JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: One of the biggest challenges that this country has faced in nearly a century, the combination of poverty and COVID-19 that`s hitting communities of color and poor folks of all races, hitting them hard, so please tune in for that. Thanks so much for being with us. And I will be back here tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes is up next.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. At this hour, we are monitoring the situation in Minnesota where for a third night, there are protests in the streets over the killing of a 46-year-old man named George Floyd who died on Monday. He died after he was handcuffed, was pinned to the ground under an officer`s knee. The police refusing to relent despite Floyd repeatedly saying, "I can`t breathe."
The killing of George Floyd captured on video has ignited outrage and protests that have continued to escalate into tonight. Floyd`s family calling for the four officers involved in his arrest and subsequent death to be charged with murder. And while the officers were fired within 24 hours of all this becoming public, it has been three days and still no one has been charged.
It`s worth noting that unlike a lot of the protests we`ve seen over the last month the, pro-Trump anti-lockdown protesters who showed up with long guns at state capitals, the people protesting the killing of George Floyd from the very beginning have been met preemptively by police in riot gear, who have used tear gas and rubber bullets against the protesters.
The Justice Department and FBI have promised investigation to the four officers involved and said it would be a top priority. The FBI held a press conference late this afternoon which was strange to say the least. We expected some sort of announcement. In fact, they appeared to think they were going to do that too, possibly about charges to the officers, but then it was delayed two hours and then when they showed up they had nothing to announce.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERICA MACDONALD, U.S. ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA: I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that all your ducks are in a row before you make that charging decision, because you can`t -- you can`t undo what you`ve done if you rush. But if you take that time, you`re going to do it right the first time and you`re going to get it done the first time.
MICHAEL FREEMAN, HENNEPIN COUNTY ATTORNEY: That video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that. But my job, in the end, is to prove that he violated a criminal statute. And there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge. Please give me and give the United States Attorney the time to do this right, and we will bring you justice. I promise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: George Floyd`s killing has sparked protests across the country, including Memphis, Los Angeles where protesters blocked a freeway. This was the scene just a short time ago in Union Square in New York City. Police and protesters engaged in a violent confrontation. Police is seen there shoving protesters. The situation in Minnesota is also escalating. Some have come out and also set fires, engaged in looting. I`m sure you`ve seen those images.
Today, Democratic Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard as community leaders urge calm. We`re going to be monitoring the scene on the ground throughout the hour and through the night -- throughout the night here on MSNBC.
Joining me now NBC News reporter Shaquille Brewster who is live in Minneapolis where protests are taking place. Shaquille, what is the scene there like right now?
SHAQUILLE BREWSTER, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Well, Chris, what you`ve heard from processes and what you`ve been hearing from protesters all week long is that they will remain protesting, they will continue to demonstrate until the obvious solution happens, which in their minds is an arrest of the officers involved in the death of Mr. George Floyd.
We -- as you mentioned, we heard from the FBI, we heard from officials, both dealing with the federal investigation and the state investigation, and they didn`t have many answers. They preached and pressed and emphasized the idea that they want to be meticulous with the investigation. They want to be thorough. They want to make sure they have their ducks in a row. But they said just because you may see some excessive conduct, that does not necessarily mean it is criminal conduct and that`s what they`re trying to thread. That`s the needle they`re trying to thread right now.
But if you talk to protesters, if you have conversations with them, and even the family of Mr. Floyd, they`re saying that video that you saw, that 10-minute long video where you saw the officers knee on Mr. Floyd`s neck, that`s all you needed to see. They`re saying do the investigations later. That`s enough to arrest this officer for and have him go through criminal proceedings.
Meanwhile, here on the ground in Minneapolis, the protests continue to happen. I just want to share a bit of a conversation I had with a protester. Remember, in Minneapolis, this is a city that has seen protests where it`s been community and police. They`ve seen these clashes before. Listen to what this protester told me just a couple of hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
A.J. AWED, MINNEAPOLIS WARD 6 CANDIDATE: Clearly, the policing system in America is broken. Unfortunately, this is a manifestation of long trauma and long frustrations. I mean, these individuals aren`t, you know, pillaging and getting angry for no reason. The underlying symptoms is the police department in America and the policing system in Minneapolis.
