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Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 01/04/15

Guests: Blair Kelley, Amy Goodman, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Jamie Kilsten,Ed Pawlowski, Blair Kelley, Marquez Claxton, Marquis Govan

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning my questions, what is the role of white people in a racial justice movement? Plus, Nicki Minaj and Macklemore on the artist as activist. And marijuana country, Colorado one year after legalization. But first, the role of the police then and now. Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. This morning, mourners are gathering for the funeral of New York police department detective Wenjian Liu who was killed in the line of duty on December 20th along with his partner Detective Rafael Ramos. Liu and Ramos were shot to death as they sat in their cruiser in a Brooklyn neighborhood, targeted solely because they were police officered. Liu was 32 years old, a Chinese-American immigrant and a newlywed. He and his wife were married just three months before he was killed. Liu joined the NYPD seven years ago after serving for years as an auxiliary police officer. According to the "Daily News," Liu`s father said his son had dedicated himself to becoming an officer right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks which took the lives of 22 members of the NYPD. Detective Liu will be laid to rest today. Now, all funerals are emotional, but police funerals are especially so. The sea of officers in dress uniform standing there in their own vulnerability expressing solidarity with someone most of them have never even met. It can be raw and deeply sad. Of course, we know that this particular police funeral is happening in the context of an ongoing national conversation, and frankly, a critique about the practices of local police forces throughout the country, including the NYPD. And as part of that conversation, I thought it might be worth talking about the history of policing in America. Because it didn`t always look as it does today. In the early days of American cities, law and order was kept by part-time constables, that night watchmen. New York had four night watchmen in 1698 who were paid to patrol the streets and arrest those committing crimes. By 1834, New York had hundreds of watchmen patrolling the streets at night. But they were no well disciplined force. They were poorly paid, untrained, and often corrupt. Now, in the south, early policing took the form of slave patrols, which were tasked with preventing uprisings, breaking up gatherings of enslaved people and hunting down runaways. There was little policing of white southerners who were generally allowed to settle disputes among themselves, even violently. In fact, it wasn`t until the mid-1800s in east coast cities that the municipal police forces that we know today were first established, in part, to keep order in the wake of riots against immigrants -- Catholics, abolitionists and free black people. Boston created one of the country`s full-time police departments at 1837 at the urging of Boston`s mayor who argued it was need in the wake of three riots. The burning of a catholic convent and girls school by a mob in 1834, the riot outside a meeting of the female anti-slavery society in 1835 in which a crowd of thousands attacked the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and forced him to flee the city, and the broad to be bright (ph) at 1837 when volunteer firefighters fought with the attendants of Irish catholic funeral procession in a brawl that became an all out riot with fire companies around the city joining the may light that lasted for hours before the militia intervened. And New York on many rights 1830s, in the summer of 1834, thousands of white New Yorkers spent days systematically looting the homes of prominent abolitionists, burning churches, terrorizing mixed race neighborhoods and beating black individuals. When the police and mayor came to break it up, the rioters beat them away. When the calvary broke-up one riot, the mob reformed elsewhere. It took days and the deputization of 1,000 special constables to quell the violence. It was in response to these riots, these new urban unrest police departments were formed. And for the first time, patrolmen were charged with not only responding to crime and catching criminals but with preventing crime as well. Now, fast forward 150 years. The NYPD now has nearly 35,000 uniformed officers. And there are more than 12,000 local police departments across the country, many unionized. And over the past several decades, they have become increasingly outfitted with military equipment. Police have undergone various waves of reform and changes in strategy and more are need. Also does well to remember the local police departments that are relating positively to their communities, even in these tense times. Take the metropolitan Nashville police department. At a protest in November, police handed out hot chocolate and coffee, and the chief decided not to arrest protesters who marched onto the interstate but instead stopped traffic while they held a die-in. Now, not everyone in Nashville was onboard with that method. Last week, the chief, Steve Anderson, made public an email he received from one of his critics and his response. The critic wrote quote "how long are we going to allow these people to disrupt our city? I have a son who I have raised to respect police officers and other authority figures, but if he comes to me today and asked why are the police allowing this? I wouldn`t have a good answer." In response, Chief Anderson offered a hypothetical that the writer was stopped for speeding and let off with a warning rather than a ticket as Nashville police do in five cases out of six. As you have suggested, a question may come to you from the back seat, how can I respect the police if they will not enforce the law? Take into account, however, that the innocence of children can produce the most profound and probing questions. They often see the world in a very clear and precise manner. Their eyes unclouded by the biases life gives us. This could produce the next question, if you believe that the police should enforce the law at all times, why didn`t you insist that the officer write you a ticket? I don`t have a suggestion as to how that should be answered. Joining me now, Khalil Gibran Muhammad who is director of Schomburg center for research in black culture and Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of democracy now. Thank you both for being here. Amy, I wanted to point out that this Chief Anderson in Nashville is also emblematic that having good outcomes does not require being tough on your citizens, that there`s been a precipitous decline in Nashville crime, that the only officer to die since this police chief took over was in a vehicular accident as opposed to being shot and killed. I`m wondering if there is something either in the history of policing or in these moments that can help us think about a better way to go forward. AMY GOODMAN, HOST/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, DEMOCRACY NOW: Well, I mean, I think he presents a wonderful example of what it means to be a peace officer, because that`s what police officers are supposed to be. And if you want to maintain the peace, first and foremost, you need good community police relations where people understand each other, where people in the community are not afraid to turn to the police if there`s a problem because so often that could lead to something terrible. In the same way Bill de Blasio in dealing with the protests here, I mean, overwhelmingly peaceful protests, compare that to Michael Bloomberg eviscerating, you know, with all the police with their weapons taking down the occupy encampments when Bill de Blasio was there visiting. HARRIS-PERRY: You know, this idea of police community of relations and the need to build trust, Khalil, has kept feeling to me in recent months as though that burden rests on the community. The community should learn to trust the police. And again, one of the things I liked about this Nashville chief, he wrote also in the letter, it`s laudable that you`re teaching your son respect for the police and other authority figures. However, a better lesson might be it`s the government the police serve that should be respected. The police are merely a representative of the government formed by the people, for the people, for all people. Being respectful of the governments would mean being respectful of all persons, no matter what their view. But this idea of connecting the state and of suggesting that respect must be earned as opposed to be given because of authority. KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD, DIRECTOR, SCHOMBURG CENTER: I think that`s exactly right. First of all, Chief Anderson like the mayor of Minneapolis are to be applauded as representatives and there are others out there. So we want to hold up people who are not only practicing what they preach, but also willing to do something on a bigger scale than just their local community. Here`s a man who is comfortable saying I have something that can be shared with the nation. That being said, the issue with policing is that this country is undergoing dramatic demographic changes. And what we keep missing in this conversation about the police is that they are changing, too. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. MUHAMMAD: And somehow, the disconnect between who the communities that are served by policing and the officers themselves, there`s a complete short circuiting. Patrick Lynch of the PBA, for example, stands in as a kind of century old representation of Irish-American authority in the body of working class men who rise through civil service ranks in the form of policing. And yet somehow, that relationship to African-Americans, to Asian-Americans, to Latino-Americans, the very communities that are supposed to be served and represented are not represented by that leadership. And that to me is what Mr. Anderson is getting it. He is saying to the citizens of Nashville that we serve these communities as representatives of government. I`m not here as an old white American representative of traditions of the 19th century and we are gate keepers of power and privilege that keep aliens at the gate and barbarians at the gate who don`t belong here. That is the model of government and policing practice that is not taking place right here in this city. GOODMAN: It goes way back. I mean, go to that 1992 police riot at city hall where 10,000 police officers protested, a number of them rioted. They called Mayor Dinkins a washroom attendant. They said his color is yellow bellied. Now, sometimes, I mean, it also happened under Bloomberg and the Giuliani administrations. It`s about police union contracts. But in the case of Mayor Dinkins, he wanted to support a civilian complaint review board. This doesn`t endanger police. It protects them. Good cops care about good policing. MUHAMMAD: And it ought to be consistent. The notion of being watched while you`re doing your job ought to be consistent with being a peace officer. We`re going to talk much more about the police, including that 1992 question as we move forward. But before we get there, I want you to stay right with us because mourners are currently gathering for the funeral of slain New York police department detective Wenjian Liu. We`re going to continue to bring you updates from the event. But after the break, the challenge of an interracial movement for racial justice, the moment when New York Mayor Bill de Blasio changed the equation. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has warned his officers not to turn their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio when he speak at this morning`s funeral for slain detective Wenjian Liu, as some did at funeral last week`s funeral for Liu`s partner, Rafael Ramos. Now, some officers feel disrespected by the mayor in part because of what has de Blasio said after a grand jury failed to indict an officer for the chokehold death of Eric Garner. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK: Charlaine and I have had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers he may face. Good young man, law abiding young man who never would think to do anything wrong, and yet because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face, we have had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Now, what he was saying there wasn`t something we haven`t heard before, but the optics of it were very powerful. The mayor, a white man, talking about his son, an African-American youth, and it leads me to ask, in a movement marching under the banner black lives matter, what is the role of white people? Joining my panel now a white guy, Jamie Kilsten who is co-host of citizen radio, and Blair Kelley, associate professor of history at North Carolina State University. So I think I`ll start with you, Jamie, just on this idea that in a movement which is about this question of black life, where do we see the role of white allies or people in general? JAMIE KILSTEN, CO-HOST, CITIZEN RADIO: Just to not be horrible, right? Like that`s sort of all we have to do, like, don`t be racist, listen, and sometimes shut up. So I think what it is, is you want to show solidarity, right? But what you don`t want to do is be that white guy at the protest for Eric Gardner who when people are no justice no peace, and be like, and go vegan. Like there are things that I care about that, you know, it`s just the time to show up and support and show that there`s solidarity and not hijack it. And I have seen white people try to hijack before, which is very different. It`s like if you get called out, if you screw up, what you`re going to screw up, you`re a white guy, right? If you screw up and someone calls you out, someone of color, someone you claim to be defending, you have to listen. I think that`s the most important. HARRIS-PERRY: So I get all the ways in which that`s the right answer, right? And particularly sort of like, you know, how to be a good ally 101, listen. But Blair, I guess there`s a part of me that also think, you know, some of the most exquisite histories written about African-American life and leadership have been written by white historians. And there are many moments when I would want those white people to be speaking while African- American students are quite like -- that the right -- that the notion that identity itself is sufficient for leadership is also inadequate. BLAIR KELLEY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY: Yes, because there is a knowledge base, right? There is experiential -- I mean there are some old white snit folk who would be incredible in the midst --. HARRIS-PERRY: Snick being the student o nonviolent coordinating. KELLEY: Who in 1960s helped organize these innovated and brilliant protests and they were working alongside people like John Lewis (ph) and (INAUDIBLE). And they know just as much about what it takes to make that kind of movement because they have done it over time. So all white people aren`t equal, and -- HARRIS-PERRY: I mean in their humanity, all people, right. (CROSSTALK) KELLEY: They`re not equal in their ability to inform this protest in an intelligent fashion. And so, we want allies to engage in the movement on all levels, right. You want less professional allies to engage. You want people who are honestly moved by the question that is going on to step and put their lives on the line, too. You want that engagement, you`re making an argument to the country and you need different kinds of people to see different kinds of people making that argument. GOODMAN: And this is not just a black problem in the United States. This is, well, you know, de Blasio said it in his speech, but an American problem, an American challenge. If we see this as well, when a black person is killed by a police officer, that`s a black problem. If a Latino person is killed by an officer, that`s a Latino problem. We`re all in this together. And there are even good police officers who are horrified by what has taken place who are speaking out. Those police officers who turned their back on de Blasio, I don`t know if they represent the majority of the police force. They were very up front. They were right there where the cameras were. But I have spoken with many police officers who are horrified by that. HARRIS-PERRY: But this idea that it is in the interest of white Americans as well to be part of a movement of racial justice, I guess I sometimes wonder about that. So I both see how that can be absolutely true, that to the extent we`re perfecting our union, we want a more egalitarian union. But to the extent that whiteness carries with it certain privileges. If you`re operating fully in one`s own economic interest, isn`t it preferable to not be part of that movement? MUHAMMAD: Yes. Well, the history of the country is predicated on disadvantage, structural disadvantage. So it`s not just about the psychological benefits of feeling good about being part of a civic culture that is euro centric in its core and that prides who you are, you represented. And I mean, you have children, take your children to see movies, and with the exception of Annie, it`s like, my God, everything about the world re-enforces that you have propriety, that you belong. Walter Dean Meyers, for example, before he died last year, pointed out only 92 of 3200 children`s books featured African-American protagonists. So there`s a lot to be said about the way in which the color lines still re-enforces who counts in this country. And therefore, even without conspiracy, even without being insidious or part of something, somehow you see those people as challenging what the nation stands for. What Bill de Blasio did in that press conference wasn`t just about re-enforcing the experience of his child, which is echoed by black officers on the NYPD, but also, he surrounded himself by black people. I mean, not to be too aggressive in this comment, but there is something to be said about perhaps there was race betrayal there, right? Here`s the leader of the biggest city in the biggest police force surrounded by black people, legitimating black people and black experiences through the lens of his own child and all of a sudden, this is not the America most of us know. HARRIS-PERRY: (INAUDIBLE), I guess that part of what I am wondering, Jamie, we`ll pick it up as we come back, but whether or not the personal experience of experiencing having less privilege as a result of one`s proximity to blackness as a result of either having an interracial family or a beloved or being part of a movement which all of a sudden takes away your white privilege and then, right, there`s a kind of opening of that experience in the way that we saw with de Blasio. Hold on. We are going to talk about all that and just so much more when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have been doing the same actions the entire evening. We marched together, we chanted together, we have dines together, doing the exact same actions the entire night. But when police came, I watched as they ripped Shaun away, two of them, and then I offered myself up to be arrested as well, and the police officer who tackled me, he took me down. I put my hands behind my back to indicate I`m ready to be arrested and he just leaned forward and whispered in my ear, just get out of here. HARRIS-PERRY: No such offer to just get offer was made to you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No action for me. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was Benjamin Perry (ph) and Shawn Torres (ph), students at Union Theological seminary describing their disparate treatment by police for the same protest action last month. And Blair, I wanted to play that. I was thinking, I think in part, because we`re going to go see "Selma" tonight, Reverend James Reed, Viola Luozo, these people who were also not given the option to get out of there, who were killed as white allies in the civil rights movement. KELLEY: Ye. But the movie remembered their contributions. They amplify the question for America in a particular kind of way because of their bodies. So their engagement with the movement is sincere, right? They`re longtime, lifetime activists who were, you know, putting their lives on the line for other Americans to have those same freedoms. And their sacrifice, you know, they become other people, they become killable, they become tainted by blackness in a particular kind of way and movement. And so when they die, though, the American media sees their death as different than the deaths of black activists in the same places in the same kinds of circumstances. And so the amplification of white bodies is an interesting phenomenon, but activists knew that, right? So snick is in Mississippi starting in 1960s. I mean, they`re building field offices, they are working and people are being killed, and no one is paying any attention. So they actively draw in white volunteers for freedom summer -- . HARRIS-PERRY: Because they recognize -- KELLEY: Simply because they`re playing into the media. So there is awareness, but that`s a painful awareness. GOODMAN: And look at the freedom summer, when they were looking for the bodies of Mickey Schwerner (ph), James Cheney and Andrew Goodman over those 44 days, the civil rights workers who were killed. They dug up so many black bodies on the way to finding their bodies dug into this earthen dam, what does that say? HARRIS-PERRY: Right. But the headline, the thing that brings us is because of that sense of the value of the white bodies. KILSTEN: Yes. And I was thinking about that in relation to what you were saying before break. And I`m really glad Amy brought up occupy in the earlier segment because I think about that a lot. Sometimes white people being there, it`s important for a sad reason. And for the reasons you guys were just talking ability, where, like, I remember when my white journalist friends were getting arrested. There were a lot of people white people out who were being brutalize in occupy who were like, my God, is this what happens to black people every day? Like if they can come for a salon blogger one day, they`re going to come for a democracy now intern the next day. Everybody was like so shocked. And it`s just like, hey, this is what happens like every day in a lot of other communities. And so, I think when it comes back to the whole being a good ally, I do think it`s important to be out there, unfortunately, because, you know, we do live in a country that values white lives over black, but that`s why the protests are happening. HARRIS-PERRY: And particularly, I also just want to mention values blue lives in a particular way, and it`s a tough thing to talk about on a day where an innocent man who should not have been killed and was killed only because of his identity is going to be laid to rest. But the difference in some of the discourse around it, so I just wanted to share, there was a Los Angeles police department officer who is here talking about the killings and says it doesn`t matter if it happens here or in L.A. or in Louisiana, it`s an act of savagery that should be condemned by society. So on the one hand, I agree with that. It should be condemned by society. But also, that language was so rarely used to talk about, for example, the death of Tamir Rice, 12 years old, shot to death on a playground, which also feels like the sort of thing that should be condemned, that we should not kill 12-year-old on a playground. MUHAMMAD: But there is also a way to which we can part mental these moments, these moments in the tragedy where police officers are slain innocently because we know in Las Vegas, just last year, I believe, I have forgotten the date, but two officers were killed in a Cici`s pizza in Las Vegas by two anti-government activists who that don`t thread on being (INAUDIBLE) at the scene of the crime. HARRIS-PERRY: But it wasn`t racialized? MUHAMMAD: It was not racialized. It was not a national commentary on what`s wrong with white people and their hatred of by police officers. It was not a reflection of savagery in the core of society. It really didn`t translate beyond what we already know to be true, which is that there are more anti-government militia groups in the wake of the Obama two-term presidency. And yet that doesn`t animate any of our conversations about what`s going on in white America and its position towards authorities and government in particular. KILSTEN: I want to see think pieces on like what is the message behind country music that these men who will go and, you know, it`s one of those things where it`s so sad what happened to these cops. And I`m glad that there is an outrage over it, but I`m hear heartbroken that the outrage pales in comparison to what happened to Eric Gardner or that it`s OK for the police to protest de Blasio but it`s not OK for people to protest for Tamir Rice. (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: Khalil is going to be right back on the next hour, the rest of the panel is sticking around. Stay right there. Mourners are currently gathering for the funeral of slain New York police department detective Wenjian Liu. We`ll have a live report later in the show. And up next, the artist as activist, Nicki Minaj and Macklemore on the cost of speaking out and the lesson of Kanye West. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: On December 8th, Cleveland`s Lebron James wore this shirt before the Brooklyn Nets game showing his solidarity with New York City protesters after the decision of the Staten Island grand jury not to indict anyone in the death of Erin Garner. And none other than Jay-Z helped arranged the delivery of the shirts to members of the nets team for the same game. On December 14th, Andrew Hawkins wore this shirt, showing his support for the families of Tamir Rice and John Crawford III, who were killed by police in Ohio. But these instances of athlete activism have left some wondering how recording artists are participating in the dialogue. (INAUDIBLE) Questlove addressed the apparent scarcity of musical engagement in current activism during an in an interview with billboard, referring to the backlash the Dixie chicks received in 2003 after saying they were ashamed President Bush was from Texas. Quest said, I think a lot of it is just due to fear of being blackballs and not making a living. Nicki Minaj echoed that sentiment in her "Rolling Stone" interview released Friday, after rhetorically posing the question, why aren`t black celebrities speaking out more, the artist cited reactions to Kanye West`s remarks about the government response to hurricane Katrina in 2005. Minaj said look what happened to Kanye when he spoke out? People told him to apologize to Bush, because how many times can you be made to feel horrible for caring about your people before you say it`s not worth it. And in a radio interview with hot 97 (INAUDIBLE) in the morning, rapper Macklemore did squirm a bit when (INAUDIBLE) asked him about police misconduct and race. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talk about what you`re seeing right now and how Macklemore feels about it. MACKLEMORE, RAPPER: That`s a lot. It`s a lot. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: But the rest of the response took some listeners by surprise when he answered the question head on and addressed his own, quote, white privilege. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MACKLEMORE: How do I get involved on a level where I`m not co-opting the movement or I`m not making about I it about me but also realizing the platform that I have and the reach I have and doing it in an authentic genuine way. Silence is my action. It`s my privilege that I can be silent about this issue. And I`m tired about being silent about it. Like I have been silent for a long time because I didn`t want to mess up, I didn`t want to say the wrong thing, didn`t want to offend anybody. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: All of which leads me to ask, can artists be effective activists? More on that when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Here is the question. What is the role of the artist in activism? Joining me now is Toure, co-host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE." So what do you say? Can artists be effective activist? TOURE, MSNBC HOST, "THE CYCLE": Can artist be effective activist? Well, you had Harry Belafonte on the show before, so obviously, yes, they can be effective activists. It`s hard for a lot of them, because as Questlove was talking about, there are those commerce concerns that a lot of them have. Now in the modern era where the record industry is breaking down and we make money or they make money via touring, so direct relationship with the fans, I don`t see why they would be afraid of, I mean, the record industry coming in, but I mean, they do -- HARRIS-PERRY: That`s interesting. I want to pause on that for a second. So the notion of a more direct relationship to the people might actually create greater incentives for activism because you don`t have a record company worried. That`s an interesting kind of twist on the idea of the commerce within mainstream artists. TOURE: No, absolutely. I mean, touring has been the main way you make money. But as the record labels break down and they have a harder time creating massive artists, then yes, you`re having a one to one relationship with your fans trying to get them to see you on tour in smaller and smaller venues. So why not make that big step? Now generally, artists, even as we look back, artists make popular stance, right? They`re against war, right? Now, who`s going to say, well, actually, we need to have war sometimes, right? You know, I remember Stevie Wonder having songs against Richard Nixon. Well at that time, it was super controversial to make that stand. So you know, quite, you know, the things public enemy did, you know, even hip-hop was great about anti- aids messages, right, and wearing condoms, right? Very powerful important stuff. Is that really controversial, though, to ask artists to make stands that cleave their audience in half, potentially, is very difficult and doesn`t often happen. KELLEY: But I do think there`s a history of hip-hop that has an incredible consciousness, right? So all of the hip-hop that still in play in my life, which is all 20, 25 years old, it was a style of hip-hop, right? To be conscious with a requirement among a whole crew of artists, and to say substantive things ability the things happening around them. But I mean, it fell out of style. So the way -- TOURE: The audience changed. KELLEY: The audience changed and the way new hip-hop folk differentiating themselves from old school, which is now old school, hip-hop is that they stopped being conscious. And so, the new style became consumption, and then the new style became whatever the heck is going on now. KILSTEN: Yes, I like what you are saying about just being against broad topics, like being against war. Because then, when someone takes it a step further, like when the kid from one direction had a flag of Palestine, people were just like, not that war. No, shh, about them. But I do think people can still get in trouble. One of the things I thought was so interesting that Nicki Minaj talked about who I checked to see if she follows me on twitter every day and she doesn`t, was when she talks about Kanye West. George Bush was -- everyone, no one likes George Bush. He was unpopular. He made his statement and suddenly the story got turned. It wasn`t about levees breaking. It was about Kanye West`s mean words against George Bush. Somehow, that was the story. Somehow his words brought down the levees. HARRIS-PERRY: And yet there was -- so that`s an interesting moment. I mean, maybe it`s worth going back just because why don`t we watch Kanye saying what he said so we remember. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KANYE WEST, SINGER: You see a black family that says they`re looting, see a white family, it says they`re looking for food. And you know that it`s been five days because most of the people are black. George Bush doesn`t care about black people. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, Toure, you can see a certain level -- he`s like, I`m about to say something that is going to be a thing. That is not Kanye today. That is Kanye a decade ago. You can see his stress about what he`s about to say. And yet also, he was actually calling out the media, right? He was calling out George Bush, and also calling out a media that was representing black life in these troubling ways. TOURE: Sure. And you know, I always see that moment, people talk about, well, he`s stilted right? He`s not getting the words out. As you and I know, he is looking at a prompter and saying words that are not on the prompter. HARRIS-PERRY: That are not on the prompter. TOURE: That is difficult. So that`s part of why he`s not saying it as strongly as he could. But, you know, that sort of speaking truth to power is at the heart of hip-hop. And I have been disappointed over the last few years of seeing not -- seeing not enough of that. And I didn`t see that vis-a-vie the recession. Vis-a-vie rising inequality which folks know at a deep personal level. They live in this world. They live in a world of inequality. Why aren`t they speaking more about that, you know? I think we see some of that in Eminem and that he`s not wearing the bling that was becoming this ridiculous trend, but I want to see more of that. HARRIS-PERRY: I wonder, Amy, this is such an interesting point, this idea of economic inequality, and it goes to something we talked about yesterday about individual success. And another part of hip-hop artistry has been about like the individual bravado and that I can make it and I`ve done it. And I wonder even in the notion of like individual success, we take out the capacity to talk about structural inequalities. GOODMAN: Well, I mean, celebrity is very important. What is the responsibility that comes with celebrity because so many people know you. I think about Bruce Springsteen, not hip-hop, right? Remember American skin, 41 shots, after (INAUDIBLE) was killed. He dared to sing that at the meadowlands. And I think the police said that they wouldn`t do overtime. They wouldn`t work to protect if he sang the song. He sang it anyway. And you know, again, it`s an extremely sad day today with the second police officer killed, but what will protect all life, what will protect the future of our Eric Garners of the world, as well as Officer Liu, as well as Officer Ramos, is people speaking out at every level wherever they are. Tom Morrello (ph) does, Michael Fronte (ph) does it. They have all come out with these songs. March to Ferguson and others, because they can`t help it. It`s their life, it`s what they breathe. HARRIS-PERRY: So we have to go to break. And there`s so much more. I do want to say thank you to Toure. I appreciate it when you came and hang out. Thank you also to Jamie Kilsten. Amy and Blair actually be back in the next hour. As we go out, I do want to take a listen to Harry Belafonte who was on our show talking about this question of platform. And when we come back after that, I`m going to do a little segment that I really wanted to call getting high with Harry, but they wouldn`t let me. But we are going to talk marijuana with Harry Smith when we return, no matter what it is they call it. But let`s listen to Harry Belafonte on our way out. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HARRY BELAFONTE, SINGER: I think the artists have a platform. They have a power. They have a gift. And by using that gift and that power and putting it in the service of those who are being ground out by inequity and by systems that are unjust, we begin to put a light and a new dynamic into what it is that`s going on with the poor, going on with those who are racially oppressed, sexually abused. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: It`s been just over a year since Colorado made history by becoming the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. Soon, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and the District of Columbia will join them. Legal pot has become big business with the nationwide sales topping $2.6 billion last year and intrepid entrepreneurs are cashing in on residents` and tourists` needs for weed. In a new documentary premiering on CNBC tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m., NBC News correspondent Harry Smith takes us inside the booming Colorado marijuana industry. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HARRY SMITH, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Colorado is now home to more than 500 pot stores, one of the biggest is called medicine man. Here`s an industry that doesn`t even exist in Colorado five years ago. Five years later, you have cloud technology -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State of the art. SMITH: To operate your grow rooms. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s been a wild ride. I got to tell you. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re not a bunch of stoners sitting around in tie dyed t-shirts, and you know, smoking pot. It`s a true American industry. SMITH: Andy Williams and his sister, Sally Vanderveer (ph), along with their brother Pete, run the company. Their high-tech grow facility produces 120 pounds of pot a week. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing? Welcome to medicine man, brother. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do more business out of this one location than anybody else. We`re opening a second that`s going to do more business than this location. And we are drinking from a fire hose. SMITH: They`re pioneers in the bewildering wilderness of legal weed. The federal government still views marijuana as a schedule I drug, so most banks won`t come near it. Can you bank yet? Do you have a relationship with --? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s a really good story. We have lost countless banks. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We lost a lot of banks. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bank kicked us out after we sent a check to the federal government for taxes this year. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They shutdown April 14th. SMITH: They can`t bank drug money, but the state can. Colorado is on track to collect almost $50 million in taxes and fees this year on sales that topped half a billion dollars. (END VIDEOTAPE) HARRIS-PERRY: Harry Smith joins me now. Harry, you were saying as we were watching this, he`s out in the middle of nowhere in a warehouse district, if that were a Walmart doing that kind of business, if that were a McDonald`s, right, the other store would be collating, it would be an economic growth engine. But then at the end, that idea that they can`t even bank, that they`re being shut down, are we, as a nation, having not gone federal with this, actually sort of stepping on our own tows in terms of economic development. SMITH: The economics are so interesting because here`s between the legal pot that they sell, the recreational, what they call it, and the medical, the over half a billion dollars in sales in Colorado alone, yet because it`s taxed so highly, there`s still a thriving black market there. All of this is, Governor Hickenlooper there calls it a social experiment. And Colorado is the Petri dish. So everything that we watch there, it continues to evolve and morph and change. So whatever you say about it today will be different tomorrow and the day after and the day after. HARRIS-PERRY: You were there close to a year ago. Does it feel dramatically different to you when you went back this time? SMITH: The dust is settling a little bit, but as they figure out what works and doesn`t work, the regulatory landscape continues to change. The goalpost gets moved all the time. The people who are really making it are the ones that have real business acumen, are the ones who absolutely follow the letter of the law all the way down to the finest little ink point. Those are the ones who will succeed. The others may end up being left behind. HARRIS-PERRY: Well, that`s sort of true of American capitalist start-ups in general principal. SMITH: Exactly right. HARRIS-PERRY: One of the most interesting moments for me is when you had a conversation with a veteran about the ways in which marijuana, cannabis, is being used by veterans to actually calm PTSD symptoms. SMITH: Sure. You`ll meet a guy in the documentary and there was a huge piece in the "Washington Post" just in the last couple weeks, there is kind of a ground swell among veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who are saying basically, I don`t want opiates. I don`t want to poison myself. I don`t want bar witch wits (ph). Let me smoke a little weed, man, just please, smoke a little weed. This is natural, organic, as they would say, substance. Isn`t that maybe a better alternative from their perspective? The question they`re asking, than the stuff you`re telling me, I ought to take. HARRIS-PERRY: But see, I wonder if there`s incredulity about that, because of the long history of the that being a ban, illegal drug and substance, that people say, if you were taking, you know, Prozac, then we believe it`s making you better, but you`re trying to get high. It doesn`t actually make you any better. SMITH: Without a doubt, there`s still a gigantic stigma. This thing was made a schedule I drug years ago. Probably never should have been made a schedule I drug. And let me just say as a person who doesn`t use marijuana, I`m not sitting here advocating. I`m just sitting here watching this landscape. I say every time I go out there and come back and say, it`s like watching a genie coming out of a bottle and it`s never going back in again. HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask you about race. One of the groups of activists most interested in the decriminalization of marijuana have been