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Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 04/19/15

Guests: Judith Browne Dianis, Matt Welch, Cristina Beltran, Vince Warren,Erica Sagrans, Will Pierce, Jenny Rustemeyer, Grant Baldwin, ElizabethAlexander, Keith Sainten, Robbie Tolan, Marian Tolan, Cristina Beltran,Judith Browne Dianis

JOY REID, MSNBC GUEST ANCHOR: This morning, my question -- when will Loretta Lynch become attorney general? Plus when 17 presidential candidates just isn`t enough. And the great poet, Elizabeth Alexander, comes to nerdland, but first the "Today" show interview that left everyone stunned. Good morning. I`m Joy Reid in for Melissa Harris-Perry. The developments this week involving the shooting death of Eric Harris in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have been nothing short of astonishing. Last Sunday this program showed you disturbing video that had just been released of an unarmed man shot and killed by a reserve deputy. That civilian volunteer, 73-year-old Robert Bates said he thought he was pulling his taser but instead grabbed his gun. Bates can be heard on the tape saying, I shot him, I`m sorry. Police were trying to arrest Harris for allegedly selling a gun to undercover officers. By Monday Bates was charged with second degree manslaughter. He turned himself in and then was released on $25,000 bond. On Thursday, a newspaper report based on anonymous sources emerged making a startling allegation that Bates` training records were falsified. Bates` attorney denied the allegations and the sheriff`s department dismissed it as rumor. On Friday, surrounded by his family and his attorney, Bates sat down for an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer on NBC`s the "Today" show. First, he explained what his role was supposed to be that day. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MATT LAUER, NBC: I want you to take me back to April 2nd, the day this all happened. You were not supposed to be actively involved in the arrest of Mr. Harris. You were supposed to provide support from several blocks away, but you did get involved in the struggle. You write in your written statement that you were not sure whether he was armed and you say you saw, quote, "a brief opening to use your taser to subdue him." Take me back to that moment. ROBERT BATES, TULSA RESERVE OFFICER: Matt, I was actually parked down the street at the St. Clare station, several blocks away from where the activity took place. In other words, the dope and the gun purchase. He decided to bolt from the under cover`s truck and run. He came to me and two other cars in front. I was the last car, as I always am. I carry the equipment that the deputies use to clear a scene, whatever. I have been involved in several hundred of these. I do clean-up when they`re done. I take notes. I take photographs and that`s my job. (END VIDEOTAPE) REID: Then he offered this to Eric Harris` family. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BATES: First and foremost let me apologize to the family of Eric Harris, you know, this is the second worse thing that`s ever happened to me or first ever happened to me in my life. I have had cancer a number of years ago. I didn`t think I was going to get there. Luckily I was able to go to a hospital where I had hours of surgery. I rate this as number one on me list of things in my life that I regret. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: And then in a truly remarkable moment of live TV, Lauer asked Bates to demonstrate where he keeps his taser on his body versus his gun. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LAUER: Would you do me a favor, would you stand up for me for one second and show me where on your body when you are in uniform you keep your taser and where you keep your weapon -- your revolver. Can you stand up and show me? BATES: Sure. You bet. My taser is right here on the front tucked in a protective vest. My gun itself is on my side, normally to the rear. LAUER: People are going to look at that, Mr. Bates, and say how can you make this mistake? How could you think you were going for your taser on your chest tucked into that vest and accidentally pull your weapon? BATES: Well, let me say this has happened a number of times around the country. I have read about it in the past. I thought to myself after reading several cases, I don`t understand how this can happen. You must believe me, it can happen to anyone. (END VIDEOTAPE) REID: OK, so finally, Lauer asked Bates about the report this week`s report on his training records. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAUER: You did the training and you can prove that you were certified. BATES: That`s absolutely the truth. I have it in writing. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: Now yesterday, attorneys for Bates released some of the training records. NBC News has the documents that were released, but some of the records are missing. Authorities are currently trying to gather what`s missing. Following Friday`s interview the family of Eric Harris released this statement, quote, "We appreciate Bob Bates` apology for shooting and killing Eric. Unfortunately, Mr. Bates` apology will not bring Eric back. With each passing day as the facts continue to unfold, we have become increasingly disturbed by Mr. Bates`s actions on April 2, 2015 as well as the Tulsa County Sheriff`s Office`s acts and omissions both before and after the shooting. We remain vigilant in seeking the truth and in our pursuit of justice." Joining me now, Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, Matt Welch, editor-in-chief of "Reason" magazine, Cristina Beltron, associate professor of social and cultural analysis at NYU, Keith Sainten, retired NYPD detective and former Police Academy instructor. Thanks to all of you for being here. I`m tempted to go right to you, Matt, only because I have been reading a lot in "Reason" magazine about these issues in policing coming up and uniting people across the ideological divide. What do you make of this notion of private citizens who are not police officers acting in this reserve deputy capacity armed and part of a crime scene? MATT WELCH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "REASON" MAGAZINE: Armed is pretty troubling and also is the just sort of the basic lack of training that seems to be apparent here. We don`t need Shaquille O`Neal, Steven Segal out there doing the crime busting and the nation of -- the tape showed not just that transaction. But also some of the other police involved with the shooting who said expletive your breath when he was gasping for air on the ground. There is a dismissal of the human life that they are interacting with which transcends a 73-year-old insurance executive. It`s part of police culture too much nowadays. I think we have to imagine that. The reason we are talking about this and have a right-left moment of criminal justice reform is largely because we have a lot more videotape here of this. We get to see not just the actions, but also the attitudes behind the Alaska actions that I think pervaded this particular case, too. REID: Absolutely. I want to play another clip of this wealthy donor or as he`s been portrayed. This is the question Matt Lauer asked about him, quote/unquote, "playing cop." Let`s play that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAUER: In the wake of this incident, you have been portrayed as a wealthy and generous supporter of the sheriff`s department and a close friend of the sheriff, who has been rewarded for your financial support with the opportunity -- and this is what`s out there -- to play cop and carry a gun. Is that a fair characterization? BATES: That is unbelievably unfair. I have donated equipment as I saw fit, when the need happened to arise to allow the task force and other areas of the sheriff`s office to better do their jobs on the street of Tulsa. Tulsa has a drug problem. There is no question. Nobody argues that. I am willing to put up equipment to assist them to better educate the public. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: So, Keith, I want to come to you as a former law enforcement officer. I think what Matt is describing is a sense among the public as we are starting to see these incidents rather than just have them described by the families of the deceased or by witnesses. Now that we are seeing police culture in action then you have a guy who is not an officer who seems to embody that same culture, the sense of, there is a drug problem, I`m out there trying to police it. Then the kind of -- I don`t know. Talk to me about the way police see the communities that they are policing and whether that police culture then translates to the civilians who side with them and work with them as volunteers. KEITH SAINTEN, FORMER POLICE ACADEMY INSTRUCTOR: OK, this is troubling, first of all. It`s amazing how the cavalier approach towards policing nowadays. To bring an individual like this who is up there in tenure, to say the least, to do such a tactical buy and bust with firearms and to come on the scene later with other officers on the scene is troubling to us. Lack of training and there are clearly some ethical and integrity issues involved with this department. REID: But is he absorbing a mindset that is in your opinion out there among officers? SAINTEN: Absolutely is. He`s bringing on the same good old boy attitude toward policing. This has to stop. The only thing happening now is that we are seeing it more often. It`s been happening for years, but now the video is bringing everything to light. I wouldn`t want to be in his position right now. REID: Judith, I think the video -- the existence of video now really does change in a lot of ways the conversation. It does feel like communities of color have been saying for quite a long time there are issues of basic respect and valuation of the lives of the people in the community, seeing people in the community as criminals, et cetera that the videotape changes that. There is some also research that shows when you introduce body cameras there is actual reduction in the use of force by police. Is the actual tape what is need here to bring these sides together and start to get traction on the civil rights issues? JUDITH BROWNE DIANIS, CO-DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: I definitely think that the cameras and the video help. Let`s think about Rodney King, right? I mean, that was the first time in which -- in quite some time, you saw it on tape and people had an aha moment. For communities of color, we are thinking this happens all the time. It opens up a discourse and an opportunity for structural change. But at the end of the day, if we don`t change the policies internally, the structural problems, if we don`t change that mindset. I mean, for this man -- basically he bought his opportunity to live out his childhood fantasies. Unfortunately, what he did was he acted upon an African-American man thinking, just like a lot of police officers do, these folks aren`t human. We are going in and we are going to bust heads and I`m going to have a good time doing it. REID: I want to bring Christina into the conversation. We want to keep it going on the other side of the break. We have to take a break. So hold on. We have a lot to get to this morning. I also want to let our audience know under way now in Oklahoma is the 20th anniversary remembrance ceremony for the bombing in Oklahoma City, 168 people were killed in what was then the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history. Later this morning, former President Bill Clinton will speak at the ceremony and we`ll bring those remarks to you live. But up next for us on the issue of police use of force, what happens when there is no video? A man who was shot by police in his own family`s driveway, but the details are in dispute. He will join us next to tell his story. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: In multiple recent incidents of police-involved shootings, we have seen how video, be it cell phone video taken by a bystander or video from a police dash cam or body camera, can play a major role in both how the public and the legal system responds. But what if there is no video? What if you were shot by a police officer and believe the officer was in the wrong, but you have no video to make your case? That`s the claim of Robbie Tolan in Bellaire, Texas. In 2008, a Bellaire police officer, John Edwards, observed what he called an abrupt turn into a cul-de-sac. The driver was Tolan then a 23-year-old Minor League Baseball player. Also in the car was Robbie`s cousin, Anthony Cooper. They were pulling up to the Tolan family home. According to the court documents after typing the license plate into his patrol car computer the officer believed the car to be stolen. He got out of his patrol car, drew his gun and ordered the two men to lie on the ground. That`s when Tolan`s mother and father emerged from inside the house. Court documents show Tolan`s father, Bobby, a well-known former Major League Baseball player tried to assure the police officer that the vehicle was not stolen. Now take a look at what a court document from 2013 says happened next. Bobby Tolan, that`s Robbie`s father yelled at Cooper and Robbie to stay down. Marian Tolan, that`s Robbie`s mother, walked repeatedly in front of Officer Edwards`s drawn pistol insisting no crime had been committed. Dealing with four people in a chaotic and confusing scene, Officer Edwards radioed for expedited assistance. Sergeant Cotton responded and hearing the tension in Officer Edwards` voice believed him to be in danger. Sergeant Cotton arrived approximately one and one-half minutes later after Officer Edwards` arrival. What happened next is in dispute. According to the Tolan`s, Sergeant Cotton pushed Marian into the garage door. The Tolan`s say when Robbie rose to protest Cotton`s handling of his mother, Cotton shot at him three times, hitting him once. Sergeant Cotton told a different story. He and Officer Edwards maintain Marian refused to remain calm and quiet and it was when her son, Robbie, tried to intervene that Sergeant Cotton feared for his life and shot Robbie. Sergeant Cotton was with tried for aggravated assault by a public servant. A jury acquitted him, agreeing that the shooting was justified. Robbie Tolan survived the shooting though a bullet is still in his liver today. It turned out as the jurors learned the vehicle was never stolen. Officer Edwards had typed the wrong license plate number into the system. He was off by one digit. The Tolan family pursued a civil suit claiming the officer`s actions were racially motivated and violated their constitutional rights, but a federal district court dismissed the case. The judge noted qualified immunity, the protection that police officers have from liability or civil damages. When the Tolans appealed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit Court also dismissed the case on the same grounds. In May of last year the United States Supreme Court ordered the 5th Circuit Court to reconsider. The judges ruled unanimously that the lower court had made a mistake by never hearing the Tolan family`s version of events before coming to a ruling. Six years after the shooting the Tolans will have the opportunity to tell their version of the events of the night in court. We did reach the attorney for Sergeant Cotton and the city who said the case was dismissed. That Sergeant Cotton has been acquitted and that there has been no indication that Sergeant Cotton has been anything other than completely proper in his conduct. Of course, in this case, we only have are the word of the people who were there and their differing accounts. To piece together what actually happened that night because in this case, there was no video. Joining me now from Houston, Texas, are Robbie Tolan and his mother, Marian Tolan. Thank you both for being here. ROBBIE TOLAN, SURVIVOR OF POLICE SHOOTING: Thank you for having us. MARIAN TOLAN, MOTHER OF ROBBIE TOLAN: Thank you. REID: So Robbie, I want to start with you and just ask physically, how are you doing six years after those events? I guess, everybody wants to know now, as we did mention you were a Minor League Baseball player. Did it interrupt your career? Just how are you? ROBBIE TOLAN: I have my good days and bad days. You know, like you said the bullet is still in me. I have emotional and physical scars and I ache all day long. I have back spasms. It`s my life now. I`m used to it now. I`m still achy all the time from it. REID: As we read the long and complicated story, Marian, part of the narrative in the story is and I think as any mother, who is listening to that story, one can relate to your visceral fear at seeing a gun pointed at your son. But in hindsight, looking back, do you look back at that night and ask yourself whether anything that you did contributed to the chaos of the scene that might have led a reasonable police officer to legitimately fear for his life? MARIAN TOLAN: No, not at all. First of all, it was our home. We have a right to protect in our home. So I don`t think -- I was explaining to them, we have lived here for 15 years. We have never had anything like this happen. I don`t think I did anything different than a white mother or any other race mother would have done because we were telling the truth. The car wasn`t stolen. The car was registered to the very address it was parked in front of. I was telling them, I believe that had I been white the officers would have said, can you -- we`re sorry. Can you show us some proof? They never said that. They never said give us a minute and they lied. They clearly lied about the evidence. You know, in one instance, I was still blessed in spite of how horrific this scene was that I didn`t have any questions. I witnessed it. You know, I think about the mothers who get a knock on the door or the phone call that your son`s been shot. I witnessed it. I know that I didn`t do anything to cause that and Robbie didn`t do anything. The officer didn`t push me to the garage door. He threw me against the garage door. REID: I want to bring you back to ask you a similar question. With this many years of hindsight looking back on the incident, when you saw as your mother said, she was pushed or whatever happened between her and the officer, looking back on it, can you see anything you did that might have contributed to the officer`s belief that the scene was chaotic and dangerous for the officer? ROBBIE TOLAN: No. I don`t believe I did anything to add to that. That`s what they are trained to do. Police are trained for hostile situations. I think it is up to them to use their common sense and discernment to say let`s use common sense and maybe the homeowners come outside in their pajamas and say, wait a minute, that`s my son, that`s my car. Maybe we have a mistake. Let`s pull back a little bit, but that`s not what happened. I believe I did what any son would do if their mother being thrown up against a wall by anyone let alone a police officer. REID: OK, we are going to take a break and we are going to have more of this on the other side of that break. But I want everyone at the table as well as Robbie and Marian to stay with us. We`ll continue the story. It`s a very complex story. Stay with us. We`ll have more after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: We`re back with Robbie and Marian Tolan who experienced -- in Marian`s case I think every mother`s nightmare, an incident -- a police incident right in front of her own home involving her son, Robbie. I want to come back to you, Robbie and just ask you, if looking at the incident that occurred with you and then doing so in the light of the other cases that have come out, the Michael Brown case, the Tamera Rice case, the Eric Garner case, just looking at those cases, has that informed the way you view what happened to you? ROBBIE TOLAN: You know, I`m normally a pretty private person. I don`t bother people. I don`t like to be bothered. So sometimes, you know, when dealing with the emotional scars, I want the crawl in a hole and disappear. But I feel like I have an obligation to speak on behalf of the people that can`t speak for themselves anymore. I don`t know if you guys knew this, but on the same day that I was shot, Oscar Grant in Oakland and Adolf Grimes in New Orleans were shot. We were all shot within 36 hours of each other. When you hear cases like that and then, of course, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, Jordan Baker here in Houston, you know, I have an obligation. I am the voice for the voiceless. That`s what I try to focus on. REID: I want to bring the table in. Cristina, I`m struck by the fact that when the shooting happened despite the fact that the young man involved is a baseball player, had a level of notoriety, this case did not sort of unleash these thorns of outrage that we have seen in later cases. So what do you think has changed about the way the