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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/18/14

Guests: Ryan Reilly, Yamiche Alcindor, Anthony Gray, Wesley Lowery

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: That`s ALL IN for this evening. Rachel Maddow will take our live coverage. RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Chris. And we will not let you go to bed or get any production work done quietly. We`re going to be going back to you. I`m sorry that you are out there in the middle of it, man, but it`s invaluable information. HAYES: You bet. MADDOW: Thank you. We`re going to be checking in with Chris and with reporters and producers on the ground in Ferguson throughout the hour. I want to thank you at home for staying with us for the next hour. It is now just after midnight here on the East Coast. That means it`s 11:00 pm in Ferguson, Missouri. And as you have been seeing in our coverage over the course of this evening, things in the last hour took a dramatic turn, took a turn for the tense. What started off as a generally peaceful protest night tonight in Ferguson, night nine of this crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, it seemed to just sort of turn on a dime about exactly an hour ago as police in full riot gear started to try to disperse the crowd out on the street in Ferguson. Now it is not clear if it was a change in behavior by the protesters that caused police to suddenly change their tactics an hour ago. It`s possible it was just a unilateral decision by police that they were going to ratchet it up and try to clear people away. But it did happen very quickly. Protesters have been told -- all day today -- that they needed to keep moving to avoid arrest, which is -- it`s a strange interpretation of the right to assemble, that you can assemble, but only if you are walking at the same time, that you are not allowed to assemble in a stationary way. That you have to physically keep walking in an area in which you are being allowed to protest. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW (voice-over): Only if you are be -- and if you stop moving, then you will -- if you stop moving, that you will be arrested. What we are watching right now, with that street sign and what -- we are seeing these projectiles come from the police side. This is all live right now in Ferguson, Missouri. We`re not exactly clear on what these incendiaries are here, what is burning in the street, open fires in the street. Open fires in street are something that we have not seen very much of. Chris, from where you are right now can you see what is happening? HAYES (voice-over): Yes, we have just seen massive, what looks like fireworks, explode. And now it looks like the tear gas is coming out. MADDOW (voice-over): Can you smell the tear gas from where you are? HAYES (voice-over): Flash, it looks like flash grenades. There is a smoke rising up from right outside where the QuikTrip is. We see protesters hurling things at -- I can`t tell what they are. They`re popping in the sky. We`re -- they look like fireworks. They could be flash grenades. We could be about to get tear gassed here, frankly. There is steam rising up, a very, very chaotic scene happening down near where the QuikTrip was. Just 30 seconds ago a bunch of things popped off real quick. And there is another firework in the air right now. It looks like that is probably a flash grenade as well. MADDOW (voice-over): Chris, I can tell you that before the smoke went up so thickly, we saw a protester, some, brandishing a street sign. We see another street sign in the street right now. And it seems like whatever is on fire and giving off that smoke is rolling from two different directions at once. I can`t tell what those items are. HAYES (voice-over): Yes, so there`s loud explosions happening behind us. There is -- there is smoke now rising up into the sky. Just now, we have, we have now entered the, what, now, seems, seems the inevitable. Now, everyone is booking. CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Down Canfield. HAYES (voice-over): Everyone is booking down Canfield. And there is -- people are also lobbing -- I`m not sure what the heck they`re lobbing back. MELVIN (voice-over): What was that? HAYES (voice-over): That was someone I think throwing a -- (CROSSTALK) HAYES (voice-over): No, no, I think that was someone throwing a tear gas canister back. People have taken to doing that. We have the loud LRAD, crowd noises, complete, complete chaos here as the crowd disperses in the midst of this smoke that`s now billowing way up and rising up. And I can start to feel it, start to feel a little bit on the eyes. I think that they have -- I think they had deployed tear gas; people are booking away from it. MELVIN (voice-over): Look at this guy here. (CROSSTALK) HAYES (voice-over): Yes, we`re seeing people running from it and coughing. And you can start to feel it in the air, frankly, as it comes toward us. It comes toward us right now. We -- we are going to -- MADDOW (voice-over): Chris and Craig, from your vantage point, is it clear to you -- HAYES (voice-over): Come around. Come around. MADDOW (voice-over): -- what do police -- HAYES (voice-over): Sorry, sorry. MADDOW (voice-over): -- want them to do? HAYES (voice-over): -- mask. Well, they wanted them, they want them to move. Like I said, every night they have been -- every night they have been -- they have been sort of creating lines in the sand. And then the confrontation happens all around that line generally. So tonight the line in the sand was, you have to move. Did you -- did you hear that? UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE). HAYES (voice-over): That`s what they want them to do. They`re saying if you`re standing -- MADDOW (voice-over): -- you have to keep moving. MELVIN (voice-over): Whoa. The flash bombs continue. HAYES (voice-over): We got flash grenades going now. And there is tear gas. People have now scattered in -- oh, yes, that is the very familiar now, smell of tear gas wafting through the air. MADDOW (voice-over): Chris, one of the things that you were talking about earlier is the importance that there aren`t any personal vehicles, there aren`t any private vehicles on this, in this area. We`re seeing cars that do look like some private vehicles here. (CROSSTALK) HAYES (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) there are some. So -- MADDOW (voice-over): Are those police vehicles or what is happening there? HAYES (voice-over): No -- well, it`s unclear. I mean basically I think there were sort of allowances made. Obviously you can`t just completely block off this area to all vehicle traffic because there are people that live here and work here and have to get in here. And so -- yes, you can feel that tear gas in the air. It`s starting to sort of waft towards us. You get that familiar sting in the eyes. That is definitely -- that is not apparently tear gas. That is definitely tear gas -- MELVIN (voice-over): That`s tear gas. HAYES (voice-over): I can tell you. I can tell you damn well and, man, does that freaking sting. MADDOW (voice-over): Do you guys need to get out of the position that you are in and get some fresh air? HAYES (voice-over): Yes, actually -- MELVIN (voice-over): Let`s take a break. HAYES (voice-over): -- or if we got a mask for me here. Could we throw a -- have we got a mask? Hold on one second. We will try to get a mask so we can stay out here. MADDOW (voice-over): OK. What is going on right now, for those of you guys watching at home, this is live right now. This is Craig Melvin and Chris Hayes who are on the scene on West Florissant. And we`ve been watching these two pincer move police actions on two different sides of this street with two different groups of protesters. There does not seem to be one massed group of protesters; they seem to be broken up into smaller groups. And the confrontations with police have been on again-off again. And just within the last couple of minutes, just since we have been on the air in the last five minutes, police tonight, for the first time, at least, that we can tell, seem to have deployed tear gas. And Craig and Chris are both being affected by that. We are trying to figure out exactly what is happening in terms of arrests, exactly what is happening in terms of violence and threats of violence. You