All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, August 18th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 18, 2014
Guest: Jon Swaine, Yamiche Alcindor, Osagyefo Sekou, Courtney Allen
Curtis, Patricia Bynes, Stephen Bradley
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Erin, I think we`re getting your images
now. Now, if the police decide to break this up, would they be breaking it
up on the grounds that these protesters are no longer moving, and the rule
is you have to keep moving?
ERIN DELMORE, MSNBC PRODUCER (via telephone): Lawrence, they told people to
move back, move back. You should know, this is after the police already
moved them back themselves. They`re wearing their gas masks now. They
have their helmets on. They have their and visors on. They are wearing
their vests. You could see them now. I`m showing you this from my video.
They have batons out, shields up. The vehicles have sirens on. They are
ready to go. The vehicle operators are also wearing helmets and shields.
O`DONNELL: Yes. We`re picking up this very clearly on your video now. We
see those images clearly. Erin, how long ago did this get tense there?
DELMORE: I would say it got tense about five or six minutes ago. People
were protesting. All of a sudden a couple of people came up, started
chanting a little bit louder. There are a lot of clergy here today. Many
of the clergy members have both megaphones and they were urging people to
calm down, calm down. (INAUDIBLE) trying to push the more loud and more
violent speaking protesters back. That is when the cops reacted.
O`DONNELL: Erin Delmore, thank you very much for joining us.
Our live coverage continues now from the scene with Chris Hayes live in
CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you from Ferguson,
Missouri. I`m Craig Melvin. We just learned in the past hour that all
schools in the Ferguson Florissant will be closed for the remainder of the
week, and this is why. I want to show you if we can, right now, the scene
as I`m seeing it unfold here in Florissant Avenue. We are seeing people,
one from what had been a staging area, a few moments ago for what up until
about three or four minutes ago had been a largely peaceful protest.
We saw a number of folks run by. I talked to a woman about two minutes
ago. They were walking toward, again, this peaceful protest. And they
were told by police that things could, quote, "gotten bad," and they were
turning everyone back. Since then we have seen what you`re seeing right
now, a police line is form, and in front of that McDonald`s. Police
officers outfitted with gas masks. There was up until a few moments ago
the alarm we have come to hear a few times over the past few days, that
alarm that goes off to indicate that things in the streets are getting
worse. Things are about to get bad.
The running has stopped. We`re starting to see folks slow down. Just a
few moments ago, I was walking up Florissant Avenue again, say maybe 300 or
400 folks marching up and down. They had been snaking around the street
for the better part of two hours, and we saw an arrest happen right in
front of us. At this point, we think that was one of the only arrests
tonight. There were two gentlemen arrested.
We also saw Captain Ron Johnson, who is in charge of the scene here. Two
folks thrown to threw ground. But again, up until that point, largely
peaceful. The curfew, as you know -- this is the video of the arrest that
we shot a few moments ago. As I`m talking to you again, can see more folks
running. Lots of folks running now. Sirens -- I think we can show you
this. Moving down Florissant Avenue.
This is something we just saw unfolding last 20, 30 seconds, Chris.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yes. We were just -- we just at the top of the
show had gone up in the Jeanie we had here to get a look at what is
happening. And Craig, it`s amazing how things just turn. I mean, we
basically were ready to come on air at the top of the show and talk about
the peaceful evening it has been. We have seen this promenade happening
here. It was people walking in a circle and basically yelling hands up,
protesting, and chanting, hands up, don`t shoot and justice for Mike Brown.
And just two minutes before we were coming on with a show whose theme was
going to be that at this hour, that tonight was different, the tensions
were holding at this hour, that things had been very different, that the
efforts by the police tonight to strike a very different posture in terms
of enforcement in revoking the curfew and in also closing this off to
vehicular traffic here. That would have been successful in creating a kind
of space for protests and not confrontation, and then, boom, snap. And
that has been the case all the way through,. A standoff line outside the
McDonald`s at Ferguson and West Florissant. The crowd -- that they are at
now familiar control noise coming through. And we just saw folks run from
We have just had cars pull up here. Folks are now disbursing down the
street here. It`s unclear -- we went up there to try to get a vantage
point of what was going on. It is unclear, they are looking at reports
over social media about what exactly turned that around at the moment.
Now suddenly, suddenly, honestly, in five minutes, it has -- the sort of
atmosphere here just completely flipped, and that has been the case here
every night. You now, you have a situation -- you`re now looking at a live
picture of the protesters walking down the streets arm and arm.
There`s folks now coming back towards us as they walk away from the police
who came out in riot gear and formed that line there. I`m now seeing pull
up one of those familiar large tactical vehicles that has become so
familiar in the images that have been beamed out across the country and
across the world. It`s now driving down West Florissant towards us. The
sirens are on.
MELVIN: There appears to be someone --
HAYES: It appears to be someone on the top of it. Folks now are walking
back. You can see folks are walking away from --
MELVIN: Two people on top, both in riot gear, and --
HAYES: Someone telling me they are not police. They`re shooting gas,
although, that is obviously, completely unconfirmed at this point. We
don`t smell any of that at this point. We don`t see it and I think we
would have heard and smelled it at this point. So, none of the really
heavy crowd control methods have been brought out as of yet.
Again, the vantage point is difficult to ascertain from where we are as to
what exactly flipped things around such that the police formed a riot kind
of cordon. We have folks walking passed us right now on their way back.
