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PoliticsNation, Thursday, September 25, 2014

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September 25, 2014

Guest: Sherrilyn Ifill; Eleanor Holmes Norton, Brian Katulis, Evan
Kohlmann, John Crawford, Jr., Michael Wright

Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.

Good evening, Rev.

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m live tonight in Washington, D.C.

We begin tonight with breaking news. Attorney general Eric Holder is
stepping down. A historic figure, a leader who fought to protect and
expand the gains of the civil rights movement. And reformed the worst
abuses of our criminal justice system.

This afternoon at the White House, President Obama applauded his commitment
to justice.


immigrant who served in the army in World War II, only to be refused
service at lunch counters in the nation he defended. But he and his wife
raised their son to believe that this country`s promise was real. And that
son grew up to become attorney general of the United States. And that`s
something. And that`s why Eric`s worked so hard, not just in my
administration, but for decades, to open up the promise of this country to
more striving, dreaming kids like him. To make sure that those words --
live, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -- are made real for all of us.
We could not be more grateful for everything you`ve done for us, not just
for me and the administration, but for our country.



SHARPTON: Attorney general Holder was the first African American to hold
his position. And the fourth longest serving attorney general in U.S.
history. During his nearly six years in office, he championed civil
rights, working to reform our criminal justice system, leading to the first
decline in the federal prison population in 30 years. And fighting for
voting rights, a priority he talked about today.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Work remains to be done, but our list
of accomplishments is real. Over the last six years, our administration,
your administration, has made historic gains in realizing the principles of
the founding documents, and fought to protect the most sacred of American
rights -- the right to vote.


SHARPTON: In so many areas, this attorney general has fought for the
American people. Getting record settlements from Wall Street firms for
their role in the financial crisis of 2008. Pushing for marriage equality
by declining to defend the defense of marriage act in court. And opening
civil rights investigations in more than 20 police departments. More than
double the number of investigations in the previous five years.

One of those police departments is in Ferguson, Missouri, where the
attorney general himself traveled this summer, working to calm tensions and
find justice for the family of Michael Brown.

This attorney general has accomplished so much, and so many are sad to see
him leave. That feeling was captured this morning when the house
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi announced his resignation at a congressional
caucus event.


attorney general will resign today and he has served our country very, very


PELOSI: But the message is --


PELOSI: The attorney general will be smiting his resignation to the



SHARPTON: You can hear the shock and disappointment in the room. But only
because his record has been so impressive and his commitment so strong.
This afternoon, the attorney general vowed that his work will go on.


HOLDER: In the months ahead, I will leave the department of justice, but I
will never -- I will never leave the work. I will continue to serve and
try to find ways to make our nation even more true to its founding ideals.


SHARPTON: He`s leaving the office, but not the work. And for that, we can
all be thankful.

Joining me now is democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who as a
young activist, helped plan the march on Washington and Sherrilyn Ifill
president and director council of the NAACP legal defense fund and
education fund. Thank you both for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Reverend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, let me go to you first. You first recommended
Eric Holder as U.S. attorney in 1993. How did you find out about his
decision today and what was your reaction?

REP. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Well, the attorney
general called me today to tell me that he would be resigning. I think he
did so because I first recommended him at the time to President Clinton, to
be the first African American U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
His record was so outstanding as U.S. attorney, in this high profile post,
that that road led first to an assistant deputy attorney generalship, and
then straight away to his present post as the first African American
attorney general in the country, in our history.

SHARPTON: Now, Ms. Ifill, what is your reaction to his resignation? And
what does attorney general Holder`s tenure mean in the broader civil
rights, as well as legal rights community?

EDUCATION FUND: Well, of course we`re sad that attorney general Holder`s
leaving. But we also are incredibly grateful for the kind of leadership
that he`s demonstrated over the past six years.

