JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Please be sure to stay tuned to MSNBC online as we continue to follow these protests that look like they are not getting any smaller around the country. And please don`t miss Rachel Maddow`s interview tonight with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. That`s tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern as you know. Thanks so much for being with us "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes is up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, on ALL IN, the failed dictator stunt. As the White House scrambles to spin Trump`s use of military force on American citizens, the condemnation is near universal. Tonight, his own former Secretary of Defense General Mattis calls him a threat to the Constitution. Lieutenant General Russell Honore is here and ex-marine Congressman Ruben Gallego on why he says Congress won`t stand for martial law.
The new charges for the police officers in the murder of George Floyd and the progress that could lie ahead. Nikole Hannah-Jones will join me. Plus, taking a hard look at the behavior of police unions as the impediment to real police reform.
And the virus, it never went away. Why public health experts are raising alarms over the spread in hotspots around the country when ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. As protests continue around this country for the ninth straight night tonight, they`re mostly peaceful, we will be covering those marches. We begin with the unraveling of the moment the president seems to have hoped would be a defining triumph.
The assault on peaceful protesters at the White House on Monday to clear the way for him to go stand in front of a church awkwardly holding a Bible because he was reportedly mad that anyone would think he was hiding in a White House bunker during the protests. He thought that photo op would project strength, but instead this turned into a defining debacle, widely condemned by many of the people involved.
Now this, his former Defense Secretary, Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis who left his administration in December of 2018, released a forceful denunciation of the President, a guy who would tear gas his own people to try to make himself look good. He released a statement just a couple of hours ago and I`m going to read some of it to you.
"I have watched this week`s unfolding events angry and appalled. The words equal justice under law are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. When I joined the military some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens, much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander in chief with military leadership standing alongside."
Bizarre photo op of the commander in chief. Just yesterday, it was the current Secretary of Defense Mark Esper telling NBC News in an exclusive interview that he thought he was going to talk to troops, and I really love this one, let`s not lose sight of it, observe a vandalized bathroom and had no idea about the photo op.
Well, today Secretary Esper changed the story, had to admit that he didn`t think they were going to look at graffiti on a urinal, that he knew where he was going. And he also said he opposes sending active duty troops in for the George Floyd protests, something the President announced he would like to do earlier this week.
Reporters say the white house isn`t happy with all that. So it`s clear something`s going on in the Pentagon with a former and current Secretary of Defense really need to make these statements on the same day. But of course, the problem at the heart of all of this is that fundamentally the president is a weak man. Deep down, he`s a weak man, and he compensates for the fundamental weakness by projecting strength in the most pathetic and obvious ways, like congratulating himself for the suppose domination of protesters.
And we`re all caught in a psychodrama because he is the president, which is why he is currently turning Washington D.C. into this real-life projection of his own authoritarian dreams, including this deployment of military police at the Lincoln Memorial against peaceful protesters. It`s why there were low flying -- low flying helicopter menacing Americans in the nation`s capital and why today at the White House, there were basically on the streets of the American capitals secret police. These guys who refuse to identify themselves, who did not wear insignias or name plates.
Today we also learn more about Trump`s trip to that bunker. The Washington Post reporting the Secret Service decided to move Trump there after protesters breached temporary fences near White House complex. But that is not the story that the man who Senator Tammy Duckworth called a draft- dodging wannabe tinpot dictator is telling. No, no, no. The President is hilariously trying to assure us that the bunker trip was just for inspection purposes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, it was a false report. I wasn`t down -- I went down during the day, and I was there for a tiny little short period of time, and it was much more for an inspection.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you`re telling me, Mr. President, they didn`t say to you, you have to go downstairs, my responsibilities, your welfare. They didn`t limit you at all in the house?
TRUMP: Nope, they didn`t tell me that at all. But they said it would be a good time to go down. Take a look because maybe sometime you`re going to need it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I love the idea. The protesters have breached the fence, now would be a good time to inspect the bunker, Mr. President, just because you might need it in the future. The President`s attempts to project strength and domination are pathetic. They`re frankly, pathetic. They`re not working. Most people rightly think the President is failing miserably at the task at hand.
