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PoliticsNation, Thursday, December 19th, 2013

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December 19, 2013

Guests: Bobby Scott; Charlie Rangel, Goldie Taylor, Jimmy Williams, Gerald Thurswell, Faith Jenkins

REV. AL SHARPTON, POLITICS NATION HOST: Well, thank you and thank you to
the beautiful Wendy and the rest of her clan.

And thanks to you for tuning in. I`m live tonight from Chicago. Tonight`s
lead developing news, a major, major step toward justice. Today, President
Obama commuted the sentences of eight crack cocaine offenders, all
sentenced under severe mandatory minimum laws. The President said, "If
they had been sentenced under the current law, many of them would have
already served their time and paid their debts to society." This president
and Attorney General Holder have been committed to correcting the
injustices of our legal system.

President Obama talked about on the 50th anniversary of the March on


country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency. Ensuring
the scales of justice works equally for all and the criminal justice system
is not simply a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails. It
requires vigilance.


SHARPTON: Up until the president and Congress changed the law in 2011,
crack cocaine and powder cocaine were prosecuted completely differently.
Even though the drugs are essentially the same. Possession of five grams
of crack cocaine could give you a five-year mandatory sentence. You needed
to possess 500 grams of powder cocaine to get the same sentence. The
result? Gross disparities in sentencing.

In some states, black men are sent to federal prison on drug charges at a
rate 57 percent times greater than white men. And it`s that kind of
injustice that President Obama took to fix today.

Clarence Aaron was a 24-year-old first-time offender when he was arrest in
1993. He was connected to a drug deal in which he was neither the dealer,
supplier, or the buyer and he was sentenced to three life terms. Today,
after 20 years in jail, his sentence was commuted.

Stephanie George was a 26-year-old mother of three when she was arrested in
1996. She was found guilty of hiding her boyfriend`s stash of crack.
Because of mandatory minimum laws, she was sentenced to life. Today that
sentence was commuted.

This administration is dedicated to correcting these injustices. Earlier
this year, attorney general Eric Holder issued sweeping new guidelines to
help fix mandatory minimums.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today vicious cycle of poverty,
criminality, and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too
many communities. In many aspects of our criminal justice system, they
actually exacerbate these problems rather than alleviate them.


SHARPTON: Justice delayed, but not denied. There is so much more work to
be done in this area, but today the president took a powerful step forward.
It is good to see that the words the attorney general said in August,
there`s actual and tangible action, a breakthrough to move toward this,
many of us have been calling for this for years.

Joining me now are Congressman Bobby Scott, Democrat from Virginia, a
member of the Judiciary Committee and former governor Ed Rendell, Democrat
from Pennsylvania.

Thank you both for being here.

REP. BOBBY SCOTT (D), VIRGINIA: It`s good to be here.


SHARPTON: Congressman, what`s your reaction to the president`s move today?

SCOTT: Well, we`re delighted to see the action. These eight people were
sentenced to draconian penalties that would not have taken place had they
been sentenced under the new law that we passed just a couple years ago.
These draconian sentences should have been -- this should have been
retroactive when trying to pass new legislation to make it clear that the
new law is to be retroactive. But the president has shown through his
pardon powers that he can commute the sentences and make the new sentences
consistent with the new law.

The new law was passed because we found that the 100-1 disparity you
commented on is unjust, has no rational basis. And it is just a waste for
the taxpayers` money. That money could be much better spent on prevention
and early intervention rather than life in prison for girlfriends of drug
dealers. Or in the other case, people that weren`t even in the core of the
drug dealing. Just out on a tangent. And they`re getting sentenced
because the sentence is based on the total weight of the conspiracy. Not
just in what their particular part is.

Mandatory minimums does make no sense. They`ve been studied and everybody
knows it. And it`s a delight to see the president step forward and do
something about it. And just these few cases, thousands of others
similarly situated. We have to deal with them too.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it. There are thousands of others.

