All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 21, 2014
Guest: Jamilah Nasheed, Antonio French, David Rohde, Rep. William Lacy
Clay, Jay Nixon
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from Ferguson, Missouri. We
are live here tonight as the sun begins to set.
And a very different scene on West Florissant Avenue, a site of so
much unrest over the past 12 days. The street is open to vehicular traffic
for the first time in days. Businesses are open for business, including
the original Red`s Barbecue which is serving up barbecue and playing R&B
music right down there. A smattering of protesters walking up and down,
but all in all an absolutely transformed different scene than the images
we`ve seen coming out of Ferguson for just about two weeks now.
Today, Governor Jay Nixon announced that he`s ordering the National
Guard to begin withdrawing from Ferguson. They had been called in on
Monday to help secure the law enforcement command center down the road from
where I`m standing.
And as the military heads out of town, Missouri Senator Claire
McCaskill announced today she`ll hold a Senate hearing on the
militarization of the police next month -- a response to those shocking
images of officers in armored vehicles pointing long guns at citizens in
the early days of the protests.
While the unrest over the shooting of Mike Brown seems to be calming
down, supporters for his killer, Officer Darren Wilson are organizing.
Last week, a pro-Wilson rally in St. Louis was attended by only 100,
according to one report, but now the "Support Darren Wilson" Facebook page
has over 50,000 likes. A "Go Fund Me" page to raise money for his legal
fees has raised more than $150,000 in just three days.
And after people started turning their porch lights blue in a show of
support for the Missouri police officer. According to Yahoo News, one
supporter reported an area Walmart sold out of blue light bulbs.
Tonight, about two miles from here, there`s an "I love Ferguson" event
where community members will talk about how to push back against all the
negative images of their town.
Meanwhile, at the St. Louis County prosecutor`s office today, State
Senator Jamilah Nasheed presented a petition with 70,000 signatures calling
on prosecutor Rob McCulloch to step aside from the investigation into Mike
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. JAMILAH NASHEED (D), MISSOURI: That is the only way that
we`re going to bring strong confidence within this investigation. The
people, they don`t believe that he would do the right thing. They don`t
have the confidence that`s needed and that`s why we have 70,000 signatures
that we will be delivering to him today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In an emotional interview yesterday, McCulloch defended
himself against accusations that the circumstances of his father`s death,
someone who was a policeman killed in the line of duty by an African-
American assailant, would prejudice him in the Brown case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB MCCULLOCH, ST. LOUIS COUNTY PROSECUTOR: I know what it`s like to
grow up with a brother and two sisters and a mother and no father. I know
what it`s like to look back years later and see what my mother had to put
up with. Raising the four of us without her husband and companion, and I
know what it was like to look back and watch my mother grow old and die
without the man, the only man she ever loved, at her side.
So, I know the pain of that, and the fact that he was a police officer
and killed in the line of duty had nothing to do with any of that. What it
did for me is -- or to me, was made me, I think, a fierce advocate for
victims of violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In a statement today, McCulloch reaffirmed he has no intention
to recuse himself and urged, quote, "All seeking my removal to express
those demands to the governor and as I have demand he make a decision to
remove this office or not remove this office and end this distraction."
Well, I got a chance to sit down with the governor today and asked him
what he plans to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There was a petition delivered to St. Louis County prosecutor
bob McCulloch today, 70,000 signatures asking him to recuse himself. He`s
saying he`s not going to recuse himself from the case, shooting of Michael
Brown. He thinks that would be a dereliction of duty on his part.
He says you have the authority to order him off case. I have to read
you some of the quotes because he`s been pointed in what he said about you.
He said that your refusal to say definitively one way or the other whether
you`re going to appoint a special prosecutor is Nixonian double speak,
you`re hiding everything except the cover you pulled over your head, man
up, stand up, say I have this authority, I`m not removing McCulloch, I am
not removing McCulloch, and let`s et on with this.
What`s your response?
GOV. JAY NIXON (D), MISSOURI: Well, first of all, when you had
challenges, like the ones we`ve seen, you want to rely on the pillars of
our democracy. One of those pillars is having local prosecutors, the other
is having transparency and checking. And in this situation, we have both.
We have a local elected prosecutor who, no, I`m not going to take him off
the case. He`s going to -- he said he`s --
HAYES: You`re saying that now. You are not going to appoint a
NIXON: Right. No. I`m not. Plus you, in this situation, have the
secondary advantage here of having attorney general of the United States
and the Justice Department doing a parallel dual investigation. So -- and
a significant amount of public attention on what`s going on.
My sense is if we trust all those processes that the public is going
to get what they need, which is transparency and ultimately justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed who
represents part of St. Louis City and who delivered the petitions at the
office of Bob McCulloch.
