Trump a Threat TRANSCRIPT: 6/5/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Danielle Belton, Eric Adams, Phil Stinson, Brittney Cooper

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.

Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you so much.

And welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.

And we come on the air tonight with new protests, this historic week of demonstrations around the nation, and a lot of other developments. We have military experts and veterans rebuking Donald Trump, signs of real tension with the military over what is now this national protest movement, and measurable change in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and other areas.

Donald Trump traveled to Maine today. He was met there with a blunt message: Resign. That`s literally the headline from Maine`s "Portland Press Herald."

And there are other signs of action. We have been charting this. So, we have been trying to show you what is measurable, what is real, what has not changed, what`s wrong with what hasn`t changed, but also where we are seeing things respond to the pressure that is out there.

In Minneapolis, the City Council held an emergency vote to now ban police choke holds and other controversial tactics. This is a series of police reforms.

Then you can go over to the White House, where the mayor sent a message to the president and really the entire country, "Black Lives Matter" painted in those gigantic yellow letters you see there in our nation`s capital.

This was at the exact site where Donald Trump had ordered law enforcement to disperse those peaceful protesters. That was a maneuver that, as you can see from the archival footage, at times turned basically clearly violent, and also had others caught up in the crossfire, including journalists. It`s now called Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Another sign of direct policy actions are taking shape. Donald Trump talked about how he wants to ease racial strife.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What`s happened to our country and what you now see has been happening is the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African-American community.

QUESTION: What`s your plan?

TRUMP: Because our country is so strong. And that`s what my plan is. We`re going have the strongest economy in the world. We almost are there now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: We will be joined momentarily by two of our special experts on THE BEAT.

But, first, we go the ground, where NBC`s Shaquille Brewster is live in Minneapolis -- Shaquille.

SHAQUILLE BREWSTER, NBC NEWS POLITICAL REPORTER: Hi there, Ari.

And what we`re doing right now, we`re in front of U.S. Bank Stadium, where you`re going to have march of people. You have thousands of people here already. And they`re going to march for about two -- 10 kilometers, which I don`t know the conversion. Excuse me.

But we will be going, marching to a destination. I tell you, this march is called Unfinished Business. And something that you continue to hear from the protesters here today, they`re excited about the change that they believe they have started to get -- gain already.

Today, we heard from the state, which had an agreement with the City Council to ban choke holds, for example. That`s something that people here cheered. There is -- and also a part of that is a duty for officers to inform or intervene if they see an officer using unnecessary force or unauthorized force.

People here said that`s change and that`s something they celebrated. But something that they continue to also say is that this is just the first step. They want to see these systemic issues, they want to see those addressed. And that`s why they`re continuously coming out here, continuing to march, continuing to show up to the vigil at the location where George Floyd was killed.

I will just continue to walk around. You see signs that say "White silence equals violence." And that`s what people have continued to show and continued to say. You see a young group here, a diverse group. We`re seeing these things all over the city, all over the country. That`s the main message that you hear today.

They are happy that they`re getting the progress, happy that they feel like they`re starting to make an impact, and that these protests are making an impact. But they say they have a long ways to go until they get to where they want to be -- Ari.

MELBER: Shaquille Brewster, who has been doing so much reporting for us out there, thank you. Stay safe.

As promised, we now turn to The Root`s Danielle Belton and Rutgers Professor Brittney Cooper.

Brittney, we`re here at the end of another long week in America, a movement that is clearly showing that it will not let up in any particular place over any particularly single measure, but seeking this structural reform. What do you see out there tonight?

BRITTNEY COOPER, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: You know, the protests have been inspiring.

I mean, I have been concerned. We`re in the middle of a pandemic. But I do think that the commitment of these folks to be in these streets in these harrowing times tells us something about the urgency of these matters.

But I also want to offer a bit of a historical context here. Remember that, in 2014, when the Movement for Black Lives exploded, many activists were called into question, and folks said, well, what`s your agenda beyond protest?

And so, in 2016, the Movement for Black Lives put out an extensive over 80- page platform where they outlined measures like this, where they called on local communities to divest from police forces and reinvest that money into black communities and into local community initiatives.

So, this is a long effort. These protests are part of a broader effort. Now, they are singular in their own right. They are at a level that we have not seen previously.

