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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 4/20/21

Guests: Sherrilyn Ifill, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Ibram Kendi, Amy Klobuchar, Patrick Skinner, Phillip Atiba Goff, Raphael Warnock


Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: I just barely it doesn`t happen. I`ve been covering Black Lives Matter cases since 2011. I have not seen this number of police officers testify against other police officers. I have not seen this, you know, level of conviction. I mean you`re talking about second-degree murder, third-degree murder, manslaughter. It`s extraordinary.

And now, I guess we just have to see whether or not that brings change if we bring -- if that brings change that is lasting. That is our coverage at least in my hour tonight. I want to throw it over to my friend Chris Hayes.

And Chris, it is your turn, but I do want to just very quickly, friend privilege, what do you make of this, Chris?

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: You know, it`s funny -- not funny. The feeling I had at the at -- when the jury read the verdict was a combination of first relief and then very intense sadness and grief. I think that at some level, the year has been so devastating in so many ways, so grief-stricken and anguished that the reality of the loss of this man.

This human being who is loved, who had a mother he cried out for, and had brothers, and a daughter, and walk this earth, and had dreams and aspirations, and things he wanted to do with his life, and struggles that he got through, and that is gone and we can`t get that back, hit me really hard almost more than anything else in the moment, just the fact that he should be alive still.

REID: I`m with you. I had tears that were inside. I had to do TV so I couldn`t have them out, but I wasn`t -- it was a combination of tears of relief and tears of sadness. But you`re absolutely right. It was definitely tears. Chris, thank you very much.

HAYES: Thank you, Joy. That was a great hour. Thank you very much. And good evening from New York. I am Chris Hayes. This afternoon, as we were just discussing, millions of people, tens of millions of people, I would actually hazard, across the country were holding their breath, feeling fear, anxiety, even dread about what the outcome might be in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

Somewhat absurdly as many noted, given the fact that we all watched what happened to George Floyd last May in excruciating and unbearable detail, all nine minutes and 29 seconds of it. It was an act so offensive and so gruesome that it captivated the consciences of those people there, of people just passing by at that moment who didn`t know each other. They`re just going to the store and they all saw this and it struck their conscience. And you can see the look on their faces of consternation and worry, human concern. They all tried in their own way to intervene to save George Floyd`s life as it was snuffed out in front of them.

And the video of what happened was so awful, so heinous it precipitated the largest civil rights protests in a generation. Millions and millions took to the streets in cities large and towns small. But of course, we all know the history. We`ve seen the Rodney King trial and its aftermath. Because of that, we all know the outcome of this trial was not a foregone conclusion. It could have gone either way.

Today, the jury finished deliberating. They reached a verdict after 11 hours. At 4:04 p.m. Central time in Minneapolis, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill returned to the courtroom moments later. The 12 jurors filed in and everyone held their breath.


PETER CAHILL, JUDGE, HENNEPIN COUNTY COURTHOUSE FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT: All right, please be seated. Members of the jury, I understand you have a verdict.


HAYES: The judge read out the three counts against Derek Chauvin and the guilty verdicts reached on each one. The hushed crowd outside the courthouse watched along on their smartphones.





HAYES: In that moment, the alleged murderer of George Floyd became the murderer of George Floyd officially in the eyes of the justice system. The thing that we knew all along was true, confirmed in that jury room. The judge revoked Derek Chauvin`s bail and he was taken into custody handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and the prosecution team spoke outside the courtroom just after the verdict calling the outcome of the trial the first step toward justice, highlighting the people who really made it happen.


KEITH ELLISON, ATTORNEY GENERAL, MINNESOTA: And now the cause of justice is in your hands. And when I say your hands, I mean the hands of the people of the United States.

The people who stopped and raised their voices on May 25, 2020 were a bouquet of humanity, a phrase I stole from my friend Jerry Blackwell. A bouquet of humanity, old, young men and women, black and white.

Why did they stop? They didn`t know George Floyd. They didn`t know he had a beautiful family. They didn`t know he had been a great athlete and they didn`t know he was a proud father or that he had people in his life who loved him. They stopped and raised their voices and they even challenged authority because they saw his humanity. They stopped and they raised their voices because they knew that what they were seeing was wrong.


HAYES: Barack and Michelle Obama released a statement about the trial saying in part, "Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing. But if we`re being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial. True justice requires we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently every day. It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family, and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last. And it requires us to do sometimes thankless often difficult but always necessary work of making the America we know or like the America we believe in."