Only 39 percent of the country approve his handling of the protests compared to 55 percent who disapprove. Things are not looking good. And we have learned over five years of watching Trump, there is no definitive breaking point. There`s no moment where it all collapses. Have you no decency, sir, where Trump is routed and repudiated and everyone runs away from him. But in an election year, in an election year, the last widening circles of condemnation matter.
The statement from former Secretary of Defense Mattis comes one day after a similarly striking criticism from former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mike Mullen, as well as reports the Pentagon is furiously trying to retreat from Trump`s call to dominate the protests.
Now, Mattis is an enormously respected figure within the military, and his words carry enormous weight. Here`s more of what he had to say. "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people, does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We`re witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy as the past few days have shown. But we owe it to our fellow citizens to past generations that bled to defend our promise and to our children."
Joining me now for more on the remarkable statement by General Mattis is Lieutenant General Russel Honore who served as the commander of the committee of joint task force in Katrina. It`s great to have you on, General. First, your reaction to this statement, which is quite strong from General Mattis.
GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, FORMER COMMANDER, JOINT TASK FORCE KATRINA: Well, what General Mattis eloquently stated was in the hearts and minds of many of us who wear our nation`s cloth. Myself, I spent 37 years wearing our nation`s uniform and commitment to that constitution.
And as you recall that night, as this thing happened as it unfolded, I was just having to be doing an interview on another station. And I say, you know what I said then. The President doesn`t understand the constitution or he doesn`t give a damn. And I think General Mattis very eloquently stated that in his statement, as well as Admiral Mullen.
This is quite discouraging. And I think we are happy to see the Secretary of Defense crawling back over to the Pentagon where he needs to stay. He is not a prop for any political activities. If he`s going to control our nuclear weapons and nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines and two million people, the Secretary of Defense needs to stay the hell at the Pentagon and stay out the White House.
HAYES: I`m curious. I mean, I`ve never been a pentagon reporter. I`ve had friends who are and I`ve done some reporting on that -- on that building and the -- and the culture there. It just seems to me that given what Esper had to do to try to kind of run away from being associated with it, to see Mattis, to see Mullen, to see all these figures, there is most likely profound dissension in the Pentagon and disapproval in frustration with what the President`s rhetoric and actions. What do you think?
HONORE: I think this will be short live. We`ve come to expect that the President will give orders that he cannot accomplish. You know, two weeks ago, it was telling the governors, he will tell them when they can open the states. He would direct them to do it. And now we`re off to he`s got to tell them, he`s got to use the Insurrection Act to send federal troops in, very poor understanding of the Constitution and regulation and the relationship between the White House and the governors. The governors are the senior elected official in each state and somehow, he don`t understand that.
HAYES: The question has been raised as we`ve watched this about the sort of sacrosanct guardrail between the civilian government and the military. Obviously, it`s a guardrail that has been crossed in many nations before ours. And there`s a question about do we basically trust the sort of fundamental bedrock integrity of the military as apolitical force that can be trusted to say refuse unlawful orders. I wonder what you think about that?
HONORE: Well, we`ve lost Secretary Defense and a few others along the way as Secretary of the Navy over disagreements with the White House, and that`s what happens. The honorable people step away when they are told something that the disagree with. We all have to respect the fact that on the same day it can be brushed off, we`ve got to maintain the force, we`ve got to protect the country.
So you might see a secretary of defense or chairman suck one down every now and then, like when the President went over to the Pentagon and cursed everybody out and told them they didn`t know what they were doing. They suck that down because they didn`t do it because out of respect to him, they did it because they have to take care of the troops and protect our country.
This is uncalled for. He`s acting like he`s running Turkey, not the United States of America. And I think the American people deserve better than that. But they will have to make a decision in the few months.
HAYES: You obviously have some experience with this, with having deployed service members under your command in the streets of an American city in Louisiana in the wake of Katrina. You wrote about it in the Atlantic. You said, don`t ever tell law enforcement to shoot to kill your own people. What troubled you about the sounds coming from the White House and from Esper about dominating the battlespace when talking about American citizens?
