STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: That is going to do it for us tonight. Thank you for being with us. But don`t go anywhere because "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes is up next.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. George Floyd is laid to rest in Houston. Real movement on police reform begins. And Trump attacks the victim in Buffalo. No, really.
Tonight, why we all need to worry about a president panicking over his election. Rick Hasen and Senator Tammy Duckworth are here. Then, the defund the police movement. What does that actually mean? How would that work? Christie Lopez of Georgetown`s innovative policing program.
Congressman Antonio Delgado on what the protest movement looks like inside Trump country, and why the state of Arizona is on the brink of a covert emergency after ignoring CDC guidelines for opening up. When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Today George Floyd was laid to rest in his hometown of Houston as the protests sparked by his killing continue in small towns and big cities across America undeterred, in fact, even invigorated by a president who has set himself an opposition to the protesters.
The conditions in this country in so many ways have changed so much in the past couple weeks over the past few months, it is almost impossible for us covering it day in day out watching the news in the headlines to fully conceive of where things stand, how much the world in this country changed.
Those changes have proven to be a test of the strange paradoxical nature of Donald Trump`s political strength. He`s ability to hold tightly to his base despite repeatedly saying and doing terrible things that would sink virtually any other politician.
Back in 2016, Trump infamously said, you`ll recall, he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and would not lose any voters. He said it sort of surprised, amused. It turns out that ushering the worst cataclysm in the nation in a century, guiding the economy into recession, and standing in opposition to a majority of a majority of Americans who support the protests and say police needed to change. Well, it turns out that all does have an effect.
Day by day more data accrues to show how politically weak he is, how politically imperiled, and how much the actual crises of the country are overwhelming his ability to distract Americans and manipulate the media. FiveThirtyEight polling average on April 1st had Trump here 46 percent approval. For the past 10 weeks, he`s seen that approval rating steadily erode, dropping nearly five points down to 41 percent.
That may not look like a lot, but keep in mind this is someone who`s polling has been remarkably stable. Also, the polls suggest Donald Trump would be absolutely crushed by Joe Biden if the election were held today. Get this. In just the past week, polls have come out showing Biden up 15 points in Michigan, up nine in Wisconsin, up four and Arizona, up two in Ohio, tied in Iowa, tied in Texas, all states Trump won in 2016.
After a recent CNN poll showed Biden up 14 points nationally, Trump got so upset that he announced he "retained a highly respected pollster to analyze a CNN poll and others which I felt were, all caps, fake." Terrible numbers have taken such a toll on the President`s fragile ego. The Trump campaign has spent slightly more than $400,000 on cable news ads, where? Well, in the swing state of Washington D.C. over the past month, according the Daily Beast, even though he has no shot of winning there or in the surrounding states.
It`s an apparent effort to show the president who appears to spend most of his day, all of his day, something like that, watching cable news and tweeting, that they`re running ads for him. They got his back. And then today, amidst the national conversation, there`s moves so quickly on police reform that even conservative Republicans, like former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, have placed themselves on the side of reform amidst this absolute sea change of public opinion.
The President of the United States today took aim at the frail, cancer- surviving 75-year-old lifelong peace activist in Buffalo named Martin Gugino. A man who gently approached the cops to talk to them and was shoved to the ground in front of us all, blood pooling next to his head.
Mr. Gugino who has spent his life advocating for causes like peace and justice had to spend nearly a week in the ICU. The President today decided to suggest that the elderly protester could be an Antifa provocateur who was trying to scan police communications in order to blackout the equipment. And BY the way, he fell harder than was pushed. Could it be a setup?
In response to that insane, disgusting conspiracy theory, Martin Gugino himself told USA Today in the text that he has, "no comment, other than black lives matter. Just out of the ICU should recover eventually. Thanks."
There`s always been this kind of feral canniness to the way that Trump plays politics. We`ve all seen it. And it can be hard to tell. Is this man a master manipulator or just the kind of brain-dead regurgitation of the dark fantasies that make up his media of diet. Right now, it sure seems like the latter, doesn`t it?
The president`s running out of options. He`s slipping the polls. None of his old tricks are working. But of course, he will stop at nothing to hang on to power, which is why he has been trying to whip up this frenzy of legitimacy around the basic administration of free and fair elections in this democratic republic. And also why his Republican allies have been making it harder for people to vote either by mail, despite the pandemic or in person. Which brings us to election day.
Today was Election Day. Five states held primaries today including NBC -- including Georgia where NBC News projects that Joe Biden won the Democratic presidential primary, not that surprising. He`s the only one left in the race.
