George Floyd TRANSCRIPT: 5/29/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Vanita, again, and honor to have you with us
tonight. Thank you for being here. Thank you for making time.
VANITA GUPTA, CEO, LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Thank
MADDOW: Again, we`ve got live images tonight that we are keeping an eye on.
You see that large crowd in Sacramento, California. They had stopped, I
think, of their own accord to listen to one of their own leaders, one of
their own activists among them speak just moments ago.
We are watching tense confrontations unfold in Brooklyn, New York, in
Atlanta, Georgia, in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was a night where obviously
all eyes continue to be on St. Paul in Minneapolis where things have been
so difficult for the past three nights with these ongoing protests.
But this is a nationwide protest movement now of outrage and pain after the
death of 46-year-old George Floyd at the hands of a group of Minneapolis
Police Department officers. One of whom has been charged with both
manslaughter and murder.
Our live coverage continues now and through this evening. Do stay with us
tonight. My colleague Lawrence O`Donnell is taking over right now. Good
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. We`re going to get
straight to the live coverage. Thank you, Rachel. Thank you. We are now one
hour into the curfew imposed in Minneapolis and the adjacent city of St.
The curfew will last until 6:00 a.m. and then go into effect tomorrow night
at 8:00 p.m. Minneapolis time. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey first
resolution imposing the curfew says during the curfew, all persons must not
travel on any public street or in any public place.
We`ll go to Ali Velshi on the streets of Minneapolis in a moment to get the
latest on the situation there. We have seen protests of the Minnesota
police killing of George Floyd in several cities around the country today
including New York City, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Denver, Los
Angeles and San Jose, California where protesters temporarily blocked
traffic on a freeway.
Today, fired police officer Derek Chauvin who is seen on video crushing the
life out of George Floyd with his police uniformed knee on George Floyd`s
neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, is now defendant Derek Michael
And this is his mug shot taken after he was arrested today. County Attorney
Mike Freeman announced the charge today at 1:07 p.m. Minneapolis time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE FREEMAN, HENNEPIN COUNTY ATTORNEY: Good afternoon. I`m Hennepin County
Attorney Mike Freeman. I`m here to announce that former Minneapolis police
officer Derek Chauvin is in custody. Former Minneapolis police officer
Derek Chauvin has been charged by the Hennepin County Attorney`s office
with murder and with manslaughter. Questions?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, what charge of murder?
FREEMAN: He had been charged with third degree murder. We are in the
process of continuing to review the evidence. There may be subsequent
I failed to share with you a detailed complaint will be made available to
you this afternoon. I didn`t want to wait any longer to share the news that
he`s in custody and has been charged with murder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about the other three officers involved?
FREEMAN: The other - the investigation is ongoing. We felt it appropriate
to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator. I must say that this case has
moved with extraordinary speed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: But it was not fast enough to stop protesters from burning down
the police station last night where Derek Chauvin used to report to work.
We turn now to Ali Velshi who once again tonight is reporting from the
streets of Minneapolis. Ali, what`s the situation there right now?
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: The curfew has not worked, Lawrence. I`ll tell you
what happened. We are probably a quarter mile from the police station. The
police line was another half a mile beyond that, about three blocks.
At 15 minutes to curfew the police made announcements that you`re in
violation of the curfew if you don`t assemble. And the police and National
Guard started moving backward in this direction and firing tear gas.
That standoff lasted for about 30 or 40 minutes all the way to about this
point. And then suddenly, the police were gone. The National Guard was
gone. The tear gas has cleared and the crowd has walked that way,
Now it became more of a march than protest at that point because they
weren`t pushing the police back. But it does seem apparent the protesters
had pushed the police and the National Guard out of the way. So what you`re
seeing is relatively empty streets.
There are now more fires burning. There are some heavy smoke back toward
where we started so I`m trying to figure out - I`m on my way there to
figure out what`s going on there.
But the march, the protest has overcome the police. Now, we don`t know
whether that`s strategic, Lawrence, in that the police moved backwards to
dissipate the crowd, which may have been the case because it`s end up being
a slow walk. As you can see we`ve got some attention right now, Lawrence.
I`m going to come back to you in a couple of minutes.
O`DONNELL: All right, we will go back to Ali Velshi in a few minutes.
MSNBC`s Ali Velshi has been on the streets of Minneapolis for the last
couple days doing extraordinary work for us.
Joining our discussion now Paul Butler, law professor at Georgetown
University. He`s a former federal prosecutor and an MSNBC contributor, and
Marq Claxton is with us. He is a retired New York City police detective and
director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance. And Paul Butler, let me
start with you and your reaction to the murder charge lodged today.
PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: So after four days, several videotapes,
eyewitness identifications, we finally have an arrest in this case. Now, I
think this has been a teachable moment for many African-American men. We
didn`t know it was this difficult to get arrested.