Now, I want to just keep you in mind here. We have been out here since the
live show at 7:00 p.m. central, and --
MELVIN: Hey, hey, hey. Watch out. You know what? They`re throwing rocks
now. We are telling a true story.
HAYES: People are angry, man. They`re really angry. We`re trying to--.
Few rocks chucked at us. We`re fine, we`re fine. People are now --
retreating away from the police --
MELVIN: And this is something else we have seen more tonight as well,
folks wearing masks.
HAYES: Yes. That`s what we`re covering.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
HAYES: Gentleman behind me is telling me this is a civil rights movement,
not just about Mike Brown. It is about all people. There is a lot of
What happened down there? They formed a line, the cops formed a line down
Obviously, it`s a pretty fluid situation right here. Folks are now falling
back, and now -- well, you heard that. So, what happened in tell me what
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
HAYES: So they told you to disburse?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
HAYES: All of a sudden. What precipitated it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing.
HAYES: Gentleman here said that nothing precipitated it at that moment.
They just --
You`re saying the cops just turned on a dime? It had been pretty relaxed
out here. And then all of a sudden they showed up in a line. What`s that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
HAYES: Yes. Saying they treat us like animals. I mean, these people are
really frustrated. Hands up, don`t shoot.
MELVIN: Chris, looks like one of the --
HAYES: there is another line coming down now as people move away, as
people move away from the -- from where they have been disbursed. People
now walking down the middle of West Florissant. United we stand, divide we
fall, they`re chanting. They have got an American flag in the middle.
Folks are coming back.
West Florissant, again, the scene here, just honestly, 15 minutes ago, as
this sort of calm, (INAUDIBLE), but it is the case now here and has been
the last eight nights that as soon that things can go from just quiet and
calm to incredibly tense and contested. And as you can tell there, people
are angry. I mean, there is anger out here. And that when police sort of
adopt the posture of crowd control and particularly riot gear, things
escalate very quickly.
These gentlemen -- Craig has a guy right here who is just coming down --
MELVIN: Sir, you`re up by the McDonald`s. What can you tell us about what
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just saw guys just throwing water at the police.
That was about it. And then the police was holding their ground. But the
protesters were just keeping up the rowdy guys from, you know, crossing the
MELVIN: So the protesters were trying to keep --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rowdy guys from throwing water and keeping them
back from going forward.
MELVIN: When did the situation turn? I mean, we --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the situation never turned. The police never
moved forward. They never moved forward.
MELVIN: They never moved forward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s one guy in the crowd --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is one guy in the crowd --
MELVIN: Come close to the microphone, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is one guy in the crowd that was coming closer to
the cops with a sign. A lot of people in the crowd started pulling him
back, actually pushed him over one time, and then helped him up, and he
still kept going toward the cop. And finally, he came back and that`s when
everybody locked arms and started walking back.
MELVIN: So no tear gas tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No.
MELVIN: Did you guys see any arrests?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No arrests.
MELVIN: And where is everyone going now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just marching to the end and turn around and coming
back. That`s all we been doing all night.
MELVIN: All right. Chris, it seems like at least at this point that
things have calmed down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- this United States in the streets every day.
MELVIN: You on live television, by the way. Live television.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, and everybody need to know that, you know.
It`s crazy that, you know, not just here in Ferguson. I came all the way
up from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I came down here from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
to support this cause, because it need to be known. They killing us in the
street every day. This isn`t -- Ferguson isn`t the only place. It`s
happening all over the United States.
MELVIN: Were you here last night?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I wasn`t here last night, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, we did some -- last night on the news, we
just came from Little Rock, Arkansas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We came to support this movement.
MELVIN: Were you here last night?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. I was.
MELVIN: Tonight compared to last night?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I say the protesters are about the same, but the crowd
is a little rowdier tonight but everything --
MELVIN: Rowdier tonight than last night?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a little bit.
MELVIN: How come?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because, you know, they got a front to -- got to the
police line up there.
MELVIN: The curfew lifted. Has that had any sort of measurable impact?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So far, I would say so. You know, the walking. I
think they`re trying to wear us down by walking us out.
MELVIN: Come a little closer. Come a little closer. What were you
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say it`s pretty obvious that the lifting the
curfew is just a blatant attempt to justify their actions bringing in the
National Guard and saying they didn`t have a curfew. We did nothing to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not here last night. This is my first night here.
MELVIN: Where are you from.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m born and raise right here in St. Louis, Missouri.
MELVIN: St. Louis, Missouri. All right. Are you from Ferguson --?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not from Ferguson. I was raised within the city
limits in (INAUDIBLE).
MELVIN: And the protests tonight, up until 10:00, 15 minutes ago, they
seemed to be largely peaceful. We had not heard those sirens that had
become -- well, as I say that, we hear the sirens now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could be related to the fact up until 10-15 minute
wiz depends have riot -- I can`t state giant line of riot police up there
MELVIN: My colleague, Chris Hayes, is standing by -- Chris.
HAYES: So now we`re seeing the situation there where we have got -- so
what did those gentlemen tell you, Craig?
MELVIN: They were talking about basically where they`re from. The scene
tonight. This gentleman here -- are you a journalist? OK. So I just --
HAYES: It just turned on a dime like that.
