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LGBTQ Civil Rights TRANSCRIPT: 6/15/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Lloyd Pierce, Jerry Nadler, Justin Miller, Mara Gay

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: But don`t you worry.

THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now. And I leave you in Mr. Melber`s very capable hands.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thank you very much, Katy. Good to see you.

And welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber. It`s good to be back with you.

This week beginning with lots of news. Today, we saw an absolutely landmark ruling on civil rights from the Supreme Court, with an interesting coalition forming to protect LGBTQ Americans. So, later, we`re joined by one of the top lawyers to ever argue before the court, Obama`s former Solicitor General Neal Katyal, to break it all down.

And then I have to tell you, this is one of those nights where, for all the developments out there, good, bad, in between, however you feel about it, I can tell you we`re actually very lucky to have some of the most consequential guests lined up for you, because, later this hour, after Neal, the most powerful Democrat in Washington on issues of law and justice, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler is back on THE BEAT live tonight with plenty to discuss, including his clash with Attorney General Barr.

And we have a very special guest coming up in this block, this segment, regarding all the civil rights reform that`s happening.

So that`s all coming up. Those are obviously important stories.

We begin right now with this most important story roiling the nation, another police interaction that escalated into a killing and the reaction in Atlanta and around the country bringing this breaking news.

We`re looking at live ongoing protests in Atlanta and across New York right now. Atlanta is a tense city that has seen swift reaction to this weekend`s incident where police killed a black man as he ran away after an altercation.

Now, the officer who pulled the trigger was fired. Another on the scene is on administrative leave. Their boss, meanwhile, the police chief, has already stepped down. There`s some of the officers. Meanwhile, the mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, who had been touted as an example of how to reform her city`s policing as recently as just the last few weeks, well, she is in overdrive today trying to calm this troubled city and also press new reforms.

In fact, she just spoke outlining these new police policies effective immediately and sharing her own reaction.


KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), MAYOR OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA: To watch Mr. Brooks on Friday night talk about wanting to go home for his daughter`s birthday, it breaks my heart. It pissed me off. It makes me sad, and it makes -- and I`m frustrated.

And nothing I can do is going to change what happened on Friday.


MELBER: She was speaking today about that killing of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, who was found sleeping in his car in a Wendy`s parking lot. And he offered, as mentioned, to just walk home, to go to his sister`s, before things escalated, and he then later grabbed an officer`s Taser and fled.

You can see here him taking the Breathalyzer. This is part of the video we`re going to show you before the incident. Later, the video does get quite disturbing. It shows a lot of the exchange after Brooks failed that sobriety check. You end up in this altercation that you can see here.

When the officers try to handcuff Brooks, you have the scuffle ensuing. Brooks takes one of the officer`s Tasers, and then he flees while also appearing to, as you see here, he`s running and point that Taser back at them.

The officer then shot Brooks twice in the back, killing him. That`s where we stop this video.

Now here was Brooks widow speaking today.


TOMIKA MILLER, WIDOW OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: There is no justice that can ever make me feel happy about what has been done. I can never get my husband back. I can never get my best friend. I can never tell my daughter, oh, he`s coming to take you skating or swimming lessons.

So, this is going to be a long time before I heal. It`s going to be a long time before this family heals.


MELBER: That`s a selection there of the personal reactions.

These killings happen, and we cover the family, we cover the reactions. This has become a bit of a sad, enduring American ritual.

I can tell you, there are some reports that a decision on charges against the officer could come as soon as this week.

So now you`re updated on all of that. But you might be thinking, as another week begins with another killing like this, what are we to make of it? Well, first, no matter how jaded or pessimistic you may be about these issues, it is really still striking. And we should bear witness to the problem that you can see this use of force continue during an intense period, during this ongoing scrutiny of police conduct.

Now, we hear a lot about sunlight and that exposure, or these videos, or this vigilance could also just prevent misconduct. But this incident began with un unarmed man asleep in his car and turned into the police using this deadly force, even in this climate that we`re all pretty aware of and certainly the police are aware.

So that offers a warning for the idea, the political premise you hear that just adding pressure or scrutiny will automatically curb the use of potentially excessive force. That`s the incident itself.

