All In With Chris Hayes, September 3rd, 2014
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
September 3, 2014
Guest: Chris Murphy, Marc Ginsberg, Anthony Gray, Pete Williams, Dedrick
Muhammad, Tara Dowdell, Ken Rose
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight, we are ALL IN.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our objective is clear,
and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL.
HAYES: The march to war. The president vows action on ISIS, as
Congress demands a vote to authorize military intervention.
Tonight, we`ll talk to a U.S. senator and look at the flip side of
Then, the smearing of Michael Brown. Who is trying to obtain his
juvenile criminal records and for what purpose?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometime, I felt like giving up and stuff. But I
said, I can`t do that.
HAYES: Exonerated. Two half brothers spent 30 years in prison for
crimes they did not commit. One even used in a Republican backed Willie
Horton-style campaign ad.
And with the world in turmoil, Sean Hannity calls on a renowned
foreign policy expert.
PHIL ROBERTSON, DUCK DYNASTY: Listen to this, on this ISIS thing --
HAYES: "Duck Dynasty`s" Phil Robertson weighs in on ISIS. We`ll have
the full analysis.
ROBERTSON: Either convert them or kill them.
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening, from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Congress tonight is marching toward a vote to give President Obama the
authority to begin an assault on ISIS, also known as the Islamic State or
ISIL, in its home base in Syria. The congressional push follows a release
yesterday of a video showing ISIS militants beheading a second American
journalist, Steven Sotloff, in what ISIS said was a response to continued
U.S. air strikes on its position in Iraq. U.S. intelligence community
confirmed today that video is authentic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We saw him brutally taken from us, in
an act of medieval savagery, by a coward hiding behind a mask. For so many
who worked so long to bring Steven and other Americans home safely, this
obviously was not how the story was meant to end. It`s a punch to the gut.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Estonia today, President Obama promised justice for Sotloff
and fellow journalist James Foley, and laid out the U.S. objective in
dealing with the militant group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The bottom line is this -- our objective is clear and that is
to degrade and destroy ISIL, so it`s no longer a threat not just to Iraq,
but also to the region and to the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president later offering this characterization of the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We know that if we are joined by the international community,
we can continue to shrink ISIL`s sphere of influence, its effectiveness,
its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Republicans immediately saw an opportunity to pounce,
including Mitch McConnell and Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss, quickly
jumping on the president`s characterization of ISIS as a, quote,
"manageable problem" in the future, as insufficiently aggressive. With
Chambliss saying the United States must destroy ISIL now, so that this
dangerous terrorist organization cannot continue to carry out attacks
against Americans or on American soil.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden commented on ISIS during an
appearance in Maine today, where offered the kind of chest-thumping the
president himself generally issues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a nation, we`re
united. And when people harm Americans, we don`t retreat. We don`t
forget. We take care of those who are grieving. And when that`s finished,
they should know, we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are
brought to justice, because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where
they will reside!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Those comments from the vice president come amid new evidence
of ISIS atrocities. Human Rights Watch today said it had confirmed that in
June, ISIS militants conducted a massacre of between 560 and 770 mostly
Iraqi soldiers in Tikrit, in what the group called a crime against
Stateside, Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said he would
introduce legislation to give President Obama congressional authority to
strike ISIS in Syria, when Congress returns from recess next week.
And in the House, Virginia Republican Frank Wolf announced today he
would address legislation authorizing the use of military force against not
just ISIS, but a range of terror groups, saying his much broader
authorization would allow the president to, quote, "go after these
terrorists, whether in Syria, Iraq or elsewhere."
That would mean the president could launch airstrikes pretty much
anywhere in the world.
A reminder: the last time that Congress faced an authorization vote on
the use of force just two months before an election was 2002, when
lawmakers voted to authorize the war in Iraq. That authorization for the
use of force in Iraq is still in effect today, and it provided the legal
basis for the administration to conduct the current airstrikes against ISIS
in Iraq without congressional approval.
Joining me now, Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, and a
member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator, do you agree that the president needs congressional
authorization for any strikes that would happen in Syria?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Absolutely. Congress needs to
authorize any broad-ranging use of military force. And I certainly argue
the case for Syria, but I`d also argue if there is a long term new military
engagement against ISIS in Iraq, he needs congressional authorization for
that as well.
My heart goes out to the Sotloff family. We are all grieving with
And, frankly, I agree with the president that it is in our national
security interest to stop ISIS right now if we can. The question is not
whether there is a will, the question is if there is a way.
And the danger here is that if we rush headlong into thoughtless
military action, we could make things worse, not better.
And so, the president is right. To take his time, put together a
coalition in the region, which is unlike anything we`ve seen over the last
decade, which brings Sunni and Shiite elements together to fight this very
unique force. We need to take them out, but we need to do it in a way that
doesn`t repeat the mistakes of the last 10 years.
