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Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 11/28/15

Guests: David S. Cohen, Irin Carmon, Hakeem Jeffries, Jonathan Metzl,Malcolm Nance, Charlene Carruthers, Omar Wasow, Alexis McGill Johnson,Diane Horvath-Cosper, Kajsa Reaves, Andrew Chu, Kim Watkins, PrudenceCarter

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning, my question, why are two schools just nine blocks apart so very different? Plus, outrage over 16 shots in 13 months. And the surprisingly simple solution to homelessness. But first, the latest on the attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris Perry. And we begin today with the story that unfolded Friday in Colorado when the shooter opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Police now have a suspect in custody, 57-year old Robert Dear who was arrested yesterday following an hours long standoff that left three people dead and nine injured. Officers arrived at the clinic after gunshots were first reported near the facility just a little after 11:30 a.m. Mountain Time. Police said the shots were fired by a single gunman armed with an AK-47- style weapon. They say the gunman shot at the police who responded to the scene from inside the building. Police exchanged gunfire with the suspected shooter for several hours before they were able to make contact with him and he turned himself in just before 5:00 p.m. One University of Colorado, Colorado Springs officer and two civilians were killed in the attack. Five police officers and four civilians were injured and transferred to local hospitals. Officers were still securing the scene following the arrest, investigating several items allegedly brought by the gunman into the building to determine whether or not they were explosive devices. A law enforcement source told NBC News that investigators were also trying to identify an object in the suspect`s car that appeared to be a propane tank with wires attached. Joining me now from Colorado Springs, Colorado is NBC News correspondent Leanne Greg. Leanne, what can you tell us about the latest developments since last night? LEANNE GREGG, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Melissa, the nine people who were hospitalized are all in good condition this morning. The investigation is continuing. The processing of the crime scene, we`re told, could take several days, and they`re trying to determine a motive what caused the gunman to want to go off and start shooting inside the Planned Parenthood facility. That standoff lasted for five hours before he surrendered. Three people were dead, nine people were injured. Among the dead, 44-year-old police veteran Garrett Swasey. He was a father of two young children, and a husband. There also were two civilians who were killed. Their identities will not be released until an autopsy has been performed. We are told that will happen either later this afternoon, perhaps tomorrow. President Obama did issue a statement today. Part of it saying that we can`t let this become the new normal. It went on to say we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on the streets. This entire community is mourning today. There will be two separate vigils. One at the church where the law officer who was killed was a volunteer pastor. Another will be held at a local university. That`s later today. And again, this investigation, far from over. It will take several days, possibly even weeks. Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to NBC`s Leanne Gregg in Colorado Springs. With me at the table this morning here in New York, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, founding member of the New Congressional Criminal Justice and Public Safety Caucus. Dr. Jonathan Metzl, director of the Center for Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University whose research includes race, gun violence and mental health. Irin Carmon who is MSNBC national reporter. And David S. Cohen, law professor at Drexel University and co-author of "Living in the Crosshairs, the Untold Stories of Anti-abortion Terrorism." And so, David, obviously, I want to start with you. In part because, you know, we`re still talking about what the motives are. But almost regardless of what those motives are, this act of violence occurring in the space that is Planned Parenthood becomes part of a long history. Tell us a little bit about that history. DAVID S. COHEN, LAW PROFESSOR, DREXEL UNIVERSITY: Since 1993, there have been eight or nine, depending how you count, abortion providers who have been murdered in this country. There have been arsons. There have been clinic bombings. There have been attacks offsite. Before this, the most recent abortion provider who was murdered was Dr. George Tiller in his church on a Sunday morning. So, this fits a pattern. Also, recently there has been an escalation of attacks on Planned Parenthood following the deceptively manipulated videos released this summer. There have been at least four arsons. Several vandalisms. Increased death threats. So, this really fits into a pattern of anti-abortion terrorism that`s been going on for decades. And this is just the newest incident about it. HARRIS-PERRY: So, your point about these videos, and not only about the doctored videos but then of course, Congressman, the congressional hearings that came out of it. I want to, you know, I hate to play YouTube, but I want to actually listen to a little bit of what you had to say there in your role as a member of Congress about what those hearings were about. Let`s take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES, (D) NEW YORK: This is not a legitimate congressional exercise. This is not a fact-finding hearing. This is theater. This is a charade. This is stage craft. This is nothing more than a political hit job on a women`s right to choose. Which, by the way, is constitutionally protected. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So, why was it important for you to make that point in that moment? JEFFRIES: Well, I think it was important to make it clear that those hearings were operating in a fact-free zone and that the Republican intent was not to uncover any wrongdoing because they were -- they should be cleared if there was no wrongdoing. Those are doctored videos that were clearly put together to articulate a political point and nothing more than that. The Republicans legitimized it by holding this hearing and now have gone even further, they`ve doubled down, by commencing a special committee that presumably is going to spend millions of dollars of taxpayer resources chasing down a rabbit hole and finding nothing. HARRIS-PERRY: And see, this feels like it matters to me, right? It is not. It is certainly not that the congressional hearings are responsible for violence, right? I mean, no one wants to make that claim. What I don`t want to make a claim, though, to - Irin, is that the way that we frame who our opponents are. Whether or not we see them as interlocutors in a reasonable democratic discourse where we have disagreements versus defining people as murderer, as defining people as baby part sellers. Like, that these ideas actually end up having purchase in what we think is happening in our - either opposition or support for women`s choice. IRIN CARMON, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: You know, you don`t have to look as far as Washington to look at the rhetoric around this video. In fact, the vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountain, which is part of the clinic that was targeted, which, you know, the medical director of the clinic, that was the site of the shooting, was one of the doctors who was secretly recorded by this anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress, Dr. Zeveda Ginde. So, Colorado Springs has been nicknamed the evangelical Vatican. This is a place with many mega churches. It`s the headquarters of Focus on the Family. And it`s a place whose elected representatives have been among those leading the charge, again, in their own words, leading the charge against Planned Parenthood. So, even without knowing anything concrete about this man`s motives, we know what life has been like for the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. And we know that it`s gotten markedly more difficult, more polarized. They`ve been stigmatized as, quote, "trafficking in baby parts," in particular since last summer. HARRIS-PERRY: Whatever the motives, Jonathan, once again, I had a friend say to me the other day, I hate when I see Jonathan Metzl on your show because I know it`s bad news. I know that there has been a shooting. There`s been another act of gun violence. And indeed, here you sit. And we are once again talking about this act of gun violence. As the president said, we can`t allow it to be normal. But it feels mighty normal at this point. DR. JONATHAN METZL, CTR. FOR MEDICINE, HEALTH AND SOCIETY, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Well, I would love to come on for a happy topic like the circus comes to town. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. METZL: Something like that. But I mean, you know, again, a terrible tragedy happened yesterday. People were trying to relax. To enjoy their holiday. Police were just trying to usher people to safety. People were bringing their mothers, their sisters, their wives, there, you know, relatives to Planned Parenthood for well women exams or breast cancer screenings or reproductive issues. It was just a normal day. Where people should be able to relax. And instead, the news again got dominated by an increasingly familiar form of white terrorism. In which people are literally terrorized beyond the realm of this. And I know what`s going to happen now, which is that we`re going to have a story about the mental health of the person. It`s going to locate it on a particular issue. And I have to say, that even though I know there are many complicated issues with this person`s biography that are important to find out, that we really do need to see this as a bigger contextual problem. That this is an intersection of the war on women and women`s rights that`s been increasingly an issue. The issue of guns, as president Obama mentioned, which is particularly assailant in Colorado, a very complicated gun story, and I think a political climate that urges people to take issues into their own hands. HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with us, because up next, how the story out of Colorado Springs plays into our renewed focus on the threat of terrorism. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Police have not yet determined what motivated the gunman who held a Colorado Planned Parenthood under siege yesterday, but the possibility of the clinic being targeted for violence was already enough of a concern that according to "The New York Times," the building had a security room equipped with a supply of bulletproof vests. Joining me now from Philadelphia, Malcolm Nance, counterterrorism and terrorism intelligence consultant to the U.S. government and executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project. So, Malcolm, should we be thinking of this moment as terrorism? MALCOLM NANCE, EXEC. DIRECTOR, TERROR ASYMMETRICS PROJECT: Absolutely. You know, we have this unfortunate habit in the United States of dividing terrorism into different categories. External, foreign terrorism, which manifests itself overseas or in the United States, or domestic terrorism. And then when we use the word domestic, we discount its actual impact as political terrorism, which is, of course, political violence meant to impact an audience outside of the immediate victims. And what we`ve seen in Colorado Springs clearly meets the definition of terrorism. HARRIS-PERRY: It`s interesting that you say that. You know, I was traveling, as so many other people were on this holiday weekend, and I think started in the holiday weekend with the fear kind of coming out of the wake of Paris, anxiety about, you know, travel on a flight, and while I`m sitting in the airport, this story breaks. And I`m watching it and thinking, right, this is the nature of fear. Is that we actually don`t know where it`s coming from. And yet, this doesn`t seem surprising in that there is - and there`s a long enough history that this Planned Parenthood had, in fact, the safe room. NANCE: Of course. I mean, they needed a safe room. Because they`ve been under threat for so long. But there has been, certainly, in the last five to six months clearly a documentable and quantifiable campaign against Planned Parenthood using terrorism. As a matter of fact, there have been four incidents of arson in the terrorism, arson is the single most fundamental form of terrorism that there is. It`s the simplest terrorist tactic. And now this incident that we have, if you compare that to what we saw in Paris, this was a hostage barricade where the person confronted law enforcement and held people inside. Until brought out. The only difference was it wasn`t a suicide hostage barricade as we saw over in France. And so, people make these small differentiations, but they don`t really realize that here in the United States we need to see this equal as foreign terrorism. Because the only difference is, is the question of their exact target. HARRIS-PERRY: Malcolm, hold for me a second. I want to come to you on this, because, obviously, you wrote about this. We were just talking in the break about the fact that Colorado has a bubble bill that allows a little bit of a safe zone, a buffer zone, for patients who are going into clinics, but you say that`s actually because of the amount of danger that existed in Colorado? COHEN: Right, the only way the Supreme Court would uphold the bubble, or a buffer zone, which is a zone around a clinic that says no protesters, is if there`s a history of problems and violence in the past in that location. And in 2000, the Supreme Court upheld a buffer zone and a bubble zone around Colorado clinics because of that specific history in Colorado. As well as the history around the country. The Supreme Court didn`t uphold the buffer zone around in Massachusetts last summer, but Colorado has enough of a history that it upheld the one there. HARRIS-PERRY: Malcolm, I want to come back to you for a second, because your work is around counterterrorism. So if we`re going to call this terrorism, how do we counter it? We talk about a war on terror. It doesn`t look anything like how we might imagine what we`d need to do in this space. NANCE: Well, we`re going to have to counter. And we do. Law enforcement does counter political extremism here in the United States in the exact same way that they do political extremists who are infiltrated into the United States, who may come from a religious motivation, you know, as we saw overseas in Europe. But the same methodologies have to be used. You can`t differentiate between an Islamic terrorist and a Christian terrorist. Or a politically motivated terrorist who`s anti-abortion or someone who may have differing views. So, the intelligence collection processes are the same. There`s actually some fluidity here in the United States. Using local intelligence against them. But you still have to infiltrate these groups. You still have to collect intelligence as you see fit. And they are organized. They are very well organized in the anti-abortion movement. Ideologically, they`re almost the same. And that`s where we see these spurts of violence. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Malcolm Nance in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When we come back, I`m getting the rest of the table back in. I`m going to also talk about an eye witness accounts of Friday`s attack. They are starting to come in, and you`re going to hear from a man who came face-to- face with the gunman. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OZY LICANO, EYEWITNESS TO SHOOTING: And then when he aimed right at me, I could see his face. He wasn`t a young man, he was a white male, he is wearing tan or gray and his gun seemed small. It didn`t look like and it didn`t sound like an automatic weapon. Because he could have finished me off there. Like two seconds between each shot. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was Ozy Licano, an eyewitness to Friday`s attack at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. In an interview done by the NBC affiliate KOAA. Jonathan, what did you hear there? METZL: Well, I mean, there`s a level of kind of familiarity to this particular routine. Though, I think, it`s worrisome and I think that one thing to compare this to what happened in Paris is there`s a level of shock. People are saying, oh, my gosh, we thought of the world as a more innocent place than it is. And now we see the world very differently. And I think what makes me sad about the American news reporting is there`s a kind of almost learned helplessness that happens here. Where it`s like, oh, yeah this thing has happened again. And so the news scripts are the same. The news cycles are the same. There`s a rush to the biography, there`s a rush to this. And so, even though individuals like that, that person, are traumatized in ways that will affect them for the rest of their lives, there`s almost a familiarity to this that I think President Obama is exactly right, we need to combat because this really can become the new normal, but that`s really what`s been happening. HARRIS-PERRY: And I mean Congressman Jeffries, I wonder if in fact there`s even more frustration when you`re an actual lawmaker. That it`s one thing to kind of stand outside and say as a voter I`d like to have to vote on this issue, I`d like to be able to put this on the agenda. But as a lawmaker to continuously see this happening. It`s part of the frustration I feel like I hear in the president. JEFFRIES: Well, there`s a tremendous amount of frustration, but we have to push forward. And it`s going to be important to call terrorism terrorism. Because what has happened, is that we have brought our public policy response by failing to identify these acts of violence for what they really are. And this was an act of domestic terrorism. Now, we as members of Congress, take an oath to protect the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And what we`re seeing is that these acts of terrorism are being committed by American citizens in this particular instance at a Planned Parenthood site, certain with a political agenda, fueled by the extremist rhetoric that we`ve seen from some on the hill and from people all across the country as it relates to a woman`s right to choose. And that`s problematic. And one of the things that it warps is our ability to deal with the fact, why could this individual have an AK-47- type weapon of mass destruction? There`s no justification for that. He can`t hunt deer with that. It`s unnecessary. He`s hunting human beings. And so, I think if we more directly get at the heart of the problem, what`s fueling these things, hopefully as public policymakers, we can come up with an actual response. HARRIS-PERRY: Irin, "The Daily Beast" reported that this shooting is at least the fifth high-profile crime on a Planned Parenthood clinic since the release for the Center for Medical Progress`s undercover sting videos this July. You have been reporting on questions of choice, of safety, of sort of the way that this terrorism impacts how people make medical choices. Are you at all believing we`re about to turn a corner, that this could shift, or does this feel like we`re on a pathway towards more of this? CARMON: Well, the kind of polarization that you talked about is so evident here. Even in people`s immediate reactions. You know, the colleague, the co-pastor of the tragically murdered officer, referred to, quote, "the abortion industry." He said that the officer wouldn`t have supported the abortion industry but he was there to save lives. Now, it`s admirable that he was doing his job, of course, and it`s tragic that he was killed. But let`s stop and think about the fact that a medical clinic that is performing abortions that are constitutionally protected, that nearly 1 in 3 women will have in their lifetimes, is being referred to in this tone, "abortion industry." And I think the rhetoric has become very inflammatory. People are talking about, quote, trafficking in baby parts. Including representatives from this very town, Colorado Springs. So I think, again, with the Supreme Court about to step in on some of the restrictions on clinics, you are seeing an escalation in rhetoric. You are seeing a deep polarization around a medical procedure that remains extremely common. HARRIS-PERRY: I just - I want to go all the way back. You said at one point how important it was that this officer was doing his job. And I just keep thinking of how many times I`ve heard Ferguson effect. And I`ve heard it because of protests, officers are afraid to do their job because of -- because of a YouTube effect. And I`m thinking, and yet this officer was killed in the line of duty in this moment. METZL: Well, I mean, I think that one of the other lessons about what happened here is that open carry laws, even though many police, sheriff departments in Colorado support them, make it much harder for law enforcement to do their jobs. HARRIS-PERRY: Yep. METZL: And so, we`ve had a shooting in Colorado Springs around Halloween where someone called 911 and said there`s someone with a long gun walking around and 911 almost hung up on them because they said, oh, everybody ... HARRIS-PERRY: We have ... (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right, we`ve got open carry, so you can`t do anything about it. OK, thank you to Irin Carmon. The rest of the panel will be back later in the program. In our next hour, I`m also going to be joined by the former board chair of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. And up next, big demonstrations in Chicago on Black Friday. The high link to continuing outrage over 16 shots in 13 months. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Hundreds of people marched along Chicago`s high-end Magnificent Mile shopping district on Friday, blocking the entrances to stores on the busiest shopping day of the year. To demand Chicago`s mayor and police chief resign over the investigation into the death of 17-year- old Laquan McDonald who was killed by police more than a year ago. It took prosecutors 400 days to charge Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke with first degree murder in Laquan`s death. There is no question about how Laquan died. It was captured on video. Less than 30 seconds after arriving on the scene where officers were responding to reports of someone breaking into cars, officer Van Dyke shot Laquan 16 times over about 15 seconds. For most of that time, Laquan was already lying on the ground as Officer Van Dyke continued firing. Prosecutors said it was only when Van Dyke paused to reload his gun that his partner told him to stop shooting. The video also shows Laquan was walking away from the officers as the shooting started, not as police originally claimed lunging at them with a knife. On Tuesday, state prosecutors announced the murder charge against Officer Van Dyke. That same day officials finally released video of the shooting. Cook County State`s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Mayor Rahm Emanuel both described the video in blunt terms. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANITA ALVAREZ, COOK COUNTY STATE`S ATTORNEY: To watch a 17-year-old young man die in such a violent manner is deeply disturbing and I have absolutely no doubt that this video will tear at the hearts of all Chicagoans. MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D) CHICAGO: It`s also a violation of your conscious and it is wrong. And it was just hideous. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: And yet, it still took Alvarez`s office more than a year to file charges. State prosecutors defended the delay, saying it simply took that long to complete their investigation into a shooting death that was caught on tape. Alvarez says they were still interviewing witnesses up until just last week, and city officials have resisted releasing the video, saying they wanted to wait until both state and federal prosecutors have completed their investigations. City attorneys didn`t even show the video to the board of aldermen when they voted last April to pay Laquan`s family $5 million over his death. A remarkable settlement, considering his family had not even filed a lawsuit against the city. Interesting timing too, in that it came just days after Mayor Emanuel won his re-election bid. It took a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and subsequent court order to get the video released. And the video`s released is the only reason we saw the timeline for officer Van Dyke`s charge of first degree murder pushed up to this week. The prosecutor said that while she had decided to bring the charges weeks ago, she would have waited even longer before announcing them. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALVAREZ: While we would have preferred for the investigation to have run its full course, and enable our federal partners to complete their evaluation in its entirety, I felt compelled in the interest of public safety, to announce these state charges today. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: It`s important to note that in the interest of public safety, Alvarez and other officials fear that to release the video prematurely before pressing charges would lead to violence in the streets. We should also note that Laquan McDonald`s family did not want the video released, according to their attorney, fearing it could lead to riots. Even with the charges, Chicago`s leaders were concerned that violence would ensue. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EMANUEL: I understand that the people will be upset and will want to protest when they see this video. It is fine to be passionate. But it is essential that it remain peaceful. SUPERINTENDENT GARRY MCCARTHY, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: People have a right to be angry. People have a right to protest. People have a right to free speech. But they do not have a right to commit criminal acts. ALVAREZ: Violent actions will not honor the life of Laquan and it will do nothing to hold that this defendant accountable for his actions. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Protests in Chicago this week were mostly peaceful. Peaceful, but angry. Because even with an exceedingly rare charge of first degree murder for an officer who killed while on duty, questions remain about the timing. And if police are subject to a different justice system than other people. It took 13 months to charge Officer Van Dyke with murder. Even though the entire shooting was captured on video. A video officials admit is hideous and, quote, deeply disturbing. 13 months the officer was collecting a paycheck from the city and working desk duty. It would have taken even longer had the city not been ordered by a judge to release that video. Still with me, is Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, founding member of the new Congressional Criminal Justice and Public Safety Caucus, Dr. Jonathan Metzl, Director of the Center for Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University. And joining us now is also Omar Wasow, who is assistant professor at Princeton University, where he researches race and politics. But first, I want to go live to Chicago to Charlene Carruthers, a community organizer and national director of the black youth project BYP 100. Charlene, you have been involved, obviously, in the protests since the release of the video. Talk to me about what those protests hope to achieve. What are people demanding? CHARLENE CARRUTHERS, NATIONAL DIRECTOR BYP 100: So right now we live in a city where the Chicago police department takes up 40 percent of the city`s budget. And that amounts to about $4 million a day. And so while we continue to invest in more policing and hyper surveillance and in officer`s salaries and pensions like Officer Van Dyke who killed Laquan McDonald, we`re closing public schools. We don`t have quality health care, comprehensive health care in our communities. And so what we see is manifestations of systems that -- the same system that impacted the killing of Tyshawn Lee is the same system that impacted the killing of Laquan McDonald. And so, what we want, what we absolutely want is divestment from policing in Chicago and investment in the futures of black people and things that actually help materially and they`re not some pie in the sky idea. But people need to eat, people need a safe place to leave, and people want to actually work and live with dignity. HARRIS-PERRY: Charlene, you talk about living and working. And I want to also include here protesting with dignity. The discourse about violence, the conversation that there would be violence in the streets and that basically people needed to be protected from the information that this video contained. When it does appear at the moment like the violence, right, that was occurring, was in part violence not by protesters, but in this case violence that was enacted by an officer. CARRUTHERS: Absolutely. So, I saw it - firsthand experienced it firsthand the night that the video was released. BYP 100, along with Fair - leaders, Leading by the Youth, Assata`s Daughters, We Charge Genocide, we were on the streets immediately after the video was released. And, you know, we had what folks would consider a peaceful march. And it was peaceful until the police showed up and they started throwing us on the ground, pulling hair. My leg was injured, personally. They arrested three of us. And we were marching down the street. And so, that`s just a microcosm of the violence that Laquan McDonald experienced when he was shot 16 time into his body. And you just take a moment to count from one to 16. That takes a lot of time, until that officer even had a moment to reflect, I believe, could have had a moment to think about what he did when he was taking Laquan McDonald`s life. But it`s also not an isolated incident. Rekia Boyd shot in the back of the head. Ronnie - I have the list goes on and on and on. The black folks who lost their lives at the hands of police. HARRIS-PERRY: And Omar, it feels to me like part of the -- part of the seething anger, part of the like the protests in the context of the democracy are not just like this individual officer did this individual thing on this day, but then there is 13 months of elected officials paid for with tax dollars put into office by citizens in the city who seem to be engaging in a willful decision to keep accountability from occurring. OMAR WASOW, ASSISTANT PROF., PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Yeah, I know, the question of accountability is profound. This officer had 20 complaints against him there in the -- about a year and a half ago, there was a settlement over $400,000 against him for excessive force. And so, what you`ve got is a pattern of some officers being particularly abusive. Those NPR did an analysis of the New York City police department. 40 percent have zero complaints. 