ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 18, 2014
Guest: Michael Baden, Daryl Parks, Jay Nixon, Capt. Ron Johnson, Rev.
Osagyefo Sekou, Paul Muhammad, Alderman Antonio French
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from Ferguson, Missouri. I am
And at this moment, the sun is setting here in Ferguson, Missouri.
We`re in the midst of a situation that could be best described as peaceful,
but eerie and tense.
Let me tell you the latest. We`re on West Florissant Avenue. That
has been the site of protests, largely peaceful protests but also some
examples of looting. There have been Molotov cocktails apparently thrown,
This is, of course, where police have come up with a very heavily
militarized presence both earlier in the week and then after a kind of a
brief respite in the last two nights. That has been happening on the block
behind. You`re seeing an aerial view of that.
What has happened tonight is a change of tactics from the police.
They have closed off West Florissant to vehicular traffic. They have
required that protesters walk and keep moving and not congregate. And so,
what you`re seeing is protesters on the sidewalks walking right now,
peacefully, chanting, "Justice for Mike Brown, hands up, don`t shoot, no
justice, no peace", many of them holding red roses in their hands.
I`ve seen young children here. I`ve seen senior citizens. Right now,
it`s largely young people, as you see, walking behind me. Over the blow
horns shouting "no justice, no peace".
So, right now, a peaceful scene here. This is all peaceable assembly
we`re seeing here at this hour. The decision made to close off West
Florissant to traffic, at the same time, lifting the curfew. So, there is
no dramatic deadline built into this evening`s activities.
There are reports of concrete barriers placed just a few blocks from
here to prevent cars from coming to Florissant that don`t have families or
Now, more than a week after Mike Brown was shot dead by police officer
Darren Wilson, today, this morning, we finally have some concrete
information about how he was killed and it did not come from law
enforcement. An autopsy commissioned by Brown`s family found he was struck
by at least six bullets, all hitting the front of his body.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROF. SHAWN PARCELLS, PATHOLOGISTS` ASSISTANT: Dr. Baden and I
concluded that he was shot at least six times. We`ve got one to the very
top of the head, the apex. We`ve got one that entered just above the right
eyebrow. We`ve got one that entered the top part of the right arm. We`ve
got a graze wound, a superficial graze wound, to the middle part of the
right arm. We`ve got a wound that entered the medial aspect of the right
arm. And we`ve got a deep graze wound that produced a laceration to the
palm of the right hand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Most of those wounds are relatively superficial, according to
Dr. Michael Baden, who is the former New York City medical examiner who led
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORMER MEDICAL EXAMINER: All of these gunshot
wounds were survivable except for the one to the top of the head that went
through the brain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: According to the doctors who conducted the autopsy, the two
shots fired at Mike Brown`s head at an angle suggesting he was bent forward
at the time likely delivered the final and fatal blow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PARCELLS: Dr. Baden and I do feel because of the two gunshot wounds
to the head, indicating that Mr. Brown was bending over as they were coming
down, those two shots were most likely the last two to occur to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Attorney Ben Crump spoke at the press conference on behalf of
Brown`s family, asking the key question that many here in Ferguson, many
that I`ve spoken to say is the heart of these protests.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR BROWN FAMILY: His mother wanted to ask
the question that Dr. Baden nor any of the lawyers could answer. What else
do we need to give them to arrest the killer of my child?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Here on the streets of Ferguson, it`s a different scene
tonight, as I noted. After the worst night of violence since the protests
began last week, with tear gas deployed up to three hours before the
midnight curfew, gunshots fired and stores looted along the main commercial
strip including a fire set at the Dellwood Market. That`s footage we took
Governor Jay Nixon called in the national forward today to help
protect the highway patrol`s command center, which is just about a half
mile to a mile away from where we are now. Law enforcement officials say
that command center came under a coordinated attack last night. We will
have more about the heavily, heavily contested details of just what
happened during that event in a bit.
But with the National Guard on the ground, there`s no curfew tonight.
Some streets have already been locked down for hours and remains to be seen
just how that will impact events on the ground. We will bring you the
latest as it unfolds throughout the hour.
And today, for the second time since Mike Brown was killed, President
Obama weighed in on the situation in Ferguson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In too many communities
around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and
law enforcement. In too many communities, too many young men of color are
left behind and seen only as objects of fear. Through initiatives like My
Brother`s Keeper, I`m personally committed to changing both perception and
reality and already we`re making some significant progress as people of
goodwill of all races are ready to chip in.
