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Transcript: The ReidOut, 3/22/21

Guests: Rosa Brooks, Veronica Escobar, Dan Gelber


Police on scene of reported active shooter in Boulder, Colorado. Prosecutor says evidence supports sedition charges. Prosecutor says, Trump was the magnet for insurrectionists. Prosecutor says, any link between chemical spray and Officer Sicknick`s death will result in murder charges. GOP Senator Johnson defends insurrections, says, he didn`t feel threatened. DOJ is weighing plea deals for some insurrectionists.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I don`t really have time to think really more than that.

REPORTER: Could you believe you`re seeing what you were saying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I mean, I wouldn`t have believed that if I hadn`t seen and heard it myself.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: A witness on site in Boulder, Colorado. MSNBC will keep monitoring the situation. The coverage continues now with "THE REIDOUT."

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. I`m Jason Johnson in tonight for Joy Reid. We`ve got a lot of news to get to, including the latest on the investigation into the January 6th insurrection. There are some stunning new comments from the former top prosecutor on the case.

We have to start with breaking news out of Boulder, Colorado, where authorities and emergency crews have been responding to an active shooter at a local supermarket, where the police first notified the public that there was an active shooting situation around 2:30 local time.

An eyewitness live streamed the event on YouTube. The video shows what appears to be several shooting victims and police arriving on the scene with guns drawn. NBC is reporting that a shirtless man with blood running down his leg was escorted out of the store in handcuffs. It is not clear if the man was a suspect. Colorado Governor Jared Polis has tweeted that he is monitoring the situation.

Meanwhile, the DOJ appears ready to drop the hammer on the insurrectionist who led the siege of the U.S. capitol. Some of the worst aggressors in the January 6th attack could soon be facing new indictments for sedition, one of the rarest and most stigmatizing criminal charges that prosecutors can bring. That`s according to the former acting U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., Michael Sherwin, the Trump appointee who led the investigation until earlier this month.

In a 60 MINUTES interview last night, he said the growing body of evidence will support sedition charges.


MICHAEL SHERWIN, FORMER ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY FOR WASHINGTON, D.C.: Yes. I personally believe the evidence is trending towards that and probably meets those elements.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you anticipate sedition charges against some of these suspects?

SHERWIN: I believe the facts do support those charges. And I think that as we go forward, more facts will support that.


JOHNSON: This comes after the Department of Justice on Friday unsealed new conspiracy charges against members of the far-right extremist group, the Proud Boys, who were at the forefront of the siege. The indictment reveals how their attack was premeditated and coordinated through an encrypted messaging app. Not only that, but the messages appear to show they readily embraced the conspiracy theory that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election. That`s the big lie the former President Donald Trump amplified in the leading up to the January 6th attack. And according to Sherwin, his role -- the former president`s role in the attack is still under scrutiny.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has the role of former President Trump been part of your investigation?

SHERWIN: It`s unequivocal that Trump was the magnet that brought the people to D.C. on the 6th. Now, the question is, is he criminally culpable for everything that happened during the siege, during the breach?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In short, you have investigators looking into the president`s role?

SHERWIN: We have people looking at everything, correct. Everything is being looked at.


JOHNSON: Sherwin said there are now over 400 criminal cases before the courts. That includes the two defendants arrested last week for using an unknown chemical spray to assault Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who later died of his injuries. Sherwin confirmed that we could see murder charges pending a report from the medical examiner. Joining me now is MSNBC --.


SHERWIN: If evidence directly relates that chemical to his death, yes, we have causation, we have a link, yes, in that scenario, correct, that`s a murder case.


JOHNSON: Joining me now is MSNBC Counterterrorism and Intelligence Analyst Malcolm Nance, Paul Butler is a former Federal Prosecutor, and Rosa Brooks, is a former Defense Department Official and Author of Tangled up in Blue, Policing the American city. Thank you all so much for joining me this evening.

I`m going to start with you, Paul. First off, just to explain to the laymen and lay women out there, what is sedition, and why is that charge so significant in the wake of this insurrection?

PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Sedition is using violence to oppose the government or to prevent the law from being carried out. So it`s, for example, using violence to prevent the certification of the election. It would be a high profile charge that would carry a lot of symbolism. Some of the other charges have been obstruction of government property or damage or trespass. To a lot of people, that doesn`t really fit the crime. So sedition says that what these folks tried to do was to overturn the government.

It`s a rare case. There has been one federal prosecution for sedition in the last ten years. Back in 2010, and that charge was unsuccessful. The prosecutors lost that case.

JOHNSON: So I just want to follow up really quickly. For the regular person, what`s the difference between sedition and treason, or is there much of a difference, legally?

BUTLER: So, treason is a crime that`s named in the Constitution that`s aiding and abetting the enemy. Sedition is about people who, on their own will, in this case, American citizens, want to overthrow the government. In a sense, it`s like a criminal law version of treason, but it doesn`t require cooperating with or aiding and abetting enemies. In this case, the people who are charged are essentially enemies of the United States themselves.