MELVIN: One of the guys --
HAYES: They brought the riot police out again. And there was no --
there`s nothing that precipitated. Just came out of nowhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing provoked the actions of the riot police. They
said, disburse, like our first amendment ceased to exist for a second.
MELVIN: What was happening before that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were just standing there in a line, people standing
together and talking.
MELVIN: Chris, as you know, one edict that came down tonight was this
directive that folks had to keep moving.
HAYES: That`s right? Yes. So, the thing they started saying this
morning, right? I mean, this morning, what happened here was they
basically, they cleared out the QuikTrip this morning. It started around
10:00 a.m. this morning, and they cleared out the QuikTrip. That was of
course the site of the burning on the first night. And 10:00 a.m., I was
out there, and the situation was that basically you had an order from cops,
about a dozen cops, that come out and told people they could walk but could
not stop moving, right? They had to keep moving at all times, and that was
the directive that started 10:00 a.m. this morning.
That was continued through the day. And for basically the last two or
three hours, people have been start walking and circulating. Something
changed very quickly. That eyewitnesses we just spoke to, coming back from
it, falling back from it, saying they didn`t know what prompted that. But
all of a sudden, you can see there, that`s a live stream that we`re
bringing you of the situation with the police now out in the familiar riot
gear. We have a whole bunch of people who, again, it was not a
particularly charged atmosphere. It was not -- it didn`t feel like a
MELVIN: And not only was it not particularly charged, there had been a
concerted effort made. We were at one of the organizing rallies, so to
speak earlier, and the number of the speakers, the organizers, said they
wanted to make sure that tonight was different. They wanted to make sure
that tonight, the peaceful protesters had their voices heard, versus the
folks, the looters and rioters who dominated the headlines the past few
HAYES: But it is a testament to -- I mean, what the stories that you`re
hearing and I think the narrative today, Craig, was, basically, this kind
of distinction between the sort of large majority peaceful protesters and
the small, you know, the small cadre of troublemakers.
But I think one f the things that overlooks is the way that police got is
playing into that. And when reliably it`s been the case that when police
take on a posture that is more aggressive, when they take on a posture that
is in the kind of riot gear mode, that what you`re getting is a very, very
intense, charged response and, you know, you just saw it here as people
running back and chucking rocks.
MELVIN: We should -- for folks who perhaps not familiar with the geography
of where we`re broadcasting from right now. This is a block -- two blocks
away from where that deadly shooting happened. I mean, and this was, as
you know, I mean, you have been here from the beginning, this had been one
of the gathering spots until it was moved. And it looks now right now what
we`re seeing behind us, Chris, as we talk here on the air, it appears as if
there`s a group of maybe about 40 or 50 folks who are gathering, chanting,
HAYES: And who are angry. I mean, there`s about 40-50 folks behind again
at the corner of Florissant and Canfield. Canfield drive is, of course,
the block that Mike Brown was shot and killed on in an apartment complex
And strangely, I have to say, after the kind of police monitoring and
police presence we have seen all night, there`s a huge police prepares.
We`re, I should note, kind-behind -- we are inside the police cord.
There`s a kind of security checkpoint in the perimeter. We have taken up a
location that inside the checkpoint. There`s a lot of activity at the
checkpoint. There`s nothing as far as I can tell behind me where everybody
had been disbursed to. There`s another checkpoint just up the road. The
approach for the police tonight was to take up positions as checkpoints on
both sort of north and south of this situation.
I want to bring in here Professor Stephen Bradley. Now, Professor Bradley
has been working with youth here, organizing, protesting, and what do you
make of what just happened?
STEPHEN BRADLEY, PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIV.: I hate to say this. The police
force was antagonizing in this situation. There`s no other way to put it.
I`ve been out here for a while now. And everybody was tense but nobody was
going crazy. I hear the sirens from the police and everybody starts the
attitude changing entirely. And so, it`s a situation where there`s
occupations -- the Ferguson occupation is driving people crazy.
HAYES: I should note, of course, I don`t -- you know, we don`t have police
spokes people here to say what it is if anything. I did not lay eyes on
the moment in question in all due, you know, responsible, fairness to them,
it`s possible that something happened. There was some act of provocation.
We do not know that. We can, pretty surely that say we just talked to --
Craig Melvin was just interviewing four or five people who were saying, no,
they just changed on a dime. And that would not be unprecedented. There`s
been lots of situations where that happened.
BRADLEY: Yes. I think you`re absolutely right. And one of the thing that
people, when they look back on this, the word that might come to mind is
paternalism. That is that you can stay in your house now. You can leave
your house now. You can walk on this street, you can walk on that street
but don`t walk on this street. You can have a curfew, don`t have to have a
curfew. This is too much for any one good person to take.
HAYES: Well, you know, I think if Captain Johnson were here, another
member of the police department, would say, look, this is all efforts at
maintaining the peace. That`s what we`re charged with doing, making sure
there aren`t, you know, there`s not incidents of looting. I mean, what do
you say to that?
BRADLEY: Well, I say that when we when we`re finally able to talk to these
young people, we will find out just how traumatized they are for having
helicopters flying around their homes at night, for having the smell of
tear gas when they go to sleep at night, if they can go to sleep.
These things are problematic and have lasting effects. And so, as if
things weren`t bad enough with the medium income of the people, as if the
school district wasn`t having problems, as if there weren`t other kinds of
problems that were happening in the community. This is an additional kind
of problem, and you only hope for the best.