I think that`s something that Republicans and Democrats can come
together on, but the president has got to propose a comprehensive plan
first rather than Congress rushing to an authorization.
HAYES: So, you would like to see -- you would like to see something
coming out of the White House prior to some sort of congressional
resolution coming before Congress, so that the language can be sort of
specifically tailored narrowly, because my fear, of course, is we still
have the 2001 AUMF in effect, we still have the 2002 resolution for
authorizing force in Iraq in effect. Another authorization here could be
used by future presidents for a whole variety of military encounters.
So, it seems like it`s a one-way ratchet, isn`t it?
MURPHY: Yes, over the last 10 years, Congress has really abdicated
its responsibility for overseeing foreign military operations to the
president, with disastrous results. And so, I just want to make sure we
don`t repeat the mistakes we made in Iraq over the last 10 years.
What we basically proved is that military intervention alone doesn`t
make the situation better vis-a-vis Islamic extremists. It actually makes
And so, I think there can be an authorization that can pass Congress.
But I would suggest that it would be limited in a way that doesn`t allow
for ground troops to be used, that it should be time limited so that we
don`t get into open-ended decade`s long conflict. I think we can come
together around the strategy. But, first, we need to see that plan that
doesn`t repeat the mistakes of a past.
HAYES: As I watch, as I read Beltway media and mainstream press, as I
watch cable news, it seems to me there is tremendous consensus in the sort
of foreign policy elite and think tanks and even politically, around some
kind of military action against ISIS, building this coalition, possible
escalation of airstrikes. I wonder if members of Congress getting back
from August recess talking to their constituents if there will be any gap
between that consensus and where American voters are on the possibility of
yet another war in the Middle East?
MURPHY: Well, here in Connecticut, there`s still two conflicting
emotions. There`s still a war-weariness which was expressed last summer
with the proposition of using military intervention, and Syria inside that
civil conflict. But there is an outrage over the conduct of ISIS.
I think it`s not easy to square the two. That`s why it`s important
for the president to put forward a plan that doesn`t just devolve us into
another sectarian civil war.
My constituents here in Connecticut are not going to be satisfied if
both Shiite and Sunni nations in the Middle East aren`t part of this
coalition, because if we`re going in only for instance with the Shiite
nations with Iran, without Saudi Arabia, we just become another participant
in the civil war. That frankly puts us at greater risk, not at lesser
But this is a different war. This is a different fight, and here in
Connecticut, there`s a much greater willingness to take on a fight against
ISIS, than there was last summer to take on a fight against Bashar al
HAYES: Well, I mean, they keep beheading Americans on camera, and
that`s obviously playing a role.
Senator Chris Murphy, thank you very much.
HAYES: So, the debate as the senator just mentioned right now is
whether to bomb ISIS in Syria and how to do it and when to do it and under
what conditions of what kind of coalition.
Now, the last Western bombing campaign in the Middle East with a broad
coalition, we should note, took place three years ago across the
Mediterranean Sea from Syria in Libya, in North Africa. North African
country where airstrikes were deployed against then-Libyan leader Moammar
Gadhafi, amid that country`s civil war, with the U.N. Security Council
resolution, with the backing of the Arab League, with NATO behind it, broad
Gadhafi had been condemned by the international community for human
rights violations, of supporting terrorism, and 2011 military intervention
which led to his death was widely seen by many as a success.
Now, fast forward to the present day -- this is what Libya looks like
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: In a country free falling into chaos, Libyan gunmen
celebrate. They`ve just taken an American diplomatic compound so they take
to the swimming pool, a symbolic moment they want the world to see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, that is Islamic militants in Libya jumping into the pool
of the former embassy of Americans.
Now, this is a recent video, this one is showing a military jet
crashing into a huge inferno near the parliamentary building in eastern
city of Tobruk.
Libya today is essentially a nonstop gang fight between rival militias
and warlords. In July, the U.S. ordered Americans to evacuate the embassy
in Tripoli, Libya, a decision made in the shadow of the 2012 attack on an
American diplomatic compound in Benghazi. That results in the death of
Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, one you have
heard quite a bit about.
Last week, the Islamist linked group Libya Dawn seized the capital
Tripoli, as well as Libya`s international airport, after secret airstrikes
by Egypt and the UAE against the Islamic militias in Tripoli.
Remember, the Western airstrikes in Libya are not ancient history.
They took place just three years ago. The last major airstrike in the
Middle East before the attack on ISIS in Iraq.
Now, Libya is in a state of utter chaos. As we march toward a new
round of bombing against ISIS in Syria, strangely, almost nobody seems to
be talking about it.