HONORE: It actually scared the hell out of me. As you -- if you would appear to see that article just quickly, the governor in the hour of desperation was addressing the people of Louisiana and basically said, looters stay away because we will give orders to shoot to kill if we get your looting.
And of course, we don`t shoot people over things like that and we were there for a rescue mission. And we don`t shoot people, your own citizen. You don`t direct the police to shoot your people. Shooting is the last option that a law enforcement officer or uniformed member who swore this protect and defend the Constitution of the United States does.
We shoot to protect ourselves. We don`t shoot to kill people because they`re coming out with a television out of a store or a handful of shoes. We apprehend them, and that`s why we are trained. That`s why we`re uniform commission people.
HAYES: Lieutenant General Russel Honore, it is always great to get your perspective particularly at this very perilous moment. I appreciate you taking some time with us.
HONORE: Good day. Remember the COVID. Wear your mask.
HAYES: That`s right. Joining me now for more on President Trump`s dangerous misuse of the military, Congressman Ruben Gallego, Democrat of Arizona. He`s a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq. And you`ve been quite outspoken, Congressman, as you`ve watched the president sort of flirt with the Insurrection Act.
We also saw reports today that active duty service members have been called around D.C., brought to D.C. That decision had been reversed, that Esper was going to send them back to where they had been stationed, and the president apparently then reverse that reversal and countermanded that. What do you think is happening here?
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): Well, I think this is very reflective of the instability of his administration, the instability of this president. He doesn`t know how to lead. He doesn`t know how to lead a nation. You don`t think he knows how to use to exploit a nation and exploit the tensions in this nation. And that kind of shows when you`re dealing with professionals.
Right now, I know that there are kind of out officials that are pushing back hard on this. They know that the President is pretty close to breaking that very tenuous relationship that has existed, you know, basically since the end of the Vietnam War. We`ve been trying to rebuild the relationship between civilians and military leadership. And he`s trying to destroy it, not for any you know, grander cause, but basically to save his political behind, and that`s the worst, right?
This man is so weak that he believes that violence equals strength. And that`s just not the way it is. You know, I always try to remind people, especially young people who get into politics, the most important thing to always remember is this. Strength whispers, weakness screams. And this President is screaming right now for attention and distraction.
HAYES: I want to ask you about an op-ed that ran the New York Times today. It`s under the byline of Tom Cotton. A man of somewhat similar trajectories you. I mean, you`re both Harvard graduates, you both served in in the post 9/11 war theatres. He says send in the troops. The nation must restore order. The military stands ready.
He was tweeting earlier this week about let`s see how Antifa likes it when they face the airborne. What do you think of that?
GALLEGO: We`re no longer a nation when we have to rely on the United States Military to bring "order" across this country. And also, you know, this fake idea of Antifa being some organization that we have to send United States might against. That`s ridiculous.
What he is describing are largely peaceful protests. They are sick and tired of black men being targeted in this country and dying at the hands of governments. And he may think that, you know, showing strength again, by setting the 82nd Airborne. You`re not seeing the 82nd Airborne against Antifa, you`re sending it against U.S. citizens. It would be a disgrace to the face of everybody that`s ever worked to make this democracy more perfect for the last 300 -- 200 years that, you know, I can`t imagine something like Senator Cotton thinks as a serious concept.
You do not use military force against U.S. citizens. That is anti-ethical to what we`ve always understood. And I think you`d have a lot of problems of having many of these soldiers, sailors, marines actually follow those orders.
HAYES: If -- on a spectrum where one is a democracy that is healthy and thriving and has robust institutional resilience and respect for the rule of law, and 10 is one that`s dying, that is -- that is about to wink out of existence and give way to something more authoritarian. Where do you see the U.S. today right now?
GALLEGO: I still think we`re a healthy democracy. But we`re a healthy democracy not because we have, you know, former generals coming out and talking, not because we have a couple Republican senators that have, you know, finally found their spine or because we have a Congress that is run by Democrats that are trying to hold this presidency accountable.
The reason we`re surviving right now is because there are people in the streets demanding justice. There are people in the streets that even after the administration illegally gassed them for a photo op decided to double down and bring even more people to push back on this government that`s trying to basically grab hold.