HAYES: There`s some rocks headed in our direction at the moment.
We`re right now -- it`s about 10:20 right now. Two journalists split while
trying to back up fast enough for the riot police as they have advanced in
the crowd. They just being handed me a report, on Florissant, Ferguson.
Guns aimed at the journalists as they are on the ground. Hands in the air.
The journalists were off the streets at that. That comes from Amanda
Sakuma from MSNBC.com.
Thank you, Craig for handing me that.
So, once again, we have already seen a photojournalist getting arrested
today. You and I, Professor Bradley, just talking not 20 minutes ago -- I
mean, I cannot emphasize to people enough the shift in the mood. It is
like a charge goes through the air. There`s this sort of feeling of
expectation right between the lightning and thunder, where everybody is
waiting for the boom. And you can almost convince yourself that in that
interval between the two, that that something that is called calm and then
the boom happens and you recognize it, you haven`t been walking around
calm. And the folks here -- I mean, what you said about -- you could feel
-- it feels like traumatic everywhere you go on the streets here right now.
BRADLEY: Absolutely. Absolutely. So this is -- in my mind, this not the
America that anybody envisioned. Nobody envisioned this happening in the
United States. Nobody envision thread being helicopters around and I`m
walking down the street, I see somebody I recognize somebody I saw from 10-
15 years ago, how are you doing?
Police would tell me to keep moving. This is strange these streets -- the
Ferguson people pay for these streets. We can`t stand on the streets and
catch up? There`s a lot going on, Chris. And I hope the whole world sees
HAYES: Well, the whole world does see this, and particularly because the -
- apparently the state highway principal or the law enforcement that are
out here chose to make the stand right at the point at Ferguson and West
Florissant -- actually, the media is staged. I mean, that has been part of
this as well. I mean, people -- you know, said something to me I`d like to
get your response. You`re local here. You have been organizing and
talking with you here.
There`s a sense that what is driving this is the presence of the media.
The presence of the media -- I don`t know if we can gate shot of the police
chopper -- large tactical vehicle just drove passed us. A large tactical
vehicle just drove passed us. Just a few minutes ago with this sort of
familiar L-RAD crowd control noise.
And -- so tell me that. I mean, respond to that. There are people who
say, basically, media presence here is essentially been fuel for the fire.
BRADLEY: There was fire before you came. And that doesn`t make sense.
Had not the media been here -- let me tell you something. Had not those
journalists been arrested, been arrested and in trouble, maybe the world
wouldn`t have known about this in the same way. So need the media here to
cover this. We needed to cover it the right way. People causing trouble,
all 25-30 of those people --
HAYES: Is that what you think the number is?
BRADLEY: I don`t think is a it`s as much as you see on certain news
channel. Some media are really paying attention to the looters. Most of
the people, you saw, when they`re walking up and down the street, are
peaceful people. Nobody understands how this small amount of people gets
so much attention. One of the thing is want to emphasize --
HAYES: I want to bring a tape -- Craig do you have a report here?
MELVIN: This is what you just said, an update from a producer on the
ground two blocks up. Police remain in a defensive position, three to five
deep across west Ferguson and West Florissant. Emergency vehicles at the
ready behind them. Citizens are forming human chains to walk back the
violent protesters. Police have batons and shields and gas masks. They
are armed, out, but the crowd is shouting back. Mike Brown can`t relax.
Mike Brown can`t move back. And apparently, just a few moments ago,
everybody just started clapping because they worked together to diffuse the
situation that --
HAYES: You can --
MELVIN: About two blocks up.
HAYES: You can see right there, the sort of intensity of that
confrontation that is happening down there.
JP (ph), you and I have been talking and -- (INAUDIBLE) you`re a journalism
student. You are from Ferguson. You live here. You and I have been
talking about just the surreal charged intensity of what it`s been for
eight days. And I think there`s a sense in which it`s true the media comes
in and it is true we show images of tear gas. And it is true there`s sort
of this -- there this kind of incentive to sensationalize. But the actual
thing driving the story, and tell me if I`m wrong -- is the genuine angst
and anguish and anger and sense of injustice that people have here.
JP (ph): Definitely. People -- I mean, just looking at the -- the autopsy
came out yesterday and indicated all the fronts were in front, it is
corroborating with the witnesses and their stories, and there`s still been
no indictment or arrest of officer Wilson, and people are driven like --
the thing that will stop this or calm this down is if any sort of justice
is shown. And until then, this sort of just energy from people is just
going to continue.
HAYES: There`s some gentlemen behind us in the hands up -- you are now
hearing behind me -- you`re hearing behind me riot police are saying, get
out of the street. You`re unlawfully assembled. There are some people who
have congregated here on the intersection of Canfield and West Florissant
now. I should note --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unlawfully assembled. Get out of the street
HAYES: They`re being told they`re unlawfully assembled. Now, I should
note that it`s not -- there is no curfew tonight. It`s a little unclear
what law they`re violating at the moment. They have fallen back from the
position down West Florissant, near the McDonald`s in the Ferguson
intersection because of a confrontation. You can hear the riot police on
the bullhorn behind us attempting to disburse the crowd right by our
location at Canfield and West Florissant.
And again, if you`re just joining us, I just want to kind of reset the
situation for today. I`m here with (INAUDIBLE) who is a local Ferguson,
journalism student. I`m here with Professor Stephen Bradley who has been
very active in the protests here.
