ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 19, 2014
Guest: Zachariah Davis, Adam Schiff, Antonio Henley, Antonio Henley, Prof.
Wesley Bell, Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Rev. Nelson
Pierce, Phillip Agnew
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. Live from Ferguson, Missouri.
I`m Chris Hayes.
Yet another day in what is turning out to be the cruel summer of 2014.
A whole lot of news that we are monitoring tonight.
Tonight, I am here in Ferguson, and all it took last night in this
same spot was a couple bottles thrown from the crowd, according to police,
to turn a peaceful protest with people marching calmly around a designated
protest zone into a scene of total chaos here on West Florissant Avenue,
with Molotov cocktails and live gunfire coming just a few hundred feet
away, from as police say, a small number of instigators and tear gas and
flash grenades deployed by police in mass.
Here`s how commanding officer, Captain Ron Johnson, described the
moment things went bad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI HIGHWAY PATROL: At 9:40 p.m., more than
200 people walked toward police officers at the corner of West Florissant
and Ferguson Avenue. They were loud and not aggressive. Police did not
react. In fact, several other protesters encouraged the crowd to turn
around, indicating their message had been heard. But that`s when bottles
were thrown from the middle and the back of a large crowd.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: By the time it was all over in the early hours of this
morning, two people had been shot. Police say not by them, and 78 had been
arrested. We watched a few get arrested in wee hours of the morning just a
few feet from here.
Today, another black man`s death at the hands of police brought a
neighborhood just about three miles away from here where Mike Brown was
killed to the absolute brink. The circumstances were very different this
time, two police officers in city of St. Louis, North St. Louis, fatally
shot a man, they say wielding a knife after he took two bottles of energy
drink from a convenience store.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM DOTSON, ST. LOUIS POLICE CHIEF: What we know right now is that we
have a suspect who was involved in a theft, who was -- department was
contacted, acting erratically, armed with a knife. Police officers
When they responded, the suspect did not respond to verbal commands to
drop his weapon. He approached both officers. And then when he closed
within three to four feet of the knife, in what described as an overhand
grip, the officers fired their weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Area residents told me the man was known around the
neighborhood for having mental issues, but despite those very different
circumstances in that shooting from the one that took the life of Mike
Brown, the situation is already so tense, so dire, so on the edge, that
things did not take long to escalate. Angry bystanders started to
assemble, gather around a crime scene and take up a chant by now that is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Hands up! Don`t shoot! Hands up! Don`t shoot! Hands up!
Don`t shoot! Hands up! Don`t shoot!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But then something pretty remarkable happened. St. Louis
Police Chief Sam Dotson waded right into the middle of that very heated
crowd with the blazing sun out and people beginning to assemble and scream
in anger and frustration and talked to the people face to face about what
happened and that single gesture seemed to be enough to defuse a very tense
Alderman Antonio French, who represents part of St. Louis, was there,
too, and he would urge the crowd to remain calm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO FRENCH, ST. LOUIS ALDERMAN: The last thing we need is
violence in our neighborhood.
Listen. And that`s not going to be -- that`s not going to be on the
police to make sure no violence in our neighborhood. That`s going to be on
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right.
FRENCH: No silliness over here. All right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understand, we know our rights.
FRENCH: You know your rights. I know your rights, brother, too. I`m
going to make sure this man`s rights are exercised, too, and we`re going to
find out what happened. We`re going to be patient in our neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to fight hard.
FRENCH: You got people that got your back over here. You ain`t alone
like they are in Ferguson, you hear me?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC.com national reporter Trymaine Lee.
I thought that moment with Antonio French there, I mean, I was on the
scene and it just, you could feel it.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC.COM NATIONAL REPORTER: Right.
HAYES: It`s like this. People kind of ready to kind of pounce.
HAYES: And what happened was that the police chief came through, and
I thought that account by Antonio French was so important to me, basically
saying, look, you have representation, we`re going to fight for you, we`re
going to make sure justice is done, be patient. That`s not the situation
LEE: No. This has grown so much bigger than Michael Brown, 18-year-
old killed in the street, right? This represents all the stings and hurts
hoisted on these young black males every single day, whether they`re in a
criminal life or not. And so, to step in and say we are your voice,
finally, have your back, essentially, that`s a huge leap from where they`ve
been, where there wasn`t representation coming town to talk to them, that
you didn`t have church leaders and community groups always coming down.
Now, you have your good -- folks are actively engaged. But because this
group has been kind of disjointed for so long from the rest of the
mainstream even in the community, this is a big step.
I mean, again, everyone is already on edge because of the death of
Michael Brown. And people have been fearing it`s going to spread. And so,
this situation, as you said, was neutralized in a certain kind of way with
compassion and love saying we`re here for you.
HAYES: Yes. I thought -- I have to say, Police Chief Dotson -- I
mean, there was an angry crowd and he goes underneath police tapes and he
steps right into it, he gets right up close to people. People are shouting
at him. He`s standing there and he`s saying -- it was just -- it was -- I
think part of what had -- what started the spark of this, I keep coming
back to this because it`s so key, is the way this was handled in the
moments after the death is just -- has people so -- it was so outrageous to
watch this dead teenager on the ground for hours, in front of everyone.
