All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 20, 2014
Guest: Phillip Agnew, Yamiche Alcindor, Osagyefo Sekou
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening from Ferguson, Missouri. I`m
Chris Hayes. Night has fallen here in Ferguson, and we have seen a
dramatic change here tonight. A real shift in the mood in Ferguson at this
hour. Last night, officers didn`t use tear gas, but there were tense
dramatic standoffs happening in the streets. The night before, rocks being
thrown at media, and this, of course, followed days of chaotic scenes with
police in riot gear using tear gas and rubber bullets. Tonight, it is
largely calm. About 100 protesters circling on West Florissant. Partly
that`s because the rain. Partly that`s because the police, frankly, have
made it very difficult to get down to this part of West Florissant, and
partly because of the sheer exhaustion of a genuinely traumatized
community. And partly, I think, because a new sense that the wheels of
justice are in motion. As there were major developments today in
investigation into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown at the hands of
Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.
The grand jury began to hear evidence on the case for the first time today.
Attorney General Eric Holder came to town to meet with FBI agents pursuing
a federal civil rights investigation, which has included conducting a third
autopsy of Brown`s body and canvassing the neighborhood for witnesses to
his death. Holder started today by meeting with community leaders and
local students who shared their own experiences dealing with local police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRADLEY J. RATFORD, STUDENT: We told him some people were targeted. We
told him that we feel that now we just race after Americans were targeted,
we felt that people of low income were targeted. He told a story about
when he was growing up, he was pulled over by a New Jersey police
department, police state trooper. I`m not sure how they are called in New
Jersey. But he told a story how he was humiliated. They told him to get
out of his car, they searched his car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Report in "The New York Times" Holder and Justice Department
officials are weighing whether to open a broader civil rights investigation
into Ferguson`s policing practices. At a lunch stop in a local restaurant
Drake`s Place, Holder met the man who in many ways has become the face of
officialdom at the protest. Captain Ron Johnson, the highway patrol
officer, charged with overseeing security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN RON JOHNSON, HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICER: We did. We had the community
came out, activists, the elders of this community. And they did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After a briefing from FBI investigators and a meeting with elected
officials, Holder had an emotional meeting with Michael Brown`s family.
His trip to Ferguson was intended to reassure the community there will be
justice for Mike Brown delivered, possibly by an entity they can trust.
And the reason why his visit was so significant is precisely the massive
chasm of distrust that exists between members of the community and the
other men currently overseeing an investigation to Brown`s death, Bob
McCulloch, St. Louis county prosecutor. That criminal investigation by the
local county prosecutor is now the subject of a surreal open political war
between McCulloch and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, in which the prosecutor
appears to practically daring the governor to take him off the case. Under
the state of emergency, currently in place here in Missouri, the governor
has the authority to appoint a special prosecutor and McCulloch has said he
won`t step aside unless he`s ordered by the governor to do so.
Now, last night, Governor Nixon issued a statement saying he wouldn`t ask
McCulloch to recuse himself, but "there is a well-established process by
which a prosecutor can recuse themselves from a pending investigation." In
other words, each is saying no, you go first. And the standoff came to a
boiling point today, McCulloch tore into the governor on a local radio
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB MCCULLOCH, ST. LOUIS COUNTY PROSECUTOR TODAY: Unfortunately, if it`s
Nixonian double speak as usual. He undermines everything, and, you know,
he undermines everything except the cover that he`s drafted or pulled over
his head. And that`s his sole purpose in this. So stand up, you know, man
up, stand up and say, I have this authority. I am not removing McCulloch,
I am removing McCulloch, and let`s get on with this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: McCulloch even cited one of his biggest own detractors, one of his
most vocal critics, State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal who was standing
here with me last night calling for his removal from the case on this show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCULLOCH: I caught a bit of the Senator Chappelle-Nadal`s statement and
she`s right on the money saying, he`s ducking the issue. He doesn`t want
to answer a question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Amid all the controversy, Holder told reporters that he hoped the
work being done in the federal investigation would help cool the heated
temperatures in Ferguson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The hope also is that through the trip that
I`m making out here today and by stressing the importance of and the way in
which this investigation is going, that hopefully will have a calming
influence on the area. People know that a federal, thorough investigation
is being done, being manned by these very capable people. My hope is that
that will have -- give people some degree of confidence that the
appropriate things are being done by their federal government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Yamiche Alcindor, reporter for "USA Today."
