ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 19, 2014
Guest: Jeff Smith, Umar Lee, Trevor Woolfolk. Alisha Sonnier, Jonathan
Pulphus, Taurean Russell, Phillip Agnew, Michael McBride, Jonathan Gaskin,
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: We are live here in Ferguson, Missouri. Night
has fallen and it is typically around this hour that things get very tense.
Last night when we were here just at this position was the moment, at which
a peaceful and fairly calm protest turned to something else, apparently a
bottle thrown at police just a few hundred yards up to West Florissant up
there, turned into another night of tear gas and crowd control, 70 plus
arrests. Tonight right now, if there is protesters, you can hear them at a
background, "I believe that we will win", "Hands up, don`t shoot." "No
justice, no peace." There`s a heavier police presence along the stretch of
West Florissant tonight than there was last night where there was
essentially two checkpoints set up and a kind of no-man`s zone in between,
at which we were at. It was in this no-man`s zone just a few hundred feet
from where I`m standing now that gunshots ran out -- rang out through the
night. We have now entered the point in the evening in which police have
typically started to kind of move on the crowd or at least as tensions have
escalated, right now that is not the case.
The big news at this hour right now centers around - centers on a man named
Bob McCulloch. And Bob McCulloch is the county prosecuting for St. Louis
County. He`s been elected time and time again by the voters of St. Louis
County. He`s been in office, I believe, 23 years. Since I`ve been on the
ground here in Ferguson, I`ve been hearing from residents, and African-
American residents predominantly, that they do not have faith in Bob
McCulloch who pursued this investigation. And it hasn`t just been
residents saying that. It`s also been members of the political
establishment, local political elected leaders. State Senator Jamilah
Nasheed on the air on this show several nights in a row, State Senator
Nadal. We`ve also had Hazel Erby who`s a city councilperson for St. Louis
County and the head of St. Louis County, the chief executive for that
county got a name of Charles Dooley. All of them expressing their lack of
confidence in Bob McCulloch.
When I had Governor Jay Nixon on the show last night, I pressed him on
whether under the state of emergency he assigned for Missouri, he has
emergency powers to appoint a special prosecutor. He was reluctant to
answer that. I came back to him again and he more or less agreed that
under these emergency powers he can, in fact, appoint a special prosecutor.
Appointing a special prosecutor doesn`t exist in normal statutory law in
Missouri, but under the emergency powers that he now has because he`s
declared a state of emergency, he could do that.
Now, we`ve gotten some interesting news tonight. We`ve gotten word from a
spokesperson for Bob McCulloch`s office, and he does not expect to be
relieved of his duty, but if the governor were to appoint a special
prosecutor, he would step aside. He said he doesn`t expect that to happen,
but if the governor were to approve a special prosecutor, he would step
aside. Just moments ago, on our air, Claire McCaskill, Senator from
Missouri basically saying that she could see a scenario, in which a special
prosecutor was appointed and Bob McCulloch stepped aside. Because the
depth of community mistrust for Bob McCulloch. So, that right now is one
of the key moving parts in all of this. If you talk to people here, there
are basically two things they want to see. One of them is they want to see
charges for Darren Wilson. They want that they feel the facts on the
ground justify charges brought against the officer that shot and killed
Mike Brown just a few blocks from where I`m standing. They also often want
to see Bob McCulloch recuse himself. Now, he could recuse himself. The
governor is saying that him stepping into the breach to appoint a special
prosecutor might take the legal process. So, what we have is a kind of
interesting standoff. I`m not sure if people quite understood what is
going on here. The county prosecutor Bob McCulloch is saying that if a
governor makes the first move affirmatively to appoint a special
prosecutor, he`ll step aside but doesn`t expect it to happen. But governor
himself saying that Bob McCulloch has the ability to step aside and recuse
himself, and that`s a well-founded precedent, but he won`t step into the
situation. And a community and political leaders here who are asking for
Bob McCulloch to be removed. All of this in a kind of tense equilibrium as
evening has descended here on Ferguson, Missouri and as everyone here says
to you as you have conversations, how does he - how does he - and where
does this go. Joining me, we appear to be looking - Is that live footage?
We appear to be looking at live footage of a little bit of a melee (ph) at
a parking lot between protesters. All right, joining me now by phone is
former Missouri State Senator Jeff Smith. He`s an assistant professor of
politics and advocacy at the New School in New York City and Jeff has been
an invaluable guide through Missouri politics. So, I had a state rep who
said to me, it`s not going to happen. Not going to happen. You are crazy.
You`re barking up the wrong tree on this special prosecutor thing. To
explain to me the dynamics at play here, Jeff.
JEFF SMITH (D) FORMER MISSOURI STATE SENATOR: Well, it feels like a little
bit of a political hot potato, doesn`t it, Chris?