LEE: This is the Captain Ron Johnson school of public relations now.
LEE: He`s over there right now. There`s a crowd gathered around him.
Imagine in those early days if you have your face of your department
come and say, we`re here for you, we are a community. Before it seemed
like, you know, they`re the community and here we are enforcing our will.
You`re right, it`s a big moment.
HAYES: And yet at the same time, one of the things I think I found
reporting here, you walk around and people -- there`s this interesting vibe
in the air where people feel like they want -- now they want to tell their
HAYES: It`s like, oh, hey, I`m going to tell you about this time that
a cop pulled me over for this. I mean, you just -- people are just
volunteering. There are so many grievances that have been just kind of
there and told to friends or family that are part of the lived experience
that are now kind of coming out.
LEE: Exactly, because so long, they were in these small communities.
A lot of us had never heard of Ferguson, Missouri, before, right? Let
alone the 90 other municipalities around here, and everything they`re going
through. So to have the world`s attention, this worked.
Not just the violent side and all the negative attention, but they`re
still marching out here, days on end. We`ve been here all week. All
networks have been here all week. We`re inquiring about the way you`re
living, the way the institution have failed you, the way your interactions
with law have been.
And again, the young man being killed was a vehicle into that
HAYES: So, the news today, is -- we know that Eric Holder is coming
tomorrow. He put an open letter to the citizens of Ferguson. We`ve got
folks out here tonight. It`s a different scene than last night.
There`s fewer people I would say. We still got some very peaceful
protesters walking up and down these streets. West Florissant has been
closed off to vehicular already traffic except for people that live in the
area. There`s what looks like what was once a mail van or ice cream truck
with "no shoot, no loot" painted on it parked just across the street from
Eric Holder is going to come tomorrow, and it strikes me that`s going
to be a big moment here because there`s a real reliable distinction between
how people feel about the local government and how they feel about the
LEE: Oh, certainly. We see this kind of ball rolling from the
Trayvon Martin case, when Attorney General Eric Holder and the president
weighed in saying, if I had a son, he`d look like Trayvon Martin. And,
Attorney General Eric Holder saying, you know, when he was an attorney, he
was stopped by the police.
So, to say we understand the hurt and pain, let`s take a real
transparent look and we`re going to come and make sure everyone feels our
presence. We`re going to let the investigation roll as it will. You`re
going to feel our presence and demand that it be clear that we here for
you, because they said time and time again, though in measured terms
sometimes, that we understand how these young black men are being pushed
out of school. We understand how they`re being directed out of the
mainstream. They understand that.
And so, for them to come in this very moment when emotions are sky
LEE: And we`re not sure how it`s going to end up. The case is in the
beginning. We don`t know how it`s going to turn out at all. It means a
lot to the people and said as much.
HAYES: Trymaine Lee from MSNBC.com -- thank you. Thank you.
I happened upon a scene earlier today that was pretty interesting.
And what I saw three men, three African-American men, having a conversation
with a guy that I`ve been looking for since I got here, the mayor of
Ferguson, a guy named James Knowles III.
He`s a major of a small town. He draws a tiny paycheck. It`s a part-
time job. His town is known internationally for what`s going on here. One
of the men who was there in that conversation was a guy named Bishop
Zachariah Davis. He`s with the Greater Harvest Church in North St. Louis,
It`s great to have you here, Bishop.
BISHOP ZACHARIAH DAVIS, GREATER HARVEST CHURCH: Glad to be here.
HAYES: What were you talking about with the mayor?
DAVIS: What we were talking about as he calls it a community
conversation, coming up with a way to better help the protesters get their
voice out and be heard without the rioting, and he`s asked us as clergy to
participate as a calming effect, letting people know you can speak your
piece, but do it in a civil and a peaceful way.
And so, that`s part of the main conversation that we`re having now,
especially because of what`s been going on.
HAYES: OK. Has there been dialogue before now?
DAVIS: Yes, there has. It has not been the best --
HAYES: What do you mean by that? What`s it like in the room?
DAVIS: It`s been very tense. It`s been very tense to say the at
HAYES: Between who and who? I mean, describe it.
DAVIS: Some of the civic leaders and some of the community leaders
and also the clergy. It`s been tense because this subject matter that
we`re talking about has been a long-standing one. And now, we all are
having to face the music, you know, to say the least.
And so it`s been very tense, especially in some of the last meetings.
Very, very tense.
But I think we all want the best outcome. We all want to see justice
take blaze. But when you have so many different conflicting situations
going on at one time, this is just a difficult circumstance to manage.
HAYES: OK. Let me ask you this. One of the things that has been
said by police and more and more I think reporting bears out that there is
a sort of small contingent that`s coming, you can kind of identify the way
that they sort of wear certain outfits.
DAVIS: Sure. Sure.
HAYES: They roll up around 10:00 p.m. Someone actually said I was
talking to called them the rally boys. I didn`t know -- I was like --
DAVIS: I heard that terminology.