You`ve been doing fantastic reporting. I`ve really been in the following
of your coverage closely, so what changed today, what didn`t change today?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, "USA TODAY": I think people, what changed today is that
people really feel as though the federal government has stepped in. Not
just on a broad basis and a vague idea, but the idea that the Attorney
General Eric Holder, is actually here in their community. It`s a big deal
for a lot of people here. They say that he could have just said something,
he could have stayed in Washington and talked about it, but people here say
now we really trust that this process is going to be fair, it`s going to be
balanced and people are really going to think, OK, the federal government
is going to come in and really look at this from a perspective that the
local are not going to be able to do.
HAYES: Do you feel that same sense of exhaustion among people here, people
are still so angry and frustrated. We see a lot - fewer people on the
streets tonight. I think part of that, again, is the police have managed
to keep people away, you know, the arrest, but there`s also it seems to me
and I wonder if you agree, that people just are spent, they are just spent.
ALCINDOR: People are really, really exhausted. In some ways people are
walking around kind of in a mile-long circle. And they are kind of getting
exhausted. But I should tell you that I talked to a girl today who said
that I`m not tired, because I saw Michael Brown`s body lying on the ground.
And that`s going to be the reason why I keep on protesting. She said she
had a little baby that was less than one year old and she said I gave her
to my grandmother because right now all I can do is protest because I saw
him lying there for hours and hours and I can`t stop protesting until I see
somebody indicted for that.
So, I think people here as long as they are - they are very exhausted, but
I think they are also somewhat traumatized. And that trauma and that pain
means that they`re going to continue to protest.
HAYES: Yeah, the trauma is very real. And I`m not sure necessarily if all
of us in the media have done a good job of showing people that, because
it`s hard to kind of see. It doesn`t look like protesting or teargas. But
that is something that you just - there`s like a real trauma to everyone,
and person after person talks about seeing that body in the street.
ALCINDOR: I think that body in the street is what`s motivating a lot of
these people to stay here. It`s raining tonight, they are walking around
the miles. It`s uncomfortable, it`s muggy. People are like, it doesn`t
matter. I`m going to continue to chant Michael Brown`s name. People are
losing their voices, but they`re like, I saw that body. He`s - I`m mean to
be not graphic, but, you know, he`s bleeding on the ground with no sheet.
And he`s looking just like one of us. People are really traumatized by
that. And I think even older people are -- I - woman today with the cane,
she said, you know what, I have to take a rest because I can`t keep walking
around in circles, she said, but I`m not going home. I`m just taking a
rest. And I think a lot of people are saying that.
And yes, sure, we are not really talking about the trauma because I talked
to so many people who burst into tears when they are trying to explain to
me why they`re here. People that have seen the body and people that came
from Chicago and Florida and New York that say I know somebody who was also
killed by the cops. And I`m upset about that now.
HAYES: I saw a man today, I was right around here where Michael Brown was
shot, and there was a lot of folks out there today, there was kind of a
memorial atmosphere. I saw a guy walking by just sobbing and just stopping
in the middle of the street, doubled over on his ease just racked, just
couldn`t move. And it just struck me also that there hasn`t been a lot of
space to grieve for anyone. I mean that the funeral is Monday and I think
we`ll see a lot more of that. Yamiche Alcindor, from "USA Today." Thank
you so much. I really appreciate it.
HAYES: All right. Joining me now, Phillip Agnew who is director of Dream
Defenders and Reverend Osagyefo Sekou, a native of St. Louis and the fellow
of the Fellowship for Reconciliation. So, it also feels to me like there`s
a step happening now where this is - there`s word that Michael Brown`s
family will be traveling to New York to participate in a march that`s
planned there over the death of Eric Garner, he`s a Staten Island man who
was put in a chokehold by an NYPD police officer on the cell phone video
saying I can`t breeze. Who died. Do you think there`s some kind of moment
here that`s going to zoom out into something larger around the way policing
happens in the city - this country and criminal justice more broadly?
PHILIP AGNEW, DIRECTOR, DREAM DEFENDERS: Right. I think we need to talk
about demands right now. I think we`re in a position to sincerely have a
conversation with our elected officials about what we want. We have
departments around this country that have acted with reckless (INAUDIBLE)
and have killed black men in the middle of the street in front of their
families, in front of stores and nothing has happened. And so, we want
federal investigations. Eric Holder is down here now. We want federal
investigations into all of those police departments. Because it`s not just
happening in Ferguson. It`s happening in Miami Beach, it`s happening in
Miami Dade. It`s happening in Chicago, it`s happening in L.A., it`s
happening in New York. And we`re seeing it. Just in the past month. And
so, we want a federal investigation into all of those police departments.
