All In With Chris Hayes, Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: November 25, 2014
Guest: Dorian Johnson, James Williams, Paul D`Agrosa, Osagyefo Sekou
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: That was Chris Hayes now from Ferguson on
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening from Ferguson, Missouri. We are
here on West Florissant. And it is quiet at this moment. On August 9th,
when this all started this year, in the middle of the day, Officer Darren
Wilson pulled his police vehicle alongside two people. And less than two
minutes later one of them was dead. The other one tells his story tonight.
I just spoke with Dorian Johnson, the friend of Michael Brown who was there
during that encounter with Officer Wilson. You can see we`ve got some
police vehicles going by and whose eyewitness testimony offers a very
different account of the key moments leading up to Brown`s death. Dorian
told me his reaction to the grand jury decision handed down last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DORIAN JOHNSON: As I said, you know, nothing is being done about it, and I
feel, like, you know, he could have done something. Something different
than killing my friend in the street. He could have done something
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`ll have more of my interview with Dorian Johnson in just a
moment. And as we continue to pour through all of the evidence reviewed by
the grand jury released in bulk by prosecutor Bob McCulloch tonight, for
the first time ever we heard from police officer at the center of the
story. Darren Wilson, the man whom the grand jury decided not to indict in
the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Wilson, whose
lengthy testimony rare for a defendant appears to have been critical to the
grand jury decision, told ABC News Michael Brown was the one who escalated
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARREN WILSON: As I opened the door, I said hey, come here for a minute.
And that`s when he turned and said what the [EXPLETIVE DELETED] are you
going to do about it and slammed my door shut on me.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Slammed the door shut on you?
WILSON: Yes. I used my door to try to push him back. And yell him to get
back. And again, he just pushed the door shut and just stares at me. And
as I look back at him, all of the sudden, punches start flying.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He threw the first punch?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Obama briefed today on the developments in Ferguson by
Attorney General Eric Holder addressed what happened last night after the
grand jury`s decision was announced during a visit to Chicago this evening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There are
productive ways of responding and expressing those frustrations and there
are destructive ways of responding. Burning buildings, torching cars,
destroying property, putting people at risk, that`s destructive. And
there`s no excuse for it. But what we also saw, although it didn`t get as
much attention in the media, was people gathering in overwhelmingly
peaceful protests. We`ve seen young people who are organizing and people
beginning to have real conversations about how do we change the situation
so that there`s more trust between law enforcement and some of these
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Speaking to protests, or speaking to reporters this afternoon,
Attorney General Holder also expressed his disappointment with the arson
and looting last night outlining steps to weed out the people responsible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is clear that acts of violence
threaten to drown out those who have legitimate voices, legitimate
demonstrators. And those acts of violence cannot and will not be condoned.
I`ve asked the COPS director, Ron Davis, to continue to confer with local
law enforcement and to conduct an after action review so that we can
develop strategies for identifying and isolating the criminal elements from
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: At least 12 buildings and a number of cars were damaged, many of
them burned in last night`s unrest. As businesses were looted and random
gun shots rang out throughout the night. More than 80 people were arrested
in Ferguson and neighboring St. Louis. At a press conference today with
the Ferguson mayor, local business owners reacted to the scenes of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I fell down on the street before I came here and I
was in tears. It really, really was bad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last night was not a good night for me and no one
else in Ferguson. My heart bleeds for my city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered hundreds more National
Guard troops to the Ferguson area, but even as the city reviewed the damage
and prepared for what could be another tense night, peaceful protests and
other non-violent direct actions continued in the Ferguson area throughout
the day. Including a march to the federal courthouse in downtown St. Louis
that shut down traffic on an interstate highway. And in cities around the
country, people demonstrated in solidarity with Ferguson adding their
voices to the calls for justice. At a press conference today attended by
Michael Brown senior, Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump addressed the
deep distrust in the system inflamed by the grand jury`s decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY: We object to this process because all across
America whether it means - whether this is in New York, Los Angeles,
California, Cleveland, young people of color are being killed by police
officers and the local prosecutors put together this barrier, and bias
grandeur and it continues to yield the same result results.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: At the same press conference, MSNBC host and President of the
National Action Network Al Sharpton spoke about the next steps for what
appears to be a growing movement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. AL SHARPTON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: We will continue to
fight for a new level of accountability of policing in this country.
SHARPTON: Michael Brown will not be remembered for the ashes from
buildings burned in Ferguson. He will be remembered for new legislation
and the upholding of law.
SHARPTON: That protects citizens in the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Tonight, it is eerily quiet here on West Florissant. That`s strip
that has been the site of a lot of activity and was a sight of a lot of
burning last night. It`s been shut down by police offices.
I first spoke with Dorian Johnson two days after he watched Officer Darren
Wilson shoot and kill his friend, Mike Brown. Since then, Dorian has been
interviewed by federal investigators and he`s given what can be described
as heartbreaking testimony to the grand jury. Dorian Johnson and Darren
Wilson have different accounts of what happened on August`s night. Much of
what they testified to winds up quite consistently. But at times, their
accounts differ greatly. And earlier today, I got a chance to talk to
Dorian again along with his attorney, James Williams. And I began by
asking Dorian`s attorney what his reaction was to St. Louis prosecutor Bob
McCulloch`s announcement last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES WILLIAMS: My reaction is the same reaction that we`ve seen from most
of the community. Anger, frustrations, disappointment. My client Dorian
Johnson was certainly victimized out here. Witnessed firsthand the
slaughter of Michael Brown and adding insult to injury, we had a prosecutor
who was clearly apathetic. Who put a sham presentation to the grand jury
so that he could stand up and give a 20 minute explanation of why there was
no indictment. It`s embarrassing to this community. It`s frustrating.