We need to go ahead and completely abolish the system. We`re going to start completely all over. Because right now it`s not in the image of the community, to be honest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREWSTER: Mr. Floyd was the 11th person in the past 10 years to die in the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. That`s the frustration that you hear among protesters that they`re tired of seeing this, they say. They feel like there`s a clear divide here. This is a clear-cut case in their minds, and they just want action to happen. And they want action to happen immediately, Chris.
So they say they`ll be out here. They`ll continue to protest. Many of them want to do it peacefully and that`s what we`re seeing. Behind me is a scene where we`ve seen clashes the past couple of days, but it`s been a pretty quiet scene. People are playing music, people are speaking their signs that they have up. People were encouraging people to clean up some of the mess that you saw yesterday after things really descended.
They`re saying they will continue to protest. They want it to happen peacefully, but they will continue to protest until they see an arrest of those officers involved. Chris?
HAYES: Just want to follow up, Shaquille. The Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who came out today in that joint press conference with the U.S. Attorney, you know, sort of basically saying give us time, kind of also sort of chastising the protesters unfavorably comparing the situation to Baltimore where Marilyn Mosby did charge those officers and then they were subsequently acquitted. I`m just wondering if you heard reaction to what Freeman had to say today.
BREWSTER: Not really, and I`ll tell you, you know, unlike it -- this wasn`t a major announcement. It was somewhat confusing press conference where they said, yes, we`re going to have justice and we want justice for the family, but give us more time and let us have this investigation. And because of that, it`s not a scene where there`s a push alert on people`s phone and people automatically hear what was going on.
So many of the protesters didn`t mention that. They are -- their bottom line and this is what they keep repeating every conversation I have with someone is they just believe the officer should be arrested. They say -- and this is what you heard the mayor of Minneapolis say. He said, if this were anyone else, if they were not a police officer, this person would be arrested.
He said if this were a black man or he said actually black men have been put in jail for far, far, far less crime, so -- or less evidence. That`s what you hear and that`s the tone from protesters. They think that this is simple enough that the officers involved should be arrested and that`s their bottom line.
HAYES: All right, Shaquille Brewster who`s doing fantastic work out there in the streets of Minnesota. Thank you very much, Shaquille.
BREWSTER: Thank you.
HAYES: I want to bring in Pilar Melendez, a reporter of The Daily Beast, who had a great piece today titled "Cop who kneeled on George Floyd tried to kill me in 2008" and she joins me now. The cop in question, Police Officer Derek Chauvin has a bit of a record. You found an individual who had been -- had a run in with him so to speak. Tell me about what your reporting said.
PILAR MELENDEZ, REPORTER, "THE DAILY BEAST": Yes. So, Ira Toles told me today that in 2008 Chauvin was one of several officers that responded to his house for a domestic violence call. The mother of his child called the police on him and he said that without warning, the police entered his house, barge into his home.
He ran into the bathroom. He says that Chauvin entered the bathroom, started beating him up with no warning until eventually shooting him in the stomach. That was so close range that he still has a bullet wound and hole in his stomach today.
HAYES: So he -- this was in 2008. So this was 12 years ago. He shot him. He discharged his weapon. He shot him in the stomach at close range in his own bathroom?
MELENDEZ: Correct. So basically, he said that the mother whose child called for a domestic violence case, but Chauvin and the other officers entered his house without any warning, came into the house, started immediately going for Toles. Toles said that he hid in the bathroom because he didn`t know what to do.
He says that when Chauvin broke down the door, he admits that he responded to Chauvin and starting to hit him and responded and started hitting him back. He doesn`t remember being shot, but he does remember getting walked out towards the end and falling on the ground next to his front door while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
He says that he was at the hospital for two days before he was immediately brought to the court where he was charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor. Chauvin, on the other hand, was placed on administrative leave, obviously for not long because he was still in the force until recently.
And that he had to -- Toles said that he had to make a plea deal in this case that made him plead guilty to the misdemeanor, but drop the two felonies charges something he says that it will say on his record, obviously, that he`s going to have to deal with. And he actually was first surprised when he saw that Chauvin -- his name come up during the George Floyd case and said that at first he didn`t recognize the face of the man that had shot him in his bathroom. But once he heard the name, he -- it was very clear that it was the same person.
HAYES: This police officer as NBC reported and others because there`s a public database with complaints, has had a number of complaints throughout the years. There have been several discharges of his -- of his weapon. This was not the only time I think that he -- that he fired his weapon on duty. And if I`m not mistaken, I think there`s been more than a dozen complaints throughout the years.