We want McCulloch off the case, too. You were talking about it earlier,
it`s like having a blind man operate on you. This person hasn`t convicted
a police officer for killing a black men ever. He needs to be off the
case. He`s not qualified to do it. And so, these are demands that we
frame, that we are talking about .
AGNEW: Yeah, concrete demands. And I think it`s awesome that the family
is able to do that and join in solidarity, but it`s sad that it has to be
at a funeral.
HAYES: Reverend, I was reading some history. Great historian Rick
Perlstein. He just got a book out about Reagan. He writes - he`s written
a sort of history of conservatism. And he writes about Nixon and law and
order and how Seminole - the Watts Riots and the `68 riots were in creating
the politics of law and order. Politics we`ve lived with now.
HAYES: That were created in some ways, the world we inhabit now.
HAYES: And to me it`s this question of when do we turn the corner on those
REV. OSAGYEFO SEKOU, FELLOW, FELLOWSHIP OF RECONCILIATION: Well, I think -
I think we turn the corner only with the level of resistance that we have
consistently seen. These young people have done America a great service by
bearing witness, engaging in civil disobedience and non-compliance. And
they should be celebrated and not demonized. What we see now is a low
level, what many of commentators have talked about as a kind of low level
turnout is the result of high levels of repressing. Police extractions on
television, journalists being attacked. And in the midst of all of that
repressing, these young people consistently come out and they resist.
HAYES: Yeah, you know, it`s worth noting this. People who watch protests,
if you`ve ever been an organizer of a protest, go try to get 100 people to
show up for something.
HAYES: It`s much, much harder than it looks. And we`re looking at people
that for 12 nights in a row have come out. The vast majority nonviolent.
HAYES: The vast majority risking.
HAYES: Teargas and rubber bullets.
HAYES: And coming out again and again, and often with no - there`s not
some central email blast that`s going out.
SEKOU: No, no. It`s been really - because the experience of these young
people has been one of economic deprivation and between 2000 and 2012,
unemployment in Ferguson has doubled. The average income is like one in
four people in Ferguson lives below the poverty line. The average income
is like $36,000 - medium income is like $36,000 a year, that`s a $14,000
difference. It`s really people trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents.
And so, when you look at the ways, in which these folks have lived under
high levels of oppression, combined with now being occupied. I mean police
had guns at a church last night. They were searching a church last night,
which is a sin and it`s something reminiscent of the `60s.
SEKOU: Of the activities of Birmingham, right? That right now we are
experiencing a kind of postmodern corner.
SEKOU: It worked in Ferguson at this moment.
AGNEW: And nobody is going home. Nobody is going home. Listen, there
will be - floors with everything. But when I was out here yesterday
talking to the young boys out here, I asked them one question, what do you
want? Unequivocally, unanimously they wanted justice. You arrest this
man. You bring him to justice, swift justice, just as you would if I had
taken a cigarillo from the store and exactly justice in the store - in the
street. Arrest this man. And it`s a very simple, simple demand. But it
touches that a political analysis that we are human. We deserve what
anybody in this country deserves when something wrong has been done and to
them. And we`re not going to stand for a police force that thinks that
they can quell that just by being out here every night. This isn`t going
to stop. You can`t unsee what you saw last week.
HAYES: I think part of what`s been important about the story also is, you
know, I went to -- talked to the major today in Ferguson. And I went to a
part of Ferguson about two miles from here - it might as well be another
HAYES: And that`s true in New York City, I mean there`s people - in New
York City, I remember during the mayoral race talking about stop and frisk.
It`s like .
HAYES: That`s happening on the other planet. Part of what makes the
politics so tricky is that there are people, genuinely good-faith and well-
meaning individuals who just have no idea .
HAYES: Of what police -- what it feels like to be policed in certain
communities in this country.
AGNEW: That`s going away.
HAYES: And this moment they`ve seen it.
SEKOU: But I think also like when the way, in which we`ve talked about
saying how things are different now, that things are calm and things are
peaceful now, the reality is that the violence has been so high by the
police. This level of violence. Because this is still violent. This
level of violence has become normative to us, and that should scare us all.
HAYES: Phillip Agnew and Reverend Sekou, thank you gentlemen.
AGNEW: Thank you very much.
HAYES: I appreciate it.
SEKOU: Thank you, dear brother.
HAYES: All right, there is some other news to report tonight beside what`s
going on here in Ferguson. We heard some of the strongest language ever
used by President Obama. What he was talking about, ahead.
