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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 04/27/15

Guests: Rep. Elijah Cummings, Nick Mosby, Dutch Ruppersberger, KweisiMfume, Tess Hill-Aston, Clarence Mitchell

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Anger city. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Proud of its name, Baltimore, AKA "Charm City," is in trouble tonight, deep trouble. Hundreds of the city`s young, some fresh out of high school this afternoon, threw rocks and bricks at police, burned police cars and looted a neighborhood CVS late today in Baltimore, all for the TV cameras to show. It started with the funeral of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African- American who died while in police custody a week ago Sunday, in fact, after apparent spinal injuries, which remains a mystery. Then later today came an open threat of gang violence to, quote, "take out" law enforcement officials in Baltimore. Adding to that -- adding to the real danger from the young people in the streets today was the predictable opportunists out there looking for a chance to destroy and loot and otherwise exploit a bad situation. In the city just north of Washington, D.C., we have a cult (ph) of anger tonight, a perfect urban scene for those who love nothing better than a polarized society. Within the last hour, Maryland`s governor put his state`s National Guard on alert. And late today, a police spokesman vowed to put those he called criminals in jail. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CAPT. ERIC KOWALCZYK, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT: This afternoon, a group of outrageous criminals attacked our officers. Right now, we have seven officers that have serious injuries, including broken bones, and one officer who is unconscious.   We will do whatever is appropriate to protect the safety of our police officers and ensure the safety of the people that live and work in the Mondawmin area. We`re going to go back and do an investigation, and we will find the people that are responsible and we will put them in jail. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Horrendous situation today up in Baltimore. By the way, Freddie Gray`s family and others have pled for calm today, but those calls for calm went unheeded by those in the streets right now. What an even this afternoon. What a terrible event. I`m joined right now by NBC`s Tom Costello, who`s in Baltimore, has been in Baltimore. Tom, give us an update from you`ve been on the scene to where you`re at now, where you had to move to. TOM COSTELLO, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Chris, we`ve had to move to downtown Baltimore. We got the police station, the police headquarters just about a half a block down the road. The reason we moved is it simply became too volatile up there in west Baltimore. Our own satellite truck was pelted with rocks. We had -- the cab of our satellite truck was looted. But that was -- that was nothing. I mean, a couple of blocks away, as you saw, hundreds of youngsters who were really going to war with the police, throwing rocks and throwing bricks and throwing bottles, the police responding. At some points, the police had to go in and rescue their own officers who had been hit by bricks, in some cases in the head. We saw two officers bleeding profusely from the head. Now you know that the National Guard is on standby. We have seen hundreds of officers flowing into that area, flowing into the area to try to help relieve the situation as best they can and get assistance to the officers who are on the ground. Let me bring in, if I could, Congressman Elijah Cummings, Democrat from Maryland, who spoke very eloquently at Freddie Gray`s funeral today up in that same neighborhood. To see this happening now must break your heart. REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: It`s very, very painful. You know, I was born in this city and I`ve lived here, raised my family here. And I have not seen anything like this since `68 or `69. COSTELLO: You know, we were talking in the last half hour about all of the ingredients that come together to make this kind of a scenario. It`s not just Freddie Gray and what happened in that case, is it. CUMMINGS: Oh, absolutely not. It`s all of the other killings of unarmed African-American men throughout the country by police. And I can tell you that we`ve got, you know, a series of events that has caused people to just say, Well, we`re not taking it anymore. And people are literally very, very upset.   And then here in Baltimore, of course, with the Freddie Gray, initially, the police said that he was arrested without force or without incident, and come to find out he had a broken neck, a severed spinal cord and a crushed larynx. And then -- and he died. COSTELLO: But you and the Gray family and others today, the clergy, were calling for peaceful protests. CUMMINGS: That`s exactly right. COSTELLO: What happened? Why didn`t that message get out? CUMMINGS: The message was out. As a matter of fact, at the funeral, we emphasized that, and things went well until after the funeral. And I think people just decided enough is enough, unfortunately, and it went beyond the peaceful protests. COSTELLO: But these are also not the people who were protesting over the weekend, the families coming down with their children. Today, we have a lot of young people, it appears, right out of high school. CUMMINGS: Yes. COSTELLO: Were they opportunists? Were they looking for a fight? CUMMINGS: I think you probably had a combination of things. You had some people who were just very upset about Freddie Gray. Then you had some people that were opportunists. It`s hard to tell what the intentions were. But what I`ve been telling people, that when they do these kinds of things, it only acts as a distraction. It does not allow us to address the issues that need to be addressed with regard to the police department. COSTELLO: When I ask you, overall, what`s -- I`m going to make this one last question. What`s it going to take for this city that you love, that is your city, to come back, to heal the damage, because right now, the city is on fire?   CUMMINGS: Well, one of the things that we`re going to have had to do is we`re going to have to take a very close look at the police department and ensure the people that we`re going to look into it. The Justice Department`s going to look it into very carefully, sort of like what they did in Ferguson. And then we`ve got to sit down and begin to dialogue. We started before the Gray incident, and now we`ve just got to continue that. But it`s going to take some work. COSTELLO: Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate it. Nice to talk to you, Elijah Cummings, congressman from Maryland. Chris, I got to tell you, there`s a profound feeling of sadness on the streets here and of anger and anxiety as we go into another night here. By the way, the baseball game tonight between the Orioles and White Sox postponed now indefinitely because of what`s happening. Back to you. MATTHEWS: Tom, are you hearing anything about the kids and what happened in school, those young teenagers, that there was discussion, scuttlebutt at school about "purge day" or a purge opportunity. COSTELLO: Yes. MATTHEWS: And it was all -- the whole question about why the kids were all stranded there. Apparently, public transportation was cut off. They were let out early because of fear of violence and trouble in the streets. Then there was no mass transit, so they were all sort of marooned in that same section where the violence began. Do you know anything about those factors? COSTELLO: Yes. Well -- and we heard that and we`ve heard, you know, that the police were on to it, that they`d been tipped off. So why didn`t they keep kids in school, at least, or try to alleviate the situation? We simply don`t know. And honestly, right now, the police have their hands full. I must say that there`s this great fear and concern also about this intelligence, which the police deem to be credible, that certain gang groups were teaming up to take out police. I think that -- you know, the idea was going to be that that was in addition to what we see happening right now on the streets in west Baltimore. Let me just stress this is west Baltimore. This is not downtown Baltimore, where I am. The riverfront is about three blocks that way. It`s very peaceful tonight, although many stores have closed up tonight because they don`t want to risk more violence that might creep into downtown.   