A jury in Minnesota found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd last May. President Biden says, systemic racism is a stain on America`s soul. Biden says, police who fail their communities must be held accountable, also says we must change hearts and minds in addition to laws and policies.
REV. JESSE JACKSON, SR, POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Well, when asked the juror why did you -- you convinced the killing (ph), you know who you was, bragged about taking his life. He said I could not imagine going to jail for killing a nigger that was 55 years, (INAUDIBLE). Things are changing. But (INAUDIBLE) from now. It`s time for a fundamental change. I want to thank (INAUDIBLE), Johnny Cochran, Ben Crump, Ben, thank you so much.
BEN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Thank you, Rev.
JACKSON: And then I`d want to say one thing first that jumped off of me (INAUDIBLE), who had the case he believed it couldn`t happen, never happened before, whereas in the trial, including the governor, Attorney General Keith Ellison. Keith, took the case and charged the first day. He put together the legal team, justice, jurors, whole process led by Keith Ellison. To say this is 20 percent African-American, Keith Ellison (INAUDIBLE) some more African-American congresswoman.
As I called Minnesota state with great proud traditions, Brother Ben. So it`s not just about black and white but wrong and right. It was massive protests marched by white citizens they say you send the justice a job. This is to say that you will help to relief the struggle that fall from 1964, (INAUDIBLE) and so peace. It`s a state of those who fought down through the years. When I think about the Omar being a congresswoman, I said (INAUDIBLE) and she (INAUDIBLE).
Now, the people in this state had been silent too long, was said to speak back, fight back. So that was changes. I want to express thanks to all of you coming in the (INAUDIBLE) and that -- people on the team of black and white, and we must learn to live together as brothers (INAUDIBLE), so we will live together.
My thanks to Marc Morial, everybody, and all that who have come together. People, keep marching. So this is a (INAUDIBLE) for Brother Wright and they will relieve and we can celebrate because it kinds of keep coming. Often, the case say they`ve broken the backbone of legal lynching. This case should break the backbone of legal lynching. And then it leads us with the law. We have to change that. Thank you very much.
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: And, lastly, before we get to the questions, and let me acknowledge, again, Tamika, my son, Reverend Jamal Bryant, and all of the young people that kept it going. Ain`t no sun between these generations. Anybody thinks so, get up and work out with me in the morning. National President of the National Urban League, Brother Marc Morial.
MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Thank you very much. Thank you. First of all, I want to be brief, but let me co-sign, amen, and reaffirm all that has been said today. This conviction --
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: All right that`s Marc Morial of the Urban League of the National Urban League speaking right now. You`re seeing a very rare sight, the family of George Floyd, his supporters and civil rights leaders, including our own very Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson and others on a day in which something that does not normally happen happened, the conviction of Derek Chauvin, former Police Officer in Minneapolis for killing George Floyd. It is an exceptionally rare event.
I want to let you all know that the president of the United States, Joe Biden, and the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, are set to speak imminently, which is why I`m breaking in so that we can sort of transition to that as soon as they begin.
But while we wait for the president and vice president to speak, I want to introduce our team that`s going to start this off on the coverage here tonight. Katie Phang, our MSNBC Legal Contributor, Paul Butler, who`s also an MSNBC Legal Contributor, and the same, Glenn Kirschner, and they are both Federal Prosecutors.
I just want to go to and allow each of you to talk about this case, the prosecutors, Paul, Jerry Blackwell, Steve Schleicher, Matthew Frank, Erin Eldridge, won a very rare victory here on behalf of the Floyd family. Your thoughts on this prosecution and the outcome.
PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: 45 witnesses, three weeks of testimony, a victory decades, centuries in the making. It was the state versus Derek Chauvin, the police of the criminal legal system were not on trial but because black people have been denied due process and equal protection of law for so long, trials can actually serve as a rough measure of progress.
Joy, I think given the evidence presented by the prosecution, if there had not been a conviction, there would be legitimate questions about when a police officer could ever be brought to justice for killing a black man. But fewer than ten officers have been convicted of murder in the last 15 years. If this is the beginning of holding police officers accountable, it`s long past time but it`s still a really good day for equal justice under the law.
REID: You know, and I think that`s a really good point, Katie Phang, because the other thing that seemed to be on trial he was the kind of defense that was mounted for Derek Chauvin. It was of the sort of the classic Rodney King defense, vilifying the dead black man and saying essentially that he had super human strength, borne of drug use, et cetera. That didn`t work this time.
KATIE PHANG, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: No. And this is what I was hoping it was going to be, which was a send a message verdict. This jury took its job, its duty, its oath, to be able to apply the facts and evidence in this case to the law that was specific to these charges. It totally said and sent a message, right, to the defense that old concept, that tired racist trope of the big black man who does the drugs, and cannot ever achieve justice, that was kicked out the door today.
And the other message that was sent was, you know what, there`s going to be a day of reckoning for cops that don`t abide by policies and procedures that have been set forth within their departments. Derek Chauvin was tried, convicted and will be sentenced in eight weeks. And then that`s the other part we`re going to have to see, Joy. What is he going to get for his sentence? And then in August, what are those three other officers that are remaining pending trial. They`re being tried together, what are they going to do?