Until that interview with the governor, if I`m not mistaken, the
governor had refused to take a definitive position one way or the other.
He just told me, as you`ve seen, no, no special prosecutor.
NASHEED: My response is the people is going to have to make him do
it. He`s not going to do it voluntarily. And the people are going to rise
up, continue to protest until the extent you might see civil disobedience
in order for this to happen.
We believe that he has the authority to remove him. Bob McCulloch
said he would step away, and with that being said, the ball is now in the
HAYES: The governor says we`ve got a pillar of democracy, there`s a
local prosecutor. As you know, the prosecutor has been elected time and
time and time again.
NASHEED: But not by black folks.
HAYES: Well, but even elected -- I mean, that`s --
NASHEED: But not by African-Americans. African-Americans don`t trust
him. They don`t have any confidence that he`ll do the right thing.
HAYES: Wouldn`t that apply to any case where he`s prosecuting people
NASHEED: We`re talking about a man in the past that showed bias by
the fact of not prosecuting two police officers at a time when they shot 20
times in the car with men that were unarmed. That is appalling. And so,
what we`re doing --
HAYES: So, you`re saying there`s a specific precedent here that is
making you concerned about how he will conduct himself in this case?
NASHEED: That`s correct.
HAYES: What are you going to be -- OK, then, what`s next? Governor
says no, they presented their first day of grand jury testimony yesterday,
if I`m not mistaken. I`ve heard there`s two prosecutors on the case. At
least that`s what the attorney general said. What`s the next step?
NASHEED: I think the people has the power and the people is going to
exercise their power each and every day until bob McCulloch steps aside.
HAYES: How widespread is that call? You`re one state senator. We
talked to a few other folks. Is this a -- is this a small crusade that`s
being waged? Is this a widespread belief? Are you going to bring in other
state local officials to kind of sign on to this?
NASHEED: They`ve already signed on, and what you saw today, when we
delivered 70,000 signatures to Bob McCulloch`s office, basically, that was
signatures came by way of individuals throughout the United States.
So, people around the country, they don`t have the confidence. They
have a no-confidence movement going on with Bob McCulloch and I think it`s
only going to get better and bigger.
HAYES: What do you say to someone who says you are essentially, you
know, you are mucking with a process that if it is interfered with is only
going to produce results people can trust even less? So, once they`ve
started presenting the case to the grand jury, someone new comes in, that`s
going to be the subject of possible litigation, or appeals, or controversy.
What do you say to that?
NASHEED: I think that once we have an independent prosecutor come in,
then what we would do then is see a level of trust. We would see a level
of individuals believing that justice will be served. So, the confidence
level, I believe, would rise drastically.
HAYES: Is there anything that the St. Louis County prosecutor bob
McCulloch who we saw speaking a few seconds ago, is there anything he can
do to earn that trust in terms of who he assigns to the case, in terms of
how they handle information going forward? Is there anything he can do?
NASHEED: Only thing he can do at this point is step aside.
HAYES: So that`s it?
NASHEED: That`s it.
HAYES: So, where does this move next? I mean, what do you want to
see if this doesn`t happen? People are going to organize more. You`re
going to put more pressure on. Is the process moving at a pace that you`re
comfortable with so far?
NASHEED: Yes. The people are determined. They have the will and the
drive to bring justice to Michael Brown`s death. And I think at the end of
the day, you`re going to see more people coming out protesting and asking
that the governor remove Bob McCulloch.
HAYES: It`s calmed down quite a bit here.
NASHEED: And that`s a good thing.
HAYES: You think that`s a good thing.
NASHEED: That`s a good thing.
HAYES: What do you think of the governor`s handling of the situation
as a whole?
NASHEED: For the most part, with the governor bringing in the highway
patrol, I thought that it kind of eased a lot of tension. However, we have
a long way to go, and the people are still unrest at the -- by the fact
that we still have Bob McCulloch still on this case, until Bob McCulloch is
moved away from this case, only then will you see a level of confidence and
the people in terms of how this case will go.
HAYES: Have you met with the governor?
HAYES: You have not met with the governor.
HAYES: Has anyone met with the governor who is part of this movement
to get Bob McCulloch off the case, to appoint a special prosecutor?
NASHEED: Again, I think that the only way it would happen, the people
is going to have to force his hand and they`re ready to go that, by way of
civil disobedience. They`re willing to go to jail for this call.
HAYES: State Senator Jamilah Nasheed, thank you for joining me.
NASHEED: Thank you.
HAYES: Appreciate it.