JOHNSON: So, Rosa, we have some audio here. We talk about the idea of overthrowing the government. You had a lot of people who were part of this insurrection, part of this attack who consider themselves Blue Lives Matter, yet they engaged in violence against police officers. I want to listen to this audio and get your commentary on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re not here for you. We`re here for America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Capitol Police force requests backup. These internal radio communications are from the reinforcements, officers from D.C.`s Municipal Police force, or MPD, were called in to help the capitol police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50, 64, 54, mount up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police escalate their response and start using more crowd control weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re shooting into their own people. We represent blue lives and this is what they do to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple deployments thrown by Capitol and MPD.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One sting ball deployed and authorized to hold the line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50, we`re flanked. 10-33. I repeat, 10-33 west front of the Capitol. We have been flanked and we`ve lost the line.


JOHNSON: Rosa, we have talked for months since this attack about the fact that you have some police force members who seem to be sort of empathetic to the attackers, that some of the people who attacked the capitol are in police departments. When you hear this kind of video, is this the kind of thing that`s going to be helpful in a prosecution, when you see these people sort of admitting they`re engaging in violence and we`re doing this for you or just a kind of muddy the waters between who the attackers are and who the supporters might be?

ROSA BROOKS, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, LAW CENTER: No, I think it helps the prosecution. I mean, listening to that audio, seeing that footage, it is shocking and it makes it very clear this wasn`t just a bunch of protesters who were pro-Trump, this was a mob of people using violence to take over the Capitol.

And, you know, I have actually always been very leery of using the word, sedition, talking about things like treason or sedition, because, historically in the United States, those terms have often been used against minorities, against immigrants, against people on the left who were dissenters and criticized the U.S. government. But if ever there was a situation that cried out for the use of that symbolically very powerful term, this is it. This was a violent insurrection, and there`s really no other word for it.

JOHNSON: Now, I don`t have any other word for other than violent insurrection, but, apparently, Senator Ron Johnson does. We have a senator who has been saying for days now, in various environments, that, well, he didn`t necessarily feel threatened and he doesn`t necessarily see why this is a problem.

And Malcolm, I want to ask you, when you have members of Congress coming forward and saying, well, I didn`t feel threatened or the threat was only in this part of the building and not for me because I thought these were law-abiding citizens, does that give you more or less confidence that we could ever get a real investigation at the congressional level into what happened that day?

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, certainly not from Senator Ron Johnson. I mean, let`s be straight up and frank. He`s a liar. We saw the video with our own eyes of him actually -- of not him, but the insurrectionists going right into the Senate chambers, going through, you know, the notes of his fellow senators, standing on the dais, saying that they were looking for information that would get something on them, bringing wrist ties and flex cuffs into the Senate chamber themselves, and, you know, the vice president being within 100 feet of these insurrectionists.

I mean, what`s going on here is Ron Johnson has decided he is going to be the executor of Donald Trump`s big lie, and they are desperate to cover for the violent actions of their supporters. He`s also pushing, you know, Antifa and other people were in there doing that.

Look, I monitored their communications in real-time. I watched their video streams in real-time before the speech had ended, and they were already fighting on the western wing of the Capitol building with some ferocity. And, you know, I had six different researchers watching them penetrate the building.

And for them to suddenly go and say, it wasn`t our people, we didn`t do it, I didn`t feel any threat because, you know, they were essentially non-black people, non-Antifa people, is just pandering to people who literally carried out crimes.

And, you know, I don`t know if he actually believes this or if he just thinks that you know, he`s going to get reelected by pushing the Trump party line, but it shows you can`t trust that man. You can`t trust a word out of his mouth.

JOHNSON: Yes, you know, if I was saying that I felt safe at a Klan rally, it doesn`t mean the Klan is safe.

You know, Paul, I want to bring this back because as we have begun these investigations, one of the concerns I have had is that you`re already seeing plea deals. You`re already seeing examples where people are playing out or playing to lesser charges. To me, an insurrection is an insurrection, right? There`s no such thing as a little big pregnant, a little bit murder, a little bit insurrection. Why are we already seeing plea deals and is that to catch bigger fish down the road or is it because the government doesn`t actually think they have a strong case against some of these people?

BUTLER: Yes. So part of the reason could be to get people to cooperate with the government, to turn in people who have more involvement and more culpability.

So in the insurrection, we had some people who essentially trespassed. They entered the Capitol, but they didn`t try to harm officers or commit any acts of violence or property destruction. And then we have other folks, like these four Proud Boy leaders who were indicted last week, who engaged in advanced planning, deliberations, concealment, and we have other folks who were very likely involved in the murder of officer Brian Sicknick.

And so there should be a range of charges that fit the appropriate criminality. And I think that`s what prosecutors are doing. They`re hoping that some people will cooperate to help them find the people who were the leaders and planners of the insurrection.