We`re surviving now because people are saying we`re not going to take this. And we will continue to survive as long as there are thousands of people willing to join us in the streets and say that we will push back against any type of attempts to really degrade our democracy.
HAYES: Final question for you. Do you think Mattis should have spoken out sooner?
GALLEGO: Well, you know, when you`re looking for allies, the best thing you could do is bring them on as soon as you can and be happy they`re brought on. I`ve had (AUDIO GAP) with mister--1 with General Mattis. I voted against his confirmation. I got a lot of stuff from1 other Marines for it.
But right now, we`re dealing with an existential threat. Let`s be happy who we have on this team. And this is one team one fight. Let`s save democracy and save this, you know, beautiful country that we have inherited from thousands of people putting their lives on the line.
HAYES: Congressman, Ruben Gallego from the state of Arizona, thank you so much for your time tonight, Congressman.
GALLEGO: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Up next, the power of protest as people continue to take the streets in Minneapolis and around the country. Tonight, there are new charges against all four officers involved in George Floyd`s death. The latest next.
HAYES: This is the ninth night of protest since the Minneapolis police officer put his knee on the neck of George Floyd killing him. That officer Derek Chauvin was almost immediately fired, but it took four days until he was charged with third-degree murder. And the three other officers with him were not charged.
Well, today we got a huge development on that front. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that he is elevating that third-degree murder charge to a second-degree murder charge. He`s also charging the other three officers involved in George Floyd`s death with aiding and abetting murder. Both of which are crucially in line with requests from the Floyd family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEITH ELLISON, ATTORNEY GENERAL, MINNESOTA: To the Floyd family, to our beloved community, and to everyone that is watching, I say, George Floyd mattered. He was loved. His family was important. His life had value. And we will seek justice for him and for you, and we will find it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I don`t know if you`ve had time to look at a criminal complaint against the officers who killed George Floyd, but it paints a harrowing picture of his last moments. "The defendant had his knee on Mr. Floyd`s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non responsive."
Bystanders who recorded what was happening, begged the officer to get off Floyd`s neck saying -- according to New York Times transcript, "how long you all got to hold him down? You`re stopping his breathing right there, bro."
Today`s news about Attorney General Keith Ellison elevating the charges of secondary murder, and charging the other three officers comes against the backdrop of tens of thousands of people in the streets in cities large and small, and I mean really small and all over, all 50 states, protesting against injustice, calling for police accountability and end to racialize policing.
And then of course, there has been a much smaller group of people who have caused destruction, significant destruction, looting. In Minnesota, there were fires, but community leaders have tamped down that part of the story. And so, what we`re starting to see now a week and a few days into this is concrete action.
Just yesterday, the Minneapolis school board voted unanimously to terminate their contract with police department. The AFL-CIO of Minnesota is calling for the resignation of the president of the Minneapolis Police Union. We`ve seen tangible victories even if they are symbolic of that sort of cross country. A.P. reported the governor of Virginia is planning to announce the removal of a statue of Confederate Robert E. Lee from Richmond.
In Birmingham, Alabama, they took down a more than century-old Confederate monument. In Philadelphia, they took down the statue of the infamous demagogue Mayor Frank Rizzo, who literally encouraged people to "vote white." You see protesters had to face it earlier in the week.
There are many different ways that unrest, protest movements like this which aren`t super organized, right, which are organic, there`s many ways they can go. There are some real reasons tonight to feel like it`s headed in the right direction.
You know, I was in Ferguson, Missouri six years ago. A lot of these protests remind me of what we saw in Ferguson. And there was a mass protest movement there day after day and night after night. And then on the edges, there was also real mayhem, scary at times.
Ultimately the protest movement is what lasted and endured and was channeled into concrete political power like what happened last night when the people Ferguson elected their first black mayor in the city`s entire history.
Joining me now for more on the possible victories and the limitations is Nikole Hannah-Jones Domestic Correspondent for the New York Times Magazine focusing on racial injustice. Earlier this year, she won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary for work on the 1619 project on the legacy of African Americans in the United States.