All right. A lot of the national media started to pack up and leave
Ferguson, but it`s leaving in its wake an extremely traumatized community,
one who`s had 12 surreal and frankly awful days to witness both tear gas,
uprising, arrests, and, of course, still mourning the tragic loss of one of
Joining me now is Alderman Antonio French. He represents a ward in
St. Louis, but was one of the first people to come up here on the scene
from outside Ferguson and kind of start tweeting out to the world what was
going on. Tell me what you`re thinking about doing, what folks here, or
organizers are doing what Ferguson does once people pack up their cameras
ANTONIO FRENCH, ST. LOUIS ALDERMAN: Yes. You know, now that we`ve
gotten a couple days of peace in a row, we want to start about the work of
healing our community, so we`ve started a group called healstl, #healstl.
And what we`re trying to do here is take a lot of this energy,
especially among the young people, and try to train the next generation of
political leaders and activists, get them involved in organizing in their
community, registering every person out here, especially African-Americans
to vote, and trying to change the face of Ferguson government.
I think what you really saw this week was a governor, a government
trying to go to war with its people here in Ferguson, and that a lot of
that is a consequence that they didn`t really have representation in their
own government, and so what we`re trying to do is get those folks active
and involved and hopefully they will get that representation so they can
have a -- they can feel more part of their community.
HAYES: I saw you in the immediate aftermath of the shooting that
happened three miles from here in the neighborhood in North St. Louis City.
You said something, you basically said, we`re not going to have any
silliness here. You have people that have your back. Unlike those folks
in Ferguson who are on their own.
What do you mean by that?
FRENCH: That makes all the difference. You know, folks here I think
part of the reason you saw so much anger and frustration, because they
didn`t have anybody in their government that was looking out for them and,
in fact, the exact opposite. When they were showing and displaying at that
time very peaceful and justified anger, their local government took an
adversarial stance against them. They actually went to war with them in
the middle of their streets and in their neighborhoods. That is not the
case in St. Louis City.
In St. Louis City, we do have representatives. That`s my area.
Alderman Chris Carter. In that particular case, there was an alderwoman
who was actually a witness to the incident.
And so, folks there shouldn`t feel like this is going to be swept
under the rug. In fact, we`ve already called for hearings of the public
safety committee to start looking at how St. Louis City police officers are
trained. Whether they`re trained to shoot or wound. And what cases lethal
force is justified.
HAYES: When you talk about healing, one of the things I`ve heard from
a lot of folks here is just there`s a tremendous amount of trauma in this
community. I was struck yesterday, there was a memorial in the middle of
the street of Canfield right here where Mike Brown was shot, and there were
people around and just completely broken up, and it occurred to me that
because of what we`ve seen with the tear gas and protests and this intense
media microscope that`s come over this town, there`s not been a lot of
space for people to grieve, to process, to process everything that`s
happened in the last 12 days.
FRENCH: Yes. That normal process usually involves these public
protests, these demonstrations, and that was thwarted in the beginning.
That was actually shut down by the local government here. And so people
need a place to peacefully protest, need a place to gather and express
their anger and frustration.
So, you know, people should not think that these small crowds now are
any indication that people are not angry anymore, are not frustrated. And
the danger here is they`re going back to normal means going back to where
that stuff is under the surface. We don`t want to do that.
HAYES: Well -- and also, the thing I think about is giving everything
that`s happened between this community and Ferguson police force, it`s the
same police force. Once all the cameras leave, once all the reporters
leave, these folks who lived around here who had all these are now going to
go back into their lives with the same police force, that I think it`s not
a stretch to say probably feels frustrated and angry at the community
because they feel like they were unfairly attacked. The relationships are
And I worry about what those interactions are going to look like two
weeks, a month from now.
FRENCH: Well, my message to Ferguson is the same as I had to the
folks to Baden neighborhood, is that you`re not alone now. So, we actually
are running a store front here on West Florissant, we`ll be signing a lease
tomorrow and be setting up shop here for quite a while and taking a lot of
these young people who showed leadership skills this past week and get them
involved, train them, show them how to do this properly.
And so, we`ll be here. And we`ll help them change their government
here and get one reflects their population.
HAYES: Do you think the amount of media attention on this story has
been net helpful or net harmful to the citizens here?
FRENCH: You know, I think this story has really -- the situation here
has kind of morphed over the 12 days, you know, and the media attention,
especially from outside, was very important to getting the story out early
on. I think what I did see in the last few days, though, where you have
situations where there are sometimes more media than there are protesters.
I think some of the young people, especially, were playing to the cameras
and that made it a little bit worse.
HAYES: I know nothing about playing to the camera.