MATTHEWS: OK. Great reporting, as always, Tom Costello of NBC News. Thank you for joining us from downtown Baltimore. We just got word, by the way, that the Maryland National Guard has been activated and the state of emergency has been declared by Larry Hogan, the new governor of the state. NBC`s Brian Mooar is on the ground in Baltimore for us tonight, as well. Brian, give us a sense from your perspective -- we`re trying to figure out what was the ticktock this afternoon that led to the explosion midafternoon at that high school. Your thoughts, your knowledge? BRIAN MOOAR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I`ve been sort of in tandem with Tom Costello all day. I`m about 75 yards away from his stand-up position right now, as our satellite truck that was pelted with rocks earlier in the day. And it appears that what happened is, if you go back to before the funeral, there was this notion on social media of a "purge." Some businesses closed down. The mall was closed. And it looks like kids were sent home from school early. Right around 3:00 o`clock is when we got first word, at that mall that had been closed, about police facing off with what were called a group of unruly, mischievous juveniles. And it very quickly escalated from something that looked like a couple of kids to a lot of kids, to a crowd that was on the verge of getting out of control, and then rocks and bottles were thrown in a very dramatic scene. We saw an apparently injured police officer, gravely injured police officer, according to police, here in Baltimore, being dragged to an armored personnel carrier by his colleagues. It was very tense. And really, at this point, it`s just a quarantine zone around that little area where it all started. It is an area where there`s been violence, fires, car set on fire, police cruiser we saw that was destroyed, the 7-Eleven -- the CVS first looted and then set on fire. And you look here in downtown Baltimore, a very different scene. The officers you see behind me a short time ago had a nice little lunch of Subway sandwiches and were twirling their batons, not really having much to do here where it`s very quiet. MATTHEWS: What has caused the containment of this violence at an area, just it seems from watching all this afternoon, around the CVS? Why one retail store being looted -- for hours it was being looted, until it was almost empty. Then somebody set it on fire. And why weren`t the other stores beyond that looted? Usually, in looting situations, they go for the big appliances, the wealthy products that they have wanted perhaps for their family for year, they go in and grab one on an opportunity. Here you`re going into a drug store, and that was the only store that was hit in this whole city, based upon the camera work so far. MOOAR: Well, there were reports that a cellular phone store was also hit. And you know, there aren`t a lot of stores in that area, which may be why the police are sort of trying to cordon it off, not letting anybody out, not letting anybody in.   But I would sort of liken it to a controlled burn. Let this place sort of work itself out. And the mayor, the police commissioner have gone on record, saying that they want to allow a certain level of protests without interfering, but they drew the line at violence. But what we saw today is it did cross that line, and it seems that police were in a position that they`re darned if they do, they`re darned if they don`t. If they confront these kids and are outnumbered, then it`s really going to blow up. And it`s not just, you know, kids in that little area, it`s a whole neighborhood. MATTHEWS: Yes. We`re watching, by the way... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I didn`t know this, but there`s -- we have new footage here, for me at least, of this check-cashing place, where there`s obviously going to be cash being looted. Also apparently, a liquor store, which is not surprising. Things like that happen. There`s somebody just breaking the windows there. You can see it right now on camera. What about the mayor`s position? What did you make of her comment about she was going to separate the crowds from the people at Camden Yards for the Orioles` game Saturday, from the people who wanted an area -- an area to destroy? That got some bad spin to it. MOOAR: I can`t believe that that`s what she meant to say, but that`s what she said. MATTHEWS: I don`t think she did. I think she meant she was trying to control this... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I know what they`re doing to her. They`re trying to hang her with this thing.   MOOAR: Well, she meant she was trying to give people a chance -- I believe that what she was trying to do was give people a chance. It worked well on Saturday. You saw a huge throng of people out there protesting, a couple of troublemakers, some isolated incidences of violence. And what did you see in almost every circumstance? Members of that protest group coming in and saying, Hey, don`t give them an excuse to beat you up, to tear gas you, to shoot you. This is not what we`re about. They were policing themselves. And I wonder if that`s what police weren`t trying to do today, hoping that the community would stop this. And then it just gets out of control, which is the situation we are in right now in that isolated area. It`s an oasis here. It`s nice and quiet. But it`s hell in that neighborhood and... MATTHEWS: Yes, I know... (CROSSTALK) MOOAR: ... and for the merchants who have to try to rebuild. MATTHEWS: That`s what they used to do in big cities where they had combat zones, where they let all the pornography and all the strip shows and all that stuff, and they figured, We`ll just leave these people to this particular area. MOOAR: In Washington, D.C. MATTHEWS: In the old days, right. MOOAR: In Washington, D.C. MATTHEWS: Right. And Boston, too. There`s an old tradition of that. But this strategy of -- it`s sort of the opposite of the broken window strategy, the broken window strategy being, Don`t allow any crime, that`s how you stop it from getting out of hand. This new tactic of letting the thing burn out isn`t working, either.   