HAYES: You heard that. I was like, oh, okay. The rally boys. All
HAYES: Is there a conversation about kind of what -- what to do to
make sure that they are not em powdered enough to be the people that are
able to trigger the kinds of scenes that we`ve seen here?
DAVIS: Well --
HAYES: Because, you know, you can`t -- I don`t think they`re going to
listen to you, frankly.
HAYES: You`re a persuasive individual, but you know what I mean?
DAVIS: Well, you know, just like the incident last night, you know,
there were 30 to 40 different clergy out here walking late at night.
Things went very, very well for a period of time. And our job, of course,
was just to keep the people moving.
There was a buildup back this way, and then the main situation took
place right here a couple yards away, as you mentioned earlier. And there
was a buildup here and all of the police rushed here, got in the center of
And we were there trying to keep everyone calm, or what-have-you, but,
of course, those instigators and agitators in the mix throwing things at
the police and so on and so forth.
And some of the police came up to us and said, please, whatever you
do, help them keep calm because we don`t want to gas them, you know?
So, can we defuse it? I don`t have an answer to that. They may
HAYES: No one in Ferguson has an answer.
DAVIS: They may listen, they may not. People are so angry right now.
HAYES: They are, right?
DAVIS: They`re so angry.
HAYES: What do you respond to people who say the reason this is all
going on because we`re here, because the media is here? Do you think that?
DAVIS: Partially so. But, of course, as I stated earlier, we`re now
facing the music.
DAVIS: And while there is a tension here, this has grown nationally,
internationally, and even globally.
And so, while the attention is here, yes, there are those who have
taken advantage of the media presence. But this conversation is a
conversation that we need to have and we need to continuously have.
HAYES: Your church, which is in north city, right? It`s not far from
HAYES: That`s actually in the St. Louis municipal area.
HAYES: How present is the grievance against the police, a sense of
police injustice, in your church membership?
DAVIS: Well, it`s not present in the sense of they`re always
DAVIS: But in the -- I`ll say in the local vicinity, there`s a
mistrust for the police in St. Louis and Ferguson and other surrounding
areas. It`s just -- it`s a common factor, especially amongst African-
Americans. It`s a common factor.
So, you know, we as pastors and ministers and preachers, we do our
best to try to give our people a weekly word to try to help them navigate
through life circumstances. But sometimes these situations, these events,
these circumstances, sometimes they just have to be worked through. And
the individuals have to be willing to work through them.
HAYES: We`re watching it being worked through.
Bishop Zachariah Davis, thank you very much.
DAVIS: Thank you for having me, Chris.
HAYES: All right. As I said, just who is out here protesting? How
much influence are outsiders having?
We are live from Ferguson, Missouri, tonight, on West Florissant. A
peaceful scene so far. Some loud voices raised. Some "Hands up, don`t
shoot." All the activity we`ve seen during the daylight hours in what`s
now stretching into the ninth day here.
We`ll be back with much more from Ferguson, Missouri. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I`m going to fight this injustice with
every fiber of my being. And we will prevail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Texas Governor Rick Perry addressed a crowd of supporters just
hours ago in what was a pretty strange scene -- turning himself at a county
courthouse and was booked on charges of abusing his power. He was
fingerprinted and had his mug shot taken. A reminder to everyone: always
smile for your mug shot. His arraignment is set for Friday.
We`ll be right back.
HAYES: Today, news of a horrific act reminiscent of past conflicts
and raising the new questions of a U.S. involvement in Iraq. James Wright
Foley, an American photojournalist, has apparently been executed by ISIS,
also referred to as ISIL or as it calls itself, the Islamic State.
A graphic video obtained by NBC News purportedly shows Foley,
freelance reporter for U.S.-based news service "Global Post", reciting
threats against America before he`s beheaded by an ISIS militant.
Foley was kidnapped in northern Syria on Thanksgiving Day in 2012, and
until now had not been heard from during this time in captivity. Foley
reported conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, where he was actually
held captive for 44 days in 2011.
And now, an ISIS member speaking in English threatened the life of a
second American journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff, if President Obama does
not stop air strikes in Iraq.
As for those airstrikes, they are continuing. Today, a U.S. defense
official told NBC News, the U.S. military has conducted 35 strikes around
the Mosul dam alone, claiming to have destroyed 90 targets. This in an
effort, according to the Defense Department, to expand their area of
control now that the Mosul dam, Iraq`s largest, has been recaptured from
ISIS by Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
And while President Obama yesterday employed the usual disclaimers
about no U.S. combat forces and a limited American role in Iraq, he also
sounded like a commander-in-chief who is increasingly committed to a longer
battle against ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will continue to
pursue a long-term strategy to turn the tide against ISIL by supporting the
new Iraqi government and working with key partners in the region and
My administration has consulted closely with Congress about our
strategy there Iraq and we are going to continue to do so in the weeks to
come, because when it comes to the security of our people and our efforts
against a terrorist group like ISIL, we need to be united in our resolve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just now, a statement from the National Security Council,
quote, "We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of U.S. citizen
James Foley by ISIL. The intelligence community is working as quickly as
possible to determine its authenticity. If genuine, we`re appalled by the
brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest
condolences to his family and friends. We will provide more information
when it is available."
Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California,
senior member of the Intelligence Committee and chair of the Congressional
Caucus for Freedom of the Press.
Congressman, this is obviously the most horrific, monstrous kind of
act imaginable, and we should say that this is something this group has
been doing to hundreds of people, not just this American journalist in
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, that`s absolutely right, and
it`s hard to imagine a more apt description than evil for what this group
represents. They`re beheading people. They`re forcing people to convert.
They`re victimizing women and children, starving whole population centers.
They are the personification of evil. And we see this most
graphically in this latest barbarous act.
HAYES: So, I think there`s two questions to distinguish here, one is
the question about -- is ISIS, ISIL evil? And I think there`s a widespread
feeling what they`re doing is just monstrous and evil.
And then, there`s the question, a strategic matter, is the United
States currently at war with ISIS? The airstrikes that began against ISIS
began under the conditions in which we were engaged in a limited
humanitarian mission to evacuate Yazidis from Mt. Sinjar. That situation
seems to have gotten better.
Now, we`re talking about expanding areas of control of the Iraqi army
around Mosul. So, has the mission changed? Are we at war with ISIS?
SCHIFF: Well, I think you`re right, Chris, the mission has broadened.
It began to protect American citizens as well as the humanitarian crisis
you mentioned. It then expanded to protecting critical information, the
And it`s a very treacherous and slippery slope, particularly when you
talk about a long-term strategic plan of aiding the Iraqis and helping to
defeat ISIL. We may not have declared it a war, but when we`re dropping
bombs and they`re apparently beheading our citizens, it certainly looks
So this is, you know, a very precarious situation. America doesn`t
want to be dragged back in. At the same time, this is a group if left to
its own device has made it clear they intend to attack us in the homeland.
So, Chris, we do have a compelling strategic interest in defeating
HAYES: So, you have been briefed, I imagine, as a member of the
Intelligence Committee, on ISIS. I know there was a big congressional
briefing you attended.
You know, the footage they, themselves, put out is just unspeakably
horrible, if you ever had an opportunity to look at it. Do you -- how do
you interpret this action today? Is this an attempt to bait America into
war? Or is it an attempt to warn America away from continued airstrikes?
SCHIFF: You know, ironically, I think it may be at a bit of both.
This is their way of trying to deter, on the one hand, America from
engaging these airstrikes which have really set ISIL back for the first
At the same time, part of what al Qaeda has done, part of what ISIL
wants to do, is they want to pull us in. These are conflicting objectives.
Maybe they see it as a win either way for them. But part of what they`re
trying to get is the reaction, part of what they want is a fight against
the infidels, and we are apparently the great infidel of all.
So, I think they have those twin objectives. Maybe most immediately,
they want to halt the airstrikes, but that`s simply no going to happen.
HAYES: So, it seems to me that this is one of those situations that
seems so difficult and attractable in certain ways and provides so many bad
choices, that many members of Congress, if not all members of Congress, are
content to sort of sit back and let the president make decisions and
occasionally criticize him.
Is there any conversation in Congress about Congress playing its
constitutional role in essentially signing off on what now looks something
like a war?
SCHIFF: There is, Chris, but you`re absolutely right. The history of
the last 10 years has been one of congressional abdication, particularly on
these hard problems. What do we do about Guantanamo? What kind of process
should we have for detainees? Whether we should revise, revisit, or repeal
the existing authorizations to use force?
Here, I think you`re right. We have a mission that is expanding. We
ought to have a real debate dialogue about authorizing the president to do
what he`s doing.
I think the president will do it even without an authorization under
his Article 2 power.
But frankly, it is more constitutionally sound and better governance
to have the Congress be part of this process and we shouldn`t abdicate our
HAYES: Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much.
SCHIFF: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: We are, of course, live in Ferguson. Here, on West Florissant
Avenue, as sun begins to set, the moment at which things tend to take a
Right now, about several hundred, maybe 100, 200 protesters walking up
and down West Florissant, been cut off to street traffic. A few
occasionally chants but all in all peaceful.
Up next, I want to bring in a conversation with a local business owner
in Ferguson, Missouri, about what has been happening in his town.
HAYES: While we`ve been here on the ground in Ferguson, we`ve been
taking the opportunity during day to go around and talk to folks, get their
stories, figure out why Ferguson right now?
And I have a chance to sit down with Antonio Henley. He owns a
barbershop right near the epicenter of all the protests here in Ferguson.
He told us what he has seen in and around his shop since Michael Brown was
killed and what he wants to see happen next.
HAYES: How long have you had this barbershop here?
ANTONIO HENLEY, BARBERSHOP OWNER: I`ve been established since 1995.
HAYES: That`s almost 20 years.
HAYES: And you`re from around here, right?
HENLEY: Yes, sir.