And this was a scene in the state of Georgia earlier today. Look at that. Primary voters mostly in counties that are majority non-white, having to wait in hours-long lines. Hours and hours, many turned away from the polls, amid problems with voting machines and a lack of available ballots.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To come here and you think that you`re actually taking an active part in bringing about some change, and you get here and it`s like, I can`t vote. You don`t know if this is just negligence or if this is deliberate. You don`t know where it`s coming from. It`s just really bad all around. It really was a bad experience.
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HAYES: Georgia is already well known for voter suppression. It is where Republican governor Brian Kemp won a narrow victory over Stacey Abrams in 2018. An election Abrams called "rotten and rigged." Kemp of course have been Secretary of State administering the election while running in it.
Since 2013, when the Supreme Court invalidated a huge swath of the Voting Rights Act and the voting rights protections they`re in, Georgia has closed about five percent of its polling places. Co-founder of Black Voters Matter LaTosha Brown said it took her three hours to vote today in Atlanta.
She told Politico, she drove to a predominantly white polling place in the suburbs of Atlanta after leaving her voting site Monday and was near tears as she saw no line and people easily walking in and out. I come over to this side of town and white folks are strolling in. On my side town, we brought stadium chairs, said Brown.
Now, in the polls in the public imagination, in public opinion, in just about every way, the president his allies are losing. And so, they are attempting really to undermine our elections, faith in them, the administration of them. And if that fails, watch them to just deem them illegitimate. The President is already starting to make those noises.
And what we saw in Georgia today, we saw them in Wisconsin a short while ago is an ominous warning about what is to come. Look at that. Pay attention to that because what we saw is pretty close to the worst nightmare for citizens who want to vote, who believe in electing our representatives, for election law experts who study this, for people who study the resiliency of democracy for grassroots voting groups, for all of them.
There are people who have already started planning for and writing about this kind of thing, including a great book out called Election Meltdown, which describes the growing mistrust in our elections and attempts to restrain the franchise. The author that book, Rick Hasen joins me now.
Rick, it`s great to get you. You have -- you`re sort of one of the top election law experts in the country. I`ve been following you and reading through forever. Let`s start just with the particulars of what we saw in Georgia today. I mean, you see lines, sometimes there`s big turnout, there`s lines. Georgia seemed like an absolute disaster in many respects. What happened there today?
RICK HASEN, PROFESSOR OF LAW AND POLITICAL SCIENCE, U.C. IRVINE: Well, I don`t think it was a single thing. I mean, it`s the kind of confluence of a few factors. Number one, Georgia because it had been sued, because it had terrible voting machines, had to roll out new voting machines. But because the state dragged its feet in getting those new machines online. This was the first election that they were really in use in the first big election.
And what that means is that, you know, you`re dealing with a situation where you have poll workers, many of whom are not showing up because of COVID-19, are trying to run these new machines. They don`t have a good backup plan. They don`t have backup ballots, enough for all the voters. There`s not enough training of people across the board, and you have a state that`s just shown itself time and again to not be interested in putting the voters first.
And so I think, you know, Georgia is the worst. But we saw problems, not just in Wisconsin, we saw problems in Maryland, in Pennsylvania, in Washington D.C. last week. We`re seeing problems in Pennsylvania across the board. It`s really scary situation right now, as we look towards an event.
HAYES: So there`s two -- there`s two items here. I mean, in Wisconsin, right? So, in the Wisconsin story, it seemed to be very clearly much of what we saw, a direct product of the pandemic. This was weeks earlier, most of the country was on lockdown, and you had -- you just didn`t have poll workers who were able to -- wanted to work amidst of a pandemic, understandably. That shuts down polling places. You had the denial by the state Republicans of making, you know, absentee balloting easier. That creates a perfect storm that creates a situation in Wisconsin.
What I`m hearing from you is that what we`re seeing in Georgia and what we`ve seen other places is just the regular level of maladministration of American elections compounded by some of the factors of the pandemic.
HASEN: Right. But also, the fact that you have these brand new machines. And these machines are complicated machines. They`re touchscreen machines that produce a piece of paper that produces a code that gets counted. And in a lot of places in Georgia where they had problems, they couldn`t get the machine started. They didn`t know how to run them.
And so, part of that is training, and part of that, you know, is because of the coronavirus. You`re not getting people into adequate training. But it doesn`t sound like the state really engaged in enough training. The state is pointing its fingers at how the counties ran the election. The counties are pointing it at the state. It just shows you when you have a fragmented, polarized, decentralized voting system, these kinds of problems are bound to happen. And the last thing you want to do is go to new technology or new rules during you know, a presidential election.
But of course, we have to make accommodations so that people are going to be able to vote in conditions of a pandemic and especially in November, we don`t know what things are going to look like. So we`ve got to have good mail-in balloting options and good in-person options and lots of early voting to try to alleviate the pressure like we saw today in Georgia.