REID: And that is a good question, you know, and, Glenn, it was remarkable to see ten police officers take the stand against a fellow police officer. I`ve never seen anything like that before. What do you think the message that`s been sent, do you think that message ends up reverberating in a way that changes law enforcement or is this just sort of a momentary, you know, moment of justice for this family. Do you think that it has reverberations after today?
GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: I do, Joy. I hope it resonates. Because what we had were good cops who stood up and broke the back of a bad cop. And that is one of the things it`s going to take. Because, Joy, as a 30 year prosecutor, I worked with so many good cops, but I also could sniff out some bad cops. Now that the good cops have license to step up, let`s leave it to that.
REID: Indeed, I`m going to stop you here because the vice president of the United States has taken the desk. Let`s listen.
KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Good evening, I want to thank the jury for their service and I want to thank Mr. Floyd`s family for your steadfastness. Today, we feel a sigh of relief. Still, it cannot take away the pain. A measure of justice is not the same as equal justice. This verdict brings us a step closer and the fact is we still have work to do. We still must reform the system.
Last summer, together with Senator Cory Booker and Representative Karen Bass, I introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This bill would hold law enforcement accountable and help build trust between law enforcement and our communities. This bill is part of George Floyd`s legacy.
The president and I will continue to urge the Senate to pass this legislation not as a panacea for every problem but as a start.
This work is long overdue. America has a long history of systemic racism. Black Americans and black men in particular have been treated throughout the course of our history as less than human. Black men are fathers and brothers and sons and uncles and grandfathers and friends and neighbors. Their lives must be valued in our education system, in our health care system, in our housing system, in our economic system in our criminal justice system in our nation, full stop.
Because of smart phones, so many Americans have now seen the racial injustice that black Americans have known for generations, the racial injustice that we have fought for generations, that my parents protested in the 1960s, that millions of us, Americans of every race, protested last summer.
Here is the truth about racial injustice. It is not just a black America problem or a people of color problem. It is a problem for every American. It is keeping us from fulfilling the process of liberty and justice for all. And it is holding our nation back from realizing our full potential.
We are all a part of George Floyd`s legacy and our job now is to honor it and to honor him, thank you.
And now it is my great honor to introduce the president of the United States, Joe Biden.
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Today, a jury in Minnesota found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd last May. It was a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism the vice president just referred to.
The systemic racism is a stain on our nation`s soul, a knee on the neck of justice for black Americans, profound fear and trauma, the pain, the exhaustion that black and brown Americans experience every single day.
The murder of George Floyd launched a summer of protest we hadn`t seen since the civil rights era in the 60s, protests that unified people of every race and generation in peace and with purpose, to say enough, enough, enough of these senseless killings.
Today`s verdict is a step forward. I just spoke to the governor of Minnesota who thanked me for the close work with his team. And I also spoke with George Floyd`s family again, remarkable family of extraordinary courage. Nothing can ever bring their brother, their father back but this can be a giant step forward march toward justice in America.
Let`s also be clear, such a verdict is also much too rare. For so many people, it seems like it took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors, a brave young woman with a smart phone camera, a crowd that was traumatized, traumatized witnesses, a murder that lasts almost ten minutes in broad daylight for ultimately the whole world to see, officers standing up and testifying against a fellow officer instead of you closing ranks, which should be commended, a jury who heard the evidence, carried out their civic duty in the midst of an extraordinary moment under extraordinary pressure.
For so many it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver a just, just basic accountability. We saw how traumatic and exhausting just watching the trial was for so many people. Think about it, those of you who are listening, think about how traumatic it was for you. You weren`t there. You didn`t know any of the people. But it was difficult, especially for the witnesses who had to relive that day. It`s a trauma on top of the fears so many people of color live with every day when they go to sleep at night and pray for the safety of themselves and their loved ones.
Again, as we saw in this trial from the fellow police officers who testified, most men and women who wear the badge serve their communities honorably. But those few who failed to meet that standard must be held accountable, and they were today. One was. No one should be above the law. And today`s verdict sends that message.
But it`s not enough. We can`t stop here. In order to live a real change in reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen to occur again, to assure that black and brown people or anyone so they don`t fear the interactions with law enforcement, that they don`t have to wake up knowing that they can lose their very life in the course of just living their life. They don`t have to worry about whether their sons or daughters will come home after a grocery store run or just walking down the street or driving their car, playing in the park or just sleeping at home. And this takes acknowledging and confronting head on systemic racism and the racial disparities that exist in policing and in our criminal justice system more broadly.
You know, state and local government and law enforcement needs to step up, but so does the federal government. That`s why I have appointed leadership of the justice department that I had, that is fully committed to restoring trust between law enforcement and the community they are sworn to serve and protect. I have complete confidence in the attorney general, General Garland`s leadership and commitment.
I`ve also nominated two key justice department nominees, Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, who are eminently qualified, highly respected lawyers who have spent their entire careers fighting to advance racial equity and justice. Vanita and Kristen have the experience and the skill necessary to advance our administration`s priorities to root out unconstitutional policing and reform our criminal justice system, and they deserve to be confirmed.