Early this evening, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the nation calling for Americans to continue the work and movement sparked by Floyd`s death.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we feel a sigh of relief. Still, it cannot take away the pain. A measure of justice isn`t the same as equal justice. This verdict brings us a step closer and the fact is we still have work to do. We still must reform the system.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can`t breathe. Those are George Floyd`s last words. We can`t let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words. We must not turn away. We can`t turn away. We have a chance to begin to change the trajectory in this country. It`s my hope and prayer that we live up to the legacy.


HAYES: Whatever bit of relief or solace comes from this verdict, it is inescapably the case that it is not the end of this story. George Floyd is still not with us. He should be alive today. And that will never be changed. That is always true in our criminal justice system. No trial can bring anyone back ever. This one cannot.

George Floyd`s family will live with the grief and the ripple effects of those nine minutes and 29 seconds for the rest of their lives. It is also case that George Floyd and the reaction to his murder across the country, indeed across the world are part of a broader story about race, policing, and power in this country. And that is a story as present as it has ever been tonight on the streets as people memorialize George Floyd, celebrate, and tomorrow as people across the world look at this verdict and what it says about the America we love.

NBC News Correspondent Shaquille Brewster joins me now from Minneapolis. Shaq, you were doing great reporting out there. What`s it like on the streets tonight in Minneapolis right now?

SHAQUILLE BREWSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Chris, I`ll tell you -- or I can`t tell you, I should say, how many people have told me before this verdict before today how scared they were about this moment, how anxious they were. And then today we heard the words guilty, guilty, guilty. And that`s something that has been repeated.

You see a group still rallying behind me in the distance. This is a group that marched through the -- through the streets of Downtown Minneapolis throughout. And then, look on the other side. You see car after car behind joining this march. You see people on the top of their roofs waving the flags, still waving their flags in what is a celebration.

And what people have said in the rally part of this, they`ve been saying that look, it`s not just about George Floyd. Yes, that is why they are out here right now. But it`s about so many others. The other people who 10 minutes away from here for example have been killed by police, that is what they want their focus to be.

So, they said yes, we will celebrate right now. We will enjoy the time, we`ll wave the flags, but they say they`re going to Brooklyn Center tonight because that`s where they want the focus to be, that George Floyd is the first step. Something we heard during the prosecution is that this was not an anti-police prosecution, it was a pro-police prosecution.

But so many people here, the people here waving their flags, they say this is about accountability. And that is why they`re out here. That is why they`ve been fighting so hard for the verdict, for the conviction of Derek Chauvin. And that`s why they say they`re continued -- they`re going to continue to be out here fighting in the name of justice.

They want to see this to be a pattern. They want this to be a pattern rather than just one simple moment here in Minneapolis, Chris.

HAYES: Shaq Brewster there on the streets of Minneapolis referring of course to Brooklyn Center where a young man Daunte Wright was shot and killed by a Brooklyn Center Police officer. Shaq, you`ve been doing great reporting all day and evening. Thank you very much for joining us.

I want to go down to Ali Velshi who`s been outside the courthouse all day. And just before the verdict was read, he spoke to a local artist. Here`s what he had to say.


SEAN GARRISON, LOCAL ARTIST: I hope that this thing works out the way it should. I mean, you know, we all saw it. You know, we saw -- we looked into the eyes of, you know, the killer which has never happened ever in the history of these shootings of Black men. That`s never happened. And I challenge people to let me know if that is the case. So people -- I think people took that with them which is why we had this groundswell of support for the Black men over the past year-plus. But again, here we are.


HAYES: My colleague Ali Velshi is back with that artist again tonight and they join me now. Ali?

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: This is what it looks like now. I saw Sean earlier on and I said, you know, what it`s going to be. And he said it`s either going to be heaven or hell. But he was capturing in his mind the mood of what was going on out here in the streets. Sean is with me now.

Sean, what is it now? Because you said a couple hours ago, it was heaven or hell.

GARRISON: This is -- it`s like walking on air right now, you know, close to heaven as we going to get, you know, without leaving earth. So, that`s what it is. You know, I was -- initially, I wasn`t as optimistic.

VELSHI: You were not. And when I asked you why you weren`t optimistic about a conviction in this trial, you said to me, I`m a Black man in America.