But that requires that we build and not tear down. And that requires
we listen and not just shout. That`s how we`re going to move forward
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president also announced Attorney General Eric Holder will
travel to Ferguson right here on Wednesday to meet with investigators and
Holder later said in a statement, quote, "I realize there`s tremendous
interest in the facts of the incident that led to Michael Brown`s death. I
ask for the public`s patience as we conduct this investigation. The
selective release of sensitive information we`ve seen in this case so far
is troubling to me. No matter how others pursue their own separate
inquiries, the Justice Department is resolved to preserve the integrity of
its investigation. This is a critical step in restoring trust between law
enforcement and the community, not just in Ferguson but beyond."
Earlier today, I spoke with Dr. Michael Baden who authored the autopsy
report commissioned by Mike Brown`s family.
HAYES: So, just clarify for me a little bit, that there was shot
you`re saying, there`s one shot you were saying that was ultimately the
fatal shot, right?
HAYES: And that came here somewhere?
BADEN: Yes, the head.
HAYES: OK. So, that`s consistent with a police officer shooting down
like this, or shooting straight if Michael`s head was leaned forward?
BADEN: That`s consistent with that. There`s a lot of different
consistencies. Those included.
HAYES: What is -- what is the standard on raying procedure, in your
long tenure as medical examiner, how common is it to not release those
preliminary autopsy reports?
BADEN: It depends on the agency. It depends. Some reports are
withheld for a while. Some aren`t, depending on usually what the
prosecutor feels is best for his investigation.
In my experience, releasing these reports right away is preferable and
important for the family and to community and transparency is always better
than hiding results that can be misinterpreted as some kind of cover-up.
HAYES: Last question for you. You`ve been a medical examiner for a
Just as a factual matter about your history, being a medical examiner,
how often has been the case you`ve done an autopsy with this many shots in
which charges were not filed?
BADEN: Well, first of all, they`re not filed because they don`t catch
a perpetrator is the common reason.
HAYES: Right. If the perpetrator`s known and you`ve done an autopsy
with this many shots, how often is it there are no files charged?
BADEN: If they know the perpetrator, it`s much more common to have
some kind of files, but it depends -- it`s very much dependent on the
HAYES: Joining me now, Daryl Parks, attorney for the family of
Mr. Parks, can you explain to me the rationale behind conducting and
releasing the results of this autopsy?
DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN`S FAMILY: Well, in this case,
Chris, one of the huge issues has been transparency. We saw them release
information out on an alleged shop lifting/robbery they attributed to
Michael. We thought it was important that we get as much of the truth out
about what happened in this case while we had an opportunity to.
Obviously, there have been several instances in this situation where
this family has not been able to trust the local system and authorities.
Well, that being the case, as lawyers, it`s prudent that we preserve the
evidence in this case as best we can. Obviously, since we had custody of
the body once they turned it back over to us, we had the ability to do our
Up until now, you had never heard how many possible bullet injuries
that Michael had had. Well, today, you heard some -- to at least get a
feeling for how many times this kid had been shot before today, you had
heard nothing in that regard.
HAYES: What do you say to those who say this is essentially an effort
to attempt to try him in the press, this could taint the jury pool, this
could prejudice people in advance of a possible grand jury and a possible
PARKS: Well, e don`t think releasing the number of times these kids
were hit poison the jury pool. I mean, they obviously heard about the
case. He was shot six or seven times. I don`t think that any type of wait
poisons a jury pool in this county.
HAYES: We`re having reports --
PARKS: For example, I think it really --
PARKS: What really poison a jury pool -- I didn`t mean to interrupt
you, is when you release something from an incident that had nothing to do
with the kid`s killing. That would poison the jury pool.
HAYES: Do you think that was the intention of releasing that
convenience store footage, to poison the jury pool?
PARKS: No, I think it was to assassinate the character of a man who
is dead. I think it was disrespectful to his family to do so when this
family hasn`t even had a chance to bury their son.
So, I think that they didn`t give this family any regard under the
disguise of information request. They gave it out. Obviously, timing was
terrible because they did it the same time when they had the duty to give
out the name of the officer.
So, obviously it was -- we all questioned the motive behind that
actual (INAUDIBLE). I think time has told that he was wrong in what he
HAYES: Will Attorney General Holder be meeting with the family of
Michael Brown, to your knowledge, when he comes here to Ferguson?
PARKS: I don`t have any knowledge on that issue at this time.
HAYES: What do you -- we have reports today that indicate that the
county prosecutor in question, Bob McCulloch, who is overseeing the
investigation, might present evidence before a grand jury as early as this
Wednesday, which is first day the grand jury meets, the day of the week the
grand jury meets.
What`s your reaction to that report?
