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MLK TRANSCRIPT: 6/3/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Bill de Blasio, Don Lewis, Marq Claxton, Tammy Duckworth

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel.

And the two big stories of the year came together tonight with that details of the medical examiner`s report released showing that George Floyd tested positive for coronavirus in the first week of April, and so these two stories, and you`ve done a brilliant job, I think, of pulling these two stories together tonight in your hour. It`s been such a struggle to keep some kind of focus on coronavirus, especially as we see these giant crowds assembling, which could all be super spreaders events. I guess we`ll know at the end of June, what has happened with all that, the possibilities in these protests for infection.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS":  Yes. I was -- our friend and colleague Chris Hayes closed out his hour as he tossed to me by saying straight to camera, if you in America have been to one of these protests and you`ve been around other people, whether or not you were wearing a mask, if you have access to testing, it is a good idea to get tested.

And I will reiterate what Chris said there, and he is right. It is good to see people in masks, so many of them at these events, and nobody is going to them to try to flout the guidelines or try to deny the coronavirus is serious. But we have to look out for each other and that means encouraging everybody who has been at one of these events to please get tested.

O`DONNELL:  And, Rachel, before you, this is one of those nights where you just have to remember, you never know when a loss isn`t a loss. Keith Ellison`s ambition a couple years ago was to be the chair of the Democratic Party. And he lost that position by 35 votes.

And I don`t think everybody knows at the moment, if you ask them quickly who is the chair of the party, but they know now who is the attorney general of the state of Minnesota. It could not be a more important moment for him to be using his lifetime of credibility that he has earned on civil rights issues for this position that he`s in tonight.

MADDOW:  Well put. Well put and exactly true. Well done, my friend. Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel. Thank you.

Well, our first guest will be the former Minnesota special prosecutor Don Lewis who prosecuted the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile. Attorney Lewis will guide us through new charges filed by the Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today against all four police officers who are now charged in the murder of George Floyd. The news of those new charges today swept through the groups of protesters gathered in Minneapolis who began telling each other, we got all four.

We begin tonight on the streets of Minneapolis with NBC`s Shaquille Brewster.

Shaquille, what has happened since those charges were announced and what is the situation there tonight?

SHAQUILLE BREWSTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Lawrence, it`s a major step forward for anyone who wanted those charges, especially the people here, who since George Floyd died at this intersection, they`ve come out night after night, sometimes staying overnight. And when those charges were initially announced, there was chanting, there was cheering, there were songs, there was prayer.

You`re still seeing that scene somewhat happening right now. This has been a scene where sometimes it`s somber, sometimes it`s exciting. Right now, you`re seeing people pay their respects in the foreground. There`s lot of flowers all around.

People have notes they come with. They bring their kids. They bring their families. All to pay respects.  And when that moment came, when the announcement was made, that`s when you saw the reaction. It almost turned into a celebratory mood and that`s what you`re feeling right now as people are just milling about, having those conversations and reflecting when they can.

I`ll tell you, one thing we heard from the Attorney General Keith Ellison today, that he warned people. He first thanked people for their patience and bringing these charges, not only upgrading the charge against Officer Chauvin who, the officer who had his knee in Mr. Floyd`s neck, but in bringing the charges against the three other officers. He thanked people for their patience in this.

One thing you continually hear from the family, that you hear from protesters, they wanted the officers charged and they expected to come immediately. And he thanked people for their patience. But he warned that getting a conviction is a little bit difficult. He said it is hard to do.

But he said, you can start addressing the systemic issues in our society even without this process, even without the charges. That`s what people here have been talking about in the conversations, those one-on-one interactions. Many times people who they never knew before, never met until this moment, that`s what is the dialogue that you`re hearing and that`s the celebration that people are having. They`re happy to have this step forward with the arrests and charges of the officers -- Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  Shaquille Brewster, thank you for that report from Minneapolis. Really appreciate it.

At 3:02 p.m. today, the Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison stepped up to a microphone, flanked by other law enforcement officials and said this.


KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL:  I want to begin with a reminder, and that is that we`re here today because George Floyd is not here. He should be here. He should be alive but he`s not.

About nine days ago, the world watched Floyd utter his very last words. I can`t breathe, as he pled for his life. The world heard Floyd call out for his mama and called out, don`t kill me.

Just two days ago when I became the lead prosecutor in the murder of Mr. Floyd, I asked for time to review all the evidence in the case. And we looked at the case, the evidence is available and the investigation is ongoing at this time. I also said that I know it`s asking a lot of people to give us time, particularly people who have suffered for decades and centuries of injustice to be patient. And yet we did get that time and together, a very strong, experienced team.

Today, I filed an amended complaint that charges former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with murder in the second-degree for the death of George Floyd. I believe the evidence available to us now supports the stronger charge of second-degree murder. We`ve consulted with each other and we agree.

Second, today, arrest warrants were issued for former Minneapolis police officers, J.A. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

Finally, I would like to announce that today, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman and I have filed a complaint that charges police officers Keung, Lane, and Thao with aiding and abetting murder in the second-degree, a felony offense.

I strongly believe that these developments are in the interests of justice for Mr. Floyd, his family, our community and our state.


O`DONNELL:  Leading off our discussion tonight is Don Lewis, he was the special prosecutor in the case of Philando Castile, who was killed by a Minnesota police officer in 2016. He is also the co-founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers.

Marq Claxton is with us once again. He`s a retired NYPD police detective and he`s the director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance.

Mr. Lewis, take us through the new charges today and what they mean in this case.

DON LEWIS, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, PHILANDO CASTILE CASE (2016):  Well, our attorney general was trying to achieve two objectives. First of all, he wanted to increase the severity of the offense with which the officer was charged, and at the same time, increase his prospects of winning at trial.

So, he charged basically, the second-degree felony murder, that is a commission of another felony assault that results in an unintentional murder. So, it relieved him of the duty to prove intend. The second thing he wanted to achieve was to of course charge the other officers.

And the problem he faced was, in order to bring someone in under aiding and abetting, you have to share the same level of intend. By framing this as an unintentional killing during the commission of a felony, he could bring in the other officers, charge them with this crime without having to prove that they intended the death. So, he achieved a number of important objectives.

O`DONNELL:  And, Attorney Lewis, there is some difference in the language in these criminal complaint that were issued today. In the first one with the county attorney, they used a phrase that Mr. Floyd was resisting arrest earlier in the process. That phrase does not appear in any of the descriptions of what happened in these new legal filings. These filings seem to have a somewhat different tone. Did you detect any significant differences that way between the two?

LEWIS:  Well, I -- you know, each of these individual complaints focuses on the actions of the individual -- of the individual officers, so the difference in tone is one of highlighting what the other three officers did or did not do that aided in the commission of the assault and resulting in Mr. Floyd`s death.

So there`s going to be those nuances. What is pretty apparently though is that Mr. Floyd, there was some initial resistance at the beginning of the encounter but there can be no plausible claim that there was active resistance once he was put prone, face down, in the street.

O`DONNELL:  Marq Claxton, these arrests today, and these charges are a real warning to American police officers, especially, especially in the case of officer Tou Thao who we have all seen on that video. He was not one of the three officers who was actively holding Mr. Floyd on the pavement. He was actually standing with his back to the action most of the time. And he was dealing with the crowd and basically preventing the crowd from getting any closer to the action.

And most police officers in the country, as you know, in these situations, would believe that no matter what the other police officers were doing, they`re not going to be charged with a crime because they`re standing over here dealing with the crowd and no one will charge them with the crime. But he`s charged with the crime of basically, not intervening, of not getting in there and stopping what was going on.

MARQ CLAXTON, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE DIRECTOR :  Right. The charges send a clear message to law enforcement that there is a responsibility and culpability as a group if you fail to act, render aid, prevent illegal activity committed by even your partner. You have an obligation to do so aside from the sense of humanity that you should have.