GARRISON: Yes. Being a Black man in America and Black folks, we know how justice is never really served. So, we`re used to the letdowns and the setbacks. And so, when I came here today, that`s -- I just drawn on my life`s experience.

VELSHI: On a black canvas.

GARRISON: The black canvas was -- that`s how I felt. I was numb, you know. And it began -- it began dark because you know, I`ve held out hope in prior situations. And was hopeful and just knew that justice was going to happen. And you get the rug snatched from under your feet and you fall flat on your face.

But today, I`ve lifted up a little bit higher today. Earlier in the week, it was heavy. I felt heavy. I felt as if, you know, you think when is it going to end. And -- but today is just that -- it was that one instant, you know, that makes you go, all right, I can get up now, and we continue to fight. But today is -- it`s almost -- it`s an anomaly, you know. And hopefully, it`s the beginning of something that where people are thoroughly looked at as human and don`t -- you don`t have to -- have to prove a person`s humanity in a courtroom. You kind of just wake up OK, everybody is human. So, we can operate from that space but quite often we don`t operate from that space which is -- but hey, today, this moment, in this chilling Minnesota, I`m walking on air right now, brother. I`m walking on air.

VELSHI: Sean, thank you. Thank you for -- you know, the rest of us, when we`re nervous, we do all sorts of things. You, in your nervousness and your anxiety, you captured it and you put it there. And thank you for sharing with us -- with me again.

GARRISON: I appreciate it.

VELSHI: Sean Garrison is just one example of how everybody in this city, Chris, and this country is dealing with this overwhelming sense of relief. There`s nobody I`ve talked to tonight who says this is over. There`s nobody who thinks the system is necessarily changed. But there are a lot of people in this city who are relieved that they get to fight another day.

HAYES: Ali, thank you very much. Slightly strange, but if Sean is selling that painting, I would like to buy it. That --

VELSHI: I will pass that on Sean.

HAYES: That interview just really made this day in a lot of ways. Thank you, Ali. I really appreciate it.

VELSHI: Yes. Thanks, Chris. I appreciate it.

HAYES: Right now, I want to bring in Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize- Winning reporter covering racial injustice for the New York Times Magazine, creator of the landmark 1619 Project, Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director Council of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Ibram Kendi, he`s the director of the Boston University Center for Anti-Racist Research, author of Stamped from the Beginning: Definitive Idea of Racist Ideas in America which won the national book award for non-fiction.

Sherrilyn, as the lawyer amongst our esteemed guests, I`m going to go to you first in your reaction to this verdict.

SHERRILYN IFILL, PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR COUNCIL, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND: Well, the verdict was important, very important. I think you know when we see how we felt today as we waited for it, it`s a window into how often the justice system has failed us. Here was a case in which we had a nine-minute video in which we had a whole ring of witnesses in which police officers testified against one of their own, and still we were not certain what would happen with the jury verdict.

We remember that we saw the video of Walter Scott running in that park in North Charleston shot in the back by Michael Slager. We saw that Michael Slager lied in the police report of what happened. And we saw that the jury was hung actually in that case. Michael Slager is in prison only because of the federal civil rights prosecution against him.

So, on one hand, the verdict was really important especially for the family. And I hope for the ring of witnesses who were so traumatized witnessing this event and who were so courageous in testifying and in filming. But it also is a reminder of how much further we have to go. This is one case. This work has never been about one case.

This is one case in which we had all of those elements I described for every one of those. There are so many more with no videotape without officers willing to testify against their own with witnesses too frightened to speak. And so we have a deep systemic problem. And this verdict was important tonight, as I said especially for the family, but we have lots of work to do.

And in fact, Chris, tonight we`re hearing of a 15-year-old who was killed by a law enforcement officer in Columbus, Ohio. Tonight, information is still coming in about the circumstances. But as you know, a lot of -- a number of children have been killed by police officers in the last week. So, this is a strange mix of emotions this evening.

HAYES: Nikole, I`ve been thinking about Darnella Frazier today who is a 17- year-old -- at the time, she was 17. I believe she`s 18 now. The witness who videotaped this or taped it on our phone. And Keith Ellison said this thing that I keep coming back to.

We showed that picture before of just this moment tore the conscience of everyone who saw it at the moment. That there`s one police officer on George Floyd`s kneeling on him, there are three who are watching, some of them I believe he was training.