But the ability for us to then see these local counsels being able to motivate policies so quickly in the ways that we have seen this week is not just about this moment. It is about the fact that what this moment proves is the thing that activists have been saying for six years, which is that this is not just a moment.

This is the 21st century movement for racial justice, and it is well- organized. It is thoughtful. And it has a set of policy goals that it is trying to put forth. And it is also the reason why, even though we don`t give the Movement for Black Lives credit, you have seen such a robust set of left policy discussions in the political arena this year.

But the thing that we have been reminded of is that those policy discussions don`t stay in our -- at the top of mind politically unless people are in the streets.

MELBER: All important points.

Danielle, take a listen to John Lewis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): Today, I feel more lucky, more than lucky, more than blessed, but to be here to see the changes that have occurred, to live to see a young man, a young friend like President Barack Obama become president of the United States of America.

It was worth the pain. And that`s why I believe that we cannot give up, we cannot give in, become bitter or hostile.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Danielle, everyone understands, having been beaten within an inch of his life, what it means when he speaks about the pain he endured in not turning bitter.

I wonder what you think about the intergenerational aspect of this, because you have the John Lewises, you have the Obamas, you have Reverend Sharpton, who spoke so movingly at the funeral and memorial, and who has been out working on all these issues, along with Jesse Jackson and others.

But you have this newer, younger movement, new people, a diverse coalition that is out there now in addition.

DANIELLE BELTON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "THE ROOT": Yes. You know, I feel like, when Lewis says to not be bitter, he is telling people to not give up hope in their efforts in pushing this movement forward.

He is telling them that it`s a good thing they`re taking to the streets and marching in the same tradition of the civil rights movement, in which he also marched and participated in.

I feel like this is just a pivotal, pivotal moment in our history. What we`re watching is amazing. Just a few moments ago, before I went on the air with you, Ari, there were actually protesters on the streets here in Harlem chanting Breonna Taylor`s name. And they have been doing that regularly almost every night here in New York City.

And it`s moving. The fact that this feels different this time, the fact that this is so well-organized, the fact that it`s so deliberate and so continuous is monumental. You can`t really escape from it. And that is what`s most touching for me.

MELBER: Well, and that builds on something I want to bring Brittney in too, because, Brittney, you have been coming on this program since we began.

And we have had big conversations about history and structural and fundamental racism, as well as other things that can be racist in their outcomes but may come from a more complex brew.

Historically, I would say, in the last five, 10 years, a lot of that was viewed in a highly polarized way, and there are people who are concerned about those issues and said, yes, that`s a structural problem, and a lot of other people who said, no, you`re emphasizing isolated incidents.

We are seeing -- and this is something we`re going continue to do on this program for viewers -- we are seeing hard evidence that that is now shifting thanks to these sustained protests.

So, for your analysis, since we have had some of these conversations before, I want to show -- in 2014, Americans were asked about these deaths of specifically black men as one issue. So, if you look on the right there, you see, is that basically an isolated incident?

You had half the country in 2014 saying, when black men are dying at the hands of police in these instances, that`s isolated. That is to say, that`s just something out if there. And that number has crashed in 2020 to only a quarter of the country. That is a significant change.

Another way the say that is, when you look on your screen and see that surging, tall 74 percent blue chart, that`s tens of millions of people who now when asked say, Brittney, they say, actually, this is a broader problem.

I wonder what you think, as such an expert on social change, what that means for the movement, because it`s one thing to say to everything, well, you`re wrong, you don`t get it, you`re late. It`s another thing to say, come on in, welcome. OK, it`s 2020. Now you see it. Let`s go.

COOPER: Right.

Well, look, movements have always been welcoming. We have never said that we didn`t welcome people to the party. We wanted folks to have the right analysis. And so now -- and here`s the thing that I want to say, though.

In between 2014 and 2020, the thing that gets you those percentages of millions of people coming on board, that span of that graph is littered with dead black people, though, killed by the police. That`s the hard thing, is that what they told us in 2014 was that enough black people had not died yet.

Now more black people have died, and they have died on camera. I`m relieved that we are seeing this sea change. I also think that it is amplified by the fact that the failures of the Trump administration have been so stark, people have been stuck in their houses. They have had this opportunity to really reflect on the state of the country, and they are like, what the hell is happening, right?

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: I mean, excuse -- but, essentially, that`s what they`re saying, you know. And so now...

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Well, you just -- let me pause you. Let me pause you and then continue you.