can see Captain Ron Johnson from the Missouri Highway Patrol there, who`s the man in charge of policing there. And at this point, we are trying to figure out also what is happening in terms of the police tactics and strategy. You can see some of their tactics here in terms of their SWAT gear and their riot gear. You see police aiming weapons of some kind in the direction of police. The thing that is mounted on the top of the car there is an LRAD, as far as we can tell, at least, a long-range acoustic device. These are sound cannons that the police have used to try to disperse people. The idea of the sound cannon is that they cause you pain and make you leave an area. That`s a weapon of war that`s been used a few times domestically in the U.S. It`s been used a lot in Ferguson, including tonight. Joining us right now on the phone is reporter Erin Delmore. Erin, what can you tell us about your position and what you can see from there? ERIN DELMORE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rachel, I`ve been standing guard at West Florissant and Ferguson Avenue. It`s the intersection where police have been lined up in a defensive position, three to five feet, for at least an hour now. There is a calmer scene now than there was an hour ago when tensions flared. But, Rachel, there are police vehicles coming down West Florissant right now. This is new tonight. We have seen two emergency vehicles come down West Florissant. Now I`ve seen about eight. I`m looking ahead toward Chris` position. Tear gas canisters, I can smell it, I can feel it coming in my nose. People are running at me in the opposite direction with their shirts over their face. Police have gas masks on. And they`re in a defensive position still at the intersection. MADDOW (voice-over): Erin, when you say that you`re seeing emergency vehicle, do you mean that you are seeing police cruisers or some of these tactical vehicles or are you seeing ambulances? What are you seeing? DELMORE (voice-over): Tactical vehicles, they`re not ambulances, they`re not fire, Rachel. They`re tactical vehicles. And the drivers have helmets. They have shields. The police who are on the forefront have their shields. They have batons, face masks and their gas masks are on. MADDOW (voice-over): Erin, is it clear to you from your position and from what you are hearing police say to protesters, is it clear to you what they want protesters to do and can protesters do what police are directing them to do? DELMORE (voice-over): Rachel, about every protester has cleared out. I cannot explain to you the difference between what I`ve seen on the street starting at 8:00 pm local time. I am feeling the tear gas now, Rachel. MADDOW (voice-over): OK. DELMORE (voice-over): It stings. But I can tell you that protesters have mostly cleared out. And when the hostile environment begin to turn, local residents were linking arms, pushing the violent protesters back in the opposite direction. The community wants these protesters to go home. I can tell you that an isolated number of individuals here, who are surging forward, who are surging forward and the police are reacting. They`re keeping their defensive position. Occasionally they run up, push back. I have seen -- this is now the fourth arrest I am looking at right now. MADDOW (voice-over): You have seen -- you have witnessed four arrests? DELMORE (voice-over): Rachel, I would have to count that number, but I know I have seen three tonight. MADDOW (voice-over): OK. Erin -- (CROSSTALK) DELMORE (voice-over): -- closer to this one. MADDOW (voice-over): OK. Erin, I`m going to -- keep reporting as much as you can. I`m going to give you a chance to try to get to some fresh air if you can, to try to take care of yourself., Erin Delmore, stay with us, but stay safe. I want to now bring in Ryan Reilly, a reporter for "The Huffington Post," who has been doing great work for his own publication and also keeping us informed. He`s been on MSNBC a lot these last few days; he was arrested himself by police in the early days of covering this, a few days ago. Ryan, where are you right now? And what are you seeing? RYAN REILLY, "THE HUFFINGTON POST" (voice-over): So I was actually moving up toward Chris Hayes` position and when I got hit by a waft of tear gas. So (INAUDIBLE) be but I`ve actually moved back a little bit further now. Essentially when I was down there, one of -- you could hear the police officers instructing the crowd that they would have to keep moving and they couldn`t -- they couldn`t stay in one place, which is obviously what we -- they had been told earlier in the evening tonight, before this sort of tense standoff came about. MADDOW (voice-over): In terms of wanting protesters to keep moving, we -- I overheard in talking to Chris police giving that instruction again even just moments ago. It`s not clear to me that there is room for a protester -- I mean, from our vantage point, doesn`t seem like there is room for protesters to keep moving, at least if they want to be away from tear gas and in a place where anybody might hear them. Is that fair? REILLY (voice-over): Well, yes, right now actually, if you are a protester or you`re a member of the media essentially, you are sort of locked into this, you know, probably mile-long corridor right here. You have the riot police on the one side, the police line over there. Some of the officers went to the other side down by the QuikTrip. And that`s where the tear gas was deployed. So you`re essentially in this corridor right here. Right now I am walking back towards in the direction of the QuikTrip. And you essentially just see people walking back and forth, it seems to me, with no clear direction on where exactly they`re headed. Another complication here tonight that I think may become an issue later in the evening is that a lot of the protesters were mingling inside of what had been designated as the press zone here, which I would imagine when they get obviously very difficult, is there a situation or any danger from inside of that press zone for the police to distinguish between press and between the general public here. I can see that becoming an issue later in the evening because, in previous nights, and when we have had this press zone set up, there have been -- there`s been officers surrounding and making sure I guess that the public doesn`t come into that zone and only identified, credentialed reporters came in there. MADDOW (voice-over): Well, I want to tell our viewer that what we are looking at right now is live footage in Ferguson, Missouri, and we are able to show footage right now of a small fire. We don`t know exactly what is going on there. But we are seeing police officers move in tactical formation with both -- with weapons drawn, but also in SWAT gear and in gas masks. Ryan Reilly, "The Huffington Post," do please stay available to us. And stay safe. I know that you are in the tear gas zone right now. Thanks, Ryan. Appreciate it. REILLY (voice-over): Thanks for having me. MADDOW (voice-over): Right now, what you are seeing is -- there are some - - this is an important, I think, distinction between today versus previous days. And Chris has been highlighting this over the course of the evening in his reporting, the fact that one of the things that police did differently tonight. It`s in this area of protest. They`ve blocked people from having private cars there. It`s essentially a road blocked, pedestrian-only zone for most of the day. And that made for a very different character of the protest just in terms of cars not being in the middle of it, there not being that danger, also that opportunity in terms of cars being there for people to jump on. And that`s changed just the physical geography of what the protest meant. Over the course of this evening, we are seeing some private vehicles. We are still seeing a lot of people on the streets. Obviously people are getting hemmed in by this intense police action on two different side of this avenue, as far as we can tell. You know, we have got multiple people there, multiple producers, lots of people who we can call on. But in a way, this -- it`s almost like reporting on some sort of combat action. And I don`t mean to be drawing that analogy glibly. But in order to try to follow what police are doing and how the protesters are responding and what protesters should do in response to police