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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 4/13/21

Guests: Josie Duffy Rice, Kirk Burkhalter, Marq Claxton, Tishaura Jones


Live coverage continues of the third day of protest in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, after the killing of Daunte Wright. The defense began presenting its case in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Protests and police clash in third night of protests after death of Daunte Wright by former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter. Police order protesters to disperse ahead of curfew in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Tishaura Jones on Tuesday was elected mayor of St. Louis and will become the city`s first Black woman to hold that office after running on a progressive platform and a promise to reform and revitalize the city.



And we don`t know exactly what kind of news environment we will be in tomorrow night with the situation in Minnesota tonight, that we are going to be covering live and this historic speech by the president tomorrow night, but we will have to handle both tomorrow night. That`s for sure.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Exactly. Exactly. Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

Over one hour away from tonight`s curfew in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, last night protesters on the streets there for hours after the 7:00 p.m. curfew. They are already on the streets tonight. Forty people were arrested last night.

Tonight, 2000 National Guard troops are in Brooklyn Center Minnesota supporting the small Brooklyn Center Police Department, which now has only 47 members after the police chief resigned today and Officer Kim Potter submitted her resignation today, two days after she fired one bullet into the chest of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was killed by that gunshot.

Officer Potter is heard on police bodycam video saying "Taser, Taser" before she fired her gun. Immediately after firing her gun, she seemed to realize that she had fired up bullet instead of her Taser. She then said, holy crap, I shot him. Those words have appeared as headlines around the country today.

Her letter of resignation today said that she decided to, quote, it was in the best interest of the community.

Joining us now from Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, is NBC News correspondent Ron Allen.

Ron, what is the situation there now?

RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It`s very tense, Lawrence. And it`s been getting more so by the minute over the past half hour or so. We`ve heard repeated warnings from the state police telling the demonstrators who have protested out here that this is now become an unlawful assembly and they must disperse.

We have seen a constant volley of projectiles going in both directions over the fence there, over the fence over police headquarters, where there are now tonight, unlike last night, a significant National Guard presence of what looked like soldiers in combat fatigues. We also see some heavy armored equipment, big trucks.

And earlier today, we saw a significant number of troops coming and to back up the police here. So far, again, a lot of back and forth, a lot of warnings. The main concern that the police seem to have at this point, one big concern is that there is a fence there where you see those two young linking yellow lights there. There is a fence that guards and blocks a driveway that goes up into the police compound.

There is a big armored vehicle there with a long line of police and National Guard behind it. It`s very aware that the demonstrators have been coming up and shaking the fence and trying to get in or trying to rattle the police and that is an area of vulnerability. That seems to be what is of concern, as well as the constant stream of projectiles. We see fireworks going up in the air but we also see rocks and bottles, other debris, all going into the compound.

Earlier today, state police made it clear that yesterday, last night, they felt that they were patient. They described themselves as being shelved and they said that they waited as long as they could and they couldn`t take it anymore and then they moved out.

Last night and apparently tonight, they told people to move north which is in that direction, a phalanx of officers came out and started walking this way and that way to clear this area, the street. And that is what we expect is possibly going to happen tonight.

The curfew is at 10:00, not a 8:00 local time, but already, they have declared this an unlawful assembly so we think the process of trying to move in clear this area might happen sooner.

Now, talking to some of the demonstrators out here, at the protesters there are trying to hold their ground. Yes, there are some people who are leaving. We see people walking away to get away.

I saw a woman with a young child walking away. There are families out here. There are all kinds of people out here from all different walks of life. I`m at a high school student a little while ago who said that she was going to try to say as long as she could.

That gives you some sense of the level of outrage, the level of passion in this community about what has happened. And while an officer resigned today and the chief did as well, that creates some level of satisfaction but they want to see criminal charges. And now you can see the crowd getting restless, stirring even more.

I can see now that the police are outside of the compound. They have walked out onto the street and now I would expect that the crowd is starting to coming this way in greater numbers and we are probably going to have to move back.

You could see a big pool of smoke back there, which is probably tear gas. So let`s prepare to start moving, because the crowd is moving. Let`s prepare to start moving backward. Watch your step.