PARKS: I think it`s important, and I would call for the prosecutor to
move expeditiously as possible. I think this is the type of case that he
should move at all deliberate speed because getting some type of conclusion
to this case is in the public`s best good. So, I would hope he would see
it in the public`s best good to use all resources available to him and
citizens of this county to move forward one way or the other so that we all
can reach some conclusion.
HAYES: Daryl Parks, one of the attorneys for Michael Brown`s family -
- thank you so much.
Joining me now, MSNBC.com national reporter, Trymaine Lee --
PARKS: Thank you for having me, Chris.
HAYES: Trymaine Lee, who has been here all week.
Trymaine, today, you could just feel the kind of exhaustion in the air
everywhere. I mean, there was this kind of rollercoaster ride over the
course of last week in which you had heavily militarized response, nation
kind of woke up to what was happening in Ferguson. Ron Johnson was
appointed. There was a breath of fresh air. This feeling of hope, and it
seems last few nights we`re back to square one.
What is your sense of the mood here today?
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC.COM NATIONAL REPORTER: Well, first of all, as I
mentioned, every time we have this kind of dip and valley, we think we have
a tipping point and then something crazy happen, right?
Today was a day of big developments, right? People finally got some
answers about the autopsy. We know how many times he was shot. The
governor called the National Guard in. Some feel that might exacerbate
tensions. But as you mentioned earlier, this is a relatively calm night,
LEE: But it`s always this kind of quiet before the storm.
HAYES: That`s right.
LEE; In Ferguson, when nightfall falls, you never know what`s going
HAYES: And if people can see walking behind us, and there are folks
holding roses, there are children. It`s a peaceful -- it`s a peaceful
You know, one of the things that struck any last night as I was
running around amidst the craziness here at 1:00, 2:00 in the morning is
the way everyone`s thinking about this, and even the governor, himself said
there can be no justice unless there is peace first. People are seeing the
situation here as a police situation that needs two managed with the right
police approach as opposed to recognizing in the absence of -- from
perspective of the people I`ve talked to here -- charges for the officer in
question, it`s going to be unrest.
LEE: Because it seems so evident to them what happened here. And
today`s autopsy results, that there was this shot under the forearm that
could have been from behind, in defensive position, or hands up.
Everything leads for them to a conclusion, that you need to arrest,
you need to prosecute. Something needs to happen. And then, there will be
some semblance of peace.
HAYES: Right. It`s almost as if you`re kind of squeezing the balloon
right now --
HAYES: -- in terms of the curfew, not curfew. In terms of cutting
off West Florissant or not. And obviously, law enforcement here has to
make sure stores aren`t broken into, that officers aren`t shot at.
But it`s unclear what the way out right now of this kind of dynamic
LEE: And every turn, every decision has grave consequences, right?
Enforce a curfew, you`re creating another --
HAYES: You`re creating drama. I saw this last night firsthand. OK.
A curfew in the abstract is one thing. A curfew at five minutes until
midnight, you`ve created a point of resistance and drama, right?
LEE: Again, you`re creating the line in the sand.
HAYES: You created a flash point where you create a line, you said,
don`t step over it, a person steps over it, well, then you have to show
that you`re the person in charge then we`re seeing what plays out.
Trymaine Lee from MSNBC.com, you`ve been doing a fantastic work down
here all week.
LEE: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
HAYES: All right. I got a chance to talk to the governor of Missouri
earlier today. We`ll have that interview for you just ahead.
HAYES: We got word just a few hours ago that photojournalist Scott
Olson from Getty, who has taken some of the most iconic images to come out
of Ferguson over the last week, was arrested by police, apparently arrested
because he walked about 100 feet past where the prescribed area for media
was. So, that`s Scott Olson been arrested. There`s a number of
journalists who were arrested.
We were on the ground in Ferguson last night, too. We had our own
run-in with the police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There`s what looks like kind of a SWAT team standing in the
darkness between the QT, a dumpster fire that`s been set right near the QT
and into the infamous gas station where things went down the first night.
That, of course, the QT where people had rumored that he had been accused
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s that?
HAYES: Getting barked at by the cops not to pass them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you hold your phone up so we can hear that a
HAYES: We just said to me on air, media, do not pass me, you`re
getting maced next time you pass us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re threatening to mace you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s what it looked like and sounded like if you were
watching us on TV last night.
Here`s what it looked like for us on the ground in Ferguson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLICE: Hey, media, get behind us! Do not pass us!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Getting barked at by cops not to pass.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`re live in Ferguson, Missouri, tonight. Stay with us.