HAYES: That seems to me is so crucial, right? Like the disaster scenario or scenes like we saw in Georgia playing out across the country, particular if they`re disproportionate in their effects in terms of the racial makeup of those precincts that are having problems like we tend to see, sometimes by design, and sometimes I think by a sort of cascade effect. I mean, the solution, it seems to me is to lift the bottleneck, get out ahead of it.
And yet you have the president urging on Republicans who have generally been in favor of absentee balloting, they vote that way in Utah, essentially trying to make it into some new cultural war enemy.
HASEN: Right. I think there`s two things going on there. Number one, Trump is trying to offer an explanation if he loses that, you know, it must be fraud through these absentee ballots. But number two, you know, my concern is that he`s going to try to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election.
Because one thing we know from Pennsylvania and from some other states that have gotten a new flood of absentee ballots, thanks in part to the coronavirus, is that it takes a long time to process those ballots and to count those ballots. There may be a period, we may have a full week where we don`t know who`s won in Pennsylvania, while those absentee ballots are counted. If Trump is ahead, that might be a time for him to claim I`m the winner even though it`s really too early to call.
HAYES: This is such an important point, just to focus on this for a moment. I mean, there`s two issues, right? There`s the -- there`s people`s democratic right to participate in a way where they are not unfairly taxed with a poll tax on their time of five hours, right, so the administration elections so that all people have a right to vote equally and easily and efficiently.
Then there`s the legitimacy problem, which is that if you have things that look like this, there`s a legitimacy problem particularly with a president we know who has no -- you know, no guardrails, he`ll observe in terms of what he`ll say.
HASAN: Right. So we need to get our act together. So that means people need to be requesting absentee ballots just as soon as they`re allowed to. We have to flatten the absentee ballot request curve. The media needs to be educating people that the election night it`s going to be -- if it`s close, if it`s not a blowout, it`s going to be too early to call for days and days and I think people will say that.
And election administrators need to get adequate funding from states and from Congress. They need scanners, they need workers, they need to print ballots. It all needs to happen now. You can`t start figuring this out in September. It`s going to be too late.
HAYES: This is such an important point. And we will keep reiterating that now until the Election Day. Do not expect election night like a normal election night. It`s going to take a while and everyone should know that going in. Rick Hasen, who is a must-read on all these issues, thank you very much.
HASEN: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now for more on what we`re witnessing across the country is Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois. And Senator, I was -- I was struck today that Tim Scott, one of your colleagues in South Carolina, a Republican Senator, along with a few other folks, I think Mitt Romney, and maybe Mike Lee are now talking about some kind of police reform or legislation.
And I was struck by it because generally, there`s not a lot that the Republicans do in the Senate other than past judges. It was striking to me that things have changed so much that they suddenly seem sort of interested in legislating a little.
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Well, it`s strange especially since just last week, I asked for unanimous consent to pass my legislation the Police Training and Independent Review Act, which is, you know, sets up a grant program to help train police (AUDIO GAP) systemic bias and racism in criminal justice and include a provision for providing for independent investigation of police involved shooting and police involved killings.
And, you know, the Republicans actually objected to that unanimous consent. So I`m quite surprised that suddenly today they`re interested. I wonder what happened.
HAYES: The President today -- I mean, I we don`t spend a ton of time on the President`s tweets on this program. What he said today about this individual Martin Gugino who I`ve talked to people who are friends with him, he`s a sort of a lifelong activist aligned with a Catholic worker tradition. He`s been in the streets peacefully advocating for peace and justice for years on this and many other issues.
I mean, this is just from some reporting from Politico, your colleagues, someone trying to get comment from them. The theory that a 75-year-old man shoved by police amid protests in Buffalo is a violent Antifa foot soldier is so zany that Republican senators not only found no need to comment on it, but are refusing to physically view the tweet in public.
Burgess Everett, our senior reporter who covered the Senate had the tweet printed out. Senators are treating it as if it`s a bar or radioactive substance refusing to read it in the presence of other human beings and certainly declining comment on it. What do you make of that?
DUCKWORTH: I mean, this is consistent with where the Republicans have been all along, right? The emperor has no clothes, but now they`re refusing to look at him so that they can say, I don`t know if he has any clothes on or not. I mean, this is what they do. They enabled this president.
Remember, this is the same president who went down and hid in the bunker at a time when, you know, the police forces that he ordered were firing tear gas on our on peaceful protests. This is the same guy who, you know, continue to try to divide us as a nation.