We also need Congress to act. George Floyd was murdered almost a year ago. There`s meaningful police reform legislation in his name. You just heard the vice president speak of it. She helped write it. Legislation to tackle systemic misconduct in police departments, to restore trust between law enforcement and the people that are entrusted to serve and protect, but it shouldn`t take a whole year to get this done.
My conversations with the Floyd family, I spoke with them again today, I assured them, we`re going to continue to fight for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, so I can sign it into law as quickly as possible. But there`s more to do.
Finally, it`s the work we do every day to change hearts and minds as well as laws and policies. That`s the work we have to do. Only then will full justice and full equality be delivered to all Americans. And that`s what I just discussed with the Floyd family. The guilty verdict does not bring back George but through the family`s pain, they`re finding purpose so George`s legacy will not be just about his death but about what we must do in his memory.
I also spoke to Gianna, George`s young daughter, again. When I met her last year I`ve said this before at George`s funeral. I told her how brave I thought she was and I sort of knelt down to hold her hand. I said, daddy is looking down on you, he`s so proud. She said to me then, I`ll never forget it. Daddy changed the world. I told her this afternoon, daddy did change the world.
Let that be his legacy, a legacy of peace, not violence, and justice. Peaceful expression of that legacy are inevitable and appropriate, but violent protest is not.
And there are those who will seek to exploit the raw emotions of the moment, agitators and extremists who have no interest in social justice, who seek to carry out violence, destroy property, fan the flames of hate and division, who will do everything in their power to stop this country`s march toward racial justice.
We can`t let them succeed. This is a time for this country to come together, to unite as Americans. There can never be any safe harbor for hate in America.
I`ve said it many times. The battle for the soul of this nation has been a constant push and pull for more than 240 years, a tug of war between the American ideal that we`re all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart.
At our best, the American ideal wins out. So, we can`t leave this moment or look away thinking our work is done. We have to look at it -- we have to -- we have to look at is as we did for those nine minutes and 29 seconds. We have to listen.
"I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe" -- those were George Floyd`s last words. We can`t let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words. We must not turn away. We can`t turn away. We have a chance to begin to change the trajectory in this country.
That`s my hope and prayer, that we live up to the legacy.
May God bless you, and may God bless the -- George Floyd and his family.
Thank you for taking the time to be here. This can be a moment of significant change.
REID: President Joe Biden talking about a murder in the full light of day that ripped the blinders off of systemic racism.
He talked about the fact that it took an extraordinary convergence of circumstances in order to get the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin, a teenage girl with her cell phone, a crowd that demanded justice, and a murder that took nearly 10 minutes.
And he talked about the fact that you also saw officers testifying against one of their own and how extraordinary that was, President Biden talking about the fact that he`s spoken again with the family of George Floyd, something he`s done multiple times since he`s been elected.
Before he spoke, Vice President Kamala Harris reminding Americans of something that should be obvious and something that we hear in the Black Lives Matter hashtag, that black men are fathers and sons and neighbors and loved ones, but too often are treated less than human when it comes to law enforcement.
And she made the point that ,because of cell phones, we now have been able to see the injustice, that Americans of all races have been able to witness it. And she closed her statements by saying that we`re all a part of George Floyd`s legacy.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California.
And, Congresswoman, I want to -- on that very last point that Vice President Harris made, a lot of us, myself included, really came to know you in the era of Rodney King, in which case there was also video, that we were also able to see the injustice in the Rodney King case that he was lucky, very lucky, to survive, but still was unable to get justice at the state level and had to go to the federal government to get it.
What does it mean, in your mind, as somebody who experienced that in your own community, for us to be here now and to see a conviction all charges against this former police officer?
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Joy, I want to tell you my struggle against police abuse started many years ago.
There was a woman named Eula Love who could not pay her gas bill. And they call the police out. And that was a confrontation. And they ended up shooting her down on her porch in front of her two girls.
And I tangled with Daryl Gates, who was the police chief, who not only really did support and use the choke hold, but he had something called a battering ram that he tore down the doors.
And I can remember, when I was in the Head Start program, and we talked about the fire people and the police and all of the helpers and the services in your district. The Head Start kid said, the police of people who come to your house and knock down your door and pull your brother out and take him away.
And so I have lived with this police abuse, with black men in particular being targeted by the police, being made to lay on the ground in their best clothes, spread eagle across a car. And I have fought this for many, many years. I have been engaged for many years.
And you mentioned Rodney King. Yes, that was another special time, when we saw him beaten, I mean, literally beaten, and then we were told we could not believe our own eyes. And we did not get justice.
And so today is very special. Something very special has happened. But when I talk about why it is so important for us to have diversity and inclusion, it is because of Keith Ellison, who is the district attorney. To the degree that we get more people in these positions of power, particularly in the criminal justice system, we`re going to be able to get more justice.
And so, of course, I`m criticized all the time. And, of course, the Republicans make a target of me. But, as you know, I am passionate on these issues, having lived with them so long, having seen so much injustice.
And so I`m delighted that we have the verdict that we got today. I could not believe it, but it is absolutely true. And I`m looking forward to elected officials using their influence and their power, and for our city council people, who have the budgets of these police, who have been intimidated by these police unions, seeing that it is possible to do right, do what is right, and to honor the community by not just rolling over because they`re intimidated by the police union and afraid that they won`t get elected.