Okay. The crowd is going to come with us here. And I can smell the irritant in the air already. This is sort of the breaking point of this. It`s been going on all night and interestingly, the city council here passed a resolution last night. Keep going, watch your step. You`re on a curb.

Okay, let`s go back. The city council here passed a resolution last night forbidding the police, prohibiting them from using tear gas, rubber bullets, chemical irritants to try and tone this down but apparently that`s what`s happening tonight again that there are rubber bullets, tear gas into the crowd.

The police have become just in the last few minutes very, very forceful. And again, we can see that they are moving out in the street.

O`DONNELL: Ron, there`s a city council -- the city council`s action does not control what the National Guard does. Does it just control with the Brooklyn Center Police Department tactics are?

ALLEN: It doesn`t seem to control much of anything, Lawrence. And the leadership of this community is in turmoil. The police chief is out. The city manager is out as of yesterday. A deputy has taken over and the city manager was the one who was more directly involved in control of the police.

The mayor is now, back up a little bit, the mayor is now -- there`s a car coming. The mayor is the one who has said that the officer who fired the fatal shot at Daunte Wright should have been fired immediately. He has taken a very hard line. He is the one as well who has said that there should not be fireworks and there should not be tear gas and heavy handed tactics as you would describe perhaps by the authorities.

But they are taking a -- again, they are out in the street there. You can see that they`ve taken their position.

Move to your -- this way because there`s a car behind you trying to get out. Move that way. There you go, there you go. All right.

So now we wait, Lawrence. And we see how long this takes. Last night, it took a couple of hours before the police moved up about a quarter mile in that direction and cleared out this entire area.

There is a big parking lot here behind us. There are a lot of cars that are now trying to get out of the way. There is a strip mall over here.

All the buildings, all the retail stores, beauty salon, a dollar store, a pizza place, they are all boarded up tight tonight because there was a significant amount of looting that happened here over the past couple of nights, but they are all boarded up and completely abandoned at this moment.

You can see the fireworks going up over there. Those are just what seemed to be just harmless fireworks. But there are certainly projectiles going in across the street, into the police compound and the police clearly have had enough of this and they have started a very aggressive push to try to clear this out -- Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Ron Allen, thank you very much for that report. We will come back to you throughout the hour as the news develops there.

As Ron was saying, Brooklyn Center City Council has taken over, tried to take over the situation there yesterday by firing the city manager and granting control over the police department to Mayor Mike Elliott.


MAYOR MIKE ELLIOTT, BROOKLYN CENTER, MN: I`m hoping that this will help bring some calm to the community, although I think ultimately, people want justice. They want full accountability under the law. And so that is what we are going to continue to hope for. We have to make sure that justice is served, justice is done.


O`DONNELL: Brooklyn Center is a northern suburb of Minneapolis. Daunte Wright was killed just ten miles away from where a jury completed the 12th day of listening to testimony of the trial of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.

One of those jurors lives in Brooklyn Center and is now living under a curfew this week in the aftermath of another killing by police.

Today, the family of George Floyd stood in solidarity with the family of Daunte Wright. Daunte Wright`s mother recounted her phone conversation with Daunte Wright when the police approached his car.


KATIE WRIGHT, MOTHER OF DAUNTE WRIGHT: She was crying and screaming, and she said that they shot him. That she pointed the phone towards the driver`s seat and my son was laying there, unresponsive. That was the last time I have seen my son. That was the last time I heard from my son. And I have had no explanations since then.


O`DONNELL: George Floyd`s brother said this.


PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: It`s a time for change, and that time is now. Minneapolis, you are okay you can`t sweep this under the rug anymore. We are here and we will fight for justice for this family, just like we`re fighting for our brother.


O`DONNELL: Daunte Wright`s aunt, Naisha Wright, said this about her nephew.


NAISHA WRIGHT, AUNT OF DAUNTE WRIGHT: My nephew was a lovable young man. His smile, oh lord the most beautiful smile. You`ll tuck that. My nephew`s blood is on your hands.