HAYES: If all this wasn`t going on, what would it be like in here on
a normal summer Monday?
HENLEY: A normal day, definitely we have more business in the area.
You know, we have more customers come in and out. But due to the
situation, it has slowed not only my business down but the surrounding
HAYES: Yes, all up and down the strip. I mean, the -- I mean, I
imagine it`s pretty dead.
HENLEY: Yes. Today, it is going to picked up a little bit. But,
over the weekend, normally, back to school and things like that, we have
been slowing down.
HAYES: Obviously, there are some businesses that are putting boards
up along the strip. There are some that have been broken into. You do not
have a board up out there.
HENLEY: No. Fortunately, I have been here so long, like a
cornerstone of community. People know me. So -- and they know I support
them. We have not had any troubles.
HAYES: Yes. You do not think you will?
HAYES: What do you think -- what is your feeling when you see fellow
business owners up and down this strip?
HENLEY: You know, I feel bad for them. We have to pay our bills at
the end of the day. They are not making any money. So, I do not know how
they are going to take care of their business as far as bills or whatever.
HAYES: Did you start hearing about what went down there in this
barbershop pretty much right after?
HENLEY: Actually, when it first happened, I had a customer in my
chair and we saw the police just flying down the street. And, then, you
know, in the barbershop, we get news fast. They start telling us about a
kid, who got shot around the corner by the Ferguson police and that is how
we found out about it.
HAYES: And, that came pretty quickly, huh?
HENLEY: Yes, it came pretty quickly.
HAYES: And, what was the reaction? What was the general sentiment as
that was moving through the community?
HENLEY: I mean, everyone was -- at the time, they did not know
exactly what would happen. They were upset. We was hearing different
stories what may have happened. A lot of them are leaving the barbershop,
leaving other business, starting to make their way down towards that --
HAYES: That afternoon, people start going down there to see what is
going on. This is right within hours of him being shot and killed.
HENLEY: Right. Right. Right. But, actually, the whole shop strip
was cleared out. Everybody left the barbershop. Everybody was down the
street seeing what was going on. So --
HAYES: What have you made of this past week? I mean as someone who
is sitting here, a pillar of the community as you said. You know, what do
you want to see happen?
HENLEY: I definitely want to see justice for the family first and
foremost. I pray for Mike Brown`s family. I understand what the people
feel. I understand what they are going through. At the end of the day,
there was somebody is child. I got a son -- I got two sons. I am feeling
pain. We just want justice.
HAYES: There is such a surreal scene here right now. You have got
this little weird world that is cropped up like members of the media like
myself, and police, the business owners and the protesters. It is like
some other country. It is like being created in these four blocks of
HENLEY: Yes. Like we are in Iraq or Baghdad or somewhere. But, me,
as a black business owner and a part of this community, I definitely
understand the people. Sometimes it takes drastic move for things to
improve. So, I do not think it is going to go away overnight. You know,
people want to be heard. And, You know, I do not think it is going to end.
HAYES: What is your hope for tonight?
HENLEY: I hope for peace every night. I hope everything calms down.
I hope more questions have been answered, you know? And, the family can
get the answers they are looking for as well as the community.
So, things can taper off and quiet down. But, until then, with the
police presence and the national guard coming in, and -- I do not think the
people is going to back down until they get the answers they are looking
for. So --
HAYES: All right. Antonio Henley, thank you. Appreciate it, man.
HENLEY: Thanks. All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Antonio Henley was just one of the many voices from the
community we have been talking to since we have been on the ground here in
Ferguson. And, there is a kind of unanimous desire for peace every night
as he said. Coming up. Why is this happening here in Ferguson? Why now?
Some crucial context you have not heard anywhere else, next.
HAYES: You know, one of the central questions in the story of what is
happening here in Ferguson is quite simply why here? It is not just about
the killing of Michael Brown, although it is about that.
African-Americans in Ferguson complain about feeling disconnected and
in some case, often cases harassed by a police force that is overwhelming
white; and, for a political infrastructure in St. Louis County, as a whole,
which contains Ferguson and some 90 other municipalities.
And, that county is key to understanding all of this, because Ferguson
is one small town in a whole range of towns here that basically act like
neighborhoods that are under the purview of St. Louis County. And, that
county has remained very, very white in its leadership, even as population
has become increasingly diverse.
Now, Ferguson is a majority black city, a city, itself, with a white
mayor, largely white school board and city council. And, recently, two of
the very few African-American public officials in St. Louis County have
lost their jobs. One of them is a guy you have probably seen around,
He is the longtime St. Louis County executive, who lost an absolutely
bitterly contested primary election to a white city councilman named Steve
Stenger, in a race that was seen as racially divisive. In a campaign ad in
that race, Bob McCulloch, the county prosecutor who will decide whether to
charge the Police Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown,
Bob McCulloch endorsed Steve Stenger.
He was the main endorser, the main sort of voucher. Joining me now is
Wesley Bell, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice St. Louis Community
College and a former candidate for St. Louis County Council. Great to see
PROF. WESLEY BELL, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE AT ST.
LOUIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Thank you.
HAYES: So, lay out the politics of St. Louis County, because right
now all eyes are on the county prosecutor`s office. I was fascinated by
what had gone down, just -- I think the race was just seven or eight days
before the death of Michael Brown, right?
HAYES: What was that race like?
BELL: It was very contentious, and in many -- and in many circles, it
did come down to unfortunately racial -- it was a lot of racial politics
being played. And, I am not accusing any one of the candidates, because I
do not think that was intentional by any of the candidates.
HAYES: It seems to me that even if neither candidate is playing
racial politics when a black incumbent of long time is primaried by a white
challenger from his own party, in a county where there is a majority of
white voters -- a majority of white residents, right? -- in a county as a
whole, that is going to play racially to people, whether or not people are
trying to stoke that.
BELL: And, you are right, and that is natural. That is going to
happen, unfortunately. You know, I did not support racial politics. I
mean, you know, I have a diverse -- I had a diverse following, diverse
group of supporters, but you cannot deny that that was an issue, but I
think it is something that we need to try and overcome as opposed to play
HAYES: So, what -- how do you feel that St. Louis County -- how
representative is it in terms of its power structure? Ferguson, we have
all seen the stats of Ferguson, right? Everyone now knows it is 2/3
African-American, but there is, you know, almost all white city council and
white mayor, et cetera. St. Louis County, is it doing a better job of
representing people of color that live in the county?
BELL: We have our issues just like any other area, because I think it
is important to point out that this is not just a St. Louis County issue.
This is a nationwide issue. This is something that is part of our history
in this country. So, yes, we have issues in St. Louis County, but I do not
think this defines Ferguson. And, it does not define St. Louis County.
Although, there are some things that need to be changed and addressed and I
am hoping this --
HAYES: What needs to be changed?
BELL: I think that -- I think on one -- our leadership, our police
forces, they do need to be more reflective of our population. However, at
the same time, as African-Americans have to be more involved in city
government, and not just city government, but local government and be more
HAYES: The turnout numbers are really amazing.
BELL: Very low --
HAYES: Everyone is saying they are extremely low. And, of course, it
is easy. I got to say this, for folks who are watching this and saying,
"They do not vote. How can they not vote? You know, most people do not
vote in their small municipal elections. I have sat in polling places, you
know, in different states across this country and watched seven people come
in on Election Day. So, it is not like this is unique to Ferguson.
BELL: That is true, but Chris, you have to pay attention to the
percentages of those who do show up. And, of the percentage of those who
show up, the percentage of African-Americans is very low and we need to
change that. But, that is just part of the issue. There should be more
representation. And, I think that is something that even St. Louis county
leaders, as well as Ferguson leaders, acknowledge that.
HAYES: Professor Wesley Bell, thank you so much. Great to have you.
BELL: All right.
HAYES: All right. Up next, who has confidence in local authorities
to defuse what is happening here in Missouri? We will look at that next.
And, we got a new statement from the prosecutor at the center of it all key
to this whole thing. I am holding it in my hand. I will read it for you
after the break.
HAYES: It has been another very hot, very tense day in Ferguson as
nightfall begins. We will bring you much more. You can see the tactical
vehicles rolling down West Florissant as I speak. Much more from Ferguson,
HAYES: We have news this hour from the St. Louis County Prosecutor`s
Office. A spokesman telling NBC News that Officer Darren Wilson, the
officer who shot Michael Brown, has been interviewed by investigators and
will be offered the chance to testify to the county grand jury. He would
not say when that might happen, but regular St. Louis county grand jury is
set to begin hearing evidence in the Michael Brown shooting case tomorrow.
And, joining me now are Democratic Missouri State Senators Jamilah
Nasheed and Maria Chappelle-Nadal. So, we have been talking here about Bob
McCulloch, who is the person who would prosecute this in a local level. I
asked the Governor just yesterday in an interview. If he has the authority
under Missouri law to appoint a special prosecutor, just a fact of matter
He did not really want to answer the question, frankly, but after I
pressed him, he basically said he did. And, a source at the office of the
St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch tells us that, indeed, the
Governor does. So, that is pretty clear, right? If the Governor were to
appoint a special prosecutor, we would --
JAMILAH NASHEED, (D) MISSOURI STATE SENATOR: Bob McCulloch today
basically stated that if the Governor asks for his removal, he would step
aside. So, the community now is asking that the Governor remove Bob
MARIA CHAPPELLE-NADAL, (D) MISSOURI STATE SENATOR: Yes.
NASHEED: If he does not remove him, then the blood of Michael Brown
will be on the Governor`s hand, because the Governor has the authority at
HAYES: That is a pretty strong statement.
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: We use it often here in the Missouri senate.
HAYES: You use what?
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: The term "the blood is on the Governor`s hands."
HAYES: You, guys, are not big fans of the Governor?
NASHEED: I worked with him, but I am telling you right now, this is
not about politics. The Governor should not be waiting for Bob McCulloch
to call him and ask him to be removed.