You have got that budget. You give them their raises. You`re responsible for their benefits. You give them all that overtime pay. Now it`s time to use that power.
And so I`m just pleased that I still feel strong enough and able enough to go out with the young people and say, auntie Maxine is here. And I support you. And I want you to be activists.
I`m so sorry that it causes pain oftentimes with my colleagues. Many times, they`re in these districts where they are frightened, where they have a lot of racism, where they still haven`t moved to the point where they can have a decent conversation about these issues.
And, sometimes, it`s very difficult for them. But they stood up with me today.
WATERS: They put me up for censure because of my visit to Minneapolis.
And my colleagues stood with me. And they voted to table the motion that was put up to censure me, because the -- the Republicans love to use me as a target. They raise money on my backs. That`s that Maxine Waters, that black woman who is so uppity and who is someone we can`t control. And so you have got to make sure that I have enough money to keep her from getting reelected.
And I keep getting reelected. And these poor people, many of them retirees, they keep giving them their money. They don`t seem to understand they`re not going to get me out of office. I`m here until I decide to retire.
REID: You know.
And, Congresswoman, you mentioned the Republican fight. I mean, I think that the women who founded the Black Lives Matter hashtag are also familiar with being black women who are not under control and, therefore, are targeted on a routine basis.
But the big fight that I think your Republican colleagues are avoiding, or at least not talking about, because you`re right -- they`re focused on you. They`re tried to censure you. They did not succeed in that today.
But there is an actual piece of legislation that is moving through the Congress that could actually take the victory that -- for the family of George Floyd today and sort of put some laws on the books. It could actually help to prevent the next George Floyd from dying in the way that he did.
Can you talk a little bit about the George Floyd Act and whether or not you believe that that is something that now has more momentum because of this verdict? because it doesn`t appear that at least Republicans are eager to be a part of that conversation.
WATERS: Well, you`re absolutely correct.
And it is not easy. You would think, having experienced what we have experienced, and so many millions of people saw George Floyd being murdered on the sidewalk -- I mean, this was a very public event.
You would think that we would have even Republicans on the most conservative side who would say, this is too much, even though I support the police, and I think that they shouldn`t even be challenged in their work, they know what they`re doing, but something`s wrong with this. Something`s wrong with what we have seen, what we have witnessed, would be ready to come forward now and change and say, we do have to rein in the rogue cops.
We have to make sure that they are not a part of our police departments, and they don`t keep getting rehired over and over again in various jurisdictions after they commit crimes in another district.
But, no, it`s not that easy.
WATERS: And it`s not going to be that easy to get this bill passed out of the United States Senate.
That is why I say to the young people, you have got to keep your activism up. It`s not going to go away because the elected officials sit and think, well, let me see. This is wrong. I got to take care of this.
Oftentimes, we`re too safe in what we do, and we don`t want to make any waves. And so that`s why it`s so important to have activism. And that`s what the civil rights movement was all about. It was about activism. It was about confrontation.
As a matter of fact, I went back and did some research on Martin Luther King. He had a project called Project C. And you know what that was for? Project confrontation, confrontation. And a lot of people see that as being bad, and they tried to turn my words into something about violence.
It`s not about violence. Martin Luther King was about nonviolence. I am nonviolent.
And so, when they take words like confrontation, which certainly confrontation was used in the sit-ins, in the -- for the civil rights legislation, the marches, the prayers. All of that is confrontation.
And so we have got to make sure that we continue to define who we are, what we do, what we care about, and not be so intimidated, we are afraid to move.
The young people want to see their elders stand up. They want to feel loved and protected. And they are out there now. And they have joined in with Black Lives Matter and other organizations. They`re telling us, we are here to help get justice for all of us. We have no future unless you are on this -- this case that -- unless you are dealing with the injustices that are taking place that we are confronted with.
And so I`m so pleased about this verdict today. And no matter the criticism that I get, no matter the judge, who even went off about Maxine Waters, that`s all right by me. I will continue to do what I think is in the best interests of our people. I will continue to speak truth to power. And I will continue to be an activist legislator.
So, I want to thank you for all of the attention that you have given to this, and the president being on your program tonight, expressing his views about George Floyd.
And I want you to know, I was worried about Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old that got killed. When I went to Minneapolis, I took his mother and father to dinner. And they relaxed, and we had a great time. And they said this was the only moment since this had happened that they were able to laugh and enjoy.
And so that`s who I am. That`s what I do. And that`s what we all must do. We must all see that we have a role in helping to bring about justice in this country. We have a role to ensure that the people can expect to live in a real democracy, with respect for the Constitution and respect for each other.
So, here we are.
WATERS: And, as someone said to me today: "I`m not just celebrating. I`m relieved."
WATERS: And that`s how I feel too. I`m relieved.
Thank you, Joy.
REID: Well, Congresswoman, I think they also call that good trouble. And we appreciate that you...
WATERS: Good trouble.
REID: ... that you -- that`s exactly right -- that you do not back down, that you continue to fight for what you believe in. And this was a good day for the family of George Floyd.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters, really appreciate you being here with us this evening. Thank you so much. Have a great evening.
And I now want to bring in "Today Show" and MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin.