Anyway, thank you so much for joining us, as always. You`ve been great today, Brian Mooar. We now have Jim Cavanaugh with us. He`s a retired ATF special-agent- in-charge and an MSNBC law enforcement analyst. I don`t know what we`re going to learn here in terms of police behavior, but everybody -- it looks to me like the Baltimore police are trying something here, a limited burn, if you will. I mean, we watched for hours here in our studio in Washington,the looting of that CVS, with no police officer attempting to stop it. JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, that`s right, Chris. It looks like they`ve taken up some static positions, you know, maybe closed in that neighborhood as the reporter on the ground said. And because there`s not violence where people are being shot, killed or murdered, they have a static position. They did move in and put the fire out at the CVS. You know, you saw a couple of truck companies, four-engine companies. They knocked that down pretty good, pretty fast. And they have the advantage right now of some daylight and to form a strategy. They seem to be measured. I think that`s positive. And they may be able to, you know, kind of control this slowly as night falls and not have a lot of injuries. You know, if parents have a teenager out there, you sure want to get them home safely and keep them there. MATTHEWS: Yes, but the troublemakers are probably not at home. And they`re probably the ones who are looking for this -- everybody knows what situations like this are. Any riot situation, any protest situation, the people come and see it, and they see it as a great opportunity to do the bad they like to do generally. And there`s a cover for it. It`s a riot. They get covered. CAVANAUGH: Well, that`s right. And you know -- and you`ve got to also look, Chris, you know, when the video shows the people going inside the liquor store, you know, you got to be concerned for the owner of the liquor store, the operator, the people in the CVS pharmacy, the employees. You know, have they been injured, knocked down? You know, were they able to retreat to the back? You know, all these businesses have people that work there, employees that work there. And when a building is set on fire, you can have a fireman killed. You can have neighbors killed. That smoke`s very dense. I mean, this is a very volatile situation when arson comes to play. And you`ve had an officer knocked unconscious, you know, some broken bones. So you know, it`s a really tight time right now as night falls in the next couple of hours. And the video showing the police moving their injured officer out -- right now, I`d say the police, you know, feel like they have control of that area, that they`re doing a measured response. So they`re not overreacting to a car fire or to even the fire at the CVS. They seem to be reacting in a certain way, that this is the area we`re dealing with and we`re going to slowly, methodically, with a strategy from leadership, to control it.   MATTHEWS: I wonder what the dynamic is here, though. We`re watching -- for three or four hours, I`ve been watching this, glued to the TV set here in Washington. Of course, we`re about an hour south of Baltimore. And I`m watching these crimes occur. They`d all be individual serious crimes. I mean, assaulting a police officer, assault and battery, you know, it`s larceny right on the street. You`d see the -- all the stuff that`s going on here, all on like a slow burn as we`ve watched this thing, and nothing`s stopping it from happening. The police strategy here is to let the cameras catch the crime. They don`t catch the criminal. I think it may encourage more of this tonight, don`t you think? CAVANAUGH: Well, you know, it`s a double-edged sword for the officers. If they move in too quickly and start trying to grab people and it explodes in their face, it could even get worse. You know, the most effective technique was what we saw in the latter days of Ferguson. You know, the beginning of Ferguson was that awful response with SWAT teams and officers with .308 rifles on the tops of the armored vehicles. That was wrong. But in the latter response, as the police got better and better and more practiced, and as they understand what they were supposed to do, you would see them move in with the grab (ph) teams, the line of officers. A grab team would get the guy you`re describing, Chris, that might have just committed the crime, and bring him back behind the police line and make the arrest. And as you make the arrest on those who are really committing the violence and not just people who are moths to the flame, if you will -- they`re there, they`re curiosity seekers. If you watch the MSNBC video feed, you can see there`ll be 20 people, 30 people that are going in and out of the store. And across the street, there`s 100 people watching. MATTHEWS: Jim, hang in there. (CROSSTALK) CAVANAUGH: ... what police officers have to do. MATTHEWS: Hang on there for -- stay with us, Jim, Jim Cavanaugh. Shomari Stone is a reporter with WRC-TV. That`s the local Washington TV station for NBC. He was pepper-sprayed by police earlier today. Shomari, Give us an account. SHOMARI STONE, WRC CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, right now, I`m here at North Fulton Avenue and West North Avenue in Baltimore. Police have their tactical units. A man just threw a chair right now at this Anne Arundel police county special operations vehicle.   Police are dispersing the crowd with pepper spray, and now they`re throwing what appears to be -- that are exploding! I don`t know if y`all heard that. And this woman just threw a bottle at police. I think you should stop doing that. You`re going to hurt yourself! UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right! STONE: She just fell down, and now she`s up. Police are slowly moving people back, and they`re throwing bottles. I`ve seen several stores looted. I actually talked to a man who was devastated. He worked so hard for his store, he says, and now it`s absolutely destroyed, shattered glass. Police are moving people back. And right now, I`m seeing some people who are trying to taunt the police, cursing at them. And it appears from what I see that police are using restraint, but at the same time, you have some pockets of people who are taunting them, trying to get them to react. MATTHEWS: Yes, we`re watching people now with their hands up, Ferguson-style, obviously, or attempting to emulate what they believe happened in Ferguson. And what about -- what store are you watching that was destroyed? Was that the liquor store? Was that the check-cashing store? Which one was that? STONE: Police just threw a tactical device that people here -- and they just threw a -- oh, hold on. Right now, I`m getting behind a car. We`re here at West North Avenue, North Fulton Avenue. I don`t know if you guys can pull that up on your chopper. There`s a lot of activity right now. People are throwing objects at police, and police are trying to tactfully move people back. MATTHEWS: OK. STONE: And they`re firing what appears to be...   MATTHEWS: Are you safe? Are you all right? STONE: (INAUDIBLE) rubber bullets. MATTHEWS: You`re behind a -- can you talk to anybody there? Are you just seeking cover right now? STONE: Right now, I was seeking cover, but I can try and talk to this woman over here. MATTHEWS: Sure. STONE: Excuse me. Hi. I`m Shomari Stone from WRC News 4. What`s going through your mind right now? You`re on MSNBC. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) got going is not safe! It`s not (INAUDIBLE) STONE: All right. Right now, police are disbursing the crowd here on West North, and they are leaving as they throw bottles at the different tactical units out here. MATTHEWS: Yes, well, I heard that woman. It was pretty graphic. And I guess -- I want to stay with you now, if I can, Shomari. Stay safe, but give us a picture of what you`re hearing from the people yelling. We can`t hear it. STONE: Well, people are screaming right now. A lot of them are saying that they want to know what happened to Freddie Gray. They say, why haven`t they received an answer from the Baltimore Police Department, they say, in terms of what happened to him, with his spinal injury?   