PoliticsNation, Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
April 29, 2014
Guest: Sherrod Brown, Maria Teresa Kumar, Faith Jenkins, Carmen St.
George, Dave Zirin; Eddie Johnson, Emanuel Cleaver, Paula Madison
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: Thank you so much.
REP. LEE TERRY, NEBRASKA: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: That`s "the Ed Show." I`m Ed Schultz. "Politics Nation" with
Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.
Good evening, Rev.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, breaking news. A majority of NBA players have now gone On
the Record supporting the league`s tough stand against L.A. Clippers owner
Donald Sterling. The support is coming in fast and furious backing the NBA
commissioner`s decision to ban Sterling from the league for life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: Effective immediately, I am banning Mr.
Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or
the NBA. Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may
not be present at any Clippers facility, and he may not participate in any
business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He will also be
barred from attending NBA board of governors meetings or participating in
any other league activity. I am also fining Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the
maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution.
As for Mr. Sterling`s ownership interest in the Clipper, I will urge the
board of governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team
and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Again, the majority of the teams have now come out in support of
this hard stand. The commissioner also forcefully and emotionally
denounced Sterling`s remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SILVER: The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and
harmful. I am personally distraught that the view expressed by Mr.
Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a
leadership role in manners of race relations. And coach current and former
players, coaches, fans and partners of the NBA to question their very
association with the league. To them and pioneers of the game like Earl
Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Sweet Water Clipton, the great Bill Russell and
particularly Magic Johnson, I apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Reaction and praise of the commissioner continues to pour in
from all corners of the league. The Los Angeles Clippers own Web site had
this headline, we are one. NBA great Magic Johnson tweeted, commissioner
Silver showed great leadership in banning L.A. Clippers owner Donald
Sterling for life.
And fellow hall of famer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREEM ABDUL JABBAR, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I`m just thrilled with what
commissioner Silver did. He got on the case immediately, and his actions
and focus were so on the mark, it was unbelievable. You should have heard
us in there when we were listening to the press conference. So we all
started clapping because he handled it the right way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: To force Sterling to sell his team, the commissioner has to get
the support of three-quarters of the owners. That`s 23 teams. And our
tally indicates that he appears to have already met that threshold with 25
time teams voicing support for his move today.
The owner of the New York Nicks said quote "We had the league of the stand
together in condemning this ignorance."
The owner of the Heat says great job, Adam. You have my full support.
The Lakers president said, the commissioner, quote, "showed great
leadership in his condemnation of the horrible and offensive comments."
The owner of the Chicago bulls said, we will support his recommendations to
press for Mr. Sterling to relinquish his ownership.
And what about Donald Sterling himself? There`s been no official response
from him yet. But we do know he won`t be watching his Clippers home
playoff game tonight. His seat at the staples center will be empty.
Joining me now are Eddie Johnson, a former NBA player, now announcer for
the Phoenix Suns, Paula Madison, former CEO of the WNBA`s Los Angeles
Sparks, and Dave Zirin, sports editor for "the Nation" and host of Sirius
XM "edge of sports."
Thanks for being here tonight.
Paula Madison, this is was strong decision by the commissioner. What`s
PAULA MADISON, FORMER CEO, LOS ANGELES SPARKS: Well, I`m really happy to
see that`s what Adam who I know by my role as a former member of the wNBA
board of governors, I`m really glad to see that Adam did take decisive
action. He went as far as the NBA constitution allows him to go. And I
think -- I have been saying for the past couple of days that Adam is very
measured and he s very deliberate. And because he is, I think he reached
the exact right conclusion. I`m certain that there were conversations
going on behind the scenes among all of the owner who, b the way, probably
don`t stand and awful lot of time conversing with each other except around
So to hear that 25 of the 30 of them have already indicated that they are
going to vote in the way that Adam is suggesting, I think is a really great
day for the NBA and especially for the African-American male players and
the other players who supported them. Because that semblance of the
plantation is now ended.
SHARPTON: Eddie, your reaction. Are you surprised?