And, Craig, I understand that you spoke with George Floyd`s family today.
We did see a little bit of that press conference, of course, with Reverend Al Sharpton, with Ben Crump and others.
Tell us what the family had to say to you when you spoke with them after the verdict.
CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC HOST: Yes, Joy, I spent some time with the family last night. I spent some time with the family a few moments ago.
And I have come to know the Floyds fairly well over the past year. And I -- Philonise just described this empty ballroom. He said, it`s like an empty locker room, because he felt like the Bulls celebrating that sixth championship. I mean, it really -- for the family, a sense of relief, because, as you guys have been talking about over the past few hours, this wasn`t just about their children for so many folks in this country.
Philonise has been saying over the past year, if a black man can`t get justice for that video that we have seen play on loop for 11 months, then a black man can`t get justice for anything.
MELVIN: And he was adamant about that. And that sort of became his rallying cry.
And one of the one of the really interesting things about the family, Joy - - and you know this. You have spent some time talking to them as well. They were fairly optimistic from the very beginning.
You and I covered the George Zimmerman trial years ago. And there was not video.
MELVIN: There was there was some security video, some surveillance video.
But there was the video this time. And the family felt from the very beginning that the video would prove to be a slam dunk in this case. They weren`t surprised by the verdict. They weren`t surprised by the speed with which it came.
MELVIN: I spent some time talking to Rodney, George`s brother, as well.
And the family really did go out of their way, after the press conference especially, to thank the onlookers who were there...
MELVIN: ... those bystanders that we have heard so many folks talk about, specifically -- and we should say her name -- Darnella Frazier, the now 17- year-old, high school kid, taking her cousin to Cup Foods, who saw something that didn`t look right, and took out her phone, like all teenagers do these days...
MELVIN: ... and taped it.
Had it not been for that video, we wouldn`t be having this conversation, there would not be a conviction. They went out of their way to thank her as well.
Here`s another interesting thing about Philonise as well, Joy. Philonise Floyd was driving a truck a year ago. And he gets that call in the middle of the night. And now, all of a sudden, he is thrust into this spotlight. He`s now an advocate. He`s now an activist.
MELVIN: And he has made very clear that this is going to be his life`s work now.
He spent some time talking about what you were just talking about with the congresswoman from California, that Justice in Policing Act.
So, it`s just that sense of relief that the family talked about. You can feel it.
MELVIN: You can feel -- you can feel it here in Minneapolis as well.
We just heard from the president calling on folks to be peaceful here. I just talked to our folks on the ground here in Minneapolis, peaceful, peaceful protests so far.
REID: Yes. Yes.
MELVIN: No rioting, no looting. People are celebrating.
REID: Very quickly, before I let you go, Craig, I`m going to take friend privilege, because I was with you. We covered the Walter Scott case together, another case in which there was video, in which we were -- you saw it play out on video.
And you sort of saw how it seemed like it was going to go. We all know how that case turned out, at least at the local level.
As you covered this case, did -- what surprised you the most? Because I have to tell you, I did hear those early statements by the family that they were very confident. They were much more confident than someone cynical like me was about how this would come out, at least up until we saw that it was a very brief time that the jury spent deliberating.
Give me your impressions of this. What surprised you the most?
MELVIN: There were a couple of things that surprised me.
By the way, Joy, we should mention -- you just brought up the Walter Scott case. Ironically, today, the deputy in that case, Michael Slager, his 20- year sentence was upheld today, ironically.
MELVIN: But there are a couple things that surprised me about this case.
First of all, again, not to belabor the point, the video. The video was just -- and I think that`s what compelled so many people to, in the middle of a pandemic, hit the streets, not just in this country, but around the world. You see that video, it stirred something.
MELVIN: And I think, even during the trial, when you saw the different vantage points, it stirred something, which would explain why, when we went to those protests, the thing that struck me was the people at the protests, they didn`t look like we knew, by and large.
The people at the protest, they were young, and they were white. And that`s what I knew...
MELVIN: ... that this was different.
MELVIN: This really was different. That surprised me.
Also, if you -- if you look at it objectively, the case that was presented by the prosecution, we have covered cases like this so many times over the years.
MELVIN: Doctors don`t testify against doctors. Lawyers don`t testify against lawyers.
Cops, they don`t cross that blue line often. And, in this case, when you have the police chief testifying, no, no, this isn`t anything we have taught, I mean, that...
MELVIN: ... that was -- and I think that was that was a game-changer.
And I think what you also saw, perhaps, is precedent. You see police officers in Minneapolis who felt compelled to speak up and testify against one of their own. Next time something like this happens, maybe you see the same.
REID: Yes. Yes, it was an extraordinary thing.
When they showed that graphic in the closing arguments -- and I believe it was Mr. Blackwell that showed that graphic...
MELVIN: It was.
REID: ... with all the police officers all ringed around, it was like, wow, I have never seen a police officer testify against another police officer. It was extraordinary.
Craig Melvin, my friend, thank you so much for spending some time this evening. Thank you very much. Great reporting. Really appreciate you.
All right, and joining me now from downtown Minneapolis, another fantastic reporter that has been really in the middle of this and reporting and doing such a great job for us, Shaq, Shaquille Brewster.