You know, too often people don`t recognize how leading civil rights, and
being the chief enforcement officer for civil rights is a critical part of
the portfolio of any attorney general, and this attorney general took that
seriously. You talked about voting rights at the top of the hour. Without
question, he has been unequivocal. The day of the Shelby decision, he
convened the civil right legal community together to commit the department
of justice, to continuing to protect voting rights of racial minorities.
He already created a plan to shift resources from section 5, which had been
gutted by the Supreme Court, to section 2.

And he stood with us, shoulder to shoulder at the department of justice
over the last four weeks as we`ve been litigating the case challenging the
photo I.D. requirements in Texas. So he`s been all in on voting rights.

But the part, I think people don`t talk about enough is the extraordinary
leadership he`s shown in the context of criminal justice. And he`s been
able to help people understands the civil rights dimensions of over
incarceration, of mass incarceration of these unnaturally long sentences
for non-violent drug offenders.

And he`s led the department of justice, which you must remember, he was a
U.S. attorney. That means, he was a prosecutor. He`s a law enforcement
officer. And so, he had the credibility and he used that credibility to
raise the consciousness of this country and that division to recognize the
problems that exist in our criminal justice system.

SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman, President Obama talked this afternoon
about why he chose Eric Holder as attorney general. Listen to this.


OBAMA: I chose him to serve as attorney general because he believes as I
do, that justice is not just an abstract theory. It`s a living and
breathing principle. It`s about how our laws interact with our daily
lives. It`s about whether we can make an honest living. Whether the words
that the founders set to paper 238 years ago apply to every single one of
us and not just some.


SHARPTON: How significant was the President`s choice of Eric Holder as
attorney general, Congresswoman?

NORTON: Reverend, it was an historic choice. And it was a historic choice
not only because he was the first African American, but because of what he
has done as attorney general. Of course, we who have been involved in
civil rights ourselves have to look to that extraordinary record and I
think a record unmatched by any attorney general in our history.

But I would think that among his most lasting legacy is what he has done to
reform criminal justice. As I speak, as many as perhaps 50,000 men, mostly
men, but also women, are having their sentenced reduced. Sentences that
came under mandatory minimums.

Reverend, we in the black caucus have been trying to get that done for two
decades. This attorney general has done it inside of his time, his six
years, at the justice department and in less time than that. And he`s one
of the longest serving attorneys general in the United States. They tend
to go quickly. The fact that he lasted so long shows the confidence that
the President had in him and I can tell you that the American people had as

SHARPTON: Now I know under Ronald Reagan the average was like 3.7 years.

IFILL: That`s right.

SHARPTON: But you know, the Congresswoman mentioned (INAUDIBLE) civil
rights that all three of us are involved in. I think something was
interesting to me is, when you hear the attorney general talk about racial
profiling and how it affected him personally, and his personal experiences.
I want to play you some of those comments.


HOLDER; The news of Trayvon Martin`s death last year and the discussions
that have taken place since then, reminded me of my father`s words so many
years ago. And they brought me back to a number of experiences that I had
as a young man, when I was pulled over twice, and my car searched on the
New Jersey turn pike, when I`m sure I wasn`t speeding, or when I was
stopped by a police officer while simply running to catch a movie at night
in Georgetown, in Washington, D.C. I was at the time of that last
incident, a federal prosecutor.


SHARPTON: I mean, how do you think these experiences impacted his work?

IFILL: There`s no question that this attorney general came into the office
with a very powerful personal understanding of civil rights. Not only as
an African American man dealing with the criminal justice system, but we
shouldn`t forget also that his sister-in-law was Vivian Malone, the first
African-American student at the University of Alabama, who was stopped at
the school house door by Governor Wallace.

SHARPTON: Governor Wallace standing the door.

IFILL: And that his family. So he understands these issues and feels them
really to his core. At the same time, he is a law enforcement officer.
And so, he`s been able to see from both sides the criminal justice system.
And so, when he tells us that something`s wrong, that U.S. attorneys are
overcharging non-violent drug cases, we have to believe him. He has a
special credibility. Because he`s not just coming at it, as you and I
would, as civil rights advocates, but he is coming at it with the unique
understanding of civil rights, but as a law enforcement officer.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, you have colleagues on the other side of the
aisle that has dealt with this attorney general, with the kind of hostility
and rancor that we`ve never seen before in our lifetime, probably not in
American history. Yet, he was able to continue the work and deliver
regardless. Your thoughts on that.