SMITH: I don`t really think it either, I don`t really thing that, you
know, Jay, I don`t really think that the governor, is going to step in and
do it proactively. I think that he`s always been a law enforcement guy,
he`s always received strong support from the law enforcement community. He
was attorney general for 16 years. And the chain of command is I think
very important to him and I don`t expect him to do anything that would sort
of interrupt that chain of command by intervening here. At the same time,
I think that the county prosecutor might and I think this is sort of
apparent in what we saw tonight, he would love to be out at this box and
not have all of this heat on him because he`s probably damned, but he does
SMITH: He`s damned if he does, and damned if he doesn`t, if he charges and
then ultimately wins or loses the case. So, I think that neither one of
them, you know, neither one of them will probably act -- the governor
probably won`t remove him and I don`t see him McCulloch recusing himself
because he`d probably take a lot of heat from the law enforcement folks who
have supported him for so long as the tough on crime prosecutor, if he did
so. Again, his father was a policeman who was killed in the line of duty.
His cousin, his brother, his nephew, it`s a family that, you know, with a
lot of policemen and I think the police are counting on him not to recuse
HAYES: Yeah. And he - I mean he is viewed as - sympathetically, police,
of course, all prosecutors spend their lives every working day, working
with police, working with police on investigations to gather evidence,
putting police on the stand to make their cases. I mean, you know 90
percent of criminal cases are made by police witnesses. So, there`s a
tight bond there.
SMITH: I mean he just got re-elected as he just said like 11 days ago. He
got reelected. If he wants to, you know, if he recuses himself here, then
he risks spending his next four years having a tough time ever making a
case because something else - he might - there might be retribution. In
other words, cops may say, hey, he didn`t stand by us and, you know, maybe
we`re not going to stand with him, you know, so steadfastly as we have in
the past. So there`s definitely, I think, concerns going forward for him
if he were to recuse himself.
HAYES: Let me just explain it to folks what they are seeing right now.
It`s a little melee that broke out in a parking lot by McDonald`s. A few
blocks up right here. One of the dynamics at play here when dark descends
in Ferguson, is that, you know, a lot of folks out, and some of the
violence had happened here. This has been between folks that are out on
the street. Last night, we had a shooting just a few hundred feet from
here. It had nothing to do with - it wasn`t shots fired at the police, it
was shooting between to people that were out on the street. When a lot of
people are out, people that happen to have beef with each other, run into
each other and so we`ve seen a little bit of that at the edges. Jeff
Smith, I want to stay with you throughout this story, and I think the big
takeaway to me today is McCulloch basically opening the door. I mean
basically if you are reading through the lines, he`s saying, look, if the
governor comes in and takes the heat for this, all step aside, and at the
end of the day, that might be the best thing for him politically, because
then he doesn`t look like he`s backing down - he could yell and scream
about the governor moving him off it, and he doesn`t have to actually
forward with this case, which from a political standpoint for Bob McCulloch
is an impossible one, is that right?
SMITH: That`s definitely the case for the country prosecutor, but for the
governor, it`s just I feel pottery barn rule, you know. If you break it,
you own it. And if he moves in to intervene, he owns the outcome, whatever
it may be.
SMITH: Of prosecution, and I`m not sure that he wants that.
HAYES: All right. Former Missouri State Senator Jeff Smith on the phone
for us. Thanks so much, Jeff.
SMITH: Thanks for having me, Chris. Stay safe.
HAYES: All right, joining me now - joining me now is msnbc.com national
reporter, Trymaine Lee who`s just been steadfast and - on the ground here.
Trymaine. So, a different kind of approach tonight. We saw it all
breakdown about 20 minutes earlier last night. I actually think the
posture right now seems to be working.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC.COM: Right.
HAYES: Which is people are allowed to congregate. There`s groups -
there`s a sort of - there`s a big police presence, but not an aggressive
one, if that .
HAYES: Would you agree with that?
LEE: No, I definitely agree. But I think one thing that we need to pay
close attention, we noticed it last night, remember, when everyone first
locked on, they first started to gather and you`ve had Malik Shabazz, a
Black Lawyer for Justice on the megaphone, you had different communities
actively staying out here all night long. If you saw it tonight they
seemed more organized. They seemed younger, they were chaining, it seems
that the elders in the community who have finally kind of ingratiated
themselves, the younger people .
LEE: It`s working. Because last night it could have been a riot almost.
I mean it was getting better - they`ve got - eventually, but not with a
group that was led by some of the community officers. So tonight, you
know, it seems a bit difference.
HAYES: Yeah. That, I know - that (INAUDIBLE) is here, because, you know,
we have seen organic outrage and organic anger, and if it`s not necessarily
-- it`s not like - you know, I`ve said this before. When Eric Garner was
strangled to death by a New York City police, or was put in a chokehold
that led to his death by New York City police on tape. The protesters next
day were led by a number of organizations that have people on the streets
and they called out to their listeners. People came out and they marched
and they chanted. That has not - that`s just not in the case here.
HAYES: That`s just - it is people coming out and they talk to me. They`ve
got it hands on, we were just walking down the street to get something at
McDonald`s and while they were walking down the street they are saying,
hands up, don`t shoot. So, when people talk about the protesters, it`s not
the protesters, it`s just people out here.
LEE: The difference is, there are a lot of places that already have built
in frameworks and networks. And understand how to take action again. They
can get on no break line, they can mobilize - the history of mobilizing.