Joining me now, Ambassador Marc Ginsberg, former ambassador to
Ambassador, you were someone who -- when there was broad consensus in
2012 that there should be these airstrikes against Gadhafi. Let`s be very
clear, Gadhafi was threatening a massacre in Benghazi. He was basically
saying, we`re going to go, I think it was closet to closet, I think, may
have been the term.
AMB. MARC GINSBERG, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MOROCCO: Yes.
HAYES: Savagely killing everyone, because you`ve risen up against me.
There was broad support, U.N. Security Council resolution. We even got
Russia to get out of the way of it. The Arab League supported it, everyone
was lined up, air strikes came in, Gadhafi fell and a lot of people said
this is how you do it.
Why were you worried then?
GINSBERG: Well, I was worried because, you know, you get rid of the
dictator, and I`ve been to Libya several times. You realize that there`s
no order of government control that could emerge from this chaos without
incubation support. Now, I won`t say that nation-building is a phrase that
should be tossed around lightly.
But the Obama administration took a victory lap after Gadhafi was
overthrown, didn`t look in the rearview mirror for years, thinking that
somehow or other, the 74 tribes vying for control over Libya`s wealth,
which somehow laid down their arms in front of Islamists who had supported
the overthrow of Gadhafi.
GINSBERG: And who were just waiting for the opportunity to seize
HAYES: We are seeing -- we should say in Libya, something that`s not
that different from what we`ve seen in Syria, which is an Islamist fashion
and a kind of rump of the old regime faction that are fighting each other
in a civil war. They`ve kind of allied in two separate camps.
What do you say to people that say, well, as bad as things are in
Libya it`s better in Syria where we haven`t, which is a charnel house?
GINSBERG: Well, listen, the fact of the matter is that you choose
your poison. Al Qaeda in the Maghreb, which is a major cell of al Qaeda,
has already infiltrated back into joining the Libyan Islamists.
Is that a critical concern to the United States? It all depends.
Does the president want to be able to take a victory lap on what he
achieved in Libya or as having an effect orchestrated, tremendous chaos in
a country that`s going to become a state sponsor of terror? So, that`s
Point two, you know, we worked really hard. And there`s a great
opportunity here to use the same methodology in Syria. There were 19
countries that joined this coalition against Gadhafi, they included almost
every member of NATO, European countries as well as Arab countries, Sunni
GINSBERG: Well, Gadhafi was a hell of a target for everybody.
As ISIS is now? Exactly the same.
GINSBERG: The fact of the matter is, Chris, is that if we are going
to try to in effect halt this savagery that has now taken place in Libya,
it can`t be American boots on the ground. It`s got to be a combination of
Moroccan, Algerian and Egyptian forces that will in effect step in and
create a police force to separate the sides.
HAYES: You`re saying this in Libya right now?
GINSBERG: Right, in Libya.
HAYES: Well, OK, so we have Egypt bombing Libya. I just want to make
a clear --
GINSBERG: Egypt is bombing the right guys in Libya.
HAYES: OK. This is exactly the point, right? I want to make this
clear, it gets extremely confusing, you have these two different factions,
there`s a former general, there`s Libyan Dawn, those are Islamist allied,
they`re fighting each other. There`s rival centers of power.
Here`s the point, though, what you just said about this broad
coalition, what I`m hearing from Chris Murphy, what I`m hearing from people
in Washington is, we need to get a coalition together to go after ISIS.
But it seems to me the precedent here in Libya is, they had a coalition, it
wasn`t just Sunni-Shia sectarian, and that has not redounded to the benefit
of the Libyan people or the security of the U.S. three years after.
GINSBERG: Because Chris, after everybody took the victory lap, after
Gadhafi went, the Libyans were left to their own devices, there was no
police force or international supervision of support to help them build a
government. Sure, the State Department and the USAID and the U.S. embassy
were trying the best they can to help. But, you know, it takes more when
you realize that what was at stake here was a fight for democracy versus
HAYES: Or maybe it`s just the case that we`re very good at dropping
bombs and pursuing military aims and not very good at whatever comes
afterwards, or maybe it`s not possible to do anything afterwards. And
chaos is the inevitable.
GINSBERG: I got to tell you something -- when you look at the Arab
world, and the American people pull their hair out, and they realize unlike
Japan where we stayed for 10 years, South Korea where we stayed and still
HAYES: We`re still there?
GINSBERG: There are people who are willing to invest in the
investment of democracy.
Listen, you can`t basically abandon something like Libya, and pretend
somehow or other this is going to fix itself. Look, there are State
Department officials in touch with me saying, what do we do? How do we put
the coalition back together?
HAYES: Ambassador Marc Ginsberg, thank you very much.
GINSBERG: Thank you.