FRENCH: But all in all, though, I think the attention from both media
and folks around the world has helped bring attention to this. I don`t
think in St. Louis, we would have acknowledged it without it.
HAYES: You don`t think so?
FRENCH: No. I mean, St. Louis has not really wanted to deal with
these racial issues, these issues of inequality and justice, and we had to
be forced to do it. And now that we have been forced to do it, we can`t go
back to ignoring it. We have to use this as an opportunity to improve and
become a better St. Louis.
HAYES: The tension here was so intense, and really felt like at
certain moments, I mean, when we were at the scene of that shooting in
Baden, there was a moment there where it really felt to me like, oh, this
is going to blow up.
FRENCH: Yes. You`re right. And it made all the difference in the
world to have folks, elected leaders there, I was there, Alderman Chris
Carter was there. And also made a big difference to have the chief
personally be there and not only talk to you all, the media, but then walk
over to that crowd and get in the middle of it and tell them the facts as
he knew it and we stood together.
Now, people here know that the chief and I don`t always get along, but
when it comes to the safety of our community, we`re going to stand together
to make sure we keep this thing together.
HAYES: I think there`s a lot of troubling questions still brought up
by the video.
FRENCH: They`ll be asked and we`ll have public hearings and the chief
may have some hard questions to answer. And people need to be able to come
and express their frustration in this public hearing.
HAYES: But you don`t feel like this Ferguson or metro area is still
this kind of powder keg?
FRENCH: I think there`s still bubbling tension, absolutely. I don`t
HAYES: Hasn`t gone away, yes.
FRENCH: And it`s going to take a lot of work on our parts to fix
HAYES: Cameras don`t catch that.
FRENCH: Yes, they don`t catch that.
HAYES: Alderman Antonio French -- thanks very much.
HAYES: All right. New details surrounding the horrific murder of
American journalist James Wright Foley. We`ll bring those to you ahead.
I`ll talk to another journalist who was held by extremists and get his
HAYES: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, his thoughts on the situation in
Ferguson 12 days after Michael Brown was shot and killed by police. An in-
depth interview with him ahead.
And there`s this breaking news from our MSNBC.com reporter at the "I
love Ferguson" event. School board president Rob Chabot has announced that
school will absolutely be open. Quote, "We are prepared for school on
Monday and really excited about that."
HAYES: Two days after the release of the video of the horrific
execution of American photojournalist James Wright Foley, Defense Secretary
Chuck Hagel warned that ISIS is formidably well-equipped and well-trained.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK HAGEL, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: ISIL is a sophisticated and well-
funded as any group that we have seen. They`re beyond just a terrorist
group. They marry ideology, sophistication of strategic and tactical
military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. All this is beyond
anything that we`ve seen. So, we must prepare for everything, and the only
way you do that is you take a cold, steely hard look at it and get ready.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And as the U.S. continues to attack ISIS positions in Iraq
with airstrikes, a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin
Dempsey, refused to say if the United States is presently at war with ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Isn`t the U.S. already at war with ISIS?
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Are you
looking at me? Do I --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re the general.
DEMPSEY: Do I look like a guy that would answer that question in
front of the -- the declaration of war is a policy decision, not a military
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Attorney General Eric Holder announced today the Department of
Justice has opened a criminal investigation into Foley`s murder saying
that, quote, "People will be held accountable one way or the other."
British intelligence are trying to identify Foley`s killer, and we
learned more about the U.S. attempt to rescue Foley and other American
hostages. The mission under the cover of night was authorized by President
Obama employed two dozen Delta Force commandos. They raided an oil
refinery in the northern part of Syria and engaged in a firefight with
According to "The New York Times", where the hostages had been moved.
We`ve also learned that ISIS had attempted to extract ransom in
exchange for Foley. The group pressed the United States to provide a
multimillion dollar ransom for his release, according to a representative
for his fame and former hostage held alongside him. The United States,
unlike several European countries that have funneled millions of terror
group to spare the lives of their citizens refused to pay. The ransom
demand was $100 million euros or $132 million dollars, according to "The
Wall Street Journal."
Joining me, someone who knows what it was like to be held by
extremists. In 2008, while working as a reporter for "The New York Times"
in Afghanistan, David Rohde was kidnapped and held by the Taliban for more
than seven months before he escaped. He`s now an investigative reporter at
David, it`s great to have you. And I guess the first thing I want to
hear is -- as someone who went through a horrible ordeal, not dissimilar
from what fellow journalists have gone through here, what is your reaction
DAVID ROHDE, REUTERS: Well, I mean, my heart goes out to the Foleys.
I`ve talked to them quite a bit, and I talked to Jim Foley somewhat. I
won`t say I was, you know, a very, very close friend of his.