JOHNSON: And, Rosa, again, we had a large number of people who were involved in this insurrection who were either current or former law enforcement officers. And while we`re focusing on what happened in D.C., a lot of these people went back home, they went to their home states. They`re now back to the police departments that they were in before.

Is there a national movement or shouldn`t we be having a discussion about what we can do to purge these kinds of people or these attitudes from local police departments and what would that look like if we could do it?

BROOKS: Jason, I think this is a huge wake-up call. I mean, this is something that we have had groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center have been warning for a long time now, that some of these far-right extremist white nationalist groups have been actively trying to recruit from within law enforcement and have been actively trying to encourage their members who are not in law enforcement to join precisely in order to essentially subvert it from within.

And we don`t -- what we don`t know is exactly the extent of the problem. We don`t know if this is a problem for 1 percent, 0.1 percent, 10 percent, 40 percent, but I think this makes it really clear that it`s incredibly urgent that we find out.

You know, I think the problem, as you know, is that policing in this country is completely decentralized. It`s state level, municipal level, federal and different agencies and we`ve got some police chiefs and some sheriffs who probably, if they`re not active members, may be sympathetic to some of these groups.

So I think it`s going to be a long haul to identify those people and get them out of law enforcement. I think the federal government is going to have to play a leading role because we can`t always assume that local law enforcement will be as enthusiastic as they ought to be, but we`ve got to do it.

JOHNSON: And I want to end with this. Malcolm, we have talked about this on our podcast, we have talked about this before on the air, of what kind of changes, security-wise, might be necessary in Congress going forward. There`s a debate right now in D.C., should we be taking down this gates. What changes do you want to see in Congress after this as far as security goes, even as we continue to investigate some of the people who attacked? What should we be doing differently in the Capitol building now?

NANCE: Well, certainly, the physical security within the Capitol building is going to have to be beefed up. You know, they`re going to have to install blast doors around the structure so, you know, doors that can be shut completely, which they should have had anyway. I mean, it`s a counterterrorism measure there.

They`re going to have to also have rapid response force that is completely and wholly independent of the Metropolitan Police Department, Capitol Hill Police. Maybe the marines and AFNI (ph) will have a much more rapid response capability. The D.C. Guard may have to have ready teams or equipment standing by with, you know, 31-hour, one-day notice in order to mobilize for these things.

But the Capitol is probably going to have a permanent fence around it that will be a closer perimeter than what`s there right now. But, you know, my beloved late wife was part of the planning commission after 9/11 and she was architect of Washington, D.C., and she had recommended a, you know, palace fence that was beautiful, like Buckingham Palace, around the entire Capitol perimeter, and it wasn`t implemented. And now we could see where that may have been necessary.

JOHNSON: Thank you so much, Malcolm Nance and Rosa Brooks. Paul Butler will be back with me later. Thanks you all so much.

We continue to follow tonight`s breaking news. Police responded to an active shooter at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.

And up next, the growing number of unaccompanied children at the southern border, we have new images from inside one of the border overflow facilities.

Plus, a state of emergency in Miami Beach after spring breakers egged on by Governor DeSantis flood into the city amid the pandemic. The mayor of Miami Beach joins me live. THE REIDOUT continues after this.



ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: The border is closed. We are expelling families. We are expelling single adults. And we have made a decision that we will not expel young vulnerable children.


JOHNSON: The Biden administration is making clear that the Southern border is closed, as it steps up efforts to address the ongoing human rights crisis there amid a surge in migrants.

According to data obtained by NBC News, as of Sunday, more than 4,800 unaccompanied migrant children are in Customs and Border Patrol custody, bringing the total number of unaccompanied minors in government custody to nearly 16,000.

And we`re learning more about the conditions inside some of those facilities. Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar`s office released photos taken inside an overflow facility in Donna, Texas. His office says the pictures were taken this weekend, although we don`t know by whom.

NBC News received the photos with faces already obscured. The Department of Homeland Security and CBP didn`t comment on the photos, but didn`t dispute their authenticity either.

Meanwhile, Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy toured a separate facility last week. He tweeted that he fought back tears as a -- quote -- "13-year-old girl sob uncontrollably," explaining through a translator how terrified she was having been separated from her grandmother and without her parents.

Here`s how he described it today.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): I wouldn`t want my children to be in those detention facilities. But this isn`t 2019. These aren`t cages. There are doctors and child care workers there.

And the Biden administration is trying to deal with a mess they were left from the Trump administration.


JOHNSON: The Biden administration has dispatched top officials to Mexico and Central America to jointly develop a plan of action.

And NBC News has learned that border agents in the Rio Grande Valley have been authorized to release some migrants without court dates to reduce the time migrants spend in custody.

I`m joined now by Texas Democratic Congresswoman Veronica Escobar and MSNBC correspondent Gabe Gutierrez in Donna, Texas.

Gabe, I want to start with you.