Quite clearly, the law is saying to you, listen. You have an obligation to position yourself and present -- prevent unlawful acts committed on the civilian population.

O`DONNELL:  Attorney Lewis, on the three other officers, they used the phrase, culpable negligence and they also used the term conspiracy. So, they are charged with effect to engaging in conspiracy and there could be an argument that Officer Thao was keeping those witnesses back so that this conspiracy in the treatment of Mr. Floyd could continue without any hindrance of spectators.

LEWIS:  Well, that is certainly the inference with Officer Thao. One thing to keep in mind is that Officer Chauvin, the one who pressed the knee against George Floyd`s neck, was the most senior of the four officers there. He had been with the force for 18 years. And one of the issues, the problems that has to be broken here, police departments are a very hierarchy culture.

There`s too much deference to the actions of the senior officer and not enough independent judgment on the part of the officer who should have been more aggressive in telling Chauvin to back off. And that`s the lesson (INAUDIBLE).

O`DONNELL:  Don Lewis, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We`re going to need your continuing guidance through Minnesota law on this case. We really appreciate it.

And, Marq Claxton, as always, thank you for your perspective, your invaluable perspective on this. We appreciate that.

And when we come back from this break, wounded combat veteran now United States Senator Tammy Duckworth will join us with her reaction to Donald Trump`s first secretary of defense finally publicly turning against Donald Trump for what you`re seeing Donald Trump do right there. James Mattis has condemned the Trump presidency as three years without mature leadership. General Mattis says he is angry and appalled, and so is Senator Tammy Duckworth. That`s next.


O`DONNELL:  Several cities around the country have pushed back their curfews to later hours. Last night in Washington, D.C. the curfew was 7:00 p.m. Tonight, it is 11:00 p.m.

Joining us from Washington, D.C. as that curfew approaches, is NBC`s Garrett Haake.

Garrett, what`s the difference between last night and tonight?

GARRETT HAAKE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  It`s a completely different feel, Lawrence. You know, big concerts and music festivals may not be happening this summer, but around 8:00 tonight, out in the street, it was absolutely packed for a sing-along. Protesters have said what feels like a little more of a joyful tone here tonight, perhaps spurred on by these other officers in Minneapolis. The crowd has thinned out substantially.

As you can see behind me, there are a couple hundred protesters here. The trends that we have seen in Washington during the week are large expansive peaceful protests during the day. Sometimes at night things get a little testier.

Here tonight, you`ll notice we are in a different locations. We`ve been pushed back up the street by federal law enforcement who are staying behind the fence they built in Lafayette Park. Today have been out in the middle of 16th Street here in Washington, D.C., a rotating cast of National Guardsmen, riot officers from the bureau of prisons. A complete list of federal law enforcement agencies taking turns patrolling this street here tonight. They are on the street, face to face with these protesters, and hopefully as we approach the curfew, this remains entirely peaceful and as I said earlier, you know, kind of a constructive feeling protest today -- Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  Garrett, have the new charges filed by Attorney General Keith Ellison today in the case, changed the face of this protest? Have you heard from protesters that that has had any effect?

HAAKE:  I think it has. I think it helped as a steam valve almost, to let out a little bit of anger that a lot of these folks have felt, imminently around the killing of George Floyd. But I think a lot of the protesters I talked to told me this is not a one-off issue. This is an issue of systemic problems.

This goes back years and years, if not decades. And so, while three arrests are good, changing this system would be better. And that`s why the protests continue.

O`DONNELL:  NBC`s Garrett Haake, in Washington again tonight, thank you very much, Garrett, for that report. Really appreciate it.

HAAKE:  You bet.

O`DONNELL:  Tonight on MSNBC, a United States senator told Andrea Mitchell that the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are lap dogs.

I believe that is the first time in history that a United States senator has said that about a defense secretary and a chair of the joint chiefs. That`s Senator Tammy Duckworth will join us in a moment.

