PoliticsNation, Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: November 26, 2014
Guest: Kendall Coffey, Lesley McSpadden, Benjamin Crump, Paul Henderson,
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: The I appreciate your time tonight.
Thanks for doing this. We need to shine a light on this.
Thanksgiving is being eroded away by middle class Americans because they
have to work for the retail giants. I wish legislation would be done to
reverse this so we can respect people`s time off and time together with
That`s "THE ED SHOW." I`m Ed 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.
Tonight`s lead, Michael Brown sparking a national movement. Nearly 48
hours after a grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson. We are
witnessing protests from coast to coast, and we`re hearing a growing outcry
from many saying the process was unfair. Questions about a prosecutor who
attacked the victim, and a country wondering where we go from here.
But at the heart of all of this is a family who lost their son. A family
spending their first Thanksgiving without their son at the table.
Joining me now is Michael Brown`s mother, Lesley McSpadden, along with
Brown Family attorney, Benjamin Crump. Thank you for being here this
BENJAMIN CRUMP, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Thank you, Rev.
LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MICHAEL BROWN`S MOTHER: Thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: Lesley, it has been almost 48 hours since the announcement. How
are you feeling?
MCSPADDEN: Disappointed, let down.
SHARPTON: You were seen visibly sobbing and crying. But you wanted to be
out there with the people. What went through your mind when you heard this
prosecutor make this announcement? I know we had been talking for weeks if
not months that we didn`t expect much. When that moment happened, what
happened to you in your mind?
MCSPADDEN: It made me feel like they didn`t have any care or sympathy,
compassion for my son at all.
SHARPTON: You know, the fact is that Darren Wilson spoke about the
shooting. I want to play part of that to you. And I want your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Is there anything you could have done
differently that would have prevented that killing from taking place?
OFFICER DARREN WILSON, FERGUSON, MISSOURI: No.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you`re absolutely convinced when you look through your
heart and your mind, that if Michael Brown were white, this would have gone
down in exactly the same way?
STEPHANOPOULOS: No question.
WILSON: No question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He said nothing he would have done differently. As a mother,
how do you react to that?
MCSPADDEN: That lets me know that he wasn`t doing his job. He had another
agenda. And like I said, he didn`t do what he had to do. He did what he
wanted to do. That`s what he`s stating. He didn`t give it a second
thought. He wouldn`t consider anything different. He think what`s did he
SHARPTON: Lesley, President Obama spoke about the Grace that you
maintained, as well as Michael`s father. Listen to what he said earlier
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First and foremost, we are a
nation built on the rule of law. And so we need the accept that this
decision was the grand jury`s to make. There are Americans who agree with
it and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry. It`s
an understandable reaction.
But I join Michael`s parents in asking anyone who protest this decision to
do so peacefully. Now, Michael Brown`s parents have lost more than anyone.
We should be honoring their wishes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How do you feel with the president of the United States quoting
you and Michael`s father to the world? What does that do to you when you
their president addressing this?
MCSPADDEN: It gave me more hope than I had at first for them to do what
should have been done, which was indict Darren Wilson.
SHARPTON: I mentioned there`s been an eruption of anger from the community
about the prosecutor, Bob McCulloch and how he hand the grand jury. What
did you think about the whole process those three months?
MCSPADDEN: I really think that they took us through some heart breaking,
agonizing pain, when Bob McCulloch pretty much knew what he wasn`t going to
do. And the way that he did his job was almost insubordinate like you
should have just stemmed aside and let someone do the job correctly.
SHARPTON: You know, I said the other day, I`ve never heard a prosecutor
disparage a victim the way McCulloch did. What did you want -- what would
you want to say to him? I know Michael`s father said, peel don`t know his
son like you and he did. What would you want to say to him when you heard
him saying these disparaging things about Michael Jr.?
MCSPADDEN: That`s a tough one, Rev. I want to say a lot of things. But
the proper thing would be to ask him, if you hold this seat, then why won`t
you do your job? No one should do your job for you. And we`ve been saying
a lot of different people doing different people`s jobs since August 9th.