I just hate that -- I don`t want his life to become the end of his
life. He was an amazing person and journalist. So many people have told
And it`s -- I just don`t want that final image to be all that he`s
associated with. It`s not him. It`s not fair. And that really upsets me
the most at this point.
HAYES: A guy by the name of Andrew (INAUDIBLE) had a tweet that I
thought was really interesting. He said, "One of the best things the U.S.
government does for its citizens is not pay ransom." And it strikes me
that this is one of these deeply impossible moral choices.
Do you agree with that assessment, though?
ROHDE: Well, the actual U.S. policy is that the government will not
pay ransom, but if a family or an organization, an oil company or a news
organization wants to pay ransom, they can do that. And the money will go
to a terrorist organization and the American government will turn a blind
Technically, when a family or an organization pays a ransom, it`s
material support to a terrorist group, it`s a violation of U.S. law.
So, it`s a more nuanced, you know, policy than he`s presenting. But
the problem that comes out in the Foley case is that as you said earlier,
European governments are paying millions of dollars in ransoms. There were
French and Spanish journalists held with Foley as captives but they were
ransomed and, you know, Foley is dead today.
And this demand for $132 million, it shows how the prices are going up
and as the Europeans pay these ransoms, militants are kidnapping more
Westerners and demanding more and more money.
HAYES: When you were held by the Taliban, were there ransom demands
ROHDE: Yes, this was five years ago and the initial demands in my
case were $25 million in cash and release of 15 prisoners from Guantanamo
You know, and again, today, five years later the opening demand for
Foley was $132 million. The story in "The New York Times" you cited said
al Qaeda affiliates received roughly $125 million in ransom, almost all
from European governments over the last five years. Last year, they got
$60 million in ransom. These are different affiliates spread all over the
But, again, this tactic is working and there is no coherent strategy
or response from the U.S. and Europe about how to deal with it.
HAYES: Yet, that "Times" article was really eye-opening just in terms
of how widespread and prevalent the issue is, how it`s all sort of
happening through back channels and not necessarily being reported. And
also about the fact that essentially a kind of horrible black market has
opened up between different militant groups who are taking hostages. That
people are kidnapped by one group and possibly traded or sold to others
because there`s this value, this market value, for Westerners that they`re
ROHDE: Yes. And as the Europeans pay, they set a market price for
American citizens for Jim Foley that there is no way Jim Foley or
"GlobalPost," the organization he worked for can pay the amount of money
the French government and Spanish government paid, and it`s a business.
There`s a protocol. There`s close coordination where different militant
groups from North Africa, to Yemen, to Syria, to Afghanistan, follow the
same very clear pattern. There`s -- they abduct someone, there`s no news
for months, then they send a video or a message and they wait.
It`s a very clear pattern. And they`re sharing information and
tactics. Again, it`s working. There is, again, no clear response from the
And I`m saying as a tribute to Jim Foley, I don`t want to see him die
in vain. All of this is in the shadows, the payments by the French
government. You know, people aren`t clear about what the American policy
actually is. Let`s please have a debate, you know, almost, you know, to
recognize his sacrifice and face this problem we have.
HAYES: Yes, there`s been a real tension, of course, because often
there`s a press blackout observed out of respect. Security concerns when
these kidnappings happen. But the flip side of that is we haven`t had
public debate about this policy or transparency.
David Rohde, great journalist -- thank you so much. I really
ROHDE: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. We will be right back.
HAYES: It was an absolutely sweltering day here in Ferguson with
temperatures that neared triple digits. And, this was a scene this
afternoon near our location right here at Red`s barbecue. Missouri Highway
Patrol Captain Ron Johnson fielding questions from citizens including this
gentleman who lodged his complaint about local police not following their
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): They walk into the QuickTrips and help
themselves to soda and coffee and they do not pay. Kids see officers
breaking the law. They say, "Why should we obey the law if officers do
not?" One small step would be to get the officers to obey the law, all the
laws that they enforce. That is just a white man`s opinion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (2): And, you have done a good job so far.
Thank you very much.
CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICER: I am not going to
take that as a white man`s opinion. I am going to take that as a man`s
opinion. And, I can tell you that this uniform does not put anyone above
the law. You know, in my house, I obey the law. I expect my wife, my
kids, and my family members to obey the law, and I am expected to obey the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Captain Ron Johnson continuing his community relations work
yesterday with Attorney General Holder. The discussion turned to marital
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF UNITED STATES: The last time I
talked to you, you said your wife said, you were sweating too much and she
was really worried about you getting a little bit rest. Do you get a
little bit more?