What does it look like on the ground? What is an overflow facility, for people who don`t necessarily know what that means or what that looks like right now?


Well, we`re right in front of that facility that you reference here in Donna, Texas. It`s about an hour outside of McAllen. And this was initially built, Jason, for about 250 migrants. But now we`re seeing more than 3,700 migrant children in this facility alone.

And you referenced those pictures that were leaked today by Congressman Henry Cuellar here in Texas. And he said he released those photos because he wanted the public to see the situation here. He says that, while the Biden administration, in his words, is doing all it can, that these numbers are overwhelming and that people need to pay attention.

Now, as you said, he did not tour the facility himself. But someone gave him these pictures. He wouldn`t say who. But he also said that he was told that there are eight pods inside this facility. Each of those pods has a capacity of about 250 people. Right now, one of them has more than 400 people.

And, Jason, if you look behind me, you see these Border Patrol vehicles there. You see a lot of activity, buses coming in and out. And, basically, migrant children are brought to facilities like this one to be processed by the Border Patrol before they`re then given the Department of Health and Human Services, so that they can find a sponsor.

The problem here at the border right now is that there is such a rise in the number of unaccompanied minors, that more than 800 of them or so have been in the processing phase for more than 10 days.

And that is far beyond the three-day legal limit for all this, so certainly a lot of questions for the Biden administration on how to reduce this backlog and to send more resources here. Of course, Republicans are pouncing on this issue -- Jason.

JOHNSON: And, Gabe, a follow-up real quick on this. What is this new surge about?

Is there some new instability? I know that there are initial conversations with Lopez Obrador in Mexico. What is leading to the recent surge in migrants at our border over the last four or five months?

GUTIERREZ: And something that the Biden administration has pointed out is that there was -- they were starting to see an uptick in people coming to the border, in migrants coming to the border in the tail end of the Trump administration.

Now, we have been speaking with migrants over the last couple of days. Jason, both here on the U.S. side of the border, but also in Mexico. While some of them told us they didn`t know the specifics, of course, of the change in Biden policies -- of course, the Biden administration is now choosing to keep unaccompanied minors here in the United States.

Others did tell us that they generally felt an ease -- a loosening rather, of border policies, of the restrictions that the Trump administration had put in place. And that`s why they felt now`s the time they needed to come.

But, Jason, this is a very complicated issue.


GUTIERREZ: It`s not just one thing. Many of the migrants who we spoke with say that, in Central America, they fear the violence in those Central American countries.

Also, in Southern Mexico, in late last year, there were a hurricane -- hurricanes that battered parts of Central America and Nicaragua. So, economically, there are lots of issues there. So, certainly, this in some ways, it`s turning out to be a perfect storm here in the early part of the Biden administration -- Jason.

JOHNSON: Speaking of storms, Texas has been battered by them recently.

Congresswoman Escobar, I want to play you some sounds from your governor. There`s obviously a lot of tension within Texas, both politically and from a policy standpoint, on how to deal with these migrants. But his suggestions and his implications about the people coming here aren`t helpful.

I`d like your thoughts when we come back from this.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): And now the bad administration is importing COVID into the state of Texas, exposing more Texans to that, and who knows what we`re going to see, whether or not there will be an explosion of COVID in the locations where the Biden administration is putting these migrants.


JOHNSON: Congresswoman, is this language at all helpful?

I mean, distribution has been pretty low in Texas in general, but the implication that bringing in people in a humanitarian crisis is going to lead to a health care crisis of COVID, that doesn`t seem helpful to me. How`s that playing back home in Texas?


Well, first, I just want to say to our friends in Boulder, Colorado, my heart goes out to them with what`s happening there, the active shooter. We have had an active shooter in El Paso in the past, August 3, 2019.


ESCOBAR: So, I`m just praying for everyone there.

But, Jason, the words of Governor Greg Abbott are actually really dangerous. Speaking of an active shooter, we had an active shooter who came into El Paso whose hatred was fueled by xenophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric that came from not just from the White House at the time, from Donald Trump, but came from people like Governor Greg Abbott himself, the idea of immigrants bringing disease.

That is an old racist trope intended to inspire fear and hatred. He`s done it before. It is absolutely reprehensible.

And something that folks should understand, FEMA, under the Biden administration, offered to help the state of Texas with testing migrants as they were coming into our front door. Governor Greg Abbott rejected that help and, in fact, has stood in the way of our ability to access that help.

And yet he immediately then goes on cable news shows, FOX News, to decry the fact that migrants might have COVID, when he can help us address the issue? It`s really shameful and dangerous.

JOHNSON: And I want to really hammer home this point. What you`re saying is, this kind of language leads to violence. And I want to make that so clear.

Thank you so much, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar and Gabe Gutierrez for speaking with us today. We`re definitely going back to this issue.