HAYES: One day after the release of the horrifying video of the execution
of American Photo Journalist, James Wright Foley, President Obama, address
it in some of the strongest language he ever used as president.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ISIL has no ideology of any
value to human beings. The ideology is bankrupt. They may claim out of
expediency that they`re at
war with the United States or the west. But the fact is they terrorize
their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their
empty vision. And the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior. One
thing we call all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the
(END VIDEO TAPE)
HAYES: Secretary of State John Kerry, use even stronger language against
ISIS, also known as ISIL, tweeting, ISIL must be destroyed, will be
crushed. And state department has submitted a request about 300 additional
U.S. service members to give up the security at U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and
at U.S. facilities at the Baghdad airport. And according to a senior U.S.
official speaking to MBC News, the request is under consideration by the
Pentagon, no decisions have been made, James Wright Foley who has been held
captive since 2012 will according to ISIS, not be the only American
journalist executed if U.S. airstrikes persist. And the video ISIS
released, made clear they`re speaking directly to the United States
following a small portion of that video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just this afternoon, the Pentagon acknowledge the U.S. recently
attempted a rescue operation to free some American hostages held by ISIS in
Syria. According to Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby, the
mission earlier this summer was not successful, because the hostages were
not present at the targeted location. Meanwhile, there were 14 more U.S.
air strikes against ISIS seating in the Mosul dam today, according to a
press release from the National Security Council. Joining me now, Lawrence
Korb, a Senior Fellow of the Center for American Progress, he served as
assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration. Lawrence, this
news today about a Special Forces mission into Syria in the midst of what
is the most chaotic darkest civil war (inaudible) on the planet right now,
to extract hostages, that strikes me as a pretty big deal.
LAWRENCE KORB, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: It`s probably the biggest
thing Obama has done since going after bin Laden. And it shows how
concerned he is about human beings, and the other is, I think it sends a
signal to ISIS, be aware, you know, we can come after your leaders. We got
bin Laden and Mr. (inaudible), you better be careful as well.
HAYES: There`s now a situation in which you have the Prime Minister David
Cameron, coming home from vacation because of the voice on that tape,
clearly seems to be someone from the U.K., and we`ve been getting reports
for months now, more than months of foreign fighters joining ISIS. How
significant do you think that is?
KORB: Well, I think it`s very significant, because a lot of them have,
unfortunately, happened to be Americans. And basically what will happen is,
they can go over there, get trained and maybe come back here or come back
to the U.K. or other European countries. And I think that`s what Obama was
trying to say today. You know, this is not a good group that`s trying to,
you know, help people or re-establish, you know, the way the world was
under Mohammed. These are barbarians and they kill more Muslims than anyone
HAYES: Yeah. I mean, it`s -- the reports out of there, some of the videos
that they have posted are just unspeakably horrific, it just mass
slaughter, attempted genocide. I don`t think there`s any debate at the
moment about the absolute degraded monstrosity of what ISIS is doing. There
is debate about how -- what the U.S. does about it, there`s a lot of
emotion and anger understandably after they posted that video, it`s so
chilling. But what do you see as the strategic options, from a strategic
perspective, in dealing with ISIS?
KORB: Well, ISIS did this because they want us to stop the bombing we`re
doing. If anything that enhance it, I think, Americans who are on defense
of somewhat (inaudible) about this, are gonna say, no, you have got to go
after these people because of who they are. And I think what you`re going
to see is, many more U.S. airstrikes supporting (inaudible) Kurdish forces
and Iraqi military forces for example. They move from the dam to try to
take back Tikrit, and my guess is ALL other things being equal, you`re
gonna see a lot more American air strikes than we would have had this not
HAYES: But, Lawrence, to play devil`s advocate for a moment here, I mean,
the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq is unspeakably horrific and his acts as
well. I mean, just everything we knew about how they conducted themselves,
they also pursue genocide in (inaudible). So, we learned what that -- going
to U.S. war in Iraq looked like. Is there a danger we`re being drawn back
into one that won`t ultimately, make the lives of Iraqis better or be in
American strategic interests?
KORB: Well, I think the fact that you have a new government in Baghdad
gives you hope that the Iraqis will do the fighting. We`re not going to
send ground troops in there. You know, large army divisions or anything
but, we`re going to have, as we have now, Special Forces on the ground. But
we use American air power. Remember, you know, how long we bombed in Libya,
several months, how long was 77 days in Kosovo. So, American air power if
you get the cooperation of the troops on the ground can turn this around.
And Obama did say today, you know, it`s up to you people here to get rid of
HAYES: But Libya strikes me as a perfect example which was a successful
mission with respect to the air strikes in the respect that it stopped the
assault from Khadafi. He was ultimately obviously killed, but Libya`s a
mess right now. I mean, that if -- one question, I think that has a lot of
people worried as we watch this kind of gradual, not so gradual escalation.