But every passerby from different walks of life, not trained, just people going to the store, realized that they were witnessing an atrocity essentially. And but for the bravery of Darnella Frazier recording it, we may not be here right now.

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: Absolutely. What this shows is something that I`ve been trying to talk about as a journalist for quite some time now, is that we give law enforcement far too much deference in their account of the stories when they kill civilians.

We -- you know, some people on Twitter, some journalists were sharing the original statement that the Minneapolis Police put out at George Floyd`s death. And they say that he -- they interrupted a jury in progress, that he resisted arrest, and then as they were able to get him kind of subdued, that he went into a medical crisis. They called the police and then he died at the hospital.

Far too often, just as in the Walter Scott case that Sherrilyn just talked about, we see police giving one narrative that is not true. And it is up to citizens who are now filming police on their smartphones to really contradict the narrative of police.

It`s not often that journalists are the ones who are contradicting the narrative of police. So, it shouldn`t be a society where we`re not all doing our jobs to bear witness where we are not questioning when those who are armed with the legitimacy of the state to take lives killed, that they are investigating themselves and that they are ultimately writing the narratives that we see in the press.

So, we have to not force citizens like Darnella Frazier who has been utterly traumatized by this to be the ones bearing witness, to be the ones having to stand up and say that`s not what`s happened. We can`t be a society that continues to allow this.

HAYES: Yes, and that -- on that note, Darnella Frazier giving an interview recently where she talked about essentially being stalked by survivor`s guilt, that she -- that she feels that she did not do enough to intervene in the moment to save George Floyd, that that haunts her, that she lives with that trauma.

And Ibram, I wonder how you think of this moment in sort of compared to where we were when this happened in May. We were in the midst of the worst part of the pandemic. We`re just sort of coming out of the lockdown. There was a sense of just other worldliness to everything that was happening in American life.

And something about the horror of this image and this set of facts precipitated, you know, by the measures we have the largest civil rights protests we`ve seen in a generation in literally in decades. I mean, towns with 50 people that had a Black Lives Matter march, you know, in the Town Square with 10 of the 50 people there. What does today mean in the long chain of those events that started in May?

IBRAM KENDI, DIRECTOR, BOSTON UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR ANTI-RACIST RESEARCH: Well, first, I think we should also recognize that in the years before George Floyd`s murder, there were -- there was a growing awareness of Americans who are recognizing indeed that the problem -- the racial problem wasn`t Black people or Brown people or native people, that the racial problem was racism.

And so, then you had that growing awareness and then you had those people who becoming more aware saw that video on which it was impossible to blame George Floyd. And I say impossible to blame George Floyd because as we`ve been talking about this, that is the consistent narrative that if somebody dies at the hands of police, it`s their fault. It`s because they didn`t comply, it`s because they resisted, it`s because something that they did wrong.

They in a sense, we are asked to de-escalate situations with people who should be trained. And -- but I think people rejected that narrative in this case. And certainly, the jury rejected that narrative.

HAYES: Yes, that narrative which is so ubiquitous, Sherrylin, both inside and outside courthouses. I mean, what was very striking about this trial which was strange and unique in many ways, police -- officer after officer testifying against a fellow officer, it doesn`t happen that often. Obviously, the amount of video evidence we have, right, which sometimes you`ll get 20 seconds or a body cam. I mean, this was a long period.

But also the degree to which the defenses -- the defense in the courtroom amounted to the defense I`ve heard outside the courtroom or in a million other circumstances over and over. He had drugs, he was -- you never know when he was going to get violent, he didn`t comply, you never know when someone is going to stop complying. These are all wrote essentially things that we`ve heard that have worked in other circumstances.

IFILL: Yes. It didn`t work this time. I mean, we`ve been seeing -- hearing these stories. It`s always that the victim was in control, that Rodney King seemed like a Tasmanian devil, that somehow Eric Garner was the, you know, person who was in control of the situation when he was choked, that Walter Scott had frightened Michael Slager by fighting back against the Taser, that you know, the Black victim had superhuman strength and so frightened the White officer.

And they tried it here. They tried it in the face of this nine-minute video. They tried it in the face of the truth that even a nine-year-old could see. I found it actually quite embarrassing. But you know, you know, you`re showing that picture now of Officer Chauvin, you know, looking into the camera, I`ve said before, he`s looking at us like that because he doesn`t think anything will happen to him. And he doesn`t think anything will happen to him because most often it doesn`t.