SHARPTON: You know, I want to ask you about something else. Your husband
right after the decision came down, he was seen shouting, burn this
expletive down. Some are trying to say he had a hand in sparking the
violence. What do you think?
MCSPADDEN: I don`t agree that. It was his raw emotion. He was upset.
And to speak on and act on is two different things. And it is freedom of
speech. You can say whatever you like. But remember what those people
were saying August 9th. And it wasn`t coming from the family.
SHARPTON: It`s been a real, real rough week for you and the whole family.
A lot of tension. What does this mean for you as a mother? Because I
think that people, we had a prayer today with other mothers and with
Michael`s father. You`re going to face Thanksgiving tomorrow with an empty
seat and the families getting together. What does this as a mother feel to
MCSPADDEN: I`m just hurt. I don`t even want to think about tomorrow being
Thanksgiving. It`s just Thursday. I don`t even plan to celebrate because
SHARPTON: Attorney general Eric Holder -- let me go to you. Mr. Crump,
while Lesley composes herself. Attorney general Holder says this during
the investigation on whether there was civil rights violation, what`s your
hope? What`s the next legal step?
CRUMP: Well, one of the things we`re hoping for after reading the
transcript from Darren Wilson that was presented to the grand jury, he says
certain things about the community in which Michael and some of his family
members lived in the canfield community. And that may be attributed to his
state of mind, Reverend Sharpton. And so, that will be an interesting
aspect of the case for the justice department now to look at.
SHARPTON: And the justice department can move in how many areas here?
CRUMP: They can move in several areas. Obviously, the civil rights aspect
is the one that is most common. And it goes to his mentality of, did he
profile, did he do anything because of certain ethnicity or certain racial
reasons. And he said what he thought about the community in the Canfield
community in Ferguson, and how others in the department thought about it.
And it was just sad to think that he believed that Michael fit a certain
profile. And we didn`t know that until we read his words.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you, I`ll come back to you, Lesley. Michael
described as having a demonic look. Like Hulk Hogan. Tell us about
Michael. What kind of person was Michael Jr.?
MCSPADDEN: Michael was a big kid but no aggression. He would never
provoke you to do anything to harm him, hurt him or anybody around him. I
don`t believe a word from Darren Wilson about my son. You knew my son for
a few seconds. You didn`t want to see anything but what you saw. And what
I really think he saw was him looking at his own self. He wanted to kill
his self that day.
SHARPTON: Your son`s death has sparked a national movement, protesters
coast to coast. What would he say about this? What do you think Michael
MCSPADDEN: Same thing he told his father. Everybody going to know my
SHARPTON: He said that.
MCSPADDEN: He did.
SHARPTON: I remember that it was said he had predicted the whole world was
going to know his name.
MCSPADDEN: Yes, he did. And that`s because he got off into making songs,
making beats, and you know, things of that nature. So he felt like from
there, he would inspire. God had another plan for him. But he didn`t stop
everybody from knowing his name.
SHARPTON: What do you hope comes out of this tragedy?
MCSPADDEN: Peace of mind.
SHARPTON: Ben Crump, I want to thank you. Lesley, thank you for your time
this evening. We`ll see you later in the show. And to remember your son.
I want to say this though. That I think it is important that people
understand that this is a mother, as we saw the father last night. You
didn`t ask to be in this public platform and I think that`s important.
CRUMP: Yes, sir. And then Reverend Sharpton, thank you for being there
for the family and these other families today who are going to experience
their first Thanksgiving without their child.
SHARPTON: Well, thank you. And all we want to see is the truth come out.
We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Coming up, new questions about the Ferguson grand jury. Was it
fair? Or was there a thumb on the scales of justice? And how did officer
Wilson justify the shooting?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILSON: At that time, I gave myself another mental check. Can I shoot
this guy, you know? Legally can I? And the question I answered myself
was, I have to. If I don`t, he will kill me if he gets to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Also, a blast of winter weather on the busiest travel day of the
year. Millions affected. Flights grounded. We`ll have the very latest.