public looks at incidents between police officers and civilians, not knowing all the facts obviously, but just hearing the visceral, a police officer has shot a civilian. CRISTINA BELTRAN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: What changed in part is the litany of events, right. I think that, you know, the fact that there have been so many of these over and over again. People are really I think much more aware of the kind of ongoing-ness of this. But this does speak to the issue of having cameras, I mean, having tape and videotape is an enormously useful thing. You have a documentation that`s unbiased. But at the same time I think we have to really realize the limits of this technology and what it will do. Because at some fundamental level one thing we are dealing with here is, imperfect people acting under conditions of enormous stress and anxiety, and the kind of culture of demand for obedience from the police. This focuses on obedience and force that, you know, obliterates people`s ability to acquire justice or be treated fairly. Like these are things as we have more videotape we are also going to be seeing more complex stories going on. We have to be able to talk about what we are seeing and try to make sense of it. It`s not like -- people are going to respond in perfect ways. People will be panicking, scared and they will make mistakes. That doesn`t stop the fact of the matter that the police are acting in ways that need to rethink the culture of policing. That`s a big issue. REID: That somebody that`s a former officer and I think that is a very important point, this culture of obedience. Do police officers believe and are they trained to believe that no matter what they tell a civilian to do that person must do it immediately regardless? SAINTEN: Officers are trained to assess each situation independently, patience. Sometimes you need to let a person vent. The case can be brought down. But the immediacy is what we are having a problem with. There is no need to rush. Time is our ally. REID: On that very point, I want to play a little bit of an officer in a situation that`s similar, but who responded differently in Ohio. If we have the tape and we can play it, this is an Ohio officer who is wearing a body camera when he confronted an armed suspect who was being threatening. You talk about patience. Let`s listen to the tape. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands up! Get your hands up! Get your hands up right now! Stop right there. I don`t want to shoot you, man. I will shoot you! Do it now. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: I want to come back. I actually want to go to Robbie Tolan and bring are you back into the conversation. You have officers who have very different ways of dealing with people. The officers who dealt with you, did you feel you were in a situation where the officer was behaving -- the officer in that videotape was trying to work the situation out. Is that the kind of policing we should expect from your point of view? ROBBIE TOLAN: You know, I think time is your ally. The officer who shot me was on the scene for 32 seconds before doing so. Like I said, common sense, let`s pull back on the aggression and figure out what`s going on. Some people need to vent. We have lived here 15 years, you know, the homeowner has come out in their pajamas, maybe we have a mistake. Let`s see some I.D. I think to, you know, put your foot further down on the gas pedal is not going to help either party in this situation. REID: Keith, why doesn`t that -- go on. ROBBIE TOLAN: I`m done. REID: I`m sorry. Keith, why do you think that doesn`t happen? SAINTEN: Well, what we are seeing with the videos and you will hear this a lot from officers that I had to make a split second decision. KEITH: I`m sorry. I need to take a break, so I do need to thank Robbie Tolan and Marian Tolan in Houston, Texas. Before we go to break, I want to show you the live picture out of Oklahoma. This is the 20th anniversary remembrance ceremony paying tribute to those killed and injured in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. We are awaiting remarks from former President Bill Clinton. We`ll bring it to you live. When we come back, we`ll ask this question, are the police being asked to do too much? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: We are going live now to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where underway right is the 20th anniversary remembrance ceremony for the victims of the bombing that killed 168 people in 1995. As you can see, speaking now is former President Bill Clinton. FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Senator Langford, Congressman Lucas, Mayor Cornett, thank you. I loved hearing you reliving those times. I want to thank Governor Keating. Most of you don`t know this, but I have known Frank Keating longer than you have. We met when I was an 18-year-old freshman at Georgetown, America`s Jesuit University. I was a Southern Baptist. They asked me what I was doing there. I said I hoped I could figure it out before I had to leave. The first encounter we had, we were having a partisan disagreement over a campus issue. It continues from 1964 or `65 for 30 years until Oklahoma City, he and Kathy for magnificent. For a whole country you burned away all the petty squabbles in which we engaged, leaving only our basic humanity. I mostly came here to thank you today. I prepared for this day yesterday by taking Hillary to see our daughter and son-in-law and my -- about to be 7-month-old grandchild. Hillary and I bathed her and fed her and put her to bed. I looked at her in that crib so I could remember how you felt, those of you who lost your loved ones. I want to first say I know how hard this is. When I came to Oklahoma City, four days after the bombing I wanted to see the family of the Secret Service agent who perished because he was on my detail. He wanted to come because he thought it would be a wonderful place to raise a family. Joe Clancy is here, 20 years ago, he was on my detail, too. He advanced my trip to Oklahoma City. When you strip away the things that divide us it`s important to remember how tied we are and how much we, all Americans owe Oklahoma City. People came here from around the country to help you. One of them was chief of the New York City Fire Department named Ray Downy. I met him here. Almost six years later, lo and behold I was living in New York with my foundation and Hillary was a senator. Ray Downy lost his life on 9/11 trying to get people out of the twin towers. When they fell among the first people to show up to help were the workers from Oklahoma City. I can tell you nobody has ever forgotten that. So I wanted to say thank you. I think of Oklahoma City sometimes a tale of two trees that one who proved that you`re tough, strong and endure and a dogwood that Hillary and I planted on the south lawn of the White House on my way down here that fateful day 20 years ago. Dogwoods for all of us are a sign of springtime and rebirth. For those of us who are Christians they are also a sign of new beginnings and second chances. So I thank you. Nelson Mandela who died a couple of years ago was a great friend of mine for 20 years. He taught me a lot of things from his 27 years in prison. He taught me in the face of tragedy, evil and loss there are only two things that always remain that can`t ever be taken away -- your mind and your heart. We must decide what to do with no matter what happens. REID: That`s of course former President Bill Clinton honoring the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and wounded hundreds more on this day in 1995. We`ll take a short break and come back with my panel to continue our discussion on the policing of America. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: We are back. We have been talking about the 2008 case, the police shooting case of Robbie Tolan, a Minor League Baseball player shot by a police officer and survived. He was in the driveway of oh his mother`s home. I want to come to you, Judith, on the question of civil liability because the Tolans did attempt to go to court and they did not prevail. Why didn`t they prevail on summary judgment and what is summary judgment? DIANIS: So first there are two different things that they were in court on criminal charges against the officer. That`s one. Then they went for civil liability, which gives you money damages. What happens is often for police officers if they are acting within their official duty, they get what we call qualified immunity which means basically you get off the hook if you were acting as a state official, right? In this case what happens is in summary judgment that`s where a lot of cases are kicked out. They never go to trial because, in fact, the courts can rule just are on the paper. They don`t have to listen to witnesses, et cetera. Just on the paper the facts look like it is enough that this officer acted within their duties as a police officer so often we find victims having no recourse in the courts whatsoever. They can`t get past summary judgment because they can`t get through qualified immunity. The officers get kind of a coat of protection from the law. I think what happened in this particular case is the Supreme Court said, wait a second. There are some facts in controversy that have to go back before a court, before a trial court. They will finally have their day in court but it is an uphill battle. REID: Does that qualified immunity carry over? If an officer is fired from the police force because we hear in recent cases the families gearing up to file a lawsuit potentially against the department, but sometimes even against the officer. Does that immunity spill over? DIANIS: No. What you may find is that the actual police department may say this person was acting outside of the realm of -- that`s not often that you are get a police department saying this person has gone beyond the duties, beyond and actually clearly violated someone else`s rights. You don`t often get them turning on their own officers. REID: Indeed, Matt, I want to ask you whether or not that`s a tenable situation. If we do have such broad immunity for police officers and were with you surprised the Supreme Court said to go back and look again? WELCH: I was a little surprised it was unanimous. Some of the Supreme Court justices have shown great reference toward law and order over the years. The fact that especially Justice Scalia got in and joined that, one, this is on someone`s property. The Supreme Court takes it seriously. But two also the pendulum has swung too far. Summary judgment is supposed to be I will take the victim`s side and see if they were correct would the officer be liable. Summary judgment says, he wouldn`t be liable so we`ll kick it out. The deference this shows in the lower court cases toward the police is untenable. The Tolans have gone an incredible amount just to get this far. It`s incredible. The fact that they have the officer indicted in the first place almost never happens. We don`t generally have independent prosecutors of officer- involved shootings. So the whole system is biased. Not just qualified immunity for prosecutors. There is blanket immunity for prosecutors. If they are consistently engaged in nefarious activities, unlawful prosecutions, supporting perjury of witnesses they don`t get a problem at all. REID: They have immunity too. WELCH: They are throughout the system and they are why we don`t get a lot of action against bad cops. REID: Right, indeed. This is such a hot topic. We`ll continue after the break. Up next, we`ll ask the question whether or not what we are asking police to do is too much. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: When Walter Scott died after being shot in the back multiple times by a North Charleston police officer early this month, his family suggested he may have run in an attempt to avoid jail time for unpaid child support. Scott`s home state of South Carolina is one of the toughest when it comes to punishing parents who don`t pay, even when there is no evidence that the strategy is working. This week writing for "The Atlantic," (inaudible) writes, quote, "At some point Americans decided that the best answer to every social ill lay in the power of the criminal justice system. Vexing social problems, homelessness, drug use, the inability to support one`s children, mental illness are solved by sending in men and women who specialize in inspiring fear and ensuring compliance. Fear and compliance have their place, but it can`t be every place." It`s a provocative point. I want to put the question to my panel. Are we asking the police to do too much? I will come to you, Keith, on that question. SAINTEN: At times, yes. An officer who has many hats, as you are taught in academy, you are the first line for everything. People expect you to know the answer to every social issue, any environmental question, et cetera. There are laws on the books that clearly police officers shouldn`t be handling that are small. You may have to get a task force. A small outside agency that police should not be involved in to where people wouldn`t fear going to jail for not paying child support. REID: Right. SAINTEN: And an immediate state to where they have to flee from a cop. REID: Christina, at the same time you have social ills. You have things like child support, domestic situations whether it`s truancy up to domestic violence. If the police aren`t the right agency to handle all of the social ills then who is? BELTRAN: I think if we are really talking about police reform, this is -- I think the article in "The Atlantic" is required reading for the issue. He put his finger on something critical which is that we have decided to ask the police to do everything. There is a way in which they are social workers, dealing with people at the ground level. But clearly what we have done is criminalized inequality, right? When we are dealing with issues of -- the fact that we think it is normal that a problem of homelessness or drug addiction or mental illness is that the police are the first responders to that. It`s really an insane question. When you think about what we are doing it`s pretty absurd. One thing as we think deeply about reforming police culture, we should be thinking creatively about should there be other forces involved, other kinds of responders? Should police have to go through a process where maybe people spend years not carrying guns, but dealing with communities in particular ways. Like we are smart enough people that we should think creatively about new ways to confront the myriad social problems we have without the logic of force as our first logic. REID: Judith, isn`t that the essence of community policing, having police in the community on small things so they know the community when big things happen? DIANIS: Right, but not that they lock them up on small things. That`s not the way it should go. This is really just endemic of our country`s rush to incarcerate people. In the work we do on the prison pipeline for example, police are in schools arresting kids for minor things, often because the school decided it is easier to turn that young person -- 5-year-old, temper tantrum, turn it over to the cop to handle it so we don`t have to. REID: Yes. DIANIS: We have to think about what might seem like hard work but the preventative work. REID: Matt, is it the police or the laws? WELCH: It`s the laws primarily. We have too many stupid laws the police shouldn`t be enforcing. You shouldn`t be in a choke hold for selling a loose cigarette. That`s ridiculous. We don`t know how many federal, criminal laws there are. People can`t count them. They are in the thousands now. They shouldn`t be enforcing that and there shouldn`t be incentive for local cops to use citizens as revenue streams. It`s happening all over the country. It is a terrible incentive. We need to get rid of that. REID: Thank you very much. I want to thank, Keith Sainten. The rest of the panel is sticking around. Up next, Loretta Lynch`s long wait, 162 days and counting. Even the president is losing patience. And perfectly good food going to waste, why are we throwing away almost half of all edible food? More nerdland at the top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: Welcome back. I`m Joy Reid in for Melissa. It is now been 162 days since Loretta Lynch was nominated to be the nation`s next attorney general. And still, no vote. It`s the delay that has been the subject of speculation, bewilderment and just plain frustration. And as because Loretta Lynch has the votes to be confirmed. She has enough republican backers. And there is no denying, she has what it takes to do the job. So what gives? Well, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the one who has the power to end the waiting game by putting Lynch`s vote on the Senate calendar. But he`s playing hardball, refusing to allow senators to leapfrog over a stalled anti-human trafficking bill to vote on Lynch. According to the New York Times McConnell told his colleagues the Senate would vote on Loretta Lynch this week just as he had always planned. And here he is on the Senate floor on Thursday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I have indicated, gosh, at least for six weeks now we are going to deal with the Lynch nomination right after we finish trafficking. I`m sorry. What? Where in the Senate`s bylaws does it say that trafficking first, confirmation vote second? Because even as the Lynch debacle is shining light on what is perceived as a dysfunctional Senate that gets nothing done, a lot can be done and certainly more than one thing at a time. Just take a look at this week. The U.S. Senate actually did things. It struck deals on Iran, education and trade, on Tuesday the Senate overwhelmingly approved an historic $200 billion Medicaid reform package. And on Thursday the Senate education committee voted unanimously in favor of a no child left behind revision. But bipartisan breakthrough for the historically contentious law. As for the Lynch vote -- crickets. Sorry says Majority Leader McConnell. Trafficking first and we`ll get to the nomination from more than five months ago which is why the push to end the Lynch stalemate intensified this week. Especially after the President blasted the Senate in uncharacteristically spirited fashion during a press conference on Friday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: This is the top law enforcement job in the country. What are we doing here? And I have to say that there are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it. It`s gone too far. Enough. Enough. Call Loretta Lynch for a vote. Get her confirmed. Put her in place. Let her do her job. This is embarrassing. A process like this. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: Now maybe republican leaders in the Senate don`t care too much about upsetting President Obama. But they may want to think twice about a particular constituency that is paying attention to this historic delay of an historic nominee. That would be black women voters. Republicans have to ask themselves, do they really want to be seen as the ones that prevented the confirmation of the first African-American woman nominated to hold the top law enforcement position in the country? Because here`s the thing. Black women are a powerful force at the polls. Leading in voter turnout among all women. And that presidential election gender gap you always hear so much about, the one where President Obama won 56 percent of women voters in 2008 and 55 percent in 2012? But you need to look a little deeper. There is not just a gender gap, there is a race gender gap. In 2008 Senator McCain won 53 percent of the white women`s vote. And in 2012, Governor Romney won white women with 56 percent. But now look at women of color. Latino voters went for President Obama at a rate of 68 and 76 percent in 2008 and 2012. And African- American women, in both 2008 and 2012 they were for President Obama at a rate of 96 percent. Now if you know that black women voted for the democrat in the last two presidential elections at a rate of 96 percent and you are the republican leader of the Senate, wouldn`t you think that black women aren`t a group that you want to be motivating to get out and vote in 2016? And might you think that holding up the nomination of the first black woman attorney general might be doing just that? Joining me now is Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project. Matt Welch, editor-in-chief of "Reason" magazine. Cristina Beltran, associate professor at NYU. And Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. And Vince, if you have just win the table, I`m going to go to you first. Is there anything to the argument that essentially by holding up the nomination of Loretta Lynch, republicans are getting nothing much accomplished because she`s eventually going to get through while really, really angering black women. VINCE WARREN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: It absolutely makes no sense. It make no political sense, it makes no legal sense. And based on what we are dealing with in the country right now in terms of policing and race, it`s an abdication of responsibility to really move forward some good policies with good people in order to solve a problem. I don`t understand why the republicans really want to just push black women and Latino folks to the side. And then at the same time expect that they will be able to reel people in with their candidates. It makes no sense at all. REID: And should you mention that the confluence of policing and race. Dick Durbin drew some outrage from the other side for comment he made that did seemed to be either really strategery in terms of reminding black people, hey, look at this lady that`s being held up, or just, I don`t know, speaking at a term, let`s listen to Dick Durbin. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: He went to the back of the bus. But this is how John McCain reacted to that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: What is beneath the decorum and dignity of the United States Senate, I would say to the senator from Illinois is for him to come to this floor and use that imagery and suggest that racist tactics are being employed to delay Ms. Lynch`s confirmation vote. Such inflammatory rhetoric has no place in this body and serves no purpose. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: Maybe. Or maybe it`s helpful to the democrats in 2016. JUDITH BROWNE DIANIS, CO-DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: I`m feeling like a Kanye moment here. You know, they never loved us, right? #Sisters for Loretta Lynch. I mean, like, you know, yes, this is really is like -- they don`t really care, right? About black women voters. And we are going to turn out. You know, it`s going to be retribution, right? Because she`s being held hostage for their political gain. But also at a moment where they are Holder haters, right? And so, I mean, here we have a woman -- REID: Eric Holder. DIANIS: Right. Eric Holder. And so, you have a woman who is going to continue the work of Eric Holder on policing, on immigration, on other things. So there is concern about that. And you know, for us to think that they can`t multi-task, you know, if they can`t multi task, they need to go home. Right? So this is really an interesting moment. Because I do think when women are going to turn out in record numbers, when black women repeatedly turn out in record numbers, they are going to have a problem. REID: Well, I mean, and Matt, you know, Eric Holder`s name has now been brought into the table. The republicans ostensibly say that this is about a human trafficking bill that they want to go first. Sometimes you hear that it is about the perfect potentially Loretta Lynch`s stance on President Obama`s immigration executive action. But -- is this this about Eric Holder and her potentially continuing what he`s done? MATT WELCH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "REASON MAGAZINE": I think it is largely an act of petulance about immigration, an upset with the President`s executive actions on that so that so we`re going to hold this up for that reason. I think there are other people who have reasons that is align more with mine. Rand Paul opposes this nomination not because of immigration and human trafficking but because Loretta Lynch is one of the most single biggest enthusiasts for and practitioners of civil asset forfeiture. So, she, when she was in Brooklyn said, okay, great. You know, even though this cup is owned by someone who is not engaged in illegal activity we think it might be illegal itself so we`re going to seize it. She has used this as a way to fund her office. This is a problem in American life. It is part of the incentive structure that we talked about before when cops and police departments are using people to shake them down and pocket the winnings. On end, she`s also pretty lousy on the drug war which has not a small impact on communities of color out there. She has said that she`s not sure whether marijuana is more dangerous or less dangerous than alcohol which is a nonsense point to be made. It shows, it signals that she`s afraid to go against where the pendulum is swinging on the drug war. These are legitimate reasons to oppose. And I will just point out real quick, since we`re going to determine the punch bowl here. Dennis Rogers Brown, if Loretta Lynch is at the back of the bus, Dennis Rogers Brown whose name escapes a lot of people was at the back of a line of busses. She was at the lunch counter with her hands in bracelets. She was held up by Senate democrats for two years as a Bush appointee to the D.C. Circuit. Black woman. But they didn`t like her politics. Nobody then suggested that it was because of racism. REID: I need to go on you on this Christina, because those are actually substantive debating points about Loretta Lynch. Then why aren`t republicans making any of those points? Because we are not hearing that other than from Rand Paul. CRISTINA BELTRAN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: No, it`s incredibly bad strategy on their part. I mean, what`s so interesting is rather that we could actually have an interesting conversation about what is, you know, productive and problematic about Loretta Lynch as a candidate, right? If somebody is going up to become attorney general. But instead, all they have managed to do is galvanize the community. REID: Right. BELTRAN: You know, and so it is, it`s just incredibly bad strategically but I also think that it is interesting because it`s like a republican trifecta of alienation. Right? Like they`re going to alienate, you know, women, black women, women of color and general Latina women and immigration advocates. Right? So, they have actually produced this interesting coalition of people. And Hillary Clinton is going to be able to, you know, invoke this very effectively. But I`m really glad you brought up the issue of intersectionality and the fact that, you know, when we understand the gender gap we have to look at race. Women aren`t just a free floating category. That women have race and class and that has a huge impact in their turnout. REID: Yes. BELTRAN: And we don`t talk enough about who is getting mobilized here but we could be having a really important conversation. REID: Yes. BELTRAN: And instead, they are galvanizing populations which could work really well for democrats doesn`t do much for our conversation. REID: And they`re doing it and you know, this is the most democratic of the next Senate cycles if you look at the map of where people are having to run for re-election. It`s going to be very interesting. All right. Up next, we`ll going to get the story of Loretta Lynch and Harry Reid lays down the law. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: It has been 162 days this since Loretta Lynch was nominated to replace Eric Holder as the nation`s next A.G. and still no vote. As you saw earlier it isn`t going over so well with President Obama and his party couldn`t agree with him more. On Thursday Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid addressed the situation doing an interview with MSNBC`s own Rachel Maddow. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: We have put up with this far too long. And we`re going to need to have a vote on her very soon, it`s created by Mitch McConnell or I will create one. I can still do that. I know parliamentary procedure on here. And we are going to put up with this for a little while longer but not much. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: A little head swinging by Harry Reid. On the same day White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest timed in as well spending several minutes during a news briefing to lament the now historic delay. JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is no reason why she shouldn`t be confirmed today by the United States Senate. The worst crime is their refusal to even allow her to come up for a vote. It`s shameful. And it should change today. Being nice has got us a 160-day delay. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: Loretta Lynch, a U.S. attorney who holds two degrees from Harvard and is the longest waiting A.G. nominee in three decades. And so, Vince, we were talking a little bit in the break about the logistics of not having whatever debate you want to have in the context of an actual vote. But now to the politics of what Harry Reid is saying. He was like, I know parliamentary procedure, I will force a vote. But is that really practical? WARREN: I don`t know if it`s practical and that`s a little bit like Professor McGonagall is saying, you know, in the ministry of magical, I will cook something up which I`m kind of digging, I`ll ask for you that. But here`s the bottom-line, the bottom-line is that someone -- and I think Harry Reid needs to use his political capital to move this thing forward as quickly as possible, because it`s about momentum, it`s not necessarily about parliamentary procedure, it`s about what is not happening and what the community groups and folks that we have identified really feel is not happening. And here is really why it is important. Even if you think about it in the context of policing and all of this other kind of stuff. Under Title VI of the 1964 civil rights act, the Department of Justice can and of course should start holding Police Departments accountable for their funding. And that she will have the ability to say, yes, in order for you to get federal funding, you`re going to have to demonstrate equitable policing, you`re going to have to demonstrate that you are doing this things in the right way. And this is the political moment for that stuff to happen. So, Harry Reid and the democrats need to step up and force this thing to happen. Because there is no debate really. REID: Well, they can`t force a debate to happen Judith without getting at least four or five republicans to go along with this parliamentary procedure where 51 senators could force a vote through. We have put up that map of the 24 Senate seats, republican Senate seats and ten democratic seats. Look at the map. That is the Senate cycle we`re coming up. All those red spaces there are the senators that can be targeted by Harry Reid to get republicans to sign onto the idea to force a vote. Do you think that can work? DIANIS: Well -- I mean that map is really decisive. I think, you know, the map shows