And this, Governor Rendell, is a question of fairness. Something that you
as a chief executive in the state of Pennsylvania know a lot about. You
know, another person giving an example before you comment on the fairness
part of this, another person sentenced who was commuted today was Reynolds
Winter Smith, 17-years-old at the time of arrest. Recruited by adults.
His first conviction he was sentenced to life in prison. Life in prison
for a non-violent drug offense. His first. Even the judge in this case,
Governor, criticized the mandatory laws that required this sentence.

RENDELL: Well, there`s no question you`re right. And I speak not only as
a governor but as a district attorney. I was assistant D.A. for seven
years and district attorney for eight.

Mandatory sentences work in a very limited area and should be used for
crimes like crimes with guns that are discharged, things like that. But in
this case, it creates manifest unfairness. And your job should be in the
president`s time to correct unfairness.

I pardoned a number of life sentences in felony murder cases where the
person I pardoned wasn`t the person who actually shot the gun that killed
the victim. And the shooter had gotten off, gone to trial, was found
guilty of second degree murder and gotten eight or nine years in prison.
And the lifer before me had spent 33, 36, 38 years in prison. Well,
obviously that`s not fair and that`s not right and it`s not just. Our
justice system works only if it applies justice equally.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, if you look at the fact that the president
himself has a personal empathy for those in the criminal justice system.
Here`s what he said in a speech at Morehouse college back in May.


OBAMA: The special obligation I felt as a black man like you to help those
who need it most, people who didn`t have the opportunities that I had,
because there but for the grace of God go on, I might have been in their
shoes, I might have been in prison, I might have been unemployed, I might
not have been able to support a family and that is motivates me.


SHARPTON: Congressman, there is a racial aspect to this even with the
mandatory sentencing laws. When we look at the fact that there is evidence
that 19.5 percent, there are longer sentences for black men than white men.
This is according to the U.S. sentencing commission. There is a clear race
aspect to this. It`s unfair for anyone, but is even more egregious when
you bring in the studied racial dynamics even by the United States
sentencing commission.

SCOTT: Well, we found in crack and powder, that crack defendants tend to
be African-American. And in my district of Virginia at one point all of
the defendants were African-American. And so it has the racial impact. If
it`s a serious crime and you need a serious penalty, the judge knows what
to do. If it is a not as serious and the sentence is not warranted,
mandatory minimums make you impose it anyway. Even if it violates common
sense. And that`s why we have to get rid of all the mandatory minimums.

We have legislation pending to do just that. And hopefully it`ll pass.
There is other legislation that will reduce the impact of mandatory
minimums. And we could at least start off with those bills.

A Pew research center says we locked up so many people that the
incarceration rate is so high that it actually adds to crime. It is above
the level of which you get any criminal justice benefit. And so, we need
to deal with the fact that the mandatory minimums make no sense. They`ve
been studied and we have to get rid of them.

SHARPTON: Governor, you know, this is a very, very serious move toward
reforming the criminal justice system by this president, this
administration. And even some Republicans have come on board saying that
we must be stern about fighting crime, but we must be fair. And non-
violent offenses should not be taking up this kind of space in the criminal
justice system particularly when you`re dealing with first time offenders
that are non-violent. Some of them didn`t even consulate a deal. None of
us are sort on drugs, but these are glaring in being unfair.

RENDELL: Yes. I think that is a very important point to remember. A,
we`re talking about non-violent offenders that don`t have significant
criminal records and B, we`re not talking about people who are harden drug
dealers who make four or five to 600,000 a year by dealing drug or many

We`re not talking about major distributors. The president would never
pardon anybody who fell in that. And we`ve got to save our prison space
for the most hardened violent criminals who are threat to society.

So, this is a step in the right direction. There`s no question. Any time
you level out the system and make it more fair, it`s a step in the right
direction. And the president is to be commended, but nobody should think
that President Obama is in any way, shape, or form condoning real hardened
drug dealing.