Still ahead: The city of Miami Beach has extended an emergency curfew after chaotic scenes like these. Police used pepper balls to disperse maskless partiers. That city`s mayor joins us to talk about what comes next.

And we`re awaiting a press conference in this hour with the Boulder police on the shooting at a grocery store there tonight.

Stay with us for that breaking news.


JOHNSON: Miami Beach, Florida, is still under a state of emergency, with an 8:00 p.m. curfew in effect for the next three weeks.

That was a decision by city leaders, after scenes like this showing the chaos over the weekend, with both spring breakers and other tourists overwhelming the city. As you can see, the people there showing no concern for the pandemic, no masks, no social distancing. A SWAT team was deployed to manage the unruly crowds.

Some police used pepper balls to get the people to disperse. More than 1,000 people have been arrested in Miami Beach since the beginning of spring break season last month.

Joining me now is Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.

Thank you so much for joining us this evening, Mayor.

I have got to ask you this up front. I can imagine there are regular challenges to managing Miami Beach in a non-pandemic year. So, tell us some of the regular challenges that you have as mayor during this time and how they have been complicated by the COVID pandemic.

DAN GELBER (D), MAYOR OF MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: Well, thanks for having me, Jason, and your interest in this.

Look, our city is a great city. It`s a hospitality city, seven-and-a-half miles of beaches, stunning architecture, all these great venues. And this is a pretty small area.

But we do obviously have crowd control issues when we have big events.


GELBER: We generally are pretty good because we know how to move people around, and our residents understand that.

This is of a different order. And I need to correct you. I don`t think these are spring breakers. I don`t think this -- these are mischievous college sophomores wanting to have fun. I think it`s older folks who are coming in because they have been -- some of them have been -- just probably want to let loose somewhere, or worse, some of them are just coming with some real bad intentions.

Most of the people here are not like that, but too many are. And it`s created a policing challenge, because, when you have thousands of people in an open road, and they start to -- doing things, and it`s -- it becomes like a tinder. And we have had a couple instances where we have felt like we have lost control.

So, we have to do this because losing control is just not an option in an American city.

JOHNSON: And are the crowds bigger than in years past, I mean, or is this -- are they just rowdier?

How does this crowd differ this year, other than the pandemic? Is it just a larger number?

GELBER: Well, we think it`s bigger, and we think it keeps coming.

I think, if you think about it, there are very few states that are open and there are very few destination cities that are open. And the governor sort of made it so that we have to be open. We aren`t even allowed to do some of the things we have been doing, like requiring people to wear masks. He stopped us from actually imposing a mask mandate that we had and that we were enforcing.

So, we`re getting more people. And we also seem to be getting people who, maybe because they have been somewhere and not able to do what they`d like to do, are coming here to act out. And, sometimes, it`s not just rambunctiousness. It`s gunplay.

We have -- we have taken 100 guns from people over the last month or two, mostly from license plate readers, where it was a person with a gun who had an outstanding warrant. So, this is not -- this is not spring break. This is something of a different order.

JOHNSON: Mayor Gelber, I want to play this sound for you of people talking about the role that Governor DeSantis is playing in bringing people to state and get your comment on the other side.


SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R-ND): Governor DeSantis knows far better than anybody in Washington, D.C., whether Florida is ready to be open, and I trust his judgment. And I hope that people get on airplanes and go to Florida. I know I`m going to now.


JOHNSON: Now, Mr. Mayor, this sounds to me like your roommate in college who tells the whole bar, hey, party is back at our place, and doesn`t tell you when everybody shows up at the house.

Is Governor DeSantis offering any additional assistance to Miami Beach, when he`s gone around the whole country and telling people to come there? Or did he basically just tell you guys, hey, you got to handle it, everybody`s coming from the corner bar?

GELBER: Well, I actually spoke to his chief of staff a few days ago and asked for two dozen Florida Highway Patrol to deal with the other folks who have been sending us help. And he agreed. So, we have some Highway Patrol. So, he has helped.

The problem, though, is that local mayors like me have been sending an entirely different message. We have been telling people, wear your masks. Be smart about this.


GELBER: The virus is still here. We have 35,000 deaths in Florida. And my county has about 1,000 infections a day, and 50 to 100 people checking into the hospital every day.

And we`re telling them to do one thing, and the governor is telling them to do something else. And it`s not a smart thing, when you have these kinds of challenges, to have different messages going out.

JOHNSON: And, at this point, if my understanding is -- correctly, Miami Beach has about an 8 or 9 percent infection rate at this point. It`s one of the most COVID-infected cities in Florida. Is this correct?

GELBER: The county has between 5 and 10 percent. That`s the range we have been in. And we are part of the county.

Of course, our challenge is that our residents have been terrific. And most of the city is fine, by the way. But what`s happening is, we take -- most of the people coming are not from our city. They`re from the county or really from the rest of the country. And what we don`t want to do is have people come here, do what you see -- what they`re doing, and then go back to their communities with the British variant or some virus.