NORTON: Reverend Al, I serve on the government reform and oversight
committee. And I can tell you that that -- the Republicans on that
committee had such contempt for the attorney general, that they held him in
contempt. This is the fast and furious -- the so-called fast and furious,
that program that this attorney general inherited from the Bush
administration, no less.

One of the problems that the attorney general encountered was that many saw
him as a kind of proxy for the President himself. And they would go at him
when they couldn`t get at the President. And in many ways, he was a proxy
for the President. Remember Ferguson. Who is it that the President sent
to Ferguson? He should not have gone himself, but it was important to have
a man of such stature in the administration, that black people and white
people alike would understand the importance of the federal government
being there. So he played a number of different roles in this
administration and for some, he took the hit for the President.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to have to leave it there, congresswoman Eleanor
Holmes Norton and Sherrilyn Ifill. I thank you both for your time tonight,
and we certainly will be talking more about the attorney general.

Still ahead, in fact, attorney general Holder is a historic figure. But
today Republicans released some shameful attacks on his character, and they
were led by speaker John Boehner.

Plus, new questions about the man killed by police while holding a pellet
gun at a Walmart. His family is demanding answers tonight. We`ll speak to
his father, live.

Also, the FBI identified the terrorist who beheaded the American
journalist, and U.S. officials speak out about the alleged terror plot
against New York subways. Stay with us.



HOLDER: Let me be very clear. This administration will do whatever is
necessary to ensure the continued viability of the voting rights act, our
nation`s most important civil rights statute.


SHARPTON: Attorney general Holder speaking at the convention of my civil
rights group, the National Action Network. For six years Republicans have
done everything they could to try to drag down the attorney general. And
today they were back at it. We`ll talk about that next.


SHARPTON: We`re back with more on tonight`s breaking news, the resignation
of attorney general Eric Holder. Despite his tireless work to protect the
rights of all Americans, this attorney general has been a constant target
of smears and attacks by the GOP.

And today those attacks continued.

Congressman Jeff Duncan said, good riddance and accused of attorney general
of having an abysmal record.

Louie Gohmert called him the most partisan, partial, and prejudiced and
self-pitying AG.

Darrell Issa called him the most divisive attorney general.

And the speaker of the house, John Boehner, said his departure was long

The GOP`s disrespect of Eric Holder is unprecedented. They`ve held him in
contempt of Congress and threatened him with impeachment countless times.
And they`ve attacked him relentless me over the past six years.


REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: You either lied or you were grossly
incompetent in your actions.

REP. TIM WALLBERG (R), MICHIGAN: Further, Mr. Attorney general, you`re
well known in this town for not reading memos.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many more border patrol agents would have had to
die as a part of operation fast and furious for you to take responsibility?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve called for his resignation, I`ve sponsored article
of impeachment.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS RADIO SHOW HOST: Do you think he`s smart, Holder?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: I have not been impressed with his
intelligence, no.


SHARPTON: No other attorney has been assaulted in this manner. And no one
will forget the GOP`s blatantly political attacks to this committed public

Joining me now are Krystal Ball and Joe Madison. Thank you both for being
here this evening.


KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having us, Rev.

SHARPTON: Joe, what`s your reaction to the GOP`s latest rounds of attacks
on Eric Holder even today?

MADISON: Even today or any other time, it`s to be expected. I mean, this
is individuals who have probably been waiting for this time. You know, FOX
is going to do it, all the second-stringers are going to do it in talk
radio. I even heard -- to show you how stupid it gets, Rush Limbaugh today
even said he resigned so that the President could appoint him to the
Supreme Court.