MELENDEZ: Absolutely. So the Communities United Against Police Brutality database which you were referring to has over a dozen cases against Chauvin that are complaints filed either by citizens or others and many of them have to do with excessive force. And his -- he started in 2001, so throughout his whole career, he only got two verbal reprimands and everything else was pretty swept under the rug.
Some of the other cases that I think are pretty notable was in 2006, Chauvin was involved in a fatal shooting of a 42-year-old, and in 2007, he was also one of five officers who was involved in a non-fatal shooting of a Native American man. Obviously, he had some run-ins that had some disciplinary actions in the past, but none of them warranted him getting suspended or anything other reprimand.
HAYES: So -- I`m sorry, just to clarify. There`s a fatal -- there was a fatal shooting and I`d seen that reporting or other complaints and then there was a non-fatal shooting of the individual that you interviewed who was shot in the stomach and his own bathroom and another non-fatal shooting?
MELENDEZ: Yes. In 2011, the officers, one of five, that was placed on a three day leave for a non-fatal shooting.
HAYES: What did -- Mr. Toles, I think is his name, the individual that you interviewed.
HAYES: What was his response? I know that he was surprised and he didn`t quite remember, and then he texted with his sister who said that was exactly the individual -- his takeaway on what the situation is now.
MELENDEZ: Yes. So, I mean, today when I spoke to him, he was pretty angry that Chauvin was not only strong force, but he believes that if he was reprimanded for what he had done to him in 2008, that George Floyd would still be alive today. He told me that while he hasn`t protested himself, he is one of many people in the community that are just completely fed up with the Minneapolis Police Department.
He told me that which I thought was very funny that not only they reached our tipping point, but if boiling water is 100 -- 212 degrees, that the people in Minneapolis or out of 600. They are completely fed up with what`s happening and once he realized that it was Chauvin and that he had again done something that could have been easily stopped if he had been through the proper procedures, George Floyd would still be here.
HAYES: Pilar Melendez, WHO did that reporting for The Daily Beast today which I learned a lot from, thank you very much for making some time for us.
MELENDEZ: Thank you so much.
HAYES: And now, I want to bring in Jeremiah Ellison, who represents Word Five of Minneapolis on the city council. And Councilman, I wonder how you`re reacting tonight to the latest developments, particularly the announcement by the U.S. Attorney and the Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman that they just need to take some time and further consider the weight of all the evidence.
JEREMIAH ELLISON, MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL WARD 5: I think it`s a huge mistake. I think that no other individual regardless of race or anything would enjoy this much discretion, would enjoy this kind of leeway after they`ve killed someone so blatantly and so brazenly and so cruelly in the manner that this officer killed George Floyd.
HAYES: What is your response to learning as we have that there have been -- there is a bit of a paper trail here. There have been a number of complaints, there have been a number of -- there`s been one fatal shooting, at least two non-fatal shootings involving this officer about what it says about the department and the department`s ability to apply accountability or to fairly assess the actions of his officers?
ELLISON: You know, regrettably, I have to say that I`m not all that surprised. You know, in Minneapolis, we have begun this very recent, I think, intense reform of our police department. But let`s be honest, no amount of training and no amount of diversifying your police force is going to create the level of accountability that you need if criminal behavior is not -- is not met with criminal consequences for police officers.
I think that we have had a history as a city you know, especially before my time here of sort of the slap on the wrist sort of approach, saying, hey, you`re a police officer, your job is hard, and you did something awful, but we`re willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. And I think that that kind of culture has really poisoned the well so to speak here in Minneapolis, and it certainly created a lot of bad will between the public and the police.
HAYES: I`ve seen some statistics that rank major metro areas and their police departments, the percentage of police officers that live in the city limits and Minneapolis very low on that list, which is to say, if I`m not mistaken, the majority of the police officers in the force are living outside the city. I wonder your feelings about that, whether you think that contributes to some of the issues here.
ELLISON: I think -- I think it`s nearly 94 percent of our police force do not live here in the city of Minneapolis. I think that that is highly problematic. But you know, I do think that accountability, right, consequences for your actions is going to go the furthest.
I`m in favor of these -- of these reforms where people need to live where they work. I`m in favor of diversifying the police force and I`m in favor of us changing our training. But at the end of the day, all that stuff goes out the window if somebody knows that they -- that they sort of have carte blanche when they go out to abuse the community.