HAYES: So, that is the concrete demand here. We have been talking
about -- I have interviewed you. I interviewed you. I interviewed tons of
people. I have had a hard time, frankly, finding a local resident around
here, who has a lot of faith in Bob McCulloch. Now, they may have wrong
perceptions about him, but that is the fact of community perception.
NASHEED: But, listen to what he said, "If the Governor removes me, I
will willingly step aside."
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: Pressure needs to be on the Governor.
NASHEED: So, now, the Governor needs to remove him immediately, and,
again, if he does not decide to do that, Michael Brown blood would be on
HAYES: Why do you say that? Because you do not -- explain that.
Because, you are saying --
NASHEED: Because we do not believe that Bob McCulloch would be fair
and impartial. We do not believe that he can be unbiased especially with
his past history.
HAYES: What is that?
NASHEED: The history of --
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: Well, first of all, his father was killed by an
African-American, and it is well known just look at the --
HAYES: His father was a police officer, was not he?
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: Yes. Yes.
HAYES: And, he was killed in the line of duty?
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: Yes. And, he was killed by an African-American.
And, you can look at all of the convictions that Bob McCulloch has had.
And, the majority of African-Americans have gone to jail. So, he does not
have a favorable name.
HAYES: To defend Mr. McCulloch, because he is not here, right? --
NASHEED: That is fair.
HAYES: So, to not gang up.
NASHEED: That is fair.
HAYES: Look. That is a horrible tragic incident in someone is life,
what you just said about his father in the line of duty, right? But, that
should not mean someone has to recuse himself from a case. He is been
elected time and time again.
NASHEED: They do it all the time. They do it all time when they pick
the jurors. Jury selection, when they ask a person if you have someone who
has ever been murdered in your family, if you have someone that have ever
been robbed, they strike those individuals.
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: And, from my vantage point --
NASHEED: So, we should be able to strike Bob McCulloch.
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: And, from my vantage point, I am only communicating
what my community wants, my district. And, so, they do not want Bob
McCulloch. They have yard signs saying please recuse yourself.
HAYES: So, that is going around as a community call.
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: Absolutely, for like at least five or six days now.
HAYES: Have you met -- have you contacted, either of you -- you are
members of the state legislature. You work with Governor Nixon. You are
in the same party. As he been in contact with your office? Is the
Governor working behind the scenes? Is there a side of Jay Nixon trying to
bring peace to Ferguson we are not seeing?
NASHEED: Yes, absolutely. I can truly say that. I have spoken with
the Governor`s office three or four times this week. And, he has briefed
me on what he is doing to try to bring some calmness to this unrest. So,
yes, he has been working behind the scenes. But, I can tell you this. We
have a turn of events today. Bob McCulloch basically stated that he will
step aside --
HAYES: He will not volunteer. He is not going to --
NASHEED: Regardless. He will step aside if the Governor calls for
his removal. And, now we are saying, Governor, do the right thing, do not
play politics and call for the removal of Bob McCulloch immediately.
HAYES: We should also say, from my understanding of our reporting is
that Bob McCulloch does not expect that call to come from the Governor,
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: And, that is why the pressure has to be on the
HAYES: So, that is where you are putting your pressure right now.
HAYES: Governor Nixon -- the people, sometimes, have been saying to
me as I have been reporting, what do the protesters want? What is the
demand? I say, "Well, they want charges. I mean I think it is fair to say
people want to see charges." But, what you are saying is, "Here is a clear
demand. We want a special prosecutor appointed by the Governor under his
NASHEED: That is just one demand.
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: This is a great opportunity for the Governor to show
that he is actually listening to the black community. Again, he is not
been to ground zero yet. And, this is a win for my community that I
represent if Bob McCulloch resigns from this position --
HAYES: He is moved aside by the appointment of a special prosecutor.
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: Yes. He is moved aside. Yes. It would be a huge
win and would limit some of the violence in this community.
HAYES: You think it would?
HAYES: That is interesting you say that, because people were just
saying the violence -- Ron Johnson is saying, the violence is a group of
instigators, maybe they are coming from Chicago, may be they are members of
some radical sect.
NASHEED: They do not have a clue. They do not have a clue. The
people that are out here on the streets each and every day, those are young
men and women that are angry because of the oppression by way of the
political process and the economic process.
And, I am telling you that you have men who cannot find jobs. You
have men that because they have child support in the rear have felony
charges now and cannot find jobs. You have individuals that have been
racially profiled each and every day.
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: And, because of those things, my constituents here
in Ferguson, they have post traumatic stress because they are having to
deal with all of these elements of being intimidated and harassed ongoing,
and to have this occur and nothing happen --
HAYES: Yes --
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: -- this is why people are angry right now. And, so
we need some results immediately. So, the pressure has to be on the
Governor. I do not want him to have any other excuses to not react or not
to respond to the desires of this community.
HAYES: State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Jamilah Nasheed, thank
you very much.
NASHEED: Thank you for having me.
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: Thank you.