KORB: Well, I think you`re right. But remember, Iraq is a special case. We
created this mess by going in and destabilized in the country. So, moral
imperative is stronger there, but Obama has been very clear, in the final
analysis, you have to have an inclusive government, and if you don`t do
that, then you`re going to have to live with the consequences. They`ve
achieved one of the objectives, there`s no way ISIS is going to go into the
Kurdish area now, so, at least you have got at least one third of Iraq that
won`t go under their control. They`re not in the Shiite area. So, really
it`s in the Sunnis, and by these people acting so barbarically, I think
you`re going to see the Sunnis turn against them, particularly if you have
an inclusive government.
HAYES: That was what happened with Zarkawi, who was, you know, leading a
group that was kind of (inaudible) were so, unspeakably barbaric in his
actins. He ended up alienating anyone who could possibly be an ally in the
resistance against America. Lawrence Korb from the Center for American
Progress, thank you.
KORB: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Last night was relatively calm here in Ferguson, there was several -
- there were several interactions, one in particular between a police
officer and protesters that resulted in an officer being suspended today
without pay. We will show you that interaction which is caught on camera,
HAYES: Last night here in Ferguson, Missouri was a relatively calm night in
the streets relatively. The first time in days, police did not deploy tear
gas to these protesters. The relative piece of last nights demonstration
was as I`ve said, relative. Not all interactions (inaudible) protesters and
police were at all calm. Late last night here in Ferguson, this scene was
caught on camera and posted online.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My hands are up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My hands are up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hands up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back. Get back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re going to kill him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your name, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go (BLEEP) yourself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your name`s go (BLEEP) yourself.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
HAYES: Following a public outcry from the ACLU and others, that
officer, who works at the Saint Ann police department, was suspended. The
Saint Ann police chief told a local TV station, the officer in question had
raised his gun because he saw a weapon in the crowd. After realizing it was
a BB gun, he continued to scan the crowd with his Air-22 rifle raised,
which he described as standard procedure.
Quote, "It was havoc at that time. He also got urine thrown on him,
having to deal with that is obviously disgusting. However, when he is
trying to protect the public and ask the people to back up, under no
circumstances do I or our department condone his language." Language being
the problem there, not the gun pointed.
The chief said he placed the officer on unpaid suspension. Police
have killed another man just a few miles from here, where Michael Brown was
killed by police. We have reported that yesterday. But, the reaction
there has been very different, both by residents and the police. And, what
we have seen in Ferguson, more on that ahead.
HAYES: Today, Sam Dotson, the chief of police in St. Louis went
before the media and announced the release of cell phone video showing the
killing of 25-year-old Kajieme Powell by two St. Louis Police Officers
yesterday. The killing that took place just 3 miles from where Michael
Brown was killed by police in Ferguson.
Powell was suspected of shoplifting two energy drinks and doughnuts
from a convenience store. And, a 911 caller reported to police that Powell
was carrying a knife. Police Chief Sam Dotson described the video as he
saw it to reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM DOTSON, ST. LOUIS POLICE CHIEF: The suspect continues to say,
"Shoot me. Kill me now." The police officer, you can clearly hear them
say, "Stop. Please, drop the knife." The suspect does start towards the
front of the car, towards the driver`s side then goes around towards the
passenger side of the vehicle, approaches the police officer that is in the
passenger seat in a threatening manner and begins to close the distance.
Both officers indicated that they are in fear of their life as the
suspect walks towards the officer in the passenger side. You can see the
officer take one to one and a half steps backwards. As he does that, the
suspect continues to advance towards him. Both officers fire their weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I have seen the video and it is amazing how quickly the
situation escalates to the point that the officers fire their weapons.
MSNBC has decided not to show the cell phone video of the killing of
Kajieme Powell. The tragedy coming on the heals of Michael Brown`s death
elicited a new wave of anger in the community.
Protesters gathered to the crime scene to chant, "Hands up! Do not
shoot." And, many questioned why police could not have use a taser on
Powell or some non-lethal force instead of killing him. One things that is
clear is the officials in St. Louis appeared to have learned some lessons
from what happened in Ferguson.
Police Chief Dotson entered the crowd to talk to protesters in attempt
to calm tensions yesterday on the scene. And, the mayor of St. Louis,
Francis Slay orchestrated an impromptu jobs fair at the site of the
protest. But, Slay`s chief of staff told us resulted in 85 signups.
Today, the mayor spoke with Powell`s grandmother to personally offer his
condolences. And, joining me now is the mayor of St. Louis, Francis Slay.
Mayor, why did you decide to release the video?