COOPER: Yes. Yes.

MELBER: You`re also reflecting on another aspect of social change, which is, do people have the time to learn? And when people are in busy lives or in an economic underclass, they are prevented habitually from even getting all of that.

So you have not only protests -- that`s out here -- but then you have, yes, a lot of people at home, you can`t miss it. You can`t ignore this. Between television and the Internet, people are seeing this. Does that also underscore your point, Brittney?

COOPER: Yes. Look, I mean, the black economic underclass has been clear the whole time, Ari. Let`s say that.

MELBER: Sure.

COOPER: But, yes -- but, look, I just want to give all the love to these young protesters who are literally risking their lives to call this country to account.

I think that, in the end, it is the visual both of us seeing George Floyd dying, it is the commitment to the activists on the ground to represent for Breonna Taylor, even when black women are so often an afterthought.

Let`s see not forget how the country both experienced Sandra Bland on video in 2015, and we did not have this groundswell. And so, in conjunction with these George Floyd protests, now activists are taking heed to the thing that those of us in the earlier part of this movement said, which is that you have to include the women too.

I hope we see more of that. But all of this is because there has been an infrastructure that has been being built for the better part of a decade at this point to bring us to this moment. And so these activists are prepared. They`re ready. They`re politicized and they`re a force to be reckoned with.

MELBER: In a related turn, have either of you or both of you seen any of "The Last Dance"?

COOPER: Yes.

BELTON: I have not. I`m sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: You don`t have to apologize to me. I didn`t make it.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: You are missing out, though. BEAT viewers will know, a lot of us here on the program were big fans of it. It was well done.

And it briefly touched on whether and how Michael Jordan weighed in on these issues. He had famously said as an offhand comment -- he didn`t say it at a press conference, but he said offhand as well that Republicans buy sneakers too, when he declined to get involved in a home state Jesse Helms race.

And there is a lot of people, whatever their race, who do enough big business where they kind of stay out of certain things precisely because they are seen, fairly or not, as picking a side.

So I think it`s pretty striking to show news that just came into the newsroom late today, Michael Jordan, who famously avoids picking any political sides, jumping into this protest movement by saying he and his company are now going to put $100 million towards racial equality organizations.

Danielle.

BELTON: All I can say is, it`s about time. Like, it`s not like these problems are new. They have existed since the first slave was taken off the boat.

Like, there is a clear right and wrong here. You`re either for equality, you`re either for this nation living up to its ideals, or you`re just -- or you`re not. I don`t see how you cannot have an opinion about this. I don`t see how you cannot participate in this movement in some capacity, one shape form or another.

You know, at The Root, our writers have call this the fed-up rising, because that`s what it is. People are tired. They have been putting up with this for hundreds of years. Generation after generation has withstood this violence and have been forced to try to basically build and grow within chaos.

MELBER: Right.

BELTON: And that`s what this is about.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: You`re tempting me to quote Bob Marley, but I don`t know if Brittney wants me to go there.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: We know you`re going to do it. Just go for it, Ari.

BELTON: Just go for it. Just go for it.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: She has been on the program enough to know.

But, no, in all seriousness, 400 years, and it`s the same philosophy. There is a reason why this is a protest chant, this is in music, this is in poetry, this is in every James Baldwin speech.

Brittney, this is what -- if you are listening, this is what has been said forever.

COOPER: It is what has been said.

But, look, every generation must find their work and do it. Both Frantz Fanon and Audre Lorde have versions of that quote, where they say that is the work of each generation, right?

This generation is showing up to their work, which is to call this country to account. What I appreciate about you bringing that up is, there were always massive slave uprisings, and slave people didn`t just take slavery sitting down. Right?

There were always uprisings on transportation. Rosa Parks wasn`t the first person to sit down on a bus seat and refuse to get up. And there have been multiple generations in my lifetime rising up against these police violence cases, whether we`re talking about Eleanor Bumpurs, whether we`re talking about Rodney King, what we`re talking about Amadou Diallo, whether we`re talking about Michael Brown.

This is a long, continuous challenge. But I do think we have to give credit to these young folks and say that they are taking the load of that history, and they are demanding that we reckon in ways that we simply have not before. And here`s the thing.

If the country doesn`t get it this time -- I mean, Trump has something that we have not seen in decades. And so what I know about black folks is that, when black folks come to the table and say, you all better get it right, every time we do that at this level -- the Civil War is probably the last time it happened, rMDNM_Civil War and then civil rights.