20 percent have one complaint. But there are small, 1,000 officers have over ten complaints. These particular officers are engaging in patterns of abuse that if there were accountability, we would see the police force policing themselves. HARRIS-PERRY: And so, if the police will not police themselves, if the mayor in this case, if the aldermen are voting for a $5 million settlement when they haven`t seen the video, what choice do citizens have? JEFFRIES: Well, we certainly need prosecutorial accountability as well. Both as it relates to the failure of this prosecutor during a 13-month period to bring forth an indictment when the facts seem to suggest that it`s clear this officer committed murder. It was on videotape. There was no justification for it. But another bigger problem is the fact that these incidents of police violence continue to occur because far too often the officers on the force rally around the one who committed the act of violence and, in this particular instance, may have engaged in a cover-up that itself should be prosecuted. Initially, the police union in Chicago said that Laquan McDonald lunged at this officer with a knife. That was the story that was put into the public record by members of the Chicago police department. Of course, the video tells a very different story. For 86 minutes, there was a video that was captured by a nearby Burger King that appears to have been deleted by four or five officers who gathered in that Burger King immediately after the shooting. Where are the indictments against these officers for engaging in a cover-up? That is the type of accountability that we ultimately need to see. HARRIS-PERRY: But why - So for me, I guess the question is but why? So I think about being a professor, for example. I mean all you have is sort of your credibility and the context of, you know, we`re going to write articles and we have to be believed that we`re citing and we`re telling the truth about our data. And so, if there is a member of the faculty who is committing intellectual dishonesty, typically you will see other folks rally and say no, not here, you won`t, because it actually challenges our capacity to do our work. So, I literally wonder in this context why officers don`t say, you know what, if we are afraid, if we feel we are under attack, then the single best thing we can do is to purge officers who are behaving in these ways. JEFFRIES: Well, decade after decade, the police culture has been just the very opposite. And that`s been to ignore or to rally around. And that`s something that systematically we are going to need to break this blue wall of silence if we`re ever going to dramatically change and end the culture of police violence. And that`s what I would encourage the people out in Chicago and all of us to continue to press for, that type of prosecutorial accountability. And if this county prosecutor, this county attorney can`t deliver it, then perhaps they should be voted out of office next April. HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with us, because so much of the focus on the story of Laquan is and how long it took to bring charges in that case. Don`t forget that for the family of Tamir Rice, the wait continues. And that`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The wait for justice continues for the family of Tamir Rice who was 12 years old when he was shot by Cleveland police on November 22, 2014. Tamir died one day later. No charges have yet been brought against the officer who shot Tamir while responding to report of a man brandishing a gun in the Cleveland park. Tamir was 12. He was playing with a toy gun. To mark the one-year anniversary of his death, activists along with members of Tamir`s family on Monday demanded that the prosecutor in the case, Timothy McGinty step aside and allow a special prosecutor to take over. They delivered a petition with more than 200,000 signatures to McGinty`s office. They`ve accused the prosecutor of purposely delaying the process and tainting the investigation by releasing expert reports that claim the shooting was justified. McGinty has denied the allegations. He said it will be up to a grand jury to decide if the officer involved in Tamir Raice shooting will be charged. A grand jury is now reviewing the case. Jonathan, I want to come to you on this because one of the kind of regular narratives that have emerged over the course of the past year, have really been about white officers and black victims. But race as critical as it is to this, also feels somewhat incidental to a broader question of policing and police relationship to community. METZL: That`s absolutely right. And so, I think you know this conversation is spot on. What the video shows absolutely is a crime, and possibly a crime that went, you know, quite conceivably too long to prosecute. And in that crime, as we see, a white police officer shooting an African-American man who is clearly not coming towards the officers. And so, in that sense, it`s understandable that we narrate this through the kind of categories of race that we have. This is somebody who may have had a racist impulse at the moment. May well have. But I think the student is - that we spoke to earlier was spot on, in that this shooting is also a symptom of a much bigger problem that police violence or just relationships with the police are part of. Which is it`s not delinked to questions of community. About how do people get their health care? How do people get their food? How do people feel that their lives matter in society? And so, I think that if we just fix policing and we don`t fix income inequality and we don`t fix health care and we don`t fix a number of other issues that, in a way, this is, you know, policing is a symptom of an issue. It`s a symptom of an issue. And in that regard, I think that we do it a disservice if we just focus on the race of the officer or even of the victim because this is an issue about class as well. HARRIS-PERRY: Charlene, I want to come back to you on this issue. Because I just -- I know what -- the kind of -- there will undoubtedly be a discourse about the Chicago case. Maybe even linked potentially to Tamir Rice at 12 years old being killed. That the other Chicago story out of Chicago this week is about a boy dragged basically, lured off of a playground and killed by gang members. So, you know that one of the conversation lines will be, well, isn`t that also a form of violence that protesters ought to be engaged in trying to end. How do you and other protesters respond to that? CARRUTHERS: It is absolutely a form of violence that we not only have to protest against, but we have to organize to make sure we get to the root causes of that issue. And so, the violence that Tyshawn Lee experienced and the violence that other black children and black people have experienced in Chicago and all over this country is not isolated. It`s not isolated at all. It`s connected to the same systems that are corrosive. Via capitalism, patriarchy, just poverty, people being poor, people not having access to quality education and people not believing that their life has as much value, because things are taken away from them. And so, we have to fight for these things. It looks different. I think the fight looks different. Protesting against Mayor Rahm Emanuel looks different than going towards or fighting crime within our communities. Because I am not about to protest a person who I know who has killed someone in the same way that I will protest Mayor Rahm Emanuel who represents a system, an institution of power, and he`s accountable to a wide range of people. Black folks, what we need, of course, is much more resort of justice practices in our communities. But we also need those basic goods, those basic needs, resources that we don`t have. And so, we can`t tackle one without tackling the other. My protests of Tyshawn Lee`s death and his killing looks different, but it still exists and it`s still valid. It may not - it doesn`t get the cameras. You have mothers in Inglewood who fight every single day. Mothers in Inglewood who fight every single day. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. CARRUTHERS: You don`t see them on TV. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, I was thinking about the mothers and fathers who were on a hunger strike there when the schools were being closed because they were talking about the danger of the children having to cross these lines. Stick with us. Don`t go away. Because up next, on the shooting of Laquan McDonald, President Obama weighed in. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: President Obama shares his thoughts on the video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald in a Facebook post on Wednesday. He wrote, "Like many Americans, I was deeply disturbed by the footage of the fatal shooting of 17-year old Laquan McDonald. This Thanksgiving, I ask everybody to keep those who suffered tragic loss in our thoughts and prayers. And to be thankful for the overwhelming majority of men and women in uniform who protect our communities with honor. And I`m personally grateful to the people of my hometown for keeping the protests peaceful." So, here`s the president weighing in. In part because it`s Chicago. In part because Rahm Emanuel was his chief of staff early on. But it also feels to me like there is a question about democratic, I don`t mean with a big "D". Little "d," democratic accountability here, and whether or not people can be certain that they are policed in a way that is fair. WASOW: Yeah, and I think I saw a lecture recently where somebody said, you know, we`ve moved from the age of Obama to the age of Ferguson. And in some ways, Obama has become quite marginal. And he`s not somebody who`s an important figure in these movements, in these discussions. He has been a part of a larger discussion about criminal justice reform, but I think we`ve in some ways moved past him as a kind of leader on issues in the black communities it relates to criminal justice. And so, in some ways, the puzzle is, like, what fills this void. All of this energy, there is all of this attention being focused on the issue of criminal justice in America and yet we haven`t quite coalesced around a narrow set of issues where we can sort of say, this is what we`re pushing for. And so, there is I think my one concern about saying we need to attack this multi-prong set of the issues, which are all real. Poverty is real. Health care access is real. But you`ve got to focus people`s energy. There`s pretty good evidence that movements that focus on one issue are more successful than issues that focus on a lot of issues. And so, you know, when we had something like Bloody Sunday with Selma, like Voting Rights Act happened days, you know, in the days, in the wake of that. HARRIS-PERRY: And yet, you know, to bring up the VRA, I think, is important, like it`s part of why I`m not sure that I agree that we`re in a post-President Obama moment, that, but there is still extraordinary - that, in fact, over the course of whatever we have left, 13, 14 months here, that having that president from this place in that space is still like this possibility of bringing to fruition some of what we`ve seen. JEFFRIES: And we are the in midst of a bipartisan moment as it relates to criminal justice reform and dealing with mass incarceration in America which disproportionately impacts the African-American community. And if we can get something done during the next 13 months that will be an important part of President Obama`s legacy. Most significantly, it will change the course and direction for millions of African-American black men as well as their families who are impacted by the mass incarceration phenomenon. And we`ve