Plus, reasons for hope. Mothers united in grief and fighting for change.
And a new social justice movement across the country. And of course, a
great day for two lucky turkeys. President Obama taking executive action
with the annual Thanksgiving pardon.
SHARPTON: Was the Ferguson grand jury process fair? Or was it stacked in
favor of officer Darren Wilson? And against Michael Brown, Jr.?
"The New York Times" says, quote, "the gentle questioning of officer
Wilson, and the sharp challenges prosecutors made to witnesses whose
accounts seemed to contradict his narrative, have led some to question
whether the process was as objective as the prosecutor claims. Here`s what
the prosecutor said about witness testimony when he announced the decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MCCULLOCH, ST. LOUIS COUNTY PROSECUTOR ATTORNEY: Eyewitness
accounts must always be challenged and compared against the physical
evidence. Many witnesses to the shooting of Michael Brown made statements
inconsistent with other statements they made, and also conflicting with the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But the witnesses who were challenged most were the ones
testifying against officer Wilson. Like one who said Michael Brown Jr. had
his hands in the air. The prosecutor told that witness quote "basically
just about everything that you said on August 13th, and much of what you
said today, isn`t consistent with the physical evidence.
But we saw very different approach with officer Wilson. For example,
prosecutors asked about the moment he shot Michael Brown by asking, quote,
"you felt like your life was in jeopardy?" And quote, "use of deadly force
was justified at that point in your opinion."
The tone is striking. In fact, the questions seem tougher in that TV
interview than they did in the grand jury.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say, he starts to run as he started to come toward you
WILSON: That at that time I gave myself another mental check. Can I shoot
this guy, you know? Legally can I? And the question that I answered
myself was, I have to. If I don`t, he will kill me if he gets to me.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even though he`s 35, 40 feet away?
WILSON: Once he`s coming that direction, if he hasn`t stopped yet, when is
he going to stop?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now, former U.S. attorney, Kendall Coffey and retired
ATF agent Jim Cavanaugh. Thank you both for being here.
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Thank you.
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Kendall, what do you make of the prosecutor asking, you felt
like your life was in jeopardy. I mean, does that strike you as odd?
COFFEY: Well, I feel pretty clearly, that rather than a leaderless grand
jury investigation, this was a grand jury that was being led to a
conclusion of innocence. Think of it. It is just the questions a defense
lawyer would have asked officer Wilson. Didn`t you feel like your life was
in jeopardy? Well, of course you know what the answer will be. Didn`t you
feel like in effect that the shooting was justified?
Not only does that tell the witness to say he`s innocent. It tells grand
jury members there in the room that this prosecutor is signaling very
clearly that the prosecution thinks that officer Wilson is innocent. So in
some of the most critical stages of this entire process, the prosecutors,
rather than being neutral, were basically stepping over to the defense
SHARPTON: Jim, you question why prosecutors didn`t wait until the end of
the grand jury process to call officer Wilson. What is important about
CAVANAUGH: Well, Reverend Al, and Kendall will tell you this as well, you
know, an investigative grand jury process, I`ve been involved in many of
those. And you know, you gather all the information. Your witnesses come
in. You`re trying to put the case together. The target of the
investigation, in other words, the investigation of who would get charges
preferred against them if the grand jury returned a true bill. Normally,
it would you bring it at the end based on a target letter that the United
States attorney or the district attorney would put out. You don`t let the
person sift the narrative and then everybody has to, you know, see if it
falls in place.
In other words, the grand jurors would know everything. And then the
person who would be possibly criminally charged would come in. And then
they would decide. So you can test his statement against all the other
In investigations, that`s what we like to do. The target we like to get
last, not first. So what happened here when the officer goes in, everybody
is tested against his statement. If it doesn`t match his statement, then
it is rejected as not true or right.
But you know, inconsistent witness statements is the norm never case.
Certainly, you know, to even bring up a witness who makes some fantastic
claim that Michael Brown was shot in the head, shot in the ground. I mean,
it is so fabulous. It would be so rejected. We would never have that
person call it a trial or a grand jury. We would totally reject that.