And for them to continue to enable him even to the extent where they`re running away from the truth -- literally, you`re putting the information in front of them and they`re running away from it -- is pretty consistent with Republicans all along. And that is to enable this president who has on his watch, allowed, you know, over 110,000 Americans to dive from COVID-19, who has continued to divide us and bring us together and heal us when it comes to the issues that people are so peacefully protesting right now. Unfortunately, I`m not surprised. It`s sad, but this is what`s happening with my colleagues.
HAYES: A slight point of clarification. The bunker I think was a day before that --the park police cleared people from Lafayette Square just to be clear on the on the timeline of that. There was a headline today about Mark Esper. I mean, I know obviously, you were -- you served in Iraq, you are also at the Veterans Affairs Department. I know you have deep interest in the Pentagon and the U.S. Armed Forces.
And there -- it really does seem as we`ve learned more and more that it was -- there was quite a conflict behind the scenes about this president attempting to use active-duty troops on the streets of America. A headline today, more reporting on the Wall Street Journal that Trump wanted to fire Esper over his kind of balking at the notion, it seems that Milley did as well, of deploying U.S. troops onto the streets.
There`s two ways to interpret this as sort of, I guess, reassuring they wouldn`t go for it and also terrifying the president wanted to do it. What what`s your choice there?
DUCKWORTH: Well, it`s both. But remember that this President fires anyone who stands (AUDIO GAP). And I`m glad that Mark Esper finally after -- by the way, he got on a phone call with governors and talking about having to dominate the battlespace (AUDIO GAP) to American soil and the American people. Finally, you know, he saw the light and I`m glad that he stood up to the President.
But again, the folks around him continue to be the ones who allow this president to get away with it. And my colleagues in the Senate continue to enable this president to shows that his -- you know, stick to his very worst instincts.
This is a time for us to heal. This is time to come together and talk about the very real issues that black Americans face. That their system -- you know, the system is biased against them. The fact, you know, this president talked about bringing in not just the military forces but now you know, they brought in all of these federal police forces and we don`t know who they are, and they`re on the streets policing against Americans. It`s very disturbing to me.
HAYES: Final question for you. You`re a helicopter pilot and I thought of you when I saw that U.S. helicopter. We think it was a Lakota and we think it was under the D.C. National Guard. It seems appear flying over a protest in what was reported as a quick show of force to kind of flying low snapping tree branches. Just what you made of the use of a U.S. military helicopter over peaceful American civilian demonstrators for that purpose?
DUCKWORTH: Well, number one, it disgust me and I was deeply concerned. And by the way, the Lakota is a medevac helicopter. So it is a medical evacuation helicopter being used to suppress crowds of peaceful protesters. I actually have letters that I have sent to the Pentagon asking for independent investigation as to who assigned that mission, who did that risk assessment, who briefed the pilots, and did the pilots do this on their own or were they ordered to do this and why did they not say no?
You know, there are all sorts of FAA and an army regulations about how to fly above crowds and there are some very tight restrictions. So for them to feel free to have done that, somebody gave them the order to do it, and I want to know who did that.
HAYES: You know, I want to know that too. We`re going to stay on that because there -- it`s a sort of small part of this entire story, but there are genuine unanswered questions about just how the orders got communicated, what the chain of command was. And I think we all deserve some answers on that. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. Thank you so much for making time tonight.
DUCKWORTH: Thank you for having me on.
HAYES: Next, warning signs from the state that reopened early despite not meeting CDC guidelines. The concerning surge of cases in Arizona as hospitals are put on high alert after this.
HAYES: The nation is of course in various stages of reopening after the coronavirus inspired lockdowns. And as we never tire pointing out on this show, there are actual written guidelines from the Donald Trump administration, from his CDC about reopening. And they`re basically being ignored by many, many states. And there`s real reason to worry about what`s going to come next.
There is perhaps no state more to worry about than Arizona. A state that has a Republican governor named Doug Ducey who`s very Trump align. He instituted a stay at home worker but then there were protests in a state like what you`ve seen in other places. And after the protests, he let that order expire, even though the state didn`t check all the boxes recommended by the CDC for reopening.
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GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): Arizona is headed in the right direction. We have a downward trajectory of influenza and COVID-like illnesses in our state. We have a downward trajectory of positive tests. We`re treating all patients without crisis care, and we are rapidly expanding testing availability with solid data around it.
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HAYES: That was Governor Ducey back on May 12. Now, nearly a month later, things are really going in the wrong direction. Joining me now to discuss all this is Will Humble, the former director of the state`s Department of Health Services. He`s now the executive director for the Arizona Public Health Association.
Will, thanks for making time with us tonight. I`ve been looking at the numbers in Arizona and getting increasingly worried about them, give us a sort of survey of what trends are happening there particularly on things like the positive testing rate and what you think it indicates?