But hours after Senator Duckworth said that, the day got much worse for the defense secretary, the chair of the join chiefs, and the president of the United States when Donald Trump`s first secretary of defense, former Marine Corps General Mattis published a written statement in "The Atlantic" accusing Donald Trump of, quote, abuse of executive authority and a mockery of our Constitution.

James Mattis said he is angry and appalled, and this is why. Quote, when I joined the military some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens, much less to provide a bizarre photo-op for the elected commander in chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

James Mattis attacked the language used by the defense secretary and General Mark Milley, chair of the joint chiefs, when they joined a Trump phone call to governors on Monday. James Mattis wrote, we must reject any thinking of our cities as a battlespace, that our uniformed military is called upon to dominate.

General Mattis said, quote, we do not need to militarize our response to protests. He said, we must not be distracted by a small number of law breakers, and he made it clear, that he witnessed similar Trump behavior every day that he served as the Trump defense secretary. Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people, does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.

Joining our discussion now, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat from Illinois. Senator Duckworth is a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel.

Senator Duckworth, your reaction to former Secretary Mattis finally, finally telling us what he really thinks.

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL):  Well, it`s long overdue but I`m really glad that he`s come out and made these very strong statements. It`s my sentiments exactly. And I would tell you that it`s probably the same sentiments as most of the members of the military. They`re absolutely appalled with what this president has done. And for him to have been enabled by the current defense secretary and this current chairman of the joint chiefs is really very, very troubling to me.

O`DONNELL:  One former member of the military who doesn`t agree with you on this is your Senate colleague, the Republican Tom Cotton, who has written a piece, an op-ed piece in "The New York Times" that has now created a mutiny at "The New York Times," people working there objecting to it. The piece is entitled "Send in the troops" and Tom Cotton is fully supportive of the Donald Trump idea of let`s use the American military to police the streets of American cities -- something, by the way, that American military is not trained to do. They have absolutely no idea how to police New York City.

But Tom Cotton is all ready to go with Donald Trump on this, even though no one else is.

DUCKWORTH:  Tom Cotton is wrong. And it`s a shame that someone who served in uniform, who swore the same oath the rest of us did, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States would actually say something like that. But he`s wrong.

O`DONNELL:  At "The New York Times," just to show you the reaction to this, Mara Gay, who is a long time "New York Times" -- works on the editorial side -- she put out a tweet saying that running this, running this puts black people in danger and other Americans standing up for our humidity and democracy, too.

She finds Tom Cotton`s op-ed piece this not only something that "The New York Times" should not have run, but that it is actually a dangerous concept to advance in this country.

O`DONNELL:  Lawrence, I have to agree with her.

But let`s keep the focus on the commander in chief of our armed forces, and what he has done here. The blame rests with him. Tom Cotton is a sideshow.

What we have right now is the commander in chief of the United States military, the greatest military in the face of the earth, wants to send that great military in to police peaceful protesters who are exercising their First Amendment rights. And frankly, you know, our military is one of the last institution that truly has the respect of the American people.

It is also an institution that is probably one of the most diverse with people of color, with black and brown troops, at the very highest levels of leadership. This is a betrayal of them as well.

And it`s a betrayal to the troops to be put out there on the front lines every single day, that we ask them to do this.

Military leaders need to stand up to this president. Every one of these guys, you know, Mark Esper, General Milley, when they went through the confirmation hearing, were asked, would you oppose the president of the United States, even if it costs you your job if he tries to make you -- if he tries to issue an unlawful order? And they all said, yes, I would -- I would risk my job.

What you saw today Secretary Esper start to say that he did not agree with the president, that he was going to put (ph) the troops back. But then he changed his mind right away. I guess he found sort of a backbone but then lost it right away in the same day. But this is -- this is wrong. This is a perversion of what our United States military stands for. It is apolitical and it needs to remain that way.

O`DONNELL:  General Mattis makes the point that the only conceivable use of American military troops to occur within the country would have to come at the invitation of a governor, the invitation of a state that was in some extraordinary and unusual circumstance.