This community right now, this is a turning point. They are emerging,
right? And then we are talking about special prosecutor and the political
will and political pressure, how will the people come out? Will they
demand change and will they come out in a very organized active way to
support that change? And that`s what we are seeing. They are growing into
their own a little bit now. I mean look at this. They are still bold.
They are still out here. They are still moving. And it seems to be more
HAYES: Yeah, I mean we also got to say - and I want to - this (INAUDIBLE)
who`ve been out here, sort of this - the vast majority of peaceful
protesters have been here night after night. Keep in mind, when police
talked about the sort of element that`s inspiring mayhem .
HAYES: . which is - which is a small, a very small -- I think we all agree
LEE: Right. Right.
HAYES: (INAUDIBLE). When the tear gas comes out, it doesn`t just get
those people, right? So, they are also out here on the street peacefully,
they are getting this tear gas, they are getting rubber bullets, and they
are coming out night after night after night. That tells you something .
HAYES: About the depth of a grievance. They are out here behind me right
now. And they know very well, they don`t have masks.
HAYES: They are not handing out gas masks.
HAYES: They know how unpleasant tear gas is.
HAYES: They know they might get rubber bullets, and they are out here
night after night after night after night.
LEE: And you - things by this, and the police will say that they have
reports who was shooting at them. But we also know, if it takes a plastic
LEE: We`ve seen it. Now, last night there was a little more restraint.
There was one bottle. And a few minutes later there was another and
another, and they didn`t immediately fire. When several nights ago, you
know, they started letting up tear gas because a plastic bottle hit the
HAYES: Right. Right. Right. Right. Well, but the other thing, I just
want to sort of want viewers to feel - on the ground here is. I`m not like
- the tension here is very real. It`s not a fabrication of cable news.
It`s the tension here is not because the cameras are here. There`s a
certain amount, in which us being here with these lights on observing the
situation, change the situation, there`s no question about that.
LEE: Right, right, right.
HAYES: But the tension that`s driving this situation here and the tension
on both sides, I mean I`ve heard comments from police.
HAYES: I had a friend -- a source and friend tell me, that, you know, he
had a police officer take, you know, make a crack about get a job outside.
HAYES: I mean the police are not happy being out here, and I`m not going
to generalize about them because they are individual human being, like the
LEE: Of course.
HAYES: And they`ve got all sorts of different politics and views. But
they are in intense posture, too. So, that tension is just - it`s mutual
and it can get into the context of when you report things. And even when
it`s calm, you feel it.
LEE: And I think by - and I think because of the way where, you know, that
the platform we`re delivering is from, these are real life, real life and
death here, right? We`re talking about people shooting at each other.
We`re talking about unarmed people being killed by the cops. We`re talking
about people maybe firing on police officers, and Molotov cocktails. And
even if the police are correct with their intelligence, that they are
getting more organized, the people are climbing on roof tops and waiting
from - if any of that is true, this is a very tense situation whether we
see it or not because we`re only dealing with a few individuals. You know,
it can turn any minute and who knows where they are. Right? I saw earlier
- as soon as SWAT guys, you know, are creeping behind a building here and
then a car. They acted - and we saw, even though it was calm and cool,
they are taking a precaution and everyone is still on edge.
HAYES: Yeah. And we`ve got - last night it was just back here that was
where the gunshots went off during our live hour. That was - the gunshots
were somewhere between the rocks and the tear gas. That right now that
corner is clear, of course, but for right now, it is calm and it is
peaceful and people are out and they are peaceably assembling. Tomorrow
strikes me as a big day in this, and for a few reasons. I think Claire
McCaskill`s comments about the special prosecutor that issue was bubbling
up. You are seeing now - people are having to respond to it. Bob McCulloch
had to respond to it, Governor Nixon had to respond to it, Claire
McCaskill, the senator, is talking about. You`ve got that - you`ve got
Eric Holder coming to town and you`ve got the meeting of the grand jury and
the possibility that it will be the first day in which evidence is
presented at that grand jury. All of those things - those things are
LEE: This is a moment where - we could actually shift from having a report
on the violence and get back to the case, right? Because as this case
moves along step by step, because we are still along the way, the grand
jury is a big deal. Because when the people say they want a prosecution,
this is the - you had to go through this avenue. Even though we`ve been at
press-conference and everyone is yelling at Captain Johnson and yelling at
the governor, that`s not the way the system works. And so, I think that-
now we are getting back to the breath tax and take step by step and move
this case along. Will there be charges? Are they going to present the
evidence? Is it enough? And, you know, we`re moving along.
HAYES: All right. Trymaine Lee with MSNBC.com. Thank you. Thank you
All right. We are live from Ferguson, Missouri. And I had said, peaceful
scene out here so far. Folks walking around and chanting. Hey, man.
Exercising their First Amendment rights to peacefully assemble. For now,
things are calm. There is tension in the air. We`ll be live for the hour,
so stay with us.