WILL HUMBLE, FORMER DIRECTOR, ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES: Yes. So by every measure, we`re going in the wrong direction. I know that clip you just showed was May 12th, and things were better than they are today. So the number of total cases is going up every day, and has been since the 24th of May really, a consistent trend.
We see the percent positive rate, which is gaining criteria too which you just showed in the federal guidance. That is going in the wrong direction. We have an increase in number of people that are hospitalized both in ICU beds and in inpatient beds. And then we see the number of new patients coming into the hospital increasing as well. And so all of those measures are going in the wrong direction.
And this came at a time after we had a very successful stay at home order. I mean, Arizonans were very cooperative during that stay at home period in April and early May. But since then, the way we`ve opened has really, I think, been more concerning to me than when we reopened.
HAYES: Well, talk more about that. Because one of the things I think we`re learning and there`s a sort of humility, I think, for everyone, public health experts, reporters covering this. You know, there`s this tendency to want to say cause and effect. You know, we saw this picture of people at the Lake of the Ozarks, this picture of the beaches, and now there`s going to be an outbreak there, and it doesn`t match up that neatly.
Arizona wasn`t a place that I think a lot of people were ringing the alarm bells about. What is your sense of what`s the cause for this concerning trend upwards?
HUMBLE: Yes. So I think it`s pretty simple. We were doing -- actually, the reason that no one was worried about -- worried about Arizona is because we were doing actually quite well up until the middle of May. And then we had the stay at home order that ended on May 15th. And then one incubation period after that, we saw the increase county by county by county when you look at new cases over total cases, which is the chart I look -- like to look at.
And every county that we see in Arizona has an uptick. And that`s a reflection of I think the way we reopened, not the timing of it. And I think that`s an important take home message for everybody, the date that you do it is not nearly as important as how you do it, and what criteria that you use to measure how successful you are.
HAYES: Well, so what`s the wrong -- what`s Arizona doing wrong on the how question then?
HUMBLE: OK, so I think the number one biggest thing, and this is probably the case around the country in many places, is that we don`t have enough focus on assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. Those are the facilities that are populating both the new inpatient beds and also those are the people at higher risk for dying.
So better focus on infection control at skilled nursing facilities is I think the biggest thing. More contact tracing is another component. You`ve got to have contact tracing in place if you`re going to end the stay at home orders which are blunt instruments. I will say these stay at home orders are very blunt. It`s better to be a lot more focused with contact tracing and focusing on assisted living centers.
HAYES: Final question for you. A theory, it`s just a theory, and a producer mind floated it, but I`ve seen other people talk about it. You know, one of the things we`re seeing is that outdoors better than indoors as a general rule, right? If you`re going to be -- I would rather be outdoors than indoors. We`ve got a lot growing data that says it.
I do wonder if a place like Arizona is hot enough that people are inside more in terms of air conditioning, whereas on the East Coast, it`s sort of in that pre-summer kind of cool period. Like if there`s -- and what that actually might mean for later in the summer in terms of worry about how much time people spend outdoors versus indoors?
HUMBLE: Well, so I was really actually hoping that we would see the same effect that we see with influenza in Arizona with COVID-19, that we would benefit from our really high temperatures that happened really starting in May. But we`ve had enough series of high temperatures, I think, to demonstrate that this is not going to help us out to this time.
But your question is, what about indoor versus outdoor? There is some growing evidence that -- and it`s intuitive, really, but there is pretty consistent evidence that being outdoors is better than being indoors in terms of the spread of the virus.
HAYES: Will Humble, that was great. Thank you. That was really, really illuminating. Thank you so much for making time for it for us tonight.
HUMBLE: All right, take care. Thank you.
HAYES: Ahead, the man whose death sparked a movement is laid to rest in Houston. We`ll bring you the highlights of the funeral for George Floyd. We`ll talk about the change that is already coming in the wake of this murder after this.
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HAYES: George Floyd died in Minneapolis, but his hometown was Houston, and that`s where he was laid to rest today. Hundreds of friends and family members, clergy and dignitaries attended the funeral where for 46-year-old father who grew up in a housing project in the city of Houston`s third ward.
Former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden recorded a video message for the occasion, in which he spoke directly to Floyd`s 6- year-old daughter Gianna and called for racial justice.
Members of congress were in attendance, as well, including Congressman Al Green who has been a frequent guest on the show, who also represents part of Houston. At the funeral, he called for the creation of a national Department of Reconciliation to address the historic mistreatment of African-Americans, while the Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner announced he will be implementing new police reforms.
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MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, (D) HOUSTON: People all over the world and elected officials on all levels are doing things that they otherwise might not have done, had not done, because of your -- because of George.
But as I speak right now, the city attorney is drafting an executive order, an order that I will sign when I get back to city hall. And what that order will say is that in this city, we will ban choke holds and strangle holds. In this city we will require deescalation.