So, this happened to be the time that because of the length of the video, I think, because of the pleas of George Floyd, because of the crowd of people just trying to save his life which is the most heartening part of this is just ordinary people knowing right from wrong and refusing to leave and bearing witness. It didn`t work.

HAYES: Quickly, Nikole, and then I`ll go to you, Ibram. Do you feel given the fact that this death precipitated these protests and a sort of cultural reckoning and ripple effects that we haven`t seen in decades in many ways, that things are closer or have moved or progressed in the last 10 months from where they were on the day that we first saw that video.

JONES: I wish I could say I felt that. You know, the fact all of us woke up this morning afraid of what this verdict might be because despite this being a singular case where we all witness as President Biden said amending murder for 10 minutes, we didn`t know what the verdict was going to be.

We haven`t seen national legislation passed yet. We`ve seen almost no local legislation passed yet. Black men, boys, Latino children are still being murdered by the police. So, I have to say, you know, we`re in a slightly different place than we were a year ago but I don`t think that the type of systemic change that is necessary and we`re much closer to that frankly.

HAYES: Ibram.

KENDI: I think it takes a lot for people to transform their awareness into action into supporting the types of systemic and structural policies. And I know people are aware but it seems as if many of those people who are aware aren`t thinking about how we can radically change policing in this country, and that`s what we must do.

HAYES: Nikole Hannah-Jones, Sherrilyn Ifill, Ibram Kendi, great gift to have all three of you tonight on this evening. I really, really, really, really appreciate it. Thank you very much for making time.

I want to turn now to Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Senator, your reaction to the verdict tonight.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): I just kept thinking of the family, the Floyd family. Knowing that this wouldn`t bring George back to them, he`ll still never be able to hold his children or visit his mom`s grave, and so he`s still gone. But that family, Chris, held in for justice. They believed it was possible despite what happened in all these other cases around the country.

So, I am so proud of Keith Ellison, our attorney general. I think -- I don`t think enough has been said about how he put together this team and they weren`t hot dog lawyers, they were doing their job. They did a great job because what did the story -- what was the story for the jurors and for America, it was about the witnesses.

It was about not just how George Floyd tragically died but how he lived. And it was about yes, the police officers willing to come forward and testify against Derek Chauvin but also those ordinary citizens, the guy working at the store that felt so bad, the passer-by that wished he could have done more. Well, in the end, there was one person responsible in the eyes of the jury for what happened, and that was Derek Chauvin.

HAYES: You -- obviously, you got your start in politics as the elected district attorney in that county, in Hennepin County where this happened. You were there for eight years. There were police killings of citizens during that time, and you know, there was a back and forth during the campaign about your office not prosecuting some of them.

I wonder if you feel like, you feel differently now about the way the system works than you did as a district attorney in that job if there are things that you would go and tell yourself occupying that position 20 years later.

KLOBUCHAR: Of course. I think, one of the things we`ve known is that there`s systemic racism throughout the system. And back then we were working on things like working with the Innocence Project on making sure that people who are looking at DNA samples, making sure that people`s interrogations were videotaped.

But we had that standard in place that sadly still is and. One of the things I`m so devoted to is trying to pass the police reform on the federal level and the state level so that there is a higher standard for when police use force and we have more accountability. Certainly, we know that we`re still not where we need to be when we lost 20-year-old Daunte Wright just for simply having expired tabs at a traffic stop.

And so, as Sherrilyn and so many of your other guests were saying, this is going on across the country right now. We need systemic reform. But right now, Chris, our focus is on the fact that these jurors did the right thing, that they defied history when it comes to these cases. They did the right thing and I am proud of those community witnesses and the police that testified.

HAYES: Final question on that -- the policing act. I`d like you to just talk to people who are watching this right now who are skeptical or cynical about the ability of reform say, at the police -- at the federal level to have a tangible impact. What you say to them when they say I feel like we`re fiddling at the margins. There`s something deeper here. Make an argument to me that things can get better on this score.

KLOBUCHAR: The outcry that we`ve seen across the country, the support in my state for actually going after and prosecuting this case, the reaction of the jurors, the fact that these cases are being more often brought, the fact that Cory Booker is leading this bill in the U.S. Senate working as hard as he can with the White House with Republicans when he can to try to get a bill passed.