You have some people who are legitimate protesters who want to know what happened to Freddie Gray. But at the same time, you have others who appear to be people who are provoking the police officers, some of them who aren`t even from the Baltimore area, who are stirring up a lot of trouble here. Keep in mind, you had the funeral earlier today. This was supposed to be a day of mourning, peopling paying tribute to Freddie Gray. But right now, you have a lot of folks who are trying to utilize this as a way to loot. MATTHEWS: Yes, I can see. STONE: I saw a lot of people walking down the street with all types of candy -- yes, I`m fine. Thanks. All types of candy, liquor. And they`re using this, trying to seize this moment as a way to get what I describe as freebies. MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, there was the talk of this idea of this day being a day of purge, where you can get away with anything, like what was one of these Halloween events that -- in this case, a much more dramatic version of that, a more violent version, that you can just -- anything-goes attitude out today. Have you heard about that? STONE: I have not heard about that. But I do want to tell you that a lot of folks I have seen, what they`re doing is, they`re going to their cars and they`re putting masks over their faces to get a sense of being anonymous out here, and a lot of folks are waiting for that sun to go down. And it`s important to point out that if you`re in the Baltimore area, it`s good for you to just stay indoors right now, because you have these different pockets of different areas, because, before, we were on Pennsylvania Avenue, and then you move right down here to North Fulton Avenue, and that`s when it picks up again, where you have people throwing chairs, bottles. You should see the street over here. It looks like a hurricane just swept through here, based upon all the debris covering the concrete. Now, there`s a man across the street, and while I`m on the phone with you, I`m actually going to take a picture of him and post it on Twitter, so sort of live, so you guys can really get a picture of what I`m talking about.   MATTHEWS: OK. STONE: He`s standing in front of the EZ Mart tobacco convenience store and he looks very upset. Everyone went in there and actually looted his place. I`m simultaneously going to post this on Twitter for you all right now @ShomariStone. That`s Shomari at NBC Washington. And right now there are people gathering in the middle of North Fulton Avenue. You have some folks who are getting off work, trying to go around the crowd, not knowing that this is all going on. So, it`s important if you are in the Baltimore area watching MSNBC right now, coming up on North -- no -- excuse me -- West North Avenue and North Fulton Avenue, stay away from this area. MATTHEWS: What is the racial atmosphere about? Are there many white people around or is it mainly an African-American community and that`s who is on the streets now? Is there any seeming animus between black and white or toward white? Or is just about the police? STONE: I have seen -- I would rate it -- I`m not a statistician, but I will say that it`s 95 around percent black, 5 percent white. You have some whites in town from -- who I spoke to who were in town for the Freddie Gray funeral to pay tribute to them. MATTHEWS: Yes. STONE: A lot of folks tell me that they`re tired of what they describe as police brutality. And right now, as I speak to you, Anne Arundel County police have these tactical units and they`re trying to come through. And this man just threw a bottle at the police vehicle, not realizing that it`s pretty secure. And it`s just totally out of control right now.   MATTHEWS: Do -- It`s getting dark now. Do you have a sense that this is going to continue through the night? Is there any sense of a -- I should say, a pace of this? Are people growing on the streets or are they receding from the streets? STONE: No, what I -- in my opinion, from what I have seen, from being out here the last couple of hours, I do believe it will continue. Why? Because you have a lot of folks who are drinking. MATTHEWS: Well, that means a long night. STONE: You have a lot of people who are drinking. (CROSSTALK) STONE: All these different types of liquors right now, and they`re getting all buzzed and they`re getting intoxicated. MATTHEWS: I know. STONE: And their inhibitions are down. So you might have someone who normally wouldn`t do anything, but now, as that alcohol kicks in, now`s my opportunity. MATTHEWS: OK. STONE: I`m going to take a bottle and... (CROSSTALK)   STONE: ... it at a police officer`s car. And that`s what I`m seeing. MATTHEWS: OK. Shomari, hang in there. Well, go get your camera. Maybe we will get you on camera. You`re a great street reporter. I want to have you for the rest of the hour. And take it safe. STONE: Well, I`m here for you any time you need me. MATTHEWS: Well, take it safe, sir. STONE: Yes, sir. Thank you. MATTHEWS: Anyway, the mayor of Baltimore will hold a news conference tonight at 7:45. We will have it on as part of our program tonight on HARDBALL, about 20 minutes from now, as I said. Joining me now by phone is former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, my friend from this program. He`s also an MSNBC political analyst. Michael, as a man from the political middle, as the way I see you, this is only good for people who are haters and people who love trouble and people who love polarization. This is not good for our country tonight. MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It isn`t. And it`s very frustrating. I have been watching MSNBC`s coverage on this. And when that CVS went up in flames -- and I know that neighborhood, having spent a lot of time in Baltimore City walking those neighborhoods -- and the only thing that occurred to me is that tomorrow a grandmother is going to need to get her medicine and that convenience store will not be there, that CVS won`t be there. And it does send the wrong signal when you see elements -- and that`s referring to them politely -- instead of peacefully protesting, expressing their frustration, their concerns about the lack of police-community -- you know, community responses, the lack of information in the Gray case, resort to this kind of violence.   And it`s very, very frustrating, I know, for a lot of officials there. I listened to Billy Murphy, the attorney for the Gray family, express, again, that these rioters are not representative of the folks who want to have the concern around Billy -- around Freddie Gray`s death addressed. And so this distracts, Chris, more than it does anything else. MATTHEWS: What do you think those kids are hearing from their parents back and forth? I guess it depends on the family. But kids tend to go home for supper. And then they want to go out after supper. I mean, that`s what you do in the summertime anyway. STEELE: Mm-hmm. MATTHEWS: That`s going to be a test of strength for a lot of the good parents in these neighborhoods, when they tell the kid, you`re not going out. You`re not going out. (CROSSTALK) STEELE: Yes. No, it is. You`re staying in tonight. And they should. The governor has put the National Guard in play. He`s declared a state of emergency, and that means that things like curfews and other things will come shortly. I`m sure the mayor will probably address some of that in her remarks in just a moment or two. But, yes, for a parent right now, their first concern should be the well-being of their kids. Their kids do not need to be out on the streets. As has been reported just on this program, as well as other programs, that these are young folks, these are teenagers. They`re starting to drink. It`s getting dark. MATTHEWS: Yes.   