I wonder what you think, Nikole, as you watch this news come in, as you saw the press conference from Keith Ellison of the role of street protest in pushing people in power.
NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, DOMESTIC CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: I think it`s had a tremendous role. When we look at how rarely we see charges against police officers, how rarely we see these types of charges, and we certainly don`t see them happening this quickly. It is obvious that the sustained nature of the protests and how the protests have spread to all 50 states has helped lead us to this moment.
HAYES: You`ve been writing a bit about the sort of ways in which previous eras of protest movements, the ways that they were characterized, the sort of fact that, you know, non-violent protesting sat side by side destruction, property destruction, fires, in some cases, looting, and the sort of full narrative that gets pictured about that. What do you think about the story that is being told here when you do have those two things side by side? You have peaceful protesters, you`ve got tens of thousands of them, you have Windows smashed, you`ve got looting in like my home borough The Bronx, small businesses. What -- how do you think about the full picture and how the full picture now is being communicated to the American public?
HANNAH-JONES: These type of protests reveal deep societal risks. And so, the idea that they will always be, "non-violent" I think doesn`t speak to what causes these protests in the first place. And also, the attention that we`re paying to them had these protests remain non-violent. There was no property damage, there were no clashes with the police. We would not see the back to back coverage that we`ve seen. We would not see this sustained media spotlight. And we know that to be true.
So part of it, and again, I clearly have to explicitly state this these days. I am not condoning nor advocating property destruction, but we do know that destruction is often what brings the sustained attention and that people can protest peacefully as Dr. King did. And when there was not violence in his case, courting white violence, the media largely gets bored and moves on.
So in some ways you don`t want -- you clearly don`t want to see destruction, but it can be effective in bringing about change.
HAYES: Yes. What do you think about the sort of trajectory of street movement and street struggle and political power? And there`s a -- there`s a complicated story about that trajectory. There`s a complicated story about African American political leaders and African American police chiefs and mayors and the Attorney General in Minnesota, Keith Ellison, who got his start as an anti-police brutality activist, we should note. How significant is it what happened today and how meaningful is that political power?
HANNAH-JONES: That political power can be extremely meaningful, but not necessarily so. So it`s clearly important to have black people heading law enforcement agencies that are largely policing black Americans to have black leadership over heavily black cities. But we know that that doesn`t stop necessarily police brutality, that black police officers are capable of behaving brutally towards black citizens. and that black mayors and black leaders sometimes allow that type of behavior.
But access to that political power is important. To have a black law enforcement official, the highest law enforcement official in the state be able to say I`m actually going to strengthen this murder charge against this police officer speaks to why this representation is necessary.
I mean, I`m assuming why you`re -- why you`re saying it`s complicated is that we know black people largely came into political power in the cities because of white flight, and there was a withdrawal of white political power and then Black people had to fill that vacuum with a declining tax base, a lot fewer resources and a poor population. So it`s been a double- edged sword as well.
HAYES: We`re watching protests continue at this moment. There are folks all along the West Coast in San Francisco and in Los Angeles, we`ve been seeing some of those images on your screen. This is Denver at the moment. I`m curious what you make of the -- it is striking to me as someone who has covered the protests in Ferguson and in Baltimore how resolutely multi- racial the people in the streets are. I mean, it is really -- you can just see it. And it`s striking. And it was not quite that really in Ferguson or Baltimore. There are a lot of white folks on the street side by side with African-American people, Asian-American, Latino, Indigenous. I mean, it really is like a full representation. And I wonder what you make of that?
HANNAH-JONES: I think there`s a lot of things going on. I think one of the big things is who we have in the White House right now where before maybe white Americans didn`t understand how deeply their fates were tied to the marginalized people. I think there`s a realization of that, that this is a country that is not going in the direction that many white Americans want either, and that you have to have multi-racial organizing in order to make that happen.
I think the pandemic definitely played a role. People have been cooped up, and being able to come out in support of something important, that matters. I think that`s been really critical. And I guess the last thing that I would say is, we have seen a lot of police killings. I don`t know that in my lifetime I`ve seen one so terrifyingly callous. I think it was the nature of that video, to watch a police officer with his hands in his pocket, with a totally nonchalant face, knee on a man for 8:46, nearly 3 minutes of that where he is not moving -- you have to not have a heartbeat not to be deeply, deeply disturbed by that. And I think people just decided this is enough.