When we do that, the nation better listen, because what we are saying is, this thing is going to split apart at the seams unless you begin to pay attention to what black people are telling you. We have long been the conscience of this nation, even when we did not ask to be.

And if the nation will listen to the demands that black folks make -- here is my charge to white people, and I`m not often given to giving charges to white people. The thing that black folks are saying is, our way is better for everybody. Everybody eats. People have justice. There is equality.

When you treat the least of these right, the folks with the least power, whether that`s undocumented immigrants, whether that`s black folks, whether that`s indigenous folks, whether that`s trans women, when you treat them right, then the nation thrives.

MELBER: Right.

COOPER: When you treat them wrong, you are always going to end up back at this place with this level of battle.

MELBER: Right. And you`re speaking about the fundamentals of social contract and equality.

Brittney and Danielle, thanks so much.

Seventeen minutes into the hour. We got to fit in a break.

When we come back, we have revelations about how anti-police brutality protests have led to more police brutality. I have an ex-cop here who`s doing incredible work. I`m going to show you why it matters. You have probably seen some of it quoted.

Later, historian Michael Beschloss is here.

And we have brand-new comments Barack Obama himself.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Now to an important report as we end the week.

You have been witnessing protests about police brutality around the nation. Some police have been responding, though, with more police brutality.

Now, I want to warn you, the footage you`re to be see is important to document, but it`s also disturbing. This is the reality of how this crisis is unfolding.

Here is a video showing two officers in Buffalo, New York, shoving a 75- year-old man to the ground. You can watch as he fell there. You see him then on the ground. He began bleeding from his ears. You could see how many officers there are vs. just that one unarmed individual.

You can see people moving onto other interactions right afterward. Those very officers, we can tell you, have already been suspended. The man is in the hospital. This, like so many other incidents, has had accountability because of this homemade video you see here from WBFO.

Late today, 57 officers from that department resigned from the unit to protest what? Their colleagues` suspension.

All of this a day after Buffalo police were also photographed kneeling with protesters, in fact, in the very same spot. This side-by-side tells you there is nuance, but there is also much that needs to change.

It`s not just New York. Instances like this are happening around the nation, Indianapolis police investigating officers seen here firing pepper balls at a woman and striking her with a baton. You can see that there.

A video out of Chicago shows an officer chasing and punching a protester, the police department opening an internal review of that incident, again, caught on homemade video.

Another one shows L.A. police officers striking protesters, you will see, boom, with batons, again. And, again, you can see that is, I could tell you as an attorney, textbook evidence of excessive force, because the individuals appear unarmed and docile as they are hit repeatedly, you see, with these batons.

Again, I`m sorry that this is disturbing, but we are documenting this in the news because it needs to be shown.

Now take this video showing Philadelphia police hitting civilians with batons. You can hear the outrage and concern. You can see the shoving. Tackling the woman to the ground, ultimately, almost like a melee here. You see here trying to get away basically from the attack.

Local news report that officer is no longer on street patrol, and there is a local investigation of the incident.

We`re seeing a disturbing police response in New York as well, where there have been some of the largest protests and where the mayor, who happens to be a Democrat, has been choosing to continue to issue these curfews.

Here is officers beating protesters, hitting them with batons, throwing people to the ground, striking, again, people who appear not to pose an imminent threat, and who appear, some of them who are getting hit, to be unarmed.

New York`s elected officials, though -- I want you to see this with your own eyes before I play the next clip. This is what happened. You can see multiple people getting hit. You can see the batons. You can see it looks like a melee.

But here is New York leadership seeming to downplay what you just saw with your own eyes when asked about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), NEW YORK CITY: A lot of restraint from the NYPD overall. The NYPD has actually taken, I think, a very open approach, respecting protests, flexible as always.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Police bludgeon peaceful protesters with batons for no reason. That`s not a fact. They don`t do that.

Anyone who did do that would be obviously reprehensible, if not criminal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: We try to show you all the facts here, so you can make up your own mind.

We showed you the videos. That`s the evidence. And we showed you the response from those two New York leaders, who both happen to be Democrats, Mayor de Blasio a very liberal Democrat when he came into office.

This is why the issue is so big. This is why it`s so much bigger than politics or even who is president. This is why, when people talk about structural racism and a lack of accountability, they`re talking about something bigger than red or blue.