HAYES: Do you feel like there`s a -- there`s a solution here? I mean, the sort of -- the short-term solution, the thing of protesters want, as my colleague Shaquille Brewster was saying was criminal charges here and in the case of what happened. But you know, we have -- we have been covering this, I`ve been covering this as long as I`ve been on television. We`ve seen like case after case similar to this, often similar profiles, often officers with other charges before. We`ve seen it in small -- we`ve seen it suburbs, we`ve seen it in small towns, we`ve seen it in big cities. We`ve seen it in big cities with diverse police forces. We sit in big cities with not particularly diverse police sources. Like as someone who is on the Minnesota city council, what you think about what is the solution here? What are your thoughts on that?
ELLISON: You know, I hate to sound like a broken record, but I think that in every equation where you see an officer misconduct, and as you said, it`s a huge issue all across the country in all settings, the one thing that people lack is that level of accountability. When officers commit criminal acts, they often do not receive criminal consequences. And I think that is the is the key ingredient here towards getting some level of accountability.
You know, I think that the other solution, if I may, is to -- is for us to really do an inventory of what kind of 911 calls we actually get around the country, I know we are doing that here in Minneapolis, and figuring out which one of them require a police response. George Floyd, you know, it`s alleged that he wrote a $20.00 forge check. So $20.00 of a forged check is what ended up being a death sentence for him. That is -- that`s insane. Does a forged cheque require somebody with a gun to respond? Does a forged check require this level of violence? And does this -- does this whole situation warrant -- is it worth the amount of unrest that we`re experiencing here in the city? I think it`s not.
HAYES: Yes. Councilman Jeremiah Ellison, I think it`s the first time I had the pleasure to speak to you and I hope I get to do it again. Thank you so much for taking time tonight.
ELLISON: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Don`t go anywhere. Our coverage continues on the protests in Minnesota and the death of George Floyd right after this.
HAYES: As you watch these images tonight, as you think about what`s happened in Minneapolis and the death of George Floyd, consider that it`s almost June in a presidential election year and the incumbent president is going to stand before the people of this country on his record seeking four more years.
And it`s also worth remembering that four years ago as Barack Obama was leaving office and Hillary Clinton was running on the same party line is a Democratic, the country of course had its share of very, very serious problems before Donald Trump. An economic recovery that had left a lot of people behind rising inequality, a criminal justice system that was frankly out of control. Police who had killed black men and women across the country in painful videos that were publicized, leading to widespread social protests, sometimes unrest.
And candidate Donald Trump decided this would be the theme of his whole campaign. The idea of his entire country went to hell in a handbasket because of the first black president who maybe wasn`t even born here, maybe was a secret Muslim, and it was trying to get it back to the way it had been. Make America Great Again.
Everything he talked about was how the economy was broken. He made up figures about unemployment. The election was rigged. The country was a disaster. He campaigned basically saying America is now a hellhole. And then he was elected with a minority of the vote. In his inauguration speech, Donald Trump put the darkest possible cast on those state of affairs, vowing to end what he called American carnage.
Well, now here we are, not even four years after he made his American Carnage speech. The first few years, he was terrible, but at least the economy was kind of cruising ahead. And now, now we`re in the middle of a once in a century pandemic. It`s worth taking a second and looking at where we are right now.
More than 100,000 Americans are dead after the first confirmed coronavirus case in the country. Dead from a pandemic the President claimed multiple times over and over that he had under control while he did basically nothing. At least 40 million people have lost their jobs. We`re staring into an uncertain future where it is unclear when and how the economy comes back and how many people the virus will kill; how many people will get sick.
I mean, the virus is still growing in pockets of the country. Over the weekend, Arizona had record-high levels of hospitalizations, E.R. visits related to the coronavirus statewide. North Carolina`s Coronavirus hospitalizations hit all-time highs for the second straight day. Travis County, Texas some of the state`s capital -- home of the state`s capital Austin just had the biggest one-day jump in new cases since the start of the outbreak.
And that is all laid on top of all the existing structural deep problems that were already here in America when Donald Trump was elected, the problems that he so cynically exploited. The problems that have only gotten worse under his tenure, like the basic inequality and desperation that so many Americans, understandably justifiably feel about our social worker, and a criminal justice system that disproportionately harms African American and Latino people that particularly treats black citizens, like subjects of some foreign authority be occupied, not citizens and not constituents.