got legislation that`s moving both out of the House Judiciary Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee on their way to the House and the Senate floors with bipartisan support to deal with reforming the failed war on drugs, to rolling back mandatory minimums, to making retroactive the change that was made as it relates to the disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. These are incredibly important things that could happen over the next several months with President Obama`s leadership and partnership with Democrats and conservatives and Republicans. HARRIS-PERRY: Jonathan, in the nearly four years I`ve been hosting this show now, the number of videos I have had to watch and that we`ve all as a country had to watch relative to the death of young people of color is painful. I mean like, I don`t really have any other word, other than to say this, painful and harmful. You wrote a piece about psychiatry after Ferguson where you talk about healing can`t be just individual, it has to be structural. Tell me what you mean there. METZL: Well, these aren`t all - many, I agree, these are - these are stories that have many avenues, but they are, in part, structural stories. And so, when we individuate the stories, I mean - are worried about the police, which is undoubtedly there are police, and we saw yesterday a police officer gave his life trying to defend civilians. There are many police in Chicago, in Nashville where I live that put their lives on the line every single day for the safety of their communities. And yet, there are these bigger structural stories that surround the narratives. That we don`t tell, you know, as we narrate the stories very often. So, Chicago`s a perfect example. I mean there`s a story about drugs. And the cutting away of drug treatment facilities. There`s the story about the easy access of firearms. There`s all these stories that make it much harder for police to do their jobs. They`re putting their lives on the line in a very different way than they used to because we`ve cut away different kinds of services and made it easier for people to get guns. And so ... HARRIS-PERRY: So, we`ve got 15 seconds. Charlene, I want to give you the last word in the last 15 seconds. CARRUTHERS: So, the picture you just painted of policing in America I think how that actually shows up in the lives of black people, it doesn`t match up. For every cop who -- as you referred to, sacrifices their lives for the life of another, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of young black people whose lives are cut short because they don`t have access to quality education and they`re told that they don`t actually matter. I think we have to center the most marginalized in this story. And the police, they`re going to be all right. My people aren`t all right. And so, we take it very, very personally when our lives are taken. And we talk about the goodness of cops. Let`s talk about how cops even got started in this country. And if the root of how you got started is evil and it`s negative and it`s visceral, than the fruit that you bear is going to be equally as violent and it`s going to overshadow the so-called good acts. Because mothers sacrifice their lives every day, but they`re also victimized and criminalized every single day. And so I just had to put that out there. It`s a very personal moment right now, it`s even difficult to talk about this. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to the Black Youth Project, BYP 100, Charlene Carruthers in Chicago. And here in New York, thank you to Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, to Dr. Jonathan Metzl and to Princeton professor Omar Wasow. In our next hour, the story of two schools separated by only nine blocks, but operating as though they were worlds apart. And I`m going to be joined by Alexis McGill Johnson. She`s the former board chair of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She`s with me at the top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. And we are learning more this morning about the suspect taken into custody following Friday`s deadly attack inside a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. He`s 57-year-old Robert L. Dear. Police believe he opened fire with an AK-47-style weapon near the Planned Parenthood facility yesterday, just after 11:30 a.m. Mountain Time. Police exchange gunfire with the alleged shooter and the standoff stretched for hours before dear turned himself in. Kentanya Craion was inside the clinic when the shooting began and she spoke with NBC`s "Today" show earlier this morning. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KENTANYA CRAION, INSIDE CLINIC DURING ATTACK: I noticed people in the front were going down, saying everyone get down, and I heard gunshots. I saw the gunman. From there, had ran down the hall at the Planned Parenthood in the back, you know, back of the building and I tried to open different room doors. Some of them were locked. I was able to get inside one room where there was two other patients that I was able to alert that there was a gunman because they were unaware of it actually being a gunman on site. From there, we grabbed the table, we placed it against the door. We sat there frantic for at least up to five hours. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: One police officer and two civilians were killed in the attack. Five police officers and four civilians were injured. Joining me now from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is NBC News correspondent Leanne Gregg. Leanne, what are police doing now? What is happening with the investigation? GREGG: Well, Melissa, this is a very large investigation. It`s going to take several days to complete. They want to know what caused the gunman to go inside plan the parenthood and start firing, whether this was a targeted location or a random selection, that`s part of the investigation. This went on for five hours, the standoff. As you said before it was over and he surrendered, three people killed and nine injured. Some good news to report on those who were hospitalized, they all are in good condition today. Among the dead, though, however, 44-year-old veteran police Officer Garrett Swasey. He was a married father of two young children, also two civilians were killed. Their identities won`t be revealed until their autopsies are performed. That could happen later today, possibly tomorrow. President Obama today issued a statement regarding the shootings. He said, in part, "We can`t let this become the new normal." He goes on to say, we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on the streets to people who have no business wielding them." The items the gunman left at the scene have all been secured according to officials and processed, and are no longer a threat. There was some concern that he left some explosive devices in the facility and also in his car. Earlier this morning, the bodies of those who were killed were removed from the crime scene. And during that time, police officers lined the streets and saluted as the vehicles went by. Today, there will be two separate vigils held in honor of the victims. One at a local church and another at a nearby university -- Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to NBC`s Leanne Gregg in Colorado Springs. Joining me now is Alexis McGill Johnson, the former chair of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and a current board member. And back with me is David S. Cohen, law professor at Drexel University, and co-author of "Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism." 2015 has been quite a year for Planned Parenthood. ALEXIS MCGILL JOHNSON, FORMER CHAIR, PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA: Right there. HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, first the doctored videos, then the congressional hearings, TRAP laws being instituted across the country. And now, the shooting. I`m wondering if the organization is feeling like there is a future here. JOHNSON: Oh, absolutely. We`re about to celebrate our 100th year next year. And the work is planning for that, the next of the second century, in large part because we are firmly committed. We have our boots on the ground and our staff, our amazing staff, that took care of so many patients and providers inside of that building yesterday in Colorado. You know, they`re there to provide access for women and particularly for women, for poor women, for many women of color. And so, we`re open for business today, you know, because we -- because that`s the work we do. But, yes, it has been a very, very difficult year. It`s been a, you know, difficult century trying to fight for women`s rights. HARRIS-PERRY: So, this is kind of a small point that it`s been a difficult century. I mean, you know, as tough as 2015 had been, you guys had a sort of big pop culture moment. Just over a week ago, when Shonda Rhimes scandal really took on Planned Parenthood`s discourse as a central kind of part of its show, and then you had just filed suit in Texas around Medicaid. So, talk to me about the ways that the Planned Parenthood plans to push back. JOHNSON: I think that`s what we`re doing in Texas. We`re filing a suit against a state which continued to try to defund women`s health, right, which continues to try to limit access for services we are currently provided, you know, we`re just not going to reimburse you for them, we`re not going to offer Medicaid reimbursement for you. You know, I think what I`m seeing is that culture matters, right, how we shift and normalize these conversations really matter. And Shonda Rhimes no accident, right? She is a board member of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and she`s taken on these issues over and over again throughout her work. The idea we can push back, we can be proactive is really energizing, it`s inspiring to lead as far as our supporters and our patients. And I think that work is really kind of going to be at the forefront of what we`re doing to push back. HARRIS-PERRY: David, I want to let you weigh in. Before this shooting, we booked you to talk because we wanted to talk about the scandal episode and sort of what it meant and I know that you actually lectured about it in your class. And then, of course, it`s the Colorado thing shifts the discourse for us. COHEN: Yes, I mean, it was amazing that a prime-time show showed a woman getting abortion in a very uncomplicated way. She didn`t think about it for days and really worry about it. She needed an abortion. She got it. The next day, she was shown without regret. And that was really wonderful. To reduce abortion stigma is a large part of what needs to be done to get us to the point where we don`t have domestic terrorism. But yesterday, we