Give us a sense of how people are feeling. Is it relief? Is it shock? What are people expressing to you as you`re speaking with them there in Minneapolis? And I know you`re blocks from the courthouse.
SHAQUILLE BREWSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, it really depends on -- yes, we`re just blocks away from the courthouse.
You can see some of the barbed wire around the downtown area still in this area. And this is a march -- march-turned-rally. The rally portion just wrapped up, so they`re now marching again.
And, really, it depends on who you`re talking to. Some people are relieved. They know and they were holding their breath. They just were skeptical the entire time.
They heard and saw that case that Craig was talking, what they considered to be a strong case, where you have witness after witness, bystander after bystander, come and take the stand. They saw and heard the use of force experts, the police officers, come up and take the stand but they said they would not let themselves believe that it was possible for a jury of 12 to come to that unanimous decision. So there`s that shock there.
There`s also frustration still at what is yet to come. What they consider injustice for other people who have lost their lives at the hands of police. Ten minutes, 15 minutes from where I`m standing right now in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, we`re talking about Daunte Wright, the 20-year- old who as this trial was going on was shot and killed by police.
Many of these protesters who are marching at the courthouse right now, they plan on going to Brooklyn Center right after this. They want the focus to be on what they say is a precedent. They want there to be accountability, and to that point, you know, something that we heard in those closing arguments, we heard that emphasis from the prosecution that this is not an anti-police prosecution. It`s a pro-police prosecution. You heard them say the police officers is the most noble profession and put it on the jury if you want to uphold policing, they say you have to come down and crack down on what they consider to be bad officers.
Well, for the people here at this protest, for the people who are marching through the streets of Minneapolis, this is very much to send a message about police accountability. They are making clear that it`s not just about George Floyd. That banner that you see up there, it says justice for George Floyd, the whole world is watching. If you look at the letters, it looks like it`s colored and shaded black.
But really, what that is, those are names of other people who have lost their lives at the hands of police, and their message is very clear, and that they want there to be justice for others. They don`t want the focus to be just on George Floyd.
So, that`s what you`re hearing now. You have people still marching. Yes, they are relieved, they are celebrating, they got what they wanted which was that guilty verdict on all three counts despite their biggest skepticism and suspicions but they`re focused on what they believe is next and a bigger and more noble cause, Joy.
REID: Shaq Brewster, thank you very much, man. I really appreciate you. You`re doing a great job. Thank you so much.
I`m joined now by Florida Congresswoman Val Demings, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and the House Judiciary Committee. She`s also the former police chief of Orlando, Florida.
Very excited to talk with you this evening, Congresswoman.
I just want to get your reaction stepping back from your position as a member of Congress but as a former law enforcement leader and a former law enforcement officer, your impressions of this verdict?
REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Well, Joy, it`s great to be back with you. And as you well know, I spent almost 30 years as a law enforcement officer served as a chief of police, working in the criminal justice system.
We said from the beginning, we wanted to see justice in this trial. And justice prevailed. And having worked in the system for almost three decades today seeing the criminal justice system work was exactly what we needed to see, it`s what the community needed to see, it`s what law enforcement officers needed to see.
As you know, the burden of proof was on the prosecution and they presented a case that eliminated any reasonable doubt.
But I also, Joy, want to take a moment to mention the bystanders, too, when we think about how this case came together, the bystanders, the young woman who did the video, the 9-year-old who testified, older people, younger people didn`t have a duty to act as police officers do, but they did, they testified. And all of that culminated in a strong guilty verdict on today.
REID: You know, Shaquille Brewster made an important point that I thought was smart on the part of the prosecutors here. They said to jury, this is not an anti-police prosecution. It`s a pro-police prosecution. You had ten law enforcement officers testify against Derek Chauvin, essentially breaking the blue wall of silence.
I wonder if you think, and I asked this question earlier, whether or not you think that this verdict is durable in terms of changing the way police operate, Errin Haines, a great reporter from "The 19th", reminded some of us earlier today, when police first talked about this incident and put out their release, they release claimed that George Floyd had died in a medical incident. They characterized it in a very different way which if we in the media had taken that and run with it as the media too often does, we would have believed as we did initially in the Walter Scott that the police had done nothing wrong.
We know that this officer was just convicted of second-degree, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
How do we get police to behave differently in terms of the way they themselves communicate about what officers have done, and get other officers to feel like they can stand up to a police officer who`s doing something wrong? How do we do that?
DEMINGS: You know, Joy, how do we do that? We do that by example, and this case was just a prime example of the community and the police stepping doing what was right. You know, I watched the day the police chief came in and testified, I watched the day that the police lieutenant, Derek Chauvin`s manager, his supervisor, came in and testified, and also the training officer who said very clearly the technique that was used is not what we teach at this department.
And so what we have seen, I do believe that there is a clear path to move forward because we have seen what we have seldom and never seen before and that`s a police officer standing up for what they know is right. Now, we know that the overwhelming majority of men and women are good, decent, courageous people who risk their lives every day doing a very tough job. But as the president says, when the police failed to protect the community, they must be held accountable.
And so for law enforcement officers everywhere, Joy, and we all should want to get better, right? The worst thing, as the prosecution said, for good cops is a bad cop. And so we all should want to go -- do better. We can do better because we`ve seen officers do better.