We saw a day today in which there were two big driving stories. There was
the release of the autopsy this morning at a press conference held by the
family of Mike Brown, that I attended. There was that autopsy release.
And then, of course, there was the news of the National Guard being brought
The National Guard brought in to -- as far as I can tell in an earlier
interview I conducted with Governor Jay Nixon, doing that to guard the
police staging area, which is part of a march you were part of yesterday,
that they said was violent. They said there were Molotov cocktails. I
know you don`t think that`s true and several clergy I talked to said that
was not true.
So what happened, though, just so folks know, there had been a series of
tactical shift by police officers, it seemed to me, today. One was to
close this street to traffic which I thought, tell me what you think -- I
thought that seemed like a smart move, actually.
BRADLEY: Well, made it possible for people to walk up and down, and it was
peaceful. It was peace inflame that -- peaceful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree with Dr. Bradley a bit, but it`s like West
Florissant still a major street and it is still inconveniencing a lot of
people to do that.
HAYES: All right. The situation here in Ferguson, Missouri, at this hour,
almost half past the hour again on a night when there`s no curfew, on a
night when there`s real expectations just 45 minutes ago, and I statue
Professor Bradley in the street and shook his hands and say, it seems kind
a calm tonight. Real expectation things would be calm and dissipated.
That calm broken quite definitively just right around the top of the hour
with a confrontation with police. And you are now seeing police disburse
We are be going to monitor the situation and take a quick break. Do not go
anywhere. We will be live from Ferguson, Missouri, when we get to back.
HAYES: OK. We are live here on West Florissant Avenue. It has been the
site of the heaviest protests, the site of the heaviest use of police crowd
disbursal tactics, including S.W.A.T. tactics and heavily militarized
police just a few days ago.
Tonight, just minutes ago, confrontation up here the sort of front line,
just about two or -- 200-yard maybe from our location, people back towards
us in the wake of the confrontation. We`re now hearing riot control police
right just a few feet from us, as supposed of congregated having fallen
back from that standoff with police at Ferguson and West Florissant have
fallen back in our direction toward Canfield drive.
That is the street on which Mike Brown was killed by a police officer named
Darren Wilson eight days ago, with the precipitating incident that set off
this just remarkable chain of events that just, in defiance of every
tactical choice made be policymakers and policing choices made by police
and choices made by protesters, just continues to heighten and escalate
because fundamentally it is being driven by a very, very deep sense of
anger, injustice. And I would even say anguish that is just palpable in
every person you talk to here, and every interview I have done at the time
I have been here, it is driving everything that is happening in this place.
That people feel like in America in the year 2014, they cannot gate fair
shake, a man can be gunned down in the street. That`s how they feel. A
man can be gunned down by law enforcement. And that body lay in the
street. And given no due deference and not even the dig night of being
removed from the street.
I heard that time and time again. And in the midst of that anguish and
frustration, the situation here remains very tense. I want to bring in now
Democratic State Representative Courtney Allen Curtis in Missouri, Patricia
Bynes, a Democratic committeewoman of Ferguson township.
And first State Rep. Curtis, I would like to get your response to what
we`re seeing in terms of police response. We have police behind me right
now that are disbursing a crowd and tell can them they`re unlawfully
congregated and if they don`t move they`ll be subject to arrest.
STATE REP. COURTNEY ALLEN CURTIS (D), MISSOURI: It seems like they`re
doing what they can to control the situation. It seems like things have
gotten out of hand compared to earlier when I was on the streets marching
with them. But you know, they are doing what they can. It`s a challenging
situation and I commend them for that they`re at least trying to do.
HAYES: Do you feel that way as well, committeewoman Bynes?
PATRICIA BYNES, DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEEWOMAN: Do feel that way? Yes.
There`s a lot going on when you`re out there protesting, people cannot see.
And all it takes is just one person to escalate a situation that might not
be common knowledge to everyone. So, I know that our law enforcement is
working very hard to make sure that -- ensure the safety of the public, and
I trust their judgment in these cases.
HAYES: All right. I want to talk to you now that I have you here. Things
I should say, at least on West Florissant here have calmed down a little
bit. There`s a sort of brewing standoff hang behind me between about 30 or
40 people who are being instructed over a loudspeaker that they cannot
stand in the street or they are in violation of the law. I`m not -- this
is a standoff right now in which people are not -- do not want to move and
they`re being told they`ll be arrested.
The underlying cause of this situation, of course, is the shooting death of
mike Brown by officer Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police force, eight days
ago and today we got word of the autopsy. We also got some news that the
county -- St. Louis county police prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, may present
evidence as early as Wednesday to a grand jury here to begin the process of
possible charges being brought against the officer in question.
State representative Curtis, do you have confidence in Bob McCulloch and
his independence to undertake this investigation and possible prosecution?
CURTIS: I`d live to give you a political answer. But unfortunately, I do
not have any confidence in the county prosecutor. If you look at his
history, especially with the divisive campaign just ended recently, I don`t
think the community or myself have any confidence that he`ll be transparent
and that will deliver justice.
HAYES: Do you believe that the governor, Jay Nixon, of Missouri should
appoint a special prosecutor as he told me earlier in the evening, after
some pressing, it appears he has the legal power to do. Should the
governor do that?