This is all progress over where we were and it has gone too slowly. And we shouldn`t wait another day. I want to this now. As you know, I`d abolish the filibuster tomorrow. I`m sick and tired of what`s been happening in the gridlock in the Senate on voting rights and on so many other things. But what we saw today was a community saying enough is enough.

HAYES: Senator Amy Klobuchar, of course, who represents that great state of Minnesota, thank you so much for making some time with us tonight.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Chris. It`s great to be on.

HAYES: Ahead, the feelings of relief and grief that played out all around the country from outside the Minneapolis courthouse to the halls of Congress. Those scenes next.


HAYES: The moments before Judge Cahill read the verdict in Derek Chauvin`s trial were unbelievably tense. Millions and millions of people across the country waited to have their hopes realized or their worst fears confirmed. And even now, hours later, it`s worth replaying those moments right after the verdict was read.

This is the Congressional Black Caucus huddled together to hear the verdict, laptop out, phones out. everyone on edge holding their breath.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, guilty on every count.


HAYES: The relief is so palpable. You could see it in the face of Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush. She embraces Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. We also saw the relief all across Minneapolis outside the courthouse as the verdict rippled across that city.






HAYES: Following the verdict, George Floyd`s brother Philonise described being able to breathe again after watching his brother suffer over and over.


PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: We ought to always understand that we have to march. We will have to do this for life. We have to protest because it seems like this is a never-ending cycle. I`m going to put up a fight every day because I`m not just fighting for George anymore, I`m fighting for everybody around this world. Justice for George means freedom for all.


HAYES: For some Minneapolis residents, there were no words for today`s verdict, just tears.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, we celebrate justice (INAUDIBLE). Today, we celebrate justice (INAUDIBLE)



CAHILL: Members of the jury, I will now read the verdict as they will appear on the permanent records of the Fourth Judicial District. The State of Minnesota, County of Hennepin District Court, Fourth Judicial District. State of Minnesota, plaintiff, versus Derek Michael Chauvin, defendant. Verdict, count one, court file number 27CR2012646. We, the jury, in the above-entitled matter has to count one unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony find the defendant guilty. This verdict agreed to this 20th day of April 2021 at 1:44 p.m. signed juror four person, juror number 19.

Same caption, verdict count two. We, the jury, in the above-entitled matter has to count two third-degree murder perpetrating an eminently dangerous act find the defendant guilty. This verdict agreed to this 20th day of April 2021 at 1:45 p.m. signed by jury four person, juror number 19.

Same caption, verdict count three. We, the jury, in the above-entitled matter has to count three, second-degree manslaughter, culpable negligence creating an unreasonable risk, find the defendant guilty. This verdict agreed to this 20th day of April 2021 at 1:45 p.m. Jury four-person zero one nine.


HAYES: That was the moment when judge Peter Cahill read the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial finding him guilty on all three counts. Following that murder conviction, the ACLU confirmed this was the first time in Minnesota state history a white police officer had been held accountable for killing a black man, the first time in history in that state.

So, what does this conviction mean for policing in this country? I`m joined now by two experts in the field, Phillip Attiba Goff, co-founder and CEO of Center for Policing Equity and a professor of African American Studies and Psychology at Yale University and Patrick Skinner, a police officer in Savannah, Georgia, former CIA case officer, has been a longtime advocate for changing the way we police in this country.

Patrick, let me go to you first. You`re working now as a police officer. And I know you can`t speak for cops because there are more than a million across this country, but what`s your reaction to the verdict?

PATRICK SKINNER, POLICE OFFICER, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: Yes, I just find it remarkable like you mentioned that it`s the first time in Minnesota history that a white cop has been held accountable for killing a black person. I find that just to be an incredible statement. And speaking for myself -- you know, I only speak for myself, I was just floored at how much hinged on this verdict.

I mean, there`s something fundamentally wrong when so much hinges on what juror number 19 reads. The suspense of what should have been, you know, obviously, an easy trial. I mean, it`s traumatic, it`s tragic, it`s terrible. But it shouldn`t have been suspenseful. And that the fact that in 2021, it is suspenseful that something`s wrong. I mean something`s really wrong.

HAYES: What do you think, Phillip?

PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, CENTER FOR POLICING EQUITY: Yes, I keep going back to the children who are on that stand who will have no remedy from any of this. I`m thinking about right now Makia Bryant, a 15- year-old girl who called the police because there was a fight in front of her house.