SHARPTON: Congressman Bobby Scott and governor Ed Rendell, thank you both
for your time tonight.

SCOTT: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the duck dynasty star suspended after anti-gay and
racially charged remarks.

But right wing is out in force defending him. What does it say about the
Republican brand?

And how desperate are they getting? They`re now attacking this man in
pajamas to slam Obamacare.

Plus, first lady Michelle Obama gets personal on my radio show on what
Obamacare is really about.


just, you know, I just can`t put into words how important it is for every
American, for every mother, for every person in this country to have health


SHARPTON: And the Revvies are coming. We want to hear from you. Stay
with us.


SHARPTON: It`s that time of year again. The Revvies are back. Your
political -- your favorite political awards show, I should say. Is coming
soon. And we want you to help us figure out who gets a Revy. The voting
is open right now. And it will close when the show ends tonight. So make
sure you cast your votes now. Head to our facebook page to help us decide
who gets a Revvie this year.


SHARPTON: Looks like the right wing`s found their new bogeyman. This guy,
Pajama guy. President Obama tweeted out this picture writing, how do you
plan to spend the cold days of December. Wearing pajamas, drink hot
chocolate, talk about getting health insurance. Pretty harmless, right?
Well, not to some.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another I can`t wait for the big photo shoot said
pajama boy cupping his hot cocoa. This will be my big modeling career

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definition of the adult child here and the adult
child look at the Obama administration.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now the American male is a two handed hot chocolate
swelling man child with footed pajamas. I mean, if that is the message
that the administration is trying to portray, right? And I actually think
it`s despicable.


SHARPTON: It`s only an ad, people. Pajama guy is just playing a role.
But what they really hate is what the ad is all about, getting health
insurance. And behind the joke is something serious. They want to repeal
a law that`s helping real people.

Today, the White House says the law is working. In Mississippi nearly
27,000 seniors there save an average of $679 on prescriptions. In Arizona
69,000 young adults gained insurance by staying on their parents` plans.
And in Virginia, more than three million people with pre-existing
conditions no longer have to worry about losing coverage.

Real lives are better because of the health care law. That`s the point the
first lady drove home when we interviewed her on my radio show. She met
with a group of mothers and heard personal stories.


M. OBAMA: There was one mother who said she cried herself to sleep every
night because her son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in his early
20s and she didn`t know how to pay for it. So she was praying every night
that the act wouldn`t be repealed, you know. So, that`s the kind of
personal, you know, story that`s often missed in that back and forth that
turns this issue which is a pretty plain and simple issue, Reverend Al.
This is about getting people health care, who, didn`t have it and can`t
afford it. And now we have Obamacare and it is affordable. Most people
can get a plan for as little as $100 a month. They can be insured. They
can go to a doctor on a regular basis. And when they get sick, they won`t
go bankrupt. It`s as simple as that. But health care is so confusing to
most people that it`s easy to confuse the situation.


SHARPTON: The GOP can mock an ad all they want. The real joke is the
people who are still pushing for repeal.

Joining me now is Congressman Charlie Rangel, Democrat of New York.

Thanks for being here, Congressman.


SHARPTON: You see what would happen to people if this law would repealed.
Yet Republican leaders are still attacking and pundits are mocking ads.
What is this all about, Congressman?

RANGEL: I will tell you one thing. I think there is going to be a change.
It is true a handful of people don`t care about the Republican party, the
Congress, or the country. And Speaker Boehner has been yielding to them on
every initiative that the president`s had and refusing to bring a bill on
the floor so that Republicans can vote their conscience.

But I think he`s fed up with it. I think the American people have said
enough is enough. We jeopardize the fiscal economy in terms of integrity.
We have 30, 40 million people without health insurance. And the thing this
president is doing and wants to do more in terms of education, immigration
and making certain that the criminal justice system has justice included in

So I am fired up as I was when he first started. And he is moving forward
with executive power. And I am confident the Wall Street boys who want to
protect their interests, they see the disparity we have in America.
America cannot succeed without a middle class that has hope and ability to
live in this great nation of ours.

SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, when I spoke to the first lady about the
health care law on my radio show, she said it was personal for her. And
she talked about how there was a time her daughter, Sasha, had gotten very
sick as a baby. Listen to this.


M. OBAMA: So when I described the symptoms, you know, the fact she had a
slight fever but she seemed to be in pain in a way I had never seen as a
baby, he said get her to the emergency room. I don`t like the sounds of
it. Just go. Do not pass go, just get to the emergency room and as it
turned out, she had meningitis. And they had to do a spinal tap.

She turned out obviously, as the story ends, she is fine. She`s healthy.
She`s a beautiful young lady. But if we hadn`t had insurance and access to
a pediatrician and access to a hospital where we didn`t have to worry about
the cost of care, if we had waited overnight, if we had postponed acting,
there`s no telling what the outcome would have been.

And that`s why for me as a mother, I am just, you know, I just can`t put
into words how important it is for every American, for every mother, for
every person in this country to have health care.


SHARPTON: Health care is a personal issue for the first lady. Is that the
way most people see it, Congressman?

RANGEL: You can`t believe how many people come into my office that didn`t
have health care or they did have it and the insurance company decided that
they had a pre-condition so therefore they got cut off their policy. They
go to the hospital and they`re there for a length of time and they would
say that you have an annual cap on what you want or they would say that the
hospital is costing too much and they can`t pay for it.

And so, there`s everybody knows somebody that`s either going into
bankruptcy because of a serious illness or they couldn`t get insurance in
the first place. And so, I would be hoping as the first lady can talk
about her experience, how many priests, ministers, and rabbis have seen in
their congregation people who suffer because the insurance company hasn`t
worked with them or they couldn`t get insurance.

Having a lady like the first lady remind people of their own families even
when you`re the first lady of the country is going to create an atmosphere
for more people to understand this is not a Democratic/Republican issue.
It`s a human issue and it`s the guts of the United States of America.

And I might add what the president did to remind people that justice means
that people who should not be in jail should get politicians on the state
level the political courage to do what is right and not be afraid of doing
the right thing is going to cause them to be called soft on crime. This is
just justice. It is not political. It is the right thing to do.

SHARPTON: Now, let me, while I have you, switch gears a little from health

I`m in Chicago today, but I understand that today in New York you indicated
that you`re going to run for re-election to Congress from Harlem. Now,
there`s already two people that have said that they are possibly and
probably going to run -- Senator Adriana Espaillat who represents a part of
the district and ran last time and a popular young minister, Reverend
Michael Walrond, who you know has worked with me in the last election that
work with full disclosure and pastor in one of the fastest growing
churches. And who said that like you, they respect a lot of what you`ve
done. But like you ran and defeated clay, they feel it`s time for new and
young change in leadership. How do you respond to that?

RANGEL: I don`t respond to them because I think in this great democracy of
ours that people can ascertain what contribution they want to make to
society, to the community. And really, it`s the community`s response to
their political ambition.

But quite frankly, there`s so much that has to be done in the Obama
administration. And I would like to believe that having been down there
for four decades that I can make a contribution so all of our dreams and
aspirations that he started off wanting to do that I can be part of that as
I conclude my congressional contribution to my district and this country.

And so, there are a lot of people that said they wanted to run, but most of
them came and said, hey, Rangel if you can run one more time, give us an
opportunity to know the diversity of the district. And for God`s sake if
you`re not going to run again, give us the chance to raise the funds that
get the diversity together. Because the last thing that we need is one
class running against another class because of differences.

We happen to have a problem in my congressional districts between all parts
of it in over 40 years. I don`t think we`re going to have it now. We all
should come together and do what`s best for our community.

SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have to leave it there, Congressman
Rangel. We`ll talk about it when I get home. Thanks for your time

RANGEL: Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a major development in the Renisha McBride case. She was
unarmed and shot dead. Tonight her family is a step close tore answers.

But first, this "Duck Dynast Dynasty" star was suspended from his TV show
after making anti-gay and racially charges comments. But today
conservatives are rushing to his defense. They`re supporting him in a big
way and it reveals the big problem for a pay trying to rebrand.


SHARPTON: It`s time for another "Politics Nation" pop quiz.

What do these people have in common? Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Louisiana
Governor Bobby Jindal, Radio talks show host Rush Limbaugh and FOX News
host Sean Hannity? The question tonight, what do they all have in common?
Here`s a hint. It has to do with reality TV, ducks, and bigotry. The
answer is next.


SHARPTON: The GOP`s got a "Duck Dynasty" problem, and they`re not likely
to be happy, happy, happy. "Duck Dynasty" TV show star Phil Robertson has
been suspended from the show after anti-gay statements in an interview with
"GQ" magazine. "GQ" asked what he considered sinful. He said, quote,
"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality,
sleeping around. Don`t deceive yourself. It`s not right." He also said
some other things about gays too vulgar to repeat on television. The A&E
Network decided they didn`t want those views on their air.

But some on the right thinks he`s a hero. Senator Ted Cruz says, quote,
"If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply
dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson." Governor Bobby Jindal
says, "Robertson is just misunderstood."


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Phil is a friend of mine. And I think
that he`s a man of faith. It may not have come across in this particular
quote. But I think he`s a man with love in his heart that believes in
treating people with respect and equality.


SHARPTON: And (ph) is accusing Hollywood of a war on
Christians. A view echoed on FOX News.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I saw in the religious prism here, you
said, you know, he talks about different sins. Slanders, drunkers,
swindlers, they won`t inherit the kingdom of God. Catholics and Christians
believe that premarital sex, extramarital sex and they also believe the
homosexuality sex is a sin. Well, that`s their religious belief.


SHARPTON: Excuse me? That`s not what all Christians believe. And it`s
time for conservatives to stop using religion to justify mean spirited

Joining me now are Goldie Taylor and Jimmy Williams. Thank you both for
your time tonight.



SHARPTON: Goldie, let me rush to you. These right wingers really want
homophobia and "Duck Dynasty" to be the new face of the GOP?

TAYLOR: I think it`s quite interesting that, you know, we are claiming or
they are claiming that religious liberty is at stake in terms of, say,
affording the woman a right to get birth control pills through her health
insurance with her corporate employer, but at the same time A&E does not
have the moral authority to decide what`s right for their brand. And so I
think there`s a bit of hypocrisy going on here. But in the words of Gomer
Pyle, surprise, surprise, surprise. They are really going to use this,
really to their own benefit in terms of drum up their bases.

The unfortunate thing about all of this is we are trumpeting this as a
first amendment issue when it couldn`t be anything further from that. You
know, no one has a constitutional right to a reality show or a paycheck or
anything else. Free speech is when you get out on the street corner and
you can say something without consequence or without losing -- without
government condemnation. And that`s not what`s at play here. This is a
private enterprise doing what they believe is best for them.

SHARPTON: Now, Jimmy, Rush Limbaugh says that nothing that this "Duck
Dynasty" guy is that he is the one that is being discriminated against.
Listen to this.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Who is being discriminated against
here except Phil Robertson? Who just lost a job? Because of his religious
beliefs. Phil Robertson. Nothing happened to anybody at glad. Nothing
happened to any gay people or homosexual people. Nothing happened to them.


SHARPTON: Nothing happened to people except being vilified in the pages of
a national magazine by the country`s top reality star -- Jimmy.