As a former prosecutor, I do know how difficult it is to convict a cop
especially of murder. And that`s why I think the murder three charges in
here are appropriate.
If the prosecutor had charged murder one or two, he would have had to prove
intent to kill. That`s very difficult to persuade a jury beyond a
reasonable doubt what`s going on in a defendant`s mind especially when the
defendant is a police officer.
Now, what they have to prove this reckless indifference, the frayed
indifference to human life and the evidence of that is the videotapes. It`s
Mr. Floyd`s own words as he narrates his demise saying I can`t breathe.
So, we want the prosecutor to win this case and statistically, even with
these charges, the odds are against them. About 150 officers have been
charged with murder and manslaughter in the last several years. The vast
majority of them have walked. If justice means a criminal conviction, then
murder three I think is the best way of getting that.
And when this former police officer goes to the big house, if he`s
convicted and he`s asked what are you locked up for, they will say murder,
not murder one, murder two, murder three. They will say murder. If he`s
duly convicted, he deserves that shame, that stigma of being labeled under
the law a murderer.
O`DONNELL: And the murder charge he faces carries a maximum sentence of 25
years. We want to go back to Ali Velshi at his camera position on the
streets of Minneapolis, if he is there and available. Ali, can you hear us?
There he is.
VELSHI: Yes, we`re here, Lawrence. So what we`ve got is we`ve got traffic
started on here. We have heard that the protest has moved its way into
downtown so we`re going to be following up with that in just a moment.
But again, the protests, this is all the distance that it has come. I would
estimate that it was a distance of about two miles before we broke off from
it to get back here and get in front of it. This protest has gone all the
way down there.
Somebody just came by and told me that there is another police precinct
that may be on fire. We don`t have that information confirmed and we`re
going to check it out. But the curfew, the idea that no one is supposed to
be on the street right now is not in effect.
If you can look around me, there are people kind of everywhere. There is
one big fire burning in the distance. There is black smoke coming from over
there. This is the Target that you probably have seen for the last couple
days. It`s across the road from the police station.
This is where fire was set and there was a lot of looting. This parking lot
in fact next to the Target was the center piece for all of the assemblies
and the protests around the third precinct for the last several days.
So, people are out and about here. There`s traffic moving. There`s – this
curfew has not worked. As I was saying to you, we were interrupted in a few
minutes ago when we were talking.
It may have been a strategic effort on the part of the police and the
National Guard to back off and literally cause everybody to walk down this
road because eventually, once the face-off stopped and the face-off was
This is the point where the police drew the line. This is an overpass here.
You probably saw this earlier on Rachel`s show. This is where all the tear
gas was. The police and the National Guard were on this side. The
protesters were here.
And we were stopped here probably for about half an hour while the gas was
moving over into the protesters. For whatever reason, they didn`t back off.
We`ve got masks. They didn`t have masks and they stood there. They were
pouring milk over their faces and trying to cleanse themselves of the
stinging effect in your throat and your eyes of the gas.
And then they just started walking through this way and the police and the
National Guard left. And we haven`t seen tear gas in probably 45 minutes.
We haven`t seen police and National Guard in as long.
So, whatever the strategy is of the police, the curfew that is supposed to
be in effect here in this part of Minneapolis is not in effect. And what we
are hearing now, we`re going to follow-up on that very shortly, is that the
protest has moved into downtown.
As of last night, businesses downtown that were open for take-out had even
shut down. They boarded up their windows. Minneapolis downtown at night is
not the most vibrant scene in the commercial area so there is not a lot of
It`s unclear exactly what the target of the protesters would be if they`re
headed down that way, but that is the situation as it stands. There are no
protesters in this area. There is no National Guard and there are no
O`DONNELL: Ali Velshi, thank you very much. We will come back to you
throughout this hour. I want to go to Mark Clakston. Quickly Mark, on the
difficulty of enforcing a curfew with your police experience, the mayor
there has said that he values human life much more than property. What are
the challenges the police are facing tonight trying to enforce a curfew?
MARQ CLAXTON, DIRECTOR, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: Really, there are
huge tactical challenges especially when you have a combination of your
local law enforcement, with state law enforcement.
Perhaps, you know, the logistics of it makes it very challenging because
you have to have a centralized command. And theoretically, you all have to
act as one as a unit and that`s extremely difficult when you`re not
accustomed to working hand and hand with one another.
And you have to be clear about the lines of supervision. Is the supervisor
of the police department are going to be supervising over National Guard or
absolutely not? And who takes command? So, it`s still logistical issues
that are a challenge for law enforcement on the street there.
But make no mistake about it, it`s important people understand that this is
the job of – part of the job of law enforcement that is often times the
individuals place themselves in harm`s way, in difficult situations even
when they have their owner emotional feelings or visceral feelings about
what has occurred.