She called police in Columbus, Ohio and the police killed her tonight. She called around 4:30 just as the verdict was being read. And tomorrow there will be an average of three people killed by police. I am amazed that it took this much. It took the bravery of a 17-year-old girl to record something like this, that it took an A.G., a state`s A.G. stepping in to change the charging document, that it took all of this to get a conviction from a public lynching.

And that a verdict is not a change in culture. It is not a set of policies that can possibly set us free of what can happen the next time a Black person encounters law enforcement.

HAYES: Patrick, I am -- I am -- I read some of your writing. There`s a great profile of you in The New Yorker, and you write about policing a lot. You talk about policing. And one of the things you say about policing is slowing things down as opposed to speeding them up.

One of the things I think we see in a lot of these incidents is police seeming to exacerbate a situation or seeming to make it worse or escalating the amount of tension, escalating the amount of energy, escalating the amount of aggressiveness as opposed to bringing it down.

I mean, I think we see that in the bodycam footage of Daunte Wright. We clearly see it in the case of George Floyd and many others. Can you talk a little bit about that and why training of police or the or the bearing or disposition of police isn`t more focused on that approach?

SKINNER: It`s because the focus right now is on compliance. And it has to be immediate and it has to be total. And that can`t be the goal of a 911 call especially since most 911 calls are not crime. 80 of the calls we go to at least are not crime. They might be trending that way, but they`re not crime.

And yet, the police officer by training and by policy -- I mean, by culture, we`re focused on assuming automatic control and when I tell you to do something, you have to do it even if you`re not in a state to comply with that order and also even when I don`t really need to give that order.

And so, we really need to get away from this mindset of -- I mean, yes, if things are life or death, yes, of course you have to act. But most of the things we are seeing are not life or death. In fact, we`re making them life or death. Slowing down is the one thing -- we can`t control what other people do, but we can control what we do.

I tell everyone, slow yourself down. You can`t really deescalate somebody but you can slow yourself down. And I say it again and again. If you didn`t have a badge and a gun, how would you handle this 911 call? And whatever you come up with that is legal, reasonable, kind, ethical, try that first and slow down.

HAYES: That point about compliance, Phillip, to me is the nub of this because it marries the two aspects of what happened to George Floyd. A man was murdered in a horrendous and cruel fashion but he was also murdered in a way in which the authority of the state was brought to bear on him in a specific way that in less lethal ways has been brought to bear on millions of our fellow Americans in interactions of tremendous drama and small ones, of indignity in which a person wants you to comply in which you become essentially a subject to state authority that feels like it`s robbing you of something deeply sovereign about who you should be as a free person.

And that is underneath all this stuff whatever happens in technique or reform that comes out of the aftermath of this.

GOFF: Yes. And we frame that as if it`s an issue of culture only because it`s definitely an issue of culture. But you know, I appreciate that there are things that officers can do, that we can train officers to take stuff less personally, to be less concerned about your individual authority in a situation. But I also got to say, there`s no version of this where introducing a badge and a gun isn`t already an escalation, right?

HAYES: Right.

GOFF: If I happen to be selling loose cigarettes, right, somebody comes up with a badge and a gun, all of a sudden that`s a life or death situation. It was never life or death before that. So, absolutely, the mindset that you must have compliance especially when someone is resisting but not threatening, that`s the difficult situation for training law enforcement.

But we do have a choice of whether or not we send law enforcement to these situations that could never be proportional to having a gun in the first place. I`m hoping that`s the next step. I`m hoping that`s what comes next.

HAYES: Phillip Atiba Goff and Patrick Skinner, gentlemen, thank you for sharing your insights. I really, really appreciate it.

SKINNER: Thank you for having me.

HAYES: Don`t go anywhere. We`ll be right back with Senator Raphael Warnock as our coverage continues next. Don`t go anywhere.


HAYES: It was last May that Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd as bystanders looked on in horror. And of course, in the aftermath of that, we`ve seen this enormous cultural-political reckoning with the underlying systems of racism and oppression in the criminal justice system and housing and education in our culture.

There hasn`t been a huge change in the statutory guidelines for how policing works and what it is. Certainly, nothing at the federal level, although there are bills on the table. With me now is someone who plays a role in whatever legislation this Congress might produce, Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock. He`s a Democrat from Georgia, one of the newest members of that august body.

How do you see your role, Senator, as someone who was a pastor for many years and a pastor in communities that had dealt with policing and its excesses or indignities at times and now as a senator in the United States Senate?

SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): Well, thank you so much, Chris. It`s good to be here with you. First of all let me just say that my heart and my prayers are with the family of George Floyd. The jury got it right today but that won`t bring George Floyd back. The pain that this family is experiencing is unbearable, the meaning of their loss unspeakable.

And while the jury got it right today, we`ve got to do everything we can here in the Congress to make sure that we get the public policy right. And one is not a substitute for the other, and so I will continue to work hard as I`ve been doing even before I came to the U.S. Senate to make sure that we live into our ideals of equal protection under the law.

That`s what George Floyd deserved. He didn`t get it. And we`ve got to make sure that our communities are safe and that we do everything we can to bend that closer to justice.

HAYES: You know, obviously, for a very long time, the United States Senate has not been a particularly representative body in terms of the people that occupy those desks that you now sit in and the degree to which they represent the people of the nation along a bunch of lines, race, gender very notably, and others.

Can you talk a little bit about what your experience with police and policing has been like as a Black man in America and how that informs how you think about this verdict and the policy objectives as well?

WARNOCK: Chris, I was 12 years old when I was marched through a grocery store because I had my hands in my pockets. I looked suspicious and so the police marched me and a couple of friends, ironically all of us pastors kids, through the store. I was stopped and frisked and humiliated.

And when of course they found that we weren`t guilty of shoplifting, there was no apology, no acknowledgment of the humiliation. And if you ask Black men all across this country, but Hispanic men and women as well, people of color, you know, you`ll hear these stories.

We know what it`s like to have to tell our children and our nieces and nephews what to do when you`re pulled over by the police so that you survive that encounter. And so, I bring that experience with me to the U.S. Senate. After all, I`m only the 11th Black senator in the history of this country. And when we are talking about criminal justice reform, the need for reform in our policing, if you`re talking about voting rights, a whole range of issues, representation matters.

That when we -- when we have a legislative body that more accurately reflects our actual citizenry, I think we got a better shot at getting the policy right. And so, I`m going to be pushing my colleagues over the next few days and weeks to make sure we get the public policy right.

The jury got the verdict right but that does not solve this issue. It took a whole lot to get here. We had a whole coalition of conscience marching out in American streets last summer responding to this. A whole lot of things had to line up in order to make sure that a jury didn`t come back buying the argument of the defense. That instead of seeing what we could see with our own eyes, that somehow we would have bought into their argument that George Floyd killed himself and not the man whose knee was on his neck.

And so we`ve got to make sure that we codify justice in our legislation and pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act.

HAYES: You know, it strikes me a lot of the issues the country faces and some of the depths of our political divisions center on a sort of question about whether we`re kind of fighting over a zero-sum pie in which one group is going to get a slice and the other doesn`t or we`re engaged in some sort of collective undertaking that can make everyone flourish, allow everyone to flourish, can improve life for everyone else.

We`re seeing that along voting rights, right, where you have this attack on voting rights, this idea that like if other -- too many of the wrong people vote, that takes away the power of my vote. I think there`s people who feel that way about policing. That if the police are not, you know, sent into these neighborhoods to deal with those people, then that`s going to imperil my safety.

You`re in a narrowly contested state. You`ve got to go back and tell this narrowly contested state a story that breaks out of that. What are you telling your constituents in Georgia, Republican and Democrat across the spectrum?

WARNOCK: Oh, I am going to continue to tell the people of Georgia the same story that I tell every Sunday from my pulpit that of one blood, God has made all nations to dwell upon the face of the earth. And in him, we live, move, and have our being. I`m going to continue to try to tell the American story. The story of e pluribus unum, out of many, one.

We`ve always had to fight for that. It is the covenant that we have with one another as an American people. And there always have been and there probably always will be demagogues who try to divide us in order to hold on to their power.

Right now we`re witnessing this with the fight for voting rights. They`re attacking our democracy based on a big lie. And the goal is power but it`s rooted in an old mythology that says, as you put it, that somehow, if you give other people, those people access, that somehow that takes something away from you.

The opposite is actually true that when we are open, when we are inclusive, when we embrace one another, we create a society that is good enough for all -- for all of our children, ensures that our economy prospers and that the people can thrive, that the people`s voices can be heard, and we move closer to our ideals.

HAYES: Sen. Raphael Warnock, thank you so much for joining us this evening.

WARNOCK: Thank you.

HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Tuesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.