So to present that to the grand jury, I don`t think that`s a fair process
SHARPTON: Kendall, you know, here`s an example of two different accounts.
One from officer Wilson, the other from Dorian Johnson. It is about
whether Mike Brown reached toward his waist band. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILSON: When he stopped, he turn and faced me. As he does that, his right
hand goes into his waist band. My initial thought was, was there a weapon?
DORIAN JOHNSON, MICHAEL BROWN`S FRIEND: His hands were never at his waist.
He had a basketball shorts. It didn`t have a belt on so it wouldn`t stay
in his waist. And even if he did have anything in his waist, it wouldn`t
stay at his waist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, couldn`t a prosecutor argue the physical evidence doesn`t
support officer Wilson`s account?
COFFEY: Exactly. And just as Jim described, you put the target on at the
end if they want to come in without immunity and then you confront them.
You`ve had presumably a number of witnesses, a number of important pieces
of information and the physical evidence and you aggressively and
intensively cross examine them. You don`t simply put them that there to
tell their story with the aid and the assistance of a couple of friendly
questions from the prosecutor.
That`s a great example of a key point that the officer was allowed to say
basically unchallenged. That kind of failure to challenge the target, if
he walks into a grand jury investigation, is something that never happens.
Targets are aggressively relentlessly challenged by prosecutors who are
serious about exploring a prosecution.
SHARPTON: Jim, officer Wilson said he pursued Michael Brown to prevent
Brown from attack someone else. Quote "what would stop him from doing what
he just did to me or to him or worse, knowing he has already done to it one
cop, he still posed a threat not only to me, to anybody else that
confronted him. Does that make sense to you or should prosecutors have
CAVANAUGH: You know, you can assess that yourself. Is that really, really
a believable statement? I mean, it is a statement the officer says that,
you know, allows him to use deadly force, even when the guy is fleeing.
I mean, is this guy really an imminent danger to every other citizen?
Where is that evidence? He was involved in a strong arm robbery which
where he stole the cigars and pushed the clerk. He is involved in an
assault on the officer. He slam and punched the officer, probably the
worst case. And the fight over the gun, let`s take all that and say it`s
true. He doesn`t necessarily pose a great imminent threat to the public at
large. It wouldn`t be a situation where you could shoot him in the back.
But the officer seems to feel that is OK. That he pose this is great
danger to the public at large.
I don`t think that`s a valid argument. But I don`t think it would come
into a test of excessive force because he wasn`t shot in the back. I think
the excessive force come when he was shot in the front. In the first
volley of shots at a great distance where he was shot probably in the upper
arm, with an upward trajectory. That doesn`t indicate to me that he was
bending over. He was walking toward the officer. There are a number
witnesses who talk about, you know, hands in front at different stages.
But nevertheless, I mean, out here it may be incredulous, you know, why and
what`s going on and he gets shot with this volley and pauses and you know,
then comes forward, staggering, stumbling or charging, you know, maybe to
save his own life if he is trying surrender and being shot.
So the excessive force case to me is not at the car. It is not when he is
running away. It is when he is shot from a distance and he is and unarmed.
And that`s what the department of justice, and Kendall can elaborate for
us, Reverend Al.
The department of justice civil rights division who have a large
competency, and the FBI as well, to put this together and see if this will
really hold. Is it an excessive force case? That is the first question
you need to answer for America, is it? Not that can they prosecute, can
they prevail, can they win a trial.
First, is it or is it not an excessive force case. And then they need to
go from there. And they will have all the evidence. Map it out. Put the
stop watch on it. You know, he only travel 25 feet. But get that thing
tightened down and get answers to the public.
SHARPTON: I`m out of time, Kendall. But suffice it to say, bottom line,
this is very unusual in many areas.
COFFEY: Yes. It is extraordinary. And it doesn`t show an even handed
treatment of a process of the people involved.
SHARPTON: Kendall Coffey and Jim Cavanaugh, thank you both for your time
tonight. Have a good Thanksgiving.