HAYES: In north St. Louis earlier today, about three miles from where I`m
standing, two police officers from St. Louis metro police fatally shot a
man known in the community for having mental issues. Man who was wielding
a knife according to police after he took two bottles of energy drink from
a convenience store in the neighborhood. It is a very different set of
circumstances than the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown here in
Ferguson, the incident that has set off the nine days of protests and
unrest. But amid the extraordinary tension in this community, almost
immediately angry bystanders gathered around the crime scene, some
immediately chanting a now familiar slogan of hands up, don`t shoot. The
St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson went into the heated crowd after he
talked to the press to talk to people face-to-face about what happened,
what his account was, which really helped diffuse tensions. All the - of
St. Louis who doesn`t represent that part of St. Louis but represents
another world in St. Louis was also there and he urged the crowd to remain
calm. Also, that had a real effect in diffusing the situation. Now,
though, at this hour tonight, I am told the situation around that crime
scene is very tense and joining me now by phone from the scene of today`s
shooting is Umar Lee. Umar is our long time resident of North County.
Umar, what are you seeing?
UMAR LEE: I`ve seen about 150 people gathered outside. They are very
spirited. They are very angry. Some of them are people that have been out
in Ferguson and "the hands up," "Don`t shoot" chants has been changed that
- "hands up" feedback, so it`s a very angry crowd. I think in a day time
you had a more measured crowd and people were just very upset about the
death and at nighttime we have got a younger four male dominated crowd that
is pretty ramped up.
HAYES: You said - you said there was an earlier scene. I mean the police
obviously came to the scene, immediate then came to the scene because
there`s so much national media. It was a little bit of a circus there.
Then media pulled out, so you are saying after all the cameras went away
and everyone, people were there throughout the day from the time of the
shooting assembled, walking around chanting and protesting.
UMAR LEE: Right. And more people came. But, you know, there`s only about
15 to 20 police officers here to kind of lean back - it`s not have an
aggressive presence. They let everyone do their thing. As a matter of
fact, they have (INAUDIBLE) as there`s health department and other social
service agencies are setting to check up on any protesters to see if they
need any help. So it`s kind of a different response in the city, you know,
native Ronny (ph) Robertson said that, you know, he will study what the -
and then - keep really back up.
HAYES: So you`re saying the mayor has sent some - has dispatched some
people there from the city offices to sort of talk to protesters?
UMAR LEE: Well, he sent the jobs program, known - tonight. He registered
80 people into the job program known as - and tomorrow the Health
Department and another department are coming out, just to ..
UMAR LEE: It`s just to try to diffuse the situation and get to use a
little diplomacy. Absolutely ..
HAYES: Umar, that`s really interesting you said that because the words
that stuck with me after I was there was alderman attorney Frank saying to
the crowd, look, you know, we`re going to be calm and no silliness and
we`re going to be patient because we are going to find out what happened,
because you have representation here. You have people that have your back
unlike those folks in Ferguson that are on their own.
UMAR LEE: Right. You have African-American alderwomen, flowers in this
ward- and you had, Chris, - father back (INAUDIBLE) African American
District Attorney Frank today. So, you know, the city is different in
Ferguson what you have. Black - establishment, and they are taking a
different approach to try to be more diplomatic in the situation while this
many time, you know, there`s likely - there are very - crowd and they are
kind of rowdy and you have them that are kind of holed up in the store with
some guy, the security. It`s a very tense situation at the same time.
HAYES: It`s interesting to look at the different approaches of law
enforcement there. Umar Lee on the phone for us from north St. Louis,
right outside of a convenience store where there was a police shooting
earlier today. Thanks, Umar, stay safe.
UMAR LEE: All right, thanks.
HAYES: All right. We are live from Ferguson, Missouri, tonight. Stay
with us. We`ll have lots more.
HAYES: All right. We are back live here in Ferguson, Missouri. Night is
falling there. Protesters are walking up and down this block. So far,
everything has been calm and peaceful. Protesters walking up and down West
Florissant as they have been told by police they have to keep doing.
Yelling. Chanting. Saying "Hands up, don`t shoot," showing signs. Since
we`ve been down on the ground here in Ferguson, one of the things we`ve
been really trying to do is talk to the protesters because there`s a lot of
different protesters who are coming from all different kinds of places, all
different kinds of socioeconomic background from around St. Louis metro.
So, joining me now, three of the folks have been coming out here to
protest. Trevor Woolfolk in the National Society of Black Engineers, St.
Louis University, student Alisha Sonnier and Jonathan Pulphus who is a
student protester. All three of you are college students. What Trevor
brought you out here? When did you first start coming out of your - when
did you first start to hear about this and why do you want to come out
TREVOR WOOLFOLK, NATIONAL SOCIETY OF BLACK ENGINEERS: I first started
coming out here, I guess, around the same time that it actually started.
So, when, I guess, the posts started going up on Facebook, then I started
to get finding out, OK, these demonstrations, protests and rallies that are
actually going on here in Ferguson, and that`s when I actually first
started coming out here. And primarily when I first started coming out
here, it was - once again, it was peaceful and everything like that. It
wasn`t until I stopped actually coming out here that then they started
saying that there`s rioting and so-called looting. And at that point I was
like, what is really going on? Like why are they being more agitated than
they were at the beginning, at the outset. And so at that point, then I
started coming back and started realizing that they were actually being -
having a lot of opposition against them as well, with the police, with the
so-called National Guard as welcoming in and intervening.
HAYES: Alisha, what do you want people - people are saying, what do they
want? What`s the demand? What do you want people to know?