CURTIS: The governor is under a challenging situation, and I can`t second-
guess his judgment. We need everyone to come together and trust his
judgment. He`s doing the best he can under very challenge circumstances
but we have to let the process work itself out. Hopefully McCulloch will
do the right thing and go ahead and give the case up.
HAYES: So your posture right now is that you do not trust him but you are
just crossing your fingers and hoping he does the right thing.
CURTIS: from everything I`ve heard, we can`t legally force him at this
point unless you get a certain number of petitions and that goes a circuit
judge. So I can`t say that we can actually take the case from him at this
point, but he does have the able to give it up.
HAYES: Committeewoman Bynes, you feel the same way about the prosecutor in
question, Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis county prosecutor?
BYNES: Well, I would like to see a special prosecutor come in and take
over this case. There`s been questions about the local authorities, you
know, from day one. People have questioned his judgment, especially after
his remarks he made about Captain Ron Johnson, when he came and took over
the security operations.
So, there`s -- I know there are a lot of egos, there are a lot of hot heads
but we need do what`s right. And so, from the very beginning, the
community has been asking for the FBI to get involved, because they didn`t
trust the local authorities. We have to see what happens when local
authorities were handling this case.
Again, the community is asking for a special prosecutor. Because we want
everything to be transparent. And I really wish that prosecutor McCulloch
would just recuse himself so that there`s no appearance of un-bias of any
sort because this is what the community is asking for.
HAYES: State representative, you just mentioned just a moment ago to the
divisive election that just happened. And I think that`s a really
important bit of context. I think folks outside north county probably
don`t know much about. Can you tell me what that election was and why it
was so divisive?
CURTIS: Well, typically you don`t have a challenger to incumbent specially
the county executive. So inch this case, the prosecutor actually came out
and said that the county executive has a basically is corrupt, in so many
words. And he has been there for 24 years. And to say that the county
executive is corrupt, you know, it shows that he was completely against him
and the tone they used in the campaign and the advertising, it was
basically racially divisive. And they drove that -- pleaded to Republicans
to vote against the county executive just so that they can win and that
didn`t do anything good for the Democratic Party and nothing good for this
situation and that has led to a lack of confidence in prosecutor McCulloch.
HAYES: So I should just be clear for folks, Charlie Dooley is the man that
you as the county executive, an African-American man has been county
executive for a while. He just, a few days before Mike Brown`s death, he
was beaten badly in a primary by a challenger from the council of the
county, by Governor Stringer who was endorsed by Bob McCulloch. Bob
McCulloch taking a very unusual stand and endorsing in the primary against
an incumbent, against Charlie Dooley. And obviously, were some intense
racial subtext and frankly just pretty surface racial ramification there.
Charlie Dooley, African-American, Bob McCulloch and Stringer are white.
And you are saying, state representative, that has left a bitter taste in
CURTIS: Right. I mean, definitely, that provides a lot of context.
There`s another story out there about Mr. McCulloch`s past. If you will
look on that, they give you even more context to say why we believe that he
is complete by bias and can`t provide a transparent process.
HAYES: So I want to just say for a second that -- for the images we`re
seeing now, on the live -- appears someone is being arrested. That is
happening, again, just a few hundred yards up from where we are.
People are being told, again -- people are being told, basically, that they
can be out, there is no curfew, but that they must keep moving. That has
been more or less -- you`re seeing now a line moving -- that is the scene,
live right now, just north of us, just a little bit. -- south of us,
should say, just a little bit. And protesters and riot cops face off from
each other. You see organizers essentially urging a kind of unify eddies
minimum and line from their people.
I have to say that there`s a handful of people have been working incredibly
tirelessly in this situation. We talked to a few of them earlier to try to
kind of bring a kind of de-escalation and discipline in the these kinds of
environments so that we do not end up in the situations like we have been
seeing, as of yet, I should be clear here, as of yet, we have not seen
deployment of tear gas. We have not seen the deployment of rubber bullets.
We have not seen deployment of some of the more aggressive means of crowd
control that we have seen, some of the more militarized --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are blocking the street. Your unlawfully --.
HAYES: On the phone, Jon Swaine from "The Guardian" where that is
happening. Jon, what are you seeing right now?
JON SWAINE, THE GUARDIAN (via telephone): I`m seeing a couple hundred
yards a secondary standoff to the main line we saw, where most of the media
is camped. And basically what happened is, some of the more aggressive
protesters, some of the guys who are more angry with the police, who were
plated earlier to retreat. Have stronger gone back to the other end of the
street and making a QuikTrip that is all (INAUDIBLE) and they are staying
in the middle of the street. The police have a truck with maybe two dozen
officers with guns trained on them, but repeatedly told to get out of the
street, people with street signs they`ve torn up from the ground. And
right now it`s pretty tense. They`re not leaving the streets, and anything
HAYES: Jonn, just to confirm you are right now outside the QuikTrip?
SWAINE: I`m outside the QuikTrip with, I should say, it is the second who
stand up (INAUDIBLE), sudden gathering of some of the protesters who were
persuaded to leave earlier from the main line.
HAYES: Right. So just so folks gate sense of the space here. We are in
the middle of two different police standoffs and checkpoints right here
where we are, up by the McDonald`s on Ferguson, is where there was
initially standoff between riot police -- there`s folks running right now.
SWAINE: They`re going be to coming passed you right now.