All right. Should Michael Brown`s right to privacy be protected after
his death? Two media outlets don`t think so, and I will tell you why,
HAYES: -- recording has surfaced of someone in the Koch brothers
circle saying some pretty mind blowing things about minimum wage and
fascism. We`ll play that tape for you, ahead.
HAYES: Two media outlets are suing to obtain the juvenile records if
any actually exist of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by Ferguson
Police Officer Dan Wilson on August 9th. And today, those media outlets
got a free 5-minute hearing with a family court judge to make their case.
Under Missouri law, juvenile records are sealed precisely for the
reason that things people do as juveniles shouldn`t hang over them for the
rest of their life. It`s unclear if there`s any legal basis for those
media outlets to succeed in their request to unseal them.
One of those media outlet is the Web site of a discredited right wing
gadfly, who when he worked for another right wing blog was one of the
people behind published accounts linking Senator Menendez to prostitutes, a
story now thoroughly and embarrassingly debunked. That guy is one of the
media outlets asking for Brown`s records.
The other media outlet, however, is the paper of record for the St.
Louis area, the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch".
The juvenile court lawyer has already stated that mike brown didn`t
face any juvenile charges at the time of his death, and never was charged
with a serious felony such as murder, robbery or burglary. Those A and B
level serious felonies are not confidential for juveniles. So, the court
lawyer was able to make that statement.
With regard to any other possible lesser juvenile infractions, ones
kept confidential by the Missouri law, we don`t know if the court will
decide if the privacy rights of Mike Brown extend beyond his death.
However, it is hard to see what possible relevance it could have on whether
or not the Ferguson police officer used excessive force when he shot and
killed the unarmed Brown on August 9th.
Joining me now, Anthony Gray, attorney for the family of Michael
Mr. Gray, your reaction to this, particularly "St. Louis Post-
Dispatch" trying to get these records unsealed?
ANTHONY GRAY, ATTORNEY FOR THE BROWN FAMILY: I`m amazed by the
effort. I`m still trying to reel from the reality that they were trying to
actually go back two years into his juvenile life to somehow glean a
personality of a man who is now two years removed from being a juvenile.
They have a two-year window to look at Mike Brown Jr. as an adult, to
kind of assess the kind of personality he had, and the kind of guy that he
was. But they hadn`t still -- they weren`t satisfied with that two years
not showing anything that now that they engaged in this effort to dig up
some juvenile records. I thought it was appalling.
HAYES: So, just to be clear -- what you`re talking about is, there
would be criminal -- for whatever record he would have as an adult, starts
at 16 for the last two years of his life, is that correct?
GRAY: Absolutely. That`s correct.
HAYES: And that is -- there is no record, there`s nothing that came
up. That was immediately reported.
So, you`re saying -- and there`s also nothing known of a serious kind
of felony before 16. What possible reason is there to get this
GRAY: Well, the only thing I can think of, Chris, to be honest with
you, I just have to be blunt and just speak my mind as I see it -- it looks
like a further attempt to assassinate the character of a young man who`s
already dead. As he attempts to lay in peace, as most people do after
they`re buried, they`re still trying to kill a man who`s already in his
grave. That`s the only rationale I can come up with this for this move, is
indicative and similar to the moves with the videotape and some of the
other things they said about Mike Brown Jr.
And there seems to be this kind of push to demonize him, in an effort
to justify what happened on that Saturday. And no amount of demonization
is going to achieve that goal in my opinion many.
HAYES: Do you have -- are you a party to this? Is the family`s
attorney at all active in how this is being litigated? Or is this simply
between the juvenile court and "The St. Louis Post Dispatch" and the other
GRAY: Because the juvenile court is the depository for this
information, they are the ones that have the standing to argue against any
disclosure or any unsealing of any records. I was in court today, I was
next to the juvenile officer as she made her arguments. So, I`m actively
involved in all of the proceedings but I have purposely decided not to have
a voice, because I think the juvenile officer is covering all the legal
basis in her arguments before the court.
HAYES: Do you worry about the jury pool? There is -- when the
surveillance videos were released, which showed Michael Brown on the day he
was shot and killed, apparently taking some cigars. There was concern that
that sort of video may or may not have been admissible as evidence in a
trial, in a possible trial, as possible defense for the officer in
question, should he be charged, should he face trial. Of course, now, it
was out there and potential jurors could see it.
Do you have similar concerns about what might happen to a jury pool
were these records to be released?
GRAY: Absolutely. I think that a potential jury pool, the jury of
public opinion, can be tainted and these same individuals that are watching
this on television and reading it in the paper are the potential
individuals that show up in our questioning during voir dire.
So, I`m very much concerned about them being poisoned before they even
get to a courtroom, and hear any evidence at all. And I believe that
that`s a part of the underlining effort, can`t be sure, but I just have to
call it the way I see it.