particularly in order to keep themselves safe, it`s very hard to get a grip on what exactly is going on overall. You can see it point by point. But it`s hard to get at, hard to get a sense of exactly what police are trying to do here and when they think they will have succeeded. I want to bring now Yamiche Alcindor. She`s a national breaking news reporter for "USA Today." Yamiche, where are you and what are you seeing now? YAMICHE ALCINDOR, "USA TODAY": I am about a block away from the QuikTrip. And people where I am, are hiding behind buildings and trying to get away from the tear gas. The farther we get away from West Florissant, the better you can breathe. And students, I and other -- and protesters walk anywhere near West Florissant, your eyes begin to burn and your eyes begin to tear up. So people are really just kind of trying to duck and take cover behind these buildings to try to see if they can breathe more clearly. MADDOW (voice-over): Are people still protesting in any meaningful sense? Or is it this -- at this point, are people are just trying to get, trying to get air and trying to leave? ALCINDOR (voice-over): I think people are still protesting in a meaningful way. I think for the people that are of this community, this is a really important demonstration for them. So I think even as they try to take cover and they try to get their breath, they come right back to the streets and continue protesting. So I am watching somebody right now. He`s wiping his face. And he is -- he trying to breathe better. He is still walking in the direction of West Florissant and toward police. MADDOW (voice-over): When you say this is a particularly important demonstration tonight, is that because of the National Guard being called out? Is that because of the end of the curfew? What about tonight is important? ALCINDOR (voice-over): What -- no, that it`s tonight, as much as it is -- well, I think tonight, for a lot of people, was about the fact that there is a new autopsy report that was released, showing that Michael Brown was shot at least six times as well as the fact that the National Guard was brought in. I think a lot of people that I talked to today were very upset about that. But I think also people -- and also I think people are just upset about this, that initial (INAUDIBLE) that (INAUDIBLE) protests. People still say that this officer has not been arrested. He`s not been charged. And most people don`t know what he looks like. We don`t know really -- they don`t really know a lot of information about him. So people are still upset about the initial death of Michael Brown as well. MADDOW (voice-over): Yamiche, in terms of people being upset about the National Guard, how are people articulating that to you? When you hear upset or dissatisfaction with that decision, why is that? UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Anyone see any arrests? ALCINDOR (voice-over): There is a woman today who I interviewed who said this is like having -- this is like being in jail in your own neighborhood. She said that she felt like the National Guard was going to end up being like martial law, that she was going to be trapped in her own neighborhood. She`s going to be told when she could go to the grocery store, when she could go to school, when she could go to work. So I think a lot of people see the National Guard as just a ratcheting up of military style. So I think a lot of people here are just upset that they`re going to have soldiers essentially patrolling their neighborhood. MADDOW (voice-over): We were told when they announced the National Guard deployment, that the Guard wouldn`t really be out on the streets, that they would be specifically deployed around that police operations command center; you wouldn`t see them taking part in the kind of front-line policing that we are showing right now on our screen and that you have been reporting on all night. Is that your experience? Are you able to tell if anybody who you are looking at is National Guard or does it seem like these are all police officers and troopers who you are seeing? ALCINDOR (voice-over): From my vantage point, I saw all regular police officers, in terms of -- and by regular, I mean St. Louis County police officers and their tactical operation. That was just feet away from an armored truck (INAUDIBLE) St. Louis County tactical operations. I haven`t seen anyone that looked like they were from the National Guard. I couldn`t -- I don`t know if they`re among the crowd in other ways. But the people that I`m seeing look like police officers from the local community. I`m told that the only way -- the only people from the National Guard that are here are at the command center, as you mentioned. MADDOW (voice-over): Yamiche Alcindor, national breaking news reporter for "USA Today," Yamiche, thank you so, so much for taking this time to explain what is going on. Just please stay on the line to the extent that you can. ALCINDOR (voice-over): OK, thank you. MADDOW (voice-over): Thank you. Joining us now once again is reporter Erin Delmore. Erin, you were in -- you were caught in the tear gas, in some tear gas when we were last speaking with you. What is happening now? DELMORE (voice-over): Rachel, I`m showing you a picture of the street right now. And here`s what I can tell you, the street is empty. I`m between Canfield Road and Ferguson Avenue here on West Florissant St. The street is empty. People are gathered on either side. Media, protesters, but I have to tell you they`re isolated protesters. The majority of the people who I was watching here for the last couple of hours circle around, chant, they`re gone. MADDOW (voice-over): Is it your sense that they have gone to protest somewhere else, somewhere else on West Florissant or somewhere else where there are other people? Or do you think people just dispersed? DELMORE (voice-over): What I can tell you, Rachel, is that residents made a chain, linking arms, and walked, the more vocal protesters backward, away from the police defensive position on Ferguson Avenue and walked them backward up the street. Now that is the direction where Chris Hayes is, where the tear gas is going off. But I`m looking down the street. I see police vehicles. I do not see people. MADDOW (voice-over): OK. Erin, let me ask you one question, too, in terms of what you have seen this evening. One of the concerns particularly that politicians have articulated and that the national press has articulated is concerns about journalists being not allowed to do their work, journalists being targeted. We did see another arrest of a photojournalist today. And there were MSNBC reports that journalists who had fallen back while trying to comply with -- who actually had fallen down while trying to comply with police orders had had guns pointed at them while they were on the ground. Are you seeing any effort by police to distinguish between media and protesters when they`re giving orders or when they`re moving people around? DELMORE (voice-over): Rachel, I haven`t seen an effort to distinguish. What I can tell you is that I was standing near those journalists who had their guns pointed at them. We conferred later. I have seen them with their hands up, chanting with the protesters. MADDOW (voice-over): OK. DELMORE (voice-over): So you should know that. There are more vehicles moving down the road now. I have not heard anyone distinguish. But I can tell you there is an overwhelming number of cameras here. The majority of the residents and the protesters have fallen back. MADDOW (voice-over): Can I also ask you, Erin, in terms of those sound cannons, was that a significant part of the way the police tried to disperse the crowd tonight, those LRAD sound cannon devices? DELMORE (voice-over): Not on Ferguson Avenue although, Rachel, I`m now walking into something that sounds a lot like that. There`s a stronger sense of tear gas walking toward Canfield Road. There are very few people here. But there are police. They`re in riot gear. The tear gas is getting thick. I`m hearing explosions. I see people crouched down low, Rachel. I`m not close enough to tell you what`s happening. I can tell you that this is a hotter spot than where the police are lined up three deep on Ferguson Avenue. MADDOW (voice-over): When you are saying you are hearing explosions, do, is it the sounds of -- the kind of sounds we have