We`ve got a lot more. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIG. GEN. GREGORY MASON, MISSOURI NATIONAL GUARD: I`m here to
oversee the Missouri National Guard response. We have well-trained and
well-seasoned soldiers that will be assigned to protect the joint command
headquarters here. Our soldiers have been well-trained and have overseen
many missions, state response over the years and they`re well-equipped to
handle this mission, well-resourced.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`re on the ground tonight in Ferguson. If you`re wondering
why I`ve been talking to people via satellite, it`s because the area we are
in is inside the perimeter where they put the media staging area. It`s
almost impossible to bring any vehicles whatsoever inside to this area.
That`s why we`re corresponding with those folks who are staged at the
police staging area. And that`s where National Guard troops rolled in
today. To, quote, "help restore peace and order", in the words of Missouri
Governor Jay Nixon.
The governor ordered the National Guard into Ferguson without alerting
the White House. And this afternoon, President Obama aired a note of
skepticism over Nixon`s decision to do so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And I`ll be watching over the next several days to assess
whether, in fact, it`s helping rather than hindering progress in Ferguson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Earlier today, eight people arrested in downtown St. Louis,
protesting Governor Nixon`s decision to call the National Guard into
Ferguson, NBC affiliate KDSK reports.
I had a chance to speak to the governor late this afternoon.
HAYES: Joining me now is the Democratic governor of Missouri, Jay
Governor, can you tell me the precise moment in the wee ours of the
morning when you made the decision to send in the National Guard? What
GOV. JAY NIXON (D), MISSOURI: Well, late last night, when we were
getting a debrief after the attack on the command center, the shots that
were fired at police officers, the clear indication is there was a small
group of organized folks, 150 or 200 who had put down bricks in street,
like I said, throwing Molotov cocktails, trying to attack and take over the
command center. That`s when that that awareness, it became apparent that
if we`re going to continue to keep the police out in the community, the way
that Captain Johnson and his team were so successful early on, what we need
to do was bring in some MPs, from the National Guard, not to get out in the
community, but to protect that command center from those sorts of attacks
from these folks coming in from the outside. That`s when we made the
decision last night.
We then worked to make sure the folks that came out there with
experienced MPs, that understood the challenging but limited responsibility
there and we`ve been putting that unit together over the last 18 hours.
HAYES: Can you describe what the mission of Brigadier General Mason
is here? I mean, it seems to be a little bit of conflicting reports of
whether it`s to guard that police command center, whether it`s essentially
spell an exhausted set of police officers who have been doing this night
in, not out. What is the mission?
NIXON: There mission is very clear -- to protect and provide security
to the command center and if necessary, later on in the evening provide
those commands -- find other places where there`s security. They are not -
- they`re there to support, but when we talk about helping the others, last
night -- I mean, when you had these folks firing shots and trying to take
over the command center, the folks in the command center and should have
been out in the community and could have been out in the community
providing First Amendment rights, but also protecting property, were forced
to defend that.
We want to get back to that situation where the peace march we`ve been
having each evening can happen, where the community involvement is there.
And that these folks coming in from the outside that are violent, that are
using this, night before last, only two of the arrests were from folks from
this direct area.
We`re clearly tracking some folks coming in bent on violence, and in
order to have those police officers able to deal with that in the
community, we want to have that barrier of protection around there that
General Mason and the guard will provide, under the unified command of the
HAYES: Governor, just a clarify one factual note here, in the early
morning press conference given by Ron Johnson I was present at, he said
there were Molotov cocktails in what they called an attack on the police
command center. Others who were participating called it a march. I`m not
going to sort of resolve what that is.
But were there shots fired at police in the police command center?
NIXON: I don`t consider it -- I don`t consider it a march when people
throw Molotov cocktails. There are protesters that are legitimate. We
need to protect their rights, too. Their rights are not protected when
folks are shooting guns and firing off Molotov cocktails and taking bricks
and putting them in the road so vehicles can`t get through there.
Those are all coordinated activity by a hostile group of folks trying
to use this horrific incident, this tragic death of Michael Brown for other
purposes. And while this is challenging, we`re going to make sure that we
protect the First Amendment rights, have zoned protests tonight. But we
cannot condone these folks coming in from outside and shoots and firing
Molotov cocktails, looting.
That`s not what Missouri is about and not what this should be about.
HAYES: Governor, as a strict matter of law, do you have it in your
powers, as the governor of state of Missouri, to appoint a special
prosecutor to take over the investigation and possible prosecution of the
officer in charge, General Wilson, and the matter of the shooting of
Michael Brown? Do you have that power?
NIXON: Well, our focus right now is on the task laid out with
security. We`re also very -- I had a discussion today with -- another
discussion with the president, talked to Attorney General Holder just the
other day. And as a response to that, General Holder sent out 40
additional FBI agents to move forward on their investigation.