COFFEY: Thanks, Rev.
CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up, serious questions about how police and investigators
hand the Michael Brown shooting.
Plus, the busiest travel night of the year and a nasty storm is threatening
millions of travelers.
And President Obama`s latest executive order. Pardoning the turkeys.
We`ll introduce to you Mac and Cheese ahead.
SHARPTON: It`s the day before Thanksgiving. The busiest travel day of the
year. And if you`re already home, be thankful. Because millions of
Americans are facing delays on the road and in the air. Hundreds of
flights have been canceled. A messy storm is bringing wet snow and heavy
rain up and down the east coast.
MSNBC`s meteorologist Domenica Davis is tracking the storm.
Domenica, how is it looking?
DOMENICA DAVIS, METEOROLOGIST: Well, it is looking to be a bit of a mess,
especially with the travel delays those continue. Right now, we`re looking
at a new travel delay. Logan has been spared pretty much all day. But
now, we`re starting to see this in last couple hours. They have hour and a
half delays. The brunt of the storm now pushes up through New England.
So these travel delays are going to continue right through much of the
night. You can see though, the storm is starting to cut off around the
beltway. That`s where we`re getting some clearing. So that`s good news as
the storm continues to push to the north. But the heaviest snow and
rainfall now is pushing into New England.
So places like Bridgeport, Providence, Boston, you are in the thick of it
right now and will be for at least the next six hours before we can wrap
this storm up. The interior sections like i-81, the mass pipe. That`s
where we`re looking at some of the heaviest snowfall by the time this is
over. Eight to ten inches in Bangor. Manchester, eight to 12. By
Thanksgiving, it is all said and done. Everybody is dry and a nice Turkey
Day ahead. Back to you.
SHARPTON: Meteorologist Domenica Davis, thank you for your report and have
a Happy Thanksgiving.
DAVIS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, why was Officer Wilson allowed to drive himself
back to the station after the shooting? Why did they let him put his own
gun into evidence? That`s next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with more revelations from the grand jury. The
"Washington Post" reports the grand jury documents raise serious questions
about how police and investigators handle the Michael Brown shooting. The
Post reports that after the shooting, Officer Wilson was allowed to drive
himself alone back to the police station. He washed the blood off his
hands before they were photographed. And he even put his own gun in an
evidence bag. And the problems didn`t end there. The "Huffington Post"
found other holes in the investigation. The first officer who interviewed
Wilson didn`t record the conversation or take any notes. And an
investigator for the medical office`s notes didn`t measure the likely
distance between Officer Wilson and where he stood and Michael Brown`s
body. Saying, it was quote, "self-explanatory, what happened."
And that investigator also didn`t take any pictures. Telling the grand
jury, quote, "my battery in my camera died." County police later did take
photographs. But still, my battery died? When a young man is lying dead
in the street, we expect better than that from investigators. So a big
question tonight. Did these issues receive proper attention from the grand
jury? And what role could they have played if this case had gone to trial?
Joining me now are Prosecutor Paul Henderson and trial attorney and legal
analyst Midwin Charles. Thank you both for being here.
MIDWIN CHARLES, LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
PAUL HENDERSON, PROSECUTOR: Thanks for having us, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Midwin, if this case had actually gone to trial, would these
issues have come up?
CHARLES: Oh, absolutely. You know, one of the first things that attorneys
do when cases to go trial is they focus on how bad the investigation was.
And whether or not the investigation was done in a manner to sort of get at
the heart of the truth. And when anyone looks at how this investigation
was done or lack thereof, all that comes to mind is that these people are
supposed to be trained. They`re supposed to be experienced and they`re
supposed to be professionals. So, the fact that they did not follow
protocol raises the question as to why. Is this how they handle all
investigations when someone is shot and killed on the street or is it only
because a police officer was involved in that shooting?
SHARPTON: You know, Paul, something that really struck me. Another issue
in this police investigation. Look at this police lab report that the
grand jury examined. It said the offense was an assault on L.E.O. LEO, or
law enforcement officers. It also refers to Officer Wilson as the victim,
quote, and Michael Brown, as quote, "the suspect." The grand jury saw
several reports with this language. Does that impact their point of view?