ALISHA SONNIER, STUDENT: I want people to know that I believe the overall
-- the short-term goal would be Mike Brown and the officer being held
accountable for his actions, that will be the short-term goal, but the
overall long-term goal would be - to have the same citizenship rights for
everyone, no matter what their position is, how much money they have,
gender, whatever, race, to be held accountable and to have the same rights
and to not be privileged in any sort of a way because of a certain position
and for us to all remember why we are here and as we`re supposed to work
together and be a team and that we shouldn`t be enemies.
HAYES: What do you mean by that, when you say when everyone has the same
rights in terms of privileges? Do you mean like police and the people they
patrol? Do you mean people of different races? What do you mean by that?
SONNIER: I believe - I mean - I mean everyone, period. So police meaning
who they patrol. So I mean and if you`re a police officer and you deserve
privacy and your name shouldn`t be released, the same way that other
citizens who may be were accused of looting, maybe their information
shouldn`t be released either because we`re all citizens at the end of the
day or is it because you are a police officer, you are more privy to
privacy than I am.
HAYES: So, what you are saying there, I think is key is, a sense of a
double standard, right? That and this is - this is something a lot of
people said after there were some looting. And I will say it wasn`t so
calm. I mean, you know, there were people that broke into stores. We saw
it. But after that, the police released the name of those people before
the name of the officer in question had been released and a lot of people
said to me, what`s up with that? That seems like - do you feel like
there`s a double standard, the thing that`s bringing you out here?
JONATHAN PULPHUS, STUDENT PROTESTER: In part. But those standards are
always in existence and it has been in existence for a very long time. I
came out personally because of the excessive force that the officers have
been using. Initially I came out here with a group of friends, Alisha, a
friend by the name of Chris Walter and we came as a group -and Jamie Cox.
Who is - they are all students. We came out as students to protest the
injustice of what`s going on, the fact that due process was not being given
to - everybody who was out here. But the idea of a double standard, it has
always been the case in America. Black people - whenever they try to move
forward to get rights, they always have to come at least at a concession
level or to benefit whites more. And so, we`re seeing that come through
this all-white police state out here, this kind of policing the black body.
HAYES: Do you feel as someone - as a young, black man -- how much do you -
how central is the police or thinking about the police in your life?
PULPHUS: I mean, in general, I believe that the police are out here to
serve and protect. I mean that`s the whole code of honor. And so, when I
see - when I hear that police brutality is happening, then that becomes a
problem to me because at that time, and as you can see here in Ferguson,
who is going to protect them then if they can`t even trust and rely on the
police to protect them? And so, I think that`s central into this whole was
- I guess, scenario right here.
HAYES: You know, that`s a key point. Because so much of this has been
about when we talk about the discussion about policing and it`s been about
the fact that people feel like they are suspects in the eyes of the law
before they`ve done anything, right? You get pulled over, hands on the car
and all of that. But there`s also the case that -- and we`ve covered this
when we were in Chicago, which is that when people don`t trust the police,
crimes don`t get solved. When people feel like areas need security, right,
and people want to feel secure in their communities. But when the police -
- when you feel like calling the police is going to open up a world of hurt
or open up a world of suspicion, you`re going to be less likely to do that.
SONNIER: Yeah, I would say that, like you said, the key thing, instead of
people don`t trust the police. Crime happens, I`ll have to go backwards.
When crime happens in the police and they act accordingly, well, then
people don`t have - because whose half are you acting on? I mean I think
it really goes back to an idea that yes, there are police officer, but no
matter what position you`re in, especially a police officer, governor
official, you`re here to serve, you`re here to protect me. At the end of
the day, your check is coming from taxes that I pay. So, I do deserve the
same rights, the same due process that you would give anyone else that you
are dealing with. There`s really no difference. So, whatever difference
you see is really in your mind and you should come back to reality and
realize I`m contributing, too. So I want what everybody else is getting.
HAYES: Yeah, that sense of - that sense of sort of dignity and indignity,
like being treated in a petty fashion, right? Is that something you`ve
experienced, you`ve felt before?
PULPHUS: Definitely. Definitely. And I felt that I was very relieved
when I heard Ron Johnson`s comment about, you know, that could easily have
been my son out there. And so, he stood in solidarity with a lot of the
youth who are very frustrated, a, because of the lack of leadership, trying
to give us direction. And, B, because we`re trying to find new ways to get
away from the old techniques that may not be working for us today who are
end up being taught what to do, being what we try to find new ways to
create cells - we are getting - we are being taught over militant that our
ways of acting and protesting and being direct actors in this direct action
setting, that we are being, again, like I say militant part. We`re tired
of that. It`s frustrating. And so, to be told constantly that you`re a
failure, that your school - the fact that Michael Brown attended a failing
school, I mean not a failing school, but Normandy lost its accreditation,
and when they tried to transfer over to St. Francis, St. Francis High in
August, other school in the area, which - it was predominantly white
spaces, they were - they met with great -- they were met with great
resistance, you know. And so you`re being told you`re a failure when
you`re trying to do advocacy work, you`re being told you`re a failure when
you`re in a classroom, it`s all over the place. And that creates the
condition that some of my peers were talking about.