Did you will not see my great little nephew? Did you will not see that beautiful baby? He is fatherless. Not over a mistake, over murder.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Josie Duffy Rice, president of the Appeal, a website covering the criminal justice system, and Jelani Cobb, staff writer for "The New Yorker" and professor of journalism at Columbia University. He`s an MSNBC political analyst.

And, Josie, let me begin with you and your reaction to the developments in Brooklyn Center today.

JOSIE DUFFY RICE, PRESIDENT, "THE APPEAL": Yeah, I mean I think it`s good news right that this officer resigned. I think it`s smart that the police chief resigned. I think that we`re looking at possible charges. It`s an important step in the system we currently have.

But I really want to push back on the idea that it`s justice. The mayor with all due respect to him, Mike Elliott, said they are looking for justice. Justice is impossible in this case.

Daunte Wright is dead, and there is no way to bring him back. And when we see situations like this where a person loses their life, by state violence, I am wary of terms like justice because there is no actual way to ensure justice for a family that just senselessly lost their son, their father, their nephew.

O`DONNELL: Professor Jelani Cobb, you`re out there in the area. What has your day been like there and what are you -- what is your reaction to what we are witnessing tonight?

JELANI COBB, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, I`ve been here since last week and I was here to cover the Chauvin trial which is now obviously another story that has emerged in the context of it.

When you talk with people, the thing that you heard across different boundaries, different backgrounds, race, et cetera, was that everyone agreed that there would be violence if Chauvin was acquitted. Nobody saw this coming.

And on Sunday, when I first heard about what happened, I headed out to Brooklyn Center and what amazed me is that that first night, there were about 400 in front of the police station. Something that had just happened a few hours earlier, I thought that it really represented how high the tensions have been in this community and in surrounding communities in the context of this trial taking place.

O`DONNELL: And, Josie Duffy Rice, as the trial proceeds, the Chauvin trial proceeds, with this new case developing at the same time they are obviously it inextricably wed as was presented by the families` appearance together today.

RICE: Absolutely. I mean, what we know is that we are talking about a history of police violence in Minneapolis and the surrounding area and across the country, right? That is decades old.

The fact that, like Jelani said, the fact that Daunte Wright was killed just in the middle of this trial is, you know, both a coincidence in some ways and also inevitable because this is the pattern of police violence in this country. And what it tells us is that Derek Chauvin is on trial and that`s important but it also indicates that there is Chauvin is far outside the standard deviation of what is acceptable behavior and police departments across the country.

And I think that`s wrong. I think what we see because of what happened to Daunte Wright, because of what happened to Philando Castile, what happened to many people not just in Minneapolis but across the country, that this is a pattern in policing. That this violence, that death, that this brutality is a pattern in policing in this country and that it really needs to be eradicated from the ground floor to really address that brought in the progression at large.

O`DONNELL: Professor Cobb, what was the reaction in the area today when the "Minneapolis Star Tribune", their big headline this morning was basically quoting the police officer saying, oh, you know, I shot him. That was the headline. The -- basically, the accident explanation for how Daunte Wright was shot and killed.

COBB: Let me tell you, I`ve been talking to community members, activists, other people all day and I think that statement really did not sit well. People were very angry to hear that. As a matter of fact, when I first started hearing this yesterday, there was an immediate rejection saying that this was not any kind of accident and trying to understand how someone could mistake a Taser for a fire arm, pointing out a person who has 26 years of experience on the force, by no means I think that it`s that explanation only exacerbated the tensions of the scene.

Also I wanted to add one thing, I was at George Floyd`s Square today and that is the area surrounding where Mr. Floyd died last year. They have converted it into a civic space called George Floyd`s square and there, on the street, the spray-painted names of dozens of people who have died at the hands of police, of people who have been victims of police violence.

I want specifically to look for one thing and I saw that early this morning, there was in red and black spray-paint, the name of Daunte Wright on that street.

O`DONNELL: Professor Jelani Cobb and Josie Duffy Rice, thank you both for beginning our discussion of this tonight. We really appreciate it.