were reminded the context that abortion clinic workers go to every day. I mean, I think of the Planned Parenthood and independent abortion clinic staff who are going to work today. They knew before yesterday that they were in a risky field. But today, it just -- my heart goes out to them going to work after what happened yesterday. HARRIS-PERRY: I kept thinking about -- about that in the context of listening to Kentanya talk about her experience there and barricading the door. Honestly, I`ve been sort of half paying attention while we were prepping. I just presumed she was with a provider, she was someone who worked there, because so few people would say, I was in the Planned Parenthood. Even if they were there for a mammogram or prescription refill. There is such stigma that, in fact, even being willing to say I have crossed the threshold. That seems to be part of this problem. JOHNSON: Absolutely. I think reducing stigma, all sorts of things, including abortion, including just our own sexuality, the kind of shaming that happens. I think the continuum that we`re seeing around this extreme rhetoric that has kind of put Planned Parenthood in the crosshairs is not just connected to these extreme acts of terrorism. They`re the daily attacks that happen through the state legislatures. Like 50 percent of women in America live in states that are anti-women`s health. The state legislatures are going through drastic measures through the TRAP laws, you know, through the denial of Medicaid funding in order to deny us access to women`s health care. And I think it`s that rhetoric through the policies, through just the daily micro aggressions that we experience as women and how we just are living our lives very normally and it will take the kind of cultural pushback to make that point. HARRIS-PERRY: When we come back, I wanted to bring in a doctor and an abortion provider who has spoken out on what it`s like to perform her work feeling that constant threat of violence. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Earlier this month, we talked to a doctor who wrote a compelling op-ed for "The Washington Post" about the threats and constant fear she lives with because she performs abortion, legal medical procedure. She recently found her office address and a picture of her daughter who was then an infant posted on a Web site accusing her of being part of, quote, "the abortion cartel". She wrote in her op-ed, "I fear for the safety of my child. I worry that protesters may somebody show up in her daycare, focused on hurting her as a way to punish me. Seeing her face on the anti-choice Web site made me consider that maybe she would be safer living apart from me. That my presence in her life might cause her more harm than good. While I refuse to be intimidated from doing my job, this assault on my confidence as a mother has been particularly distressing." Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper joins me now from Baltimore. It`s nice to have you back. Although in the circumstances maybe not such a nice way to welcome you back. DR. DIANE HORVATH-COSPER, OB/GYN: Sure. HARRIS-PERRY: Are you -- last time we talked, I kept saying, are you sure? Are you feeling like you would want to change your path? I have to ask you that same question today. HORVATH-COSPER: You know, I think that abortion providers and my colleagues and I and the staff we work with are drawn by a sense of conscience to provide this care for patients. It doesn`t matter, you know, what type of care you need. I want women to be able to access abortion in a safe legal compassionate environment. So, no, I`m not deterred. HARRIS-PERRY: And yet, clearly the point of this work of -- I mean, excuse me, of this kind of violence, clearly the point of terror in these spaces is to deter physicians, to deter the young medical students from going into this work and so, I guess part of what I wonder is, what does it mean to have gone through all the work, all the student loans, undoubtedly to get through medical school, and then be facing this? Not in a war zone, but in your own hometown? HORVATH-COSPER: Right. Well, I think that, you know, this is just behavior that`s not tolerated in any other type of medical profession. People walking into other kind of clinics don`t have to deal with phalanx of protesters and harassment. And I think it`s unacceptable in a civil society and I hope that this is a sign that the tide is turning and I hope the public outrage about this domestic terror attack helps drive the dialogue. HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with me, Doctor. David, I wanted to ask you about this, because, you know, as I`ve been reading about it, apparently part of the reason this Planned Parenthood was in this space, right, in this kind of mini mall, there`s a UPS, there`s a nail shop, so they`re not isolated, so there`s more privacy for their patients who are coming in, as well as presumably they`re more protected in this space. And yet, the idea that the Planned Parenthood still may have been a target here. COHEN: Right, the further abortion clinic can be away from public traffic, the safer they are. If they`re on private space as part of a private medical center, the more protested they are. But that goes against what we were talking before. They shouldn`t have to be back away from public space. They should be out there with their Planned Parenthood or women center sign because abortion should not be stigmatized the way it is. They should be safe being public about being abortion providers, and being an abortion clinic. But they`re not because of what happened yesterday. HARRIS-PERRY: I can remember, Alexis, my mom, who was working in domestic violence work in the 1970s and `80s. And the shelters for people coming in sometimes for domestic violence were always shielded. It doesn`t say shelter for help and emergency outside because you recognize that there`s real danger. And so, you know, I look at a moment like this and I go, so do we take the Planned Parenthood signs down? Do we cower? Do we hide behind this? Because I -- courage matters, but then I also worry about the safety of providers. JOHNSON: Well, and I -- you know, we worry about that intensively, right, our staff are very well-trained around security procedures. I think it`s - - all of the law enforcement officials that I saw commenting on this yesterday talked about how really well-trained they were that there wasn`t a larger loss of life or folks who were injured. But I think it`s like really the question that we should be building better barricades for women`s health centers, you know, is not the right one, right? We have to be figuring how the why women`s health is under attack in such an intense way. See talks all the time about having grown up in Texas that, you know, there are states now that have fewer rights for women than we had just, you know, 50, 60 years ago. And so, the idea we are reverting and creating these very horrible environments for our providers, it`s really, really horrible thing. But I agree with what the doctor said, that our -- the mission driven of our health care professionals is so -- you feel like you`re walking into a movement when you walk into Planned Parenthood because you know they`re there for their patients, no matter what. HARRIS-PERRY: Doctor Cosper, did you and your colleagues -- I presume like all the rest of us, you have e-mail lists. Like, did you all activate yesterday? Were you talking to each other? What kinds of things were you saying? HORVATH-COSPER: I think we act out of concern and support for one another and the recognition we`re here for our patients. The important thing to remember is that no matter what happened in Colorado Springs yesterday, hundreds of clinics across the country are open today and ready to take care of patients with compassion and with empathy and with that mission focus that we`ve always had. HARRIS-PERRY: That`s kind of the central claim of counterterrorism, right, is that you stand up the next day and you don`t allow the fear to overtake. HORVATH-COSPER: Right. HARRIS-PERRY: I want to thank you, too, Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper in Baltimore. Here in New York, I want to say thank you to Alexis McGill Johnson and to David S. Cohen. Up next, two schools, just nine blocks between them, but they seem to be worlds apart. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: This is a tale of two schools. Two public schools here in New York City, two schools just nine blocks apart. One is on West 61st Street. The other is on West 70th Street. OK, that`s Manhattan`s upper west side, home to many high-end luxury buildings and several more under construction. There`s even an MHP show producer living within these nine blocks. And as a result, we`ve had a front row seat on the way these nine blocks have become the very center of an education controversy. The issue at stake, which children will be assigned to which school. This story is a New York- style microcosm of an enormous and emotional issue facing families across the country. In our story here in New York City, one of the schools is P.S. 199. It`s a K-to-5 public elementary school where they rate higher than the citywide average in reading and math. In fact, students at P.S. 199 don`t just do better than the city average, they trounce it. P.S. 199, 87 percent of third through fifth graders score a three or a four on the state math exams, compared to just 39 percent for the citywide average. And 74 percent score a three or four on the state English language exam, compared to just 30 percent citywide. At P.S. 199, 66 percent of the students are white. Their parents have means. The PTA budget is in the hundreds of thousands. OK. Now let`s take a look at the school just nine blocks south. That school is P.S. 191. It`s a pre-K to eighth grade public school that serves many students living in a nearby public housing development. Here, just more than one-tenths of students pass the state reading and math test. At P.S. 191, 47 percent of the students are Latino and 33 percent are African-American, 77 percent are eligible for free lunch, compared with just 7 percent over at the other school, P.S. 199. Two schools, nine blocks apart. But, there were merely 100 kindergarten students on the waiting list at P.S. 199, making it the longest wait list in New York City this year. At P.S. 191, there are empty seats. Seeking to address the imbalance, this September, the New York City Education Department unveiled a proposal to redraw the school zones. That plans means that many zoned for the higher performing school would now be transferred to the zone for the lower performing school. The proposition outraged parents whose children might be affected by the change. And the outrage