FRANCIS SLAY, ST. LOUIS MAYOR: Well, first, I just want to make sure
we -- as we approach this, we are very sensitive to the fact that a young
man lost his life in our city and was shot by a police officer, Kajieme
Powell. And, that is something that does impact our community
tremendously. And, as we go forward, we want to make sure that we do
everything in a very sensitive way; sensitive to the fact that a young
man`s life was lost, and sensitive to the context that this has happened,
particularly on the heals of what is going on in Ferguson.
We decided to release the video, because there was -- the person that
took it was actually trying to shop this video around, and it did come into
our possession, so we put it out there, because it was going to get out
there anyway. And, we wanted to make sure that the public had the
information that we had. We released the 911 audio. We also released the
dispatcher tapes as well.
And, we have released this particular video, so that we are being very
transparent in our approach in handling this, doing it in a very sensitive
way. I did tell, by the way, the young man`s grandmother that we were
intending to do this at the time. So, I did notify her and I notified a
lot of community members about it. Certainly, any kind of shooting is not
something, you know, that is really good to look at. But, I thought it was
necessary in the circumstances.
HAYES: One of the things about the video is that, you can tell that -
- there is -- this man is very riled up. He is yelling shoot me. And, the
training protocol seems to be obeyed here. I talked to people that do
police training that within 21 feet, someone with a knife is a lethal
threat. They can close that gap. At the same time, everyone I was talking
to on the scene is asking, could not you use nonlethal force? Was there
another way for this to come to a resolution that is not so unspeakably
SLAY: Well, that is certainly a legitimate question, and that is a
question that is going to be asked by a lot of people. Different people
can look at the situation certainly, you know, after the fact and watching
it on video and come to all kinds of conclusions. But, these officers,
first of all, are trained. They are put in a very difficult situation.
They have to make quick decisions and they are trained to protect
themselves. They have to make a judgment call. And, basically what we got
now. We got two investigations going now. We have a parallel
investigation, one. A criminal investigation, which is protocol for our
police department as well as internal affairs investigation. So, those
investigations will look at these very, very carefully. Certainly, get all
the evidence gathered then come to conclusions as to the results.
HAYES: You sent a truck over to the scene of the shooting yesterday,
where there were protesters who had gathered to sign people up for a jobs
fair, I believe, or jobs program through the city. What motivated that
decision? Are you attempting to learn lessons from what is happening here
SLAY: Well, certainly we have learned a lot from what happened in
Ferguson, and there is certainly a lot to be learned there. I sent staff
members out there to get a sense of what is going on in the crowd. Talk to
some of the people there. Listen to their concerns.
And, one message that kept coming over and over again by a number of
those out there is that, "Hey! You know, we are out here protesting, but
we could use a job. We need to be employed. We need to be able to support
ourselves and our family."
So, I had my workforce development director, and his team out there.
We signed up at least 85 to 90 people in the program that helps them learn
how to look for a job, and there are job training programs as well.
HAYES: What do you think the takeaways are going to be for you as
mayor, for your police force from what is happening in Ferguson and then
this event coming right on the heals of it in terms of how you all think
about policing? How you train police? How you have engineered a
relationship between the community and the police?
SLAY: Well, I think we always have to continue to look at the
training component, and make sure we are doing everything that we can to
make sure we have the best trained police officers we can have. And, we
certainly are doing that all the time. I think it is a good takeaway here
is we have to never lose site of the fact that we are dealing with the loss
of life, a very difficult situation, a tragic situation.
Several things are important. One is sensitivity. Sensitivity to
that fact. Sensitivity to the emotions that are in the community. These
are real lives we are talking about, these are not just videos, and we are
not watching T.V. And, the other thing is communication. You cannot
underestimate the importance of communication. Accurate communication,
prompt communication. Responsible communication, so that you can quell any
potential spike in emotions as much as possible.
HAYES: Mayor of St. Louis, Francis Slay. Thank you for your time.
SLAY: Thank you.
HAYES: One of the blocks of Ferguson that you have not seen yet, and
what is happening there, next.
HAYES: Twilight has come to Ferguson and there is an unexpected calm
that has settle over this stretch of West Florissant that has been a site
of so much chaos, so much anger, so much aggression, and so much tear gas.
We will bring you much more live from the scene ahead.
HAYES: There are at least two Fergusons. The one you are regularly
seeing on T.V. the last week and a half, and the protest of the shooting
and death of Mike Brown, and neighborhood like the one in which Mike Brown
There is another Ferguson, stately homes and wrap-around porches and
large lawns. And, many of the folks of that Ferguson, well, they are
getting organized today to turn the city`s image around. I went to a local
coffee shop, where the newly created friends of the city of Ferguson set up
shop with yard`s signs and T-shirts, and I spoke with Mayor James Knowles.