We`re going to go to Cal Perry live in Brooklyn Center, MSNBC`s Cal Perry.

Cal, what is the situation there now?

CAL PERRY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Lawrence. Things have dropped in a lull. I can show you the frontline that Ron Allen was talking about. The police did come out of the compounds. They did bring at least one armored vehicle outside of the compound.

The crowd is really whittled down to a few dozen, maybe 100 people. And again, I`m saying this the last hour. The people who remain seem pretty set on having a confrontation with the police. In the last ten minutes, we`ve seen less throwing a bottles, less response for police. It`s sort of a stand off right here where we saw the clashes last night, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And what do we expect to change when the curfew hits at the top of the hour?

PERRY: That is definitely something the police are going to have to sort of make a ruling on. If this crowd stays quiet, it`s hard to imagine that they would sort of run through this crowd like they did last night and pause it on a confrontation. You can hear that they are giving these final warnings to the crowd. This is now the warning from the media and we`ve sort of been sliding back as the crowd slides back.

One of the concerns of the police are going to have, Lawrence, is that folks on these trucks, and these vehicles who are in blocking the street and again what happens is these vehicles sort of pull up. There will be the sort of hail of bottles being thrown, police are now moving down the street.

But again, as you said, Lawrence, the curfew coming up at the top of the hour it was three hours earlier last night. I think the hope was not that only the time, the weather, it`s been cold and it`s been raining will keep people from coming out on the street and it is a smaller crowd tonight.

O`DONNELL: Cal Perry, thank you for that report. We`ll be coming back to you as the hour continues.

And today, just ten miles from where those protesters are tonight the defense began presenting its case in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

And after six witnesses completed their testimony today in the defense of Derek Chauvin, no real defense of Derek Chauvin`s conduct emerged from that testimony. Some of the witnesses called by the defense did not want to help the defense, like George Floyd`s former girlfriend who was in the backseat of George Floyd`s car when the police approached George Floyd. She testified that when she ran into George Floyd in the store, she said that he was, quote, happy, normal, talking, and alert.

Some of the witnesses appeared neutral on the witness stand like the retired police officer who was asked to testify about the time he arrested George Floyd in 2019. The arrest was shown on police body cam video. It shows George Floyd complying with police orders and being handcuffed. That was evidence that in no way help the defense because it showed how cooperative George Floyd could be in that situation.

Some witnesses clearly wanted to help the defense, like Minneapolis Police Officer Peter Chang, who was across the street from Derek Chauvin and the other officers who were crushing George Floyd into the pavement and was never part of that action himself and so here is how he tried to help the defense.


ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: As Mr. Floyd and the officers were across the street. Did you notice any changes in the area?

PETER CHANG, MINNEAPOLIS PARK POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yeah. There was a crowd and the crowd was becoming more loud and aggressive. A lot of young across the street.


O`DONNELL: Aggressive. He said that to a jury who had already seen multiple videos of the small group of bystanders who did not really constitute a crowd and were never aggressive.

The witness, who tried to help the defense the most was a self-proclaimed use of force expert from Montana, whose policing experience includes service in the United States Park Police and the Santa Rosa Police Department in California which has less than one third the number of police officers of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Barry Brodd offers himself as an expert witness for hire in cases like this. He first offered his services to the prosecution in this case but they wisely declined to deal with him. But the defense decided to pay him for testimony like this.


NELSON: Can you just briefly overview your opinions in this particular case?

BARRY BRODD, EXPERT DEFENSE WITNESS, RETIRED POLICE OFFICER: I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, was acting with objective reasonableness following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement in his interactions with Mr. Floyd.


O`DONNELL: A jury has rejected Barry Brodd`s testimony in another high profile murder trial of a police officer. Barry Brodd testified as a hired witness for the defense in the murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke (ph) for the murder of Laquan McDonald. The jury rejected Barry Brodd`s testimony entirely and convicted officer van dyke of first degree murder and aggravated battery.

And after the jury last week, heard expert medical testimony from Dr. Martin Tobin who said the fact that someone can speak is not proof that they can breathe, Barry Brodd actually said this.