They have an obligation and a responsibility to protect and preserve the
sanctity of human life as very important.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to go to Louisville, Kentucky now to Cal Perry who
is covering the protests in Louisville. Cal Perry, what`s the situation
CAL PERRRY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Lawrence. We`re just going take a
look at our live shot here. We`re sort of at the front line of protesters
and as it escalates – I`ll get out of the way, Mark, just show. As it
escalates, police have been using tear gas. They`ve been firing some kind
of defensive round. We think it`s those rubber bullets. You can almost hear
them bouncing off the pavement.
This city last night saw these protests and then they saw a mass shooting
on top of it. Seven people were shot just about a block from here which is
why police have come out in force so early in the evening. They want to try
to avoid what they saw last night.
Keep in mind, this city is also dealing with its own trauma when it comes
to law enforcement. In mid-March, Breanna Taylor, a young woman, 26-years-
old, she`s actually a vital worker, one of those essential workers, a
nurse, was shot in her home by police who came in the door without
It was called a no-knock warrant. She was shot dead eight times. That is
one of the reasons that this city is boiling over. It`s not just what
happened in Minneapolis. It`s what`s happened here. Those are flash bang
grenades going off. Here comes another one, Lawrence.
So this city has a very tense relationship with its police force, as well.
There have been a number of recent incidents in the last few months which
have led to this point. It`s culminated in what happened last night. Again,
with seven people shot.
Police seemingly want to shut this down early but Lawrence, these folks
here in the downtown area are not going anywhere, at least not yet.
O`DONNELL: Cal, how long have they been protesting today? When did it
become this active?
PERRY: It became this active about an hour ago. The protesters came out
around 6:00 p.m. and just kind of walked this downtown area about a block
to our left from your camera left is a number of administrative buildings.
There is the local city jail. There is the county courthouse. There is the
sheriff`s office. And what`s been happening is police have been blocking
folks in and now they`ve got us all sort of pinned into this intersection.
What you`re looking at now, you can see the protester behind that white
board. Police are firing rubber bullets that seem to have some tear gas on
it and it`s about to make its way down here. And you can see that one
protester, Lawrence is not moving. We`ve seen this game of chicken go on
all night here in downtown Louisville.
O`DONNELL: I want to go back to Markq Claxton again. Marq, with the
question of police tactics and the choices that they have in these
different protests around the country, and they are – they will come up
against that question of the preservation of human life versus the
preservation of property.
CLAXTON: Yes, and see, and part of the responsibility that law enforcement
has and is intrinsic in policing is preserving human life and that`s what
makes, you know, what occurred with Mr. Floyd and so many other cases so
horrific and so tragic.
Is that those individuals who are charged and have this (inaudible)
responsibility too often are not adhering to their own philosophy and
principles about protecting and preserving human life and the sanctity of
And to always operate with empathy and humanity. And that`s part of the
problem the demonstrations are looking to address those issues as well.
O`DONNELL: And let me go to Paul Butler again on the criminal charge in
Minneapolis. You see the third degree murder charge as the reasonable legal
charge given the state of the evidence right now.
BUTLER: I do. So, when you have to persuade a jury beyond a reasonable
doubt what someone was thinking, that`s a daunting task for a litigator.
And so the question for murder one or two would be did these officers
intend to kill Mr. Floyd?
They were unspeakably cruel. One held Mr. Floyd by the neck. Another
grabbed his leg. A third cop pushed his back down. So maybe they intended
to kill him, but it looks like torture to me. And, again, under the law,
that makes a difference.
And so, again, what we want is the easiest case for prosecutors to present
to the jury. You do want that murder stigma and, again, that comes with
And so in terms of the keeping the eye on the goal, getting this man locked
up for a long time, I think that third degree murder is the best way of
trying to achieve that.
And as I suggested, looking at statistically what happens when cops are
charged with homicide, it`s not a slam dunk even with this extraordinary
quality of evidence.
O`DONNELL: We will be continuing to cover the -
CLAXTON: Lawrence, can I add something?
O`DONNELL: Yes, go ahead, quickly.
CLAXTON: I was going to say just quickly, I think the key point, Paul makes
excellent points. Of course, this (inaudible) his analysis is excellent and
people are really looking for a statement on whether or not extrajudicial
executions under the color of law can be fully punishable under the current
That really is the question communities of colors are looking at and not
necessarily the hyper technical things that Paul explained so well.
O`DONNELL: That`s former NYPD detective Marq Claxton joining in our
discussion there. And when the jury is considering that case, and by the
way, we will be covering the protests as we can, develop coverage of them
around the country tonight especially in Minneapolis.
We`ll be going back there. But as the jury is considering the murder charge
against Derek Michael Chauvin, they will be wondering what he was thinking
as Paul Butler just said. What was he feeling if anything? Was he thinking
that he was killing a man? What did he feel? What was he experiencing?