EDDIE JOHNSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: No, I wasn`t surprised. I felt all
along that Adam Silver had to come down extremely hard. I didn`t think
anyway that he could own a basketball team? How could he? I mean, and the
sponsors had been speaking on a consistent basis. The players had it be
known. And the NBA had to be react. Then I don`t know of the players who
wants them to react.
Reverend, I just think Adam Silver, right now, new on the job, not really
looking forward to have on this on his play. He stepped to the microphone
and handled his business. He really did. And that was as swift as you
could do it. It didn`t leave any openings for anyone to think anything
else other than the fact that Mr. Sterling will not be an owner for the
L.A. Clippers going forward.
SHARPTON: David Zirin, you`ve been pushing hard on this. I`ve been at
this since Saturday with mass action network and on the civil rights who
were pushing hard. Did you get what you wanted?
DAVE ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, THE NATION: No, there are still some
outstanding questions that need to be answer. And we should not stop
pushing until all of those questions are answered. The first question is
why wasn`t Donald Sterling cuddled by the NBA ownership fraternity for so
many years? Why wasn`t he shown the door when he had to pay out the
largest racial discrimination suit in the history of the justice department
and the fair housing act. Why wasn`t that the time when he was pushed out.
And why was he coddled for so long. Adam Silver largely deflected those
The second issue is who gets the team when they rested it from Donald
Sterling? It was intimated today that it could possibly stay in the
Sterling family. That means Donald Sterling`s wife, Rachel Sterling, who
give you the court transcripts was up to her neck in a lot of the same
racist practices regarding the slams that Donald Sterling operated.
And I have to say, I was very disappointed in Kevin Johnson`s press
conference today, the response press conference. Because Kevin Johnson,
who is both a mayor and the union leader in this context said over the
weekend that he would be pushing hard to find out why, over the course of
30 years, Donald Sterling had been so sheltered.
SHARPTON: Well, I think that`s a legitimate question. I talks to Adam
Silver before the show. I called him with the civil rights leaders. We
talked. We had a good conversation. He has agreed to meet with us. And I
think these are the questions that need to be pressed.
But let me go back today`s news because I think what he did was bold. And
I think what he did was appropriate.
Let me say this, Paula. When we talk about him banned for life from the
NBA, here`s what that means. He can`t attend any NBA games. He can`t
participate in business or personal decisions. He`s barred from the NBA
board of governors meeting that the owner -- that`s the owners meeting.
And in fact, he is barred from all league`s activities. That`s seems
pretty thorough across the board and more than what some people would tell
them all the weekend when we were getting into this.
MADISON: Well, yes. I mean, all those are very true. And I think all of
those are momentous. However, if he`s banned and if he is forced to sell,
this is a man who spent under $20 for the team and if the team is sold
today, the purchase price that I`ve read ranges anywhere from half a
billion to almost a billion dollars.
SHARPTON: He`ll make a huge sum of money.
MADISON: He`ll make a huge sum of money. He`s 80 years old, or 81 years
old. And this is the first I heard there`s a consideration that it might
remain in his family. If that`s the case, I absolutely agree. You should
read the transcript of that housing discrimination suit. His wife was
right in then. So, if the league would, in any way, consider turning it
over to her, it`s very likely it seems to me that the same concerns and the
same complaints remain. It should be --
SHARPTON: Let me say this. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he has the
owners support even though he hasn`t talk to all of them. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SILVER: I didn`t call the owners. I spoke to several owners and I have
their full support.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: If you don`t get the three-quarters you need,
is it possible that Donald Sterling could can still be an absentee owner
profiting from this team even though he is banned physically from doing
anything with it?
SILVER: I fully suspect to get the support I need from the other NBA
owners to remove him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, on the screen, you can see a running tally. Within just
four hours of today`s announcement, 25 NBA team expressed their support for
the commissioner`s ruling. So Eddie, do you feel that the NBA move to
force the sale and that we make sure that it does not a goal; today
(INAUDIBLE) others concern, the white or someone that is basically
returning it to the same family.