GRAY: We`re just getting some breaking news here, that the Justice
Department intends to launch a civil rights investigation of the entire
Ferguson, Missouri Police Department. According to administration
officials, we`re expecting an announcement planned for Thursday.
What is your reaction to this news? The Department of Justice
apparently is going to launch a civil rights investigation not just into
the shooting of Michael Brown, which they launched very early on, but
actually into the department of Ferguson police as a whole.
GRAY: I think that`s refreshing news, Chris. I mean, not just for me
personally, I think for the community at large. There`s always been
somewhat of a dark cloud that loomed over the city of Ferguson, much like
the Jennings Police Department before it was dissolved. So, now, with the
Justice Department getting their hands around the department and looking
into certain matters, I think that the public is probably put at a little
ease by that move, and I welcome that decision by the Justice Department.
HAYES: That Jennings Police Department we should note, which was
dissolved, was the place for Officer Wilson got his start in law
enforcement before coming to Ferguson. Anthony Gray, thank you very much.
GRAY: Thank you for having me, Chris. I appreciate it.
HAYES: The FOX News interview you get on the Middle East that is so
ridiculous, I thought it was a joke. That`s ahead.
HAYES: Last night as I was preparing to go to bed, I saw this screen
grab, taunting Hannity`s exclusive with Phil Robertson on "The Rise Of
Militant Islam." I thought it was photo shopped, parody, but no.
Apparently, Hannity did indeed get the exclusive. No one else asked the
"Duck Dynasty" patriarch to talk about ISIS. I do not know why.
Obviously, reality T.V. star, Phil Robertson, is your natural go to.
He have never having seen, quote, "The mistreatment of any black person in
the Jim Crow South, believing all homosexuals are sinners. If you thought
you were going to get a smart take in his own word, this ISIS thing? Well,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL ROBERTSON, REALITY T.V. "DUCK DYNASTY" STAR: In this case, you
either have to convert them, which I think is -- would be next to
impossible. I am not giving up on them, but I am just saying either
convert them or kill them. One or the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: No, I will give Sean Hannity this. The man has been in this
game long enough to know convert or kill would set off some alarms. So, he
gave Reverend Robertson a chance to soften his tone, but the man doubled
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: I know there are going to be
people who are always looking and jump on you and say, convert them or kill
them. And, they are going to say, "There goes Phil Robertson again." No,
no, I know the media. I know how they act.
ROBERTSON: I much rather have a bible study with all of them and show
them the error of their ways and point them to Jesus Christ. However, if
it is a gunfight and a gunfight alone, if that is what they are looking
for, me personally, I am prepared for either one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, Hannity then gently moved on which is in marked contrast
to the last time Hannity had on a hair suit religious zealot who was
determined to get answers from.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And, I am just asking, do you support the concept of Islamic
caliphate of either convert or die? Do you support that? It is a simple
question. Why do not you just tell the truth what you believe?
ANJEM CHOUDARY, BRITISH MUSLIM SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Well,
Can I answer the question without interruption?
HANNITY: I am ready.
CHOUDARY: Or you will ask another question?
HANNITY: Come on. Go ahead. Do you support convert or die?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Religious fundamentalists of all stripes have more in common
than they care to mention and not just beards. And, if you are the right
kind, Sean Hannity will happily sell your book for you.
HAYES: All right, we got some breaking news here, so we are turning
things up, because we have just learned that the justice department is
going to launch a civil rights investigation of the entire Ferguson
Missouri Police Department over the past several years, according to the
Joining me now on the phone is Pete Williams. Pete, can you tell me
what we know about this? How common this sort of thing is? What kind of
investigation of this nature would entail?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Sure. These things
are, I guess, relatively common. The justice department has done about 20
of these similar investigations in the last five years. The law was
changed in 1994 to give the government the power to do these investigations
into whether the law puts together a pattern or practice of civil rights
violations by a police department.
And, they tend to have a couple kinds of outcomes, when the department
as in the case of New Orleans agrees that the changes have to be made.
They can end in an agreement, a consent decree. But, when law enforcement
organization is resistant to it, then they go to court and try to work out
what changes should be made.
But, it is an investigation that will look not just at last month`s
shooting, but it will look at allegations of civil rights violations, use
of excessive force that kind of thing, for the entire Ferguson, Missouri
police department over the past several years.
HAYES: Pete, this is your scoop. You were the first to report this.
WILLIAMS: Well, I am not sure about that. I think it may be a tie
between me and the "Washington Post," but thank you for the pat on the
HAYES: Well, the tie goes to the in-house correspondent.
HAYES: Do we know what -- this is under the ages of the civil rights
division? Is that who vote this?
WILLIAMS: That is right. The civil right investigation does it.
