o`clock in the morning,
reached out and couple of them saying hey, look at the video.
I plead, they praying that it`s not him, hoping it`s not him. And I`m like,
what are y`all talking about? My brother is okay. And I got the link sent
to me and I watched it, and the friends were just so upset they called me
back, is it him? Is it him?
Unfortunately, I had to say yes, because I know my brother, I had to watch
total video, didn`t know it was him. When I found out, heart dropped, I was
lost for words again, didn`t know what to do, I was just in a moment. And
it hurt so bad and it`s just hurting so bad when I find out. I just didn`t
know what to do, didn`t want to tell the family, it`s too early in the
morning, but there`s no other time to get the news, going to be bad
whenever we get it. So I gave that bad news to everybody.
We came together as a family and we`re still grieving and very hurt about
this video, and I mean, again, we`re hurting like the people in Minneapolis
are hurting. And I`m happy great people with mixed feelings and emotions
and we`re burning with desire and fire and want justice for my brother and
we`re going to get our justice.
O`DONNELL: Benjamin Crump, let me ask you about something the county
prosecutor said today. He sounded like he was moving toward charges, he
said there would be justice in this case, he said I promise you.
But there was also a moment where he - you made a statement saying that
they have to evaluate all of the evidence, every bit of the evidence, and
he said that some of the evidence might not or does not support charges.
What was your reaction to that line when he said some of the evidence does
not support charges?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY GEORGE FLOYD`S FAMILY: Well, I know my clients,
the family of George Floyd was disgusted. It was insult on top of injury to
hear this man say that they still needed to do more investigations to have
the probable cause to arrest these people for being on George`s neck for
over eight minutes.
And an interesting thing to note there is the fact that there was a witness
who was an EMT out there. When you go back and watch the video, she asked
16 times, can I just take his pulse? Are you talking about the protest
started when he was alive? Well, that was the peaceful protest, but they
didn`t hear that.
And so, now that`s why you have what`s going on in Minneapolis today,
because as Dr. King said, protests and rioting is the voice of the unheard
and that lady was unheard 16 times asking, can I at least just take his
pulse, you all are killing him?
And so to this district attorney, this family is disgusted that you all
have not charged anybody. Every day is like another insult and we`re going
ask for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to take over this
investigation this week ends and he hasn`t charged the officers.
O`DONNELL: And of course, we know that when the medical technicians did
arrive, the very first thing that the first medical technician did was take
his pulse and he discovered that there was no pulse.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And
Rodney Floyd, thank you very much again for joining us. We really
appreciate. We`re very sorry for what you and your family are going
through. But we appreciate you sharing that experience with us to the
extent that you can. Thank you very, very much Rodney Floyd for joining us
FLOYD: You`re welcome.
CRUMP: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: We`re now going back to the streets of Minneapolis. We`re joined
now with the latest on the ground there with NBC News correspondent, Morgan
Chesky. Morgan, what are you seeing?
MORGAN CHESKY, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Lawrence, we`re about two blocks
away from that police station where Ali`s been reporting and he referenced
that fire we were talking about. This is what is left of that pawnshop
that`s been burning for the better part of the past half hour.
Unfortunately, firefighters only able to move in and try to put those
flames out within the past five minutes simply due to the size of the crowd
here, and you can see there is still plenty of anger and hostility in
Southern Minneapolis tonight.
We know that the sound of glasses breaking just across the street and an
office building is being broken into. People walking inside after breaking
open those doors and windows, throwing rocks or whatever they can get their
hands on. Outside of a few actors doing that though, or individuals rather,
everyone is slowly but surely at least appearing to disperse. So Lawrence,
right now, will send it back to you.
O`DONNELL: Morgan, thank you. We`re going back to Ali Velshi on somewhere
else on the streets of Minneapolis. Ali, where are you? What do you have to
VELSHI: So I`m exactly halfway between the police station and the fire,
where Morgan is over there. The fire, as Morgan says, now only are the
police able to get to it. The firefighters are able to get to it.