And this is what it looks like right now in the state of Minnesota, a state whose unemployment rate is any 37-year high, a state where coronavirus cases are surging particularly in the predominantly black Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, and now where thousands of people are marching to protest the killing of George Floyd. A black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck as Floyd repeatedly said I can`t breathe.
People have been protesting for three days now. Many of which are out there in masks in the middle of a pandemic. Buildings have been burned, stores looted, at the same time, over the last month at least, there have been armed men showing up the state capitals with long guns and who face very little sanction for their explicit menacing of politicians and police, they`re hanging the figure of a governor in effigy with a sign that evokes John Wilkes Booth on protected speech. Men who are urged on by the president in ways subtle and not many of whom quite openly profess a desire for violence against the state in a second Civil War.
And there is no plan from the president who warned against American Carnage for the carnage and chaos we are living through now. Not the pandemic, not the economic crisis, not societal inequities, not predatory policing, not the protests in Minnesota, nothing except to make it all worse, to sow chaos and discord and bigotry and hope the smaller part of the country that follows him is enough to win an election again. This is what Donald Trump`s America has wrought. Not great again, ever further from a more perfect union.
HAYES: As we`ve noted, there are protests around the country tonight in a variety of cities including Memphis, Tennessee; Denver, Colorado; along with Minneapolis. That`s the scene, I believe, in Denver at the moment where protesters are blocking an intersection. Similar protests happening around the country in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. His neck was under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer as he said I can`t breathe. He was pinned to the ground. He had no pulse by the time he entered the ambulance. As of right now, there have been no charges or arrests for any of the officers that were involved.
Joining me now Sherilyn Ifill, president and director of counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Sherilyn, you have worked on cases like this before. You and I have talked through the years about this. What do you think needs to happen in the sort of short-term in Minneapolis?
SHERRILYN IFILL, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND PRESIDENT: : Well, I think, Chris, the key here is that we`ve been around this circle before. And the community is now educated about what should happen. And the first thing that needs to happen is we need transparency. We need all of the information.
Today, we heard the state`s attorney from Hennepin County say he is not charging the officers because there is some other information or some other video that suggests that perhaps there should not be criminal charges and I was very disappointed with this baiting of the public. If there is something he has, he should reveal it and give the public a chance to see it.
I have been calling for the release of the police incident report. I would like to know what those officers said happened when they got back to the station house. We`ve seen the fire department report, but we haven`t seen the incident report.
And we know this is important, Chris, because it was vitally important in the case of Michael Slager who killed Walter Scott, right, and gave an account of what happened in his encounter with Walter Scott that was actually quite different than the video.
We know this was important in Chicago when Lquan McDonald was killed and the officer who killed him claimed that McDonald was coming towards him with a knife and the video revealed something quite different. That is going to be important not only for the officer who so brutally and so awfully killed George Floyd, but also for the officers who were on the scene and bystanders. Did they co-sign a false account of what happened?
So, the first thing that needs to happen is we need more transparency, more information. And then secondly, I would say I`m very impressed with the mayor`s empathy and with his willingness to speak out very early about what he saw and to tell the truth about what he saw. But I am also concerned about the police response to protesters and the talk about property damage.
People want justice. They want to know what is going to happen. I would like to see the mayor talking more, just not at a noon press conference every day. He needs to be able to talk in the evening and not just in city hall. He needs to be out on the street and talking with people and telling them what is going to happen. People are not patient, and understandably so, because they want justice.
HAYES: I should note that the mayor, Jacob Frey, of the city of Minneapolis will be on with my colleague Rachel Maddow in the hour after us, so there will be -- he will be pressed on all of those.
Ben Crump had this to say about the city. He said city leaders need to understand the community`s grief over the horrific killing of George demands more than condemnation and personnel action. The city must own this.
And I`m struck in talking to I`m speaking to the Councilman Ellison just earlier in the show that there seemed to be some structural issues here, particularly the fact that the record of this officer, particularly, is -- seems to have a lot of red flags, I got to say.
IFILL: Well, let`s talk about the various structural flags that are here in this incident. Let`s first talk about the city of Minneapolis. The city of Minneapolis has experienced, you know, these killings before. And as a result, the Department of Justice after the last incident of unrest in the city of Minneapolis actually did a study and released a report that provided a whole set of recommendations about how to deal with these kind of issues, and particularly civil unrest.