REID: Last question before I let you go, and I hate to bring this person up and make you have to deal with this once again. But Congressman Jim Jordan decided to try to have a go at you today. He didn`t do very well, as one should know if they tried you. But he did try you today.
You made the point that he and his colleagues on the Republican side love to talk about police when they want to use them for their own political purposes. You did see Republicans today attempt to censure Congresswoman Maxine Waters, you know, who has been an advocate against police violence since the `90s or even before that. But they don`t seem eager to jump on the George Floyd bill to help pass that bill.
Do you think, first of all, that the George Floyd bill will get through the House? Do you think there will be any Republican support for it? And what do you think the chances of it becoming law are, you know, pragmatically?
DEMINGS: Well, Joy, I think today is a major day in U.S. history with this verdict. We do have to ask ourselves what`s next? The "what`s next" is to get the George Floyd Policing in Justice Act passed.
Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But that is the next step. We need to get that legislation passed, and then bring the community and the police working together so that the police can do a better job.
And so, you know, when I listened to Jim Jordan, he who loves to use the police as a political pawn, but he who has not been there for law enforcement when they really needed had his voice, what I heard today, Joy, was a person who has no real agenda, they have no real plan to put forth to the American people so they continue to try to distract Congress and distract the American people with their foolishness.
So, today, I just was not having his hypocrisy and their hypocrisy.
REID: Today, I`m from Florida, so I know who you are, so you don`t generally have time for foolishness.
Thank you very much, Congresswoman Val Demings. Thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate you.
And now, joining me is Jelani Cobb, staff writer at "The New Yorker".
And I know that you`re not far from the scene of where George Floyd died, I believe, Jelani, you have been back and forth to Minneapolis, give me your impressions, what are people saying to you? What is the mood? Give me some big picture, too, because I`m really glad to have a historian on in this moment.
JELANI COBB, THE NEW YORKER STAFF WRITER: Yeah, I`m right near the intersection of 38th and Chicago where George Floyd died. And it`s become a kind of sacred space. There is a cordon around it. There are flowers. There are candles. There are people come out and pay their respects at that corner.
And behind me now, as you can probably hear, you can probably see some of it, there`s a gigantic rally taking place. There are, you know, probably easily a thousand people who are crowded into this intersection who have come out and really are kind of elated atmosphere and they were walking to the streets chanting. There was a band playing. In New Orleans, they would have called a second line. It is a band playing.
There are people marching behind it chanting, we got that justice, now we got that peace. So, that`s really the mode here. One of the things you hear, though, when you talk with people is that this is just one part of their struggle, that there are many things that have to happen.
Obviously for people who are thinking about the particular details of this case, there is another set of trials for the three other officers who were there that day. And that will start in August. And, you know, that will have implications, obviously, for how people view the ultimate outcome as to whether how much justice was obtained.
And there are a whole wrath of other things we could get into about the future of the Minneapolis police department. There`s no shortage of questions tonight.
REID: I want to get you to zoom out just a little bit because I was going through with Congresswoman Waters, you could do Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice. You know, obviously, Rodney King who survived his encounter, Amadou Diallo, Philando Castile, just Adam Toledo case.
It just goes on and on and on, Michael Brown. You know, we have them all over the shirts we`ve bought, Black Lives Matter shirts. There are so many cases.
This is such a rare outcome, Jelani, as you and I have discussed.
COBB: It is. It is a rare outcome.
REID: What does it mean that this outcome happened? What does it actually mean that this happened?
COBBS: So, here`s what I think is notable. This outcome happened. People were shocked, quite frankly, that there were three convictions, that they were convicted on all three charges.
But when we look at the two closest analogs, which is the conviction of the officer who shot Laquan McDonald in Chicago and the conviction of Michael Slager, who shot Walter Scott in South Carolina, there are two things that leap out.
First was that Laquan McDonald, because that video had been suppressed, when it came out, ignited a political crisis, political you political powers far above the police officer who fired the shot. (AUDIO GAP) for Walter Scott (AUDIO GAP) Taser near his dying body, happened in the context of those nine people who were killed in Charleston.
REID: Yeah. We are --
REID: We are losing -- we are losing our connection, unfortunately. And I really wanted to hear the rest of what Jelani Cobb had to say.
OK. We`re going to try to get a connection back. So, I -- we`re going to hold you for just one moment. If we do have time, we`ll try to come back to you, Jelani.
But I want to get in Congresswoman Bush of Missouri, who I believe is also ready to go. And I do want to also get your impressions of what we saw today. You, of course, are from the place where the Michael Brown incident happened. And there was nothing. There was no justice for his family.
What do you make of what happened today in the case of George Floyd?
REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): Today was -- we saw accountability happen. Today, we saw what we`ve been wanting to see every single time, you know, one of us is murdered at the hands of police. You know, but what we really want to see is true justice, which means life. Like, don`t touch our lives. That`s what we want to see.
True justice means that it would have meant that George Floyd would still be alive. It meant -- it would mean that Daunte Wright would still be alive. It would mean that Michael Brown would still be here. That`s what true justice is.
And so, right now, I want to be like, yeah, you know, yeah, that thing happened. But you know what? What should have happened was we should be sitting here talking about something totally different.