HAYES: I think that is exceedingly on the money. Nicole Hannah-Jones -- by the way, I`ve not -- I`ve texted to you, but not spoken to you since the Pulitzer, congratulations. You have now -- I don`t think there`s any prizes left for you to win at this point. But congratulations. It well deserved, well earned.
HANNAH-JONES: Thank you so much.
HAYES: Ahead, did a New York Police Union really just declare war on its own city in a public message that everyone could read? As protests continue across the country, are police unions the biggest impediment to reform? That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were all just walking, doing nothing. And then I look behind, and I see like 30 cops with their batons already in their hands running at us. And our friend got hit, and she has asthma she was trying to take a break, too, because she couldn`t like really breathe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And at one point when like I turned around, I could see the officer that was beating her with the baton also had her by her hair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After a week of protests across the country, we`ve seen a lot, a lot, a lot of really unnerving stories and videos of police violence and police instigating against demonstrators, police snatching people and arresting them clearly just for speech, after they just said a thing they didn`t like.
And here`s what the leadership of the police union in the largest city in the country is saying, quote, "we will win this war on New York City." I mean, I guess you could charitably say that the war is against New York City, they`re going to win it, but that`s not what that sounds like. Think about that for a second. Their job is to protect and serve New York City, not defeat it in a war.
But it`s not a one-off, this is the way New York police unions talk all the time, all day long on Twitter. In fact, it`s basically the way that every police union everywhere, as far as I can tell, talks, like they`re in a war, like some segment of the citizenry is their enemy they must defeat.
After the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, a St. Louis police union official said demonstrators, quote, "want dead cops and that was their goal all along."
After the death of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore Police Union president compared the protesters to a lynch mob because they called for the officers involved to be jailed immediately.
After the death of a 12-year-old child, Tamir Rice, Cleveland Police Patrolman`s Association president said, "Tamir Rice is in the wrong," and called him, a 12-year-old, quote, "menacing." This is the same guy who referred to the citizens of Cleveland as the dregs of society.
This is just standard fare, standard. And it`s not just rhetoric, these organizations are some of the most powerful municipal institutions in every city in the country. And you can elect a reform mayor, you can put a reformer as a police commissioner, and they`re still going to have to go through the police union.
In fact, that`s kind of what happened in Minneapolis where they have this reformer, the current police chief, a soft-spoken African-American police chief. And the head of the police union is this guy, seen here at a Trump rally in October.
Among people who have organized on this issue, they`ve have long realized that you`re not going to get at the problem with policing if you don`t do something about the unions.
We`ll talk to the Minneapolis city councilman who tried to take on the police unions next.
HAYES: The place where this current American uprising all started, of course, is Minneapolis, Minnesota where a number of elected officials in the state are pushing for police reform.
One of those officials is City Council Member Steve Fletcher, and he had this just incredible Twitter thread yesterday talking about his attempt at reform and basically being stymied at every turn by the Minneapolis police union, quote, "politicians who cross the Minneapolis Police Department find slowdowns in their wards. "After the first time I cut money from the proposed police budget, I had an up-tick in calls taking forever to get a response. And Minneapolis Police Department officers telling business owners to call their councilman about why it took so long."
Minneapolis City Council Member Steve Fletcher joins me now.
Thanks for joining us, Council Member. Maybe you could start by giving us a little context about policing and the Minneapolis Police Department in your city even before George Floyd`s death and the latest protests?
STEVE FLETCHER, (D) MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL MEMBER, WARD 3: Absolutely. So we have been struggling with police accountability for many, many years. We have known it was a problem. Many of us on the city council ran on police reform and on police accountability.
This is not the first person to die at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. It is certainly the one that is the clearest about it being just utterly unacceptable and indefensible. So I think this has sparked a new level of outrage, but this is something that we have been working on. And as I talked about it, something that I`ve been trying to, in incremental ways, begin to chip away at, begin to think about, what functions of the police could we replace with other kinds of responses, what ways can we create accountability to make sure that there`s discipline for abuse of power and misuse of the use of force.