First of all, you don`t have any vacancies on the Supreme Court. Secondly,
you don`t have to quit attorney general to be put on the Supreme Court.
It`s absurd. Here`s the thing. In our lifetime, and I think this is
something people should understand, he gets compared a lot to Robert


MADISON: But you know what, Robert Kennedy had to grow into his position.
This is the first attorney general that I think the two of us and most of
the world can relate to. He didn`t have to grow. He didn`t have to tour
Mississippi. He didn`t have to tour Brooklyn to know. He experienced what
Robert Kennedy had to learn. He`s a much -- I think one of the greatest
attorney generals we`ve had.

SHARPTON: And I have a lot of respect for Robert Kennedy. But I also
don`t think Robert Kennedy ever went to the scene of a civil rights
complaint. He didn`t go to Birmingham.

MADISON: No, he did not. That`s absolutely right.

SHARPTON: Eric Holder went to Ferguson himself.

But let me deal with his critics with you, Krystal, because in 2011, Eric
Holder spoke to the "New York Times" about his critics and said this about
their attacks on him. Quote "this is a way they get at the President
because of the way I can be identified with him both due to the nature of
our relationship, and you know, the fact that we`re both African American.

What`s your response to that?

BALL: Well, I think it`s just true. And Congresswoman in the last block
says this exactly. He was seen as a proxy for the President, both because
they have a close relationship, they`re friends. And because he was
pushing a lot of the President`s policy priorities forward in terms of
immigration, in terms of even approach to drug law enforcement, in terms of
voting rights obviously. So on a number of key issues. And also because
he`s a black man.

So members of congress, members of the right leaning media have seen it to
be convenient and fun and beneficial for them to attack Eric Holder in the
most over-the-top, unbelievable ways. The only other person who receives
that level of ire is the President himself. And you know, it`s no wonder
and it has been pointed out before. It is no coincidence that both of
those men happen to be African-American.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, we must remember, though, Joe, the attorney
general has held his own. I mean, against some of the harshest critics,
he`s really held his own. Listen to how he`s fought back.


HOLDER: I`m sure there`s a good reason why only the two and from parts
were --

ISSA: Yes, you didn`t want us to see the details. Mr. Attorney General --

HOLDER: No, no. That`s what you typically do. No, I`m not going to stop
talking now. You characterize something as something else --

ISSA: Mr. Chairman, would you inform the witness as to the rules of the
committee --

HOLDER: -- and it`s too important to which you conduct yourself as a
member of Congress. It`s unacceptable and it`s shameful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our
attorney general, but it`s important that we have proper oversight.

HOLDER: You don`t want to go there. OK? I think that it was
inappropriate and unjust, but never think that was not a big deal to me.
Don`t ever think that.


SHARPTON: He would definitely fight back, Joe.

MADISON: This is the Eric Holder that we know. This is the Eric Holder
who they forget was a judge. This is an Eric Holder who was in the justice
department almost as soon as he got out of law school. This is the Eric
Holder who will tell you exactly like it is. This is the Eric Holder that,
quite honestly, a lot of people wish President Obama would emulate.

But, you know what, he does for the President what sometimes the President
can`t do. Because the President has to be Presidential. Eric Holder was
an attorney general, and an attorney general, being the number one law
enforcement officer in this country has to be tough even when he`s dealing
with these folks.

SHARPTON: Two different roles and they both, in my opinion, played them

You know, the right came up with a list of unbelievable accusations against
the attorney general over the years, Krystal. Among them, that he was
guilty of helping terrorists, supporting voter fraud, inciting racial
tensions. And that he has a disdain for our form of government. Those
were all statements by elected members of congress, Krystal.

BALL: It`s absolutely despicable and I love those clips that you just
played of Eric Holder because I also love the fact that he didn`t just sit
back and take it. And not only that, I mean, they have been pushing him to
limits for years now and he`s stuck it out.

I think most people who would have bet early on in the administration would
not have thought he would have made it as far as he has. He will be one of
the longest serving attorneys general ever in the history of the country.
So a really remarkable tenure.