HENDERSON: It absolutely does. So as they are receiving this information,
it really does matter. Because that is what a grand jury is influenced by.
The reports that are placed in front of them. And when they see, and when
they read, and when they hear about official reports, it does have a
subjective influence on how they perceive the case and how they perceive
the evidence. And all of that is compounded with the facts in this case
where, you know, as we talked about before, in Missouri, where the target
of an investigation is allowed to testify in front of a grand jury, which
isn`t normal. So, when you have a police officer himself coming in and
giving his version of events, that matches an official report. That he
contributed to and he contributed to writing, you know, that`s very
persuasive and more than persuasive. That is actually influential and it`s
the role of the prosecutor to do aggressive advocacy, to point out whatever
inconsistencies may exist.
SHARPTON: Now Midwin, I want to get back to the floors in the grand jury.
And just how rare it is that a grand jury doesn`t indict. In 2010, U.S.
attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases. Grand juries declined to
return an indictment in just 11 cases. Now those were federal cases, not
state cases. But it is really a striking statistic. What does it say to
CHARLES: Well, you know, it says to me, you know, one of the statements
that a lot of lawyers use is that a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich.
And that`s because the threshold is so low. All a prosecutor is trying to
do is get a grand jury to understand that the person being investigated
probably committed a crime. Not that they are guilty of the crime or not
that they are innocent of the crime. And that did not happen here. I have
to tell you, I represent so many clients here in New York and criminal
court. They don`t get this sort of treatment when they go into a grand
jury. There are no 60 witnesses being paraded out and listening to
evidence over the course of three months for 25 days. It just doesn`t
happen. This is highly, highly irregular. And the problem with this case
is it sets a precedent, right?
CHARLES: So that when other police officers are suspicious or, you know,
there is the indication that they`ve committed this sort of crimes, is this
the sort of protocol that a prosecutor is going to follow to ensure that
they don`t get an indictment. That`s what makes it so dangerous. Because
it sets forth a two-tiered legal system.
SHARPTON: I want to turn now to another story about a tragic police
shooting in Cleveland. On Saturday, an officer shot and killed a 12-year-
old boy named Tamir Rice. A 911 caller reported seeing him waving and
pointing a gun outside a recreation center. But said it was probably fake.
It was fake. A pellet gun. But that information was never related to
police. Today, police released this surveillance video of Tamir walking
around outside the rec center. Police circled the pellet gun in red. The
next video I`m about to show is extremely disturbing. It shows officers
arriving at the scene. One gets out of his car and shoots and kills Tamir
Rice within seconds. A grand jury will decide if the officer should be
charged. Paul, what`s your reaction to this video?
HENDERSON: You know, my reaction to this video, it can be seen in so many
different ways. But this is exactly why it is important that the public
feel like there is aggressive advocacy and representation so that all of
the issues come out and in a tape like this, you want to hear prosecutors
presenting a persuasive argument that outlines all of the issues
surrounding the possibility that an individual may have committed
wrongdoing and could be charged with a crime. This is exactly why we have
so much tension and outrage right now. Because people feel like they`re
not to the justice system that evaluate tapes like this, that makes the
determination as to who specifically is accountable in society. And that
there are different standards for if someone from the African-American
community shoots a gun, versus an individual that may be an officer
shooting someone else with a gun.
SHARPTON: Midwin, police say they told the boy to show his hands. But it
happened so fast. How could that be possible?
CHARLES: And that`s what makes this tape so disturbing, Rev. Is the fact
that it happened so quickly. Again, I have to keep harping on the fact
that police officers are professionals. They are trained. They have
experience. And they are trained how to deal with these sorts of
situations. I can`t understand how it is that a police officer could come
upon a child, a 12-year-old. And not try to either de-escalate the
situation or try to even gain more information from that 911 caller.
SHARPTON: Paul, quickly, a 12-year-old boy killed. Do you think a grand
jury would recommend charges?