It`s been very challenging.
HAYES: What has happened when you have attempted things like, for instance, cutting police budgets? This is something that`s kind of sacrosanct in many cities, many major cities around the country. Police take up 40 to 50 percent of the total budget for the entire city. What is the organized opposition from both the police department and the police union been like when there are any attempts to do that?
FLETCHER: And the ironic thing is we weren`t even proposing a cut to their budget, we were proposing a cut to a proposed increase. So, it felt to me like it was probably insufficiently progressive for even what I had run on, in some ways. And we still had -- they`re very good at organizing a base of sort of law and order conservatives and also scaring people by either implying that they`ll be aggressive about enforcement about something, or that they will slow down enforcement about something.
So, I started getting calls saying, hey, there`s a guy sitting in our parking lot, stalking one of my employees, and we`re calling 911 about it and they`re saying, oh, we can`t do anything about it, talk to your council member.
FLETCHER: You know, people get scared. It`s understandable.
HAYES: We have seen very concerted activities, slowdowns, particularly in Baltimore after Freddie Gray. There was obviously a sort of concerted slowdown. This also happened in Chicago if you look at arrest data.
What do you see as the sort of solution here? I mean, the political capital here is a combination of the organization of the union and the leadership and the political capital police have and the fact that people tend to -- there`s a lot of people in a city who respect the police or want police to be in their neighborhood, there are many who don`t. How do you see the sort of way through this?
FLETCHER: Well, first of all, I object to calling them a union. The Minneapolis Police Federation does not call itself a union, they do not affiliate with the labor movement or with other unions. They`re not members of the Minnesota AFL-CIO. And in fact, the Minnesota AFL-CIO called on Bob Krull to resign, the president of the federation.
HAYES: Today. That`s right.
FLETCHER: I think it`s very important that we not confuse this, because I think there`s a danger, and part of what`s protected them for so long is that none of us want to take away hard-fought labor rights by passing big changes to labor law in order to get at the police federation. And at the same time, we have to do something so that it`s at least possible when we have a good chief who wants to reform the department and create a new culture, he has to be able to fire people who won`t get with that culture.
And we have arbitrators sending people back after they`ve beat someone in handcuffs. So I don`t know how we could possibly govern a department where you can`t even fire somebody who abuses use of force.
HAYES: Final question for you, Bob Krull, who you just mentioned, who is the head of that federation, he was on stage with Donald Trump in your city when Trump had a big -- how -- what kind of figure is he in your city? What is the -- what does it mean to have that picture, that be the sort of face of the police federation?
FLETCHER: You know, he is certainly artful at stirring up controversy. I think that he likes it. I think that it helps him win influence in spheres outside of Minneapolis. I consider him a distraction most of the time, because he`s frankly not, you know, particularly politically influential in Minneapolis.
But he is very artful at sending out signals like this to his supporters to that he can identify the people who he can sort of stir up and get behind him and he`s good at doing it.
He used to use the neighborhood organizations. I`ll tell you that neighborhood organizations are writing letters calling on us to defund the police right now. It`s been a real sea change in public opinion and rightly so. We`ll have to reckon with what happened to George Floyd this week and what we failed to prevent.
HAYES: Wow. Minneapolis City Council Member Steve Fletcher, that was really, really, really illuminating. Thank you so much for making time.
FLETCHER: Thank you for covering this. It`s important.
HAYES: Still ahead, new fears about a spike in Coronavirus as thousands pack the streets to protest. We`ll talk about that next.
HAYES: As we have been saying over and over and over, over the last week- and-a-half, keep watching while thousands of people gathered in protests, sometimes very close together, that the Coronavirus hasn`t gone anywhere. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic. The virus hasn`t gone away.
Health officials do think that outdoor transmission is considerably less risky than indoors, that`s what the most recent data and studies tend to suggest, and a lot of people at these protests, as you can see there, have been wearing masks.
But there are a lot of people shouting and chanting and we know that is something that accelerates spread. And there is a real worry about super- spreading events.