Even if these young people are -- can handle it just fine, who knows what they`re going to do when they get back home? And we don`t want to be part of a fourth wave or a fourth surge. It`s not what we would like to do.

JOHNSON: And I want to also bring this up.

So, the governor last year, in 2020, had proposed something like a -- what do you call it, like a college student bill of rights. And he was saying that this is just what college kids do. This is an important part of our state.

Look, honestly, he clearly wanted to make a bill of rights that doesn`t include voting, because Governor DeSantis hasn`t made that easy for college-aged kids.

But what do you say to his staffers when they`re telling you, hey, this is just an important part of our economy, people have to come party, and you`re sitting there saying, hey, look, there`s going to be long-term financial consequences? Is anybody listening to you, or do you think it`s going on deaf ears?

GELBER: Look, I have had some pretty public disagreements with the governor about how he`s handled the pandemic.

And I can tell you that, for me, it`s very simple. The more infections we have, the more hospitalizations we have. The more hospitalizations we have, the more deaths we have, and serious hospitalizations. And we have way too many.


GELBER: And so for the governor to decide that he just isn`t going to preach the idea that we should all be smart -- you can open up smartly.


GELBER: I don`t know why he insists on telling people, just go crazy, it`s fine, because, honestly, this is what we`re getting.

And it`s both dangerous and, by the way, it`s -- it could be easily a super-spreader. And we don`t need that so close to the end zone.

JOHNSON: Definitely.

All right, thank you so much, Miami Mayor -- Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. Thank you so much.


JOHNSON: Meanwhile, we are continuing to monitor tonight`s breaking news from Boulder.

Authorities and emergency crews have been responding to an active shooter at a local supermarket. Video posted on YouTube showed what appears to be several shooting victims and police arriving on the scene with guns drawn. The FBI is involved in the response.

Colorado Governor Jared polis tweeted, quote, my prayers are with our fellow Coloradans in this time of sadness and grief, as we learn more about the extent of the tragedy, unquote. Any moment, Boulder police will hold a press conference to update the situation.

Joining me now is Jim Cavanaugh, former ATF special agent. Good to speak to you again. Unfortunately, under sad circumstances, as usual.

I have to ask you up front, Jim. When we see active shooter situations like this, my first question is, one, what do you think could motivate this kind of activity? Especially in a pandemic. What would drive someone in general to want to engage in this kind of violence where there`s not only the threat of people responding in kind, but just being outdoors and in proximity to other people can make you sick.

JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, you know, the country is under tremendous stress, and people are under tremendous stress. Not only the political situation, the capitol insurrection, the pandemic. I mean, the country is stressed. The world is stressed.

With shooters, we also have, Jason, a copycat effect sometimes. We had this horrendous hate crime, and let`s call that what it is in Atlanta. Whether it gets charged as that, you know, is a nuance of the elements of proof of a federal criminal or state criminal violation, but it is a hate crime. I mean, we know that the attack at the Asian spas against Asians and females, both are hate crimes.


CAVANAUGH: So sometimes when those are in the news, actors act out their desires. It can be a murder at home, kill their family, could go to the market and start shooting. It can be tied to one of these hate groups.

I mean, they are ascendant in America. You know, I have said many times and I think you and I have discussed it, it`s really worse than the `60s in the level of killings we have had in the last ten years.

So, we have a lot of stresses out there. That doesn`t justify violence. But it just goes to the mindset of people that they`re going to act out just like this killer in Atlanta.

He`s going to act out against people. And lash out against people, fellow Americans. And kill them, as if that solves anything. And you know, why is a person shooting somebody at a supermarket? You know, shades of El Paso, which was a hate crime, again. Against immigrants, 22 people dead.

So we don`t know what the motive is in Colorado. We don`t exactly know. It`s going to be a heart of heartache over there because one of the witnesses earlier on Ari Melber`s show said they saw three people down, two outside and one inside.

And there was a lot of reports of gunfire and reports that the shooter shot at Boulder patrol officers when they arrived. And I saw SWAT officers there, Jason, from Boulder, Lakewood, Jefferson County. Sure the state police are there, and FBI and ATF are there.

So everybody is there. Everything is going to get done. The key for the commanders is you have to stop the killing. It`s not about evidence when you get there, like this. It`s not about anything like that. It`s stopping the killing. And you have to do that by locating it, isolating the killers.

If there`s only one, you sweep for others, and then you check for bombs, and then you check for other victims even at other locations. So, that`s going to be a lot of heartache tonight in Boulder and that`s going to be a lot of work tonight in boulder.

JOHNSON: Okay. You`re going to stay with us. We`re going to take a quick break. When we come back, I believe we`ll be at the beginning of the press conference in Boulder, Colorado.

This is Jason Johnson in for THE REIDOUT. Stay with us. We`ll be back after this break.