intensified after P.S. 191 was labeled this year as, quote, "persistently dangerous" for a school having a high rate of violence over a two-year period. Remember, this is an elementary and middle school. It serves children from pre-K to eighth grade. In the wake of parental outrage, the proposal has been dropped. Several other plans have been proposed, but none enjoy a consensus. The education department is waiting until 2016 to introduce a new solution. In the meantime, families are wondering where will the kids go to school and whether they should stay or move or hope for the best or prepare for something else. For the rest, this tale of two cities elicits larger social questions. What do we mean when we say a school is good or bad? And what does it mean to accept such different outcomes for children who, after all are all neighbors. Joining me now the table: Kim Watkins, treasurer and zoning chair of New York City`s community education council third district, the elected body responsible for voting on zone lines. Andrew Chu, the father of a 3-year-old. Andrew is part of a group of parents working to resolve the rezoning challenge in the south end of the upper west side. Kajsa Reaves, PTA president at P.S. 191. That`s the school that is the lower performing school. And Prudence Carter, professor of education and sociology at Stanford University, and author of "Stubborn Roots: Race, Culture and Inequality in U.S. and South African Schools". Kajsa Reaves, I want to start with you. Is P.S. 191 a bad school that parents should be worried about sending their kids to? KAJSA REAVES, PTA PRESIDENT, P.S. 191: No, absolutely not, I don`t think so. Otherwise, I wouldn`t be there. I would not send my child there. HARRIS-PERRY: Why do you think therefore there`s such outrage about the possibility that students currently zoned for 199, the higher performing school, may, in fact, have to go instead to 191? REAVES: I think it is because we have the designation. People are afraid to send them there, because we have been stamped with that designation. I also think they are worried because we have low scores, low test scores. I think there are many factors that are counting. I mean, we have -- we are across from the housing project. I think that worries a lot people. Yes, I think that is a big, big factor. HARRIS-PERRY: So, you have a 3-year-old. ANDREW CHU, NEW YORK CITY PARENT: Yes. HARRIS-PERRY: These are personal decisions. CHU: Yes. HARRIS-PERRY: But they`re also structural. They`re also about a whole city and a whole country. CHU: Definitely. HARRIS-PERRY: So talk to me about what it means to be a parent of a 3- year-old facing these choices. CHU: Yes, I think, you know, one thing that maybe we can, you know -- I personally can empathize with is while a lot of parents have these concerns around test scores, you know, in the case of 191, perception of safety, I think, you know, at least there can be some possible common ground, and that`s, you know, parents are making these decisions because in their mind, they`re trying to do what`s best for their child. And I can empathize with that. I might not necessarily agree with their rationales or methodologies or ultimately the decisions they make. I think at least finding that common ground is something we can kind of build a foundation, you know, from and kind of build from that. HARRIS-PERRY: So I like this idea of common ground. But, Kim, I have to say, you know, we put this show together in a kind of collective process every week. We sit around, we talk. And rarely has it gotten more just like on fire than when we started having these conversations. People have many feelings about the question of where their children and other people`s children will go to school. And, you know, you`re in many ways in charge of or part of the group in charge of making those decisions. What constitutes a fair or just set of decisions about school zoning? KIM WATKINS, TREASURER, COMMUNITY ED. COUNCIL, 3RD DISTRICT: Well, that`s a good question, one that we`re struggling with, and we talk about through our conversations in the zoning committee, and the larger council throughout the entire process. But the one thing that is the most stunning about this entire -- this entire story is that the upper west side has had this real estate boom, a complete real estate boom, thousands of new units being built over the last five years. Not a single new elementary school seat has been added since 2010. The Department of Education is supposed to add 12 elementary school seats for every 100 units it builds. And we have simply not seen this. So -- HARRIS-PERRY: Yet maybe the claim will be we don`t need it because nine blocks away there`s a school with empty seats. WATKINS: Well, you might say that, but there aren`t enough seats, even if the school were filled. If P.S. 191 were completely at capacity, we would still be shy several hundred seats for the overall sort of area that we`re talking about for the southern part of the third district of New York. So -- HARRIS-PERRY: So, I have high levels of skepticism, but also high levels of empathy, right? So my social sciences self, my kind of racial justice social sciences self on one side and my parent of young children self on the other side, right? We know that test scores are not necessarily about educational quality. They tend to really be about kind of a proxy for parental -- if you put your 5-year-old at a school nine blocks away, that they`re never going to get into Princeton, Harvard, Yale, right? PRUDENCE CARTER, PROF. OF EDUCATION & SOCIOLOGY, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Right, right, absolutely. There are a couple of things here. We know test scores are highly correlated with socioeconomic status. That`s give them. Some with the social fact, I mean, you can actually see that from some of the research now. But I think the thing that we`ve done is we`ve backed ourselves in a corner because we live in this testocracy where the narrow metric or educator of educational excellence is that one number, that test score that comes out of kids. HARRIS-PERRY: I love this word, testocracy. CARTER: Yes, absolutely. So, we live in it. You know, it became very big since the passage of No Child Left Behind. We backed ourselves in a corner in a country because that is the one metric we use to determine what academic excellence is for children. And when groups are designated as not high test taking performing groups, they become stigmatized as anti-achievement. And so, you know, I`m in the same position. I have a kid. I want my kid to go to the best school in the country. But I also know as a researcher that there are a lot more, a lot more indicators of what school engagement, school quality can mean. I think it`s time to open our minds about what those things are. HARRIS-PERRY: We`re going to stay right on this topic. I know ya`ll at home are having all the feelings. So, we`re going to talk about it more when we get back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: We`re back and talking about the tale of two schools, two schools nine blocks apart here in the upper west side of Manhattan. But one of the schools being defined as persistently dangerous, which for me is particularly difficult to understand, given that it serves 4-year-olds to 13-year-olds. WATKINS: Well, it`s a good question. We are still trying to answer that question. The Department of Education did not help us through this process. The community wanted to ask questions about the -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: Is it a city, the state or the federal? WATKINS: Well, it`s all of them, right? HARRIS-PERRY: OK. WATKINS: So, that`s why it`s so complicated, because a couple of kids are fighting in the hallway, and one bonks his or her head against the door. Unless the incident is taken on paper probably and enter properly with the right specificity and inclusion of certain words on a citywide system, and then it gets transferred to a statewide system, which is in compliance with the federal system. And there`s always the escalation up. So, unless the individual who is going through each of these individual steps, and there`s several people involved, the incident can become a violent incident very quickly. A door bonking a kid in the head becomes an assault with a weapon. HARRIS-PERRY: Right, but we know that that is much more likely, that kind of designation is much more likely to happen with a school with a high minority population. We know that from school push out and other kinds of things -- CARTER: Disproportionality by race and ethnicity and gender at this point. So, we know that black and brown children, specifically boys and girls actually are much more likely than their counterparts, the white counterparts and their Asian counterparts to be suspended or expelled for the kinds of things we would see as kind of every day bad behavior for kids, developmental in some ways. But these little kids, black and brown kids get adultified very early -- very early on, from 5 years old, even earlier, pre-K. And that`s become a major problem, right? HARRIS-PERRY: Yet this is the upper west side, right. We are not talking about the first district of, you know, some location where people are not interested in school integration. In fact, I would presume that most upper west siders, those whose kids are schedule for 199 actually would say they value racial and socioeconomic diversity as part of what`s important to them. CHU: Yes, I think so. I mean, I think underlying this again coming back to this concept of common ground, is to understand that parents, we got to this point not necessarily by intent but also not coincidence. I mean, I think there`s something systemic underlying this that is, you know, causing these scenarios. And I think part of that is, to Prudence`s comment earlier, how we define excellence. And I think, you know, the comment on testocracy I think is right, you know, on the button because it`s not necessarily because parents, you know, rely on these metrics, because they, you know, they fully believe in them per se, but it`s almost as a default. It`s for lack of a better metric, a better kind of definition of what excellence is, and I think until we kind of have that discussion, a lot of these kinds of scenarios are going to play out exactly as we`re seeing. HARRIS-PERRY: I love this so much. I keep trying to argue what we actually need to do is redefine what constitutes a quality school or good school. I mean, you k now, as you go on realtor.com or whatever to buy a house or look for an apartment, it will have the rating of the school. But what if we shifted so the rating of the school included the level of racial diversity. Where more racial diversity -- in other words, what if it wasn`t just test scores? What are the things you value at your school? REAVES: That I value at P.S. 191, I value the racial diversity at our school highly. I value -- I mean, we have the same curriculum obviously. So, our school is the same as all the other schools. What I don`t value is that we have to raise money in order to get the same programs that the other schools have. So, for example, P.S. 199, we have to raise money in order to get extra assistance into classrooms. We have to raise money to get chess programs. We have to raise money to get all these extra activities. That is what I find to be the great equality. (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: We are going to come to that issue as soon as we come back from the commercial break. I do want to talk about the money part of this story. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: So we`ve returned to our story about two Manhattan public schools that are nine blocks apart. Despite the proximity, the two schools are vastly different. At the high performing and predominantly white P.S. 199, nearly 100 children for kindergarten waited at a spot at a school where 98 percent of students scored proficient or above in the state science exam and where an overall test score ranked far higher than the citywide average. At the second school, P.S. 191, it serves many students who live in a nearby public housing development and is predominantly black and Latino. This school has too many empty seats. And the test scores are mostly lower than the citywide average. But the test scores are not the only discrepancy between these two schools. The parents of teacher organization for P.S. 199 raised more than $800,000 in one year. Over the years, such hefty PTA budgets have financed a science and technology teacher, visits from a chef and extras like automatic toilet flushers and bed bug detection in every classroom. Nine blocks away. P.S. 191`s parent teacher organization raised $24,000 last year. And the school recently announced that it has begun a fundraising drive to raise $30,000 for a library. And so, this leads me to ask, are there public schools? I mean, at the point at which one school -- so we talk about funding, but then you have an $800,000 parent benefit accruing to one and a $24,000 parent benefit accruing to the other. Are there really public schools? WATKINS: That`s a good question. My family and I, we made the unconscionable decision about getting an apartment without figuring out where our kid was going to school later. We live in Harlem and we send our kid down to P.S. 166. She went to kindergarten at P.S. 191. We love the school. I think when seeing the amount of money that we have been asked to donate to the new school relative to the expectation at P.S. 191 was an eye opener for us as a family because it really is a significant amount of money, regardless of where you are on the income spectrum. But you`re weighing it against private school in New York City which can cost up to $60,000. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, I was making this point the other day that, you know, because folks were saying again in our heated meeting, those are rich parents. I was like -- well, I don`t know, because Manhattan is this weird space where, like, what would make you 1 percent every other place makes you completely in the middle of the road in a place like the Upper West Side. These are lots of dollars but these dollars don`t go far in a place like Manhattan so people aren`t opting into $45,000 or $60,000 private schools. CHU: Right, right. I think, yes, it makes the stakes that much higher I think in New York in particular that, you know, the cost of a private school, it`s not an easy option. And, frankly, for a lot of family also in the city, it`s not an option at all. And, you know, whether fortunately or not, I think that`s one of the reasons why people are attracted to 199, because in their mind, they see the quality of, you know, quote/unquote, "the quality" of a private school for a public school price more or less. (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead. HARRIS-PERRY: I wanted -- I just want to -- if there was one thing I wish that we could do, it would be to convince parents of relative privilege that their children will actually thrive potentially more in an environment where all of the other children around them are not ho -- there is actually extraordinary education -- like actual cognitive brain connection, social, emotional power to going to school with people different than you. CARTER: And research shows it. The more diversity in this, the more innovative, the more creative it can become. We have research on that and we use it -- HARRIS-PERRY: And mostly for the privileged kids. CARTER: I mean, I think the thing that really, really gets me down as a researcher, having been in scores and scores of schools, is that it`s such a narrow understanding of what it means to have quality education. I think we have to get back to that. Just because a school has high test scores or is private or quasi-private does not make it an excellent school in my book. Goodness and excellence is multidimensional today in a society with the demographics we have. So, you can have teachers who can teach their subject matter. But if you can`t have pedagogical sophistication to transcend social lines to teach all kids that subject matter, it calls into question just how exemplary you are as a teacher, as far as I`m concerned, given what I`ve seen. I`ve seen kids from these backgrounds in school also with less resources thrive. They go on to college, they go on to do wonderful things in the world, but they have teachers who are invested in being very dynamic with the population. HARRIS-PERRY: I hope you all get a zoning solution that not only does good things for individual families but maybe provides a model for rethinking what we mean by a good school. I want to say thank you to Kim Watkins, to Andrew Chu, to Kajsa Reaves and to Prudence Carter. This is a tough decision. I really appreciate you taking the time to come and sit with me. Up next, the surprisingly straight forward solution to homelessness in Houston, Texas. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: While many of us are enjoying the comforts of home this holiday weekend, a nonprofit in Houston, Texas, is making real progress towards ending chronic homelessness in their city by the end of the year. The Way Home provides housing and wrap around services to people like Paul Lakey who was homeless for 30 years. And now, at the age of 66, he has a place to call his own. Video journalist Nathan Willis produced this story for MSNBC`s "Shift." (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It cost more to walk past a homeless person than it does to provide housing for them. We determined that our homeless population was going to cost us about $100 million annually in jail, in emergency room, in transportation and shelter. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And so it is fiscally the right thing to do. Compassionately, if these folks are not helped, they will die. PAUL LAKEY, FORMER HOMELESS INDIVIDUAL: I will take my key, and stick it in here. And unlock my door and open my door and walk on in. And say, this is all mine. You know, whereas I couldn`t do this a year ago. You know what I am saying? I couldn`t do none of this here a year ago. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We became very good at helping people to manage their homelessness. We could get you a meal and shelter and not thinking about tomorrow or the next day, or those reasons that you were in homelessness. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As we looked at the data, we started to really see things in aggregate as a system instead of looking into an individual programming in the success of one agency may have, we started to recognize that the only way that we were going to be able to support people is with the housing first model. LAKEY: The words for me to use to describe this is euphoric, OK, and amazing, and surprising, and scary as hell. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chronic homelessness is a rather technical definition of an individual on the streets for a long time who has very serious health, mental health and substance abuse issues that keep that individual from getting off of the streets without significant support. LAKEY: I`m 60 years old, man. Do you know this is the second apartment I ever had in my life in my name, and that is nothing to be, nothing to be proud of. By the same token, it is something to be proud of. MARILYN BROWN, CEO, COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS: Come into housing no matter the condition, and then once you are in safe stable housing, it`s probably a lot easier for the person to begin to make decisions about life changes. There`s an integrated service package that includes behavioral health, physical health, case management, someone who can really help access benefits that many of the people are eligible for, but just can`t get through the paperwork. MANDY CHAPMAN, MAYOR`S SPECIAL ASST. FOR HOMELESS INITIATIVES: So those supports are intensive and include what we call the integrative care teams. We have doctors, behavioral health specialist, and caseworks and nurses and a variety of peer supports. They function in a team to the wrap around that individual to the access those services as that individual needs those services. An end of chronic homelessness is not taking somebody who has been on the street as long time, and housing them, it is building a system that ensures that it will never happen again. That is what we are aiming for. LAKEY: I mean, I have money. For the time being, it is mine. I have a dollar. That, I`m total grateful for. It is a hell of a feeling. (END VIDEOTAPE) HARRIS-PERRY: Something to think about this Thanksgiving weekend. For more stories like this, head to MSNBC.com/originals. One more note: as we enter the holiday season, many families are going to be looking for ways to give back. On Tuesday, December 1st, MSNBC is celebrating #givingtuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. To learn more, visit GivingTuesday.MSNBC.com. And that`s our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I will see you again tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Tomorrow on the MHP show, we are going to look at the issue of race to college campuses, from Mizzou, to Occidental, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, what college students are facing and how they`re handling it. But right now, it`s time for preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT". Hi, Alex. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END