The crowd has now moved back this way. As they moved back toward the police
station, the police fired more gas. So we`ve got sort of a wave of gas
that`s just come our way. I can now see very clearly, that fire, another
fire right over there, a third fire over there, so there are three fires
within very clear sight. And if you look over at the police station, you
can see remainders of gas canisters. They continue to throw gas canisters
out. Once in awhile, you`ll hear a flash bang.
So what`s happening out is this crowd of protest is moving between
different centers of gravity. They are not dispersing, they are not going
home. The police have found an effective way of getting them away from the
Third Precinct for a little while. But basically unless they`re going to
stand there all night and throw gas canisters, and this crowd is resilient
and to the point that you and Mr. Floyd`s brother was talking about is that
- people here are - my point is that there are people here who are really,
really angry about the systemic issues that they are talking about.
Gentleman, while you were having the conversation with Benjamin Crump, you
said to me why are we talking about it?
So there are some people out here who are sort of just pushing into the
police station, but there are a lot of people here with very serious
grievances that they say are not being addressed. And it`s hard to make out
with the thousands of people out here who is who, but there are protestors-
–and that`s the kind of heat, Lawrence, that you`re seeing out here
tonight. That`s what is going on. There are people here who are very, very
angry about the police and the police seem to have taken the message that
they are not on the streets here right now. So, we do not see the National
Guard presence anywhere around here.
Sir, get your phone, turn on NBC and listen to the conversation we`re
having, okay, and then come and tell me what you don`t like about it.
That`s the kind of stuff that`s going on around here. We still have that
fire burning. We still got protesters now meeting up and heading back
toward the police station. We are going to try and keep a safe distance
between the two to cover what is going on, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Ali, we really appreciate it. We are joined by
Stephen Jackson, he`s a former NBA star who has been best friends with
George Floyd for many years. Stephen, thank you very, very much for joining
us tonight, we really appreciate it. Jelani Cobb wrote in The New Yorker
today that we have learned nothing about George Floyd this week except the
way he died. What is it that - what should we know about your friend George
STEPHEN JACKSON, RETIRED NBA STAR AND FRIEND OF GEORGE FLOYD: Thanks for
having me. Floyd was a guy who wanted to be a provider and protector for
everybody around him. A lot of people won`t understand this, but a lot of
When you grow up in the areas where we grew up at, a lot of neighborhoods
don`t get along. Floyd was one guy that can go to any neighborhood and
break up any fight, get between anybody and make everybody get along. He
was just that type of guy and that type of guy that showed so much love
should never die from so much hate.
O`DONNELL: What would George Floyd be telling these protesters on the
streets of Minneapolis tonight?
JACKSON: Honestly, I`ve always been the real one. He would be happy that
the people are riding for him in his name, because he knows that he was
murdered, but he wouldn`t want it to be this way. He wouldn`t want people
to get hurt. He wouldn`t want businesses and their people to suffer, and
people to go more in debt and have to start all over. That`s the type of
stuff he wasn`t with. He wasn`t with that at all.
Definitely, he would want everybody to stand with him in the right way.
United we stand. I mean, united we stand, divided we fall. And I think he
would have stood for that. He wouldn`t want people to be tearing stuff down
and people getting hurt. I heard somebody died at the riot. So that`s not
why I`m going to Minnesota for and that`s not what he stood for.
O`DONNELL: Stephen, you used to call him your twin, you were so close. What
was that about that you looked at each other and you thought you were kind
of the same person in a way?
JACKSON: Well, rest in peace to my brother, tell them my brother, tell them
to introduce us, and every time he saw me, I mean like I got a friend, my
boy named Floyd, y`all look just like me, I might have the same daddy.
So everyone, when I first met him, I first time when we seen each other,
who your daddy? Who your daddy? So it was just that moment of us seeing
each other, we looking just alike, and we just hit it off. I think what is
not hurting most about losing him, as an athlete, you meet a lot of people
that abuse your friendship and around you for the wrong reasons.
Floyd is one person that genuinely supported me. He wanted me to win
genuinely. He didn`t have no motives with our friendship. If you look on
his page, he supported me when I started doing TV. He was just that type of
guy, somebody that really wanted to see me win and you very seldom run
across people like that and I`m going to miss him.