Second, as we start this week, there is the policy response. Whatever one concludes about the video -- and you could see it -- we showed you some of it. Prosecutors will assess it. A jury might ultimately be asked to rule on it. That`s all about the individual incident.

The wider policy response, I can report for you tonight, has been far stronger and swifter than usual, the officer fired, the police chief out, the authorities suddenly assessing potential charges against this officer as a seemingly real option.

That alone is something that is not the norm in these incidents, which we and others have documented for years, that you don`t see any basic search or consideration of charges against officers in most of these incidents. That`s documented. So, that`s different.

And finally, third, tonight, let`s think about the larger way this all works or fails. What liberal activists once called the system, what today`s protesters call systemic racism, what James Baldwin called the slave codes that undergird American policing, what Michelle Alexander, the author, documented as the -- quote -- "new Jim Crow," whatever you want to call it, or whatever nuance you apply, because each of those have some distinctions, they do all us the critique that this thing we`re living through, that so many people are protesting against, this problem is such a problem because it is larger than individual people.

Which means, even when the political leadership is more diverse, or when police forces are more diverse, the systemic problems don`t just melt away. They can persist or deepen regardless of the individuals who are plugged into certain roles, precisely because these critiques that I just mentioned, they argue that, if our laws are still built on race, if our system is still fundamentally racially unfair, then the people carrying it out can be pulled and subsumed into the problem.

So some politicians and pundits had started suggesting -- you may have heard this last week and before -- they started suggesting maybe it was time for the protesters to wrap up this stage, to move on to other things to tweaking policy or playing more of an inside track or going to meetings.

Well, many protesters are stressing this weekend, everything we just reported for you, sadly shows exactly why that`s not an option, and they are still out in the streets.

Let me bring our experts, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington Post" Eugene Robinson, and Mara Gay, an editorial board member from "The New York Times."

Mara, your thoughts?

MARA GAY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": You know, it`s a hard video to watch. We have watched so many.

But one of the things that I have been thinking about is this sense that -- the sense of helplessness, which is really not rooted in reality. I mean, the United States has one of the highest police-involved fatal shooting rates in the world, especially among comparable nations.

And so there are other examples of countries, especially in Europe and in Canada, that can get this right. It`s not rocket science. And the other element here is, yes, we need to hold problem officers accountable, but I really believe we need to demilitarize police forces, because you had a situation in Atlanta, very tragic, where a man lost his, despite being initially unarmed, and then was shot in the back. And no one should be shot in the back.

So, I think it`s a tragic sequence of events, but it really, really raises just fundamental questions, questions about our approach to policing in general. And it`s going to take time. It`s really good to see accountability, but it`s not going to happen overnight. The system was built over 100 years.

So it`s going to take some time.

MELBER: Yes, you might say, to that sense, Gene, Rome was not disassembled in a day either, to Mara`s point.

And I wonder what you think about this, given the larger historical arc of the system, that it is fine and can be progress to diversify things.


MELBER: But it cannot be just hanging only on the new individuals if they`re working within, as mentioned, the system that exists.

ROBINSON: Well, that`s right.

I mean, look, if anybody thought this was going to be easy, they were wrong. And this is the most vivid and tragic proof of that, what happened to Rayshard Brooks.

But here`s -- it`s not just the militarization of policing, though. It`s the way African-Americans are policed in this country as well. And that is a big inescapable part of it. Race is a big and inescapable part of what we`re talking about.

So, in 2015, Dylann Roof murdered nine people at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Armed and dangerous, on the lam, a white supremacist, somehow, he is taken into custody unharmed and lives to stand trial.

Here, Rayshard Brooks falls asleep in the drive-through line at the Wendy`s, and the next you know -- and we know the sequence of events now, and there`s fault in it for him, for sure. But, nonetheless, that`s what he did, and he ends up dead.

And there`s more than a disconnect there. This is a product of the 401 years of systemic racism, of white supremacy in this country. And it`s a product of the warrior mentality in policing and all of this -- on every level, there`s much to address before we get to a better place.

But I -- the way I`m feeling today is no justice, no peace, I mean, that the struggle has to continue and has to continue at a high pitch.

MELBER: And, Gene, we`re going to put on the screen near this "New Yorker" cover. There`s been so many images I have seen around the country, the grassroots paintings and murals to Mr. Floyd.