From the moment the president said this, I didn`t believe it, Senator. I took it as Mexico pay for the wall. I took it for Trump trying to sound tough to people who want him to sound tough.

And I firmly believe from the start, he`ll never do it. It will never happen. But you`re in a position where you have to deal with these things in a governmental position. Not just from the sidelines like I do, where I can just throw up my opinion about it.

Do you think that there`s a chance tonight that Donald Trump could actually order American military troops to go into cities they are completely unfamiliar with, have no capacity to operate in, without the invitation of that city, without the invitation of that governor? Do you think it`s possible that Donald Trump will actually order them to do that?

DUCKWORTH:  I think it`s possible that Donald Trump will issue that order. My question is, will the leaders of the Pentagon stand up to him and say, no, sir, that is not a lawful order? It is on them to do so and they`re supposed to do that.

You know, all the people that would say no to Donald Trump, he`s fired so far, or have resigned. Men of honor, women of honor have left this administration. People who thought they could work with him, thought they could moderate him, left long ago.

What`s left are exactly what I said, the lap dogs who are willing to follow behind him in battle dress uniform and who are willing to order American helicopters to fly down low over protesters who are peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. Where are the grownups at the Pentagon who are going to say no to this president?

O`DONNELL:  Senator Duckworth, before you go, when you were serving in the military, could it ever have gone through your mind that the day will come, one, that I will be a United States senator, and two, that I`ll be calling the chairman of the joint chiefs a lap dog?

DUCKWORTH:  No. And this is what Donald Trump has brought us to. I have the greatest respect for General Milley`s service, and for his long lifetime of serving this nation and defending our nation. But what has happened in the last 48 hours just boggles the mind.

And I would never have thought that a flag officer, that a service academy graduate, Secretary Esper is a West Point graduate who swore an oath to not lie, cheat or steal nor tolerate those who do, who would kowtow down to a commander in chief who was doing something that is blatantly not legal.

O`DONNELL:  Senator Tammy Duckworth, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

DUCKWORTH:  Thank you for having me on.

O`DONNELL:  Up next, the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, will join us.


O`DONNELL: Before we`re joined by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, we`re going to the streets of New York right now, where Ali Velshi is covering the situation there. Ali, where are you, what time is the curfew in New York City tonight, and what`s the situation now?

ALI VELSHI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Curfew came in at 8 p.m. this evening. I am at the 50th and 3rd Avenue with the remnants, in fact there`s nothing left of the protest. Now you can see a lot of police behind me, but just moments ago actually, a corrections bus moved away with a number of people under arrest.

We`re following a few protests, one in Queens, one in Brooklyn and a very big one here in Manhattan, by my estimation, upward of 2,000 people, it is about ten blocks long. We followed it from 14th on the West Side all the way up through Columbus Circle, up Columbus to the 80s and then across to the East Side, where at that point the curfew hit. And largely these were, in fact not largely, they were entirely peaceful protesters that we were with. They dissipated, most of them did.

Now what a lot of peaceful protesters did is they stayed in the city. They know they`re getting arrested. In fact, most of the arrests tonight that we have heard of so far are for breaking curfew. In other words, they`re not being arrested for violent acts or rioting or anything like that. They are being arrested and they know they are being arrested.

They often - they get arrested and they stand there for some time, while they wait for a corrections bus to come and they continue to chant, say his name, black lives matter, George Floyd.

But just like last night by about this time, there were only a few pockets of protesters. I will tell you, there are still people on the street. But, if you`re part of an organized protest in Manhattan, these folks are going to come and pick you up and take you in, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Ali Velshi, thank you for that report. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is now joining us by phone. Mayor de Blasio, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: My pleasure, Lawrence. How are you doing?

O`DONNELL: Well, it`s a difficult night, I think, all over this country. We have tonight 1,836,845 cases of coronavirus. We have 106,742 deaths. It`s now 107,852 deaths from coronavirus tonight.