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HAYES: Reverend Al Sharpton gave a eulogy where he spoke about the impact of George Floyd`s life and his death.
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REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: God took the rejected stone and made him the cornerstone of a movement that`s going to change the whole wide world. If you had any idea that everybody from those in the third ward to those in Hollywood would show up in Houston and Minneapolis and in Fayetteville, North Carolina, you would have took your knee off his neck.
You thought his neck didn`t mean nothing, but god made his neck to connect his head to his body and you had no right to put your knee on that neck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: George Floyd has become a symbol, a catalyst, for a movement. He`s also a real person with a life and a family. And today, his friends and family spoke about the man they knew.
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BROOKE WILLIAMS, NIECE OF GEORGE FLOYD: My most best memory of my uncle is when he paid my to scratch his head after long days of work. We arrived at home. We even created a song about it called scratch my head, scratch my head, yeah.
But after that, I knew he was a comedian. He always told me, baby girl, you`re going go so far with that beautiful smile and brains of yours.
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HAYES: George Perry Floyd, Jr., was a father, brother, an uncle, a cousin, and a friend to many. And he should still be alive today.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In the last two weeks, we have seen a flurry of action taken by policymakers to reform policing in the U.S. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, a veto proof majority of the city council said they would dismantle the police force. It`s unclear what comes late.
In L.A., the mayor said he would slash police funding by up to $150 million.
In Portland, Oregon, the police chief resigned under pressure from black leadership in the city.
In Houston, Texas, as you just saw, the mayor announced he will ban choke holds by the police.
In New York, the state senate voted today to make public the disciplinary records of police officers for the first time. This is something that people have been fighting for forever, with not that much luck.
Nationally, Democrats are proposing new police reform legislation. Today, Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina was tasked by Mitch McConnell for working on his own party`s police reform plan.
We`ve got this incredible flurry of activity in the last two weeks, proposals, confident steps that have been taken, from the local level all the way up to the national level -- legislation, personnel, symbolism, even the Republican Senate caucus, which basically never does anything other than more conservative judges.
At the same, you have a lot of wariness, a lot of trepidation from people that have been working on this for a long time. And their worry is that perfectly good sounding reforms can be and are often co-opted or subverted and don`t get to the root problem.
Here now is someone who understands what changing policing and police departments can actually look like, Christy Lopez, a co-director for the Innovative Policing Program at Georgetown Law, and a former deputy chief in the civil rights division of the Department of Justice. She recently wrote a piece for The Washington Post on what it looks like to, quote, defund the police. It`s great to have you and to have your expertise. I think there`s an interesting conflict that I`m seeing. And to me it was sort of representative in the streets of D.C. where Murial Bowser paints Black Lives Matter and activists paint "defund the police" underneath it, which is you can give lip service, you can talk about you`re with us, we want to see concrete actions. And in some cases quite radical and things that may not poll very well.
How do you understand where this sort of debate is about what the next half forward is concretely?
CHRISTY LOPEZ, GEORGETOWN LAW: Well, I think the issue is that people, even people that recognize that reform is important and necessary, also recognize that it`s not enough, and that we have not been having the conversation that we need to have about how far we need to go in policing.
And people, you know, people have lived these experiences their whole lives, people have worked in this area like I have, police officers who have worked on the streets, they all know that police are doing too much and that we have come to over rely on police for our public safety, and it`s time to have that conversation.
HAYES: Yeah, so let`s talk about that. I think there`s sort of three buckets I think in this -- reform, which is different training and different use of force standards; there`s reduce, which is reduce the number of police officers, reduce police budgets; and there`s the sort of hard core abolish group, which is like a world without police.
What do you see as the argument in that second lane, of reducing, that we should just have less police or that the police should do less or we should have less police interactions? How would that come about?
LOPEZ: Well, first I would push back a little bit that there`s as much difference between those three groups as you`re saying. I actually think that reform efforts are often much more than what you are talking about. They can be very transformative. They can also result in reduction.
For example, in Ferguson, pursuant to the consent decree, there are now 38 police officers in that department instead of the 54 when we arrived there.
HAYES: That`s interesting.
LOPEZ: So there`s not this dichotomy that people like to draw.
And if you actually look at the platforms of what different groups are proposing, what things look like on the ground are not that different between those three groups. In terms of -- everyone agrees that we need to be looking at the roles that police play in public safety and that we need to figure out whether maybe some other entities could do some of those jobs better than police are doing.