This one depicts -- we will leave this up on the screen as you just -- as you speak, Gene -- George Floyd, along with 18 other black Americans, killed by law enforcement. And the farther back in history you go, the -- sadly, the larger that image would be, Gene.

ROBINSON: Yes, the larger the image would be. And it would be not just law enforcement.

It would be vigilante mobs. It would be not just lynchings in the South, but I saw a photograph someone posted on Twitter today of a lynching that took place in Duluth, Minnesota, 100 years ago today.

And so this is -- the original sin of race -- of slavery and the racism was sort of baked into the American cake at the beginning. And so one can believe in this country and the promise of this country, and strive to make it live up to its ideals, while at the same time recognizing that that`s always been here, and that the struggle to rub out that stain will continue.

It certainly continues now, and will still continue, because look what happened. In the middle of the protest, when everybody`s attention is on it -- and so this happens to Rayshard Brooks. You have to ask yourself whether, in fact, the protests might have prohibited some other potential killing someplace else.

So it`s not as if they`re not having an impact. It`s just that it`s just so deep in the society.


Gene and Mara, both you stay with me here, as our coverage continues. We have been sort of clearing the deck on just all of this news and what it means.

When we look at the protests themselves, which are part of this story, because that`s also important, what we`re seeing in the streets. We`re also seeing a lot of different people join in.

So, right now, we have a big name that has been joining the Atlanta protests. This was Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, who chose to get involved and support at this moment. And I could say I`m pleased to mention that, here on THE BEAT, we have Lloyd Pierce joining us right now.

Sir, thanks for making time. I know it`s a tough and busy time.

First of all, how are you?

LLOYD PIERCE, HEAD COACH, ATLANTA HAWKS: I`m doing well. Thank you for having me on.

MELBER: Absolutely.

We`re looking at some footage here of you speaking. Obviously, there are many different ways that people engage their values and in their communities over time. This today for you is a public reckoning.

What did you want to get across today? Why is this important to you now and particularly in your community?

PIERCE: Well, I think everything hits home -- when it hits home, it hits a little bit harder and it impacts your local community differently when it happens on your doorstep.

And, obviously, with Rayshard Brooks, the incident that occurred Friday night has struck Atlanta in a different way. I coach a professional basketball team here in the city. And we have to model ourselves as citizens and leaders in trying to build trust, in trying to invest in our communities, in trying to be the example.

And, normally, it`s through sport. But we don`t have support right now. And, right now, sport is really not that important. What is important is that our community stay safe, is educated and protected. And that`s not happening.

And we saw that what Rayshard Brooks, and we`re all feeling the effects of -- especially as an African-American man, as an African-American coach that coaches a lot African-American men in a predominantly African-American city, that just doesn`t sit right.

MELBER: When you look at this, and you look across the different leagues, do you feel that there is something that also needs to change in organized sports?

PIERCE: Yes, I mean, it`s part of it, obviously. This isn`t a sports issue. I think this is a social issue that we`re -- it`s a historical issue of how African-Americans have been treated, viewed and looked at.

As the gentleman was talking about, we`re just not treated the same, the way -- and, right now, the whole thing is, we`re not treated equally with regards to how law enforcement deal with African-Americans.

And so, in sports, the issue remains the same. And you talked about the systemic side of things and how we go about that. I mean, that`s every sector that you can think of in sports and entertainment and TV and radio. The narrative is the same. It`s...

MELBER: Yes. Well, let me press you a little bit.

You mentioned leading, as you said, many black athletes, entrepreneurs in your community. Obviously, it`s a different league, but you had the NFL come out and say all of a sudden, oh, I guess we got it wrong Kaepernick. It`s hard to...


MELBER: Well, go ahead. You`re laughing. Go ahead.

PIERCE: Well, it`s self-reflecting. I think everybody`s self-reflecting right now.

And they`re looking in the mirror and say, the Kaepernick issue was only about racial profiling and racial discrimination. It never was about the flag. And now, as you self-reflect, and you see what`s happening in our world, for some people, this is brand-new. Kaepernick was trying to say that it wasn`t brand-new, and many others who continue to fight for this are sharing the fact that it`s not brand-new.