I mean, this is a time for the local prosecutor. He has a duty to
stand up. We`ll watch all of that. But the focus today, after last
night`s aggressive activity by these outsiders from my chair has been --
NIXON: -- the focus has been to make sure that we get that security
in there so these officers can get back out in the community. So they can
continue to allow folks to have their First Amendment rights but not have a
town have shotguns, shots and guns and attacking police officers. We`ve
got to -- that`s a relatively small focus.
If you get rid of the -- getting rid of the curfew and focusing our
attention on those bad folks that are out there trying to use this tragedy
for other purposes, we think gives us a better opportunity to get the dual
responsibilities here of peace and justice done.
We`ll look at this as each day. Get up tomorrow morning and look at
what the options are. But our focus is on that narrow task with what
happened last night.
HAYES: I totally understand that. Just finally, though, to go back
to the question, just as a matter of law, do you have the power under
Missouri law to appoint a special prosecutor?
NIXON: The power of a governor, when you have an emergency, it`s
broad. I mean, it`s not something that at this particular moment I`m
working -- it`s not the challenge I`m working. But, you know, we want to -
- with these dual processes and the transparency that comes from that, and
the additional resources and the fact the attorney general is going to be
here on Wednesday, you know, and as was said both by him and the president
-- at least by the president, that he`s going to be meeting with his
investigators, he`s going to be meeting with the FBI agents.
You know, we`ll look at -- we want to get through tonight and we`re
hopeful folks will be peaceful. We`re hopeful that -- you know, last night
-- I think it`s important to for everybody to know, last night police
officers had shots at them and as we woke up this morning, they didn`t fire
back and shoot or harm those folks and they, themselves, we didn`t lose any
officers last night.
There was dramatic and challenge police work done last night by
Colonel (INAUDIBLE), Major Johnson and Captain Johnson on the front line
with the St. Louis police department, county police department and a
unified force. I`m confident the additional security provided to the
command post will allow them to work tonight in a challenging law
HAYES: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, thank you so much.
NIXON: Thank you.
HAYES: We`ve got a live interview with the man who is at the center
of this as much as anyone, Captain Ron Johnson will join me live, next.
Stick around for that.
HAYES: Joining me now is the man in the center of it all, Captain Ron
Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Captain, with the National
Guard now having been deployed, are you still in charge of the security
situation here in Ferguson?
CAPT. RON JOHNSON, HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICER: Yes, I am. The governor
has put the National Guard under my command.
HAYES: What is -- what are the protocols for lack of a better term,
rules of engagement with protesters that those National Guard Military
police, your officers and state highway patrol are being trained on and
instructed on? How are they being trained to evaluate and react so as to
avoid elevation and escalation if they can?
CAPT. JOHNSON: We have given specific guidelines to ensure that
everyone has their rights to a peaceful protest.
HAYES: I want to ask you about the speech that you gave on Sunday. It
was a pretty remarkable speech. You spoke from the heart about your own
son. You said, "I am sorry to the Mike Brown family," which is something we
-- no one had heard I think explicitly from law enforcement. Were you just
talking from your heart there, and what do you hope can come out of you
being so emotionally present as you have been these last few days? Like is
that going to be enough to defuse this incredibly fraught tense situation?
CAPT. JOHNSON: I will tell you. I have been humbled by how this
community has come together. I went to that church service yesterday, and
looking at those citizens who stood up and applauded the changes that we
have made here, and so I think it is making a voice.
I think we are seeing a separation between those peaceful protesters,
the good people of Ferguson, the good people of Missouri, the good people
from all across this country that traveled to Missouri. We are seeing a
separation from those that are bent on having conflict, vandalism, and
causing injury to this community, and I use the word injury.
They are causing an injury to our community. So, we are seeing a
separation. Last night I have got a lot of calls that are saying, "We are
supporting you. You did the right thing." This morning, a lot of calls in
Texas are saying, "We support you. You are doing the right thing," because
those individuals last night are not reflective of who we are or what we
want and they are being disrespectful to Mike Brown`s family and the death
of Mike Brown.
HAYES: On one incident last night, that you said at the press
conference early this morning, around 2:00 or 3:00 A.M., kind of
precipitated the escalation. It was the people coming towards the staging
area where you are right now. You said there are Molotov cocktails thrown.
I talked to three clergy members today who led that march who said, "There
were no Molotov cocktails." Do you want to respond to that?
CAPT. JOHNSON: There were. But, what happens is our peaceful
protesters are marching in peace, and I use the word marching in peace.