Let`s talk about the climate crisis. Let`s talk about clean water and clean air. Let`s talk about other things that are happening in our community.
Why are we talking about being happy that somebody is -- that somebody has guilty charges because they took one of our lives? You know, that is -- that`s the issue. We have to change this conversation. You know, why are we catching it on the back end? You know, we have to do the work on the front end.
And let me say this, Joy, I`m so sick and tired of hearing the good cop/bad cop thing. And I know I said it over and over again before. But let me just lay it out again. There should not be any good cops and bad cops. Why is that a discussion?
There should be cops. If we`re going to have cops, there should be cops. Let that be that.
BUSH: We don`t go in and say, oh, that`s a good nurse, that`s a bad nurse. Oh, that`s a good pilot, oh, that`s a bad pilot. That`s a good chef, that`s a bad chef. We don`t do that.
So, why do police officers get that? No. If your job is to protect and serve, if your job is to take care of the community in which you serve, then do that. Not going after targeting people who look like me simply because we look like a threat because you have a problem.
REID: Yeah. You know, and, Congresswoman, you make a really good point. If there was a restaurant chain that killed a certain percentage of its customers, you wouldn`t say, you know, that one cook was good, but at least the rest of them -- that one cook is bad but the rest of them are good. You wouldn`t want to pay to have that in your community feeding and killing a certain number of people.
I wonder how we back out of this system where black communities are the ones getting ticketed and the tickets and the fines are funding the police and their pensions to then turn around and kill people for nothing when they`re pulling them over for crimes that are essentially revenue- generating minor incidents in which people die.
BUSH: Well, first of all, we have to quit giving the police the pass at every dang thing. Let`s start with that. They don`t get a pass at every single thing because their job is to protect and serve.
You know what? You know who else serves? Firefighters. You know who else serves? Nurses and store clerks. You know who else serves? Teachers.
You know, all of us have a part in serving the community. So, you know what? They don`t get this extra -- this blanket of comfort.
You know, no. You should be just as held accountable as anybody else. So, that and their police unions.
I`m so glad, let me say, we just elected in St. Louis, the first black woman mayor for St. Louis, and hopefully, we will be able to do the work together and deal with our police unions that don`t care for all the people.
They don`t care for the black and brown people in our communities. They don`t care for the indigenous folk in our communities. And so, we will do this work together. So, that`s one.
The other thing is alternatives to policing. Let`s remember, police don`t have to be the ones to show up when someone is having some type of an issue with their mental health. They don`t have to be the ones to show up.
How do I know? I`m a mental health nurse. Been there, done that. I see how we can do other things. There are other options.
We just have to go ahead and think that thing through and actually put it to work on the municipal level, on the state level and the federal level. That`s why I`m in Congress, to work on the federal level and bring that voice.
And this too. When we talk about police showing up for -- some are saying, oh, you really want police to show up for certain calls. Well, you know what? There are other people that are paid that actually have, you know, the training to handle certain situations. Why not let them do their jobs? There are social workers and therapists that would love to take care of the community that way.
So, you know, as an activist and as a legislator, I`m saying alternatives to policing need to happen now. We need to have those real conversations.
REID: And the last question I`ve asked this of all the members of Congress who have been lucky to get three member of Congress in one night. I want to thank all of you for doing this.
The George Floyd Act, is it enough? Will it become law, in your view?
BUSH: I believe it will become law. I know we need to add some things. That`s just one piece of legislation, you know, that is the start.
One thing I said earlier today, it`s like we just flicked the lock open. You know, it`s the beginning. It`s not the end all, be all, just like there`s no other legislation where it couldn`t be built upon, you know?
So, that handles something. Let me tell you, the qualified immunity it`s going to help with is going to be the thing that we really, really need. So, that`s the start. We`re going to start somewhere and get us something because you know what? This is the thing, Joy, it wasn`t fixed before we got here.
So to say, oh, this isn`t enough and that, I get it. But we`ve got to have something. And so, while I`m here, I`m putting my mouth and feet and my hands to that and to other legislation to make sure we save black lives. We want to save black lives in every single way we can. And we`re doing that now.
REID: Congresswoman Cori Bush, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for the work you do -- the advocacy, the passion. I really appreciate you taking time to be here with us tonight.
This is a big night and it is an important night.
BUSH: Yeah, thank you.
REID: So, thank you for spending some time. Really appreciate it.
That is -- that is tonight`s REIDOUT.
We have a lot more to talk about because this was an extraordinary situation that we just don`t see that often. And I thank all of you for riding with us through this show because this is not the normal show the way we would normally do THE REIDOUT.
But you just need to for a moment settle this in your spirit. Police officers do not get convicted, particularly of killing black folks. It just barely -- it doesn`t happen. I`ve been covering Black Lives Matter cases since 2011. I have not seen this number of police officers testify against other police officers. I have not seen this, you know, level of conviction. I mean you`re talking about second-degree murder, third-degree murder, manslaughter. It`s extraordinary.
And now, I guess we just have to see whether or not that brings change if we bring -- if that brings change that is lasting. That is our coverage at least in my hour tonight. I want to throw it over to my friend Chris Hayes.