O`DONNELL: Stephen, we all know that there is a very bad history of police
interaction with unarmed black men that have led to an awful lot of
killings by police that have not been justifiable. Is this a fear that you
have had for yourself or for friends of yours like George Floyd?
JACKSON: Well, it`s different now. I`m not the type to - I can`t remember
ten years ago so I can`t go back and say I`ve always think about it. That`s
not a real answer. But what I can say today is I`m worried, and I`m not
just worried about men, they`re punching women now, they`re punching black
We need to start talking about that. They are just not killing men, they`re
starting to punch black women. I have five daughters. What do you expect me
to do if one of the man put their hands on my daughter and punch them in
So I`m worried about my daughters, I`m worried about everybody black right
now. And I wanted those people, people will tell you, every post I post on
my social media, I put the emoji face of every color. Because I can tell
somebody from every race that I love them, but I don`t feel like everybody
from every race loves us right now.
O`DONNELL: Stephen, how did you get the tragic news that George was dead?
JACKSON: I was on the couch sleeping with my daughter Sky and my step - my
girlfriend`s mother lives in Minnesota. We talk about this type of stuff
all the time, because it happens so often. So she sent me the video. I just
woke up, so I really just scanned across and I was like that`s nothing. It
happens all the time.
And I got out the message and I had 50 messages in my phone and then I
clicked the button - a message from my friend Mike D and it said, did you
see what happened to your twin in Minnesota? And I looked at the video, I
screamed and I started punching stuff. I`m still angry but I`m going to
control my anger now.
But I was real angry at the time, because he never treated nobody like
that. Me and Floyd, I remember a time when me and Floyd was riding down the
street and we seen a homeless man. The homeless man wasn`t in a position
for us to help him. We both broke down in tears because we couldn`t help
So you mean to tell me that the heart he had, he dies like this? This is so
wrong, and for them to not be in jail right now, to not have no convictions
is making people feel hopeless and that`s why people so angry.
O`DONNELL: Stephen Jackson, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I`m
very sorry for your loss and we all appreciate you sharing your memories
with us of who George Floyd really was. Thank you very much, Stephen
Jackson, really appreciate it.
JACKSON: Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Eric Holder; he`s the former U.S.
Attorney General in the President Obama, President Obama first Attorney
General. He is now the Chair of the National Democratic Redistricting
Committee. Attorney General Holder, what is your reaction to what you`ve
seen this week from the beginning, from the first, the point of arrest of
George Floyd to where we are tonight?
ERIC HOLDER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I have a couple of
reactions. One, this is taking me back. Six years ago, I was in Ferguson
and the street scenes that I am seeing in Minneapolis tonight remind me of
what Ferguson looked like six years ago, and it was also six years ago that
Eric Garner said he couldn`t breathe and we heard that again.
Now looking at the video, I certainly want to let the prosecutors, the law
enforcement folks do their job and put a case together, but it seems pretty
obvious that something inappropriate happened here at the very least, and I
would dare say something illegal happen there. I understand there is the
need to put a case together, but we also need to understand that, given the
tape that we all have had the opportunity to see, it doesn`t seem like it
should take an awful long period of time to put a viable case together.
O`DONNELL: We saw the U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis make an appearance today
speaking to the press, she`s a Trump appointee. I have to say, in the
history of these events, it very rare for U.S. attorney to be out there
making a statement, but she did.
And it seemed to me to be a very full and sensitive and legally
comprehensive statement, but there was a moment where she said she`s been
in direct contact with Attorney General Barr. And I have to say, in the
past, direct contact with the Attorney General on this kind of case would
sound impressive, and like it was getting more attention. But the Barr
Justice Department is a very strange place. What is your feeling about this
Attorney General being - supervising this case?
HOLDER: Well, this administration has done an awful lot, and I can`t blame
them for this incident, but they have certainly not reacted, I think,
appropriately to dealing with the problem of poor relationships between
people and law enforcement and communities of color.