STEELE: And, so, a parent who cares about their kid will have their kid in tonight. MATTHEWS: And the kid will be getting called from his buddy, saying, where are you? How come you are not out? STEELE: Yes. How come you are not out? Right. MATTHEWS: And all the other -- we call it the peer pressure that get -- even in the suburbs, you get this, but in the inner city, imagine -- and I mean I imagine -- it`s even stronger to listen to your buddies. STEELE: Yes. Oh, it is. And there`s a lot of pressure to participate. But the reality of it is, this is not something that they should participate in, because it really isn`t reflective of where the broader community is, Chris. I think it`s very important for folks who are watching this from around the country to understand that this is symptomatic of deep-seated concerns that have grown over the past year especially in the black community, with the death of young black men. And I know a lot of people want to jump to the conclusion, oh, there they go again, but this is a frustration that is deeply rooted. MATTHEWS: OK. STEELE: This is not how you address that, but there are... (CROSSTALK) STEELE: ... that need to be addressed.   MATTHEWS: Michael, let`s talk about it; let`s talk about it right now. We have got a minute or two. STEELE: Sure. MATTHEWS: You -- when you look at it, you can say, rotten apples, bad apples. You can see the case, it wasn`t so clear what happened with Michael Brown out there in Ferguson. The hands up thing didn`t stand up under scrutiny as a -- of what actually happened. But the guy was shot. And in the Garner case, you see the guy apparently in a choke hold, which you`re not supposed to used, killed partially because of a choke hold. And then you get the chase with the vigilante down in the South, where he shoots the kid because he was in the neighborhood, he didn`t want him in the neighborhood. Who knows what that was about, the Zimmerman case. They`re all a little different. STEELE: Or the one where the police officer... (CROSSTALK) STEELE: I was going to say, the one where the police officer pulled the guy over, tells him when the guy gets out of the car to get his driver`s license, and he reaches back in the car to get his driver`s license and he shoots him. MATTHEWS: Yes. STEELE: So, if these -- these are the examples that are becoming more and more prevalent. You have to understand why there`s a genuine concern in the community about the value of a young black man`s life, and why -- why there is greater tension now between the police and young African- American males. All of this needs to be addressed substantively, not just with marches and protests, but really sitting down and doing what community policing is all about, getting in the neighborhoods and having that one-on-one and having an understanding between that community and the police who protect that community.   MATTHEWS: Yes. Two other pieces, Michael, the fear of the police officer, he`s going to get killed. The incidence of crime in a black community, the white cop`s scared. The black cop is scared to death. These things are a cauldron of hell. STEELE: Yes. MATTHEWS: And the guilt is obvious. We have a criminal system. If you shoot a guy you`re not supposed to shoot, you go to jail or worse. You`re not allowed to do it. But you also say, wait a minute. It`s a social situation we`re all familiar with. We all know about the tensions here between the police officer and possibly a criminal, or a real criminal. And it`s horrible. And the racial factor just walks right in there because of poverty and neighborhoods and geography and crime rates. It all meshes together. Michael Steele, thank you so much for coming on tonight on short notice. STEELE: You got it, partner. MATTHEWS: Short notice for all of us. Well, we will continue right now with our live coverage of the riots and the violence on the streets of Baltimore, including a news conference coming up from the mayor of Baltimore, coming up at 7:45, which is pretty close right now, about 15 minutes from now. Our coverage here on MSNBC continues after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   MATTHEWS: We`re back with our continuing coverage of the riots and the violence on the streets of Baltimore tonight. Seven police officers have been injured, some seriously. We`re expecting a news conference from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake coming up at 7:45. That`s a few minutes from now. Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby is with us now by phone. And, Councilman, thank you for joining us. Can you put together the incidents that occurred today, perhaps this circulated -- look at this. Look at this. We`re watching the violence right here. We`re watching of someone... (CROSSTALK) NICK MOSBY, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCILMAN: Yes. So, we had an amazing homegrown service for Freddie Gray and his family. Many folks have come out, called on peace to ensure that we had justice for Mr. Gray. But, unfortunately, you know, some children decided to organize. And in their organizing, they decided to meet up at 3:00 in a mall in West Baltimore called Mondawmin Mall. And the police got wind. And with the explosion of social media, it quickly turned into a large protest of young children, all Baltimore City public schoolchildren between the ages of 14, 15, 16, 17 years old. MATTHEWS: Yes. MOSBY: And the police came prepared in riot gear and armored trucks, and it just quickly spilled out of control.   This is my district. This is close to where I live. And the one thing I will point out, Chris, is, we`re going to continue to talk about this as it relates to Freddie Gray, but the incidents that we`re seeing is much more than Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray`s untimely death is a culmination of many years, decades of systemic issues that have plagued communities like this all across America. (CROSSTALK) MOSBY: And these young folks are showing their anger and they`re showing their frustration in a very unproductive manner. MATTHEWS: You know, I grew up in Philly, not far from Baltimore, and my dad worked in the court system. And he would tell me that the police, when they brought a kid in, African-American kid, a juvenile delinquent, you might say in those days, they`d beat him up in the car. Is this something that happens today, where the police administer punishment after an arrest? MOSBY: I mean, it`s... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Is this something that`s prevalent, or is it the bad apples? How would you describe it, bad apples or common? MOSBY: I would describe it as bad apples, but that drives the perception. So, when you have a small amount of the folks causing the majority of the issues -- I mean, "The Baltimore Sun" did an excellent job of highlighting some officers with multiple complaints and multiple civil judgments that the city had to pay out over the course of a time period.   