Just over a week ago, or about a week ago, you thought that was the only crisis you would be dealing with tonight in your city. How are you dealing with the intersection of these large protests, these large gatherings of people, and your need to control the spread of coronavirus in New York City?

DE BLASIO: Yes, Lawrence, it`s like a perfect storm wrapped in another perfect storm. But the reality is the essence of all of this is the coronavirus, right. This is what has caused, before even the murder of George Floyd, so much anger and frustration over disparity, so much anger and frustration because people have lost jobs, lost livelihood and then just being cooped up for months.

And as that`s its own combination of features that really fuel a real understandable unrest. And we are trying to address it, subsequently address it in terms of safety and security. But also remember that we still - as you said we`ve got to make people safe in terms of coronavirus.

We`re planning to start our reopening on Monday. And this has not changed that, but it has complicated it because a lot of energy and resources going to - trying to address this reality. A lot of people have been in close proximity, which I`m worried about on a health level.

There`s a lot of moving parts. But Lawrence, in terms of how we move forward as a city, as a country, we got to deal with each and every one of these, right. There is a lot of injustice on display and the only way to deal with it is to answer piece by piece each element of injustice and then show people that something can change. You got to prove to people that change is possible, and the coronavirus has laid it bare.

And one other thing I would say is, before the last few days, we actually had a pretty good sense of unity in this city of folks banding together to fight a common enemy, which was this disease. And New Yorkers were pretty amazing in the way they handled it and stuck together and helped each other. This doesn`t change that. We still need to stick together, if we are going to overcome this disease.

O`DONNELL: Some of the injustice on display has been seen by protestors as the actions of the NYPD in some of their choices about how to deal with these crowds, including the video that we have all now seen many times of NYPD police vehicles choosing - choosing to drive, move those vehicles into crowds, that shot is up on our screen now Mr. Mayor, which I know you`ve seen those two police vehicles pushing into the crowd.

What are you doing? What is your message to the NYPD police officers, including the officers in those two cars about, what they need to do in terms of showing restraint and what will happen to them if they don`t?

DE BLASIO: Well, look, that should never happen again in New York City, it`s as simple as that. That was a very, very dangerous moment, it should never happen again. And the whole message of these days is that we have to prove, and this is on me to do and on our police commissioner to do.

They have to have prove that any time, and there will be due process, Lawrence, I know you and I believe in that, so many people - we need a real investigation and real due process. But any time an officer has done the wrong thing, there has to be consequences. And sometimes that means an officer needs to be taken off the police force and we have to show that that`s real.

Because I think the broad assumption in this country, particularly in communities of color, is it`s just impossible no matter what someone does, if they`re a police officer that they`ll ever receive real discipline, and that`s the thing in our generation we have to break.

We have to show that - I believe the vast majority of cops are good and devoted to their work serving others. But anyone who has proven to have violated that oath or to have done harm to someone like the officers did in Minnesota, there has to be swift consequences.

And the other problem is the swift part, and the justice system inside police departments is glacial, and that has been true here in New York City and we have to stop it. We have to break through. We need other rules to make it tougher in some places but we have to overcome it.

O`DONNELL: That`s my question Mr. Mayor. How are you going to do that? You`re the city that made the words, I can`t breathe, famous in the death of Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD police officers. And the officer who put that chokehold on him and killed Eric Garner was on the NYPD for five years after doing that. That`s how long it took New York City to just get that officer fired. In Minneapolis, we saw the officers fired within 24 hours. What`s the difference? Why can`t New York City do what Minneapolis can do?

DE BLASIO: Well, we will from now on. And Lawrence, I`m very clear about this. This was a mistake that I have to own. The United States Department of Justice, then during the Obama administration, asked us to defer to them. They literally specifically asked the NYPD not to proceed with a disciplinary trial and produce all the evidence. They wanted to do their own investigation, their own potential prosecution.