We put together in the Obama administration something called a 21st century
policing plan. It was almost something that we left in the same way that
the administration left a plan for dealing with pandemics. And as happened
with the pandemic materials that were left behind, apparently the 21st
century policing plan was just discarded.
They have taken no steps, I think, to bring together the communities of
color and people in law enforcement. In fact, you remember during the
campaign when President - then candidate Trump - talked about how you can
rough up suspects as you`re putting them in a car.
Attorney General Sessions talking about not doing pattern of practice
investigations, which I think is probably called for with regard to the
Minneapolis police force. That`s the kind of thing that sends signals, and
now is the time when you have to have credibility.
You have to believe that, when the Attorney General says he`s going to be
involved, that he`s going to supervise this, that there`s going to be a
fair, a neutral determination about what ought to happen, and on the basis
of their conduct so far, I`m not at all certain that people can feel that
O`DONNELL: Can you explain to viewers what State and Federal Prosecutors
would be doing now that would be delaying their bringing charges? What kind
of investigative steps are they taking, do you think, that would be
understandable? Is this delay to you so far understandable?
HOLDER: Yes, it`s still pretty early. I mean, I think that you got to
gather witnesses, interview them, you`ve got to gather the evidence,
obviously videotapes, things of that nature. Today, I mean just this
evening watching your program, I saw a different video, seeing all three
officers next to Mr. Floyd.
So this I think, accumulating evidence at this point, getting witness
statements, and putting a case together, I think that with regard to the
officer who had his knee on the neck of Mr. Floyd, that`s a case that`s
probably not going to be too difficult to make.
Then the question is what are you going to do with the other three
officers? And there, you`ve probably got some more difficult decisions to
make. So I think at least at this point, I can understand where they are.
But, I would also say this is not a case that should take a substantial
amount of time to put together.
O`DONNELL: And the officers have all invoked their Fifth Amendment rights,
which is common in these cases, and they`ve refused to speak to
investigators, so that`s obviously part of the delay.
HOLDER: Yes, I mean you wouldn`t expect that you`re going to make the case
on the basis of people who are trained in law enforcement supplying you
with information that`s going to be detrimental to them. You`re going to
have to build this case with eyewitnesses and the accumulation of other
O`DONNELL: Former Attorney General Eric Holder, thank you very much for
joining us tonight. We really appreciate it. We need your insight on a
night like this. Thank you.
HOLDER: Thanks for having me on.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to be right back after a quick break.
O`DONNELL: That is a shot from our helicopter in Minneapolis. The top of a
building where you see “Rest in Peace, George” and the other line of
graffiti there says “Can You Hear Us?” We`re joined now by Jelani Cobb, and
Jelani, that is the essence of this kind of protest is, can you hear us? It
is to be heard, and it`s to be heard with outrage. That certainly is
happening this week in Minneapolis.
JELANI COBB, POLITICAL ANALYST: That`s right. And I think that one thing
that I have to say about this, and we`ve talked about the cyclical nature
of this. But I do want to say that there are things that matter. I`ll speak
to something that former Attorney General Holder said, and he mentioned
Ferguson, I was there in Ferguson six years ago, and there was a lot of
anger there that was boiling over.
There were some sporadic fires that were being set and I remember people
saying at the moment that Mike Brown died, around then, when it was
announced that the Attorney General was coming and that there would be an
investigation, that people actually paused, like it did actually mean
something to people in the community.
And that was the line that they were saying, keep your cool, the Attorney
General is going to investigate. People had the hope that they might
actually achieve justice through the official governmental channels that
they were supposed to receive it through, and that staved off some of what
we might have seen there.
Now, I`m going to call back the attention to our current administration and
what the current President said in July of 2017 when addressing a group of
police officers in Long Island, and he encouraged them to use more force
when they were taking suspects into custody.
And the kind of bankrupt idea, encouraging more violence from police, does
not lend itself to the Attorney General`s Office having any kind of
credibility when people are talking about an issue like this now in 2020,
and we see the predictable results here.
O`DONNELL: Jelani Cobb, thank you very much for joining us on this painful
night. We really appreciate it. Ali Velshi will be joining Brian Williams
in the next hour. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams is next.
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Copyright 2020 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the