JOHNSON: Yes, I would be totally surprised if it stayed within the family
because, you know, the players union is still very strong. I mean, it has
increased in numbers. Representation is up. Guys are more active and
understanding that there is basketball. And that`s because of last
collective bargaining agreement.
So, I don`t think that would fly and I don`t think the NBA would go that
route. I think they feel like they have to separate themselves from the
Sterling family as a whole and bring in new ownership.
Now, who would that owner be, we have no idea. We heard plenty of names
obviously bandied around, especially Magic Johnson, which would I think
would be a tremendous owner in that situation. But I think they`re going
to go totally away from the Sterling family. I just can`t see any how,
other than legal ramification will somehow, someway, they can hang on to a
piece of ownership. But it won`t fly. It won`t fly with you, the media,
it won`t fly with the players. I think the NBA is going separate
themselves totally from the Sterling family and go forward.
SHARPTON: David, I think that one of the things I note, and again, I am
going to be watching this and follow this up and stand on this even from a
civil rights point of view and other leaders. But I must say, I was
involved at the forefront of Marge Schott that the swiftness of this and
the unequivocal nature of him saying we`re going to sell is a whole lot
different than before that made just worsen it.
ZIRIN: Well, it is interesting. It`s like the title of Michelle
Alexander`s book, the new Jim Crow race in a coast racial in a color blind
society. There still is racism on our society from top to bottom. But the
greatest crime you can commit is being impolite with your racism, with
expressing it. And that`s what this is really about. I`ll talk about
housing until the cows come home, but this is about him being caught on
audio tape being racist. That`s what makes this so different than previous
SHARPTON: Well, I think that`s true, Paula. But I also think that the
reaction, the swiftness, and the universal reaction and we will talk about
that later from players and all is different. As some might has been on
the frontline a long time, we did not see players, we did not see
celebrities, we did not see a lot of people join the rights. When I
stepped to this Saturday, I did not feel that Monday, we have all of that.
And I think that that is all that was added to this, but again, you can`t
go to sleep on it. You must follow it every step of the way.
MADISON: Well, I think that one of the things that we are seeing here
disco around as was expressed a moment ago, I think the players today are
forced to reckoned with. We saw what the Clippers themselves did on the
court. There were supported by the Miami heat. If this wasn`t resolve
swiftly, it is very likely that you would have seen these kinds of
protests, I think, spread to the other teams. And that would ultimately
have made for all the owners of the NBA owners, a real sticky situation
because if it got any bigger than it was, just for the Clippers. Now you
are talking man, many, many more advertisers.
And Reverend, you remember -- you absolutely do remember when Don Imus said
what he said about the Rutgers basketball team in 2007. And what people
understood was social media played a role, journalists played a role, the
media played a role. But also behind the scenes what a lot of people don`t
know is advertisers were bringing great pressure to bear.
SHARPTON: Like I said last night, we called on the advisers. I`ve been to
this rodeo before. Maybe we know how to raid the horse. That`s what I can
say to horse didn`t throw us yet. This was a big day.
Eddie Johnson, Paula Madison, and Dave Zirin, thank you for your time
Coming up, how do you make sure this kind of ugliness never happens again?
What the NBA and other pro sports need to do to stop bigotry in its tracks.
Also, how Lebron James and some of the league`s biggest stars are
responding to the news.
And what the NBA`s bold statement today says about race in America and our
progress towards justice.
Big show tonight. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Today, some of the biggest stars reacted on twitter to Donald
Sterling`s lifetime ban.
Lebron James tweeted commissioner Silver, thank you for protecting our
beautiful and powerful league. Great leader.
Jason Collins wrote, commissioner of the NBA just showed us how he dropped
the hammer on ignorance.
And Stephen Curry said, standing ovation for commissioner Silver. Big time
decision. Standing up for the league and his players. Now got to see it
He`s right. Next, we`ll discuss how to make sure this never happens again.