I read the report and seen the recommendations. I see no evidence that the recommendations in that report have actually been implemented to try to quell some of the more extreme measures that the police have taken of the unrest.
Then secondly, this police department has a terrible record. The racial disparities in the use of force and police brutality are extraordinary. This is a police department that in my view, at any other time I would say, Chris, is ripe for a Department of Justice pattern and practice investigation, but we know that this Department of Justice has virtually abandoned any effort to investigate structural discrimination in police departments. And so we have very little hope.
But it`s also true that this officer has this incredibly long record of complaints. And that tells you that there is a structural problem within the police department as it relates to discipline and accountability
He`s also a senior officer. You see those other officers standing around watching him. That`s because he`s the field training officer. He`s the superior guy. So that tells you there`s a deep problem within the department.
I have asked for the Department of Justice to get involved, because I think we shouldn`t stop asking the Department of Justice to do their job, but it is also important to point out, Chris, that it was almost a year ago to the day that the Department of Justice decided not to bring civil rights charges against the officer who killed Eric Garner. And, you know, we had a video there of someone being choked to death, Eric Garner, being choked to death by Officer Daniel Pantaleo saying I can`t breathe. We had no charges in the city. It sat with the Department of Justice for years. Reports suggest that the lawyers of the civil rights division recommend that civil rights charges be brought against that officer and that Bill Barr, the attorney general, countermanded the recommendation of the civil rights division.
The Legal Defense Fund, we`ve actually filed a FOIA request, and filed a FOIA request for information about the basis for that changed decision, but I would remind people of that as we hear that the Department of Justice is investigating. We hear the president saying this is so sad.
Just remember that they refused to bring charges against the officer who we also saw on videotape choked to death Eric Garner.
HAYES: Sherrilyn Ifill, who has been fighting this fight for a very long time. And your note about the Department of Justice and patterns and practices I think I just to under score that, that we did get some very good patterns and practices investigations out of the -- particularly in the last few years of the Obama administration, and particularly the reports on the Cleveland Police Department and the Ferguson Police Department among others that provided tremendous evidence and sort of a way forward. And that has been completely absent, totally absent, from the Department of Justice under both Jeff Sessions and now Attorney William Barr. Thank you, Sherrilyn for making some time for us tonight.
IFILL: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: When we come back, an update on what`s happening on the ground in Minneapolis where protesters have returned to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd.
HAYES: We`re continuing to monitor the scene in Minneapolis tonight where protesters are taking to the streets demonstrating against the killing of George Floyd earlier this week. I want to bring in Chao Xiong. He`s a reporter at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. He joins us by phone in that city where he has been covering the protests.
Chao, what`s going on there now?
CHAO XIONG, MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE: Well, what we`re seeing is just multiple protests spread across the city. And earlier today, the protests had even sort of bled into St. Paul next door where people looted several businesses in a couple of different spots, which we`ve never seen before in these types of cases.
HAYES: What is your sense of the context here as a local reporter in this city? You know, it strikes me that there is a lot of people have been dealing with both police violence for a long time, there are long-standing complaints, particularly in Minneapolis Police Department. You also have people who have been dealing with the pandemic and the stress and danger of that and have been cooped up in different houses. And there are a lot of pressures on people right now.
What is the context for what we`re seeing here?
XIONG: There really is.
I mean, I think an important part of the context is that as progressive and as well off as Minneapolis and Minnesota is as a state, socially and financially, there has been a huge disparity, and some of the worst disparities in the country, for people of color, and black people, in particular, in terms of earnings, education, and jobs. And that`s definitely part of the undercurrent of the tension here we`re experiencing today in relation to the George Floyd case.
This is no longer a singular incident. It sort of encapsulates all the issues that black Minnesotans have been dealing with their entire lives here in our state.
HAYES: Can you tell us a little bit more about the context of Mike Freeman who is the Hennepin County Attorney. He was at that press conference today and sort of, you know, cautioned people. We played the clip of him talking about there might be evidence as this police officer did not commit, that sort of longer version of it was him essentially saying, look, you know, give me time and trust me and I`m the only one who has ever gotten a conviction of a police officer for this kind of thing. What is Freeman`s record like?