These other protesters, they are bent on causing conflict are joined into
And, their tactics are planned, calculated and the things that they
are doing may not be exactly visible to those peaceful protesters because
they are coming from behind those protesters at other angles that the
protesters at peaceful marchers may not see.
But, I can tell you that I stood there. I watch those in anger. I
watch those in anger. But, I want to assure you, we are not going to stop
peaceful protesters from voicing their opinions and having a voice by those
who are bent on creating chaos. We will stop their conflicts.
HAYES: Do you believe that the law enforcement that is now under your
command, which spans a whole number of municipalities, do you trust that
those officers when they are out here are carrying the empathy in their
heart for this community, sees them as the client they are serving, that
you so obviously do? Do you trust them?
CAPT. JOHNSON: Yes, I do. I believe they feel their pain. They feel
their sorrow. And, I can tell you today, we started today. We started today
with our press conferences. And, I got up this morning and I said, "You
know what? We need to have some faith within our press conferences." And,
you saw we ended it with a prayer.
Today, we started all of our briefings on with a prayer. And, I think
just to bring it home that what this is all about. It is about making us
all better. It is about joining in. It is about that faith and the things
that make us strong. And, so, yes -- and I told each of them today, I know
each of us are going home and praying. I know people are praying for all of
our safety and their safety.
And, the only way we are going to ensure that, whether it is in this
community or any other community, we have to make this situation better;
but, we have to let those people that are bent on creating chaos and
conflict within our nation, within our community, we have to let them know,
we will stand against that. And, we have to stand together.
Whether you live in Ferguson or not, we have to stand for that,
because this could be any place, this could come into any community. And, I
think what we do here got to stand for this nation. But, one thing I saw
this morning, I rode down Florissant by myself, and I just looked and saw
more officers today talking to individuals, smiling with individuals.
And, I tell you, it brought a smile to my face. I just kind of shook
my head and said, "You know what? We are gaining ground. We are getting
back to what is the finest community policing." And, this has made us get
out of our cars. We have officers standing on street corners. We are doing
what we have to do throughout this country. We have to be there and not
just in cars driving up and down the street. So, this situation has brought
us to where we need to be today and we need to be after throughout this
HAYES: Captain Ron Johnson, State Highway Patrol. Thank you so much
for time tonight, sir.
CAPT. JOHNSON: Thank you very much, sir.
HAYES: We will have much more live from Ferguson. Stick around.
HAYES: The big incident last night that precipitated the elevated
response that Captain Ron Johnson said he was forced to bring about is in
dispute. The police for Captain Johnson and the governor as you saw earlier
on our air saying protesters attacked by means of a march last night, near
the front, a police staging area.
But, earlier today, I interviewed three clergy members who are at the
front of that march towards that police staging area. They gave a different
account of what happened. Note that Capt. Johnson, one of the captains you
are about to hear mentioned the same timeframe, around 8:30 to 9:00 P.M.
local time last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): We were in dialogue with the young
people, encouraging them to be safe, encouraging them to, you know, keep
their wits about them. They were responding back to us that, that was their
intention. They were clearly, you know, shouting, "Hands up! Do not
shoot." And, they were making a legitimate, peaceful, public protest.
As we advanced to the staging area, what had been a much more kind of
pulled together and formal area in previous nights and even during the day
was much less defined last night than it had been before. And, so there
was no kind of clear demarcation of where you could stand, where you could
And, then without provocation, the military vehicles arrived, firing
tear gas, smoke, and rubber bullets. There were no Molotov cocktails from
our vantage point. There were no rocks thrown. There were no shots fired.
HAYES: That directly contradicts -- I should say, Captain Johnson and
the official police account is that they responded to Molotov cocktails and
bottles being thrown at them. Clearly, you are saying that is not what you
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): From our vantage point, we did not see
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (2): No, none whatsoever. We actually had
our staff. Some of our staffs were there --
HAYES: Hi, Reverend Sekou.
REV. OSAGYEFO SEKOU, FELLOWSHIP OF RECONCILIATION: Good seeing you,
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (2): -- Some of our staffs were there on
the front lines and they say that without much warning the law enforcement
and police forces begin to fire these canisters and all of these
projectiles into crowds with elderly, with children --
HAYES: So, you are saying that this march contained a sort of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (2): Yes.
REV. SEKOU: I was actually on the frontline leading and holding the
line. What we were -- as we were marching up the hill, and there were
children, mostly --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): -- elderly folks in wheelchairs.
REV. SEKOU: -- Mostly 20-somethings in the line. "Hands up! Do not
shoot." All of a sudden three urban tanks came, cut us off. Cut the front
of the line off. Said, "Disperse immediately." Began to shoot tear gas.
They began to shoot tear gas. Chaos ensued.