SHARPTON: The fallout from Donald Sterling`s racist remarks have been
swift and decisive. But even though he`s been banned for life. Former NBA
great Kevin Johnson says the controversy shows we still have a long way to
go as a country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR KEVIN JOHNSON, SACRAMENTO: This is a very stark reminder that we
still have a lot of work to do. Yes, we have an African-American
president. Yes, justice happened in a swift manner and forceful. Yes,
that occurred today. But these events remind all of us that hatred and
bigotry are far from over. I hope that every bigot in this country sees
what happened to Mr. Sterling and recognizes that if he can fall, so can
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I hope that every bigot sees this response, too. This is a new
America. And this kind of intolerance and hate has no place in our public
Joining me now is Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat from Missouri and a
member of the congressional black caucus.
Thank you for come on the show tonight, Congressman.
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Thank you for having me, Reverend.
SHARPTON: First, let me get your reaction to the NBA commissioner Silver`s
CLEAVER: I was elated. We were actually in a committee hearing and the
staff members brought in their telephones and iphones and ipads showing us
the moment it became public. I was thrilled for a number of reasons. Not
only because of what Mr. Silver did but because of the owners moving
swiftly to support him.
But reverend, as you probably know, over the past decade or so, many of the
people around the country believe that the African-American athletes had
abandoned the cause for elevation of the race, unlike in the days gone by
when Jim Brown and Jabbar and Curtis McClinton and others formed the black
economic union and all kinds of things in terms of social activism, but
they all stood up. And that just sent chills through me because it means
that they understand that they have a responsibility, they`re going to
assume it. So, it`s been a good news day so far.
SHARPTON: No, it was.
Now, you know tonight, the chair of the congressional black caucus is
leading with the head of the urban league myself and others. And I`ve
already talked to commissioner Silver about meeting.
What would you like to see put in place because for this man to have done
this for 30 years and it took an audio tape and all of our unity to get him
out. How do we make sure this doesn`t happen again?
CLEAVER: Well, let me first of all say, you know, the snake that caught a
ride across a raging river with an eagle and the promised the he would bite
the eagle and on the other side, he bit him. And the eagle said you said
you wouldn`t bite me. The snake said yes, but you knew I was a snake.
I think that there are people, including in every where including probably
in the NBA that probably practice not as openly as Mr. Sterling a level of
bigotry. I think it`s absolutely arsine to think that that does not exist
in real place. I think, you know, he`s a microcosm of the country.
It`s a dwindling group of people, but they`re still there. And I think
that it ought to the NBA ought to be on alert for this. I think that maybe
the NFL and the major baseball ought to do the same.
But one of the other things, I think maybe Reverend, And you`ve been
practicing on the air a long time and off the air before that, the election
of Barack Obama was a wonderful thing. It meant a great deal to a lot of
people, black and white and brown and red all over the country and, in
fact, all over the world. But I heard somebody on one of the Sunday talk
shows say we thought we were beyond this. And I wanted to say we? That`s
not true. African-Americans never thought that.
SHARPTON: My column this week was what happened to post racial? Because
I mean, when you look in this past week, Congressman, we started the week
with the Supreme Court saying that it was fine for a state in this case
Michigan to vote race was not a factor in affirmative action.
Then we heard a rancher down in Nevada talking about black kids had nothing
to do because we didn`t teach them out to pick cotton. And now we end up
with an NBA owner and the ugliness he said on tape, all in one week.
So as much as I`m happy to see the players and everybody stand up with
those of us talking about things like this for a while, I`m reminded in one
week what attorney general Holder said, we have been cowards about dealing
with race because as long as the underlying issues are there, we are going
to keep coming back to these incidents.
CLEAVER: Yes. They are there. We need to deal with it. It`s absolutely
foolish to believe that in the Michigan decision that they`re throwing
affirmative action out. There are not people like Sterling In colleges and
universities. It is crazy to believe that those people have not and
personnel officers and human resource positions? Stopping African-
Americans and Latinos from getting jobs? They are there. And we need to
deal with it worth rightly.