And, as the gentleman says, 401 years since the first slave ship arrived here, and that`s when it started, and nothing has changed.

MELBER: Well, we have seen -- because sports, as you mentioned, are such a part of American culture, but they`re also a place where race can be addressed or sort of ignored, what seemed like the hypocrisy in the NFL was, this critique of Kaepernick and others saying, well, this is just Sunday, people don`t want you to bring -- quote -- "your politics" to Sunday.

But what Kaepernick and others were saying is, this isn`t politics. This is a peaceful protest against what he called murder.

So, how are you going to tell a person not to bring that? I`m curious, because so many people do watch sports, whether you have any hope for this being a place where, if people are picking sides, it could actually build your coalition. Since you were out there today, it seems like you`re a part of this.

PIERCE: That`s my only mission.

I have never been in front of the Senate. I have never been in front of Congress. I have never been -- what I do have is the platform. And if people need to bring attention and light to this situation, and they need people with platform to help them, that`s what I -- that`s what I`m hoping to land, is my platform, our platform, because, as you mentioned, it has been ignored.

There is no question. It has been ignored. And the only way it`s going to be brought up is if we keep the conversation going, and the people that can keep the conversation going are the people with platforms.

MELBER: Hundred percent.

Lloyd Pierce, very interesting getting your perspective and helping us understand why you chose to speak out at this time. I want to thank you for coming on THE BEAT, sir.

PIERCE: Thank you for having me.

MELBER: Absolutely.

And I also want to thank Eugene Robinson, who was just mentioned, and Mara Gay, who were part of our coverage.

We`re going to fit in a break, but, as mentioned, we have so much in tonight`s show.

There was a historic Supreme Court ruling protecting LGBTQ Americans, and you will never guess who joined the opinion. Neal Katyal is here on that.

We also have our interview live with the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, coming up, with police reform and a lot of other issues in the news.

Later, health officials in Tulsa warning Donald Trump against holding his rally there.

And later tonight, Beyonce weighing in on another one of these important cases involving Breonna Taylor.

I`m Ari Melber, and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: We have been covering a lot of different news, but a big story that will live in history began today, with the Supreme Court issuing a truly landmark ruling banning outright discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

And this ruling was 6-3. We will get into that. It says employers can no longer do something that was legal in most the country up until this ruling today, which is, you could previously fire someone who was LGBTQ simply because of who they were.

This comes just five years after the court`s historic marriage equality ruling. I was part of a team that was covering that when it happened.


MELBER: What we have read from the bench, there is a right to marriage equality. I repeat, speaking to you from the steps of Supreme Court, there is a right to marriage equality read just from the bench now.


MELBER: That was a major constitutional ruling. It was something that many hadn`t expected even just a few years prior.

Today`s ruling is about federal law. It is rooted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And it is a reminder, during a time of tremendous protests, how movements can not only build progress, but then build progress that benefits others that they may not have even known at the time.

Yesterday, we should note, thousands were gathering for a black trans lives matter rally in Brooklyn. It was protesting recent deaths specifically of black transgender women.

Much to discuss here, including the intersections.

I want to bring for our Opening Arguments series the former acting Solicitor General of the United States Neal Katyal. He also, we should note, filed a brief in support of the winning side in this case.

Good to see you again, sir.


MELBER: You have obviously been tracking this, and you have a really unique knowledge of how these things come about.

I want to get into all of it, including the interesting coalition in the case, but let`s start at the ground level. It would not be wild for someone to hear that the Supreme Court said, oh, a law from 1964 protects people who identify as trans. And they might say, cool, but certainly, in 1964, the way, the world was, that wasn`t written into the law.

So can you explain legally what happened and whether, as we know from your victory here being on that side, why you think it`s a good thing?

KATYAL: Yes, Ari.

So I think you described it as landmark. That`s exactly right. So, in 26 states as of yesterday, you could be fired just for being gay. And a lot of Supreme Court decisions are kind of abstract and stuff. This is not.

So, one of the people in this case, Gerald Bostock, he worked for a county. He was a public employee. And he went and played in a gay softball league, and the county fired him just for that. And that happens, as I say, in 26 states.