These are not criminal investigations. This is the justice department
coming in and saying, "Look, there have been allegations and this can rage
from large police departments like Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans,
Chicago, to smaller county sheriff`s offices.
These investigations get done all around the country. And, there have
been hundreds of them since this law was passed in 1994. And, there will
be a companion investigation that will look at the county police
department. But, it will probably be done a little differently. It will
be a little more of a cooperative venture there.
HAYES: And, in the case of New Orleans. That was sort of the most
high profile example in recent memory in post Katrina. There was a consent
decree in which there are some sort of policy. What happens, though, if
the department fights it? Are there civil sanctions? Are there a policy
that can be implemented essentially against the will of that local police
department? Can it be disbanded?
WILLIAMS: No. No. Because, you know, police departments are set up
by the states and the federal government cannot come in and say that they
cannot exist any more. The government does not have that authority. But,
if there -- But, indeed -- you know, I do not know how this one is going to
This one might go very cooperatively. But in the past, when there has
been a real difference of opinion, when the justice department says, look,
you ought to be making these changes and the police department resists and
says, no, we are doing just fine, then the justice department in essence
sues them and goes to court.
WILLIAMS: And, then it is up to a judge to decide whether to order
the police department to make changes. And then, of course, if the police
department does not make changes, it is in contempt of court.
HAYES: NBC News Justice Correspondent, Pete Williams. Thank you
much, Peter. I really appreciate.
WILLIAMS: You bet.
HAYES: Joining me now is Dedrick Muhammad, Senior Director of the
Economic Department for the NAACP. Well, this is very big news, and there
were a lot of people when I was in Ferguson, who were calling for this.
DEDRICK MUHAMMAD, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF THE ECONOMIC DEPARTMENT FOR THE
NAACP: Yes. Well, I think it is an important step. And, I think what we
have seen -- One of the things that amazed me watching it, you know, the
economic department have to focus on this area like head of criminal
justice --, our local leadership , Adolphus Pruitt of St. Louis, the
president of the chapter there.
But, watching what was happening in Ferguson, it seemed to be clear
that there seemed to be a pattern just in that week or two weeks, whether
it was press or protesters, highlighting different irrational responses
from different types of police officers in the stories you are hearing
about past cases of abuse.
I think one of the most prominent ones was the man who was charged
with a crime for bleeding on a police officer`s uniform. And, the most
important things that came out of Ferguson was highlighting institutional
issues and structural challenges whether it is militarization of a police,
but also it seems like a history of police misconduct. I am glad the
justice department is going to investigate.
HAYES: Yes. We have two numbers that I think are worth noting here.
I believe, if I am recalling this in my head. I had 55 officers there,
only 53 were white, I believe.
MUHAMMAD: That is right.
HAYES: And, so that is a massive mismatch --
MUHAMMAD: That is right.
HAYES: -- between the population and so just that as a start -- Now,
that is not just by itself a civil rights violation alone, but certainly it
does not make you think that they are doing a great job in terms of things
like diversity and so forth. There is also a fact that at least five
Ferguson officers apart from the Brown`s shooter Darren Wilson had been
named in lawsuits. That is one tenth of the department.
MUHAMMAD: Yes. That is right.
HAYES: I mean, that is a very high number for a department that is
only got 55 -- and some very serious claims, some internal affairs
investigations. So, it seems to me -- and, my question to you Dedrick is,
how many Fergusons are there out there?
MUHAMMAD: Well, I think that is what we see across the country,
right? And it is like people who focus in on this one case or Eric Garner.
But the reason people react the way they do, is not because this one thing
of injustice possibly occurred, but because it is something that people are
And, this is the straw that broke the camel`s back, you know? And, I
know our new President and CEO has been talking to the department of
justice about trying to look at ways to best investigate and deal with
these issues, and hopefully, you know, this type of investigation is a step
HAYES: There is also the unique role the federal government has
played here. I mean there is a certain old question about who polices the
HAYES: And, if you are in Ferguson or you are near by Jennings, which
had their police department disbanded when Darren Wilson was actually
MUHAMMAD: That is right.
HAYES: Because they had so many complaints. It was such a basket
case of the department. Now, the question is who is in charge of that?
Where is the accountability? And, in many cases there is not, unless
the federal government gets involved.
MUHAMMAD: No. Exactly. That is why you need local protests that
bring in national officials. That is why it is so important that Eric
Holder came to let them know that there is a possibility of justice and
that you just do not have to suffer through a kind of, you know a local
injustice, and all you can do is throw a rock at a store window, that there
may be an institutional way to deal with these problems. The challenges we
have been dealing with, I think a lot of racial police misconduct for
decades. And, what is really going to change things, not just one city at
a time, but across the country.