And one of the chilling things about the imagery of it is just that silent
confidence that you see there that makes it look like just another day at
work for a white American police officer with his knee on the neck of an
unarmed and handcuffed black man.
We turn tonight at this hour for more guidance on this subject and what
we`re seeing in this image and what we`re seeing in these protesters from a
world renowned scholar whose work I have admired since I discovered it in
Joining us now is Harvard sociology professor Orlando Patterson. And
Professor Patterson, first of all, what is it that you think you`re seeing
when you look at that video that has changed America`s focus today, this
week from 100,000 dead from coronavirus to this one man dead under the knee
of that police officer?
ORLANDO PATTERSON, SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Yes. Thanks for
having me on your show, Lawrence. What I saw was very chilling. What I saw
was really not even a hate crime. It was worse than that.
With a hate crime, you have a lot of emotions. People are disgusted by
others. People don`t like the ideas, the beliefs of how (inaudible) the way
they look at some. But at least there are emotions. At least there is
recognition of the other person as a human being even if you hate him so
much you want to kill him.
What I saw here was a lack of emotion. What I saw here was a sort of the
base and the basing inhumanity. So this is a crime of inhumanity. The
expression on his face, as you mentioned, the fact he had his hand in his
pocket, the ultimate expression of nonchalant indicates to me someone who
did not recognize that he had a human being under his knee.
It`s as if you`re euthanizing an animal and that is what is so very
chilling about this, that the lack of recognition of the humanity of the
victim. And it reminds me of what I have called banality of evil, when in
fact chilling becomes routine, when it is not exceptional.
And for that, I blame not just this inhuman person but the organization to
which he belongs. There is something fundamentally wrong with the American
The way they recruit, the kind of people they recruit, the way they train
their officers, the organizational culture which sees the community not as
something you belong to and which you protect, but as the enemy, the
And that culture in fact, persists not only in Minneapolis, but in many
other departments. And that`s why by the way it really makes little
difference whether the chief is a black person or not. The chief in
Minneapolis is a black man, but it`s not surprising that it made little
difference because the culture.
The organizational structure, the set of assumptions is one which makes
violence and the use of violence a first result rather than another (ph)
result which sees the community as the enemy and which sees killing as
routine. It`s chilling and as I said, it`s worse than a hate crime. It`s
sort of the normalcy of killing.
O`DONNELL: Professor Patterson, you have been studying and writing about
racial issues in America since the 1960s. You`ve watched the tear gas
canisters fly in situations like this since the 1960s.
What are your feelings tonight as you watch these very familiar scenes that
have been now familiar to you for decades that we`re seeing in these
American cities tonight?
PATTERSON: Well, it takes one back to the `60s. It`s the final expression
of outrage. The fact that once humanity is not being recognized, you know,
this is not an accident. This occurs over and over.
And I think, you know, we`re – I`m taking a ride back to the `60s and to
that collective expression of outrage that enough is enough. We need to be
recognized as human beings who belong to this community and if our basic
human rights are not recognized, we will have to resort to violence.
You know, but I got to, I mean, let me emphasize that America has changed
for the better to a considerable degree. But what has not really changed
very much is the policing in America.
You know, I lived in Britain during the `60s, and for many years the police
there were just as racist in many respects as Americans. And so racism is
there, but it`s secondary because the British police are racist and they
harass newly arrived West Indian, especially Jamaican youth mercilessly.
But as far as I can recall, there is not a single killing and the reason
for that, of course, is that one, they didn`t have guns and secondly, there
is a culture, there is an organizational frame work which prevented even
the most sort of the base racist from killing.
And you get this in other European countries. So there is something
fundamentally wrong with American police training, police culture, police
organization which has to change and until it does, black lives will not
O`DONNELL: Professor Orlando Patterson, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. Your perspective on this is invaluable. I`m so glad you`re able to
join us and share your views with us tonight. Thank you, professor.
PATTERSON: Great being with you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: The murder charge against the fired police officer who killed
George Floyd says, “Derek Michael Chauvin caused the death of George Floyd
by perpetrating an act of imminently dangerous to others and evincing a
depraved mind, without regard for human life.”
Another white man evincing a depraved mind without regard for human life
tweeted today, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” That
incitement of mass murder forced Twitter to cover Donald Trump`s tweets
saying that it is glorifying violence.
Today, former Vice President Joe Biden discussed the situation in
Minneapolis with Craig Melvin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC HOST: Cities are now being torn apart, not just in
Minneapolis, but protests in Louisville and New York and L.A. If you are
elected in November, where do you start?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I start by talking about what we must
be, making no excuses, talking about our obligation to be descent, our
obligation to take responsibility, our obligation to stand up when we see
injustice. I talk about that.
Look, the words of a president matter no matter how good or bad that
president is. A president can, by their words alone no matter who they are,
make markets rise or fall, take us to war, bring us to peace. The words of
a president matter.