And he has been not only has he been tough and has he gone up against them
in rhetoric, but he`s also been remarkably effective and really committed
to vision for the country where justice is really truly equal for all.

SHARPTON: Krystal, quickly, will there be a fight over his successor in
the Senate?

BALL: I would certainly think there would be.

MADISON: No ifs, ands or buts about it, it will be a very ugly fight.

SHARPTON: Joe Madison and Krystal Ball, thank you both for your time this

BALL: Thanks, Reverend.

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And make sure you catch Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00
p.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.

Still ahead, a South Carolina man is pulled over for a seat belt violation,
and then this happens.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I see your license, please? Get out of the car!
Get out of car! Get on the ground! Get on the ground!


SHARPTON: We`ll tell you what happened to the officer and the victim in
this shocking tape.

Also, my interview with the father of the man who was shot by police inside
a Walmart while holding a pellet gun. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Coming up, new details late today from the FBI director about an
apparent terror plot targeting the U.S. homeland. And whether the U.S.
airstrikes have done anything to disrupt it. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight, new details emerge about possible terror
plots targeting the U.S. homeland. Late today FBI Director James Comey
said he`s not confident at all that air strikes have disrupted a plot by
the terror group Khorasan to blow up a U.S. or European airliner. The FBI
director also saying, quote, "I believe the group still exists." On the
other hand, U.S. intelligence agencies are playing down a disturbing claim
made by the Iraqi prime minister, that there`s an imminent threat to New
York City subways. American officials say there`s no evidence of such a
plan. The FBI director also saying today, they`ve identified the
executioner in the ISIS beheading videos.

Meantime, we`re getting new video from the American campaign against ISIS,
including footage of what the Pentagon says is a strike against an ISIS
royal refinery.

Joining me now is Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American
Progress, and Evan Kohlmann, NBC terrorism analyst. Thank you both for
being here.


SHARPTON: Evan, the FBI dismissed talk of a plot against New York City
subways, but FBI director is indicating he`s still concerned about
Khorasan. How do you read this?

KOHLMANN: Well, we have to separate this out. This report about the
attack or plausible against the subway system, this came from the Iraqi
prime minister. It`s been widely dismissed by the rye of U.S. government
sources and frankly it`s not inspiring a hell of a lot of confidence in the
new Iraqi prime minister. But looking beyond this, is there a threat from
this group, is there a threat from allied militants in Syria? Yes, there
is. And it`s significant. It`s to be said, that at least as far as this
latest plot that was supposedly targeted in these attacks, that we don`t
know whether or not it`s been stopped.

We didn`t know when it was to take place or what the specific target was.
But when you have individuals that are developing a bomb, a non-metallic
bomb that can get snuck through an airport metal detector, we don`t have
confidence that we can stop that kind of device from getting on board an
airplane. So the moment that we have a group that`s actively trying to
build one and its meaning with any degree of success they`re beginning to
talk about targets, that`s the time when we have to act. If we wait until
we have every single bit of the intelligence, it`s going to be too late.

SHARPTON: Now, Brian, the "New York Times" today has more detail about the
size of the terror group Khorasan and its connection to al Qaeda leaders.
It says, quote, "The group, although based in Syria answers ultimately to
Mr. Zawahiri and al Qaeda`s core leadership in Pakistan. It consisted of
approximately two dozen operatives." Do American officials have a good
sense at this point about who Khorasan is?

as best that they can be. This is not a precise science, but it`s very
important that the intelligence professionals and the law enforcement
officials do their work. Look Reverend Al, we often talk about what`s
going on in Syria just purely from a military standpoint. And what we need
is better intelligence on these groups. And I think this plot, whatever
the nature of it was, getting our understanding of this is the product of a
very detailed and worked by a lot of people who are working really hard.

And it`s essential that we keep our wits about us. If you remember like
ten years ago, George Bush would have been raising all sorts of color-code
threats. And the way the U.S. has handled it now, I think, is much more
measured. It informs the American public about possible plots, but today
you see the FBI director saying, well, we don`t know if we have that
information. So I think they`ve been as transparent as possible.