There was a ledge not too far from where we are, so people kind of ran
up the ledge to get away from it. They continued to shoot tear gas with
children on that ledge, and kept continually moving --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): Kept advancing.
HAYES: You are all saying, you did not see bottles, Molotov
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): We do not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (2): No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): None.
REV. SEKOU: The violence that occurred -- any violence that occurred
after -- any violence that occurred after the police attacked peaceful
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (2): And, it is a moral contradiction to
declare that -- or to disparage the young people`s lack of discipline, when
the law enforcement, themselves, have shown no discipline in how they are
engaging American citizens.
HAYES: OK. So, let me just - let`s have this out, because the law
enforcement is going to say is this is what happened. On Thursday night, we
pulled back. There was this kind of jubilant festival on the street. I was
there. I saw it firsthand --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): That is right.
HAYES: -- The next night, there was a similar thing, but after late
it turned out --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): That is a very important point. This
began at 9:00 P.M., three hours before the curfew was to begin. This began
with peaceful protesters, young people, elderly, little children in hand --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (2): That had not reached the line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): -- they had not even reached the line.
And, again, the line was not nearly as clearly defined as it had been
previous evenings. And, if there were instructions from law enforcement,
they were very hard to hear and to hear clearly because of the screeching
sirens that they were playing --
HAYES: Playing the crowd control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): All during -- the crowd control
sirens, made it very difficult for folks to hear and understand the
instructions of police. The young people were not the instigators in this.
And, from our vantage point, that is not what we saw.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (2): It is not what we saw.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): And, when the tear gas and the smoke
and bullets began to fly, those young people did the appropriate thing and
they fled in the other direction and kept moving in the other direction as
the police and all these intimidating military vehicles kept advancing on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We will be right back here in Ferguson, Missouri, as night is
beginning to fall. Folks are walking up and down the main avenue. Many
holding roses. Many saying, "Hands up! Do not shoot." We will bring you
all of that and more, ahead.
HAYES: One of the protesters behind me making a point. I have heard
from a lot of folks here, he said, "Do not all of you want paid leave from
your job?" People here, the fact that Darren Wilson, the officer in
question who shot and killed Mike Brown has been put on paid leave. He has
been able to leave Ferguson. That is insult to injury to many of the
people walking up and down the street here.
And, they are walking up and down the street right now, because they
have been told they are not allowed to stand still. The first amendment
peaceable assembly that is being afforded to these people right now
requires them to keep moving at all time, which is why you see them pacing
up and down west Florissant. We will be back with much more live from
HAYES: It is dusk here in Ferguson, Missouri, and it is as of right
now peaceful with protesters walking up and down Florissant. Absent are any
vehicles. Thanks to police checkpoints that had been set up to keep people
from driving down here. Some of the tensest, most dramatic, intense moments
that have come over the last eight days, hours of the morning have come as
community leaders and some of the folks here in the community, who are
protesting have squared off against people that were attempting to loot or
attempting, they felt, to insight violence or police response.
Those tense standoffs have happened number of times in the early hours
of the morning. Ahead, I am going to talk to two people that have been
involved with those. Alderman Antonio French; community activist, Paul
Muhammad, about their involvement. Stick around
HAYES: Just a few minutes ago, a pretty amazing scene here just a
little bit up from where I am standing inside the security perimeter. You
are seeing clergy protesters and police praying together; a part of the
approach that Ron Johnson was taking about before.
I should note that, as much as there is a community policing approach,
he is ordering. It is still the case that many of these law enforcement
officials do have name badges on them, which makes it very difficult to
provide accountability in the moment. You are seeing, though, there,
clergy and the police talking and praying.
Joining me now, Alderman Antonio French and Community activist, Paul
Muhammad, founder of group, Peace Keepers. Both of these gentleman have
been intimately involved in trying to channel protests in a peaceful means
in interactions late in the night. And, Paul, can you tell me, you had an
interaction with Capt. Johnson, just while we had him at that camera,
moments ago. What happened there?
PAUL MUHAMMAD, FOUNDER, PEACE KEEPERS: Captain Johnson and I had a
very brief interaction. He was called off to another event down in the
ground zero area to go and take care of. So, we did not really have an
opportunity to have that much interaction. He thanked me for being
involved and helping out in the efforts.
I had a few questions that I wanted to interact and ask him about our
accountability, continuing to listen and work with the people and be about
our work and what we say we are going to do with forces on the ground with
our people. And, we were not able to get that answer yet, but we suppose to
HAYES: Alderman French, are you satisfied right now with the police
response? You have been very outspoken in condemning the looters, in
standing physically in front of them, in trying to deescalate such
situations. Do you think the police are doing their part to that as well?