And think about this, you know, you`ve heard me say before because we`ve
talked about this in a different context that our children are listening.
Think of the millions and millions and millions of American children who
saw what happened on the television.
How can we not show the outrage and the commitment to see that it doesn`t -
- we can`t guarantee it won`t happen again but to change the culture – a
culture? The vast majority of police aren`t cruel, but my lord, when they
see a bad cop, they should be prosecuted. They should be taken out in terms
of off the force.
They should be punished for what they do. People have to be held
accountable for what they do and you do that. You also give some life.
Imagine – anyway. I just think we have to speak to it, not hide it. Speak
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Yamiche Alcindor. She is the White
House correspondent for PBS News Hour and an MSNBC political analyst. And
Joy Reid is with us. She is an MSNBC national correspondent and of course,
the host of “A.M. Joy.”
And Joy, let me begin with you on the stark contrast we have once again on
this time, the issue of the day, the issue of the week in Minneapolis, the
stark contrast between the two presidential candidates, Donald Trump and
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Yes. And you know, what was interesting about
watching Joe Biden, who by the way, is at his best when he is talking about
loss. It`s something that he has felt and you`ve interviewed him on this.
He feels loss so personally and so deeply because he lost so much at such a
young age. Losing his wife and his daughter and then raising his two boys
and he gets married again and then the older son grows up and then passes
away of cancer.
So he has felt loss. The best Joe Biden is the Joe Biden who is grieving
with other people. So, to watch him perform what is really the ceremonial
job of the president, right, the president has certain powers.
But the real power that he has is to speak to us in times of pain. Bill
Clinton did it. Ronald Reagan did it. You know, I`m quite sure even Richard
Nixon could accomplish it in a way that Donald Trump just can`t.
Because Donald Trump can`t access that thing, that empathy, the thing that
you need to have in you in order to grieve with us or in order to feel our
pain. What Donald Trump did instead is he essentially challenged sort of a
He – there`s a guide in Walter Headley who was the police chief in Miami,
the city of Miami for 20 years. And in 1967, he said when the looting
starts, the shooting starts. He was one of the most violent police chiefs
in America. He was a Bull Connor.
That`s who Donald Trump relates to. That`s who he speaks like. He speaks
like George Wallace. So you could not have a starker contrast between Joe
Biden who say whatever you want about, you know, are his political skills
But he is an empathetic man and he`s a descent man and he`s a good man. And
for all of whatever little gaffes he may make around, you know, around his
campaign, he`s a good guy. And Donald Trump is not a good guy. He`s not an
empathetic man and so he can`t evince what he doesn`t have.
O`DONNELL: Yamiche Alcindor, do we have any reporting from White House
sources today indicating who wrote that line for Donald Trump because it`s
impossible that he would actually know word for word segregationist
language that was used in 1967 and 1968. It sounds like a Steven Miller
research project possibly, but do we know where the phrase came from and
how it got it into Donald Trump`s tweet?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWSHOUR: Well, let`s
remember Donald Trump sent that tweet in the middle of when the nation was
reeling from protests, in the middle of the night almost where he was
leaning in on his political instincts and thinking about the idea that he
uses bombastic language that he is someone who wants to be seen as macho
and be seen as in charge.
And then what Joy said in some ways what the, of course, the Chief Critics
of President Trump say which is he`s not someone who can be a Calmer in
Chief who can be an empathetic person who can tell the Nation I know that
everyone is hurting we`re in the middle of pandemic Africans, Americans are
fed up with the way they are being treated by police but we`re going to get
through this, as an America we`re going to be able to figure this out.
The President didn`t do that last time, instead, what he did was leaned in
on the idea that he, of course, himself has taken the side of the police
even when they are unjustified thinking about this idea that he is joked
about people not protecting the heads of people when they were being taken
into police custody. He`s criticized black lives matter, several rights,
leaders and then you have Joe Biden who is saying look, I can be the
President who maybe I`ll misspeak and maybe I`ll say things that will make
people cringe but at the end of the day, who I will be, will be somebody
who can really lead this country, who can be empathetic.
That`s what people and supporters of President, of Vice President Biden
seeing him. What I will say though is, as we think about where we go from
here, we have to think that for eight minutes and 46 seconds, a white
officer kneeled on the neck of George Floyd and for two minutes and 53
seconds of that, George Floyd was unconscious.
That`s why people are still in the streets. That`s why Americans can`t
sleep tonight. That`s why people are needing a voice that`s going to be
empathetic and have credibility and that`s I think why President Trump is
having a real hard time doing that because his own issues, his own
background as a birther is complicating his ability to have credibility on
O`DONNELL: Yamiche, when the Trump team watches Joe Biden in that interview
on MSNBC today with Craig Melvin and other statements he`s made on this
situation like this, do they understand that what they are watching there
is Presidential and that that is not what they`re getting out of Donald
ALCINDOR: I mean, I think the Trump campaign and supporters of the
President would say that the President has his own style and that there are
people that like his style that there are people who like him being
aggressive they think he`s adopting politically correct when he`s saying
when the looting starts, the shooting starts but I think that the Trump
campaign also realizes in Joe Biden they have affordable opponent that they
have someone that is going to give them a run for their money in
Pennsylvania, in Ohio, in Arizona, in Georgia.