This is the United States of America, and I believe a majority of us want a
nation where people can come together from all kinds of backgrounds and
races and create the greatest nation on earth.
SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. I`m with you on that.
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, thanks for your time this evening.
CLEAVER: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, do Republicans careful about helping the Koch
brothers than about helping millions of Americans out of poverty. A key
vote will really tell the story.
Also John Boehner is back to blaming President Obama for his own failure.
And that puts him right in tonight`s got you.
SHARPTON: It seems like a no-brainer. Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on
something and overwhelming majority of American people support raising the
minimum wage. And when I say most people support this, I`m not kidding.
One poll found 93 percent of Democrats want to raise the minimum wage above
7.25. Sixty nine percent of independents are for it. And even 52 percent
of Republicans. No way this vote can fail, right? Wrong.
Republicans are expected to try to filibuster the bill. Why? Because
groups like Americans for Prosperity want them to. That group which is
backed by the billionaire Koch Brothers has sent out an alert urging
senators to vote no on the minimum wage increase. Arguing quote, "the
bottom line is that this legislation would do more harm than good to the
very people it`s trying to help." No, the bottom line is this legislation
will make sure people working full time aren`t living in poverty. And
think about this -- the average yearly salary for minimum wage worker is
just over $15,000 a year. The Koch Brothers have a net worth of $80
billion. And the group they bank roll is against giving American people a
raise? People like this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I wouldn`t be living paycheck to paycheck just to keep
the bills away. I would be able to pay them.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Daniel Berry pays minimum wage and says, he barely has
enough money to survive. He says working seven hours won`t even fill his
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: $7.25 an hour, minimum wage right now, is that enough?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Heck no.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: My husband and I struggled to get by on my salary.
There were days I missed work simply because I could not afford the gas to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: These Americans are working full time but can`t afford groceries
or rent or gas for their cars. And Republicans won`t give them a raise
because of their far right ideology. That`s rich.
Joining me now is Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio who knows a lot
about fighting the big money interests. Thank you for being here, Senator.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Of course, Reverend Sharpton. Thank you for
SHARPTON: How can your GOP colleagues justify voting against an increase
in the minimum wage?
BROWN: Well, they do a lot of dancing when they justify. I think a couple
of things go on here. One is, there are a number of my colleagues who have
voted for pay increases for themselves, but just can`t see fit to increase
pay for people making $7.25 an hour. And I think the other dynamic that`s
operating is John Boehner every morning wakes up. And he has to decide is
he going to be speaker of the Tea Party or he`s going to be speaker of the
U.S. house. And if he`s speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, he
brings this bill to the floor.
Democrats and Republicans join together to pass it in the House, a lot of
pressure on Republican colleagues, especially those who voted to increase
their own pay. And in the Senate, we need that same kind of pressure on
people on my colleagues in the Senate to do the right thing here. And
Democrats are going to vote overwhelmingly for it. I`m hopeful we get
enough Republicans who want to do the right thing.
SHARPTON: Senator, I want to play for you Senator Mitch McConnell. He was
on the Senate floor today talking about the minimum wage vote. And I want
you to listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Senate Democrats are pushing
legislation this week that would actually cost, not create, but actually
cost up to a million American jobs. This is completely tone deaf.
Washington Democrats hurt the very people they claim to be fighting for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean who is tone deaf here, Senator?
BROWN: Well, he knows better than that. He knows a couple of things. He
knows that there are more than 100,000 people in his state. That would get
a significant raise. And thousands would be lifted out of poverty. He
knows what several hundred economists have said, including more than half a
dozen Nobel Prize winning economists that the job loss is minimal. And
there would be also at the same time job increases. The people that get a
minimum wage increase that live in Toledo or Cincinnati or Dayton. They`re
not putting that $2 an hour increase into a Swiss Bank account.