BRODD: If somebody`s saying they can`t breathe, it appears to me they are taking full breaths and they are shouting, to me, the layperson, they can breathe.


O`DONNELL: After testifying under oath that Derek Chauvin did not use deadly force on George Floyd, even though George Floyd died from that force, Barry Brodd actually denied under oath that any form of force was used against George Floyd. The jury didn`t really need cross examination to know how false that testimony was, but the prosecution`s cross examination did crush every point Barry Brodd was paid to make on the witness stand today.


PROSECUTOR: What you said is that it was unlikely to produce pain and that`s why it wasn`t a use of force. You now just said it could produce pain. And so, regardless of the officer`s intent, if this act that we`re looking at here in exhibit 17 could produce pain, would you agree that what we`re seeing here is a use of force?

BRODD: Sure, in this picture, that could be a use of force.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Kirk Burkhalter, criminal law professor at New York Law School, where he is the director of the 21st Century Policing Project. Also with us, Marq Claxton, director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance. Both are former NYPD police detectives.

And, Professor Burkhalter, what was your reaction to this first day of the presentation of the defense case?

KIRK BURKHALTER, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW CRIMINAL LAW PROFESSOR: Well, Lawrence, there weren`t really any surprises here for a few reasons. One, we knew the theory of the defense that Chauvin was justified. And the other thing we`ll see that won`t be a surprise is they will find a medical expert who will testify that George Floyd did not die from this asphyxiation. So that`s not a surprise.

The other surprise is not that the amount of compensation you could find someone to testify that day is night and night is day. So, that is not a surprise at all.

What was surprising to a certain extent was the lack of credibility with regards to the defenses witness. Now, in all due respect perhaps that is because the prosecutions witnesses, the overwhelming majority were so extremely credible, and I guess the defense possibly just could not locate or find a witness that was willing to testify on their behalf to match the credibility of the prosecutions witness, witnesses.

Further, the witness, you just showed the retired police officer the use of force expert and the prosecution was really able to get him to walk back so many statements.

When I did find surprising was the kind of don`t believe your lying eyes defense so after we`ve seen this video so many times, we`ve had so many use of force professionals and the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department testify to that film and show how Derek Chauvin`s actions were not justified how someone could literally get on the stand and say I saw no problem with the use of force, I use of force that resulted in the death of a man who was handcuffed.

So once again I was somewhat surprised that actually get that out without even a smirk or a smile, right? So I don`t know how well the jury will buy that. I think the overwhelming weight of the evidence is in favor of the prosecution but ice expect that we will continue to see these types of witnesses over the course of the week.

O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton, your reaction to this first day of the defense case.

MARQ CLAXTON, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE DIRECTOR: Well, I actually found myself wincing as I listen to the defense expert witnesses. There were so many in consistencies and things that came up in their perspectives were clearly slanted, tilted, and quite subjective, and not based on science and really it exposed to ways. One is how the prosecutors and their expert witnesses in abundance really said people was overkill but then you realize just how important it was for many of those witnesses to go ahead and testify because their testimony as clear and concise.

You had expert witnesses who were directly involved with training who actually went to conduct the training, who established training protocols, who dealt with the use of force, whose credentials were beyond question. And then for us today, to have these witnesses come up with the hypothetical, once again hypothetical conclusions and opinions was really glaring.

And I found myself wincing and finding it difficult to make my way through even though it was short, and I was thanking God for that.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to more of Mr. Brodd, the so-called expert in police practices and police training and this is where he actually used the phrase, resting comfortably to describe the position George Floyd was in being crushed face down onto the pavement. Let`s listen to this.


BRODD: A compliant person would have both of their hands in the small of their back and resting comfortably verses he still moving around.

PROSECUTOR: Did you say resting comfortably?

BRODD: Or laying comfortably.

PROSECUTOR: Resting comfortably on the pavement?


PROSECUTOR: At this point of time when he`s attempting to breathe by shoving his shoulder into the pavement.

BRODD: I was describing what the sign of a perfectly compliant person would be.