That`s why you see the President and his allies doing all this polling,
trying to figure out ways to talk about the fact they think mail-in voting
is a fraud even though, of course, that`s a baseless claim. They are
getting ready for November because they know that this is going to be a dog
fight and Joe Biden even though he is not really left his home that often
in the last few months, they understand in their campaign, they are feeling
very confident in the idea that they cannot only win black states but they
can win black red states.
That`s what people on Joe Biden`s campaign are - is saying. So when they
look at him and Joe Biden`s look at what he`s doing, they say if the boss
gets something wrong, he still doing what he needs to be doing to win this
O`DONNELL: Yamiche Alcindor, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Joy Reid is going to stay with us. She`s going to join us later in the
show. We have a quick programming announcement for next week - for this
week actually, this Thursday night 10:00 p.m. special guest for “The Hour”
will be former Vice President Joe Biden. You can send in your questions for
this town hall that Joe Biden will have here.
We want your participation in the questioning and we will have information
for you about how to participate in the questions. You can see it there on
the screen. Submit your questions to msnbc.com town hall. We`ll be right
back after a quick break. That`s Thursday night 10:00 p.m.
O`DONNELL: Joining us now with the latest from the streets of Minneapolis`s
NBC News Correspondent Morgan Chesky. Morgan, what`s the situation there
MORGAN CHESKY, CORRESPONDENT: Lawrence, we`re going into a Friday night
unlike any we`ve seen before here. We`re hoping it`s not a carbon copy of
the past two nights with so much destruction in the ten block square area
but that`s yet to be seen. We`re just around the corner from The Third
Precinct Police Station that was taken over a last night by protesters and
we would have been right in front of it however about five minute ago we
put a bit of a buffer between us and the building because people started to
running outside saying that they had lit a fire inside the interior of that
building. Others walking out with anything from Lysol wipes to Legar books
taking whatever they wanted as a souvenir.
In the meantime, that big group protestors that we watched grow in size
here over the afternoon has, still has yet to return to the area. They have
since marched at least a mile from where I`m standing towards another part
of the city after tear gas was deployed on them. In the meantime here we`re
surrounded by burned buildings. It has become a bit of a free for all,
We have been waiting to see for any sign of Minneapolis police or the
National Guard or those State police officers who created such a firm
perimeter earlier today by wearing the riot gear and staying put for hours
on end. They are nowhere to be found at this point in time and so while
we`re waiting to see what response will come from this continued looting in
this area, we are wondering and just what will happen on this fourth night
since the death of George Floyd.
We do know that the arrest of that police officer was a bit of a relief for
the crowds that we spoke to today but they say that`s maybe basically a
first step and they say there is still much more to come. Some saying that
that third degree murder charge that was leveled against him is nothing but
a slap on the rest. So tensions are still very high here, Lawrence and as
we look around, we`re not seeing the crowds that we`ve seen in nights past
but that could certainly be changing. One, with the return of that massive
of people that left this area and two, with no sign of law enforcement now
basically repeating what we saw last night. Lawrence?
O`DONNELL: Morgan Chesky, thank you for that report. Appreciate it. After
the destruction in Minneapolis last night, the Governor of Minnesota today
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TIM WALZ (D-MN): We cannot have the looting and the recklessness that
went on. We cannot have it because we can`t function as a society and I
refuse to have it take away the attention of the stain that we need to be
working on is what happened with those fundamental institutional racism
that allows a man to be held down in broad daylight and thank God a young
person had a camera to video it because there`s not a person here or
listening today that wonders how many times that camera is not there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Derek Chauvin the now accused murderer of George Floyd was
arrested today because a 17-year-old girl in Minneapolis did the right
thing. And only because she did the right thing, four Minneapolis police
officers have now been fired and one has been charged with murder. The
other three police officers are awaiting the decision of State and Federal
Prosecutors about what happens next to them as Minneapolis sees it`s fourth
day and night of protests.
Tonight, those four police officers were not fired because of what they did
on the street. They were fired because of what 17-year-old Darnella Frazier
did on that street. She pressed record on her phone and she stood there and
held her ground for ten minutes videoing the police knee on George Floyd`s
neck that appears to kill him right there on the video that she recorded.
Without that video recording, that Darnella Frazier made, nothing would be
happening to those police officers, nothing. No one would be charged with a
crime. No one would be fired because no one in law enforcement would have
believed the hand full of witnesses on the scene without non-stop video
recording of those ten minutes to prove what happened.