HAYES: All right. Thank you so much. Trevor Woolfolk of the National
Society of Black Engineers, St. Louis University student Alisha Sonnier and
Jonathan Pulphus, student protesters, thank you all. I really appreciate
WOOLFOLK: You are welcome.
HAYES: All right. We are live from Ferguson, Missouri. It`s lie a fairly
peaceful and calm scene here tonight as people are marching up and down
West Florissant. Very different scene than it was 24 hours ago. I think
everybody who`s here is grateful for that. We`ll be back with more live.
Stay with us.
HAYES: Evening here in Ferguson, Missouri, on what is now the ninth night
of protests. Protesters are marching up and down West Florissant. They`ve
been told like they have to keep moving. So far, they`ve been loud and
they`ve been vigorous, but everything has remained come and peaceful. A
kind of different approach tonight from the police. Last night the police
basically set up two distinct checkpoints and created this kind of
mutualized no man`s land in between the two. Tonight, police are out along
the entire route. There are police vehicles, they are standing and
watching the protests. So far, it`s been relatively calm up and down. We
haven`t seen any of the kind of provocation or response that we saw last
night and night has fallen here and it`s also cooled things off. It has
been very hot in Ferguson today and the heat doesn`t help with people being
very frustrated about what is going on. A lot of people still questioning
where this all goes, here on this 9 day, tomorrow we`ll see Eric Holder
coming to town. There`s a lot of expectation, I can say, in the people
that I talked to, about the federal government. People are really looking
to the federal government to vouch, to kind of get their back in the
situation. They don`t have a lot of trust for local government. They have
a lot more trust for federal government. They specifically had a lot of
trust in Eric Holder. It was a big demand immediately that there be a
federal civil rights investigation. There has been a federal civil rights
investigation, of course. Eric Holder has also announced that the federal
civil rights investigation will conduct a third autopsy of the body of Mike
Brown. Holder will be here tomorrow and Holder will come at a time when
there`s a kind of growing debate about the role of the county prosecutor,
Bob McCulloch, the man who may or may not begin proceedings with the grand
jury tomorrow against the officer Darren Wilson who is the officer at the
Ferguson police force who shot Mike Brown. I want to bring in now Taurean
Russell, he`s an activist with an Organization for Black Struggle and
Phillip Agnew, executive director of Dream Defenders who our viewers know
well. You`re local here, right? Where are you from?
TAUREAN RUSSELL, ORGANIZATION FOR BLACK STRUGGLE: I`m from St. Louis City.
HAYES: When did you first hear about what happened with Mike Brown?
RUSSELL: Well, I actually checked my timeline on Twitter and they said the
body was still laying out and it`s about 2:00. So I picked up some guys
and we finally got down, and the body was just being I picked up. So, the
body stayed out for about five hours.
HAYES: Yeah, I think this is a really important point for folks. Is that
- it wasn`t just the shooting, as horrible as that is and how - and
upsetting. It was those five hours after the shooting. Part of the reason
that it blew up on Twitter was, that folks were saying, - apartments right
down here, there`s this body still laying there. What was - When you got
to the scene there, what was it like? Describe it for me?
RUSSELL: By the time I got there, people were still crying, the body just
been covered up and they put the body in a black SUV. So it was like
strange to see not an ambulance, not a coroner, anything, just black SUV
thrown in, sped off.
HAYES: Wait a second. They did not cover the body?
RUSSELL: They covered the body I would say a couple of hours later. So
it`s people going out to the body uncovered with sheets themselves trying
to, you know, do the respectful job that the police did not do.
HAYES: People were bringing sheets out themselves?
RUSSELL: Yes. People were coming out, you know, the mother came out,
uncle, just neighbors to try to cover up the body. Because people were
just distraught. And there are kids, babies. It was a sad scene when I
HAYES: And there were a lot of people out. Right? This is a Saturday,
it`s a Saturday at around noon.
RUSSELL: Saturday afternoon, it was - you know - a lot of people not
working, so it was just people getting off, people just outside, a couple
of hundred people by the time I got there about 4:00, about 4:30.
HAYES: Do you think that`s part of what has -- part of what has set this
on the trajectory we`ve seen it, like that initial trauma that people
experienced looking at this dead body, someone they knew or someone from
their neighborhood and feeling like he was just the ultimate disrespect in
RUSSELL: Yeah. I mean, but I would almost say that people are kind of
used to the disrespect. I mean that happens on a daily basis. There was a
guy shot earlier today by a police officer in the St. Louis City. So I
mean we`re kind of almost desensitized to, but these kids out there, and
they are getting that, you know, a glimpse into their future.
HAYES: You think there is desensitization? Because people will say,
people are making a lot of this. Here`s what people, the people would say,
you know, you`ve got to let the facts- and if I know the facts, we have an
American justice system, we`ve got, of course, constitutional rights to
defend yourself in the court of law, that people shouldn`t be prejudging,
they shouldn`t be rounding up a mob to ram Darren Wilson. Do you think
that`s what you`re part of doing?