"The New York Times" reacting to that today, saying Mayor de Blasio is unwilling to confront the reality the department is failing to meet the demands of this moment, Governor Cuomo also shying away from the problem.

But again to this with NYPD -- former NYPD officer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

And we`re back in just 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Joining us now for this special discussion is Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough president, a longtime police officer. He was also actually beaten by police at the age of 15.

Thank you for joining us.

We just went through that. Should viewers believe what they saw on the videos, or is it more complicated than what we saw, or should they believe those two Democratic New York officials, who really played down what happened?

ERIC ADAMS, BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT: Thank you so much, Ari.

And, you know, the Pettus Bridge, that`s what the civil rights movement was about, not until in our living rooms did we actually see the horrific brutality of racism during the civil right era. That is what it`s going to take right now.

And for anyone to downplay an aggressive, offensive movement by police officer at a friendly demonstration or passive resistance, it is simply wrong, and we need to be clear on that. You should not be swinging your baton or using any form of aggressive action for a passive or nonresistant person.

MELBER: Should Mayor de Blasio do something different than his current approach, which we showed his comments? And he has been pretty tough with these curfews. They are historically unusual for New York.

ADAMS: Lift the curfews, number one.

Number two, nonviolent protests, those that is not endangering the public, there is no reason to allow -- to stop people from having peaceful protests. We should allow peaceful protests. That is what our country is about. We`re not going back to the days of water hoses and German shepherd dogs and those who want to use billy clubs to really silence a righteous march.

MELBER: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: I`m only jumping in because I just want to get you on -- you`re making some news here, sir, when you`re breaking with the mayor. You`re saying the time for the curfews should end.

And you well know, and I think many of our viewers may know, that is significant, because, as long as there is a New York curfew, or curfew anywhere, that gives the police this extra point of conflict to say, oh, we`re ticketing people or removing people, arresting people, or orders to disperse.

So, you think that time is over, de Blasio is wrong to hold onto that?

ADAMS: I made it clear to the mayor as well. I communicated to the mayor what my position was, that we should be lifting the curfew.

And let`s be clear that any use of force, curfew, midnight, or any time of the day is wrong. And we see it too often. The videos do not lie.

MELBER: Right.

Will you please stay with me? As you know, we wanted to hit this important topic, and we have a special report and another guest that is going to join us. So, hang with me.

And now I want to turn to something else here, as we end this tough week, to make sure we dig in to understand the factual history of all this, how rare it is to charge, let alone convict, people who in the line of duty as police officers kill others. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The former East Pittsburgh police officer not guilty of murder or manslaughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer Betty Shelby has been found not guilty by a jury trial and first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer Jeronimo Yanez is not guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Philando Castile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We, the jury, find the defendant, Dominique Heaggan- Brown, not guilty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That has been the historical scene.

Meanwhile, over a decade, there have been at least 22,000 excessive force complaints against officers. And that only scratches the surface of the problem.

One of the reasons is that there isn`t an actual way that the federal government tracks how all of this justice is dealt with or not. Indeed, because of that vacuum, one person has stepped up to fill the void.

Professor Phil Stinson from Bowling Green University is actually the only person in the nation who tracks all these numbers holistically nationally every year. And through that work, his estimates show that, in a period where those nearly 23,000 excessive force police complaints, police shot and killed roughly 10,000 people.

Now, let me be clear. From what we know in the public record, many of those incidents appeared justified because of the nature of them, for example, an exchange of gunfire or a terror suspect who is fleeing and engaging the officers.

But by Stinson`s count, many others may not have been. Indeed, throughout that whole period, only 110 officers were ever charged with murder or manslaughter for any on-duty shooting since 2005, 42 convicted of some type of crime, but usually lesser charges.

And then look at this. From 2005 to 2009 -- these are the numbers from Mr. Stinson here -- zero officers convicted of murder. Then take 2010 to 2015. This is every state in the country. Zero officers convicted of murder. That`s a decade where you take it all together and it`s zero.

Now, as we talk about actually tracking evidence in the last four years, five officers convicted of murder. The numbers show a slight change in a system that for a very, very long time, as a statistical fact, told officers, whatever you do, no matter what you do or how you do it, statistically, those zeros mean you will not be convicted of murder.