HENDERSON: You know, when you just say a 12-year-old is killed, would a
grand jury recommend charging? Generally, I would say yes. But again, we
have to focus on the prosecution and the individual that`s presenting the
evidence to outline how to interpret what police procedure is. How to
interpret the reports and evidence and the testimony from that officer. So
that`s what`s going to be important in this case.
SHARPTON: Paul Henderson, and Midwin Charles, thank you both for your time
tonight and have a happy Thanksgiving.
CHARLES: Thanks, Rev.
HENDERSON: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Straight ahead, Michael Brown Jr.`s family join other families
going through tragedy to turn grief into action. That`s next.
SHARPTON: At the heart of the tragedy in Ferguson is a grieving mother and
father. This mother lost her son. Back with me to remember her son
Michael Brown is Lesley McSpadden and had her Attorney Ben Crump. Lesley,
what do you want the world to remember about Michael, your son?
MCSPADDEN.: That he was kind, he was friendly, he was loving, he was a
regular teenager. And he was a human being. He deserved every free right
that all of us do.
SHARPTON: You know, today, I hosted you another families dealing with
tragedy like Eric Garner`s family at my National Action Network for bonding
and prayer. What does it mean to you to have these women by your side
during this time?
MCSPADDEN: It means a lot. For them to have the strength to keep going.
And it makes me keep going. And it also makes me feel so sad for them that
we all have to relate to such a situation to have a closeness. It is sad.
It is very sad. And the other sad part about it is that over half of us
have not got the justice that we seek.
SHARPTON: And in his testimony, Officer Wilson described Michael during
the altercation as -- looking like a demon and he was asked about it in the
interview. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And why did you choose the word demon?
WILSON: I don`t really know what was going on. I was so shocked by the
whole interaction. This was escalated so quickly from a simple request to
now a fight for survival. And it still doesn`t make sense to me why
someone would act in that way and be so mad instantly and be aggressive
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Does that sound like your son to you?
MCSPADDEN: No. Like I said before, it sounds like he is pretty much
describing himself. I`ve never seen a demon. I can`t say what a demon
SHARPTON: Hulk Hogan, a demon. I mean, these characterizations, does that
sound anywhere like your son? I mean, teenagers can be different. But
does that sound like the son you knew?
MCSPADDEN: No. That doesn`t sound like anyone that I know.
SHARPTON: Why do you think he would say that?
MCSPADDEN: Because it sounds good to him. He wanted to add insult to
injury. He is disrespectful.
SHARPTON: Michael`s death sparked a movement all over the country. The
President is talking about it. Michael would have said what about this?
If he saw the President of the United States and people all over the
country holding up his name?
MCSPADDEN: I think he would be overwhelmed and ecstatic, happy and eager
to do something more to keep them talking about him.
SHARPTON: What do you think his legacy would be? What do you hope he
would be remembered for?
MCSPADDEN: I hope he would be remembered for the good and everything that
we present to you about our son. Because no one knew him as well as we
did. And everybody thinks that they know him and they don`t. They really
SHARPTON: Mr. Crump, before we go, the Hulk Hogan five-year-old boy
analogy, you had taken a lot of umbrage at.
CRUMP: Yes. Reverend Al, you know, when you look at this process, and
this grand jury proceeding, they allowed him to just come and talk for four
hours and they never asked him a tough question. They never cross examined
him. And so, it was just glaring analogies. Like the Hulk Hogan analogy
to the five-year-old boy analogy. Him being five-years-old. And when you
look at, in fact, he was 6`4." Almost 220 pounds. And Michael Brown was
6`6", 290 pounds. So they were both big. And so when he says, he beat him
up, and he hit him so hard. You`re looking and saying, where are the Hulk
Hogan punches at when you look at his face? He just has blush on his
cheeks. And why didn`t the prosecutor cross examine him on that? Why
didn`t the prosecutor cross examine him on the fact that he told the
detective one thing August 9th and says something totally different when he
got to the grand jury? What they wanted was due process for their child,
Reverend Sharpton, nothing more, nothing less. And they did not get it
during this grand jury proceeding.