been hearing, in terms of like tear gas canisters being fired, that sort of thing? Or -- ? DELMORE (voice-over): Rachel, they are definitely tear gas canisters. As I walk closer, they`re definitely tear gas canisters. I`m getting as close as I can for you. There`s a very limited number of people here. On the other side of the road police have set up a blockade. There are more vehicles moving in. These look to be not (INAUDIBLE) vehicles. And they`re pulling up all the way down the road on West Ferguson. Getting a closer look now at what police seem to be homing in on here. There is a small fire. There`s a small trash fire in the middle of the road. This is on Canfield Drive, upward from the intersection on West Florissant. It`s a very small fire. MADDOW (voice-over): OK. Erin, just so we understand you in context, is there -- do you have a light on you? Are you going to be attracting attention to yourself? Are you able to -- (CROSSTALK) MADDOW (voice-over): -- you`re uploading with your phone right now. DELMORE (voice-over): I`m uploading with my phone and that`s a conscious decision. The camera brings out a different scene here. So I have chosen to upload via my cell phone. MADDOW (voice-over): We have also seen police targeting media who have lights on, saying that the lights are a tactical disadvantage for the police and that light -- media lights have to come down because the police can`t function with those in their faces, which is -- (CROSSTALK) DELMORE (voice-over): You know, I would agree you. I haven`t heard that myself. I can understand it. But the residents have been pushing media back. They`ve been urging media to fall back. They`re saying these - the media and the attention is encouraging some of the more violent reaction here. I have not heard it from the police; I`ve heard it from the residents. MADDOW (voice-over): And the residents believe that there are things happening in the streets that wouldn`t necessarily be happening if the media were not there? Erin, we still got you? All right. Let`s go right now to -- actually, let`s bring into this conversation someone with a very different perspective on this, Anthony Gray. Anthony Gray is an attorney who is one of the attorneys who represents the family of Michael Brown. We have spoken with him several times over the last few days. Mr. Gray, I`m happy to bring you back into the conversation tonight, as it seems like it`s another very difficult night on the streets in Ferguson. ANTHONY GRAY, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN`S FAMILY: Absolutely. Absolutely. It looks a little bit chaotic. You hear the sirens going off. And you see the bright lights being shone on the crowd. I know that has to be disturbing to the neighbors and to the community at large. I just don`t know what the answer is. I understand that this is an experiment for us in St. Louis. We don`t necessarily know how to deal with this type of situation; we have never had it before, at least in my lifetime. So I just don`t know how to react to this. But I am watching just about everything that I can on television. MADDOW (voice-over): Do you -- when you -- you described it as an experiment now. When we spoke a few hours ago, you described St. Louis as basically being a living laboratory right now in terms of trying something that it`s never tried before. Do you mean that both -- (AUDIO GAP) MADDOW (voice-over): -- police are trying to do in (INAUDIBLE) they`re reacting to these protests but also what the protesters are trying to do by pushing so hard to be out there in the streets, despite all of this risk and despite all this chaos? GRAY (voice-over): Yes, Rachel. I mean, you hit it on the money. It is a two-way laboratory experience I have never seen again. And I have been living -- I`m 50 years old. So I am half a decade. So I have just never seen protesting like this. And the people that are out protesting think they have a fundamental right to do that. They`re basing it on maybe some TV show or something like that, because clearly they don`t have experience in it. You can look at the age of the people that are -- and I don`t like to necessarily use the word "protest" all the time, just kind of supporting whatever cause they think they`re out there to support. And so there is some pushback because they feel in their minds they have the right to be there. And the police feel like they have a right to direct how they should be there. So it`s a little bit of a showdown, too. MADDOW (voice-over): I mean, when you get -- (AUDIO GAP) MADDOW (voice-over): -- about your clients, their son being killed by police. This is a community that rose up in anger about alleged excessive use of force by police, excessive use of force by a mostly white police force against a mostly black population in this town. And now we are seeing it extrapolated into this whole other type of confrontation. Do you think -- I was going to say that police could be handling this better? I will not insult you by asking that. I will ask instead, can you imagine the police handling this well from here on out, this ending constructively from here on out? Can you imagine a positive end from this point forward? GRAY (voice-over): You know, because I am just an optimistic person I`m just going to say yes because I view the world from a perspective that the glass is half full. So I will say yes based on who I am. I don`t really know. But let me just make this observation. I think the whole situation would be different because Ron Johnson has a presence. He has a heart. And everybody felt his approach in the beginning. I think if all the officers that were standing behind him carried the same type of emotional attachment that he felt, then I think you would probably be witnessing a different scenario. Now that`s just my guess. I just see him as being out there all by himself in terms of the connection that he talked about. And you see him out there hugging and shaking hands in the early parts of this. But you didn`t see entourage of them doing that. You just saw one guy. And so the people behind him, you know, I am not so sure that they really carry the same kind of feelings to the street that the commander of those guys carry to the street. So I don`t know. It`s a testing situation, Rachel. And we`ll just have to see how it plays out. MADDOW (voice-over): In case you are just joining us, what you see on your screen right is live footage from Ferguson, Missouri. It`s about 12:30 am on the East Coast. It`s 11:27 local time in Ferguson. We`re speaking with Anthony Gray, who`s an attorney for Michael Brown`s family. Michael Brown, of course, the young man who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson last Saturday. Mr. Gray, I had one last sort of big-picture question for you. And one of the things that you have done as an attorney for the family is that you have been sort of an emissary from them, being a public face, being willing to come on shows like this and have this kind of public conversation. And you have conveyed the family`s wish that people continue to protest, but that they do so in a way that is constructive, nonviolent and dignified. Why is it that the family does want people to continue to protest, to continue to get out there? GRAY (voice-over): Well, because they know as well as I know and perhaps you know, too, because you are so intelligent, that by acting in a violent way, looting and rioting, that completely distracts away from what occurred on that Saturday afternoon. This becomes the story and not Michael Brown Jr. And all of these -- what I consider to be positive potential that could come out of it, with a national discourse about policies and the like. We are kind of losing the momentum that could have, you know, potentially been made in that direction because this -- you are losing, you`re losing people with this, in my opinion. You`re losing people who may want to otherwise support Mike Brown Jr. because they see this activity. And of course they associate it with him, as opposed to the officer who was the one that triggered all of this. He is not getting that backlash. But Michael Brown Jr. will suffer, in my opinion, as a result of what we are witnessing tonight. And I think that is very, very unfortunate for this family, who doesn`t want to see that. MADDOW (voice-over): Anthony Gray, attorney for Michael Brown`s