HAYES: Yeah, this -- I thought of this quote as something I wrote about in the book I wrote on policing called "A Colony in a Nation" which came from talking to police officers who kept telling me this, this is Ron Serpes (ph), who spent 30 years in law enforcement as police chief in New Orleans and Nashville. He said about 90 percent of all the police department calls I`ve looked at in my life have nothing to do with a major uniform crime. They have nothing to do with rape, murder, burglary, assault, theft, auto theft, nothing.
It`s striking in the case of Eric Garner and the case of George Floyd that how much policing has to do with things that aren`t in that category of crime, particularly violent crime.
LOPEZ: Yeah, that`s exactly right. I mean, for example, what we saw in Ferguson was policing that nobody should be doing, that is policing for revenue rather than public safety. And then you have the category of policing that some -- things that police do that somebody should be doing but not police, everything from taking accident reports to responding to people who are homeless or people who are in a mental health crisis. And then you have things that maybe police are doing, but should be doing better or somebody that we call something else besides police, but things like responding to active shooters, investigating homicides, but that`s a very small subset of all the policing that happens.
HAYES: What do you think about -- there`s another thing that I`ve heard people talk about, which is clearance rates and actually solving crime, and that people will respond when you say, well, if you get rid of the police what are you going to do about murder? And often the response to that is do you know what the murder homicide clearance rate is in major cities? In some places it`s as low as 30 percent, which is to say the police department is only solving 30 percent of the homicides in a city like Baltimore and things like that.
How much is that -- I mean, solving serious crime, how important do you see that as part of this conversation?
LOPEZ: So I think it`s important to recognize that as you note, very -- clearance rates are surprisingly low. Police don`t actually solve that many homicides, and they solve far fewer of them in communities that don`t trust them, because they`ve been mistreated. And what that means is that the more we have police intruding into people`s lives for the little stuff, the harder we`re making it for police to solve crimes and solve murders. So we need to be really cognizant of that link between something that we might not always recognize as connected.
HAYES: That`s interesting. That this sort of -- the kind of habitual harassment or lack of dignity that people feel at the hands of beat police officers that their encounters with police in neighborhoods that do have high levels of violence are a concrete obstacle to actually dealing with the violence.
LOPEZ: Yes, absolutely.
There`s a lot of research on this, but if people don`t trust their police and they don`t see them as legitimate, they are not going to work with them to help them solve homicides.
The other important piece there, though, is that there are a lot of other interventions besides police that might be better at preventing homicides, a lot of violence interruption programs. And these are the types of community programs that we should be taking another look at, and really supporting more and exploring more in communities across the country.
HAYES: Yeah, this part of it I think is a key part of the conversation, because I think that -- and the people I talked to who are looking to change the way we think about police and sort of under the rubric of defund the police, there`s a lot of thought going into what the other things we need to do are, because the conversation can`t just stop at that budget line item.
Christy Lopez, thank you so much.
LOPEZ: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, images of protests in major cities have been everywhere, but what is it like in the areas that are more rural, that are less diverse? Congressman Antonio Delgado joins to talk about what he`s seeing in his district, after this.
HAYES: We`ve been seeing these incredible images of protests from more than 100 cities all over the country. A lot of those images have come from small towns and rural areas, predominantly white areas. These images, in particular, these are from Kingston, New York. It`s in New York`s 19th congressional district. It`s a district that is majority white. It`s a district that Donald Trump won by nearly seven points in 2016.
But in 2018, the voters in that district elected freshman Democratic congressman Antonio Delgado, who Republicans had attacked as being a quote, "big city rapper." Congressman Delgado was one of eight black members elected that year elected to represent majority white districts in congress.
Just recently, he wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post with the headline, "I know how painful racism is, but we can`t give up on voting," quote, "I`m a black man representing a district that is nearly 90 percent white in one of the most rural parts of the country. My experience is proof that voting can bring about change that once might have seemed out of reach. In fact, it`s crucial in changing the laws and policies that have caused so much agony."
And Congressman Antonio Delgado joins me now.
And congressman, I know you -- I follow you on Instagram, so I know that you get around that district a lot. It`s an enormous district. It`s a whole bunch of counties. You cover a lot of ground. I know you talk with your constituents all the time. What are the conversations over these last two weeks as this sort of national reckoning and street movement has happened? What have those conversations been like?
REP. ANTONIO DELGADO, (D) NEW YORK: Well, I think it`s a combination. It`s a combination of self-reflection where people are really trying to really do the work of internally investigating how they can improve and build upon the work that we see happening all across the country.
As you noted, you know, back in 2018, there was an onslaught of negative advertising grounded in degrading notions of black masculinity. And we rose above that. And we leaned on love and led with compassion and empathy and mutuality. And I think, you know, my district, which is a very politically diverse one, a third independent, a third Democrat, a third Republican. What we value more than anything is humanity, humility, decency.