SHARPTON: How do we get more information, more intelligence on the ground?

KATULIS: Well, you need actors on the ground working with you and building
those networks inside of Syria are essential. So when we`ve talked about
the Syrian oppositions forces that we`re trying to build, part of that
effort is actually trying to also build trusted relationships with people
who know these actors on the ground. We can surveil a lot from the air,
and we`ve been doing air surveillance but there`s nothing like human
intelligence to understand these groups.

SHARPTON: You know, Evan, here`s the director of the FBI said today about
the possible timing of Khorasan plot. Quote, "It`s hard to say whether
that`s tomorrow or three weeks from now or three months from now, but it`s
the kind of threat you have to operate under the assumption that it is
tomorrow." Evan, what does that tell you about the intelligence American
officials have about this plot?

KOHLMANN: Well, it tells you that they`ve got enough that makes them very,
very concern. And for good reason. I mean, I can tell you directly from
having worked with law enforcement services both here in the U.S. as well
as in you Europe. There is evidence suggesting that individuals who were
trained in Syria or dispatched by ISIS from Syria are returning to
countries with the ill intent, the intent of carrying out some kind of act
of violence. Well, it`s not always clear exactly what they intend to do or
when they intend to act, but there`s a lot of evidence suggesting that they
have ill intent and that they`re in contact with individuals back in Syria,
their ISIS commanders who are giving them very specific bits of information
about what to do.

So as long as that`s the case, there`s a very good reason for the U.S.
government to be concerned. And I think we have to be very careful about
what we say here. We don`t want to overplay this terror threat. It`s not
the same as 9/11, but there are people out there that would like to do the
U.S. harm and right now they`re listening to the voice of is. And whether
it`s ISIS operatives who are dispatched directly from Syria, or in the case
of what appears to have happened in Australia, individuals inspired by
ISIS, there is the potential for violence. There is the potential for a
terrorist threat.

SHARPTON: Now, the Pentagon has a spokesman, talked about the strategic
value of hitting the oil refineries, Brian. Listen to this.

refineries provide fuel to run ISIL operations, money to finance their
continued attacks. These were, as were the strikes we conducted earlier
this week in Syria, strategic attacks. It wasn`t about obliterating the
refineries off the face of the map. It was about degrading their ability
to use these refineries them themselves. Ad we didn`t completely
obliterate them off the map. But you can take a look and see that they`re
not going to be pumping any refined oil out, petroleum, any time soon.


SHARPTON: Now, we`re talking of course about the ISIS oil refineries. Is
the strategy here to cut off oxygen to the group, money, or communication,
those kinds of things?

KATULIS: That`s a key thing. And this group was making an estimated $2
million a day in selling these oil products. That`s not a lot in the
overall global oil market, but it`s a lot for an organization like this.
It allows them to buy weapons, it allows them to do the sorts of things
with propaganda and hurt people in Syria and Iraq. So I think this is a
smart strategy, but the thing that`s incomplete still and that air strikes
won`t do is actually take out these forces in the long-term. You need
ground forces working with you on the ground, whether it`s Syrians or
Iraqis, it`s not going to be Americans. So I think these air strikes are a
step in the right direction, but like rats, these guys are scurrying from
the air strikes and you need somebody on the ground to make this a
sustainable situation.

SHARPTON: Brian Katulis and Evan Kohlmann, thank you both for your time

KATULIS: Thank you.

KOHLMANN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still to come, my parting thoughts on the legacy of the attorney
general, and his personal commitment to civil rights.

But first the family of John Crawford III speaks out. The Justice
Department is investigating his fatal shooting at an Ohio Wal-Mart. I`ll
talk to his father, next.