PROSECUTOR: So attempting to breathe while restrained is being slightly noncompliant?




O`DONNELL: Professor Burkhalter, that`s the kind of moment you were talking about where the defense witness then ends up complying with the prosecution cross examination, if we can refer to it that way.

KIRK BURKHALTER, NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL, CRIMINAL LAW PROFESSOR: Absolutely. You know, the prosecution on cross there, I think that was very effective, because he catalyze or rather jumped on what this witness stated, the resting comfortably. You can`t let that pass by. And, you know, I think get excited about it but it was able to follow up with questions and get the witness to really think about what he was saying. And this is in quite a contrast to what we saw last week, right? The witnesses were prepared, and they were thoughtful about their responses. And as a matter of fact, the defense was unable, in most instances, to get them to walk back their responses.

So, it`s just the quality of the witness the defense had. Some of the statements were somewhat laughable. Marq touched on a very important point. So there were many who stated that perhaps the prosecution`s case last week was overkill. However, the prosecution had two things to accomplish. One, present their case and two, present kind of a preemptive strike, right, so rebut these types of arguments that were going to be made by the defense. And that`s why we saw so many witnesses, and then finally, knowing that they had credible witnesses, giving the jury an opportunity to see what a credible witness looks like, and what a witness looks like, that is probably less credible.

O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton, we learned in court the other day that one of the jurors lives in Brooklyn Center, this area we are sharing the screen with tonight during this discussion with the protests that are going on there. And that juror is now living under the curfew that`s in place there. Now that curfew has moved, basically to cover the whole region, Minneapolis, St. Paul, so possibly most of the jurors are now living under a curfew tonight for a case involving police use of deadly force, which in the public evidence available in their community right now says was an accident, a mistake made by the police officer. How do you expect that to impact the jury hearing this case?

MARQ CLAXTON, FMR. NYPD DETECTIVE: I`m sure there will be some impact. But I think if we deal with it, honestly, these demonstrations and what has occurred over the past couple of days are really an extension of the same issue and same problem that we find ourselves trying to confront during the course of this trial of former Office Chauvin. The same elements, the same concerns, the same nature of anger and frustration. So, if this is the reality that citizens have to live in, where the citizen really have to -- really get out the street and demonstrate and express their frustrations, that government that is not paying attention, not listening, or perhaps placing them in additional harm`s way, then that`s just the reality of it and you have to be able to function accordingly.

And as a juror, you have certain responsibilities. You know, you -- the voir dire should have settled up all these issues and your ability to remain objective and fair minded. And that`s primarily it but you can`t be removed from society and all of the issues and problems that really are going on, especially outside of your front door.

O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton and Kirk Burkhalter, thank you both for joining our discussion tonight. Really appreciate it.

And we`re going to squeeze in a break here today. Daunte Wright`s aunt described the connection between her family and George Floyd`s family. We`ll continue our live coverage of the situation there in Brooklyn Center tonight, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. We`re going to squeeze in a break now. We will be back right after this.


O`DONNELL: When Daunte Wright`s family was joined in mourning and protest by George Floyd`s family today, Daunte Wright`s aunt said this.


NAISHA WRIGHT, AUNT OF DAUNTE WRIGHT: I wear this shirt. And the craziest thing is to find out today that my family has connections to this man, to this family. His girlfriend was a teacher for my nephew.



O`DONNELL: Joining us now Eugene Robinson, Associate Editor and Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist for The Washington Post, he`s an MSNBC Political Analyst and Carmen Best, former Seattle Police Chief and MSNBC Law Enforcement Analyst. And Chief Best, let me begin with you tonight and your reaction to what you`re seeing in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota tonight.

CARMEN BEST, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Lawrence, not surprisingly another night of civic unrest with people protesting and demonstrating their First Amendment rights in regards to what can only be called a horrible and tragic day today, you know, and actually the day before as well. So, right now, a lot of folks that sounds like they`re still out, officers are out. The National Guard is there. I`ve lived through these moments myself in Seattle last year right after the murder of George Floyd. And certainly I understand the anger and angst of crowds as they come, you know, out to protest what happened.