that there is a log jam in Congress for a reason. And in fact, I think it`s showing that there may not be incentive, right, for people to jump ship. There may not be incentive for people to want to move because they`ve got to hold it down at home. REID: Yes. Absolutely. And I wonder Cristina about just this, it`s a hypothetical. But what would happen in theory among women of color if Loretta Lynch were to say, enough. If she were to be like, the rock Obama, the rock Obama, not Barack Obama. And if she were to say, if she were to do what Susan Rice did when it came to her nomination at state, when Debo Adegbile ultimately had to do that when he couldn`t get nominated in the civil rights division. If she were to withdraw, would that even be worse politics here? BELTRAN: It would be horrible for them, it would look awful. Right? I mean, if she just said I refuse to be treated like this, I mean, I think what`s interesting is one with of the sort of circulating debates that you hear in particular places whether on black talk radio or other places is the feeling that she`s being disrespected, she`s being treated in a really disrespectful manner. If she were to walk away and just say, I`m done with this, I think that would be a huge, huge political problem for the party. Right? I mean, just the wave of outrage. I mean, the thing is, I think people often in the public who aren`t political junkies and, you know, members of Nerdland don`t necessarily know the names of these folks and aren`t really following closely. But the timing of this and the five months of this is actually created a constituency of people watching and committed and interested. REID: Yes. BELTRAN: And so, if she were to do something dramatic like that, that would have a really big impact. REID: She would be like the Lanny Grenier (ph) of the -- BELTRAN: Right. REID: But on the other hand Matt, could republicans redeem themselves in the way that you described in the previous segment meaning, have the hearing and ring substantive objections where it then becomes a debate or would hectoring her over civil asset forfeiture while she`s sitting in the -- actually make it worse? WELCH: I don`t think that would make it worse. I think it would make it better. We are in a year right now where we are likely to see a series of very, very important criminal justice reform bipartisan measures. Rand Paul, Cory Booker are teaming up on a bunch of things on civil asset forfeiture, on repealing sentencing guidelines and a lot of things are happening right now. This happened because of grassroots activity on the Right and the Left pushing people. Pushing Eric Holder at long last. The kind of start peeling away the asset forfeiture regime. So, what I would say to everybody out there is, yes, pay attention to all this Washington kerfuffle. But realize that the way that you`re going to change behavior and policies now right now, so take advantage of a lame duck presidency where he could see his heart is probably more in the area of reform. But he has lacked the courage in this entire presidency to, you know, commute sentences, to actually do great things in the drug war when she could use this next moment to push that and use the confirmation process to push discussion on these ideas because you`re right, The Koch brothers and the ATLU are teaming up on this stuff right now for trying out loud. It`s time to do that. So, if republicans were smart they would make the hearings about that so we can have more momentum towards these important reforms. REID: Yes. This is a very important discussion. But I think I`m just going to go ahead and award the victory to Matt for using the word kerfuffle on Nerdland. Kerfuffle on Nerdland. What`s better than that? Thank you so much to Judith Browne Dianis, I think I`ve been calling you Dianis, can I call you Diane? I love you and you know. And Vince Warren, Matt and Cristina are sticking around. Because up next the people who say 17 candidates for president? That`s just not enough. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: This weekend we saw nearly the entire 2016 republican field parade through New Hampshire. Introducing themselves to GOP primary voters in speeches and handshakes and contests in which they ate a lot of pie. And there were a lot of them. Bush, Christie, Cruz, Fiorina, Huckabee, Jindal, Paul, Perry, Rubio and Walker were all there. And there were even more likely candidates who skipped the trip. Notably Rick Santorum and Ben Carson. Now Hillary Clinton is on her way to the granite state. And although she`s very much a lead democratic front runner she`s not alone in her ambition for the democratic nomination. Several others will likely run including former Governor Martin O`Malley and Lincoln Chafee and former Senator Jim Webb. And then there is the independent and avowed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. All together that`s 17 likely candidates for president. Seventeen. That`s a lot. But for some voters none of the 17 people are anything to get excited about. They want to see more people throw their hats in the ring. Some want to see Elizabeth Warren, the firebrand, tough on Wall Street, no nonsense senator from Massachusetts. They want her to take on Hillary Clinton for the democratic nomination. Now, she has said unequivocally, many, many, many, many times that she will not run for president. But that hasn`t swayed the Warren faithful. Other Dems want to see America`s favorite uncle the gaffe prone but deeply experienced Joe Biden make a run. Vice President Biden has been coy about the possibility. Both he and Warren are well behind Hillary Clinton in the polls by about 50 points. But, and that`s out of 100. Nevertheless, in an election cycle where political strategists are worried about an enthusiasm gap Warren and Biden have some voters very excited about 2016. And two of them join me now live from Chicago. Erica Sagrans who is the campaign manager for Ready for Warren. And Will Pierce, executive director of Draft Biden 2016. And let`s start on the Biden side with you Will. Why are you riding with Biden? WILL PIERCE, DRAFT BIDEN 2016: I`m riding with Biden because this is a man who has over 30 years of experience as a United States senator, foreign policy experience as well as I`m seven years as an executive. Myself as a military veteran, I deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. I appreciate the fact that the Vice President`s son has served and then basically the Vice President, he knows what it is like to send boots on the ground. REID: All right. All right. Well played. Now Erica, I want to talk to you about sort of the realistic nature of what you are trying to do. And I want to first start by playing you actor Mark Ruffalo on who I believe is on your side when it comes to Elizabeth Warren. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARK RUFFALO, ACTOR: Would you please, please not say no to running? At least being in a primary. And take your place, your rightful place in the history of this great nation. Because we need you. We feed your voice, we need your politics. REID: And here is Seth Meyers explaining a response to that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MAN: But that firm no for Warren is hardly in line with answers she`s given in previous interviews. Take a look. UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So, there is no way you`re going to run 2016? SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I`m not running for president. You can ask this a whole lot of different ways. UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Okay, we will. UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Are you going to run for president? WARREN: I`m not running for president. UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There is nothing that could change your mind? WARREN: David, like I said, I`m not running for president. UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: If Hillary didn`t run you might give it a shot? WARREN: I`m not running for president. UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Can I just ask you one question, people raised this about you. They say, you constantly say you are not running for president. Does that mean you will not run for president in 2016? UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ooh, good question, Charlie. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: You know, I mean, you know, Erica it`s easy to see Elizabeth Warren`s appeal. But when you hear that you hear her repeatedly say she`s not running, why do you keep this up? ERICA SAGRANS, READY FOR WARREN: Well, Warren has always been a reluctant politician. But when she saw the support behind her, she decided to run for Senate and we believe we can convince her. She`s been out talking to supporters, giving speeches. Talking to media these past few weeks. She has not rushed to endorse any other candidate. And it`s still very early. So, at the end of that Seth Myers clip, he played Barack Obama actually saying that he wasn`t planning for running for president. All candidates have to say that. Hillary Clinton said it at one point as well. So, this is still very early and we believe we can convince her to run. REID: Wow. I`m not sure Hillary Clinton said it like 72,000 times. That`s probably the -- well, I want to go -- let`s say in the fantasy where you guys got what you wanted and your candidates ran. Let`s talk about what are some of their potential demerits. And let`s start with you Will, Vice President Joe Biden obviously has a great deal of foreign policy experience. He was put on the ticket for a reason. He`s appealing to blue collar voters. But he also has a reputation as being kind of a goof, of being gaffe-prone. There are all the pictures, the onion kind of had a send-up of him as like the guy in the irac (ph) that`s hitting on your grandma. The sort of the silly side of Joe Biden and that reputation make him less credible as a potential presidential candidate? PIERCE: Absolutely not. Because this is a man who basically can relate to anyone. Every day Americans. One thing I would just like to point out is basically all the time, of 24/7 as the President and Vice President they are followed around by the White House press corps. Imagine having people, different camera in your face 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But the average everyday American, they appreciate the fact that he`s not speaking off a soundbite, he`s not speaking of a