XIONG: You know, most prosecutors, and Freeman, have not charged officers in the death of civilians. He is one of three that have charged cops in the last few years and his office is the only one that won a conviction, although that`s not really enough for the community. They questioned whether previous cases were thoroughly investigated. And the fact that his only conviction was against a Somali-American officer doesn`t really sit well with the black community, as well.
HAYES: Oh, that`s interesting. I remember that case. That was a police officer and the police officer himself was Somali-American and that was where the conviction...
And yeah, he sought and killed a white Australian woman in one of our nicer neighborhoods in Minneapolis.
HAYES: What is your sense of what the kind of bright lines here in terms of the demands. I mean, Shaquille Brewster, our own reporter, has been on the streets, basically says, look, the protesters are going to continue, this sense of unrest and outrage is going to continue in the absence of charges. I mean, and I remember when I was in Baltimore killed that was the demand of the protesters, quite clearly. Is that your sense here as well?
XIONG: It certainly is. And earlier this afternoon, Al Sharpton was in Minneapolis at the scene where George Floyd was killed. And he said I`m going to be back over and over again until we get justice for George Floyd. And I definitely see the community is on that bandwagon. And we`re in the middle of summer -- well, not even the middle, we`re at the start of summer and we have all summer long for people to get out there and demonstrate.
And Mark Clark, several years ago, we saw that last through the late fall. And really it was the weather that ended that. And here we don`t have that as a mitigating factor.
HAYES: All right. Chao Xiong who is reporting for the Minneapolis Star Tribute, the great daily paper in that town. Thank you so much.
XIONG: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Don`t go anywhere, Paul Butler and Phillip Atiba Goff are going to join me next.
HAYES: Protests are continuing tonight in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was pinned to the ground under an officer`s knee earlier this week. And as he said I can`t breathe, he remained pinned and then he died.
Here with me now, two people who not only understand what is going on today, but also understand the underlying history, the causes of what we`re seeing, Phillip Atiba Goff, the co-founder and president of the Center for Policing Equity, which analyzes data from across the country to help police departments address issues of inequality, and Paul Butler, former federal prosecutor who served in the Department of Justice`s public integrity unit author of the book "Chokehold: Policing Black Men," which examines U.S. law enforcement system and how it treats black men
Philip, let me start with you on this note, down to the words uttered by this man, as he died, there is -- it feels like we have seen this before. And I`ve just been covering this full time for seven years. And you work on this full time. And I guess my feeling is like how do you not give up in this sense, how do you feel like things get better or there is progress or people are listening, because it feels so often to so many -- and people that I`ve talked to over the past few days like it is running in circles.
PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR POLICING EQUITY: Yes, that`s just real. So I mean Minneapolis is one of our closest partners, so this is a gut punch to all of us that do the work there, to the folks who were on the ground, the organizers that we partner with.
I got to say, one of the most frustrating things and one of the most dispiriting things in all of this, is that you will see a murder like this and then a week or two later, cameras disappear, national attention disappears, and in this political cycle with all of this stuff going on I would be surprised if it is not sooner, and the folks who were in pain, who were bleeding on the streets, either literally or in the way that they are protesting and uprising, they`re saying where did everybody go?
And all of the attention that had been able to sustain actual progress in Minneapolis, and in other cities, from 2014 through to 2016, it disappeared when this administration showed up, because all the other social ills started to bubble up.
So part of what I`m hearing from my folks in Minneapolis, and what I hear from my team is we had attention, we had momentum, we had a chief who wanted to do the right set of things, and now because nobody was paying attention the last couple of years, we`re not just starting over again, we`re starting with the great crushing disappointment of what it is like to put your whole life into something and watch it crumble.
HAYES: Yeah, this question about how to sort of sustain action here, Paul, I know that there has been, and in the case of Minneapolis, there was a sort of progressive challenge to Mike Freeman, who was the county attorney there in 2018, that he managed to defeat, but there have been a variety of progressive prosecutors elected throughout the country, most notably in Philadelphia, Larry Krasner, who have really attempted to sort of recast the entire approach of the system of criminal justice.
There has been real on the ground progress in that respect. Where do you think things stand right now?
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, in this case, simply firing the officers is too little too late. We have to look at structural changes. This isn`t a concern about a couple of bad apple cops. In the first place, what happened that this officer was still on the force? He has been involved in three different incidences of killing people, he and his colleagues, use of deadly force, three different times, there are 12 complaints that civilians have filed against him. So why was he walking around licensed to kill?