WILLIAMS: So, the problem I have with this is, "a," he does have the right
to say what he said. And "b," the consequences, he has the right to those
as well. Take a 13-year-old kid in Louisiana or Mississippi or Alabama or
Michigan who`s questioning their sexual orientation. Right now as we
speak. They hear that and what do you think they`re going to do? Do you
think they`re going to come running out of the closet and tell their
parents and have to guts to say to their parents, well, guess, I am gay?
Or they`re going to keep it down and keep it quiet? That`s a bigger
problem with what this guy`s done. He has the right to say what he said.
He has the right to use his religion as the backbone of that as I have the
right to use my Christianity to say that I think that`s hateful and it`s

But he doesn`t have the right as Goldie said to earn a paycheck to spew
hate like Rush Limbaugh. I don`t like punching down. I think punching
down when someone is below you like that is simply not, that`s beneath you.
I don`t think that`s worth it. But what I will say is this. I duck hunt.
And if Mr. Robertson would like to go duck hunting with this sissy, I`m
happy to bring my shotgun out of Louisiana and sit in a duck blind with him
and go duck hunt with him. And I guarantee you I`ll shoot just as many
ducks as he will and I`m gay.

SHARPTON: We`ll film it if you let us.

TAYLOR: I`m coming.


SHARPTON: Let me raise another question, Goldie, before you go off on the
duck hunting with these two. The "Duck Dynasty" star also raised many
eyebrows with what he said about race. Growing up in Louisiana in the Jim
Crow era. And quote -- this is what he said -- "I never with my eyes saw
the mistreatment of any black person. I hoed cotton with them. I`m with
the blacks, because we`re white trash. We`re going across the field.
They`re singing and happy. Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say. Were
they happy? They were godly. They were happy." And went on to talk about
happier under Jim Crow. And again, the argument is not his right to say
it. The argument is that as you say working for a private enterprise, if
you say it, they have the right to say this can`t represent that

TAYLOR: Well, that`s exactly right. You know, we as viewers and I happen
to have been a viewer of "Duck Dynasty" up until now. And the idea that
Phil or Si or any of the others on the show may hold views like this is not
a surprise to me. I think I watch it because I want to see another part of
our culture. Another segment of our society and understand how they live,
work, and play. And quite frankly I saw a few things on the show, you
know, that identified with one of the people on the show their son brought
back a car that was empty of its tank of gas. My kids have done that to
me. And so, there were some things that I could identify with. And there
were things that I certainly could not identify with. And this is really
one of those things.

You know, certainly this is a mischaracterization of history. This is
mischaracterization of how those people he lived and worked with actually
dealt with their oppression and we did that often through song. We often
used uplifting spirituals to keep ourselves in a good state of mine, you
know, while we worked under oppressive models like Jim Crow. And so, I
think he really mistook this joy for really what it was. It was singing
the blues. And so, maybe he enjoyed the music, but the person who was
singing it was likely feeling, you know, the very rigors of a cast of
society that did not provide economic mobility for them or for their

SHARPTON: Well, I think it`s important again we underscore that he has a
right to say whatever. Many of us -- I`ve said things that I`ve regretted
-- but I think when you say it as you grow and you say it as you represent
other things, you`ve got to be willing to pay a price for it if you`re
dealing with other people that you`re representing. And I think that that
is something that the GOP is going to have to deal with their branding if
their representatives and spokes people think this is all right.

Jimmy, see you on the duck hunt. Goldie Taylor, thank you very much.
Thank you both for your time.


TAYLOR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the first lady`s annual tradition of helping the
marines with their toys for tots program.

But first, this 19-year-old was shot debt at point blank range. Today a
major development in that case. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Today major developments in a shooting case that`s been compared
to the Trayvon Martin case. A judge has ruled Theodore Wafer will stand
trial for second degree murder. The last month shooting death of 19-year-
old Renisha McBride. The news comes after more than a day of riveting
testimony about what went on that night. On November 2nd, McBride crashed
her car into a parked vehicle around 1:00 a.m. Eyewitnesses remembers
hearing a boom and immediately called 911.