HAYES: You also wonder if it will be an example for the nearby other
departments. There are a lot of municipalities there. There is the
county. There is a lot going on there. Dedrick Muhammad, NAACP, thank you
so much, appreciate it.
MUHAMMAD: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: There is a political ad running in Alaska. It was so vile.
The campaign was forced to pull it off the air, which is saying something
in this election season. That is next.
HAYES: Democratic Senator Mark Begich has been forced this week to
pull an incredibly inflammatory ad about his Republican opponent Dan
Sullivan`s time as Alaska`s attorney general. The ad released last Friday.
It features retired anchorage police sergeant Bob Glen saying that as
Attorney General Sullivan, the republican opponent, quote, "Let a lot of
sex offenders off with light sentences."
Glen goes on to say, quote, "One of them got out of prison. He is
charged with breaking into that apartment building, murdering a senior
couple and sexually assaulting their 2-year-old granddaughter." The ad
refers without name a 25-year-old, Jerry Active, who was convicted among
other things of attempted sexual assault back in 2009.
Active was let out in prison in 2013 because the state did not
identify a prior felony conviction that should at least have doubled his
sentence. He is now charged and facing a trial. Ten felony counts related
to a brutal double murder and sexual assault referred to him in the ad.
Republican Senate Nominee Dan Sullivan was attorney general at the
time of the 2010 plea bargain that sent Active free. The Begich campaigns
attempts to link Sullivan to the horrific crime seems to have backfired.
An, attorney for the victim`s family said that they were shocked by the
ads. That were, quote, directly interfering with the prosecution. Keep in
mind, this guy has not been tried yet.
The family called for the Begich campaign to directly, immediately and
unconditionally order the remove of all ads and references to anything to
do with the case. Begich campaign has now removed the ads at the request
of the victim`s family. But, here is the thing.
Ads like the one Mark Begich`s campaign ran are a staple of the
American political culture. They are ads anyone involved in the criminal
justice system fears. Joining me now, political consultant and campaign
strategist, Tara Dowdell. Well, first of all, where is the line on these?
Where is the line between -- I mean, clearly, it was over the line here,
just from a management standpoint, because I do not think they had
sufficient buy-in from the family to do this.
TARA DOWDELL, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Right.
HAYES: And, now it is blown up in their faces, but where is the line?
DOWDELL: There is no line nowadays, Chris. There is absolutely no
line. And, I can tell you from personal experience. I worked on a
campaign, where literally they made these fake newspapers, and the cover
story on the newspaper was all of the slaves on the plantation of my
candidate who was running.
And, they put pictures of all the black people who worked for this
particular candidate. That was the strategy and it looked like a real
newspaper. And they stuffed them in the mailboxes all over black precincts
in the city where I was working on this campaign.
HAYES: OK. So, the question is, there is a distinction usually
between the mailer and the T.V. Ad. Part of the problem here is this was a
T.V. Ad. And, part of the issue here to me is, there is -- the reason that
I want to do this story is, there is something sick in our political
culture in which everyone involved in politics worries about that kind of
ad, which is the ad you were too soft on criminal acts.
HAYES: You let a person go. And, It has the result of everyone in
politics, right? They have that sitting on their shoulder when they think
about how they conduct themselves as a prosecutor, when they think about
whether to be a defense attorney, when they think as a governor whether to
offer clemencies, when they think as a judge, any point, they are thinking
about that ad.
DOWDELL: And, that is the problem. You are right. And, it just
really penetrates our system. It infiltrates our system in a very negative
way. But, everyone still does it. And, you want to know why they do it.
If you look at it, there is a lot of mixed results out there about whether
these ads work in terms of studies. But, if you look at the studies that
seem to parallel reality the most, it shows that these ads do in fact work.
Now, this one backfired, but typically, what they do is, people say,
they suppressed turnout. No. Actually, amongst republicans and
independents, there is a scholarly work called going negative. It found
that amongst republicans and independents, negative ads are actually more
persuasive. And, that amongst partisans, whether republican or democrats,
it does not really suppress turnout.
HAYES: That is very interesting. I want to play this. This is the
Michael Dukakis, this is the famous weekend guest past ad, which you may
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Most supports the death penalty for first-
degree murderers. Dukakis not only opposes the death penalty, he allowed
first degree murderers to have weekend passes from prison. One was Willie
Horton, who murdered a boy in a robbery, stabbing him 19 times.
Despite of life sentence, Horton received 10 weekend passes from
prison. Horton fled, kidnapped a young couple, stabbing the man and
repeatedly raping his girlfriend. Weekend prison passes, Dukakis on crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That ad -- that is how crime policy gets made in America. Is
the worry that you are going to be the next Willie Horton target?
DOWDELL: Right. And, that is why you see people going so hard or
backing away from important policies.