We know that the police report is a lie. The original police report said that Mr. Floyd resisted arrest. That`s not what the video shows.
What is it about the culture of this police department that three other officers could literally watch another cop snuff out the life of Mr. Floyd. Mr. Floyd literally narrates his own demise, and these cops didn`t do a damn thing. They didn`t speak up at all.
So, this is about a cultural, institutional, structural problem, not just with police in Minneapolis, but all over the country. It`s true that it`s very bad in Minneapolis, 20 percent of the citizens there are African American, 60 percent of the people who were killed by cops are black in that city, but the problem is nationwide.
HAYES: Phillip, I wanted to get your thoughts on some of the images that you`ve, as you watch the police grab Mr. Floyd there, shortly before he was killed. And we`ve seen images of the protests, and obviously there has been -- there have been fires set, there have been stores broken into, and, you know, under almost all circumstance, police are going to do something about that.
But independent of that, and even going back to the first night where there really wasn`t any of that, the difference in police reaction to Mr. Floyd and protesters compared to what we`ve seen in scene after scene play out in state capitals in which we`ve watched protesters who are armed with guns, in the faces of police officers, I mean two inches away, like screaming in their faces, and I have watched police officer after police officer in this footage be the model of forbearance, the model of restraint. I mean, there were people shoving cops on the steps of the state capitol I think in California and I just thought to myself, my word, that that would not fly in like, on the corner in the Bronx.
As someone who works with police, what do you make of that, when you see it?
GOFF: You know, in 2008, I had the opportunity to be embedded with the Denver Police Department during the DNC. I was walking with a district commander at the time, African American sergeant, African American lieutenant, district commander was African American. And I started hearing drumbeats, and I heard no justice, no peace, no racist police.
And I was familiar with the chant. And I was surprised it was coming from a bunch of white people who got right up in the face of law enforcement. They were spitting. That night, there were feces hurled in the face of law enforcement. They were wearing shields, but when you got crap literally splattering in front of your face, I was shocked and impressed the way law enforcement were able to hold their cool and tamp down. So it is possible that that happens.
But what Paul was talking about I think is the real root of all of this stuff. We have decided that blackness, it`s OK to say that blackness is just dangerous, like it`s tolerable to decide that if I feel threatened, or if you feel threatened, that whatever happens to the black body in front of me, that`s all right. That`s not just a policing issue, though it is a policing issue, that`s an American issue.
I don`t think that we should be talking about this as awful as it is in Minneapolis, without talking about what happened in Central Park, right, without talking about the weaponization of white fear, and the protection of some kind of white innocence, that is part of what is happening in Central Park with the individual who calls the cops on a bird watcher. I don`t want to say names, because I`m not trying to give it that level of power.
But it`s also what`s happening on the steps of the capitol of Michigan, right. They`re both one and the same, it`s like, well, this is your innocent right to protest. It can`t be anything more sinister than that when you`re showing up to a state house with a long gun trying to make sure that people don`t engage in the practice of democracy. It can`t be more sinister than that.
And yet when you have these people who were being -- having their options and their chances taken away from them and they feel as if the state is hunting them, we can`t give them the space to find a way to express that without saying you need to get back, you need to be able to behave, you need to comply.
This isn`t just a police issue, this is how we`ve decided to frame dangerousness and blackness and it`s generations old. And I`ve got to say it`s exhausting.
HAYES: Paul, a final thought from you on the thing that Councilman Ellison told me this morning -- told me earlier in the show, basically, which is in a broader sense, do four armed men need to show up to deal with what appears to be maybe a possibly counterfeit $20 bill or $10 bill or a forged check, it is a little unclear? Like, as the root of the way that we approach this?
BUTLER: Eric Garner was killed for selling a single tobacco cigarette on the streets. Mr. Floyd allegedly tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill, and yet, the law authorizes the police to make arrests for minor crimes like that, and to use deadly force if the person is uncooperative.
And so that doesn`t need to happen. We need to change the law. And we need to understand that the real crisis isn`t what`s going on in the streets tonight in Minneapolis, the real crisis is that the streets have never been safe for black people and brown people in Minneapolis.
HAYES: Phillip Atiba Goff, Paul Butler, thank you, gentlemen, both for sharing that. I appreciate it.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END