George Floyd TRANSCRIPT: 5/29/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell

Guests:
Marq Claxton, Orlando Patterson, Yamiche Alcindor, William Barber
Transcript:

 

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

you, Rachel.

 

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

evening, Lawrence.

 

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.

Paul tonight.

 

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

Chauvin.

 

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

charges later.

 

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,

apparently downtown.

 

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

right here.

 

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

activity there.

 

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

police, Lawrence.

 

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

there?

 

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

knocking.

 

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

human life.

 

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

murder three.

 

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

system.

 

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

college.

 

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

police department.

 

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

warrior mentality.

 

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

matter.

 

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

to it.

 

(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

Joe Biden.

 

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

George Wallace.

 

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

perfect, no.

 

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

this issue.

 

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

Trump?

 

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

election.

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

now?

 

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,

Lawrence.

 

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

said this.

 

(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

non-responsive.

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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,

it`s unimaginable.

 

(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

to you.

 

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.

 

 

END

 

 

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