family. Thank you for being with us tonight, sir. It`s a -- (CROSSTALK) GRAY (voice-over): Thank you for having me, Rachel. Always appreciate you. MADDOW (voice-over): Thank you. I want to say it`s one of the things that you have just seen just in the last few seconds here. Again, this is a live shot from Ferguson, Missouri, right now, and some of the cloudiness you are seeing here. All of these reporters and producers on the scene are telling us, that is tear gas that is clouding your vision there as well as theirs much more acutely. One of the things which you`ve have seen, which may be an unfamiliar sight, is these people in yellow, bright yellow T-shirts that say "Amnesty" on them. We`ve seen a few of those in the last few minutes. Some of those have been picked up on our multiple cameras on the scene. I believe -- I stand corrected if this is not true, but I believe that this is the first time that the group Amnesty International has ever deployed civil liberties observers to an event in the United States, Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch, other groups like this are regulars -- are regularly deployed observers, human rights observers around the globe when they know that human rights are threatened and they think that having observers there may help avoid some of the worst abuses or at least bring attention to them when they happen. I don`t know of another time in which Amnesty International has deployed those type of observers in the U.S. But they have today. And that`s what we will see sometimes in these yellow -- in these yellow shirts. Also tell you that in terms of the police presence, I think it is being -- it`s a misapprehension right now that, because the National Guard was called out today, and because so much of the police presence that you see out on the street tonight looks like a military force, think there has been a misconception that this must be the National Guard on the streets of Ferguson that we are seeing. We have no indication that the officers who we have been seeing on our cameras tonight are themselves National Guard. To the contrary, what we were advised is that those National Guard troops would be held back specifically at the police operation center to avoid that being targeted essentially by protesters to keep that place open. That looks like a National Guard vehicle. That looks look a National Guardsman there. But them providing command center security is not the same as them being on the front lines confronting protesters as members of the United States Armed Forces. I want to bring now to the conversation Trymaine Lee, national reporter, who`s been doing incredible work on the ground for days now in Ferguson. Trymaine, thanks very much for being with us. Where are you now and what can you see? TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m at the corner of West Florissant and Ferguson, not too far from these columns of police officers. The peace is hanging by a thread here. Just a few minutes ago, a car came down the street. And immediately all the officers start yelling, "Back up," and raising their automatic rifles. The people who are trying to walk in the street, they`re being told to get back, get back. Now we are a little further down from the QuikTrip market where we heard loud bangs about 10, 15 minutes ago, several of them. And from my understanding, there could be some gas deployed down that way. You know, even further back, another gentleman drove up in a car; again, screaming at him, (INAUDIBLE) get out of the car. He got out and he seemed to be bleeding from his hand. There were reports from some folks that he was shot. So again, the peace is trying to -- hanging on by a thread here. And again, we can`t see further down the road by the QuikTrip market. We are down here closer to the line of police officers and where the media had been kind of cordoned off. So it`s not clear exactly what is happening down at the far end of the road. MADDOW (voice-over): I will tell you, one observation and one question for you. The observation is that I have been watching a lot of this footage from a lot of different sources over the last few days. I have not previously seen an officer holding his handgun the way I believe we just saw an officer moments ago on our camera. Again, these are live shots that we`re showing right now. So police officers drawing their pistols is not something that I`m used to seeing, even as we`re getting sort of inured to the sight of officers holding long guns and even occasionally training them at groups of protesters. But Trymaine, in terms of what you were saying about your location and where the media are, are you saying that there is a place where police and protesters are confronting one another but the media can`t get close enough to see it? LEE (voice-over): Precisely. For a while there early on, closer to where we are, a group of protesters had locked arms and crossed the street. And that was the beginning of kind of the confrontation. But for the last hour or so, they all moved over onto the sidewalk. So we can`t see further down. So right now there are no protesters standing directly in the front line of the officers. Everyone is on the sidewalk. But further down -- I`m not sure if there are any media or any eyes or anyone down seeing what`s going on. And that`s where we heard several loud bangs. You could see the smoke down the street. Again about, 35, 40 minutes ago a bunch of armored vehicles and police trucks kind of stayed down the street in that opposite direction. And so again, it`s still unclear to me from my vantage point, what exactly happened down there or what`s going on now. MADDOW (voice-over): Trymaine, are you finding that the police either at a high-level operational level or just the front line cops you are encountering on the ground, are they trying to make accommodation for media to be allowed to film what they are doing, to show what they are doing? Or are they still essentially treating cameras as a threat? LEE (voice-over): First of all, it`s maybe some gas breaking down here. Everyone is backing up. Eyes are starting to burn a little bit. So not a direct explosion but it`s starting to burn a little bit. Where we are, we`re right on the corner. And so, there are cameras, there are bunches, dozens of journalists here on this corner. But the moment you step into the street they tell you to get back. And you definitely can`t go -- oh, yes. It`s gas. It`s gas wafting this way. But I`m not sure -- yes. MADDOW (voice-over): Trymaine, I`m going to give you a chance to try to get to some fresh air and do what you need to stay safe where you are. But please keep a line open to us. This is becoming a theme tonight as we`re talking to people. They talk to us for as long as they can before they -- their own exposure to gas becomes an issue in terms of them being able to - - needing to move on. We are seeing -- these live shots right here, it is hard to know exactly what the purpose is of some of these vehicles and how the police are essentially stratified as a force, whether or not the police themselves, as they`re gearing up right now, who is telling them to gear up? Does that mean they`re about to start something? Are they reacting to something that is happening with the protesters? Again, we have the luxury of watching this without being gassed while we are doing this, as we have got multiple cameras on the site. But even from here it is hard to tell exactly what is going on and what options protesters have if they want to continue to protest but also to stay safe. I want to bring back into the conversation, the host of "ALL IN," Chris Hayes, Chris, who had to clear out of his position earlier because of tear gas. Chris, are you somewhere safer now or at least someplace with fresher air? HAYES (voice-over): Yes, yes, we are in a fallback position away from the tear gas. Just after we got off air, we were kind of recollecting, figuring if we could kind of find a way to go back, go back, go back out there to see what is going on. And as gathering myself to go do that, there was just another huge, huge round of tear gas that just came pushing through. And, you know, you -- tear gas, it is, it is effective at crowd dispersal. (LAUGHTER) HAYES: I mean, you know, that`s why it is designed. That`s the way it`s designed and that`s why they use it the way they do. MADDOW (voice-over): Chris, when you are seeing police use tear gas in that way, again, to disperse people, is it clear to you when you have seen them use it, when you`ve seen them launch it tonight that they`re launching it in places where it makes sense that they`re trying to disperse people? Or does it seem more random? HAYES (voice-over): Rachel, I have to say like figuring out the rhythm of these exchanges, it just sort of becomes impossible to track. And in the time that I`m hearing these sort of precise accounts about the order of things, maybe it`s just people who have better perceptive abilities than I. But in the midst of it, just talking about a bunch of people and a bunch of police. This particular round of tear gas came as this standoff was happening at the QuikTrip, which people were being told they are unlawfully, they`re there unlawfully. And basically the sequence of events was what looked like flash grenades, loud popping noises that could have been -- that looked to be headed back toward the police, which could have been fire -- bottle rockets with fireworks coming from some people in the crowd. And then the big -- like explosion of tear gas. I should say that I am now venturing back out onto West Florissant. The air has basically cleared. It`s more or less traversable. There`s a huge line of police out here. Oh, actually, what, about, 40 probably, 30 or 40. There is two big tactical vehicles, one big -- I`m sorry; one big tactical vehicle, one normal van. There`s about a -- there`s a clutch of a few media. And aside from that it is basically dead quiet. There is a big police presence up at the other end of West Florissant by the McDonald`s. That`s where the media staging area is. There`s a few cable news trucks up there, there`s lights you can see. We were positioned ourselves in between those two checkpoints. So, you know, in between the sort of two sides of confrontation. And I got to say that the trajectory of the evening went like this. You had this kind of strange, surreal promenade that was engineered by police at dusk hour. It was happening while I was on the air live at 7:00 local time. People were told that they could be on West Florissant. They were closed to most if not all vehicle traffic unless they were residents. And so what they were doing is marching in a circle, just kind of marching in a circle and chanting. And there`s a bunch of people -- some people at one point were marching past with roses. And I was prepared to go on the air at 10:00 pm local time to basically say, OK, we have had -- we have had basically, we have had a sort of peaceful night here. And then just as we were going on air a confrontation in that line by the McDonald`s. And, again, what precipitated it, I don`t know. I have not heard any reports of any kind of -- anything emanating from protesters. All I know is that there was a line of riot -- cops in riot gear. There was a confrontation. All of a sudden you saw the vehicle pull up. You heard the LRAD noise booming and a wave of people as we were on air, actually, just running back. And the change in mood. I cannot emphasize the change in mood. You have people walking, and the vibe was -- it was calm. It was peaceful. It was obviously -- it was angry. People were focused. And this wave of people running back and just this unleashing just in fury. I mean, people, just picking up and chucking rocks at me as a kind of like just frustration. And that was what, that is what changed it. That initial, you know -- that initial standoff with the cops. And it`s just this dynamic that is just at this point feels almost just pathological or codependent or something, in which whatever elements within the protesters, whatever elements, I mean, the police want to escalate are getting, are getting their wish. And I got to say I wasn`t -- I wasn`t up there to see that standoff. And I`m looking forward to seeing a lot of our -- my colleagues to see what their reporting indicates. It felt like the first move to escalate tonight came from the police at that position. I don`t know. Again, I`m saying that without knowing fully what precipitated them standing in line. But as soon as that happened the just mood changed 180 degrees. There was just this absolute charge of panic, rage, you know, chaos, kind of frenetic energy, adrenaline. You could feel it surge through everyone. You could feel everyone rushing back. And then a standoff at the opposite end outside the QuikTrip. And at the QuikTrip was where another standoff happened. And a bunch of folks came. And that was where the standoff happened over, over, you know, standing outside the QuikTrip, people being told they could not stand. And then -- that sort of sequence of events in which it sounded like flash grenades. It sounded like possibly rockets or fireworks or something, thrown back, possibly some tear gas canisters being picked up and tossed back at the police. And then, boom, boom, boom, the tear gas and everyone dispersing and running once again. And now here we are in this sort of video game-like post-apocalyptic scene of this empty suburban street at night, with the police chopper overhead and a clear night sky and a few stars in the sky twinkling. And a street market and a liquor store and a McDonald`s arches in the background. And just nothing on the streets except the kind of smell and taste of tear gas. And it`s just -- it feels like every night here is headed toward that ending. It`s just like there is no way for anyone to break out of that cycle. And I got to say, like in the pit of my stomach, it does not feel like this is headed in a good direction until something about this dynamic alters fundamentally because right now a bunch of things have been tried. There has been full militarization SWAT teams. There`s been almost complete pullback. There`s been what we have seen the last few nights, which seems to be going back toward the first kind of policing approach. And it almost feels (INAUDIBLE) here, foreordained in the air that we`re going to end up at this point in the evening. MADDOW (voice-over): Chris, there`s -- obviously there is no simple truth to tell about complex stories. But it feels from the perspective of protesters who have been speaking publicly and media who are stationed among the protesters that the change that happens on a dime like that is basically precipitated by the police, that the police make a decision to change tactics. That changes the mood. That inspires different behavior from the crowd than they might previously have been exhibiting. That`s how it feels sort of from one side. Looking at it through the other lens -- or looking at that lens through the other direction, is it clear to you that there are distinct elements among the protesters, that there are people who are spoiling for a fight and there are people who are distinguishable from them, who are not spoiling from a fight? Are the police having interactions with nonpeaceful protesters that aren`t being -- that we aren`t seeing because it is not characteristic behavior, that`s causing the police to act the way they are? HAYES (voice-over): Yes, there is some element of truth to that, definitely. There are people who are looking to set it off here. I couldn`t tell you -- I have been down here for whatever, fire or six days. I couldn`t tell you if it that`s 20 people or that`s 100 people or that`s seven people. It`s just -- (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) media. HAYES (voice-over): -- it`s -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): -- leave immediately. HAYES (voice-over): Yes. There`s -- MADDOW (voice-over): He`s saying that if they`re not credentialed media, you need to leave immediately? HAYES (voice-over): Yes, we`ve got a bunch of gentlemen in full military regalia right outside our station. We`re going to see if they will try to chase us out of here -- MADDOW (voice-over): You are credentialed media. HAYES (voice-over): -- credentialed. We`ll show them our credentials. MADDOW (voice-over): Yes, I`ll give you a doctor`s note. HAYES (voice-over): I`ll put them on the phone with the one and only Rachel Maddow. MADDOW (voice-over): That will definitely do it. HAYES (voice-over): So yes, that`s part of it. There is no question, you know. It feels like everybody is in this weird game now, adjudicating who started it. And the fact of the