It sounds like they have a curfew. A few people are left and we`re not sure how many will stick around but there will be those who will stick it out and who will not want to go in and who will want to continue to demonstrate their anxiety, angst and anger over what has occurred.

Hopefully, they will be able to do so peacefully. It`s unrealistic to move large groups of people out for curfew. But it does tend to settle some people down who want to follow the rules. So they`ll leave. So we`ll see how the night fits out, but it sounds like it`s coming down a little bit.

O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, these people in Brooklyn Center went from hanging on every word of the Derek Chauvin trial to both continue and to follow that as they participate in this new tragedy that has occurred in their community.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, and it`s all the same tragedy. It`s all the same thing really, it`s the way black communities, in particular, are policed in this country. It is the crisis in policing in this country. It`s police departments that seek policing. It`s something you do to a community rather than with the community. And that`s fundamental and that fundamentally has to change. That`s what this whole past year has been about.

And how ironic and how tragic that in the middle of the trial of Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd, we have 10 miles away, this bitter, bitter illustration of the fact that things have not changed, and that there is still so much work to do. So much that has to be done.

O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson and Carmen Best thank you for joining our discussion on this difficult night. We really appreciate your contribution.

And when we come back, six years after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager was shot six times and killed by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, St. Louis has just elected its first black woman mayor, and she will join us next.


O`DONNELL: This is our live coverage tonight of the situation in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota where on Sunday afternoon, a 20-year-old unarmed black man, Daunte Wright, was shot and killed by Police Officer Kim Potter, just 10 miles from where former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd. In 2014, several nights of protests like this occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, after an unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot six times by Police Officer Darren Wilson, who watched Michael Brown die from those gunshot wounds in the street.

A local district attorney`s presentation of evidence to a grand jury there resulted in no criminal charges in the police killing of Michael Brown. Ferguson is a suburb of St. Louis, which last week elected Tishaura Jones as the city`s first black woman mayor. She will take the oath of office as mayor of St. Louis on April 20th.

And joining us now is Tishaura Jones, Mayor-elect of St. Louis, Missouri. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it. This is a night where we are seeing you`re sharing a screen with the kinds of stresses that cities are facing across this country because of the way police officers have been using deadly force. What is your reaction to the situation in Brooklyn Center tonight in the Minneapolis area generally, and how they are trying to maintain the peace with the combination of a curfew and a very large police presence there?

TISHAURA JONES (D-MO), MAYOR-ELECT, ST. LOUIS: Yes, well, Lawrence, thank you for having me. It`s an honor to be here with you this evening. First and foremost, my condolences to the family of Daunte Wright. And as a mother of a black son, I know all too often how fearful mothers can be when their sons leave their house, my son and I have the talk one too many times, too many times for me to remember. And to watch this energy in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, reminds me of Ferguson and I know that many of my friends who are frontline protesters are having some traumatic experiences watching this play over and over and over again. And it`s bringing back memories of the times that they spent on the streets of Ferguson.

O`DONNELL: I believe your son Aden is 13 years old. How old was he when you first had your talk with him?

JONES: He was about six or seven, because he goes to school in a all white suburb. And I had to remind him that, you know, that these things can happen when -- if a police officer pulls you over and he`s -- he told me in about 10 when he was walking with some friends in their neighborhood, that they were stopped and asked questions by police and unfortunately they continue to go but that was his first memory of feeling afraid when a police officer approached him.

O`DONNELL: What does it mean and what do you hope it will mean to policing in St. Louis of what the -- now that you will be the city`s first black woman mayor?

JONES: Well, one of the things I said during my campaign is that we can`t reform our way out of this. We have to transform our public safety systems. And one of the things that hit me like a ton of bricks is again through another talk I had with my son is that when he found out that I was running for mayor and what the mayor does and how the mayor is over the police, he said, well, that means that I`ll be safe, you know. And how many children does that happen to where their mother becomes the mayor, and then all of a sudden they feel safe. That`s a one in a million chance. And his mother shouldn`t have to become mayor in order for him to feel safe when he encounters law enforcement.