In court, that witness re-enacted McBride`s actions that night. She saw
the young woman walking away looking like she was hurt and holding her head
in hands. McBride later returned to the scene at which point that same
witness approached her.


wanted to go home. And I said I wanted to try to get her home, you know,
safely. And then at that point I saw a blood on her hands. So then at
that point, I said, you know, you are hurt. So let me try to call -- I
asked her did she know the phone number of anyone that I could call so that
I could let them know that she had been in an accident and inform them of
where she was so that someone would know where she was. I know at that
point no one knew she had been in an accident.


SHARPTON: The witness said that McBride appeared drunk and that she told
McBride to stay in her car while she dialed 911. But she wandered off.
And about three hours later, she reached the home of Theodore Wafer, about
a half a mile away. Her family believes she was knocking on his door for
help. But Wafer says he thought she was trying to break in. And he shot
her out of fear for his life. One witness said McBride was less than two
feet away when the defendant pulled the trigger. Today the judge argued
Wafer couldn`t use a bad choice defense to shield himself from prosecution.


the door with a shotgun. His first thought was to bring the gun, not call
for help, or not answer the door. It suggests to this court defendant made
a bad choice when -- when there were other reasonable opportunities that
were available to the defendant at the time. McBride`s family is simply
looking for answers. And today they`re one step closer to getting them.
No matter which way this trial plays out.

Joining me now is Gerald Thurswell, the attorney for Renisha McBride`s
family. Thank you for being here.


SHARPTON: This case will go to trial. Are you confident in this case,

THURSWELL: Absolutely. The testimony that was elicited was very
interesting, Wafer`s shotgun wasn`t a normal shotgun that we usually see.
It did not have a stock on it, it had a pistol grip. So, it`s not the kind
of a gun that one uses for recreation for sport. There`s no sight on it.
So it`s just a pistol and you just shoot and you kill whatever`s in front
of you. You hit whatever is in front of you. It splatters. The testimony
today and yesterday revealed that he had several pieces of literature in
his home from the NRA. So he knew about guns.

And I think the judge -- in order to bind him over for trial, the court had
to determine that there was evidence to show that he intentionally pulled
the trigger and killed her. And I think the judge listed some of the
intentional acts when he heard the knock on the door, he could have just
ignored it. And the judge said he could have just ignored the knock.


THURSWELL: He could have called 911. But he intentionally went, got his
shotgun out of its case, went to the door. When he opened the door and he
saw that she was there, unarmed with no weapon, nothing that could cause
him to be in fear of his life, he decided instead of just closing the door
and walking away, he decided to intentionally pull the safety off the gun
and then intentionally pull the trigger. There was some -- I`m sorry, go

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this. Because Attorney Thurswell, the defense
argued that Mr. Wafer assumed that people were trying to break in his
house. Listen to this.


CHERYL CARPENTER, WARNER`S ATTORNEY: You don`t know how many people are
out there, what`s happening. And you conferred that, your honor, because
we heard the evidence. You can say there`s banging on the side. There is
violent banging to break the screen on the front door. We have a man alone
in his home.


SHARPTON: Now, no one else said that she was acting belligerent that
night. But he said he was threatened by her.

THURSWELL: That`s very interesting, because there were several people who
saw her at the scene of the accident and then shortly after that. And
everybody said that she was calm, she was quiet, she exhibited no
aggressive activity. Nothing aggressive. Calm, quiet, soft spoken. That
was the testimony of every person who saw her at the accident scene and
then after the accident scene.

SHARPTON: Well, we`ll be following this case -- we`ll be following this
very closely. Gerald Thurswell, thank you for your time tonight.

THURSWELL: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Joining me now is former Prosecutor Faith Jenkins. Faith, what
are the key arguments we should expect from the prosecution in this trial?

FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, based on what we`ve heard over the
last two days from preliminary hearing, I think that Mr. Wafer is going to
put forth some sort of self defense claim, it`s not going to be that he
just shot Renisha accidentally, I think he`s going to be some sort of
justified legal defense. And so the prosecutors are then going to have to
disprove that he acted in self-defense. They are going to do that by
examining his actions and arguing to a jury that he simply did not act
reasonably when he shot and killed Renisha.

SHARPTON: Now, when he said that he did a way for the defendant says, that
he was dealing with his gun that accidentally went off, but yesterday a
firearms expert testified otherwise. Listen to this, Faith.



thing that I did as a part of that testing is what we call a six plain
safety check. That six plain safety check is done on the firearm to see if
there is anything that could be done to make that trigger -- or make the
firing mechanism operate without pulling the trigger. And the way that
test is done is with a small hammer. I tap on the six plains of the
firearm, the top, the bottom, the back, the front and both sides.

PROSECUTOR: Were you able to get that weapon to fire?

KOLONICH: I could not get that weapon to fire.


SHARPTON: So the expert is saying that the accident -- he kind of shot
holes through that. So then, what does Wafer have now to deal with if he
can`t say it was an accident, does he have to prove the threat?

JENKINS: I don`t think that he`ll be able to convincingly show that this
was an accident based on the kind of gun that he used and based on that
expert testimony. I think the defense knows that now. So going forward,
again, the prosecutors are going to have to show that he was unreasonable
in his actions. How are they going to do that? I think it`s reasonable
that if a person is knocking on your door at 4:30 in the morning and you`re
home by yourself you might be scared.

But then look at the actions that he took. Instead of calling 911, he
chose to make the decision to open his door. He then shot the gun through
a closed and locked screen door. He didn`t call 911 until after he shot
the gun. And then as the prosecutors have said, there`s no evidence of a
break in. You`re going to have other witnesses testify about this car
accident and they`re going to argue there was an accident, of course she
wasn`t breaking in his home, she was looking for help.

SHARPTON: Now, is stand your ground a part of this in any way?

JENKINS: Well, every state has a version of the castle doctrine. And that
means, you do not have a duty to retreat when you`re in your home. And
he`s going to argue here, obviously he was in his home and there was no
duty to retreat. Michigan does have stand your ground laws. There`s no
duty to retreat whether you`re in or outside of your home. But here he was
inside of his home. So it`s going to be a version of the castle doctrine
that will be implemented in the trial.

SHARPTON: How will they try to deal with the fact that she was supposedly
had an alcohol level that was high? How are they going to try to deal with
that and how does the prosecution deal with that?

JENKINS: The defense is going to use that to say her extreme drunkenness
posed a higher threat. The defense is going to focus very much so on
Renisha McBride in her actions that night. That she was no angel. This
was a teenager who was drinking, had marijuana in her system. She was
driving and had an accident.

SHARPTON: How does the prosecution -- quickly, how do they deal with it?

JENKINS: They`re going to argue that just because those things happened,
that did not -- that doesn`t mean that she deserved the death penalty.

SHARPTON: All right.

JENKINS: A teenager drinking and driving is not an excuse for lethal and
deadly force.

SHARPTON: Faith Jenkins, thank you for your time this evening.

JENKINS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, fighting to reduce gun violence in Chicago. It`s why
I`m here. And tonight some good news to report.


SHARPTON: Cities like Chicago are making big steps in the fight against
gun violence. And there is some positive news tonight to report. That`s


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, I`m back in Chicago where we`re working to
reduce the epidemic of gun violence. I`ll be hosting a town hall meeting
here in Chicago tonight at Hyde Park Academy in just a few minutes. I hope
to see you there. It is important as we see the numbers of gun violence
and shootings that have gone down in Chicago. But why have they gone down?

In many ways because people in the communities, a different type of
ideologies refuse to run but began to dig in and initiated programs and
confronted things to help the city deal with this. What are the solutions?
How do they do it? And still too high, how do we bring permanent solutions
and use that as a national model? One death, one shooting is one too many.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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