matter is you got two different sides to this. One side is the body of the state and the law. And people that, you know, are making policy or strategic decisions or tactical decisions in the moment that I don`t think are -- it`s hard to take a step back and think they`re doing a great job. Now they will tell you there have been no injuries. They will tell you that today after the National Guard was called in -- I fired up the old Google machine. I was reading about National Guard responses to riots and ranking (INAUDIBLE) obviously much more widespread in terms of the amount of area. But there were many fatalities in those clashes. And so if you`re grading on that curve, the police have done a good job. And they will tell you that. And again, if I`ve put myself in the shoes of one of these people right now on the street, as a police officer, it is a very difficult job. It just is. I mean, you are trying to make these decisions in the moment. And they`re got a lot of adrenaline in their system. They`re scared I think in a lot of cases. From, you know, there`s, control -- there`s an amazing book by a guy named Peter Moskos, who was a beat cop in Baltimore, called, "Cop in the Hood," who`s later -- who`s a professor of criminal studies at John Jay College (ph). And he just talks about like this -- how central control is to a police officer. Because you`re constantly in situations that could flip out of control and managing a situation in which you are in control is this kind of bulwark against the terror of some horrible, unexpected act. And this is a situation in which you have a lot of police from all different kinds of municipalities. You`ve got very small municipalities supported here, Dellwood and Jennings, these are small police departments. You know, St. Louis County, (INAUDIBLE) all of these police, in a situation that constantly alludes to them on the periphery of control. And that`s -- you know, I think it freaks them out, frankly. MADDOW (voice-over): We`re looking at the shot that we have got right now, Chris, is a very close-up shot of a deep line of police officers with long guns drawn. They appear to be the kinds of guns that shoot less than lethal rounds. But they are advancing toward protesters right now in a group. The police are all wearing helmets. They don`t all have their shields down. And they`re not wearing gas masks. But the protesters are standing, essentially standing their ground as the police move toward them. And the police seem intent on moving them out. We`ll keep that camera shot up as long as we can. Chris, I also want to bring in Erin Delmore, who`s just been -- we`ve got some information about somebody who apparently was shot tonight. Is that right, Erin? DELMORE (voice-over): Rachel, police have told us that there is a gunshot victim on the other side of Canfield Drive. Before that they told us that shots were being fired from an unknown direction. For about 20 minutes now they`ve been urging us to leave. They say it`s for our safety. And they`ve got -- I am the last person here. There is no one here. Police further up Ferguson Avenue are saying that if you`re not credentialed media, you need to disperse immediately. The other thing I can tell you, Rachel, is that perpendicular to where the cops have congregated in the direction of what they said is a gunshot victim is a building, police have broken into that building. I met with the photographer who has photographed those people beginning to burn that building. MADDOW (voice-over): People -- say that -- (CROSSTALK) MADDOW (voice-over): -- it`s -- DELMORE (voice-over): People beginning to burn the building. MADDOW (voice-over): What is -- DELMORE (voice-over): Fire. MADDOW (voice-over): -- what`s in that building, what does that building house? DELMORE (voice-over): Nothing, Rachel. That building was looted days ago. MADDOW (voice-over): I see. So it -- DELMORE (voice-over): It has boarded-up windows. There is nothing. MADDOW (voice-over): Can you tell who the people were who set it on fire? DELMORE (voice-over): No, Rachel, they came up from Canfield Drive. They did not come down from West Florissant. That street`s been cleared for a while. That is a residential neighborhood. MADDOW (voice-over): OK. Is there any emergency response in terms of fire response vehicles, a fire truck or anything responding to that fire? DELMORE (voice-over): No. MADDOW (voice-over): OK. Erin, we`re going to -- I will keep an open line to the control room there so we can try to get -- we`ll try to feed that information back in terms of what we can report to authorities there, if they need to get that fire response there. Just want to listen to hear what we can hear from police. Again, these are live shots right now from Ferguson. Wesley Lowery with "The Washington Post", who`s been there for days in Ferguson, who himself was arrested not that long ago, a few days ago by police and then later released. Wesley, I believe you`re nearby to some of the shots (INAUDIBLE)? (CROSSTALK) WESLEY LOWERY, "THE WASHINGTON POST": -- I`m on the corner of Canfield and West Florissant, directly next to this building where the fire was started here, where police targeted multiple volleys of tear gas, at least three. The air`s still thick with it. It`s hard to breathe. It`s -- yes, I`m right here. MADDOW (voice-over): And are you seeing a fire burning right now where you are? Or is that out? LOWERY (voice-over): Yes, I ducked back around the corner because the police are here, their weapons drawn, talking to a few -- a few of the remaining residents who have their hands up. But yes, I watched as the fire was set and then watched it starting to burn. MADDOW (voice-over): In terms of the residents and protesters and police right there, what is happening right now in terms of who else is around you and what the dynamic is? LOWERY (voice-over): It`s -- at this point it`s a handful. It`s maybe 2 dozen residents, many of whom live -- they can`t go home. And so, West Florissant along West Canfield Drive, which is the street where Michael Brown was killed, intersects at -- and the residents now are people who are stuck because the police fired the tear gas in. So they retreated back to these residential streets. And now they`re trying, they`re screaming to those police with their hands up, "Can we please go home?" They need to walk past where the police are to get to either where their cars are or to where they were. But the police had shot the tear gas in and then to counter, people had set fires, trying to keep the police out. And so you basically have the remnants of what has been the battlefield for lack of a better term with a few residents still remaining here, asking if they can go home. MADDOW (voice-over): Wesley, is there any effort by police, that you can see, that sort of individuate between protesters, so people who legitimately do just want to go home are being allowed through? Or is anybody being -- LOWERY (voice-over): No. MADDOW (voice-over): -- nobody is being -- ? LOWERY (voice-over): Nobody is being allowed through at all. No one is being allowed through. MADDOW (voice-over): Wesley, thanks very -- so keep an open line with us, Wesley, as this continues to unfold. I want to bring some in expert opinion. Jim Cavanaugh, I believe, is on the line, who has expertise in this matter, as a law enforcement official. Jim, I know that you have been watching a lot of this unfold. When you are seeing these police tactics like the ones on the screen right now and like that line of police officers with long guns that we just saw a moment ago, pointing those long guns at protesters at a very short range, what do you understand about those tactics and what police are trying to accomplish? JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Rachel, you described it accurately a little while ago when you talked about that one line and moving riot officers there, which they had shotguns that are designated for bean bag rounds. They`re painted pink or yellow or orange, because it`s basically just a shotgun that fires a canvas bag full of beans. And it is like getting hit with a baseball. And the shot you see there -- I believe that fellow through the shot we just saw a minute ago is the -- Sam Dodson (ph), the chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police. So they have got their commanders out there as well. But, yes, you