JOHNSON: We`re standing by for a press briefing by the Boulder Police any minute to update on the shooting at a local grocery store. Back with me is Jim Cavanaugh, former ATF special agent, and joining me now is Ari Melber, MSNBC chief legal correspondent and host of "THE BEAT."

I want to start with you, Ari, because this is always the first question that comes to mind when we have these kind of terrible shootings. What is the sort of status of gun laws in the state of Colorado? Do they have a lot of loopholes? Is it you can buy a gun and shoot it the same day? What might be the circumstances that allow the shooter to get access to their gun in that state?

ARI MELBER, MSNBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I`ll say, Jim is the ATF expert, can also give us insight on that, so happy to tag team that. This story first broke on MSNBC at least in our live coverage, as you know, Jason, just within the last hour. We`re looking at some of this footage that has been cleared from ZFG, and our standards have cleared this. You have been mentioning there`s much we don`t know at this point. The footage we also have of an individual leaving the scene may or may not be confirmed as a suspect.

I think what we would expect in the upcoming press conference is really a briefing on what they can say on the safety and security of the situation, what people should know in that neighborhood, if and whether they`re seeking additional information, be that about the individual or individuals that they think they have apprehended or other background information. The overhead shots that we have seen, and Jim and I were reporting this out last hour, do suggest some level of security and the scene being eventually under control.

And I don`t believe I know, and I`ll defer to Jim as well on what if anything we can say about the firearms situation based on what the authorities have said. We hope to learn more at this briefing.

JOHNSON: Right. And, Jim, are you aware of, you know, would you consider Colorado to your knowledge to be a state where access to guns is relatively easy? Is it perhaps more challenging? Do you know anything about that, and again, the role that may or may not play when we have mass shootings?

MELBER: Yeah, usually, the western states, and you know, I don`t know every specific bit about Colorado`s law, but normally the western states are pretty easy, open carry, you know, permitless carry, they may require a concealed, you know, a permit to carry concealed.

But as far as acquiring a firearm, you know, anybody who is 18 can buy a rifle. Colorado is not prohibiting that, and that`s federal law. Most of the states allow that in the West. And handguns can be purchased from dealers if you`re 21.

And generally, they`re not illegal to possess. Now, the reports from the news, other news in the local news but not NBC confirmed is that there was an AR-15 rifle and some body armor. I already had a witness on that said two people dead outside, I`m sorry, two people down outside, and one person down inside that were apparently wounded.

So, we -- there is some victims, apparently. We don`t know the extent of it. There was a man walked out, Ari had the video. We don`t know. See, when you get into these things, what happened is anybody who comes out can say I`m just a witness, I`m just a victim, and they could very well be involved.

And so often they are just a witness. Police will handcuff them, it`s routine to take them in, they`re questioned, they`re identified while the sweep is going on, and then they`re just released anywhere just a witness. We don`t know who that man was. We do know, all the SWAT teams were. I saw three different SWAT teams. They had their bearcat vehicles. They moved up with, you know, portable armored unit, a man walk armored unit to get up there with their long rifles.

So, there might have been some negotiating attempt. There is the video that Ari showed earlier if the man being walked. He just had on a pair of shorts.

So, we don`t know exactly who he is and Boulder police publicly hasn`t said so far that we know if they suspect him or if he`s just a witness. He`s being checked out and he goes in an ambulance.

So, it could be either way. Even a wounded shooter still gets medical attention, goes through an ambulance, or he could be just a victim who was shot and they don`t know his identity. So, it`s going to be a long night in Boulder, because there`s a lot of answers. You know, people there are going to be a tremendous until the police chief and the sheriff can get out and tell them what`s going on directly. Hopefully, they will at this press conference.

You know, tell them what they know, be specific.


CAVANAUGH: And not just, Jason, you know, and you know this as being professor, you know, information like it`s an isolated incident is not good, you have to be more specific than that. You have to tell who you have in custody, what firearms you have, what areas you searched, what other allegations are afoot.

Sometimes in these things you get reports of multiple shooters. I`ve never been to one where there weren`t reports of multiple shooters, and we`ve always swept for multiple shooters, but usually you don`t have that. it`s just witnesses seeing different things.

JOHNSON: We`re going to bring in NBC`s Gadi Schwartz. All right.

I just wanted to ask, you know, what are some of the other things that we picked up on the ground? What are some of the concerns that people have had? Have we heard additional rumors about other shooters or is right now people are just sort of calm and waiting for what this presser is going to present us?

GADI SCHWARTZ, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I think right now a lot of people are just waiting for that presser, and we have seen a lot of unconfirmed rumors that have been swirling on social media. In fact, just a little while ago, the police department in boulder put out a statement saying that there are these rumors swirling. Many of them are untrue.

Right now, we`re going to completely hold off on any type of speculation until that press conference starts in about 10 minutes with some concrete information. What I can tell you, though, is we`ve been monitoring this from a livestream that went up just a few minutes after that shooting.