And we see things that are happening across the country now, people coming together, multicultural, multiracial, I think people feel hope and they want to feel moved and inspired by that. Also understanding, though, that we have a long, long road ahead of us.
HAYES: Yeah, and I wonder sometimes -- I mean, policing looks so different in different parts of America, it looks so different in -- in the corner in Minneapolis where George Floyd was killed than it does in a real rural county in the Catskills, like what that conversation even is there if people have an awareness of what their conception of policing is and what policing might mean for someone else.
DELGADO: Well, I think the concept of policing, while important, is the deeper issue, and it`s about equality.
DELGADO: ...and how we treat each and other how we account for one another. And, you know, policing fundamentally is about public safety, and treating each other with a level of respect and serving the community and enabling the community to thrive.
And so to the extent that any community, whether it`s black, brown, yellow, they have to feel accounted for. They have to feel protected. They have to feel enabled. And so that, to me, is how we`re able to cross this sort of urban/rural divide, if you will, because at the end of the day it`s about the humanity, it`s about the heart, right?
And I think to the extent that people cannot see that happening in other places or don`t feel it at home, it is profoundly problematic, on a human level it is problematic.
HAYES: Your colleagues have introduced legislation around policing reform. There was -- there is probably going to be a similar bill moving through the senate. Do you see this as an important issue for the Democratic caucus this year before -- before the election?
DELGADO: Well, it`s an incredibly important issue. You know, even before this bill, Justice in Policing Act, which was introduced this week, it came on the heels of one of the most multicultural, multiracial, cross generational movements we`ve seen in decades.
And so, first, let`s not overlook the fact that this is a powerful, powerful moment where the government is responding to the will of the people in this moment, and we cannot overstate that enough. We`ve got to be able to take this thing all the way to the finish line because it is an extension of the will of the people.
And so for me doing that work and making sure we can bring folks together across the political spectrum to make real meaningful change, that`s how you give people confidence in the system that the system actually can reflect the will of the people.
HAYES: President Trump won your district by seven points. It was a district that had gone for President Obama. It swung fairly hard to Donald Trump. It had a Republican member of congress who you defeated. What do things look like there? I mean, you`ve got a rural district. There`s a lot of kind of different kind of folks doing different kinds of work. The pandemic has hit everyone, the lock-downs have hit everyone. What do things look like in term of that right track, wrong track question for people you represent, largely a rural district, majority, 90 percent white.
DELGADO: Well, my district in many respects has been hollowed out. We don`t even have broadband access in much of the district. Here we are in the 21st Century, richest, most powerful country in the world, and we have communities living without broadband access. And we know how important that is with the impact of COVID-19, telemedicine. We`re thinking about our students, you know, needing to learn online, small businesses having to convert their operations.
And yet we have communities here by the thousands that do not have broadband access, and it`s because so much of how government has been operating to date isn`t about promoting general welfare, but enabling private capital.
And so how we strike the right balance to make sure that rural communities, rural communities where you do not have densely populated areas where private actors are not prone to invest because of the demand not being as high. Where does government step in and do that work? And I think for me it`s about being an advocate for this community, for our community, to make sure that we are on the front lines being thought of and prioritized by the folks in Washington.
HAYES: Are you hopeful about how people come through this? I know that there`s is -- there`s -- it`s interesting, I`ve heard snapshots from different places around the country around the state from New York City and other places about small businesses that have made it through, whether they got a PPP loan, people that wee able to people that were able to find workarounds and are in better shape that they thought. And then I`ve heard of the reverse, that lots of people have been decimated.
How optimistic are you as you look towards this summer and as you watch Wall Street go nuts about what the next three, four, five months look like for the folks that live in your district?
DELGADO: Well, for the 27,000 small business owners, including self- employed, nearly 5,000 small family farms in my district, it`s a tough road ahead and it`s been tough before COVID-19, because we are in desperate need of infrastructure. We are in desperate need of making sure we have workforce development. We`re in desperate need of affordable housing. And all of these issues, all of these trends predate COVID-19.
DELGADO: And so for me, it`s about making sure we utilize this moment to propel ourselves, you know, investing in ways that have a return on investment, investing in our education system, investing in our roads and our transportation. You know, people need equal access opportunity here.
HAYES: If there`s -- if there`s not state aid coming from federal government, that`s going to be tough, because New York`s about to take an enormous whack to its budget.
DELGADO: That`s why with the Heroes Act, I partnered up on a bipartisan basis in the Direct Communities Act to get direct aid to every state and local government irrespective of population and size.
It`s so important for CARES Act said only government units over 500,000 people. We don`t have any unit like that in New York 19.
HAYES: Congressman Antonio Delgado from upstate New York, thank you for making time tonight.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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