They`re spending it in those communities, they`re spending it in a hardware
store. They`re getting their car fixed. They`re going to occasionally
maybe to a restaurant. They`re going to a grocery store. That money goes
back into the economy, generating economic activity actually growing jobs.
That`s what history shows. Mitch McConnell can say what he wants. But the
fact is this is the right moral issue, the right moral decision to raise
the minimum wage. It`s good for those families and it`s good for the
economy and those communities.
SHARPTON: How much of an impact does the Koch Brothers and the groups that
they`re financing, how much of an impact do they have on your Republican
BROWN: Well, they spent $40 million against me in 2012. More than any
Senate race in history up to that time. They are -- you know, I think
Republicans are a little bit afraid -- more than a little afraid of them in
a primary, that if they go against what the Koch Brothers say, they may
attract a primary next time. Or they may get some negative ads hitting
them. So, far too many people in this place I work operate based on fear.
And it`s not good for our democracy.
And people need to get out as President Lincoln said, people need to get
out and get their public opinion path and listen to what voters are saying.
And as you pointed out, Reverend Sharpton, it`s not just Democratic voters
that are overwhelmingly for this. It`s independents overwhelmingly for it.
And even a majority of Republicans in my state and most states think
raising the minimum wage is the moral thing to do and the best economics.
SHARPTON: Well, Senator Sherrod Brown, thank you so much for your time
tonight. It`s always good to have you on the show.
BROWN: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.
SHARPTON: Now I want to bring in Maria Teresa Kumar. Thank you for being
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Maria, in this election year, how important are these economic
issues like minimum wage and economic inequality?
KUMAR: It is the driving force. And let`s revisit what Mitch McConnell
was saying, the idea that they`re going to lose a million jobs. Let`s
actually have a frank conversation. Who are the folks who are actually
choosing those million jobs? It`s actually individuals that are now being
forced to continue working instead of going into retirement and enjoying
their golden years. So for the very first time by raising the minimum
wage, these individuals can actually opt out of working until their 72 or
75. They actually all of a sudden have the luxury of saying I don`t want
to continue working myself to death until my old age. I can now opt out.
SHARPTON: You know, Vice President Biden went after the Ryan budget
yesterday. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (D), UNITED STATES: Show me your budget. I will tell
you what you value, my dad would say. What they clearly value, this new
Republican Party, is more tax cuts for the wealthy. At the expenses of the
lower class. The middle class has been through enough. It`s time for the
budget to give them a fair shot. And the Republican budget does. I
believe ours does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, virtually every House Republican, every one of them voted
for the Ryan budget. I mean, are they vulnerable on this in a midterm
KUMAR: They`re incredibly vulnerable. And very fact that every member of
the Republican House voted against an equal pay for women is basically
screaming that they don`t understand the American people. They don`t
understand that women are increasingly the heads of household and they`re
the ones that are outvoting men when it comes to the polls. So, the more
they stick bread and butter, you better believe that the American people
are going to go out in droves, especially the independents, especially the
women. They have a real rebranding problem. Not because they came out
with a nice fancy document of how they were going to capture women and
minorities. They have a rebranding problem because they don`t policies
that address the basic issues that Americans need.
SHARPTON: You mentioned minorities. A new study out today details some of
the inequality we see in the country. Looking at the racial wealth gap.
The Center for Global Policies Solutions found for every dollar of wealth
white families have, African-American families have only six cents. Six
cents to a dollar. And Latino families have only seven cents to a dollar.
KUMAR: They didn`t fair any better. Neither African-Americans nor
Latinos. And the large part was that the majority of our equity are liquid
assets were actually built into our mortgages. So when you couple
predatory lending, no one got in trouble for that. They`ve lost their
homes. They`re basically don`t have the money to actually put extra money
into the piggy bank, there is a serious concern. And it`s an increasing
concern. Because this is the rising demographic of the American public.
If we don`t find ways and solutions for wealth creation, which it meanings
that individuals shouldn`t have to be working two or three jobs in order to
survive, it`s not just the African-American and Latino community, it`s the
whole American economy that`s going to be hurt.