HAYES: They`re coming past you right now. People are running up the
street. They have now -- again, they were chased from one end back down
there. They`re now convoy tactical vehicles that is going to push them
right past our position.
Again, the helicopter continues to circle above. We are in this kind of no
man`s land between the two police checkpoints at the moment. And there`s -
- there are folks coming back, we can see a long line on the shot there of
tactical vehicles. Jon, are you still there?
SWAINE: I`m still here, yes. The police truck -- one of the police trucks
HAYES: That sounds like gunfire.
Folks, folks, what sound like gunfire just now, and a bunch of young men
have just run with their shirts around their faces away. They are coming
out of Canfield drive and they are now running up West Florissant the
It`s gotten very, very, very, very hairy here. Very quickly. I have to
say. It feels pretty tense out here at the moment. I`m not quite sure if
we heard gunfire just now. It sounded like gunfire. It is also possible
that the fireworks -- now people -- there`s people falling back from that
confrontation that was happening at the QuikTrip. But yes, West Florissant
has been cut-off in two ends, one in the McDonald`s end, the others at
Thirty minutes ago, a confrontation at the McDonald`s in which the media`s
staging area, pushed people back towards the QuikTrip. Now, police have
come in from the QuikTrip side, and again, you get the sense of a kind of
squeeze happening here from both ends.
We just heard something that -- I don`t know what it was -- loud pops in
the air. Unclear what the origin of those loud pops were. There`s an area
here on Canfield drive where there`s very little police presence. Folks
are kind of falling back into the darkness, away from the police and away
from the lights that the police are bringing there. Things remain very
tense at this moment. Jon, are you thrill on the phone?
SWAINE: I`m still here and still watching. The police are fanning out a
bit and moving away from their trucks. Standing in more of a line. Some
people have disbursed. Just ran past you, I believe. But some are staying
here. They have mainly left the street, which is what the cops are asking
them to do, but some of them are remaining just outside the QuikTrip on the
sidewalk there, holding signs, shouting at the cops, and refusing to leave.
HAYES: So, just another loud boom. It is unclear of what the origin of
the boom was. There`s sort of smoky smell in the air right now. Again,
unclear what the origin of that is. There`s a little congregation that is
happening here on Canfield drive. There is a few protesters with their own
bull horn, who are yelling back. Again, that police chopper circling
overhead and beaming down.
Can you see anything down there, Craig Melvin?
MELVIN: No. You know, I don`t. I do see one of the principle organizers
using the megaphone. I saw some folks running a few moments ago down
Canfield. Again, for folks not familiar with the geography. That is where
the deadly shooting that start ailed of this -- that`s where it happened.
We`re about two blocks away from that apartment complex.
But you know, Chris, as you have been hearing the police over the last 15-
20 minutes or so instructing folks to not gather to keep moving,
essentially. A lot of folks aren`t doing that right now. A lot of folks
are stopped and walking up and down the sidewalk.
HAYES: We`re seeing some passenger vehicles come by here now, up and down
the street. And there are folks sort of walking around but they`re mostly
-- they mostly want people -- they mostly want people to leave from the
QuikTrip area, and there`s that standoff you can see.
Again, the kind of standing order all day -- I mean, one of the dynamics
that`s been in play here is police issue some kind of bright line and then
the kind of confrontation ensues over the enforcement of the bright line.
We saw that happen two nights in a row with a curfew in which the curfew
became an obvious point of tension and drama as it became clear as the
minutes ticked bay closer to curfew. That there are some people who are
going to refuse to obey that curfew.
Tonight the curfew is lifted in the place of the curfew, the order that has
been given to people is they can be on the street but have to keep moving
on the this stretch of West Florissant that is seen, the most intense
clashed with police. They have to keep moving here. They can`t stand
still. Announcing a number of amnesty observers in yellow shirts who were
walking back from the standoff.
We`re going to take a short break. Do not go anywhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: 7:00 p.m. Central.
MELVIN: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. Watch out, Chris! You know -- you know
HAYES: They are throwing rocks at us. Let`s go.
MELVIN: You know what we are?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is just a few minutes ago here on West Florissant as people
were falling back from the standoff with police. Few rocks chucked at us.
Not the biggest deal in the world.
You chuck a little bit. What was your reaction to that? We just heard,
let me also say on Canfield down here. And someone just threw something
through a store window at the original Red BBQ. We just heard smashing of
glass behind us.
Reverend Sekou, who is an organizer and pastor who has come in as part of
the organizing effort. What was your reaction when I`m telling you about
the rocks being chucked, about that trash can that went through a window?
REVEREND OSAGYEFO SEKOU, SENIOR MINISTER, LEMUEL HAYNES CONGREGATIONAL
CHURCH: These babies are in so much pain. They`re living under
occupation. There are tanks on both ends of the street. They have not
gotten justice. Many of them saw our dear brother and son, Mike Brown
laying in the street for four hours. The average income of in Ferguson is
less than $20,000 a year. There are ongoing stories, we have heard about.
People being attacked by the police and being harassed by the police. And
so Martin Luther King reminded us eloquently, some 50 years ago that riots
and violence, sometimes it is the language of the unheard.
HAYES: Yes, I think the point about pane you made, I think is an important
one for people to understand who are not here. Which is the sense of rage,
grief, anguish, and, and the, and pain, just sheer pain is just extremely
palpable right now from people.