HAYES: I really appreciate it. All right, up next. More on who is
out there protesting the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
HAYES: All right. There has been a lot of talk here on the ground in
Ferguson from some of the folks here about outside agitators. It has been
a term, obviously, a term with a long history, not necessarily particularly
a noble history in context of civil rights struggles in the `60s.
And, joining me now are, well, two outside agitators, Nelson Pierce,
Leader Organizer for Amos Project, Federation of Congregations, and Phillip
Agnew, viewers of "All In" know well. He is an Executive Director of Dream
Defenders. All right, you guys are from Ferguson.
REV. NELSON PIERCE, LEADER ORGANIZER OF AMOS PROJECT: Right.
HAYES: But, you are down here. So, what do you say to people that
say, you are not from here, you are coming to rush to the cameras and cause
PIERCE: Right. Well, the big thing for me is, we are here to kind of
add a megaphone to the voices of the people on the ground. The fact is
that the issues that the people are experiencing are deep and they are
And, they are not just here to Ferguson. They are in Cincinnati.
They are in Miami. They are all over the country. And, so when we have
capacity that we can add or we have a megaphone that we can add to help the
voices on the ground, I think that is a critical need.
HAYES: Phillip, you -- these are the kind of issues -- I mean, you
guys started --
PHILLIP AGNEW, DREAM DEFENDERS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Yes.
HAYES: -- around Trayvon Martin.
HAYES: That is when you really got kind of galvanizing. And, you
have been talking about a number of young men in Florida --
HAYES: -- who met their death at the hands of Florida Police.
HAYES: So, this is something that you, guys, have been organizing all
around the country.
AGNEW: This is happening around the country. We are not outside
agitators. Folks ask for us to come in and help. We are one people. We
see that there is a consistent problem of young people gunned down by
And, if you want to talk about an outside agitator, talk about a
police force, talk about a national guard, talk about people in army
uniforms who are not from this community that agitated a sleepy community
on a Saturday afternoon and murdered one of their own and then outside
agitators continue to come in and compound the problem. The police are the
outside agitators. I do not take well to anybody who says that because
they obviously have not seen army behind us.
HAYES: OK. Well, I should say this. First of all, murder -- there
are no charges that have been brought against Darren Wilson. He was --
AGNEW: Right. Right. We are still waiting.
HAYES: But, the other thing is, is this a story -- there is two ways
to look at what is happening in Ferguson. There is something specific here
to Ferguson, like having covered these issues. Look, we covered Eric
Garner in New York City. Eric Garner was strangled to death on cell phone
video on broad daylight in front of a neighborhood in Staten Island.
AGNEW: Yes. Right.
HAYES: New York did not blow up the way Ferguson did.
HAYES: So, there is something --
AGNEW: Well, you have more organizations in New York that are able to
HAYES: Right. Is that -- right.
AGNEW: They able to calm people down.
HAYES: Is that a good or bad thing?
AGNEW: I think it is a bad thing. Right now, we have --
HAYES: I disagree.
AGNEW: Well, look. This is what I will say. Here in Ferguson what
we saw is humanity at its best. Like I said before, there is only so long
that we can watch atrocities like this happen, domestically and abroad that
people do not act in a very humane way. There is a threshold. This is a
straw that broke the camel`s back. And, I think we are just seeing it.
PIERCE: I think a piece of that, too, what we have seen in Ferguson,
what we have seen with the police officers and the violence that has been
visited upon this community night after night happens in neighborhoods all
around the country all the time. It is just not caught on camera. It is
not on CNN.
People are not watching it on MSNBC. Nobody is seeing it, and so we
act like it does not happen. But, this is reality for many people, and the
fact that we are here. We are helping to make sure that everybody sees
what is happening in Ferguson, and to let them know Ferguson is not alone
in this, and we cannot stop working until justice is for all, for
HAYES: OK. But there is also -- one of the things I have noted here
is, and my dad was an -- I was telling you before the break, my dad was an
organizer. I come from a family of organizers. There is a lot of anger
here. There is a lot of organic feeling. It does not seem like there is a
ton of organization here.
AGNEW: All day I was with organizations.
AGNEW: From the moment I got here --
HAYES: So, you are saying there is?
AGNEW: -- Since 4:00 P.M. yesterday, there are organizations here on
the ground. There are people who have not been caught under the umbrella
of a huge organization --
HAYES: Right. Right.
AGNEW: -- But, the organization for black struggle. PICO is here.
We got M.O.R.E., Missourians Organizing for Reforming Empowerment. There
are a number of organizations on the ground that are going to be able to
capture this anger and move it into a productive way.
HAYES: That is the question. What that next step as you saw them
calling for the Governor who appoints a special prosecutor. That was an
interesting moment. Nelson Pierce of Amos Project, Phillip Agnew of the
Dream Defenders. Thank you, gentlemen, both.
PIERCE: Thank you so much.
HAYES: I appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
AGNEW: Thank you very much.
HAYES: All right. It is calm and peaceful here as sun is setting in
Ferguson, Missouri. And, that does it for "All In" this edition live from
Ferguson, Missouri. We will be back in a few hours. "The Rachel Maddow
Show" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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