Minneapolis police department actually took the police officer`s word for
what happened at first and the Minneapolis police department put out a
first statement declaring as a fact, not as a claim made by the arresting
officers, but as a proven fact that George Floyd quote physically resisted
officers. The resisting arrest story always works inside every police
department in America, always. Unless there is video.
I`ve been reporting on and writing about police use of dead deadly force
since the 1980s and I can report to you that the resisting arrest story has
always worked until video came along to tell a different story. Here is
Officer Derek Chauvin with his deadly knee on George Floyd`s neck. This
image comes from Darnella Frazier`s video.
The accused murderer is looking directly at her as she records the video,
and seconds after that Derek Chauvin threatened her and other witnesses
with mace, but Darnella Frazier held her ground and she held her focus. She
has been on this earth for only 17 years, but that was enough time for her
to learn how to do the right thing under pressure, under police pressure.
Every minute that this brave 17-year-old girl was doing the right thing,
every police officer on the scene was doing the wrong thing. Every one of
them. Each police officer there was in a position to save George Floyd`s
life to get Derek Chauvin`s knee off of George Floyd`s neck and not one of
those police officers found in himself what it takes to do what a 17-year-
old Darnell Frazier did, the right thing.
And so we have the ten minutes of video that is now clearly the decisive
evidence in the prosecutor`s murder case. It is from that video and that
video alone that the prosecution`s first filing in the case is able to say
court the defendant had his knee on Mr. Floyd`s neck for 8 minutes and 46
seconds in total, 2 minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was
The only way the prosecutors know that is from Darnella Frazier`s video
recording that`s the only way. We have repeatedly shown you ten seconds of
the video in which George Floyd says I can`t breathe, please. The knee in
my neck, I can`t breathe. We have shown you seconds of the video in which
George Floyd calls out to his mother who died 18 months ago as his life
slips away. He`s calling out to his mother on that video. There is much
more disturbing evidence on the video that the murder jury will consider.
George Floyd repeatedly says I can`t breathe. I cannot breathe. He says it
until he can no longer speak. And about six minutes of that video shows
George Floyd lying absolutely motionless, speechless and for some of that
time perhaps dead.
The medical examiner will try to determine exact time of death but we
already know that George Floyd did not have a pulse when a medical
technician first arrived on the scene and when that knee first came off his
neck. During the excruciating six minutes when George Floyd appears
lifeless the witnesses at the scene increasingly protest directly to the
police officers. We hear people saying he`s not even resisting arrest. How
long are you going to hold him down? And then we hear the authoritative
voice of one very persistent witness, Donald Williams who while trying to
stay calm and trying to get through to the police officers repeatedly says
I trained at the academy.
He says I trained at the academy. You`re stopping his breathing. He`s not
responsive. Check his pulse. In increasing frustration at what he`s seeing,
we hear one witness say directly to Derek Chauvin, you`re enjoying it.
Every single thing that the witnesses said to the police was correct.
Everything they said was more reasonable than what the police were doing.
The witnesses, the protesters of that police conduct as it was happening
were the responsible citizens in that scene and the police were the exact,
towards end of the video, we hear one of the police protesters saying he
has not moved not one time and then we hear another say did they kill him?
And then we hear another say. They just killed that man. Those witnesses on
the scene of what the county prosecutor now calls a murder were the very
first protesters of the police conduct in this case as it was happening.
Every bit of their protest was true and honest and just and now that
protest has grown in the aftermath to include many more people in
Minneapolis and other cities and all of those protesters all across the
country are all protesting the murder that they were able to see only
because a 17-year-old girl did the right thing. This story is horrific.
This story is a tragedy.
Sometimes tragedies have heroes. And the full truth of this story can only
be told thanks to the heroism of a 17-year-old girl, Darnella Frazier. That
is heroism. Joy Reid and the Reverend William Barber will join us next.
O`DONNELL: The distinguished Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude the Chair of
the African American Studies Department reflected on the anger and
frustration we have seen in Minneapolis this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDDIE GLAUDE, CHAIR, AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES DEPARTMENT, PRINCETON
UNIVERSITY: I wonder what happens on the inside, in your bones when you
have to deal with the ravages of a virus and hatred at the same time, when
you have to deal with the trauma of loss, the loss of a loved one, the loss
of a job, having to stand in line, long lines for food banks, trying to
figure out how you`re going to pay the rent, and then see images, to see
images of a man dying right in front of you at the hands of the police or
at the hands of white people who think they want to police us. The stress,
the trauma, the terror of having to navigate this in a time of a pandemic,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is the Reverend William Barber. He`s
the President of the Repairs of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor
People`s Campaign. Joy Reid is back with us. They are both hosting a
special this Sunday on MSNBC “American Crisis: Poverty and the Pandemic”.