SHARPTON: Attorney Benjamin Crump, Lesley McSpadden. Thank you very much.
The mother of Michael Brown, Jr. for sharing with us tonight. And we will
be praying for peace for and you the family. And justice. We`ll be right
CRUMP: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in POLITICS NATION. President
Obama marked the holiday with the White House tradition, going back to the
1800s. The pardoning of turkeys. The president`s daughters, Sasha and
Malia were there for the fun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I am here to announce what I`m sure will be the most talked about
executive action this month. Today I am taking an action fully within my
legal authority, the same kind of action taken by democrats and republican
presidents before me to spare the lives of two turkeys, Mac and Cheese.
From a terrible and delicious fate.
Let`s face it, if you`re a turkey, and you`re named after a side dish, your
chances of escaping Thanksgiving dinner are pretty low. So these guys are
well ahead of the curve. They really beat the odds and they will get to
live out the rest of their days respectably at a Virginia State with 10,000
acres of Roman space. I know, some will call this amnesty. But don`t
worry, there`s plenty of turkey to go around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Thanks to those who voted on twitter. Mac and Cheese beat the
odds. Mac is a 47-pound male with a feather shaker strut and a red meek
melodious gobble. Cheese is a 49-pound male with a grand champion strut
and a loud romantic gobble.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Now, because I know everyone wants to get out of town, Mac and
Cheese included, it is time for me to engage in the official act. So,
let`s see what we can do here with cheese.
Careful. Come on, girls. Are we ready? All right. Cheese? You are here
by pardoned from the Thanksgiving dinner table. Congratulations.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
He looks pretty happy about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Yes, he does look happy about it! But he probably didn`t like
what the President said right after the pardon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I will tell you though, turkeys don`t have the best looking heads.
You know what I`m saying? You think they`re beautiful?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think they`re beautiful.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And if you think about it, they`re red, white and blue.
So, they`re American and patriotic, too.
OBAMA: Absolutely. You guys wants pet him?
MALIA OBAMA, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT OBAMA: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Whatever their heads look like, Mac and Cheese have a lot to be
thankful for this Thanksgiving. And so do we, we`ll talk about that, next.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, why I am inspired about America`s potential for
positive change. Last night, thousands participated in peaceful protests
from coast to coast. All standing in solidarity for Michael Brown. We
need to keep it up and never give up. America has changed time and time
again and we saw proof of that on the very day that the grand jury decision
was announced. On Monday, the president awarded the Medal of Freedom to 18
people. The nation`s highest civilian honor. Three of those awards went
to slain civil rights activists, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael
Schwerner. They were murdered by the KKK in 1964 while registering blacks
to vote in Mississippi`s freedom summer. Their deaths shocked the nation
and inspired millions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: James, Andrew and Michael could not have known the impact they
would have on the civil rights movement or on future generations. And here
today inspired by their sacrifice, we continue to fight for the ideals of
equality and justice for which they gave their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Another award was given to Charlie Sifford, the first black
golfer in the PGA. He faced harassment and death threats everywhere he
went. But he never let it get them down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: On the tour, Charlie was sometimes banned from clubhouse
restaurants. Folks threatened him, shouted slurs from the gallery, kicked
his ball into the rough. Charlie is laughing about that. My ball is
always in the rough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The way ahead may look rough. But we can`t get discouraged.
This holiday let`s be thankful that America can change for the better. But
only if we fight to make that happen. I`ve been in the fight for social
justice all my life. Yes, it`s rough. Yes, she`s going to get attacked.
Yes, she`s going to get castigated. But in the end, if your life purpose
is to try to make a difference, all of that are only things that toughen
you up and make you more firm in your resolve. I`m thankful to see a
younger generation all over the country of all races stand up with the same
passion I`ve had in my life. And that passion will lead to change. Yes,
it is a sad day with some decisions but I`m thankful that there are those
that still believe we can make a difference.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
We`ll see you back here on Monday night. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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