SHARPTON: No doubt about it. Thank you, Maria Teresa Kumar for being with
KUMAR: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, alleged police brutality caught on tape. What
should happen to the officers in the video?
Plus, why did a judge let this widow lose her house over $6 in unpaid
taxes? It`s all in tonight`s "Justice Files."
SHARPTON: For months, Republicans have blocked immigration reform at every
turn, but today Speaker Boehner explained why, with a line straight out of
the Tea Party playbook.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: We all know we have a broken
immigration system. We`re going to work with our members and have
discussions to see if there`s a way forward. But the President has to take
action himself. He`s got the show the American people and show the
Congress that he can be trusted to implement the law the way it may be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The President can`t be trusted, Mr. Speaker? That`s odd. Just
last week you were singing a different tune.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Boehner got a little dramatic when he was asked about
immigration reform. He says he thinks Congress should take action this
year, and mocked his colleagues for what he calls a lack of an appetite to
tackle the issue.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: But here`s the attitude. Oh, don`t make me do this.
Oh, lord, this is too hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It was the whine heard around the world. Speaker Boehner is
blaming Republicans for not passing immigration reform. So, what does he
have to say about that now?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you regret mocking your own members last week? And
as we stand here --
BOEHNER: It was no mocking. You all know me. You know, you tease the
ones you love. All right? But some people misunderstood what I have to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: There was no mocking? Could have fooled me. But the speaker
insists he was just misunderstood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: I want to make sure the members understood that the biggest
impediment we have in moving immigration reform is that the American people
don`t trust the President to enforce or implement the law that we may or
may not pass.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Oh, so you were just reminding your Republican colleagues that
President Obama can`t be trusted. How very thoughtful. Does Speaker
Boehner think we wouldn`t notice his double speak on immigration reform?
Nice try, but we got you.
SHARPTON: You and I must decide what part we`re going to play, not in the
struggles that I`ve been fought and won, but in today`s struggle, the fight
to stop those efforts to suppress voting rights. The dealing with economic
and income equality. Let`s not act like the civil rights movement was
something back then. There`s still a civil rights movement needed now.
And you and I must help lead it.
It`s time for "The Justice Files." The big criminal justice story is
making headlines today. Joining me now, former prosecutor and MSNBC legal
analyst Faith Jenkins and Carmen St. George, a criminal defense attorney.
Thank you both for being here.
FAITH JENKINS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
CARMEN ST. GEORGE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: We start in Buffalo, New York, where the case of alleged police
brutality was caught on cell phone video. On April 19, 23-year-old John
Willet was arrested during a traffic stop. Willet said he raised his hands
and willingly surrendered to police when he says the police officer kneed
and punched him.
The video shows an officer hitting and kicking Willet who was lying on the
ground in handcuffs. Five other officers were on the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN WILLET, ALLEGES POLICE BRUTALITY: I was slapped, I was kicked,
kicked, and then I got hit again. I caught multiple knees to the face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Willet was charged with drug possession and resisting arrest.
Six officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome
of a police investigation. Faith, how do you see this one?
JENKINS: I just think it`s inexcusable when you watch the video. Police
officers have to abide by the same laws that they enforce. And they have a
duty to protect the constitutional rights of those who are detained by
them. And when it comes to police officer use of force, we`ve talked about
this before. There is a spectrum of force and they can only use force when
it is necessary to arrest someone or to defend themselves or others. And
in this case I don`t see that it`s necessary to use that type of force
against someone who`s already detained and in handcuffs.
SHARPTON: Carmen, does the videotape make the difference here? Because we
hear about alleged police brutality often and nothing is done. These
officers have been placed on paid but administrative duty. Is the video
what`s different here?
GEORGE: No, no, Reverend. The video has been used in many other cases, I
mean, we`ve had Rodney King where we`ve had acquittals of police officers
in a similar situation. Just in January of this year, we had another
situation in California where two other officers were acquitted in a police
brutality case where we did have a video. The video is going to be
important in this case so we can see the circumstances. But you`re still
going to have to assess whether or not that particular person who was being
arrested was aggressive, had been under the influence of drugs, was
erratic. That video is a little confusing. It`s dark, and the defense
attorneys will pick that apart to show their defense.