racial justice advocates who say the impact on our communities because of the aspect of crime and criminalization is even more important than any kind of medicinal and economic benefits. Are you seeing any of that aspect emerging in Colorado? SMITH: In terms of what`s important on the street there, marijuana, because it`s legal, isn`t such an important issue. Hasn`t been there because it was decriminalized some years ago, but this interesting thing about decriminalization, marijuana was decriminalized in New York in the 1970s. One of the aspects of that was used in stop and frisk was empty your pockets. As long as the joint comes out of the pocket, then it`s in public. And that makes you culpable, right? There is a lot of, you know, however, you want to play this is how you want to play this. And you can spin it, turn it upside down, empty people out. It`s very interesting. But I think demographically, what you`re seeing, you have 23 states now with medical marijuana is legal. You have states that you just mentioned, they`ll be ballot measures probably in 16, maybe even in California. There`s a demographic comparative that runs parallel, gay marriage and legalization of marijuana. Fifty percent is here, ten years ago is way below. Now it`s up above. HARRIS-PERRY: It is so fascinating to watch how this will emerge, particularly in the context of a 2016 election that very well may give you a Republican president and national legalized marijuana. Wouldn`t that be fascinating? SMITH: And imagine if you will with a Republican president if he tells states like Colorado not on my watch, that`s scheduled --. HARRIS-PERRY: Or even if she tells them that. (LAUGHTER) HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you so much to Harry Smith. And don`t miss the premiere of "Marijuana Country, the cannabis boom," this Monday, January 5th, at 9:00 p.m. eastern on CNBC. And coming up next, the funeral of slain New York police Officer Wenjian Liu is set to begin shortly. We`ll have a live report and discuss the continuing complexity of policing in America. There is more MHP show at the top o the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. The funeral of slain New York Police Officer Wenjian Liu is set to get under way now at a funeral home in Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn here in New York. Both 32-year-old Liu and his partner Detective Rafael Ramos were killed in an ambush shooting on December 20th as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn Bedford-Stuy neighborhood. Now, the gunman killed himself a short time later in a nearby subway station. Detective Liu was New York City`s first Chinese-American police officer to be shot and killed in the line of duty. In a funeral today, it will combine a tradition service for New York police officers with a ceremony led by Buddhist monks. We`re standing by this hour for remarks expected to be delivered by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. Now, joining us now from outside the funeral in Dyker Heights is MSNBC reporter Adam Reiss. Adam, can you tell us what you`ve seen there this morning? ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Melissa. The ceremony is about to begin. Thousands of officers lining the streets here from New York City, around the country, as far away as Canada to come pay their final respects, of final goodbye to Officer Wenjian Liu. Thirty two-years old, seven years on the force, married for just two months. Today, he`s the first Chinese officer killed in the line of duty. Now, we expect to hear from the FBI director, the mayor, the police commissioner, as well as Officer Liu`s wife and father. Now, when the mayor gives his eulogy, we`ll be looking at the officers here to see if they once again turn their backs on him. Commissioner Bratton has said that this is a funeral for a hero. It`s for grieving, not grievances -- Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Adam, do you have a sense if there is, you know, we`re looking at folks behind you right now. It looks, I mean, obviously, funerals are somber, but do you have a sense of any tension at this point or is it really just about gathering and mourning at this point? REISS: Mostly mourning. The mayor just arrived. The police commissioner arrived before him. Just a lot of hugs, a lot of emotion, a lot of tears - - Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to MSNBC`s Adam Reiss. And I want to bring in here in New York my panel. Khalil Muhammad, who is director of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now. Ed Pawlowski who is mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania. And Blair Kelley, associate professor of history at North Carolina State University. Also joining us from Columbia, South Carolina, is Marquez Claxton, director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance and a retired NYPD detective. I actually want to start with you, Officer Claxton, because you know, obviously, all funerals are intensely personal and there`s loss and grieving, but it does seem to me that maybe there`s some things we should know about law enforcement officers in the context of funerals that is distinct. What should we know? MARQUEZ CLAXTON, DIRECTOR, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: Well, what you`ll witness is a collective kind of grieving process. It`s traumatic, and for police officers, each line of duty death, each shooting, each assassination such as this, really causes them to reflect on their own personal lives and their families. So it becomes, they tend to internalize this a lot. And what is also interesting is that you`ll find that if any in the private sector, if there was a murder on the job of your colleagues, that there would be grief counselors that kind of rush into the place, and there would be no expectation that work would go on as usual, but as a professional police officer, along with dealing with their own mortality, your own vulnerabilities relating to the families, you still have to do the work, so it`s really a tremendously sad and sorrowful occasion, and it is impactful for weeks to come. There will be some emotional impact on all of the police officers, whether they knew these fine gentlemen or not, there is an impact and emotional trauma that they`re experiencing. HARRIS-PERRY: So, there`s this clear kind of emotional trauma for the city, for these officers, even beyond the city. And yet there`s also the context in which this is all happening. And I guess part of what I wanted to ask, you know, so here is the first Chinese American NYPD officer killed in the line of duty. His partner was Latino, who was laid to rest very recently. And I wonder, there`s all of this racial discourse happening. But not much of it is about the fact that these gentlemen are also from communities of color. Some of whom have also very tense relationships with urban police departments, both in New York and otherwise. I`m wondering if this is even a reasonable time to be talking about that. It feels like we ought to be. CLAXTON: It`s challenging, I think, for people who are really engaged in this national discussion about reform, police reform, about the role that race plays in law enforcement, the policing more specifically. It`s a challenging time because you really have to balance the sensitivity to the family, the sensitivity to the city, the police department, along with the necessity to move forward and engage in these conversations. So it is challenging, but my answer to you, the short answer, is I think anytime and all times it`s necessary for us to engage in discussion that moves the profession forward, that moves law enforcement and in fact the justice system forward. HARRIS-PERRY: Hold on for us just one second. You know, mayor, part of the reason I wanted you here is because part of this tension is about police and community. But the other big part of what`s happening here is the tension between the mayor and the police. And I`m interested in your role as mayor, here you are, you know, you`re a civilian, but you are over a police force. You have a responsibility to your voters and constituents and they also have a responsibility to these communities. Do you have sort of a sense of where de Blasio might be right now, where his mindset is? MAYOR ED PAWLOWSKI (D), ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA: Listen. It`s a tough road to walk. And then you`re the CEO of a major corporation, okay, and in my case, multi-millions, and in his case, multi-billions. You have your employees that you have look out for, and then you`re elected by the people, right? And so you have to be a leader as well within the community and be able to express yourself as a leader. And so, it`s a really interesting line that he`s walking, and it`s tough. I mean, I was in the same situation back in 2007. We had a situation where we had an officer, a white officer, responding to a call. Ended up hitting another officer`s car in the course of that response. The car went up on the sidewalk, killed a young African-American child. Lots of tension within the community as a result of that. But you know, in that particular case, you know, we found out through the investigations that he was looking at his mobile computer, he wasn`t paying attention to the road. We had to take corrective action. And so there`s always this tension that you walk as a mayor, trying to play that role of CEO and also to, you know, looking out for what`s happening within the community. In that case, you know, we had almost a near riot that almost erupted. I was able to call out the clergy and other folks within the community to help quell that before it actually became an incident. And thankfully, it never, you know, hit the national papers like what happened in Ferguson. HARRIS-PERRY: So this idea of the tension, though. Amy, it does feel to me like that tension of being an elected official, accountable to the people, who nonetheless has to coordinate and manage a police force, is exactly what is necessary in the context of democracy. That we don`t have a military that runs our government because we think the military should have a civilian person controlling it. And on the domestic side, you know, our mayor isn`t our police chief. Our mayor hires and fires our police chiefs. And so I`m wondering, how chilled should we feel about this tension? Like, is this a kind of healthy democratic tension that we`re seeing in New York, or should we feel a sense of chill when police officers turn their back on elected officials who are meant to be their managers? GOODMAN: Well, it will be interesting to see what happens today. But I do want to say when you look at the diversity of the New York police force with something like 28 percent African-American, 24, 26 percent Latino, six percent Asian, how did it get to be so diverse? I think part of it is because of the mass protests of previous decades. For example, after the killing of Amadou Diallo, after the abuse of -- of the -- Abner Louima, who was abused in a police station. There were so many protests, mass arrests at police headquarters, that this led to the kind of change that you`re talking about in Allentown when we look at how we have to change the department, and de Blasio is saying now we have to have a complete retraining. And I also think it`s important that police come from the community. So that they don`t feel like, and by the community and themselves, and occupying force, that they understand these communities. HARRIS-PERRY: Stay with us. We`re going to talk more about this, and also remember that the funeral for slain New York Detective Wenjian Liu is expected to begin this hour. New York Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton are expected to speak. We`ll going to bring you the latest as events warrant. Up next, police union versus the mayor 23 years ago. Is history repeating itself? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio may have to contend with the silent anger of the officers who have turned their back in protest, but he still had it easier than one of his predecessors faced when the police wanted to send him a message. This was the scene on September 16th, 1992 when more than 10,000 off duty police officers and their supporters descended upon New York City`s city hall in a protest against Mayor David Dinkins. "New York Times" story gave this description of the seen that day. A handful of people, then hundreds, then thousands broke through barricades and surged onto city hall steps. From there, the protest degenerated into a beer swirling, traffic snarling, epithet hurling that stretches from the Brooklyn Bridge to Murray Street, where a several politicians helped stoke the emotional fires. The protests would have been noteworthy even if it had been any rally gone a bit too wild but the protesters were the police. The officers were protesting his response to a number of police issues including a proposal to create a civilian board to investigate police misconduct, and a visit to the family of a Dominican immigrant who was killed by an officer to the confrontation that sparked unrest in the Washington Heights section of New York. Khalil, those images, that reminder of 1992, which is now much longer ago than I would like to remember and admit, you know, it made us pause and look through the history. On the one hand, it`s much safer to be a police officer in the modern era that it has been before. If we look at `64 to 2014, there`s an overall secular decline in police officer death, although there`s kind of a spike in 2001. But most recently, in 2014, you do see an increase of 24 percent in the deaths of police officers. Fifty six percent of those deaths kind of spike by firearm deaths, which makes me wonder, is the thing that`s really dangerous here the number of guns that are available on the streets? MUHAMMAD: Sure. We have a gun culture that we -- is the third wheel of American politics. So, to the extent that police officers should be the largest anti-gun lobby in America, taking on the NRA, directly rather than mayors of cities that are trying to govern all the people and trying to establish that every individual has a right to be fear of state violence is the elephant in this conversation. The Dinkins situation, though, I think is also telling because partly what you see there is a reflection of a culture of white male privilege, and I don`t want to get stuck on the privilege question, but I do want to come back to this, that they represent working class American history. HARRIS-PERRY: And the police force does not look like that. I mean, as Amy was pointing out last hour, the images we`re seeing right now, that`s 1992 New York Police Department. As a result of the social movements on the process as you`ve talked about, the department does not look like that anymore. MUHAMMAD: My point is that, and this is exactly the point. That we have been caught in a loop for the past 20 years where racial representative stands in for fundamental change, so that the fact that the force is blacker or browner or yellower has not changed the culture of policing and the system that puts it in place. So, the tradeoff for officers and I can tell you this from personal experience. I have lectured at John Jay as a guest lecturer, I shave stood before rooms of graduate students and under- graduates, current officers and soon to be officers who refer to the people in the communities they police as perps, as people deserving of excessive force, of people deserving of guilt until proven innocent. In other words, these are young black and brown people being professionalized in a college, and yet they have already moved to the other side because the price of admission, the price of the ticket to participation on that force is to accept that those people do not have the same right to exist in these communities. HARRIS-PERRY: Officer Claxton, I feel like I have to let you in on that. CLAXTON: Yes, it`s interesting because what oftentimes occurs is that the blacks or Latinos who are integrated into the police departments become subsumed by the police culture as opposed to their own culture or their experiences. So what you find is that regardless of the complexion of the individual officer, if they are following a certain procedure, if they are following a certain law enforcement or enforcement trend, you will have the same result. It is important that people relate to those individuals who serve as police officers. It is also important that police officers are empathetic to those who they serve. It`s just basic customer service. But changing the complexion of these departments without the necessary reforms will be disappointing to many people who are pushing for justice reform. HARRIS-PERRY: I have to hold you for a second because we want to take you now live to Brooklyn where New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is speaking at the funeral for slain police Officer Wenjian Liu. MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK: Thank you, Lieutenant. And thank you, Director Comey for your very moving words. Thank you, Commissioner Bratton. Thank you to all who have gathered here to remember this good man and support this good family. All of our city is heartbroken today. We have seen it over these last two weeks. We have seen the pain that people feel from all walks of life. A sense of appreciation for the sacrifices of this family and of the Ramos family that are understanding people who have never worn a uniform of how many dangers our men and women in uniform face and what it means for their families. All of the city is feeling the pain right now, and all of the city wants to lift up the Liu family and the Ramos family, and always remember their sacrifice. Detective Wenjian Liu was a good man. He walked a path of courage, a path of sacrifice. And a path of kindness. This is who he was. And it was taken from us much too soon. Our hearts go out to his wife Pei Xia Chen who married him just months before his cruel loss. To his father Wei Tang Liu and his mother Xiu Yan Li who have suffered the unimaginable pain of losing their only child. And to all the men and women of the New York City Police Department who served alongside Detective Liu these past seven years, they were his second family. And that family has lost a beloved brother. For a mayor, there`s no more solemn ceremony than this, mourning a man whose life was taken while fighting for all that is decent and good. We meet a family that has lost so much in the hospital or in their home or here at a funeral. It`s a reminder of what is done by good people to keep others safe and to hold our society together. And just how great the dangers are. When I met Detective Liu`s family and learned more about his brave and selfless journey, I came away with a sad realization that we had lost a man who embodied or city`s most cherished values. We lost in Detective Liu and we lost in Detective Ramos the very best of us, everything that we as New Yorkers aspire to be. We lost two individuals who were showing us the way. Detective Liu`s story is such a powerful American story, such a classic New York story. A young man who came here from China with his parents at the age of 12. In search of the American dream, in search of the dream that generations have come to New York to find. Ours is a city as proud of the Statue of Liberty, we`re proud of the great lady still holds the torch of freedom aloft in the harbor. We`re proud because of what it means. A promise that no matter where people have come from, no matter what troubles they have left behind, here they can lead lives full of hope and possibility. And the Liu family took New York up on that great promise. While Detective Liu`s father labored long hours in the garment industry, Detective Liu studied hard in our New York City`s public schools. He learned English, he prepared himself for college. Detective Liu`s dream was clear and it was a noble one, to don the blue uniform, to pin on the badge, and to dedicate himself to protecting and serving the city he loved. Detective Liu`s life resolved around his family, the family he was born into and his second family, the NYPD. And he took occasional weekends off for something he loved, fishing with his friends. He loved to fish, he loved to fish here on the city or on Long Island or upstate. It brought him joy. Every day of fishing was a good day. But it says something important about Detective Liu, that his happiest days were when he caught a big haul of fish and he could share with his aunts, his uncles, his cousins. He could cook some for his wife and his parents. And the joy that fishing brought him, we saw how he approached his whole life, his greatest meaning, his greatest joy came in sharing with others, came in caring for others, helping, supporting, devoting himself to something greater than himself. Detective Liu is deeply devoted to his mother and father. A devotion that Confucius said powerfully was, quote, "the root of a man`s character." In high school, Detective Liu always stopped playing basketball with his friends early