As noted by U.S.A. today, Knowles is one of the youngest mayors in St.
Louis County. Former City Councilman and former President of the St. Louis
Young Republicans. The mayor and I decided to walk down one of the blocks
in Ferguson you have not seen. We talked about that neighborhood. We also
talked about whether in both perception and reality, Ferguson was really
two towns doing battle with each other.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I got to say, this seems like a pretty divided town.
JAMES KNOWLES, FERGUSON MAYOR: Sure.
HAYES: And, you know? In a few different ways, race, you know,
socioeconomically. I mean, this is a different Ferguson than Camp Hill
Apartments where Mike Brown was shot.
MAYOR KNOWLES: Sure. Well, you know, I think the one thing I want
people to understand is that there are definitely things that make us
different. I mean, we definitely have different styles -- I do not live in
any of these homes. I grew up here, you know, first kid in my family and
the extended family to go to college. The only one to get my master is
I do not live in these homes, but I have shared values with these
people, just like I have shared values to the people in Camp Hill
Apartments. And, that is really how -- even being diverse
socioeconomically, which we clearly are, reverse racially, which we clearly
are, we have been able to successfully -- especially over the past couple
decades, really live, work and play together and grow together and so --
whereas people have left here. A lot of people have left here. There are
also a lot of people who have stayed here and enjoyed that diversity.
HAYES: I got to say, though, having spent days talking to people --
HAYES: There are a lot of people here who feel like the status quo
before was not working for them before. They were, basically, living under
this constant threat of police harassment. I mean I can go out there and
stick a microphone in someone is face, and they will tell me a story of
getting stopped by Ferguson police or County Brown and it seems like there
is a little bit of a gap in perception of the folks who are living in this
part of Ferguson and that part of Ferguson.
KNOWLES: Well, I mean, I think you have to be careful who you talk to
out there too. There is definitely -- as you and I talk about earlier,
Ferguson is very small, you know, 6 square miles. There are a lot people
from around here that may have interactions. They do not necessarily live
here. But, the people who live here and become part of the community
generally have great interactions.
You know, Camp Hill Apartments, one of the things we have struggled
with in the past few years, there is a lot of subsidized housing over
there. A lot of people do not stay very long. You know, they come and go.
There is even a disconnect over there between some of the people who live
in the townhomes, and who have lived there a few years, and the people who,
you know, come and go every six months, turn over with the different --
three owners in the past few years.
There is definitely a disconnection. We have been trying to reach out
for the past couple years with those people. As been point out, we are a
city that is been in transition. It did not happen over night that we
became majority African-American. But, we continue to reach out and be
more inclusive all our boards and commissions, our neighborhood
associations are very representative.
HAYES: But, is this going to change? Do you feel like what you are
seeing is a wakeup call that something got to change in the way Ferguson
KNOWLES: Well, I mean, clearly, we have to make sure -- Number one, I
have said it for the past two weeks. We have to find a way to stabilize
housing. There is, all across North St. Louis County, a problem with
housing where people only live for a few years. They switch school
districts, you know, every year. They move houses every year, every six
months. They never really set down roots. We have to find a way to do
HAYES: So, you think that is sort of the -- that is your takeaway
KNOWLES: Yes, the takeaway is we got to find a way to stabilize them
here in the community and make them part of it. You cannot make somebody
part of a community if they are only here for a short period of time. And,
that is the key that actually me and many of the mayors around here have
been talking about, especially since this crises has begun. We recognize
that already. But, I think we see that this really has helped precipitate
HAYES: Mayor, thanks a lot.
KNOWLES: No problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. That stretch of Ferguson you saw just there, that
is 2 miles from where I am standing now. I am going to talk to someone who
knows the history of Ferguson, Mr. Trymaine Lee, who has been doing just
incredible reporting on the ground here. That is ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY HENRY, FERGUSON RESIDENT: My support of the Ferguson police
department has been like 100 percent. You know, I support them thoroughly.
You know, it is just like I had talked to someone before. Their job is
their job. Just like my job is my job as a general contractor. So,
whatever is going on, you know, in the police department, it will work it
is way out. You know, it can be taken care of.
HAYES: You have faith in that? You have faith that there is going to
HENRY: Justice is going to be served regardless, whatever I say,
whatever anybody say, you know? I am just like I said, I am 100 percent
supporter to the police department. The majority of the officers know me
by name. And, like I said I have been here for years, where I live at. I
like people --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was a resident of Ferguson I talked today at a coffee
shop where friends of the city of Ferguson were organizing. They were
handing out t-shirts, "I heart Ferg" and yard signs, "I heart Ferguson."