O`DONNELL: Mr. Mayor, can I just stop you there one more time because there was no disciplinary trial. There was no disciplinary trial in Minneapolis this week. Those officers were fired within 24 hours. Why can they do that in Minneapolis, why can you not do it in New York City? Is it all about union rules that prevent it?

DE BLASIO: Yes, in some parts of the country, there is no law or union rule that stops a direct firing. There is also the very important question of whether someone has committed a crime, and a District Attorney, a U.S. Attorney or anyone brings charges. That didn`t happen in the Garner case.

We all honestly looking at what happened assumed that was the likelihood. No prosecutor, federal, state, none, brought charges. But the fact is, what we`ve learned, Lawrence, is we have to take speedy disciplinary action with all due respect to the prosecutors. We`re not waiting on them in the future. We`re not listening to them. We`re going to take our own action.

O`DONNELL: New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

DE BLASIO: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: When we come back, Donna Beasley marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Louisville in 1962. And she marched in Louisville again today. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: Joining us from Louisville, Kentucky is MSNBC`s Cal Perry. Cal, what`s the situation there tonight?

CAL PERRY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: It`s quiet. Finally, it`s quite. It`s been bloody for five days. I have to tell you, my crew and I were sitting on the wall behind me less than a week ago. We were watching a space launch, while riot gear cops were moving toward us with shield and batons, and we kind of thought, we`ve seen this before.

And then today, the Reverend Donna Beasley was sitting in a little lawn chair and she said to me, my knees are so sore. I`ve been fighting for equal rights to my entire life. So I started by asking her, where we`ve been as a country and where we are going?


REV. DONNA BEASLEY, MARCHED WITH MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. IN 1962: Black people have been fighting this fight for years, hundreds of years. And it`s a shame that in 1962 to 2020, I`m still seeing the same thing.

We are still having to fight to be treated like we are normal, regular human beings. I`m scared for them, but I`m glad to see older people, young mothers are bringing their children out here to see what`s going on, to show them the right way to do things, to show them how to treat people.

I`m glad to see all the whites that are out here protesting with us, as we march down the street. I`m glad to see that. That`s the way it should have been a long time ago, walking hand in hand, arm in arm. That`s what Martin Luther King preached about in a moment (ph). But unfortunately, his dream has not been totally realized. It really hasn`t.

And I hope that one day it will be. Because, like I say, we`re just tired of the struggle. We`re tired of the fight. We`re tired of being treated like we`re subservient, like we`re less than, like we`re nobody, like we`re dirt under people`s feet.

PERRY: You were here in `62. You marched in `68. What advice from that experience do you give to this next generation?

BEASLEY: If you can go back and research what we did back then, go back and research it. Do what some of the things that we did. It doesn`t - I mean, we marched, yes, and we did sit-ins and we did a lot of different things. Some of those same tactics can be deployed now.

Sit down, if you can, with the leaders of the city, of the state and come to a consensus about what should be done. But talk is cheap. We can talk all day long. But if we get up and you go your way and I go my way and nothing is ever done, then that`s just a wasted conversation.


PERRY: Lawrence, Michael Brown was killed six years ago, so most of these folks wouldn`t have even been teenagers. The former President Barack Obama is right, this is a very different movement. But it is important to remember, there is a lot of folks looking out of the streets of America who have seen this before and think, frankly we haven`t made a lot of progress. Lawrence?

O`DONNELL: Cal Perry in Louisville, thank you very much for that report. Really appreciate it. Thank you, Cal. And when we come back after this final break, we will be joined for tonight`s last word by the Chair of Princeton University`s African-American Studies Department, the distinguished Professor Eddie Glaude.

On another day, when history is being made right before our eyes, faster than we can process it, we will rely on Professor Glaude`s wisdom and unique ability to process history in real-time. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: We`re looking at a live shot from Seattle tonight. And Jo Ling Kent is reporting to us what is an extraordinary development and what we`ve seen this week. The police chief, Carmen Best, has just told the protesters that they are canceling the 9 p.m. curfew in Seattle tonight, because the protesters have been so peaceful so far.