SHARPTON: Tonight relatives of John Crawford III say they`re demanding
justice for his fatal shooting by police at a Wal-Mart in Ohio. A grand
jury refused to indict, but now the Justice Department is investigating.
Newly released surveillance video shows Crawford walking around the Wal-
Mart, talking on his cell phone and carrying a pellet gun he grabbed off a
shelf in the store. There`s no sound on the tape, but police said they did
tell him to drop the gun. The prosecutor says officers were justified in
their actions because they believed they were in a so-called active shooter


MARK PEIPMEIER, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Were the police facing such a
situation here? No. Did they know that? No. They`re told, we`ve got a
guy in here with a rifle, he`s loading the rifle, and he`s pointing it at


SHARPTON: In the moments before the shooting, you can see Crawford
swinging the pellet gun by his side, though none of the video show him
pointing it at other people or at the police. Now this 22-year-old man is
gone. His children have lost their father, and his family members say,
they want justice.

Joining me now is John Crawford, Jr., the father of John Crawford III, and
Michael Wright, the attorney representing the family. Thank you both for
being here.



SHARPTON: First, Mr. Crawford, our condolences for your loss. How is your
family doing?

CRAWFORD: Well, Reverend Sharpton, as you can imagine, we`re just taking
it one day at a time. You know, I`m still numb behind it. And we`re just
trying to -- I`m glad we have God on our side to ground us and that`s
exactly what we`re doing, we`re just going to take it one day at a time.
So overall, you know, we`re still -- a lot of us are still grieving, you
know? But we`re going to get past this.

SHARPTON: Yes. I can feel that. What was your reaction when you heard
the grand jury refused to indict in this case?

CRAWFORD: I was in absolute disbelief. I was in absolute disbelief. I
was saying to myself, how could a young man go inside of a Wal-Mart, of all
places, and shop, and not come out alive. So as you can imagine, I was in
total, total disbelief.

SHARPTON: Attorney Wright, before I go to you, I want to ask you one other
question, Mr. Crawford. What do you hope will come out of the Justice
Department investigation?

CRAWFORD: Well, I sincerely hope that the Department of Justice will get
involved as we initially wanted them to, an effort to go about prosecuting
and convicting this officer for killing my son.

SHARPTON: Attorney Wright, what`s your response to the fact that the 911
caller who said there was a threat, he later recanted his claim that John
was in fact pointing the gun at people?

WRIGHT: Well, we think that`s problematic. We believe that had the
officers cooperated this 911 caller`s story in some manner, that Mr.
Crawford would be here with us.

SHARPTON: So they never corroborated the story, they just went from the
initial call?

WRIGHT: That`s absolutely correct. It`s our understanding that they took
this 911 call, came into the store, confronted Mr. Crawford and just shot
him on sight.

SHARPTON: What do you want from the Justice Department Attorney Wright?

WRIGHT: We want the Justice Department to get involved and make the
determination that John`s civil rights were violated, and prosecute this
police officer for shooting and killing John Crawford.

SHARPTON: Mr. Crawford, your son was talking on the cell phone when he was
shot. Do you know who he was talking to, what was going on when he was

CRAWFORD: Yes, Reverend Sharpton. He was actually talking to the mother
of his children, while he was on the phone.

SHARPTON: OK, how would you describe your son to those that are watching
that didn`t know him?

CRAWFORD: As I mentioned, you know, he was a loving person. He was a
loving father. He left behind two children, one-year-old John H. Crawford
1V and six-month-old Jaden Crawford. He was very, very family oriented.
He loved sports growing up. He was very, very good in football. And as he
got older, you know, he was really, as I mentioned before, your typical 22-
year-old young person. You know, he had stressed to me concerns about
continuing his education, which was music to my ears, frankly, because
that`s something that we value in our family. We`re all college graduates
on our side -- on my side. So, you know, in many aspects he was a typical
22-year-old man trying to figure out what his next moves were going to be.

SHARPTON: You said he left a one-year-old and a six-month-old. The
children just babies. What will you tell them about their father?