Now, joining me to talk about the history of this town as resident is
MSNBC.com National Reporter Trymaine Lee and John Wright, a native of St.
Louis, who is assistant superintendent for the Ferguson-Florissant School
District; now the Advisory Board of Webster University.
Now, let me begin with you Mr. Wright. I spent a few hours today with
folks who were at this staging center for Friends of the City of Ferguson.
And, it was predominantly white. Not exclusively, but predominantly white,
and people there just seemed like all of this have kind of landed from
Mars. They had no idea there was this much anger, that there was this much
frustration with police. That any of this was just kind of there beneath
the surface. What do you make of that?
JOHN WRIGHT, MEMBER OF ADVISORY BOARD AT WEBSTER UNIVERSITY: I think
you have most of the people do not know the history of the community. And,
you have to remember this one was a sundown town. And, you have many
individuals who moved in the community, remember that. And, so you have
wounds that have never been allowed to heal because you have a police
department who keeps arresting, harassing those there, and it keeps those
wounds alive. So, if they never heal, those things are shared from
generation to generation.
HAYES: Mr. Wright, would you just explain what a sundown town is?
WRIGHT: A sundown town is a town where you are not allowed to be
around after the sun goes down. Ferguson used to have a road coming out of
the black community next to it, that was chained off until the 1960s. They
had a pile of asphalt that was blocking the road, and anyone who went into
the town, I am told by many residents, you were subject to being locked up
and you had no recourse.
And, so we have a number of areas -- many times in St. Louis, we have
St. Louis voters -- St. Louis voted in 1916, 2 to 1 to have a segregated
community. That was ruled unconstitutional. We went into race restricted
covenants that lasted until 1948. After that we had steering and real
estate companies fearing African-American to certain neighborhoods and
frightening whites out of those neighborhoods to new subdivisions.
We have to remember it is a money game. The game is to make money.
They do not care if you are white or black. How can you chase whites out
and sell those on to blacks from depressed areas and make a load of money.
Ferguson is one of those areas where blacks were shuttled into the
southwestern section of the County at city first. Next to the black city
of Kinloch --
HAYES: Trymaine, one of the things -- it was really, I think,
important today to talk about folks at this coffee shop, it is a very
different type of protesters out here, it really felt like two worlds.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC.COM NATIONAL REPORTER: Right.
HAYES: I mean -- And one of the things that struck me there, the
surrounding areas, they talk about Ferguson being in transition. It has
gotten less white, more African-American over time. Surrounding areas are
even less white. I mean Kinloch and Dell Wood and Jennings and all the
surrounding areas are 85, 90 percent African-Americans. And, so some of
the folks I was talking about, we stayed. You know, we do not have racial
animus. This is not a divided town because we are still here and we got a
LEE: I think when you look at a community like this as Mr. Wright
said, about sundown town, there are still those lasting messages, and those
feelings do not quite go away. And, it is also about the perception. None
of those who are not in a different world, but really across town but your
neighbors. So, in Missouri there was a law passed that said if you are in
a certain school district, you can go to an accredited school district.
And, so last summer, when a bunch of kids from Normandy High School went to
go out to Hopewell, Parents came out in mass and they said they feared
drugs and gangs.
HAYES: Normandy is largely black, Hopewell is largely white --
LEE: Normandy is about 98 percent black, mostly poor. Hopewell, you
know, it is mostly white, and middle class. They feared it. The white
children embrace black children, but now they send the kids back because of
all these laws. The real fear of these poor black people, you are going to
come to our schools. You are going to rape our children and bring drugs
and violence. And, that is still there based on little else because not
like every black child out here is a criminal, but we are still dealing
HAYES: Mr. Wright, what do you think we are going to see? I mean
what is happened over the last 11 days, how is that going to change the
politics, the perception, the kind of governance structure, not just here
in Ferguson, but all around North County?
WRIGHT: You have to remember race is a money game. As long as people
make money off of white fear, the game will keep being played. People need
to be educated. No one cares about what color you are. They care about
how they can make money off of you. As long as whites run, the game will
continue to be played.
And, so, I think we have to educate ourselves and tell people how to
follow the money to clear up the game. People still make money off of the
whole thing of chasing whites out of neighborhoods. They are chasing them
to neighborhoods where they are building brand new homes. That is how you
HAYES: Trymaine Lee from MSNBC.com and John Wright from Webster
University. Thank you, gentlemen, both.
That is ALL IN for now. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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