What the Supreme Court did today is, it said, uh-uh. Since 1964, that statute you mentioned, Ari, which prohibits discrimination -- quote -- "because of sex," since that time, that statute means that gay folks and LGBT, transgender folks are protected. And you can`t fire them merely for being gay or merely for being transgender.

It`s a historic ruling.

MELBER: And then you have, Neal, the coalition here.

There are times where people are skeptical of the system, of judges, of the courts, and I think some of that`s well-reasoned. We have definitely covered that.

This is a time where it is, I believe, a reminder to people that not everything is about your party label or who appointed you. So, whatever one thinks of Donald Trump and Justice Gorsuch, it is a Trump appointee who just wrote the opinion you mentioned.

I want to read from Justice Gorsuch`s opinion. He says: "An individual`s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions. An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law."

What does it mean to you to see a Trump appointee not only in this majority, but writing the opinion?

KATYAL: I mean, it`s a profound statement, Ari.

Our common calling, you and I both went to law school, is in the law and the idea that law is something beyond politics. And when Justice Gorsuch was nominated, I thought that he would be that judge, which is why I supported him. Obviously, I got a lot of criticism for that.

And he certainly has issued a lot of rulings I disagree with. But, today, I think it was a ruling that was really faithful to what law is all about. And in this moment, where Republicans and Democrats are tearing each other apart, I think this Supreme Court decision today points to something, a loftier ideal, an ideal of what America is all about.

And so you have Trump`s nominee, his first nominee to the Supreme Court, Neal Gorsuch, leading the Supreme Court and saying, in this decision today, and joined by John Roberts, who is George W. Bush`s appointee, that these folks are protected. It`s basic human decency.

It`s what Congress recognized in 1964. And I think all of us can learn a lot from what the court did today.

MELBER: Well put. We have about 30 seconds.

You mentioned Roberts, of course, who was on as well. What does it tell you that John Roberts had Gorsuch in this role?

KATYAL: Well, I think the chief justice does have the ability to assign the power to any justice that he did with Gorsuch, assuming that Gorsuch was in the majority when they voted, I think suggests that there`s something of an alignment of views there.

These are folks who do believe in law. You and I will disagree with a lot of their decisions, but I don`t think they`re based on politics. And that`s, I think, something nice that we`re seeing today.

MELBER: yes.

And I think at a time when there`s so much going on everyone`s aware of, this is a ruling that has a lot of what you just said, universal principles of law, equal civil rights protections, and, yes, even in 2020, Washington, D.C., some bipartisanship or nonpartisanship, if you want to call it that.

Neal, always good to see you, sir.

KATYAL: Thank you.

MELBER: Thank you.

And if you`re watching at home and thinking, I want to see more of Neal, we have the solution for you. After the end of THE BEAT, of course, you can always go to This and our other reports with Neal stay archived there, because there`s so much to learn. I call it a little online law school.

And for a little more law, in 30 seconds, we are joined live by Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, when we come back.


MELBER: Today, Democrats in Congress pushing ahead on police reform with or without Donald Trump. It`s still unclear what the executive order is that Donald Trump has been basically pushed to issue, a sign again of protesters having an impact not only on the left, but among Republicans.

Democrats, though, are full speed ahead on a Justice in Policing Act, which would have a federal ban on choke holds, as well as these controversial no- knock warrants. The bill is sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler. And like many other progressives in Congress, we should note he has advocated for criminal justice reform for many years, fighting for what had been at one time less mainstream positions, progressive positions on police accountability, dealing with racial disparities in drug laws, revised sensing guidelines, as well as restoring some voting rights for the formerly incarcerated.

Chairman Nadler joins us now.

Good day to you, sir.


MELBER: Let`s start with that point big picture. Folks who are familiar with your career, as well as the work of what was once your chairman, Chairman Conyers, before you took on the role, and other leaders of the progressive wing and the CBC, have actually been pushing this for a long time.

I`m curious what you think about some of those ideas now getting fairly mainlined.

NADLER: Well, the history of this country is a history of, from the time that we wrote the Declaration of Independence that said all men are created equal, they didn`t mean all people are created equal.

Black people weren`t included. Women weren`t included. Native Americans weren`t included. Only white men of property were included. And much of the history of this country is a history of our expanding the notion of who is included as part of equal, that everybody has equal rights.