are seeing tactical officers make movements on the side. And I looks like they may be responding to some reports of, you know, either a fire or a gunshot or something. That is the SWAT tactical officers; the riot-equipped officers are more -- seem to be in the central line there, pushing the crowd back. And of course we have seen a few arrests tonight. I noticed one man who had an injured hand on the roll back a while ago. But he walked to the front line of the police. MADDOW (voice-over): That was an interesting moment. He was short of safely delivered through the police line into what appeared to be an ambulance or some other sort of official vehicle. It was a sort of a stand-down moment when everybody recognized this man needs -- this man isn`t a threat. He needs help. (CROSSTALK) CAVANAUGH (voice-over): I do think -- MADDOW (voice-over): Go ahead; I`m sorry, Jim. CAVANAUGH (voice-over): No, that`s all right, Rachel. I do want to build on just one thing Chris said that I think it is important. You know, I grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and I remember the riots there in `67. And one thing about those images that in your mind. We saw those armored personnel carriers coming down the streets and the violence. There was 26 people killed in Newark. There was 43 killed in Detroit; there was 36 killed in Los Angeles. Those riots were unbelievably violent. And at least one grade like Chris said of the police here has to be -- after nine days. And those riots generally lasted five or six days. After nine days of this, we haven`t lost a life. The only life that`s been lost is Michael Brown. And that -- that`s started this whole thing. So there is some tactics to criticize. I think the first night they were very heavy early on with the protesters. I didn`t think the way they handled that with SWAT up front was good. They rolled it back with Ron -- Commander Johnson. But there is still -- we need to look at the arrests and the charges and who has been arrested. We haven`t seen officers wielding billy sticks, shooting people. I mean, this -- there is restraint here although you see the militarization. But there is restraint in the deployments. MADDOW (voice-over): Jim, when you -- and I think your perspective on that is really valuable because we got a lot of on-the-street perspective. And we know what it feels like to face off against those police. But thinking about it tactically from the police perspective and trying to avoid injury and even unnecessary arrest. I mean, this is very dramatic stuff, what we`re showing right now. And again, this is live in Ferguson. But when -- I mean, does it sound right to you? When you hear people on the ground, both media and protesters say, listen, this protest was peaceful and was going to end peacefully tonight until the police made a tactical change? And the police tactical change is what turned this into a hostile moment. Does that resonate for you or does that sound wrong to you? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t nobody get -- CAVANAUGH (voice-over): Well, no, I think it -- that has happened during this nine days. But I think also we have heard it when it wasn`t true because we heard it a night or two ago when Commander Johnson came up, Captain Johnson of the state patrol. And he gave a whole litany of the reasons why they moved officers and deployed gas. He ran it right down. I mean, there was gunshots. There was a man shot. There was Molotov cocktails. There was an attack on the McDonald`s. I mean, he ran it right down, six or eight reasons. And so if those reasons are there the officers only have certain things they can do. And one of the things they can do is deploy gas and stingball rounds and these things you see because it makes it very uncomfortable there. And the LRAD and even the flashing lights and all those things are designed for crowd dispersal without serious injury. I mean it does, it does burn your face. It burns your eyes. It makes you want to leave. And the noise is disconcerting. But again, it all makes you want to leave. So it`s supposed to make you want to leave without seriously injuring you. MADDOW (voice-over): MSNBC law enforcement analyst, former ATF special agent in charge, Jim Cavanaugh. Jim, thank you, very, very helpful to get your perspective on this. CAVANAUGH (voice-over): Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW (voice-over): What we are just seeing there is very kinetic confrontation, very kinetic activity including some of these incendiary projectiles or whatever. And so, again in a lot of these cases, what I think we are seeing -- and I stand corrected by people on the ground. What I think we are often seeing when you see them flying two directions is that police are launching these things. And on some occasions, protesters, at whom they`re being launched, are picking them up and throwing them back in the direction of police. I want to bring in now though again from the ground, Ryan Reilly, reporter for "The Huffington Post." We spoke with Ryan not that long ago when he was caught up in some tear gas. Ryan, where are you now and what do you see now? REILLY (voice-over): Right now we are in the immediate area but they`re shutting it down. They are forcing everyone out of this area. So we won`t be able to figure out what is actually happening down here, honestly. There`s not going to be any media witnesses to whatever takes place next. The claim is that it`s a public safety issue because there was a report of shots fired. Who knows what that came from or where exactly that -- but it is believe in here. And we think there was a claim of -- a claim of a gunshot victim, probably need to get an ambulance through. But essentially they told us all to pack it up and they are still actively moving members of the media back out of this press zone right now and telling them to retreat way up the road. It`s probably somewhere that you pretty much have to drive to near the command center where there is really not an ability to witness what is taking place here on the ground. MADDOW (voice-over): When you say they`re moving you back, how are the -- how is the police clearing the media area? What are they doing in order to make you leave? REILLY (voice-over): I mean there are -- a line of them are progressing through the mark right now and saying, let`s go, let`s go, moving everyone back. It`s some of them -- basically some media are hanging around as long as they can until the cops sort of crack down I think a little bit more here. But, you know I`m seeing a line of one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, around the officers who are sort of moving through the city right now. You have crews who are collapsing their trucks, their broadcast trucks from down here. So it might take a little bit of time to move out. But again, the claim is that it`s for public safety. Obviously that`s going to have some consequences for us not being able to witness what is actually happening here. MADDOW (voice-over): Absolutely. That is invaluable to have that report. Thank you, Ryan Reilly. Good luck tonight. Ryan Reilly, "The Huffington Post." I will say one of the things that sort of seemed like a sidebar issue with this protest zone in Ferguson was that there is a no-fly zone, that nobody other than law enforcement is allowed to fly any sort of helicopter below 3,000 feet over this scene. And that seemed like kind of an oddity in the way they were enforcing the security in this zone. But it has very practical consequences when reporters on the ground are unable, either because of tear gas or because of police forcing them out, to get close to what is happening. One of the ways we would otherwise be getting perspective on what`s happening here is news helicopters, who for the -- at the direction of law enforcement, have not been allowed to fly over the scene, and that`s having very serious, practical consequences for our ability to report this story right now. First Amendment is having a tough night. MSNBC`s live coverage of the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, continues right now with a special live edition of "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL". Good evening, Lawrence. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Rachel. MADDOW: Absolutely. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END