MATTHEWS: I see. MOSBY: Those bad apples really draw the perception. And when you have those individuals, all they do is exacerbate the distrust in the community. And, unfortunately, this is bigger than just police brutality. This is a socioeconomic issues. These are folks who somewhat live in abject poverty, folks who don`t have necessarily access to quality schooling, folks who don`t have necessarily access to quality opportunity. You know, when a young person is born in this world, we constantly say, you can be whatever you want to be in life. But, unfortunately, we -- it`s a reality. Depending on your zip code and depending on your poverty level directly depends on sometimes the trajectory that you can live out in life. And these young folks are angry. And this is how they`re showing their anger. Most of the time, they feel just voiceless. They feel disenfranchised. And this is their opportunity for them to show the world that frustration. And they`re speaking it in the way of violence. MATTHEWS: Where are they going, those kids, if they don`t get in trouble with the law, if they have -- if they do keep a clean record? Do they have a future look forward to? Is there a job opportunity, a market for an 18-year-old kid who graduates, say a regular C-student, not a genius, but a regular kid? Where`s he going? MOSBY: Unfortunately, we`re seeing the richer getting richer and the divide between the middle class and the upper class. And, you know, opportunities are less, specifically in these areas. There`s limited access to quality commercial opportunities as it relates to, you know, hiring these children. Many of these areas, they are only filled with, like, drug -- with liquor stores, not really real opportunities. So, no, I think many of these folks, they -- again, they feel voiceless, they feel disenfranchised, but they also feel hopeless. They feel like they don`t necessarily have a connection. And that`s one thing that we can change in this country and that we must change in this country. And when viewers are watching this all across America, this is not a Baltimore City thing. This is an urban America thing. MATTHEWS: Yes.   MOSBY: And these kids are screaming for help. Their -- their actions are from decades old of sins is and failed policies that have failed their communities. And, again, I want to stress that... MATTHEWS: And if we can only come up with jobs. I`m you, sir. (CROSSTALK) MOSBY: ... I`m not providing an excuse. MATTHEWS: Yes. MOSBY: I`m not providing any excuse. MATTHEWS: No, I understand. I understand. MOSBY: Their actions are totally wrong. MATTHEWS: I understand. But, you know, we need something for the kid who`s 18 years old who is a regular kid to do besides going into the drug trade. It`s just got to have something happen there. MOSBY: Correct.   MATTHEWS: Thank you so much. Thank you, Councilman Nick Mosby of Baltimore. MOSBY: Thank you. MATTHEWS: U.S. Congressman Nick -- or, actually, Dutch Ruppersberg is from -- Ruppersberger -- I`m sorry -- of Maryland is with us. You were on earlier today. Congressman, give us a sense of this. You know, you don`t want -- I don`t want to get too sociological here, but this is not an unfamiliar situation we`re looking at here. REP. DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER (D), MARYLAND: Well, it`s not. But the unfortunate thing, those of us who grew up in Baltimore -- I was born in Baltimore -- we love Baltimore and the -- and I represent the region of Baltimore. And what`s so upsetting is for the country now to see Baltimore in this situation. You know, Baltimore has so much history and tradition. We celebrated the War of 1812. And, yet, because of what has occurred -- and we understand -- or I understand how frustrated so many of the people in the inner city and African-Americans are about what`s happening as far as the police brutality throughout the country. But we have got to deal with that, and we are dealing with that. But the problem now is that, when you have a few individuals who take the law into their hands, this is wrong. And it -- really, the victims more than anybody are the people who live in these neighborhoods, which are inner city, and neighborhoods, and not a lot of -- a lot of poverty and issues like that. So, we -- but you can`t tolerate looting. You can`t tolerate individuals being -- being attacked. And that`s -- in our country, we have to have law and order and stand up to that. And so that`s where the situation is now. And I`m worried about tonight. I was a former prosecutor. And I`m worried about the darkness of night. And you had the juveniles that participated today. And that was wrong. But now I think there are a lot of...   MATTHEWS: Yes, we`re looking at... RUPPERSBERGER: I understand there`s a lot of people from out of state. And -- and I`m worried about tonight and -- and more looting and fires, things like that. MATTHEWS: Well, some of the people probably are hear for a peaceful protest are wearing those 300-men march sweaters or shirts, I think that`s a sign of civil protest, which is very appropriate. You know, you put the three pieces together, Congressman. You work in this area of the United States law and economic policy. And what percentage of it is these kids have nowhere to go after they get out of high school? I mean, the smart kids will become teachers and doctors and lawyers, that`s the "A" students. But most kids are regular kids. I just want -- I mean, when I grew up, in the old age, you get a job. Now I don`t think there are jobs for these kids? RUPPERSBERGER: They feel they`re trapped. They feel they don`t have a life ahead of them. And that`s why you have so many kids going into crime in inner cities and drugs and that kind of thing. We have to deal with it. That`s why you need programs like Head Start and you need to get the community to stand up and help it. But you can`t take the law into your own hands with this protest. You know, with Freddie Grays being buried today and his family saying, please, you know, don`t disgrace Freddie Gray for whatever has happened, as wrong as you think it might be, this is the day of his funeral and his family and his twin sister are saying, please, make these protests nonviolent. And they were. We were very proud of what happened and the nonviolence on Saturday. And then, then a few people left off and then it started. And now, it`s really taking another level. And that`s unfortunate, but we have to have law and order. And we now have to stand up and stop this and bring people -- MATTHEWS: OK, thank you. We`ve got a car on fire here. RUPPERSBERGER: OK, take care. MATTHEWS: Congressman Ruppersberger, thank you for coming on from Baltimore.   Joining me right now, a great man, Kweisi Mfume, a former United States congressman, former Baltimore City councilman, and former head of the NAACP. He was at Freddie Gray`s funeral earlier today. Mr. Mfume, take the floor, so many vicious factors here. Unemployment, lost opportunities for 17 and 18-year-old kids still in school, but having no real plans. And then the word gets out, this is a day for the purge or whatever you will. Anything goes day. And lots of anger and now the fuel and now the night`s coming. Your thoughts? KWEISI MFUME (D-MD), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: A couple of things. First of all, thank you for the opportunity. There are a lot of people here who could be speaking tonight. I just happen to be standing here at this time. And these are people who are pent up with frustration, people who get up and go to work every day. People who follow their faith, people who raise their children, and children who will bury their parents. But what seems to be getting the attention all over the nation are the ones that seemingly are doing what they want to do tonight, everything that they`ve been taught not to do. And they`re doing it not so much because they just needed something to do, they`re doing it because the pent-up frustration that they`ve seen, have seen in their parents over many years, is in them. Unfortunately, it has taken this ugly, ugly tone, and it has created here in the city, a situation that is clearly code red in many places. Now, I`ve got to tell you, I said at the funeral today, this is the last thing, the absolute last