SHARPTON: Now, Faith, the fact of the matter is that you hear over and
over again people saying that police are human and sometimes they react.
But also you have to deal with the fact that the police have a code of
conduct that they`re supposed to abide by. And we also at the same time
want to see crime not only no occur, but we want to see it where it is not
endangering policemen lives. So you have a battle going between two
emotions that sometimes conflict.
JENKINS: Well, the fact is that there is a code of conduct and yes, police
officers are human. However, they are professionally trained individuals.
They are trained with how to deal with individuals they are placing under
arrest with how much force they can and should be used and when to enforce
their authority. And use force. So when you look at videos like this,
when you have a person who is on the ground, who is apparently not
resisting by the video from what I can tell, who`s already placed in
handcuffs, and you have an officer slapping him across the head, stopping
him, it looks like they`re administering street justice and not real
justice, we should be saying for the courtroom and not our side where
they`re doing it.
SHARPTON: All right. Carmen, let me go quickly to Pennsylvania where a
woman is losing her home over a $6 tax bill. A Pennsylvania widow named
Eileen Bautisti (ph) is fighting back after her house was sold at auction
three years ago over unpaid interest. She paid school district taxes back
in May of 2009, but because the payment was six days late, an additional
$6.30 cents in interest was added to her tax bill. She appealed the sale,
but now a judge is ruling Bautisti was properly notified and the sale is
final. Carmen, the law is the law and everyone should pay their taxes on
time, but should the government really be able to take away a person`s home
GEORGE: No. Absolutely we should pay our taxes but good grief. This is
so over the top. The government came in in Pennsylvania and just went way
above and beyond what they should have. They could have assessed
penalties, they could have found her to be delinquent. They could have put
any other kind of enforcement if she has a loan on this, the lender could
have paid the $6. And anyway, she paid in six days. This is completely
egregious that they should go this --
SHARPTON: All right. Let me go to Faith. I`m running out of time.
Faith, what do you say?
JENKINS: No, I think the judge should have inferred here that after this
woman did pay taxes that she owed, surely she wasn`t notified about an
additional $6 or that she would lose her home if she didn`t pay that $6 or
else she would have paid. That should have been the common sense ruling in
SHARPTON: Faith Jenkins and Carmen St. George, thank you both for your
GEORGE: Thank you.
JENKINS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, a huge setback for Scott Walker and the Republicans
attempt to suppress the vote. And then my parting thoughts on today`s
lifetime ban for Donald Sterling. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Breaking news. A federal judge today struck down Wisconsin`s
voter ID law ruling that it is unconstitutional. The judge agreed the law
places an undue burden on poor and minority voters. This comes a day after
a Pennsylvania judge reaffirmed his ruling to end the voter ID law there.
And less than a week, after an Arkansas judge struck down his state`s voter
ID law. Although, late today the ruling was temporarily stayed, today`s
ruling in Wisconsin shows we can fight back and win. And today`s ruling in
Arkansas shows we must continue to fight back and we will.
SHARPTON: Today, as I hung up the phone after speaking with NBA
Commissioner Adam Silver, I thought about how here we are having to fight
battles that in 2014 we shouldn`t have to fight. But then I was so
encouraged when I thought about how we heard from everyone at the league
who made millions of dollars, Oprah Winfrey, people who are in the hall of
fame, even the president of the United States, almost a unanimous outcry,
showing that it`s different now.
You cannot get away with it. And you cannot just worry about the fact that
very successful people won`t call you out. I`m very proud that those young
athletes, with their multimillion dollar contracts will stood up. I used
to preach a sermon with profits of man, gain the world and lose his soul.
Some of those young men and young ladies that stood up on this showed their
soul wouldn`t be compromised for a contract.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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