So, joining our special discussion this Friday evening is Professor Phil Stinson. We should note he is also a former police officer and his experience has partly led to this work.

I can tell you, sir, as you know, I and other reporters have quoted and relied on your work for a long time. So, A, thank you for the facts.

B, what do you make of them tonight?

PHILIP STINSON, BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, it`s very difficult to prosecute an officer for murder. It simply doesn`t happen very often.

As you know, most instances where on-duty police officers shoot and kill someone -- and that happens in this country about 1,000 times each year. In almost every one of those instances, an officer never faces criminal charges.

And that`s because -- several things. One, law enforcement is exempt from law enforcement. In other words, police officers simply don`t want to pursue criminal charges against other officers. We also see that juries are very reluctant to second-guess the split-second decisions of police officers in violent or potentially violent street encounters.

And, Ari, we have had cases where the video evidence has been damning, the video evidence has been so strong...

MELBER: Sure.

STINSON: ... that it`s clear to any impartial observer that a murder was committed, and yet a jury will come back with either a split verdict, with a hung jury and a mistrial, or an outright acquittal.

These are very difficult cases to bring.

MELBER: So, your work, Professor -- and Eric Adams can speak to this as well -- goes to the larger part that, for all of the larger problems that go up -- and we talked about what police do and what the governments do, and I have hit that tonight -- there is also problem at the ground or grassroots level of people in America and how they understand the issues and who they give the benefit of doubt to, if, as you say, it cuts against the legal facts.

So, my question to you, and then Mr. Adams, is, do you think that the numbers that you have here are starting to change and will continue to change because of this movement, or is it too early to say?

First, the Professor.

STINSON: It`s too early to say, because, frankly, we have not seen much movement at all over the last few years.

You point out the numbers where a few officers have been convicted of murder in the last few years. But when you look at the overall numbers of officers who have been charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from on-duty shootings, it`s fairly static from year to year. We`re just not seeing any statistically significant change in the numbers.

Policing is very slow to change, and, oddly enough, the laws of statistics seem to apply here that we see the same behaviors over and over again, and they`re just never held accountable.

MELBER: Eric?

ADAMS: Well, I think -- first of all, thank the professor for his research.

And I think the real indictment is not only on the police officers, but the indictment is on the American public. Jack Nicholson movies -- "A Few Good Men" stated it best. You really don`t want to know the truth.

Many affluent, well-doing New Yorkers are clear on what was happening in black and brown communities across America, and they ignored it. They have said, do what you have to do to keep them in order, and we`re going give you the benefit of the doubt.

The police officers didn`t get those not guilty pleas. They were not sitting on the juries. Everyday New Yorkers, Americans sat on the juries and made the determination that the actions, no matter how strong the evidence was, we`re going to protect our officers, even over protecting the right of those black and brown...

MELBER: Right.

And so, Professor, with about 40 seconds left, this is a national conversation, but you are truly the foremost expert on every individual incident here. What makes you keep going, if you`re not sure there will be any change?

STINSON: Well, I tell my research assistants quite often, as soon as we solve the problem, we will move on and engage in some sort of other research projects.

So, there is two primary purposes to my research. One is to inform the public, and the other is to improve policing. And after 15 years of doing this work, I`m finally at the point where law enforcement agencies occasionally reach out to me, as do prosecutor`s offices, asking to go over statistics with them to talk about the problems and make sure that they`re aware of the types of police crime that are out there, and what types of problems we`re seeing in our research, the patterns that we`re seeing.

So, I think, if anything, that`s a positive development.

MELBER: Very interesting, all of that.

Professor Stinson, I cannot underscore enough the factual and journalistic shout-out we are giving you here, having used your work, and wanted to have you on. And we will have you back.

Brooklyn Borough President and former officer Eric Adams, thank you for everything.

Really important conversation, I believe, both the points you made.

We`re also watching a wider historic response to the Floyd death.

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss when we return on what we can learn and do when we know history.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: We hear a lot of talk about history in this movement and the context.

Well, we turn to historian Michael Beschloss. He has written 10 books on American presidents. He is our in-house historian. And, boy, what a time.

Thanks for joining me tonight, sir.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: What a week.

My pleasure, always, Ari.

MELBER: Yes, sir.

The big question, with amateur historians among us saying, this looks bigger than usual, former President Obama saying most significant of his lifetime, where do you put it now?