It`s been a long struggle, and this is a continuation of it. And it`s gratifying that we`re making some more steps, some additional steps. It`s unfortunate, very unfortunate, that it took the murders of various -- of George Floyd and other people to raise people`s consciousness enough so that we can pass this kind of legislation.

But this isn`t -- this legislation will be a major step forward on our journey to equality and -- in this country.

MELBER: When you look at the discussion of something that you and I know, and we have covered on this program, is a hole in the system, which is, we don`t even have reliable federal tracking of these incidents of alleged excessive force, police brutality and killings, how do you fix that?

What do you think of the reports that the president may weigh in on that tomorrow?

NADLER: Well, I don`t know what the president is going to weigh in on. And I never expect anything worthwhile from him.

But in the bill that we are going to mark up -- that is to say, pass out of committee on Wednesday, we held the hearing for last week, we expect to pass on the House floor next week -- we have a lot of provisions, one of which establishes a national registry of police officers who have been disciplined or accused of maltreatment of people, so that they cannot get hired in one place after they have been found guilty or fired in another place.

That`s one of the pieces of our bill, along with reforming qualified immunity and banning choke holds and a lot of other things. It`s a very necessary step.

Now, I note that we have seen some of the Republican proposals coming out of the Senate, and they don`t have -- they`re very anemic. They don`t have the repeal or reform of qualified immunity, for example, so that we`re going to have to insist on very strong legislation.

MELBER: Yes, qualified immunity is a huge deal I actually wanted to ask you about.

The Supreme Court took a pass on it today. As viewers may recall, it is a kind of a catch-all protection that makes it much harder to hold police officers accountable in court. And, obviously, if a police officer did something right in the line of duty, that`s fine. But if there was an actual evidence of misconduct, you don`t want it to be impossible to hold them accountable.

How would you address that specifically?

NADLER: Well, basically, by getting rid of the doctrine of qualified immunity.

This is a doctrine that was essentially created by the Supreme Court over the last 50 or 60 years. It has no basis in the law. The law is a civil rights act written shortly after the Civil War, believe it or not. The Supreme Court eviscerated it by inventing a doctrine of qualified immunity.

And we will -- we will, in our bill, get rid of that doctrine, eliminate it, so that you can hold police officers accountable.

MELBER: So, then it`s simple enough. It`s out.

I want to play for you as well, Chairman, Attorney General Bill Barr, who you have clashed with in more than one way. But on this specific issue of policing, he appears to suggest that the calls for accountability or reform are themselves an effort to make police look bad, to -- quote, unquote -- "demonize them."

Take a look.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: I think it`s dangerous to demonize police.

We put these individuals into highly charged, dangerous situations where their own life is at stake. Their adrenaline is pumping and so forth. And we have to make sure we treat them fairly in those kinds of circumstances.


MELBER: As a reporter, I will say, one part of that is, fact check, true, because officers, like people in the military, are put in tremendously dangerous professional situations.

The other part, I would say, fact check, questionable. I`m curious your reaction to his depiction of this movement as -- quote, unquote -- "demonizing offices."

NADLER: Well, reactionaries who oppose -- were opposed to any kind of freedom and liberation, people who supported -- who opposed the elimination of slavery, who opposed the elimination of Jim Crow always come out with such -- with this kind of logic.

The fact of the matter is, we have a major, major problem in this country. Over 1,000 people last year died at the hands of police in the United States. In most European countries, there`s not more than one or two. There`s something very wrong with the police culture and with the way we train police and with the laws here that we have to change, because, obviously, the police are there to protect people.

But, too often, especially when you`re dealing with black people, they are oppressing people. And they`re committing -- we see the mayhem.


MELBER: The other issue -- sure.

The other issue, that you have had a lot of pressure on Bill Barr to testify. You said on MSNBC you expected him to testify by June, or you would take other measures. Do you have a date from him? And if not, what next?

NADLER: We do not have a date with him. And we have been fighting with him.

And what next is, we`re going to take a measure -- a number of measures. For one thing, I have introduced a bill which I hope to get taken care of very soon to eliminate $50 million from his personal office.