thing that Freddie Gray`s family wants. They were as clear as they could be that they wanted to mourn him, they wanted to remember him, and they wanted justice for him. And they`ve asked people repeatedly not to do anything other than that. Seemingly, the groups of people that we`ve seen almost appear to be better organized, in some instances, result of social media, than some of the police. And they seem to be pop up strategically, over and over again, and it`s been difficult for the police department to contain. MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the parents. You were up there, the parents and their kids are having dinner together, hopefully, around 7:00 tonight. And they`re getting together and then the kids want to go out. You know that`s what`s going on. Tell me about that tinderbox of kids and parents fighting, you want to go out, no, you can`t go out. MFUME: Well, we hope that the parents win out, obviously. I think that situation concerns me less, the one that concerns me more are kids who are sitting around and there are no parents, where they make their own decisions and they`ve already made a decision to go here or go there and do something else. That`s what troubles me. Where there is a family, where there are loved ones, and where there is an effort to sort of use this as a moment to teach the generation currently, about what the generation prior went to, I hope that conversation is occurring. And I hope parents would recognize and say to kids over and over again, as we all know, that when good people are silent, bad things always happen. And when good people stand up, you find a way to control situations.   I`ve got to say this, growing up here all my life and seeing this police department, the concerns here are legitimate. There has been a cadre, a quarter of this police has gone on over and over again, unrestricted, almost, taking advantage of people`s rights, violently doing things against them, planting drugs on them. This didn`t start with Freddie Gray. If you look at the arrest here in Baltimore, you can see it`s been going on for a long time. In fact, the police department paid $5 million out just a few months back to settle lawsuits in over 60 different cases where they were found to have violated the rights of individuals. So, it`s a real frustration. It is unfortunate that the ugly part of it is showing its head, and we`re just calling on men throughout the community to come out, like I`m out, and like others are out tonight, go into the crowds, talk to these young men, as a way that only a man can talk to another man, and to stand there and try to find a way to tell them that this is not the way to do it. If there`s a better way, at the end of the day, if we don`t get justice for Freddie Gray, we would have failed. MATTHEWS: What do you think we`re going to get here? Are we going to get a report from the police that`s going to tell us how a guy gets his spinal cord broken during police custody? I mean, there can`t be any good reason for that? I mean, so, what`s the delay? I`ve heard this from other people tonight, that the suspicion is they`re putting together a story. MFUME: Yes, I agree with you, Chris. No one knows what the delay is. We know that Mr. Gray got so a van and we know that he got out. During the time the van was stopped, he was placed in leg irons, which I really don`t understand. I mean, this is not about Django. This is a human being who you already have handcuffed in a police van in custody with two officers nearby. And then when he gets out, he`s still crying for help and then finally, a paramedic is called. He`s put into the hospital, barely breathing, 80 percent of his spine severed. And the investigation seems to take forever. Whatever happened we know happened in the time he got caught until the time he got out of the van. Many people have given the police department the benefit of the doubt on this, but I think that has helped fuel the flame of anger and this belief somehow that there might be a cover-up. MATTHEWS: You know, I want to ask you one thought. I know you were active in congress, as a progressive Democrat, and you`ve been a great leader of the NAACP, and here we are talking about what you and I will be talking about when we`re 90, if we`re 90, we`ll be talking about it again, damn it. I don`t think whether it`s the trade issue -- I don`t think the trade issue answers it. Where are we going to find manufacturing jobs, good old boys jobs, young men`s jobs, where you go work, come back a little dirty, a little sweaty, but you`re proud of yourself from a hard day at the plant? My uncle and grandfather grew up in North Philly. I was living there. The neighborhood now is African-American, but none of those jobs are there. They were there when I was there. You get on the subway, two stops away, you had real job. You get into Baltimore. You can`t find a job, with a short commute. And that`s, to me, the problem that`s behind all of this. MFUME: The jobs are in China, they`re in Korea, they`re in Indonesia, they`re in South America -- good, regular, hard-paying jobs, where a lot of companies seeking to pay fewer dollars in wages have taken those jobs and transported them overseas.   And so, this didn`t mysteriously happen where people don`t have a job, can`t find a job, and there are no jobs to be found. This is a drain, as you know, that`s been going on year after year after year. And this is a result of what happens when people can`t find a way to take care of themselves, have a sense of dignity, a sense of peace, and a sense of purpose. MATTHEWS: I wish the jobs hadn`t first gone south, Congressman, because that`s where they went first. And think went to the right-to-work states, you know where they went, where the unions didn`t have any power. You could get people to work for nothing and the stuff wasn`t that good that was made down there. That was the first stop on the trip away. Anyway, thank you for coming on tonight. I`ve always wanted you on the show. Thanks you for coming back on a terrible night. MFUME: Thank you. Thank you very much. MATTHEWS: We`ve been watching live pictures of a car on fire, on the streets of Baltimore, which is a pretty good indication of what this night`s about, just burning and destruction. We`re awaiting a news conference from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who`s been on the program so many times. It will be any minute now. We`re joined right now by phone by Tessa Hill-Aston, who`s the president of the Baltimore NAACP. Thank you very much, Tessa. And give us your sense of what you can add to what we`ve been trying to get covered here tonight on MSNBC. TESSA HILL-ASTON, PRESIDENT OF BALTIMORE NAACP (via telephone): Well, it`s the same. I feel bad that it`s happening. We`re going to have a lot of businesses that will be gone that people need in their community, but I can understand the outrage, because the community, especially the black young men and teenagers are upset because Freddie Gray is deceased, he`s not the only one. We have about five or six cases right now where people have either been beat up or and we have two or three people who are deceased at the hands of the police in the past three years, and no one has been brought to justice. So, this was just the last time that they were going to stand for it. We didn`t have this kind of outrage the last time. But what`s been going on across America and other cities and states in Ferguson and New York, I guess the people just couldn`t take anymore. MATTHEWS: OK, who`s on point from -- who`s the NAAPC person on point right now dealing with the Baltimore police on the Freddie Gray police, who is pressuring them every day and every hour to get a report out? Where does that stand right now?   