O`DONNELL: What help do you think mayor`s need around this country of especially direction from Washington on how to improve policing?

JONES: You know, I think that President Biden is headed in the right direction with some of the things that he`s trying to do with the executive orders. You know, our gun laws are really out of control. But let me be clear, I do support responsible gun ownership, but America has seemed to take it to another level. You don`t need an AR-15 to hunt deer. And so, we have to make sure that our gun laws are responsible, and that takes it away from the people who don`t need to own them. We are experiencing -- it seems like every week that we see a new mass shooting on our televisions, and unfortunately, you know, we`ve developed a callus that we shouldn`t as a response to watching people lose their lives at the hands of gun violence.

O`DONNELL: We are just minutes away from the curfew officially going into place in Minneapolis, the whole Minneapolis area, including Brooklyn Center, which was the first to have a curfew, you saw Ferguson, Missouri living under a curfew for quite a while during those protests and the police response to those protests there. Have we learned anything in the last five years about how to -- about how cities and police departments can handle these protests?

JONES: Obviously not, because St. Louis city has experienced this own form of violating people`s First Amendment rights during protests. We are just weeks away from a verdict where off duty police officer was beaten by his colleagues during a protest in 2017 in St. Louis. So we have to, again, get away from this old and tired arrest and incarcerating model to one that leads with prevention, because that`s the only thing that`s going to keep us from having these situations over and over and over again.

O`DONNELL: St. Louis Mayor-elect Tishaura Jones, thank you very much for joining our discussion tonight.

JONES: Thank you for having me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

We`re going to squeeze in a break here. When we come back, we`ll have more live coverage from the street in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The curfew will be in place officially at the top of this hour. We`ll be right back.


O`DONNELL: A curfew is about to go into effect just minutes from now at 10:00 p.m. local time in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The neighboring cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have joined that 10:00 p.m. curfew tonight after protests in Brooklyn Center last night continued for hours after the curfew of 7:00 p.m.

Joining us now is NBC News Digital National Reporter Deon Hampton, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Deon, what is the situation there now as the curfew approaches?

DEON HAMPTON, NBC NEWS DIGITAL NATIONAL REPORTER: It was a little bit different than what you were thinking about because actually, the curfew went into effect at 8:00. But nobody here on the ground found out until 9:00. So here we have it way past after curfew and what was a couple of hours ago, large crowds, maybe thousand people has maybe dissipated to about 150 people who were -- I don`t know if we can pan this way a little bit, but a lot of people have congregated towards the current gas station to the left of me. And then also to the right of me in (INAUDIBLE) I guess in the abandoned gas station, and a lot of people who have congregated there.

But there`s one thing I should note. The protesters here, the ones that have left are very, very relentless and they`re unruly. But that doesn`t tell the whole truth there about everything that`s happened tonight. About an hour ago, we were down to 500 people or so, 500 demonstrators, but the crowds were mixed. On one end, you had a lot of protesters who were provoking the police department here, but on the other side, about 75 yards away with a completely different separate type of crowd where people were holding hands, people were on their knees, say, you know, no justice, no peace, but peaceful protesting and actually telling the unruly protesters to cut it out.

So, depending on which part, which side of the police station you were on. You saw a good crowd, or you saw a bad crowd. But what we have now is the police officers here who are way past curfew. They have pushed the media and the residents and the demonstrators about four or five blocks away from the police station, which is where we are now. They`re threatening the demonstrators with arrest at this point, and then also telling the media that we also need to leave the scene as well.

O`DONNELL: Deon, what do you expect to happen in the next stage of this? Are the police likely to make a move to take more control?

HAMPTON: Yes. Well, they continue to push people back at some point that`s going to start arresting people, because they`ve given them a lot of leeway, they`ve given them a lot of time to air their grievances. But at some point, they`re going to say, listen, we gave you a couple of hours, now we`ll just going to take you to jail.

O`DONNELL: Deon Hampton, thank you for that live report, from Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. We really appreciate it. MSNBC`s breaking news coverage continues now with "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams. That`s right now.