PHILLIP AGNEW, EXEC. DIR., DREAM DEFENDERS: Absolutely not. I think there
are number of facts that we all know. That before he interacted with that
police officer he was alive and well and after he interacted with that
police officer his brains were out on the ground and that police officer
was being rushed off and his body was laid out there for five hours. So
there`s some nonnegotiable facts. You can reserve judgment as much as you
want, but in the case of a black body or a brown body or brown - in the
middle of the street and officers not coming forward with their name, being
very secretive about the details of the investigation, it leads people to
draw their own conclusions about, one, how much they care about the child
and, two, almost more importantly, how much they truly care about their
officer. They are part of a fraternal order of police and it makes you
wonder who they are really protecting and serving. And so, listen, rushing
to judgment is something that people throw out whenever it`s a black kid
that dies, but whenever it`s somebody else that dies, we can roster
judgment, swift justice, swift trial, open and shut case, that doesn`t
happen when you kill somebody that looks like us.
HAYES: All right. Taurean Russell, activist, the Organization of Black
Struggle and Phillip Agnew of the Dream Defenders. Thank you, gentlemen.
I appreciate it.
PHILIP AGNEW: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. You heard the protesters out here. Again, it continues
to be a relatively calm night here in Ferguson. We`re live - we will be
live through the hour. Stay with us.
HAYES: Joining me now is Pastor Michael McBride. He`s the director of
Urban Studies and Lifeline to Healing with the PICO National Network,
Pentecostal minister of the congregation in Oakland, California. Right?
PASTOR MICHAEL MCBRIDE, PICO NATIONAL NETWORK: Well, we came to Ferguson,
because we are very concerned about the way, in which community had been
traumatized by all of this violence, particularly the violence with Mike
Brown and his family. And we had some clergy from the area give us a call.
In our PICO network, and they said, they needed some help and some support,
so we quickly conversated with them, and we`ve got here, and we`ve been
here since the last Friday.
HAYES: So, you are - the congregation you are telling me, that`s very
HAYES: And you do - is it peacemaker worker?
MCBRIDE: Peacemaker work.
HAYES: What is peacemaker work?
MCBRIDE: Well, peacemaker work is reconciliation. It is bringing two
groups who have conflict and helping them to get past their conflict to
common ground, realize that all of us want to live free. The young people
we work with, they want to live, they do not want to die. They just have
not yet learned how to solve their conflicts with that violence. So,
adults, interject ourselves in their lives, young people who have actually
come back from prisons and jails, interject themselves into this
peacemaking work, and we get into the neighborhoods, we do the work and the
young people choose to live on their own.
HAYES: So, this is about - there`s a group in Chicago called Interrupters.
This is this model - when there`s body lengths, when there`s and it`s
amazing that social media you can see when something is about to break.
MCBRIDE: Absolutely. Absolutely.
HAYES: You see someone tell, going to meet up.
HAYES: And have it out. And you go there.
MCBRIDE: Absolutely. But understand that all the resource says, that less
than half of one percent of any population of a given city is accountable
for over 50 to 60 percent on the violence. So, it`s a small number of
individuals. Many people think that when you have a lot of shootings in
city, it`s because you have a ton of people out there. That is just
actively shooting at each other. It is group very focused, and the good
news is, there are more caring, loving adults, if we have the courage and
the time and the priority to get out, wrap our arms around it and these
young people choose to live on their own!
HAYES: So, that - what you just said is interesting, because it echoes
exactly what everyone has been saying about the protesters, right? You`ve
got everyone saying, the protesters - the small group that`s causing
trouble. But that`s not the way that people talk about the kind of
neighborhoods that are predominantly people of color and poor. They don`t
say there`s some tiny group, right? And they are not policed. I think the
key point here is, they are not policed as if there is small group that
accounts for most of the violence. They are policed often, but people feel
as if everyone is a suspect.
MCBRIDE: Right. So, our experience is that when we are talking about
active gun violence, fire arm offences, it is a small number of
individuals. Now, when you are talking about crime related to poverty,
robberies, other kinds of things, maybe these junk people in families are
engaging that because they don`t have opportunities.
Now, if we only arrested and incarcerated active firearm offenders, we
wouldn`t have mass incarceration.
So, the important thing for all of us to understand is that if we`re going
to be serious about addressing gun violence, we can`t use the same bludgeon
instruments that are being used like all these forceful law enforcement
HAYES: Here`s where we are. We have the law and order revolution of
politics in the 1960s, we have the war on drugs and we have the war in
crime, we`ve had escalation in incarceration rates and we`ve created a
dynamic of constant suspicion in certain communities. But other people can
turn around and say, well, it`s successful because look how low crime is.
MCBRIDE: Right. So, let me just give you this important principle. All
the way through that there`s been a consistent war on black and brown,
black people, increasingly now brown people and poor people.
MCBRIDE: All through all of those eras, if you will. So, part of what we
have to do is not just end the war on drugs, we have to end the war on
poverty, on people. Invest in people, not prisons. Invest in opportunity,
not jails. Invest in schools and jobs. And then I believe the people that
want to live, all the young people I`ve talked to say they want to live.
And this is the important part of our strategies and so glad to be able to
be here and do the work together.
HAYES: Pastor Michael McBride, the PICO National Network. Thank you very
MCBRIDE: Well, I bless you.