so he could go home, he could buy groceries, he could cook dinner for his father and his mother. As his parents grew older, he helped in more and more ways. One of his proudest moments was the day he bought a house for his father and mother and began paying the mortgage. So he knew they would be secure in their old age. Detective Liu was filled with joy when Pei Xia Chen entered his life. It was all the more joyful when they married. He was looking forward to building a wonderful life with her. When he joined the NYPD, he knew his family would worry about him. And he wanted to make sure they knew he was always thinking of them, so he did one of those caring acts, simple act that was so typical of all the good in him. At the end of every work day, every day, he called his father to tell him, tell the family that he was safe and that he was on his way home. Detective Liu was a brave and skilled police officer, but he was also a kind man, a kind officer, someone who gave of himself. And this is the word that so many in his family, so many of his friends, so many of his colleagues were quick to use. They said he was kind. He wanted to help others. And everything he did. The thing about Detective Liu, one of his partners on the force recalled is that he was always, quote, "more worried about other people than he was about himself." He showed this kindness in so many ways, large and small. Detective Liu was the sort of officer who when he saw someone on the street lost, he`d go over to them, he`d ask if they were hungry. He would literally buy them dinner at McDonald`s and give them a ride home. His partner recalled going out one day with Detective Liu on what our police call a lift. A routine visit to help an older person who has fallen and cannot get up. The officers arrived at the old man`s home, lifted him up, put him in a chair, and at that point, their job was officially done. But Detective Liu was not ready to leave. The man he came to help was an army veteran who had served in Vietnam. And he was lonely and he wanted to talk about his life. He wanted to talk about his younger days as a pilot. Detective Liu sensed this, so he poured the man a soda, and the officers sat down and they listened to the man`s war stories and they looked at his faded photographs. After a long time listening, Detective Liu knew it still wasn`t time to leave yet. The officers helped the man to his bedroom and they gently placed him in his bed. And then Detective Liu said to his partner, let`s put blankets on him. And the two young police officers wrapped the old man in blankets. Detective Liu`s partner never forgot that day. He never forgot that what could have been a routine by the book lift was transformed into a moment of profound humanity and kindness and decency. His partner said of that visit, even though I was the senior one, I learned a lot from him. That was Detective Liu`s way, lifting people up in every sense. Wrapping them in kindness. And teaching others by his example. Detective Liu lifted all of us up. In the too brief time we were fortunate enough to have him with us. And New York City stands a little taller today because he walked among us. The Buddha imparted a simple lesson to his followers. Resolutely train yourself to attain peace, he said. That was how Detective Liu lived his life. That was how Detective Ramos lived his life. We all should be worthy of them. We all should take their example to heart. We all should live lives as good as them. This city welcomed Detective Liu. New York has been from its earliest days the most tolerant of cities. A place where people of diverse backgrounds and occupations and races and creeds have lived together in harmony. But there have always been times when that harmony has been challenged. And the last few weeks have been one of those times. As we start a new year, a year we`re entering with hearts that are doubly heavy from the loss of Detective Liu and the loss of Detective Ramos, let us rededicate ourselves to those great New York traditions of mutual understanding and living in harmony. Let us move forward by strengthening the bonds that unite us. And let us work together to attain peace. Thank you, and God bless you. HARRIS-PERRY: That was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio remembering at the funeral ceremonies for the slain officer Wenjian Liu, who is being laid to rest. You heard there extraordinary stories about Officer Liu, about the ways in which he and now we`re going to hear -- I`m sorry, I need to take you back to the services in Brooklyn where New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is speaking at the funeral for slain police Officer Wenjian Liu. BILL BRATTON, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: Director of the FBI Mr. Comey, Mayor de Blasio, Senator Schumer, the many elected officials from both the national, state, and local government, and to the thousands upon thousands of police officers lined up in the rain on this very gray morning outside this funeral home, thank you all for being here to honor this great man and in honoring him, to honor his family. Police officer Wenjian Liu believed in possibility. Like his partner that day, that fateful day two weeks ago, Rafael Ramos, his partner now for all time, Officer Liu believed in the possibility of making a safer world. All cops do. It`s why we do what we do. It`s why we run towards danger when others run away. We believe in the possibility of keeping disorder controlled. We believe in the possibility of a city free from fear. Over the last 22 years in this city, the men and women of this department, the NYPD, have made those possibilities reality for millions upon millions of our citizens. I knew I wanted to be a cop since my early childhood. Detective Liu and Ramos both heard the call much later in life. But the pull was just as strong. Because we all believe in the possibility of being part of something larger than ourselves. Officer Liu left China when he was 12. His parents Wei Tang Liu and Xiu Yan Li found work and worked hard. And he worked hard, too. He helped them when he could. He studied hard at school. He called himself Joe. For a while, he was on the path to becoming an accountant, but 9/11 changed those plans. As it changed so many things for so many of us. Some people witnessed that horrible day and were paralyzed. Detective Liu witnessed it and saw the possibility of service. A possibility of being part of something that would help others. For 170 years, immigrants to this city have found a home in the NYPD, like Detective Liu and Detective Ramos. To help others, to have a life of significance. Only the homelands have changed over time. First, it was the Irish. Then the Italians. Like Lieutenant Pet Racino (ph) who called himself Joe, too. He was murdered by the mafia while on assignment in Italy, and now our cops are from everywhere. The NYPD looks a lot more like the city it serves than some people think. More than half of our members call New York City home, and live within its five boroughs, just like Detective Liu and Detective Ramos. And our heroes are from everywhere, too. Like Asian Bond James, an immigrant who was murdered with his partner -- in 2003. Like Eugene Maslik (ph) who fled the war in Chechnya and was murdered with his partner, too Nicolas Picolo (ph) in 2007. These men and now thousands of women, come to follow the American dream in the NYPD. They come to this greatest of cities and join this greatest of police departments. Because it represents what they came here for. Everyone who comes here is from some place where opportunity is more rare, some place where fear is more common, some place less free. And if you come from such a place, is it any wonder you would want to join the profession that helps make America so different? Because without public safety, there is no possibility of free government. Everything that our government, our way of life promises, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from wants, freedom from fear, everything starts with public safety. It starts with us. Detective Liu believed this. He joined the NYPD first as an auxiliary officer, an unpaid volunteer with no gun, just a uniform and a badge, and a belief that it`s possible to make a difference. The belief that public safety is everyone`s responsibility. When two of his auxiliary brothers were murdered by a madman in Greenwich Village, he could have turned away. He could have said it wasn`t worth it. Instead, four months later, he took the oath to become a New York City police officer. For seven years, he kept the streets of Brooklyn safe. First in Brownsville, and then in downtown Brooklyn. For seven years he sought out the suffering, the disturbed, the injured, and tried to bring them comfort. You have heard the mayor`s story, the lift. Reminded me so much of my time as a young police officer in Boston. We called it the same thing, a lift job. And I can remember hearing the mayor talk about it, about the different times we would go to help the elderly. Oftentimes, who were really just lonely. They needed a reason to call us. They needed someone to talk with. And I can still remember myself and my partner, Henry Borlough (ph), going on those lift jobs and having some of the same experiences that Detective Liu had. Detective Liu is the police that we want. But it`s also in this city and in this country the police that we have. And for that and for how he died, but for how he lived and performed his duty, for that I am so honored as has already been referenced to posthumously promote, Detective First Grade Liu. But as amazing as his story, his refusal to be dissuaded or daunted, his dedication is hardly unique. After all, it`s what cops do. In the days after Detective Liu and Ramos were assassinated, murdered for their color, slain because they were blue, I visited their families and learned what profoundly good men they were. And I found myself wondering, why do we always lose the good ones? But then I realized, it`s the law of averages. Almost all of them are the good ones. Very few are not. Our cops are people just like Detective Liu and Detective Ramos. They, too, share a belief in what`s possible and a desire to serve. Detective Liu led a responsible, compassionate life. He loved his wife, his longtime sweetheart, but only just married. Just starting out. As the mayor referenced, he cooked for his parents. Made a great soup, I`m told. He knew how to buy a good vegetable. He enjoyed simple things, an average fisherman who loved to show off his catches