CAPT. JOHNSON: I am a little bit more getting sweat last time I got
home and there was a card on my pillow. So, I read it thinking it was
going to be, "Hey, keep up the drive. Keep up the spirit." I was reading
it, talking about marriage and how couples grow. When I got to the end,
she said, "Happy 26th anniversary."
HOLDER: You did not forget, my brother?
CAPT. JOHNSON: Yes, I did.
HOLDER: Oh, oh.
CAPT. JOHNSON: She forgave me.
HOLDER: We will write you a note, how about that?
CAPT. JOHNSON: I might need a note.
HOLDER: All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There have been a whole lot of people doing a whole lot of
overtime this week, including Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, who made some
news about the appointment of a special prosecutor in the Mike Brown
shooting in an interview with me. That interview -- the full interview, is
HAYES: Well, the primary image of the Michael Brown shooting may well
be one as described by witnesses of hands raised. These images will
undoubtedly be the other enduring feature of this tragedy. A seemingly
militarized police force that put Ferguson on the map and it is something
the likes of both Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Senator Claire
McCaskill of Missouri have openly questioned.
But, here is the thing, congress has approved these programs for
years, which moved pentagon surplus military equipment to local
municipalities and congress has even voted down an amendment to stop it.
It will continue to be an issue on Capitol Hill. Congressman Lacy Clay,
who represents Ferguson met with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to discuss
his pentagon program.
Congressman Clay was one of 355 congressmen who voted against an
amendment proposed by Congressman Alan Grayson that would have stopped the
pentagon program. Before Congressman Clay`s meeting, I got a chance to
speak with him about how he wants to see Ferguson resonate in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. WILLIAM LACY CLAY, (D) MISSOURI CONGRESSMAN: Well, I have had
numerous discussions with my colleagues. And, the tragedy of the shooting
of Michael Brown and the 11 or 12 days of protests that have followed tell
me that we, as a congress, need to address how the African-American
community is policed in this country.
So, I plan on addressing that along with my colleagues on both sides
of the aisle whom I have heard from that want to look at the situation and
try to prevent it from happening in the future.
HAYES: What does that mean concretely, though? I mean are you
talking about federal policy in terms of overseeing local police
departments or talking about ending the kind of militarization of police
that we have seen in response to protests? What does that mean concretely?
CLAY: Well, two days after Michael Brown was shot, I quickly
contacted the justice department and asked Attorney General Holder to
conduct a civil rights investigation and make it expansive. Look at the
police departments in the St. Louis community and look for their use of
And, we are starting to get good results from that, because there has
been a vigorous pursuit by the justice department to look at the tactics of
police agencies and start to address those. As far as federal statute when
it comes to policing, we need to look at it in a comprehensive manner,
perhaps require body cameras, require cruiser cameras. Look at how we
diversify different law enforcement agencies in the St. Louis area and,
perhaps, come up with best practices for the rest of the country.
HAYES: Do you think the federal program that gives surplus military
equipment like the kind of vehicles we have been seeing, like the kind of
assault rifles we have been seeing, like the camouflage and all of that, do
you think that is a good idea?
CLAY: Not at all. Here is why it is not, because I have been in
Ferguson on the ground the last week, and I witnessed this heavy equipment
with military -- with rifles pointed at my constituents, who where just
there to express their constitutional rights of assembly and speech.
And, when I had a constituent to call me, a vet of Afghanistan, to
tell me that if a soldier had pointed their weapon at an innocent civilian
in Afghanistan, they would be court-martialed. So, that tells me that that
is a problem. What the police have done so far in Ferguson is unacceptable
and that policy has to be changed.
As a matter of fact, Chris, I am meeting today with Secretary Hagel to
talk about this policy along with Congressman Cleaver. And, we think that
we will be able to change that policy. I mean, it was originally adopted
for police agencies to fight drug cartels and incidents of terrorism. And,
it was not originally adapted to point -- to use against peaceful
HAYES: Congressman Lacy Clay, who represents Ferguson in congress.
Thank you so much.
CLAY: Thank you for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: By the way, I had to lose that dress shirt because it is
literally about 100 degrees out here. Now, the Governor of Missouri made
some news tonight on the investigation into the killing of Michael Brown.
My interview with him, ahead.
HAYES: West Florissant is open for vehicle traffic. A lot of
businesses are open on the street. And, we will bring you much more live
from Ferguson, ahead.
HAYES: Late this afternoon, I sat down with the man who has been at
the center of a lot of this over the last 12 days, Missouri Democratic
Governor Jay Nixon. And, I pressed him on his decision that he told me not
to remove St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch from the investigation
of the killing of Michael Brown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Part of what we have seen here, I think clearly to everyone
watching this, there is a chasm of distrust between certain residents of
not just Ferguson, but St. Louis County and North County.