teleprompter. He says what is on his mind and basically, this is someone that they can relate to. REID: Okay. And now to over to you Erica, one of the issues that Elizabeth Warren has. That she`s very popular with the Left of the democratic liberals with democratic liberals. But she doesn`t have a broad demographic base. The Democratic Party is heavily Latino, it`s heavily African-American. That`s what you need to win. How do you address that issue? SAGRANS: Right. Well, I think Warren has shown, I mean, the thing that Warren is not as many people know her yet. But when people do know her in focus groups and other areas, they respond very well and really like her. And I have met folks across the country of all different backgrounds who really have spoken about how excited they are. People I`m surprised sometimes even know who Warren is. But talk very passionately about how they believe she will fight for them. And she`s the one person who fights for the little guy out there. REID: Okay. I`m going to come back to you guy in a second. I want to come out to the table and just talk to Cristina and Matt about this a little bit. What does the fact that you do have passionate support for candidates who do not appear to want to get in? Maybe Biden if Hillary were not to work out. But what does it say about the current field? BELTRAN: Right. Well, I think there`s -- we are in an interesting moment with Hillary because of what happened in 2008. Right? And I do think that there is -- I mean, it really varies. I mean, we were talking before the break. There is a lot of support for Hillary. And deeply passionate in certain pockets of the Democratic Party. Right? Certain segments in democrats are very excited about her. And there are other segments who I think are hoping for a larger conversation, a bigger dialogue around issues and are hoping that the primary. I mean, one of the things that are happened with the Obama-Clinton fight that went on was we had a series of really useful conversations. You know, and I think that there is a hope that there will be like a sort of deliberative democratic moment in the party where lots of people can really talk about issues. The issue that`s hard though is -- I think you see it with Biden. There is no pressing issue that he brings to the table. Right. If a candidate is going to come in in the context of Hillary, they need to have some kind of a critical issue that no one is talking about that they`re not. REID: Right. BELTRAN: Now, that`s one reason why Hillary has been pivoting left. She`s kind of try to take Warren safe. She`s doing that already. So, I think that`s the big reason why. REID: And very quickly, Matt. Do you think that gives an opening for the republicans if there isn`t like a consensus that Hillary is the -- WELCH: Absolutely. Nobody likes a coronation. And Hillary Clinton is significantly away from the democratic base on civil liberties issue on intervention and war. And in many ways she is not the candidate of, you know, sort or DeBlasio, Chuy Garcia, Elizabeth Warren kind of left right now. And there is a lot of energy around those issues that she does not embody. REID: All right. Very quickly to wrap up. Will and Erica, very quickly, very short answer. If your candidate does not run, Will, who is your second choice? PIERCE: Right now we are focused on the process right now. REID: Okay. PIERCE: What we`re going to be doing as always say, is we`re going to support whoever the nominee is. But we are pushing Joe Biden as hard as possible. REID: And Erica, very quickly, exit question. Who is your second choice? SAGRANS: It`s still early. And so, we want to get Warren in the race. REID: Okay. All right. You guys are sticking with your candidates. Thank you very much to Will Pierce and Erica Sagrans in Chicago. And here in New York, thank you to Cristina Beltran and Matt Welch. And still to come, the documentary that will change how you look at your next meal. And celebrated poet Elizabeth Alexander is here to talk about her new memoir which is already winning high praise from none other than the First Lady Michelle Obama. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: Forty percent of the food produced in the United States goes to waste. Forty percent. Four-zero. Just thrown away. A documentary premiering on MSNBC this Wednesday will have you rethinking what`s in your fridge and what`s on your grocery list. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There was a study in New York. They looked at all the food waste in one county. And the most waste came from households. More than from restaurants, more than from supermarkets, more than from farms. UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: In our households we are wasting somewhere between 15 and 25 percent of the food that we are buying. You know, that`s expensive. I mean, imagine walking out of a grocery store with four bags of groceries, dropping one in the parking lot and just not bothering to pick it up. And that`s essentially what we are doing in our homes today. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: It`s a growing issue with an impact reaching far beyond our wallets. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MAN: People think the environmental problems are about smokestacks, about roads, about factories, about cities and concrete. But for sure those are significant. But if you look at the earth from the sky what you see is fields. And it is there that we have had the biggest impact. Wasting a third of the land and all of that energy that we currently use by wasting the food that we have produced is one of the most gratuitous aspects of human culture as it stands today. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: Filmmakers Jenny Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin dove further into the issue with a challenge. For six months they would only eat food that would otherwise be wasted. Dumpster diving and scouring supermarkets for rejected produce. "Just Eat It" Producer Jenny Rustemeyer and Director Grant Baldwin join me now. Thank you both for being here. JENNY RUSTEMEYER, PRODUCER, "JUST IT EAT": Thanks for having us. REID: And it`s a great documentary, I was saying before we came on camera, that I was prepared to be really just grossed out oh. Because I thought you guys would going to be going in dumpsters and getting, look, like a happy apple or something. That isn`t what you found in these dumpsters. RUSTEMEYER: That`s exactly it. I mean, there`s this really stigma when we use words like food waste and people think it is disgusting but it is really surplus food. There is a lot of really nutritious edible food in the landfill. And that should really be feeding hungry people. REID: And why is this food being thrown away? GRANT BALDWIN, DIRECTOR, "JUST EAT IT": I think a lot of the food that we found was thrown away because it was close to the date label. And people think that date labels about a safety date, but it`s actually just about peak freshness. It has nothing to do with safety at all. REID: And so, is there a good reason to have that date visible to the public when you go into a store? My teenaged son like lives by that date. If it`s one day later, he`s not eating it. Is there a reason why we need that date have it shown to us? RUSTEMEYER: I mean, for most it`s really about stock rotation, it`s really for the grocery stores to be seeing so that they make sure that they are not leaving things on the shelf for too long. But as individuals we can use our senses a little bit more and use a better common sense. REID: So, we are talking now about household food waste. But let`s also talk about on farms. I mean, this is not, as your documentary just said, the leading cause of food waste, but what about the food that`s just literally thrown away? There was a shot in the film about this mountain of bananas because they weren`t exactly just the perfect shape. How much of that is going on? BALDWIN: There is ton of that going on. The banana example is also an example of a peach grower that we met in California. And he said he throws away between 30 and 70 percent of his peaches because they are not the right shape, or the right color or maybe they have a little blemish on them. REID: And so, how much of this is the consumer essentially demanding perfect-looking food? RUSTEMEYER: Well, here is where the controversy comes in. Right? I mean, grocery stores are saying that people are demanding perfect food. And we are saying, let`s give people the choice. So, let`s try to sell those ugly vegetables and see if people willing to buy them if they are educated about the situation. REID: And you guys did talked to at least one person who is trying to salvage this food and trying to do something else with it. Are there organizations that are looking in these dumpsters? I mean, it was incredible to see in your film packaged food in these dumpsters. Not opened food, but packaged food thrown a way. BALDWIN: Yes. There is a store that`s going to be opening in Chicago by the former CEO of Trader Joe`s. And he`s going to basically mitigate all that food from grocery stores that`s near date and sell it in this grocery store for lower income people so they can basically shop for about 70 percent off. REID: Yes. So, getting back to now our households which is your documentary shows is the number one source of food waste, give us some advice for parents, for people who have food in the fridge that their family is saying, "leftovers don`t want it." How can we start to reimagine how we think about that food? RUSTEMEYER: Well, that`s the amazing thing about this issues. There are many things that we can do as individuals. We can start by using our freezers. If you have too much of a meal, you`re not sure you want to leftovers. Stick it in your freezer, bring it out next week like a brand new meal. REID: Yes. And I noticed that you cooked at the end, you cooked this sort of fabulous meal at the end. Were your friends as reluctant as I was going in to watch the documentary when you told them, we are going to eat this repurpose food. It`s going to be great. BALDWIN: Yes. Well, the people sort of raise their eyebrows and didn`t really bring it up until they saw the food that we were finding. And when they would come over to the house and grocery shopped at the house, they would open up the pantry, oh, look under the spare bed, there are some cases of food. Go ahead, help yourself. And that was when people started to go, okay, this is big deal. REID: It`s amazing. Do you have food left? RUSTEMEYER: We have a little bit of food left. We found a lot of chocolate. You know, we kind of went off the chocolate after, you know, months and months of eating chocolate every day. BALDWIN: My dad still asks me. You know, do you have any chocolate left? REID: And also your dentists are probably very glad that you -- (LAUGHTER) All right. Thank you so much Jenny Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin. Really appreciate it. Once again the film debuts on MSNBC this Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here. And we want to see what you will do to waste less food. You can share your response in a video or a photo with the #No food wasted and you can do that at And up next, Michelle Obama calls her words beautiful and powerful. Acclaimed poet Elizabeth Alexander comes to Nerdland talk about her new memoir. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: On Friday the White House celebrated national poetry month by hosting a workshop for student authors and a reading by celebrated poet Elizabeth Alexander who in 2009 wrote and delivered her original work "Praise Song for the Day" at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. During Friday`s White House celebration, Alexander moved many to tears when she read from her new memoir called "The Light of the World." In the book she shares the story of the sudden death of her beloved husband artist Ficre Ghebreyesus, who died just four days after his 50th birthday party. Alexander`s memoir is elegy of love, understanding, grief and acceptance as she navigates life without her partner. But perhaps First Lady Michelle Obama describes the impact of Alexander`s words best. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: Hers was the kind of grief that would leave most of us unable to function normally. Yet she took all that grief and she transformed it into something beautiful and powerful. Not just for herself but for anyone who has ever lost someone they love. So this book is not just an achievement for her. It`s also a lifeline for others who are overwhelmed by their own grief. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: And I`m pleased to welcome Elizabeth Alexander to the table. Good morning. Thank you so much for being here. ELIZABETH ALEXANDER, "THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD": I`m so glad to be here, Joy. REID: And just reading your words and there is also an excerpt of your book in the New Yorker this week so people can get a sense of your writing and of you. What really did come through I think for me is how universal the experience you described is. And you can connect with it whether the loved one that you lost is a partner or a mother or a child. You really universalize this process. When you were writing it, were you thinking in the universal or were you really deeply in the personal? ALEXANDER: Well, I was thinking in the absolute particular. Because I think that the universal always resides in the particular. And if we start there with what we know carefully observed, why we love, what we love, why it matters to us then we give something that is so alive and dynamic hopefully that it has meaning to other people. And I`m moved to discover that that seems to be true. REID: Yes. And what`s really evocative about your writing is that you go into such beautiful detail about the life of your husband Ficre. You describe him as a living being and a living person. And then you describe the separation between that living soul and that body in the end. Do you still, when you think back and look at your husband, do you dwell in that grief or are you able to still experience him as a whole living person? ALEXANDER: Well, I think that you have to move forward. You have to live. We are alive. We are here. Every day is a gift and a blessing. And that`s the way that I want to show my children how to live. What I find beautiful is even when you lose the body and the tremendous crushing grief that comes along with that, there is so much that you are our loved ones give us that is indelible. It never goes away. In some ways it blossoms as we carry it forward as we share stories, as we live and walk in the steps of the things that we cherished with the one that we loved. REID: Yes. And we saw the response of the first lady to your words. What`s been the response from people to just the part of the book that they have read so far? ALEXANDER: It`s been extraordinary. I have hundreds and hundreds of e- mails from strangers in response to the New Yorker excerpt. When I read the book people come and want to talk mostly not about losing spouses but about all kinds of loss. Loss and grief are common denominators for human beings. The fact that we will not always stay on this earth is a common denominator. And so, I think that we are all trying to find meaning in that. We are trying to find comfort. And we are trying to think about, what is this thing called life? And how do we live it purposefully? And that`s what loss sometimes teaches us. REID: Yes. Indeed. And you found lottery tickets after your husband died. And that was obviously very significant to you. Can you talk a bit about the significance of it? And then I`m going to ask you to read a passage from your book. ALEXANDER: Yes. After you discover many things in the space that you share after someone departs. Then that`s often very, very wrenching and very poignant. And sometimes also I would find things that would make me laugh and shake my head. I would open a book and out would come lottery tickets. Like confetti. He loved the lottery. He believed in luck, he believe in possibility. He was a bit of a magical realist. And so there they were, reminding me. I would say, do you have to buy -- maybe one would be okay. REID: Yes. ALEXANDER: And I would find a whole bunch of then. So, it was actually that, a lovely way to remember his presence. REID: Indeed. And could you just read -- there is a poem called "The Light of the World" that`s in the book if you could read that for us. ALEXANDER: Yes. This is a section from the book. He who believed in the lottery. He who did not leave a large carbon footprint. He who never met a child he didn`t enchant. He who loved to wear the color pink. He whose children made him laugh until he cried. He who never told a lie. He who majored in physics who knew the laws of the universe. He who wanted to win the lottery for me. REID: Elizabeth Alexander, the book is "The Light of the World." And it can be purchased this week. It is a wonderful, wonderful memoir. Thank you so much for being here. ALEXANDER: Thank you very much. REID: Thank you. And up next, you will hear from President Bill Clinton who spoke just moments ago this morning because of what happened on this day 20 years ago. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: On this day exactly 20 years ago, the country was rocked by the worst domestic terrorism attack in American history. The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Earlier this morning, a remembrance ceremonies was held in Oklahoma City in honor of the 168 people killed in the blast. Former President Bill Clinton was among the many national and local officials who spoke. The attendees also observed 168 seconds of silence. One second for each person killed on that fateful day when a truck carrying a homemade bomb blew up outside the federal building. The explosion was so powerful, it obliterated a third of the building and damaged or destroyed more than 300 nearby sites. And the human toll was staggering. Among the 168 killed, 19 children who were inside the federal building`s daycare center. In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, some in the media speculated that the attack was the work of foreign terrorist. But within 48 hours, a new face of terror emerged, and it was from right here at home. Timothy McVeigh, a former soldier and anti-government extremist, was arrested. And his co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, turned himself in. In 2001, McVeigh became the first person executed for a federal crime in the U.S. in nearly 40 years. Terry Nichols is still serving a life sentence in a super maximum security facility in Colorado. Their act of terrorism made the nation rethink the notion of who is a threat to America and strengthened the country`s travel confront our enemies both foreign and domestic. It also put a spotlight on the resilience of Oklahoma City. A spirit reflected in the simple yet stirring memorial built in honor of the victims and in today`s remembrance ceremony which was called "a program of hope and healing." Former President Clinton paid tribute to that spirit this morning. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL CLINTON (D), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Not because you forgot the loss of loved ones, but because you remembered. Not because the pain and loss and love have worn away with time, but because they endure, and the only way you can redeem the loved ones is to live by the standard you have branded. It has been magnificent to behold. I urge you never to forget it. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: A fitting tribute to Oklahoma City and the 168 people who died in the bombing that forever changed our country on this day, April 19th, 1995. And that is our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. Be sure to tune in to "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews this Tuesday night here on MSNBC. Chris has a big interview with none other than President Barack Obama. And now it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT." Hi, Alex. ALEX WITT, MSNBC HOST, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT": Hello to you Joy, thank you so much. Well, everyone, there`s an update on the stalled confirmation of Loretta Lynch. New word from Capitol Hill that the logjam may soon be cleared. New questions about what was left out of the Britt McHenry videotape and whether it kept the whole story from being told. It`s a possible solution to California`s drought, but will it cause more environmental problems? I`ll speak with the mayor of one town to hear what he thinks. California`s measles crisis is over. But the vaccine fight continues. This morning, hear from a mother of seven who refused to inoculate her kids and then changed her mind quick after a traumatic event for all her children. Don`t go anywhere. I`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END