BESCHLOSS: Oh, this is -- I think what President Obama said was, can`t talk about his lifetime, but this was a week that`s going to live in history, the same way that Birmingham did in 1963 and Selma did in 1965.

But the difference is, after Birmingham, there were images of vicious dogs and abuse of civil right demonstrators. After Selma, there was violence and death on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and around there. And the result was, the decent people who were not aware of how great the problem was said, something must be done.

Kennedy sent in a civil rights bill. Johnson sent in a voting rights bill.

In Donald Trump`s case, there has been a little talk about George Floyd, but not very much talk about what he is going to do to fix this mammoth problem for all of us.

Instead, he very quickly leaped to the default of, what am I going to do about law and order, I think because he remembers 1968. Richard Nixon and George Wallace together got 55 percent of the vote largely as law and order candidates. Trump may feel that that is the way to victory for him this year.

MELBER: Right. And we have seen throughout history that tension and this -- the attempts to exploit or seek a motivation through the discussion of riots, of law and order, the so-called silent majority from Nixon.

And yet we`re seeing also, as you well know, these numbers show they`re taking up well over 55 and 60 percent of sympathy, suggesting that, at that level, the actual market for the counter protests may be lower.

We`re looking at pictures here in California of massive protests here heading into the weekend tonight, right now.

Michael, I want to show you something we put together. This is our new historical reporting. We`re edging a little bit into your space, but not with your level of erudition.

BESCHLOSS: Oh, great. No, I love to be edged in on. Thanks.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: But, in all seriousness, we have looked back over what other presidents have done and what the president today has been saying, and with a guide that will anchor this in different incidents for you and our audience.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we shall overcome.

TRUMP: You have to dominate. If you don`t dominate, you`re wasting your time.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America can be proud of the progress we have made toward equality. But we all must recognize we have more to do.

TRUMP: It means, when there is looting, people get shot and they die.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love, a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As Americans, we have got to use this moment to seek out our shared humanity that`s been laid bare by this moment.

QUESTION: What`s your plan?

TRUMP: Because our country is so strong. And that`s what my plan is. We`re going have the strongest economy in the world.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we are to remain the most vibrant and hopeful nation on Earth, we must allow our diversity to bring us together, not drive us apart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Where does Donald Trump measure up to these other leaders and presidents?

BESCHLOSS: He completely flunks.

And that was demonstrated this week by four ex-presidents, each in his own way, saying essentially,the president is not addressing the problem here. He is not talking about justice, isn`t talking about humanity.

That rarely happens.

And the other thing, Ari, is that you saw something we rarely see in American history, which is abuse of our military. In 1932, President Hoover sent the Army against bonus marchers in Washington who wanted their bonuses from World War I. Douglas MacArthur went in. There was violence.

A conservative Washington newspaper said at the time, when the Army is sent against Americans, this is no longer America.

We began to see that this week. And once again, you saw a lot of military leaders saying, Mr. President, you cannot do this.

MELBER: All important context.

Thank you so much, Michael Beschloss. Wishing you a good weekend and looking forward to having you back, sir.

BESCHLOSS: You too. Stay well.

We`re going to fit in a break, as we keep an eye on California and other places where we`re seeing these massive protests heading into Friday afternoon and Friday evening on the East Coast.

We`re also going to look at the causes and some uplift, as our show continues tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: We`re heading into the 11th straight night of protests.

You can see them here in California and around the country. And coming up, we have a very special report on some of the underlying issues. Why is this happening now?

And a very special guest.

That`s up ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Welcome back.

You know, these ongoing national protests continue to demand that Americans listen, specifically that our leaders, our politicians and even the media pay attention to this movement.

Now, we have seen that clearly working, to the point that this national conversation has been upending the previous focus on the pandemic, which now has taken the lives of 109,000 Americans.

It is a toll that also, though, overlaps with how these protests have hammered America`s racial inequality, because disparities in housing and health care have racial minorities dying at higher rates from the same coronavirus disease, while also facing more economic fallout.

Now, if you heard today`s news that job numbers were better than expected, that is true overall, but not for some of those same hard-hit minority communities. Black unemployment still ticked up a bit, adding to the pressure on people to make rent without necessarily having work.

And that brings us right now to something different as we end this week, something with a little uplift. This is a story out of New Orleans, one of America`s great cities for music and culture, which was hit hard by the pandemic, many struggling to make ends meet, a city known -- we could take this in full -- let`s take a look, Louis Armstrong there, Fats Domino, Irma Thomas.