HILL-ASTON: We`re working on that. I`ve been talking to the police and the mayor. We`re going to continue to ask every day, along with the community. I`ve been meeting with the family. We stand tall with the family and all the pastors, so the faith-based and NCAAP, we`ve been standing together for the past seven days saying we want justice for Freddie Gray and we want justice. Every day when we go somewhere, the families of all the other victims that have been deceased, Anthony Anderson, Tyrone West, these are people that died at the hands of the police that were healthy black men before they came in contact with the police on that day that he died -- MATTHEWS: What did you think? You`re in --Tessa, you`re in the NAACP, what are you -- not feelings, what you`re thinking? Do you believe white cops, black cops, big city cops, everybody find them, beat up black suspects as a regular practice? What do you think goes on? Are these bad apples? How would you describe the system right now? HILL-ASTON: I think there`s a combination of both. There`s a lot of bad apples that do this, and I think a lot of people just see a black male and stop him and do things to him and assume he`s done something wrong. And just like Freddie Gray, he was not doing anything, eye contact and he ran because a lot of people are afraid of the police. He was young and he ran. But there`s old people sometimes gentlemen, they can`t run and they get beat up or get jerked around for about an hour and we put them out. We sued the police department, the NAACP, about seven years ago for almost $1 million where they took one young boy out of the Baltimore City area, and drove him to the county and took his shoes and left him. He tracked down a Baltimore County police and brought him back. With the help of the ACLU and the NAACP, they got sued. And these people got money. Now, we have people that there are (INAUDIBLE). People don`t want money, they want their sons alive at the end of the day. So, the community, I`m sorry this happened, but the police have to get their act together. MATTHEWS: Why what is -- why do police do that? You got a police department there that`s fairly mixed, I`m told, black and white officers, guys on foot patrol. What is the continuing motive for, what you considered police brutality as a pattern? HILL-ASTON: Because, there`s certain neighborhoods in Baltimore where young men are standing on the corner without jobs, without anywhere to go. Just like you were saying about the factor jobs and the jobs used to be when I was a teenager, that`s what most of adult men had, that I know, and they were making good money and those homes and they had nice cars. These young children are standing there with no direction, nowhere to go, and they don`t have anything to do and they don`t have any money. So the police look at them as just reject, and they attack them, they talk bad to them or they drive down the street and get off the corner. If they don`t move fast enough, they get out and start cussing at them. So, people can`t keep taking that. And I`m sorry this is happening today, but if they don`t change their ways from the top down, and the bottom up, if people don`t stop showing racism to young black boys, and thinking they can just to them, and just like today, we have the services, and I was at the services, and one of our pastors made the comment that Freddie Gray`s got (INAUDIBLE) because he gave the police our content.   You know, back (INAUDIBLE) years ago, even in the `50s, black men especially, you better not look at a white person in the face. You can get beat up or dead. Emmitt Till, you know? So, it`s still in some people`s minds, so we have to train the police, because if they`re afraid to come in a neighborhood and think they are supposed to beat somebody, maybe they need to find another job. MATTHEWS: What do you want your mayor to say? HILL-ASTON: Well, she`s doing a lot, but I think right now, what`s going to happen is if we don`t get a report from the police saying what this gentleman died from, (INAUDIBLE) and some indictments will come out, this is not going to stop. It`s going to continue, because even though somebody may stop, there`s always somebody going to say let`s bring this back up and destroy the city and destroy the police and make everybody look bad, because they haven`t gotten any help. There has to be some indictments from the police department. There has to be. MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you so much, Tessa Hill-Aston of the NAACP in Baltimore. You know, we`re going to have the mayor on, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and she`s a major figure in Maryland politics. A lot of people are talking about her possibly running for the United States Senate in the state. There`s an open seat coming up next year. We have right now Clarence Mitchell of WBL Radio in Baltimore. He`s also a former Maryland state senator and from an illustrious family. Mr. Mitchell, thank you for coming on. I know all about your father, Clarence Mitchell. How does this fit into the history of civil rights and the struggle in your state and city? CLARENCE MITCHELL (D), FORMER MARYLAND STATE SENATOR (via telephone): Chris, people are in pain and angry at the same time. As you`ve mentioned, four generations of my family are invested in the past, present, and future of this city. What I`m watching is indescribable. MATTHEWS: What do you make of it? Is this a police brutality situation? Is it a poverty situation? What`s the social -- I mean, everybody is watching this in the country tonight and they go, why is Baltimore burning? What`s your answer?   MITCHELL: Freddie Gray is the late nest a situation, unfortunately, Chris, of police brutality cases where, unfortunately, the system has not worked to produce justice. Now, what you`re seeing right now tonight aren`t protesters. These are rioters. Legitimate protesters have been protesting for years. Their voices have not been heard. Now, they`re rioters have taken over. I want to be clear that they should understand. You`re not looking at protesters. You`re looking at rioters. MATTHEWS: And do you think these kids -- I guess I call them kids. They`re most got out high school. They`re probably juniors and seniors in high school, 17, 18 years old. And then you hear this story of outside protesters. I`m a little bit skeptical about that phrase. What do you make of it? Outside -- (CROSSTALK) MITCHELL: Chris, there are outsiders as well as local people. The bottom line is, these are people who have no investment in the system, and their whole mission is to destroy, because they elevated, like you mentioned my family, because they have elevated, legitimate people like Tessa Hill-Aston, who just had on your show, the rioters see a vacuum and a void and they fill the void. MATTHEWS: What about my favorite question, my least favorite reality in this country, C students, regular kids that come out of high school, maybe they even graduate. So they do what they`re supposed to do, but they`re average kids, where are they going to go? What do they see in their future? (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Anyway, that`s too big a question. Go ahead. MITCHELL: We used to have Bethlehem Steel in Baltimore City. We used to have Pears Point. We used to have General Motors. We don`t have blue collar jobs. MATTHEWS: I hear you, I hear you. Here`s the mayor. Hang on there. Here`s the mayor.   MITCHELL: OK. (LIVE COVERAGE OF MAYOR`S SPEECH) THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>