And the police now believe that, with the cooperation of the protesters, they can ensure peaceful protests tonight and there is no need to impose a curfew in this city that has been operating so peacefully today, and that could be a turning point in what we have seen in these demonstrations nationwide.

In Minnesota, Keith Ellison changed the story today. Keith Ellison lost an election by 35 votes, and that`s why he is now the Attorney General of the State of Minnesota. He ran for Chair of the Democratic Party in 2017, and he lost 235 to 200 in a vote of party professionals who decide these things. And then Keith Ellison decided to give up his 12 year career in the House of Representatives to run for Attorney General back home in Minnesota.

And so tonight, Keith Ellison is the most important Attorney General in the United States and possibly the most important Attorney General in American history. Today, Attorney General Keith Ellison asked protesters in Minnesota and around the country to trust him, a trust that he has spent a lifetime trying to earn. And then, Attorney General Ellison said this.


KEITH ELLISON, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL: To the Floyd family, to our beloved community, and to everyone that is watching I say, George Floyd mattered, he was loved, his family was important, his life had value and we will seek justice for him and for you and we will find it.

The very fact that we have filed these charges means that we believe in them. But what I do not believe is that one successful prosecution can rectify the hurt and loss that so many people feel. The solution to that pain will be slow and difficult work of constructing justice and fairness in our society. That work is the work of all of us. We don`t need to wait for the resolution and investigation of this case to start that work.


O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Professor Eddie Glaude. He`s the Chairman of the Department of African-American Studies at Princeton University and an MSNBC contributor. And Professor Glaude, once again tonight, there is such a challenge in trying to synthesize everything we`ve seen today. We see that this Attorney General step up in Minnesota and change the direction of this story in a way that protesters were hoping for, asking for.

We`ve just seen a curfew just lifted in Seattle because the protesters are now operating in a way that the city seems confident of and at the same time, we`ve got this revolution of sorts that`s exploded tonight at "The New York Times" because they have run an op-ed piece by Senator Tom Cotton saying send in the troops.

And a member of the editorial board there, Mara Gay, who we all know who appears on this network has said that is a dangerous, dangerous thing for "The New York Times" to have published. How do you take this all in and what are you seeing as this day comes to a close tonight in all of this?

EDDIE GLAUDE, CHAIRMAN, DEPARTMENT FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I see possibility, Lawrence. I think what A.G. Ellison said is promising. But trust is earned. And we have seen and heard some of these words before.

Police officers have been arrested and have been acquitted. He has earned over the lifetime of his public service trust. And now he has to see how he can act within that system. But one of the things that I have - two things I want to say really quickly.

One is the power of everyday ordinary people, when they decide that they want to together push for substantive change to respond to the pressures of life, evil and cruelty, that we can be effective.

But I also want to say this too, Lawrence, that the serpent wrapped around the legs of the table upon which the constitution was signed threatens to swallow it whole. We have to see what Donald Trump is doing. We have to understand the implications of all of those Senators who are complicit. We need to understand the danger of what Senator Tom Cotton says. Our democracy stands on a knife`s edge.

And what we need in this moment from my vantage point is to understand our power, the power of the demos, to fundamentally change the circumstances and the direction of the country. And we also need to understand the power of the imagination. For over 40 years, we have been captured by an ideology that has made us think that we are just simply self-interested, selfish people engaged in competition and rivalry, that the only thing we needed to be concerned about was making money, making profit and pursuing our own desire.

But over the last few days, we have seen people strike a blow for the public good. Shelley says the imagination is an instrument of the good. We need to imagine a better world and make it happen. We can have - we have that power. But there`s no guarantee. The only thing we know is in our hand. It`s in our hand.

O`DONNELL: Professor Eddie Glaude, thank you once again for finding the words that make some sense of what we`ve seen today. Really appreciate it. Professor Glaude gets tonight`s last word. Thank you.

GLAUDE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts now.