CRAWFORD: I will tell them that he loved them very much, which he did. I
will tell them that he was a progressive person, that he`s a people`s
person, which is ironic enough that something like this would happen. He
was -- those who knew him well would say that he was very laid back, if you
will, individual. And that`s what I would tell them. I would tell them
that he loved you very much.

SHARPTON: And I hope you can tell them that it ended with justice. John
Crawford, Jr. and Michael Wright, thank you both for your time tonight.
Our prayers are with you and your family.

CRAWFORD: Reverend Sharpton, thanks for having me.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.



ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I believe that forging strong bonds
and establishing trust between America`s law enforcement officials and the
communities that we serve is really critical to maintaining the public
safety gains that we have achieved in recent years.


SHARPTON: Attorney General Eric Holder just last week, talking about the
changing way police interact with the communities they serve. The
overwhelming majority of police officers are good public servants,
protecting their communities. But in too many cases, we`ve seen police
tactics cross the line. A South Carolina highway patrol officer was fired
last week after his encounter with an unarmed man, who he pulled over for a
seatbelt violation. What happened next was caught on dash cam video.


SEAN GROUBERT, SOUTH CAROLINA POLICE: Can I see your license, please. Get
out of the car! Get out of the car!


Get on the ground! Get on the ground!

license. You said, get my license. You said, get my license, right there.
That`s my license right there. What did I do?

GROUBERT: Put your hands behind your back, put your hands behind your
back. Put your hands behind your back.

JONES: What did I do, sir?

GROUBERT: Are you hit?

JONES: I think so. I can`t feel my leg. I don`t know what happened. I
just grabbed my license.


SHARPTON: The victim was hospitalized for his injury, but has since been
released. The officer has been charged with assault and battery. He faces
up to 20 years in prison. Now an update on a story we`ve been following in
California. A highway patrol officer caught on camera beating a woman on
the side of the road. We learned today the officer involved is resigning
and the victim will receive $1.5 million settlement. Both these stories
highlight the need to improve community policing, a top priority of
Attorney General Eric Holder. I`ll talk about his work and his legacy



HOLDER: Let us rise to the challenges of our time, and in the spirit of
Dr. King, let us signal to the world that in America today, the pursuit of
a more perfect union lives on. The march toward the promise land goes on.
And the belief that, not only that we shall overcome, but that we will come
together as a nation, continues to push us forward.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, Attorney General Eric Holder and his personal
commitment to the civil rights movement. The passion runs in his family.
His sister-in-law was Vivian Malone Jones, the courageous young woman who
helped integrate the University of Alabama in 1963. George Wallace had
literally stood in the school house door to try to block her, but he
couldn`t stop Vivian, and the justice of her cause. She walked through
those doors later that day. The Attorney General has always been inspired
by Vivian`s example. He went to Ferguson, Missouri, last month, to calm
tensions after the Michael Brown shooting, and he later ordered a civil
rights investigation of the Ferguson police force. I talked about his
leadership today at a civil rights meeting here in Washington, held to call
for justice for Michael Brown, and Eric Gardner, and other victims of
police violence.


SHARPTON: There is no attorney general that has demonstrated a civil
rights record equal to Eric Holder. He went himself to the scene of a
civil rights complaint in Ferguson, Missouri. He did not send the
assistant attorney general. He has demonstrated a sensitivity and a record
by dealing with commutations in the disproportionate sentencing.


SHARPTON: I have been involved in civil rights work all of my life. I was
only nine-years-old when Vivian was blocked at that door. But little did
we know as kids, and I`m sure her know, that her future brother-in-law
would be the attorney general one day. Little did we know that he would be
the one to stand up and challenge those that would try to suppress voting
rights, that would try to block people from marrying who they loved, that
would stand up to protect people that were being disproportionately
prosecuted and incarcerated. Eric Holder, as I said this morning, did more
than any attorney general in history in these areas. I didn`t agree with
everything, but he`s head and shoulders above those that preceded him.
Whatever day he walks out of justice, he can walk out of that department
with his head high and shoulders back, he lived up to the dreams his
parents had when they came to this country.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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