So we have seen with our own eyes through this livestream some of those moments right after that shooting happened and during the shooting as well. It appears as though that livestream was started by a man who said he was a journalist and he was headed into that store and, all of a sudden, he started to hear some shots.

So that video shows a lot of things that we are not going to be showing on television, but what we can tell you, from reviewing that video and seeing it play out live is that there were several bodies. There was a body in the parking lot that appeared to be face down, there was a body in the entryway of that supermarket, and then there was a body inside of the supermarket. At this point it is unclear if they may have survived, what the extent of their injuries were.

But that livestreamer had come across them basically as he was broadcasting to tens of thousands of people, and so we saw that play out, then all of a sudden he pulls back, starts taking cover as you hear the sounds of shots being fired. And that continues on for about 10, 15 minutes, shots fired, and then you finally see police descend on that King Soopers, and that`s what you`re seeing in that video there, those officers swarming the building and many of them going onto the roof.

So you had officers in all directions that were basically surrounding the building. They started to tell whoever was inside that they were surrounding the building, to come out with their hands up, and you saw them on the roof. Then you saw what appeared to be officers somehow descend into the store, and then things took a turn where you saw a man that was led out in handcuffs, and he had been stripped down to or possibly removed his clothing himself, but he was not wearing a shirt, he was not wearing pants. He appeared to have been just been wearing boxers and he had some sort of injury on his leg, and he was dripping blood as they took him from that store.

Now, at this point, again, he was in cuffs but it`s unclear as though -- whether or not he was a suspect in this shooting. All of it was developing. In fact, that`s the video you see right there. That`s the man being led over to a police car.

And, again, unclear if he is the suspect, but after that, things started to relax a little bit at the scene and then we started to see people led out of that building. But still no word whether the actual gunman is in custody at this moment.

Back to you.

JOHNSON: So, I want -- I want focus on that image, Ari, that you had earlier on your show. You know, when this press conference happens, obviously, the police have to be very careful. They have to be very careful with their legal language.

What is some of the language that they`re going to have to be very careful with? Because the public sees a guy being walked out of a building in handcuffs with blood going down his leg. But obviously that person can`t be -- we don`t know if that person is a suspect. We don`t know what they`ve done.

What`s the kind of language we`ll hear in a press conference as the police try to stay within the confines of the law but also tell the public that this is being handled and being investigated properly?

MELBER: Yeah, it`s a great question, Jason. This is an incident of interest, obviously, in Boulder, Colorado, and around the nation when you look at something like this when what we`ve learned about it. You can expect the police to speak first in terms of the action report.

That is, before you get to the phase of whether and how other authorities or prosecutors would charge a case, the police will say what they think they found without compromising the investigation, whether they think they have identified a suspect, whether they say they`ve secured the area, who they`ve detained. So whether or not that comes with identifying information, if they are in a position to give this briefing, which they are, they`re running a few minutes behind, but we expect it momentarily, we would expect them to be able to say things about if and who they comprehended anyone, the number of victims or possibly -- and we`re not reporting this, but possibly the number of victims or deceased in this situation.


MELBER: Those are the kinds of things they should say, as well as, as always, and Jim and I were discussing this earlier in our coverage, whether they`re seeking assistance from the community for any aspect of this, whether it`s about further people they`ve identified or just anything the people may know in what let up to this, or anything else in the neighborhood afterward. This was as described, an active shooter scene, certainly mare harrowing. The scene we`re looking at now is both an eye on when we expect this outdoor press conference to commence and some of that footage that`s been cleared bystanders outside the scene in Boulder, Colorado.

So, we would expect them to at least have the bare bones of that portrait to share, both with the community and those interested around the nation following this tonight.

JOHNSON: And, Gadi, I want to -- we talk about the community as a whole. Paint us a little bit of a picture. What kind of neighborhood is this in Boulder? Is this sort of near the center of the city?

I mean, we`re seeing this sort of sky drone view, and I can`t quite tell what grocery store this is, but is this a busy part of town? Is it out on the end? Where are we in Boulder where this shooting has happened?

SCHWARTZ: It`s a King Soopers that is pretty busy, especially around this time. Just by seeing that livestream, there were a lot of people inside the store, a lot of people out in the parking lot as well. It`s not exactly in the middle of Boulder, it`s kind of on the outside of Boulder, but it is definitely in Boulder proper.

It took about two, three minutes for officers to get there, and then you`ve got several schools around the area, too, and so some of those schools had activities that were going on. Those activities were also put on lockdown. But right now there are just people starting to gather on the outskirts of that pretty massive perimeter just trying to hear anything they can about possible victims and about family members that they know may have been shopping inside that King Soopers there.

So, just a little while ago, we got a statement from the owner of King Soopers saying there are victims but they defer to the police for any information.

JOHNSON: This is tragic, unfortunately, again.

Thank you, Ari Melber, Jim Cavanaugh, and Gadi Schwartz.

Stay right here as we wait the news conference on the shooting in Boulder, Colorado.