HAYES: All right. We`re live from Ferguson, Missouri, on a cool night as
people walk up and down the street of West Florissant shouting, who are we
here for? Mike Brown. Who are we here for? Mike Brown. Stay with us.
HAYES: All right. We are live here in Ferguson, Missouri. A quick
correction something I said earlier. It`s, in fact, the 11th night of
protests here in Ferguson. It gives you an idea of how enduring the
grievances are here, how much people are looking for justice, for a change.
And one of the things that has, we`ve been trying to do down here both
during the day before the show, and at night during the show is just - talk
to folks here about why they`re out in the streets. I mean one of the
things that happens as this attracts more media attention, it seems
sometimes the story can kind of tilt off into tear gas or it can tilt of
into other things, it can tilt off into stories about the media itself,
which is kind of remarkable, as opposed to what folks here want. Now, John
Gaskin is with me, and he`s spokesperson for the Missouri NAACP. Jelani
Cobb, my friend, contributor with "the New Yorker." And John, will you
agree, you grew up here in Ferguson, right?
JOHN GASKIN, MISSOURI NAACP: That`s correct.
HAYES: What were your interactions with the cops like growing up?
GASKIN: My mother used to hate the Ferguson police department. She said
that they were very harassive, very abrasive. She couldn`t stand them.
And that was always my understanding as a young child, that she could not
stand the Ferguson police department still to this day.
HAYES: Did you have interactions growing up with them?
GASKIN: Very few. I do know that at the end of the street there was a
stop sign, and about once a week they used to say she would ran the stop
sign consistently and it was very annoying.
HAYES: Yeah, this is the weird, weird hidden truth of Ferguson which, if
I`m not mistaken, I`m pulling this out of my head, but I think it`s about
half of the revenue for Ferguson comes from traffic stops, and so there`s
this constant sense that you`re getting pulled over all the time.
GASKIN: I believe that. I believe that. And that`s a problem. That, you
know, this was really my first night being here on the ground and coming
through the barricades, it was scary. I thought I was going into a third-
world country. I mean, the way I was spoken to by some of the officers on
the ground, their tone completely changed when they found out I was with
the NAACP. I`m not going to use the language that was shared with me, but
even the driver who drove the car over here was like, are you serious, are
you really going to talk to this guy like this? You don`t even know who he
HAYES: This was just now?
GASKIN: This was just now on my way over here. You know, I`ll say to
this, I`ve been speaking to some of the people here on the ground, and I
have a real concern about how officers are treating American citizens here
on the ground. You know, if they can say that to people that are out here
at night, I believe they`ll say that to me, and I was in a black car. I
believe that. And it makes me very much so concerned and the world should
be concerned about this issue.
HAYES: Sometimes it`s the smallest things that engender the biggest amount
of anger when they`re repeated over time and time again, right? It`s
something about -- I keep hearing it from here. I mean, people will come
up to me during the day and just start sharing their stories, right?
Grievances. This happened to me, this happened to me, this happened.
Everyone has a story about that. And sometimes they`re big, a police
officer pulled a gun on me, and sometimes they`re small, he was
disrespectful, he was dismissive, he called me a name, he told me to get a
job, he slammed my car. But that adds up over time.
JELANI COBB, CONTRIBUTOR, NEW YORKER: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know,
I`m not from Ferguson, but one of the things that I find here is the
commonality of these stories. I`ve been in different places writing about
this, and the commonality of the stories, the people are saying. You know,
we have a fundamental lack of respect, and we are receiving a fundamental
lack of respect as human beings. This story is particularly personal for
me, because I`m a large man. I`m about the same size as Mike Brown was.
And so I understand what it`s like to be inadvertently intimidating, just
kind of - you carry that and you interact with police knowing that this
could possibly be the third dynamic, a third person that`s there. So,
yeah, all these things add up and, you know, when we see what it`s
culminated in, people have been out here now for 10 nights, 11 nights in a
row and they show no sign of actually being tired or giving up on this.
HAYES: Yeah. The - it`s not going away. As someone who is local here,
what do you -- what`s the way? What`s next? Like, what`s going to happen
GASKIN: The next thing is to realize here in St. Louis County, Ferguson is
not the only police department that has a history of doing this. It`s
Jennings, it`s Dellwood, it`s Riverview. It`s all these little small
police departments that think they can bully on people that are right here
within this area.
HAYES: If you want to see some kind of - do you want to see some
initiative from the state, some sort of commission for reform in the area?
GASKIN: I want to see investigations of every one of these municipal
police departments to show and prove to people that African-Americans are
sought after disproportionately compared to whites.
HAYES: All right. John Gaskin, spokesperson for the Missouri NAACP.
Jelani Cobb, contributor with "The New Yorker." Thank you both gentlemen.
GASKIN: Take your time.
HAYES: That is "ALL IN" for this evening. We`re tear gas free as of 11:00
p.m. local time. The Rachel Maddow show" starts now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Chris, if you sign off like that one night,
you are going to have to sign off with a tear gas check every night for the
rest of the time you do your show.
MADDOW: So, you just set a benchmark for yourself, my friend. Well tone.
HAYES: That`s right.
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