ALDERMAN ANTONIO FRENCH: Well, I am very happy to see a peaceful
night so far here in Ferguson. We have been through a lot, especially last
night. I am happy to see that the police officers are out here and they are
getting the support they need with the National Guard.
There are some things that trouble me. The fact that people are not
allowed to walk and stand still on the sidewalk without fear of arrest. I
think we can loosen the reins a little bit on that and I will be continuing
to advocate for that. Step one was to establish peace. It was just -- it
was just a very bad situation we had last night.
MUHAMMAD: Yes, indeed.
FRENCH: And, when we see scenes of children being gassed, we have to
take every measure to avoid that.
HAYES: It seems to me, Paul and Alderman, there is this kind of
dynamic that set in the early hours of the morning in which if some small
group of people is, as police say, intent on provoking the response, they
can reliably provoke that response.
And, so, it is this twisted kind of dynamic that sets in which people
that want to see tear gas, or want to see rubber bullets and police who are
on hair trigger and one of them screamed at me last night, and seemed
really kind of geared up, that in that environment, it is not hard to bring
about the kinds of scenes that we have seen. How do you break out of that
MUHAMMAD: Well, that is understandable, but let is set the record
straight that I do not think that I do not think I would be remiss or out
of order by saying 95 percent of the protesters last night and all the
nights have been very peaceful. Now, are there provocateurs in the crowd?
There may be.
But, if we have women, children, elderly, handicap, and peacemakers in
the crowd, peacekeepers that are there defusing situations and regulating
our people and policing ourselves, then there is no reason why we should
have to be ruled and chased down and shot at and gassed and misrepresented
as if we were not a peaceful and civilized people, because that is
definitely the spin that we have had put on our situation and our city and
that is not the truth at all.
FRENCH: An, I think it is also important to note that our present
situation is really a result of a trust that has been broken.
MUHAMMAD: That is right.
FRENCH: By the police department, by the Ferguson Police Department
especially with the community in Ferguson. And, the awfulness of the
situation is that communities do need police. And, then we find ourselves
in a situation where the mere presence of police enrages people, and almost
causes a riot and we have to fix that.
MUHAMMAD: That is right.
FRENCH: It is not a sustainable situation. So, once we get into this
crisis, we have a long road ahead in rebuilding that trust, but it has to
HAYES: Alderman, as I have been here talking to people all through
the day, the last few days, I mean, the tension -- the tension, frankly,
the trauma, the anguish, the anger, all of that is almost -- you can almost
feel it like the humidity in the air.
It is so thick and seems to me whatever the police tactics are used,
that is not going to be the thing that releases the pressure. I mean, what
ultimately is going to be what kind of takes the pressure out of the air
here in Ferguson?
FRENCH: Well, really what people have been waiting for now for over a
week, and now we are into our second week, is something to be done in the
way of justice for this killing of this young man. You know, we are waiting
for all the facts and people have been patient. Most people have been
FRENCH: But, we still have not seen anything, whether that is an
arrest or an indictment or some conclusion to this saga, but people are
hungry for justice.
FRENCH: And, we want to let -- we want to remind these young people
especially that justice is slow moving, but we can achieve peace very
quickly and hopefully we can have a peaceful night tonight while we all
together wait for the wheels of justice to move on.
MUHAMMAD: I would like to add to that. We have to understand, and be
sensitive to the fact, that peace begets peace and violence begets
violence. So, if you assault and come after people and hurt them and chase
them down when they are trying to exercise their first amendment right to
gather our right to have freedom of speech, and collectively come together
on an issue of atrocity and injustice that has taken place.
The people are angry. The people are hurt and rightfully so. But, our
purpose as our elders and figureheads and community that are concerned just
as much as our youth are is to keep those situations regulated, and to keep
our people at peace. But, it is hard to keep a people at peace that are
being hurt and that are in pain and that are being provoked into action.
And, false representations and lies are being told about those people
in the community. So, we need to be honest. We need to have sensitivity
with law enforcement and we cannot rule over our people with an iron fist
as if we are not all human, and when you are looking down the scope of a
gun, shooting people, not having any compassion.
And, we cannot go that way. And, If it continues to go that way,
people will continue to be incited. So, we have to have those types of
collective conversations. We have to be honest with one another and
respect one another if we surely want to move forward with justice and
HAYES: Community Activist, Paul Muhammad, Alderman Antonio French of
St. Louis. Thank you, gentleman, both. That is in for this edition of
"All In" for now. We will be back live from Ferguson 11:00 P.M. Eastern.
"The Rachel Maddow" Show starts right now. Good evening, Chris.
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