And Reverend Barber, I want to ask you about the point that Professor
Glaude makes, and he begins with that question of how does it feel inside
your bones when you have to deal with the ravages of a virus and hatred at
the same time. What`s your reaction to that that feeling that Professor
Glaude has just raised?
REV. WILLIAM BARBER, PRESIDENT, REPAIRERS OF THE BREACH: Well, thank you so
much, Lawrence. That`s one of the reasons Joy and I are having this special
because even before this pandemic and before this moment, people were
hurting. 700 people were dying a day a quarter million people a year from
poverty and low income. We`re going to deal with the pain of systemic
racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy.
You`re going to hear testimony from a lady named Polly who even before this
was talking about being forced to go to work without PPEs in a nursing home
made her feel like it was policy-based murder. What we are seeing is what I
call a code 666 DBR, death by racism. And this racism is not just a
spectacle that happens every now and again. It`s systemic, whether it`s the
knee of a policeman on the neck of a person that kills him in front of
others or whether it`s the weight of the deadly policies that kill black
people and brown people and people of color day in and day out.
That`s what these screams are. They`re guttural scream. They`re screams
that are saying this is screwed up and we can`t take it anymore and even
people that are saying we`re committed to non-violence, but we`re no longer
committed to non-action. I know it would do America well to hear these
screams and notice that the screams are so bad, they are so bad; it`s not
just black folks screaming.
It`s white people in the street marching. It`s brown people. It`s gay
people, its straight people. It`s transgender because the pain of racism is
so bad; it`s hurting everybody at a gut level. But those who it is
inflicted upon the worse, black people, are saying we just cannot stand
this anymore. And in fact, we`re screaming because we tried everything
else, and we need to continue to scream because it is killing us. It`s
killing us. It`s killing us. And it`s killing the soul of this country.
O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, on Monday many of us were experiencing for the first
time in our lives that a deadly killer could get us at any time, without
any hint, sneak up on us and get us, this coronavirus. And it turns out
that it didn`t matter. It didn`t matter at all what George Floyd was doing
to save himself from the coronavirus because on Monday, a knee was going to
get him. And that`s the way it was going to end for him.
JOY REID, HOST, AM JOY: Yes. And it didn`t matter that Breonna Taylor was
trying to save other people from COVID as an EMT. You know, the challenge,
and I think Bishop Barber has really explained it well, is that black
people were already dying disproportionately from poverty, from want, from
violence by police. This was already happening. And by the way, white
people were already dying in huge numbers that are not usually acknowledged
from poverty, from want, rural poverty in White America is as vehement as
in Black America.
But you think about the fact that, you know, we talked to - we have -
there`s a package we have in this special where members of the United Food
Workers can`t get enough protection to make sure that they don`t get sick
and die serving up the things that Donald Trump`s favorite protesters are
screaming for. Go in there, get in that factory and get me my steaks.
Well, okay, they have to risk their lives for that. And the Union that is
there to protect them can`t protect them and keep them alive and make sure
that they have enough PPE. But the police union in this country is the only
Union left with significant power, with almost impenetrable power, so that
four police officers can participate in the killing of a human being and
only one of them ends up being charged for quite a long time.
Neither of them even get arrested. They can go out there and stare, thank
you for doing that segment previously, because those officers stared right
into the eyes of a 17-year-old child and had no fear. That`s the difference
between the kinds of Unions that represent poor folks and the kind of
Unions that represent police.
O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, thank you for that. The special this Sunday is
“American Crisis: Poverty and the Pandemic” with Joy Reid and the Reverend
Barber. Thank you both very much for joining our discussion tonight. We
really appreciate it. We`ll be watching it. We`re going to Cal Perry in
Louisville with the latest from Louisville. Cal?
CAL PERRY, CORRESPONDNT, MSNBC: Hey, Lawrence, there`s just been a break
out here. Police have lost this ground, and I can show you. This is
downtown Louisville in the middle of the street. And people have taken out
trash cans, other debris and have lit it on fire. As I said, police are
trying to circle the area. All right, Lawrence, I`m going to toss it back
O`DONNELL: All right. Cal Perry is going to have to get into another
position. And as we close our coverage tonight, we have been covering as
much as we can of the protests around the country. Most of the protesting
by most of the protesters has not been violent in any way, has not involved
a lighting fires of any kind in trash cans or buildings.
There have been thousands upon thousands, tens of thousands of protesters
on the streets around this country protesting peacefully, protesting what
they saw on that ten minutes of video recorded by Darnella Frazier when she
held her ground in the face of the misconduct and the crime that she knew
she was witnessing that the Minneapolis police were committing when they
took the action that has now, today, officially been called murder by the
County Prosecutor in Minneapolis. These protests will continue.
Our coverage of these protests, our coverage of this story as it continues
to develop, our coverage of the prosecution of this case as it continues to
develop will continue. That is tonight`s last word. “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