And we have taken other measures, but we have to get serious about Mr. Barr, who is totally lawless, who has turned the attorney general`s office into a -- not just a legal office for the president, but a legal office for the president`s crimes.

MELBER: Will you subpoena him?

NADLER: We issued a subpoena to him. A number of other committees have issued a subpoena while ago. They -- but they`re being litigated in court.

But I`m not going to waste time in the few remaining months of the Trump administration on litigating -- on just litigating subpoenas. We`re going to -- as I said, we`re going to take out the measures, including eliminating the appropriation for his personal office.

MELBER: Understood, and all interesting points on a range of issues.

Chairman Nadler, always good to see you, sir.

NADLER: Good to be here.

MELBER: Thank you.

We`re going to fit in a break.

When we come back, Oklahoma health officials are basically telling Donald Trump, look, it would be better for everyone`s health if you canceled your rally. We`re going to show you that story.

Also, will the officers involved in the deadly shooting of Rayshard Brooks face charges? We have a very newsworthy interview, a lawyer for the family, right after the break.


MELBER: Protests today in Atlanta, new calls for justice in this story we have been covering, the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks.

Now, a decision on charges against officers is expected within days. We began our broadcast with some context on that. After this scuffle, Brooks was shot by an officer from behind. He was fleeing after grabbing what appeared to be a Taser and apparently shooting backwards with it.

Take a look.


CHASSIDY EVANS, NIECE OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: We stood with the Atlanta Police Department when they were just tearing up our city to say, this doesn`t happen here, leave them alone.

And here we are three weeks later. Those same police took something away from my family that we will never get back, Rayshard Brooks.

I`m not only asking the city of Atlanta to stand with us. I`m asking for everyone in this nation to stand with us as we seek justice for Rayshard.


MELBER: That was Brooks` niece speaking out on all of this.

We`re joined now by Justin Miller, who represents the Brooks family.

Thank you for joining me.


MELBER: We have seen a what many view as a very tragic pattern continue over the weekend. And I and others on the program have discussed that tonight.

What do you see as potentially different? And what are you seeking?

MILLER: Usually, in these situations, we say we`re seeking justice.

But after this case and the Floyd case, we can`t really say that anymore. Complete justice for this family will never happen. Justice for these little girls who lost their father will never happen. Justice for this wife, these nieces and nephews and cousins and brothers and sisters will never happen.

So we would just like to see the DA`s office do the right thing, real reform happen and real change happen, and just to make Mr. Brooks` life and Mr. Floyd`s life and all the others lost life really mean something.

MELBER: The discussion with the DA, let`s take a look at what we have, a little bit there from the local DA in an interview. Take a look.


QUESTION: From what you have seen so far, have you seen any evidence of wrongdoing?

PAUL HOWARD, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: One of the things that we`re looking at is whether or not Mr. Brooks did something that would indicate that he would cause harm to these officers prior to the time that the officers moved in to arrest him.


MELBER: Given your work in this area, how different is at least the pressure and the reaction already -- I outlined some of it early, the police chief out, the DA making a point of trying to deal with this seriously -- as compared to, historically, where we have seen nothing happens after this type of incident?

MILLER: We think it`s very different.

And this is why we believe there may be a chance here for some real systemic change. But we are not optimistic that it will happen if these things quit, if there`s not more protests, if they`re not people in different places and of different races calling for these things to happen.

So we like what we see. It`s good. It`s better than it usually is. But we need more, and these families need more.


One of the other things that was just discussed at the wider policy level - - and we`re looking at some of the footage of protesters here -- but was, how do you deal with tracking this, writ large?

Chairman Nadler, who has a lot of power on this in Washington, was on the program. He was talking about having a new law that would provide the kind of federal tracking that doesn`t exist, whether people find that surprising or not.

To take that to the individual level that you`re dealing with, as a case, the officer who shot Brooks locally has this disciplinary report. We can put it up here, a written reprimand previously, not from this incident, but previously, Garrett Rolfe, for use of a firearm. This was October 2017.

And you can see here highlighted, use of firearm written up in `17, sustained from a 2016 incident, and received a written reprimand.

For your case, does that matter? And, writ large, in your view, is America long overdue for having a way to track all of this federally? I mean, if -- we have talked a lot about some officers never use their firearm and are not doing anything wrong. A database isn`t going to harm them, if they have nothing to hide.