AP reports the top 25 Coronavirus hot spots across the country have all had protests. Yesterday, this caught my eye, an Oklahoma State football player who had attended a protest in Tulsa tweeted that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Now, epidemiologists, public health experts, are bracing themselves, for what we`ll see in the next week or two as we basically are conducting this big national experiment with large gatherings outdoors in the middle of the pandemic.
Joining me now is Dr. Peter Hotez, a dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr. Hotez, we`ve had you on a bunch throughout this entire pandemic over the last several months. What do you think? Put aside the social contexts, the righteousness, the nature of the protests, the balance of risks, just as an epidemiological matter about what you see when you see these large groups of people close together outdoors?
DR. PETER HOTEZ, TEXAS CHILDREN`S HOSPITAL CO-DIRECTOR CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT: Right, so before I directly answer your question, I just want to also remind everyone that remember the reason why these protests are happening in the first place, i it is to protest structural racism, not only for the police, but in fact, COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting the African-American community.
African-Americans have a three-times higher death rate from COVID-19 than white populations. And in Washington, D.C., it is six times higher. We can talk about the reasons for that.
But COVID-19 is decimating African-American communities, and that is actually in my opinion actually a component of the protests. We know that COVID-19 is on the rise still in multiple states, it`s on the rise in California. It`s on the rise in Texas. And there`s no question, having these protests will act as an accelerant, by that, it may speed up the rise, and it may speed up the amplitude, meaning the number of total cases. Elsewhere, COVID-19`s on the decline, like in New York City, and that could delay the decline.
So I am very concerned, and I`m especially concerned about the protesters, because a lot of them will be disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
HAYES: There`s some concern about states distinct from the protests themselves, or the protests, we`re seeing this, there are states where we`re just seeing increases, and it doesn`t seem to be because of the protests. This is something that seems to have been sort of baked in before.
Arizona, for instance, the five day moving average of new cases there is pretty worrying. Arizona is a place that under Governor Ducey opened fairly early, it was one of those places that opened as it was rising, still, which is a handful of states.
Where is the U.S. right now in suppression of the virus, because I feel like we kind of, both societally and also from a policy perspective, we kind of got two thirds of the way, and then kind of like it`s done now.
HOTEZ: That`s right. And a lot of states, what happened was we were -- had the possibility of getting back to containment mode, that is one new case per million residents per day, but many governors chose -- said we can`t wait any longer, we`ve got to open it up, and now the cases are starting to rise. We`re starting to see a rise in Texas, and for instance, in some of the numbers projected are pretty scary in terms of later in the summer and the fall of the number of cases.
So, overall, you know, some people will often say, hey, we`re seeing a decline, across the country, but so much of that is because we`re still having aggressive social distancing in many parts of the northeast that got hit so hard, but most of the country, the cases have either leveled off, or they`re rising. And so the expectation is by later in the summer and fall, we`ll see a steep rise.
And remember how it works, it`s not like you get a lot of notice, it`s not like a linear increase, a little more each day, a little more each day, what happens is it continues to stay flat and people become even more complacent and they`re going to say, hey, we got this, we`re behind this, and then you`re going to see the steep rise.
So -- and the worry of course, is that by the summer, later in the summer or fall, what you saw in New York will be replicated in multiple cities across the United States. And it is really important to remember that while the crowds, as part of the protests, may accelerate some of that, a lot of this, unfortunately, is inevitable anyway, because we have not, we have not adequately done that social distancing, and kept it in place.
And once again, it`s going to be the African-American, Hispanic communities, that bear the brunt of this rise, because it is very hard to maintain social distancing in crowded neighborhoods. The underlying co- morbidities -- diabetes, hypertension, renal disease -- and remember how this virus is decimating jails. And so we incarcerate African-American populations at those high rates, so I`m very concerned.
HAYES: All right, Dr. Peter Hotez -- as we are looking at these images of crowds, and I can`t get that thought out of my mind -- I really appreciate you coming on tonight, thank you.
HOTEZ: Thank you.
HAYES: If you`ve been in one of those protests and you have testing capacity in your state, go get a test. I think it`s a good idea.
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