JAY NIXON, (D) MISSOURI GOVERNOR: And, not just Missouri.
HAYES: And, not just Missouri. Yes, right. But, in this particular
HAYES: -- there is this chasm of distrust and there is a lot of
distrust of Mr. McCulloch, whether that is fair or not, as a fact about
how people feel about him.
HAYES: Given how high profile this has become, how high tensions are,
why not just take that step to just ensure that you are going into the
process with that -- the level -- with the community not already
distrusting the process?
NIXON: Well, first of all, you have a relatively big officer. You
have officers who are doing the investigation. You have FBI agents doing
investigations. As I said before, I think you trust the pillars of
democracy if they are vigorous and serious about their responsibilities,
then -- in government, you try to support the processes in place in the
I am confident that those folks are working real hard, that they are
already, you know, moving forward in some manner and I think the best --
plus, I have got a limited role. I have got a lot to do here on the
security side. This is very complicated and difficult. My two things that
I am spending a tremendous amount of time on is, one, to make sure we get
security and safety; but two, also protect those first amendment rights,
which are so important when you have, you know, significant horrific acts
like this occur.
People need to speak. And, so protecting that and balancing that with
safety is very challenging. And, then the second part of that is to get to
a dialogue, a constructive dialogue after we are through some of the
initial phases here. That is why this morning I went to Harris Stowe and
met with folks as we began in mental health first aid expanded training for
That is why I went to the daycare center, where teachers are
volunteering to come in to be with the kids until school starts next week.
That is why I sat down once again with local officials this morning to make
sure that they are getting what they need as we move forward. All of those
are things I need to keep working on when the initial things are done.
HAYES: In terms of how this goes forward in the investigation, we are
-- one of the points of complaint from people has been the management of
information. There was, of course, the convenience store video footage got
people really angry. Today, we are getting anonymous sourcing about
There was a report that he had suffered an orbital fracture. And,
that report has been knocked down by a subsequent report. You are already
seeing stuff come out from sources close to the investigation. Are you
confident that that information is being handled properly? What is your
reaction of these leaks coming?
NIXON: My reaction is they are not helpful to the task I have, which
is to try to keep safety and public discourse. I mean, when you see in
essence those -- I do think that -- and we have expressed it to them, the
release of the videotape early on I think was made for a challenging
situation after the that and legitimately so. I mean, and something this
important, both to the family and to the community. That piecemeal release
of information and a kind of shadow tussling out there is not good for the
HAYES: Should Officer Wilson still be getting a paycheck?
NIXON: That is for local folks -- I have not seen the facts. I mean,
I have not seen the investigative reports. I think whatever the general
policy is in these situations should be embraced. As I said before, if
that policy -- and so, I mean, it is --
HAYES: But, you could understand how people look at this. I mean, I
have had people say this to me all week like, they see it. There is, you
know, a certain segment of the population that sees this guy being
basically on paid vacation. He is on paid leave.
NIXON: Yes. I mean there is a lot of emotions out there, but I do
think rather than -- I think the best thing to do -- and there is rules in
place for each one of these departments. My best advice is those
transparent rules, those things they have used in past that they use here
now. There is -- and so I -- I understand why emotions run high. That is
I have heard a lot of those emotions in the last 25 years, but
especially on this instance in last 11 days. And, what I am trying to do,
Chris, is to provide a framework for a thoughtful, moderate discussion that
can get us to some sort of progress on what have been intractable issues
for this country for many, many years. I mean, poverty, race, police,
educational issues. All of those are very difficult issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In 1998, when he was running for senate, Missouri democratic
Governor Jay Nixon faced strong opposition from the NAACP over his fight as
attorney general to end a court ordered school desegregation program that
bused thousands of black students in St. Louis to better schools in
surrounding communities that were predominantly white.
Nixon faced picketing at campaign appearances and one local NAACP
official even called him the reincarnation of former Governor George C.
Wallace of Alabama. I asked Nixon about that incident and his relationship
with African-American community grappling with the fallout of Ferguson,
HAYES: We are back with my interview just hours ago with Missouri
Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, who I asked about a sometimes fraught
relationship with his state`s African-American constituents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You are a democrat in a state that Barack Obama lost. It is a
red state, although it has several statewide elected democrats. And, you
won a very high percentage of the African-American vote --
HAYES: -- but, there have been moments in your political career where
there have been pretty tense relationships with certain African-American
leaders in the state, and some of this has kind of been brought back up in
I just want to read this quote, this is state Senator Jamilah
Nasheed`s saying "I truly believe the Governor has not been in touch with
the black community like he should." Another leader, Gwendolyn Grant of
Urban League of Greater Kansas says "I think this historical lack of
authentic connections and engagement with the black community is apparent
in this situation" meaning the fallout of Ferguson "by what I consider to
be a tardy response to what is happening." What do you think about that?