MILLER: Well, we have a system for tracking everything else in this country. I mean, with the technology that we have today, we should be able to track that just as easily as we track what you buy at Starbucks every day with your Apple Pay or your Starbucks card.

I mean, this is way more important than that. And I feel like we`re not giving it the level of attention that it really deserves. So, yes, I agree that there`s -- there are more things that can be done.

And I think that the mayor`s new edicts go -- they start to move the needle in that direction. But there are many other things that we`d like to see happen before we can say there`s real systemic change occurring.

MELBER: Justin Miller, in the middle of this as a lawyer from Mr. Brooks` family, I know it`s a busy time. I thank you coming on THE BEAT, sir.

MILLER: No problem. Thank you for having me.

MELBER: Up ahead, we turn to another story, this Breonna Taylor case, Beyonce weighing in, and not just speaking out publicly, but also personally lobbying the attorney general of Kentucky. We`re going to get into why that matters.

But, first, Donald Trump`s new take on the virus and this MAGA rally that may be causing him more trouble than he bet on.


MELBER: Here`s coronavirus claim from the president:


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our testing is so far advanced. It`s so much bigger and better than any other country that we`re going to have more cases. We`re always going to have more cases.

And, as I said this morning, that`s probably the downside of having good testing is, you find a lot of cases that other countries who don`t even test don`t have. If you don`t test, you don`t have any cases. If we stopped testing right now, we would have very few cases, if any.


MELBER: I mean, there`s a lot going on, but it is worth pausing and making sure we don`t normalize the fact that the sitting president of the United States, months into the pandemic, is announcing that if, well, we just stop testing entirely, you would have fewer cases.

Well, you wouldn`t have fewer cases. You just have fewer cases you know about.

All of this, of course, is happening against a controversy of the president`s own making. He`s pushing forward on a MAGA rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Now, to be as fair as possible, a lot of people are gathering for a lot of political reasons.

But it is striking to see the local paper in that red area say it`s the wrong time and the wrong place. The CDC classifies the event in the highest risk category.

And this comes as the coronavirus is hitting different places; 22 states are seeing the infection rate rise. You will see a lot of that is in the South and Southwest.

So, that`s a little update on the state of coronavirus planning.

Meanwhile, when we come back, a story I have been telling you about in our broadcast. The Breonna Taylor case, which is so important, has a new ally, Beyonce.

Now, what she`s doing -- when we come back.


MELBER: Welcome back.

We have been tracking a lot of the different voices that have weighed in on this national protest movement, some new, some reinforcing work they have been doing for a long time.

The artist and entrepreneur Beyonce has engaged many of these issues for years, from political and charity work, to using her platform at the Super Bowl halftime show to pay tribute to black resistance. She dressed her dancers in all black with berets and afros. To some, it was controversial at the time.

Well, now she is using her power to directly lobby for action in this case of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed in her own apartment by Louisville police on March 13. Officers who killed her are on paid administrative reassignment.

Now, Beyonce notes in a new letter that, when black people are killed by police, she sees two tragedies, the death and then the typical inaction that follows it. So, she`s calling for an investigation to remedy that second tragedy, writing directly to Kentucky`s attorney general that his office has both the power and responsibility to bring justice to Breonna Taylor and demonstrate the value of a black woman`s life.

Now, Beyonce and her husband, Jay-Z, have been outspoken on racial injustice. They have a charity that does prison reform work. Indeed, if you watch THE BEAT, you may recall we have covered that with some of their artists.

They have also publicly made a point of attending earlier and, frankly, less attended rallies than these big protests, for example, for Trayvon Martin, seen there with my colleague Reverend Sharpton.

Beyonce`s video, meanwhile, for "Freedom" included visuals of the mothers of Martin and Michael Brown and Eric Garner. And in that video, you see there, they were holding pictures of their children killed by police. She also invited those three women, along with the mother of Oscar Grant, to join her at a 2016 awards show.

It`s a reminder that the conversation we`re having in this country, for some, is being picked up at this moment, and, for others, it has been pushed for a very long time.

That`s our final thought on THE BEAT. Thanks for joining.

We will be back here at 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night.