DOWDELL: Like policies that are dealing with -- You see all these
people that --
DOWDELL: -- rehabilitation. Or, we see we found DNA evidence cleared
two people recently, mentally-ill men who have been in prison for three
decades and cleared them. But, what you have is, that will make people
less likely to support policies that can help in these types of situations.
HAYES: That is exactly right.
DOWDELL: Which disproportionately affect black people.
HAYES: Tara Dowdell, thank you very much.
DOWDELL: Thank you.
HAYES: As she just mentioned, those two people that were exonerated
from DNA evidence. One of them was the subject of a Willie Horton style
campaign ad from republicans in 2010. I will tell you that story, ahead.
HAYES: The "You let the killer free" political ad as inflammatory as
it is, is a staple of American political campaigns. Example in 2010,
voters in North Carolina got some pretty alarming mailers from the North
Carolina Republican executive committee. One focused on North Carolina
Democrat, Hugh Holliman`s support for what is called the racial justice
act, which allowed death row inmates to challenge their sentences on
grounds of racial discrimination in prosecution and sentencing. It has
since been repealed.
The flyer showed a man in ski mask and reads, quote, "Meet your new
neighbors. You are not going to like them very much." The other side
reads, "Thanks to Hugh Holliman, death row inmates could leave prison early
and move in next door." One of the death row inmates featured on the flyer
is Henry McCollum, who was convicted in the 1983 rape and murder of an 11-
year-old girl along with his half brother.
Yesterday, a North Carolina Judge freed McCullom and his half brother,
both mentally disabled based on DNA evidence that exonerated them. The men
arrested at ages 19 and 15 and spent over 3 decades in prison for a crime
they did not commit. And, today after decades of fighting what was always
a flimsy case, they are free.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY MCCOLLUM, FREED FROM DEATH ROW: I came here in 1984, me and my
brother Leon Brown. It was a rough experience. Sometimes, I felt like
giving up and stuff. But, I said, no, I cannot do that, but life moves on.
I knew one day that I was going to be blessed to get out of prison. I just
did not know when that time was going to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Ken Rose, Senior Staff Attorney for the Center
for Death Penalty Litigation. And, Mr. Rose, You represented this case,
you worked on this case. How is your client doing right now?
KEN ROSE, SENIKOR STAFF ATTORNEY FOR THE CENTER FOR DEATH PENALTY
LITIGATION: He is doing a lot better than he was yesterday. He is
relieved. He thanks God for seeing him through 30 years of very difficult
times where he could not hug his family. His mom died. His grandmother
died, who helped raise him.
He was unable to have any contact visits. He had times where he was
suicidal, when friends of his were executed. And, he had to live through
42 executions while he was on death row for 30 years. He is now with his
father and his stepmother and he is doing much better, Chris.
HAYES: How did this happen? And, how did it take 30 years to correct
ROSE: The basis of his conviction and that of his 15-year-old brother
-- his brother was only 15 at the time of the crime were two confessions.
And, the confessions were essentially imbedded by the defendants but they
were spiced with details from the crime scene and the autopsy that were
provided by the agents that took the confession.
Mr. McCullom and Mr. Brown were intellectually challenged and was
easily led by the law enforcement officers. They were told they would be
able to walk free, if they would only admit to the crime. And, in order to
leave the police station Mr. McCullom admitted to something that he did not
HAYES: Justice Scalia in a dissent against Justice Blackmon, once
cited this case and he cited this as an example of barbarity and he cited
an example of why the death penalty, lethal injection, particularly was
constitutional. Justice Blackmon did not select for his announcement that
the death penalty is always unconstitutional.
For example, the case of the 11-year-old girl raped by four men and
then killed by stuffing her panties down her throat. How enviable a quiet
death by lethal injection compared with that? Do you have a response to
ROSE: Yes. He was wrong then and he has been proven wrong now.
There is no question. The judge has found that Mr. McCullom did not
participate in that murder, neither did the four men that Justice Scalia
referred to. The murder was committed by an entirely different person, who
is now in prison in North Carolina`s correctional system.
HAYES: There is two ways I think when we get the news of an
exoneration such as what happened to your client to receive that news. One
is that the system worked in the sense there is some self-checking
mechanism through appeal and DNA testing that these people were ultimately
freed. The other way to look at it there is something irredeemably broken
and rotten about the system that this happened. What is your takeaway?
ROSE: This man lost the better part of their lives. They were
children when they went in prison. Now, one is 46 and the other is 50.
They were never able to get married. They were never able to hug their
mom, who is now dead and my answer is the death penalty is not redeemable
and we need to get rid of it. It is the only way to prevent execution of
HAYES: Ken Rose, Attorney for Mr. McCullom, thank you very much.
ROSE: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: That is "All In" for this evening. The "Rachel Maddow" Show
starts right now.
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