NIXON: Well, I mean as far as the timing of this, we saw the issues
as soon as we saw the significant what looked like a military presence
almost, and the response to community, then I moved to come in here. My
normal -- it is a pretty unique order for a Governor to declare a state of
emergency and say we are going to come in --
HAYES: Yes, and bring in the National Guard.
NIXON: -- in that way -- The National Guard later because of security
NIXON: Because even after that, you saw that attempt to attack the
headquarters. You know, I am going to -- there is plenty of statements of
folks on all sides when you --
HAYES: No, but there is a particular line -- I think there is a
certain line that has gone through all the way back to 1998 and there is a
controversy over desegregation case that you as attorney general were
essentially pursuing a lawsuit against a court ordered desegregation plan.
That got some folks angry. There is a history here where there have been
points in which your relationship with black leadership here has been
NIXON: Absolutely. And, there have also been moments where when I
veto a voter I.D. bill, when I stand behind the old courthouse here and
veto a fight that -- a bill that tried to limit discrimination rights, that
when, you know, I appoint judges of -- that really reflect the diversity of
the state, those folks are making the decisions. That I have been
applauded. So, when you live in this arena especially as a Governor --
NIXON: -- the people express opinions and then I will leave it to
them to express it, but I try to -- I think everybody that knows me, it is
HAYES: But, you feel like you have the relationships you need to sort
NIXON: You are always trying to get better.
NIXON: I mean this morning, I went to a cafe, met with local elected
state representatives, a significant portion, Representative Pierson,
Representative Walton Gray and Representative Curtis and all of those folks
and to listen to them. And, so I am -- my sense is you have got to listen.
I mean, listening is what you want to have.
And sometimes in this job, people tend to take, you know, disagreement
on a particular point or issue and turn that into a process as opposed to a
substance. But, that is -- I mean, my golly, you should not run for high
office if you are, you know, not prepared to have critiques of what you do.
HAYES: Final question here is about -- is a kind of after-action
report. I sat in that press conference when you ordered in Ron Johnson to
take over sort of security situation and people were asking you about, you
know, accountable for what we saw. And you said, "Look. I am looking
forward. I have a security situation to manage." You know, the security
situation I think has improved.
NIXON: Clearly. Clearly.
HAYES: Is there going to be -- and not just for the Ferguson police,
through these 11 or 12 days, which people have seen all these images around
the world of the tear gas and guns pointed and big police presence. Is
there going to be some sort of state after actions? --
NIXON: But, they have also seen those police officers take shots over
their heads and not fire back.
HAYES: Right. That is my point.
NIXON: They have all seen --
HAYES: Is there going to be some kind of after-action report? Is
there going to be some kind of audit or commission that says, "Let`s look
at how this response happened and what we can learn from it from the day
the first protest happened in Ferguson all the way through that?"
NIXON: We hot wash all of our emergency responses each time, whether
it is whatever it is, and I look forward to being involved in that process
on our team. But, I think this one, to me, is not as -- my focus will not
be as much on should I have called out this many National Guard, or should
I have done it two hours, three hours before?
But, more importantly, when you touch a nerve this deep, when you
touch these issues, it is time for all of us to listen. I mean, what the
young folks -- we do not have to explain these issues to high school kids,
you know, in this country. And, boy, that is an opportunity.
And so, looking at how do we -- what can we do long run, you know, can
we get better health care coverage? We need to get Medicaid expansion in
Missouri. We have got to get that done. I mean, how can we make sure that
we fully fund our foundation formula, something I tried to do last year in
the legislature instead comes back with the last day of session $776
million of special interest tax breaks.
How do we deal with the issues of schools that have challenges here in
this area which we are working on a lot? So, I think those bigger issues,
if we can use some of the energy here to carry on rational communications,
respectful communications, and actually get some action in those areas, I
think that is better than just an after-action report six months from now
about whether something should have happened two hours or three hours
I will do that, but I think this is much bigger than that. I really
believe that we have touched some issues that resonated through and have
fallen to a point where people`s discussion about them have been, you know,
almost kind of in each camp or zone.
NIXON: And, we have got a chance to get in the middle zone where
people are actually going to listen here. And when we do that, I hope to
play a little part in doing and trying to get good movement on some of
those bigger issues.
HAYES: Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri. Thank you. I really
appreciate it. Thanks for your time.
NIXON: My pleasure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is "All In" for this evening. The "Rachel Maddow" show
starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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