SEKOU: Yes, I mean that -- they are like Rachel. They will not be
consoled. In the sense that -- I mean, imagine what your life and
possibility is if -- let me reframe it. The last time I felt this was 2012
and I was in Palestine. That these children are living under occupation.
That America has turned its back on them. It has refused to provide the
kind of resources, some $400 -- $450 million in 2013 gone to militarizing
the police. While school teacher told me today in the school district that
she had to raise money to buy dictionaries for her classroom.
And so, in addition to the levels of police violence that the kind of
existential violence in their classrooms or walking down the street and
being harassed. And that the rage that they feel is justifiable. We don`t
condone the violence. Ultimately the violence is created by this. They`re
drones. American taxpayer dollars used on drones to police children. When
the officer has the not been indicted. And so -- what do we expect of them
at this moment? And this is not an indictment of someone breaking windows
or throwing bottles. It is an indictment on a nation that has betrayed its
HAYES: Things right here at this hour in a kind of one of those strange
tense equilibriums we`ve become familiar with over the past few days in
which it just feels like maybe this is something approaching calm. But the
calm is always threatening to be punctured at any moment. To turn around
in any moment.
We`re not hearing the same kinds of -- of repetitive commands being, being
ordered through the megaphones. That we were just a few moments ago. We
are essentially watching --
OK, we have Yamiche Alcindor from "USA Today," on the phone. Where are
you? And what do you see?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, USA TODAY (via phone): I`m across the street from the
QuikTrip where police have ordered media to separate themselves from
protesters. So on one side of West Florissant, are mainly journalists.
And on the other side are a group of protesters who have decided they will
not leave. Who have been told to disperse. But who are saying they will
not leave in.
And then in the middle of the road are police tactical vehicle whose have
been commanding all people all night to leave. As you said moments ago
they haven`t been commanding people in the last couple of moments to leave.
But I can`t tell if that means if this is calm, or they are about to do
something else. I got amnesty international representative, who is really
concerned that tear gas might be thrown at the protesters sometimes soon.
HAYES: Yes. Tear gas seems -- seems a certain possibility. It is
something that has been used quite a bit, it has been reported, actually,
tear gas as a chemical compound is actually, banned on chemical weapons
treaty as use of weapon in war. It is used in the U.S. and other places
for crowd control. But it has struck many people here, many in stances it
has been, moved too quickly to tear gas.
Reverend Sekou, you are part of the people on the receiving end of tear gas
SEKOU: Yes, we were marching up this way on West Florissant and
unprovoked. It was peaceful. The young people were, yelling, yelling
"hand up, don`t shoot." And then all of the sudden, three urban tanks
appeared out of nowhere, told us to disperse and begin to shoot tear gas.
HAYES: Sorry -- a few protesters just yelled at us. They`re shooting at
us for no reason. They are shooting at us for no reason. I think, so we
are clear, that`s a live report of shooting at us. I think -- she is angry
about the -- angry about the deployment of -- deployment of, she is saying
nobody is safe. She is angry about the deployment of tear gas.
Yesterday in the march you were part of, which when I talk to captain Ron
Johnson yesterday, he just -- I said that I talked to you and some members
of clergy, some other who are in that, including, Tathia (ph) who was
there, who said they saw no Molotov cocktails, definitively. Throughout
captain Ron Johnson basically said, you know, that the instigators and
provocateurs are using these peaceful protests, people like yourself
organized to blend in. And that you can`t see anything that happened. But
he is quite sure.
OK, we now have got folks running, booking down Canfield. Running very
fast. Fleeing something. And, and, often it, in days past that, that has
meant the deployment of tear gas. That as of yet does not seem to be the
case. But people just took off, tearing away from the current site of the
standoff, between protesters and police ordering them to disperse. And who
are yelling -- Yamiche, can you tell me what just happened down there?
ALCINDOR: From where I am standing, police were ordering people not to
place objects in the middle of the street. And then people, a loud rustle,
not sure what it was, and people took off running down Canfield which is
how it would run and started running toward you.
I heard someone say that it was a fight. And that is not anything having
to do with what the police are doing. From what I can tell the police
didn`t throw any tear gas or anything like. So, I`m not sure what the
people were running from.
HAYES: There is a bunch of people congregated off the main drag of
Florissant, on Canfield here as they find themselves. At this point, I
think it is safe to say there is no one else new coming into, into this
stretch, this stretch of West Florissant. It has been -- Reverend Sekou,
thank you for your time.
SEKOU: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Well, pretty eventful hour here in Ferguson, Missouri.
After a day when I have to tell you every single person I talked to from
the community is aching in their hearts and they`re hoping for -- they`re
hoping for calm and hoping for justice and hoping for the two things side
by side. And they don`t think there is any way that justice, that calm can
come without justice.
Those two are bound up to everyone that I have talked to here. It is why
you are hearing people shout, "No justice, no peace," because in the
absence of what people here feel is justice, which they concretely in the
future very much want to see as a sort of descriptive matter, these folks,
they want to see charges brought against that officer.
And in the absence of that, there continues to be tremendous anger and
anguish and grief and confrontation here on the streets of Ferguson,
Missouri. That`s ALL IN for this evening. Rachel Maddow will take our
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Chris. And we will not let you go to
bed or get any production work done quietly. We`re going to be going back
to you. I`m sorry that you are out there in the middle of it, man, but
it`s invaluable information.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: Thank you.
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