to his friends and share with them and his family. He loved his family and they certainly loved him, as we see from so many who have come from so far away to be here today. At the end of every tour, as the mayor also referenced, he would call his father to let him know he was safe. At the end of every tour but one. He had wisdom and ethics, and humanity. On a department`s web site, people who worked with him have been writing remembrances. They all recount his happiness, his humor, his outlook, his righteous intentions. Those comments and in the words of friends as well as the clear example of him choosing to be a cop, have seen proof of his ethical conduct. I have seen it in the stories of his speech and action, and to the livelihood that he chose. He was persistent in his efforts and mindful of his obligations. He was patient. He shared his culture, a culture he was so proud of. He was, after all, a good man. A humane man. He was a New York City cop. And he knew what all cops know. He knew how hard the job can be. Every day, we face problems that would require days of deliberation in a judge`s chambers, and we have but an instant to decide what action to take. As every day we face people who need help or people who are hurting. And we help them. We answer 4.5 radio runs a year in the city. Nearly 400,000 arrests. And for good or ill, only a tiny handful make the news. In the millions, literally millions of the rest go unnoticed. We do this because we took an oath. We do this because we believe in possibility. This is what we signed up for. The possibility of helping people. Of helping others. The possibility of making a safer, purer city. To Detective Liu and Detective Ramos` brothers and sisters in blue, the thousands of you who are lined up on those rainy streets outside, I am so proud of you. Proud of you for making those possibilities a reality for so many in the city. Even after 44 years, I am still so proud to be one of you. We`re cops. We hold the line. The thin blue line. We don`t quit when things are hard. Because when aren`t they? We took this job to prevent crime and disorder. Over the past 22 years, this department has reminded the world of how that`s done and how it can be done. The mission has not changed. The belief in possibility has not changed. And the much larger part of this city or this country, a much larger part than you think is proud than you think is proud of you too. There are people who need us. We will not abandon them. To do so would be to dishonor the memories of Detective Liu and Detective Ramos. It would dishonor the others killed with their partners. A lot of those partners were as different as Detective Liu and Ramos. Different races, different upbringings. Different languages. Because every police car holds a little bit of this city. More than 130 officers have been killed in the line of duty in New York City in the last 45 years. And it would dishonor them, too. So we cannot falter. We cannot flag. We will move forward. For we carry the possibility of all those dead and all those who have worn the uniform before us. It`s the possibility of making a better world. And it`s impossible to let their sacrifices and their efforts be in vain. But today, we say farewell to Detective First Grade Liu, as we said farewell to Detective First Grade Ramos last week. We thank the Liu family for sharing him with us. As their guests, we mourn with them. We take comfort in the Buddha`s words that even when death comes, the lessons of goodness do not perish. And as cops, we celebrate his life and that of Detective Ramos in honor of what they accomplished for so many. Above the coffin is this beautiful calligraphy. Some of the words are so representative of Officer Liu and his partner, Detective Ramos. In the sphere of law enforcement, his vision is left unrealized. It`s up to us to make his vision a reality. For their service to the people, their names will be forever cherished in our hearts. And finally, Detective Liu, a model for all police. HARRIS-PERRY: That was NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton speaking. And joining me now, MSNBC reporter Adam Reiss. Adam, what response did you see from officers to the mayor`s remarks? REISS: Well, Melissa, while the mayor spoke, he spoke about what a great American story Officer Liu`s story is, it`s a true New York story, a devoted son and how he was really all about America. Well, while he was talking, we saw large pockets of officers turn their backs. Not just a few, not just a few dozen. Large pockets. Possibly hundreds turning their backs right next to us here in front of the funeral home. Now, we`re waiting to hear from Officer Liu`s father and his wife -- Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Adam Reiss in Brooklyn. Also thank you to Marquez Claxton in Columbia, South Carolina who joined us earlier in this program. We`re going to be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: We`re back. We`ve been watching together as a group the funeral of the slain officer here in New York, Officer Liu, and obviously, heard some kind of extraordinary stories about him as the mayor and the police chief were reflecting on him. Just your thoughts. PAWLOWSKI: You know, listen, we have great officers, and we forget that in the course of this conversation, that these guys put their lives on the line every single day. They have no clue what they`re walking into in any situation, and there are lots of good officers out there that are doing extraordinary things every day protecting us. And it`s this dichotomy that we walk in as we talk about this discussion, but you know, none of this as we talk about this whole issue should surprise us, because we have shifted our whole policy discussion over the course of the last decade. You know, we used to be in 1990s up to 2000, we used to focus on community policing, officers integrating into the community, getting to know their communities. There was federal funding for it. The weed and seed program, all that changed. 9/11 changed that. And we went through this whole anti-terrorism approach, and all of our funding changes. We went to a more militarized, you know, police force. So none of this should surprise us that we`ve changed this national discussion, policy wise, and we have put our officers into very unique circumstances now from, hey, you should be working with your communities, understanding the people that you`re serving, and just like Officer Liu was to, hey, we want you to also be this, you know, this paramilitary force stopping terrorist. HARRIS-PERRY: And maybe -- especially for the NYPD where they are in domestic police force doing work like we heard there. Officer Liu doing the lift. We don`t think of that as police work. But there he is right, doing the lift, helping someone in their home. PAWLOWSKI: Absolutely. HARRIS-PERRY: On the other hand, he could be faced with needing to respond to a potential terrorist attack because it`s New York. PAWLOWSKI: And there is many, many, many, many officers who are out there who are doing great things within their neighborhoods. Who are taking the extra step to understand the communities that they serve and reach out? We have a program in our town called blocks versus cops where actually we have our police officers actually played basketball in different blocks around the city just to get to interact with the kids. And to know those kids, and that`s what, you know, we have to start that discussion and we have to change, you know, the course of what you`re talking about. The whole course of how we, you know, it`s not just changing the composure of the Police Department, it`s changing how the Police Department acts. HARRIS-PERRY: And what those incentives are. Thank you to Khalil Muhammad and to Amy Goodman and to Ed Pawlowski and to Blair Kelley. Up next, advice from a young activist. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Given that many of the victims of recent police in any events are young people, how should we talk to the children whose live could be affected? Well, let`s ask a young activists. Joining me now from St. Louis Missouri is Marquis Govan who is a 11-year-old student at Loyola Academy in St. Louis. Marquis, what do you think adults should be saying to kids in this moment as you`re dealing with these difficult issues? MARQUIS GOVAN, STUDENT, LOYOLA ACADEMY, ST. LOUIS: Well, I think most likely depends on the child`s race. Because there are different discussions happening with black children are told that they might be racially profiled. White children are just told what is going to be going on. And I see white children as having two different sided kind of debate. Because when polling people are like, oh, race is the same. With white people, with the polling it`s the same or it`s different and it`s getting worse or it`s getting divided except the majority is saying that it`s okay which is a problem. So, it depends on how they want to express themselves to their children. HARRIS-PERRY: Do you think your generation will do better than my generation did at solving questions of racism in America? GOVAN: Yes. I think they`re actually more activated. And they are more alarmed. And they are ready to do anything basically to get this problem solved. They`re ready to get it off the table and make sure that everybody is equal. HARRIS-PERRY: What do you think every adult should hear from kids? What should we be quite and listen to you all say? GOVAN: I believe it`s time to say that let`s knock off the old school kind of thing. This is a new kind of generation now. There needs to be, I think what basically what I`m trying to tell people is that there is a comic problems facing our country or educational problems facing our country, there are racial injustices facing our countries and I think they need to be solved immediately and they need to stop being beat, they need to stop being ignored. They should no longer be ignored by our elected officials and by the adults. Thank you, our parents. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you, Marquis Govan in St. Louis, Missouri. What you just said is there`s a fierce urgency of now. And I appreciate you joining us on the show. And that is our show for today. GOVAN: Thank you. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you at home for watching. I`ll see you again next Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Coming up right now, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT." (COMMERCIAL BREAK) THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END