Those are legends from New Orleans.

But today`s artists also have a rich tapestry there, like Grammy nominee Birdman, who launched stars like Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj, as a major record executive. "Forbes" put him as high as number four on their wealth list in music.

And he`s joined by his brother, Ronald "Slim" Williams, and put out some of his help back into the community. They have a charity that serves their hometown. And they`re working with the city`s mayor -- this is new -- to pay this month`s rent for hundreds of residents who live in the same public housing they grew up in.

Now, we just talked about this effort.

And I want to share with you -- here`s what Birdman told me. This is an exclusive airing now for the first time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRYAN "BIRDMAN" WILLIAMS, RAPPER AND ENTREPRENEUR: Being from New Orleans, that is where our heart -- that is what we represent.

Just trying to help. We come from a struggle, born and raised in one. So we know how hard it is. And we lost a lot of people in New Orleans, and family and friends. And our family still stay there.

Gladys and Johnny Foundation was after our parents that passed away when we was young. We have been doing different drives for like 30-plus years, like giveaways for schooling, and working with Uptown Angela and Q93, doing turkey drive. We have been doing that almost 30 years.

And this time, we was fortunate enough to come together and pay rents for the month of June. And just -- we just have a funding for a lot of different activities, because we know it`s not going to stop. And that was one thing I wanted to do.

And we asked to speak to the mayor about it. She came to the table. We know the impact that that is having. So, we just chose to do something to give back, to try to take a little stress off everybody, because it`s a stressful time, definitely when you can`t work like that or work like you have been working, or just operating normally in life.

This is the time where we feel more people need it more than anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: A stressful time. I was speaking there to Birdman, his brother and their attorney.

It`s also time to step up and do more. They told me how much this means to put money back into the very same subsidized housing where they started out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B. WILLIAMS: Just knowing we were raised in the project, we grew up.

And I really compliment my city for the success and the drive and the motivation that me and my brother have, being in the boys home as kids.

RONALD "SLIM" WILLIAMS, CO-FOUNDER, CASH MONEY RECORDS: We was able to pay the rent for everybody in the subsidized housing program. And it was a great day. New Orleans fills our heart.

B. WILLIAMS: Just being able to do something like that would mean the world to me.

It means as much success as I have ever had in music, business or anything, a part of my life, if I could -- if we`re able to pull that off and let the residents live for free. That`s one of the accomplishment I want to accomplish before I leave this earth.

R. WILLIAMS: From New Orleans, we still -- we built a certain type of -- we build like steel, bro.

We go down, but we don`t get knocked out. We come right back together and make -- to make it work. So, for me, I know the city is going to come back. We have got great people like (INAUDIBLE) and all of the citizens of New Orleans, that it is going to -- we`re going to get past this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: We`re going to get past this.

I want to tell you, we were speaking there, one of those Zoom calls, and this was a bit before these protests took on such weight. But we wanted to share that discussion with you.

And, obviously, it all applies. As mentioned, there are the racial disparities in health care and housing, and, as they are doing, supporting people in subsidized housing.

All of this relevant to the larger conversation America is having amidst a pandemic about police brutality and structural racism. And yet it`s a reminder that, as there are all the protests and all the work and all the pressure, there`s also ways that people in everyday communities, whether they`re famous or not, whether they have as much money or not, are supporting each other.

When true and when supported by the evidence, we like to try to make sure we spotlight some of those types of stories, especially at the end of such a long week.

I will tell you, it`s a sentiment we can use.

Birdman`s very lucrative label I should mention, it`s called literally Cash Money Records. And that`s a theme for them. He has hit songs like "Money to Blow" and "Get That Money."

In that track, he famously says, the money is what you make of it. Some want it cooked, and I just closed down the bakery. So, stop stunting, homie, false promoting. It ain`t about what you`re making. It`s about what you`re toting.

Well, tonight, what they`re toting is money to donate, which we think can be a far more important project than money to blow.

That does it for me right here on THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER. You can always find us on social media @THEBEATWITHARI or @AriMelber on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We`re posting some of these extra artist interviews we have done in full length there and on YouTube. So, you can always find more if you want it.

But that`s the end of our time. I wish you a very safe weekend.

Keep it right here on MSNBC.

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