It`s insulting to citizens like Dorian Johnson who have to endure this and
we just hope that justice can be served and that things don`t stop here.
Because right now, the way things are right now, it is tragic and horrible
for any citizen, particularly an African American, in this community.
HAYES: How did you feel yesterday when you heard the announcement?
JOHNSON: I was upset. Very upset that, you know, we did what we supposed
to do, stand up and tell what we see. Anything just done by any person.
Speak up and stand up and be brave enough to say what you saw. And it`s
just sad that, you know, nothing is being done about it. And I feel, like,
you know, he could -- he could have did something. Something different
than kill my friend dead in the street. He could have did something
HAYES: I want to talk a little bit about your testimony and Darren Wilson
testimony, if that`s OK. And the first thing I want to say is, they are
actually, in the key moments, pretty remarkably consistent. I mean a lot
of the stuff that both of you`re seeing, you are relaying independently to
grand jury, seeing stuff perfectly down to Mike handing the cigarillos to
you in the midst of that altercation. You say it, Darren Wilson testified
that. One big point of departure is how this all started. So, I just want
to read this to you. This is Officer Wilson saying -- you guys are right
here. You`re walking this way, right? His car is coming down Canfield
Drive this way, you guys are in the street, you`re in front. And he says,
why don`t you guys walk on the sidewalk? Now, is that what he said to you?
JOHNSON: He did not say that to me. He did not say - he walked - he said
get the "F" on the sidewalk. That was the exact words to me.
HAYES: So that`s a key difference, is that what you testify - getting, it
was the hostile interaction.
HAYES: It was get the "f" off the .
HAYES: OK. That happens here. Now, here is another piece of testimony.
He backs his car in reverse, right? Right here? Right? And he says he
tries to open the door and Mike Brown slams it shut and says what the "f"
are you going to do about it. Shuts my door and slammed it shut. Is that
what you saw happened?
JOHNSON: That`s not what I saw happen. That`s not what happened.
HAYES: And that`s not what you testified in the grand jury.
JOHNSON: That`s not what happened.
HAYES: What did you testified in the grand jury?
JOHNSON: What he failed to mention is the manner in which he reversed his
vehicle. He reversed his vehicle in the way he would have struck me and
Mike Brown if we did not get out of the way. And therefore, his car was
set up so close to us that you could not open up his door without striking
us with his door. It was impossible.
HAYES: So he`s close enough to you that when he opens the door, it`s --
JOHNSON: Ricocheting off of our body onto the car. Back into him.
HAYES: OK. So an altercation now starts in that car. Officer Wilson
testifies that there was a punch from Michael Brown. Is that what you saw?
HAYES: You did not see a punch.
JOHNSON: His fist was never closed. He never closed his fist. His fist
was always - It was open. Open palm.
WILLIAMS: And, again, I think it`s important to note, Dorian Johnson
observed this, but was not on trial for his life. Officer Wilson who gave
his self-serving grand jury testimony was trying not to be indicted. So,
the similarities you`re pointing out we think are even more evidence of why
if properly presented, this grand jury would have resulted into and
HAYES: He says he was hit right here in the side of the face with a fist.
You testify that Mike Brown`s hands were never inside the car. You still
believe that. There`s some forensic evidence that suggests that maybe
there were in there. But you`re saying they didn`t not go in the car.
JOHNSON: They did not go in the car.
HAYES: OK. Can you tell me about the nature of that interaction at the
window? Because you`re testifying about how you`re just looking around
like freaked out. These guys are both getting very heated. Like this is
escalating quickly. What was going on in that moment?
JOHNSON: Like I said, like I testified to the grand jury. It wasn`t
wrestling. It was tug of war. Pulling and pulling away. It was no
wrestling going only.
HAYES: And you say Officer Wilson was the one who initiated contact by
grabbing Mike ..
HAYES: He was the first one that initiated.
JOHNSON: Correct. Yes.
HAYES: And you`re saying they`re wrestling. They are not wrestling
JOHNSON: Tug of war, yes.
HAYES: Are they cursing at each other? Are they yelling at each other?
JOHNSON: Of course there`s some verbal language. They`re both loud and
angry. They`re both loud and angry. But it`s not wrestling, they are
never grappling each other and never one body on top of another, no. He`s
just - he`s pulling and he`s pulling away. Darren Wilson is pulling
towards the window, and Mike Brown is pulling away from the vehicle.
HAYES: Gunshots go off, right? Inside the car? Is that correct?
JOHNSON: He was shot from inside the car. Yes, Darren Wilson shot from
inside the car. He was never outside the car when the first shots go off.
HAYES: Right. You fall to the ground. Is that what happened?
HAYES: What happened?
JOHNSON: I was standing up. I was standing up, I turned and looked at
HAYES: And you were right next to Michael.
JOHNSON: I was standing right next to him. I just turned and looked at
him and saw that he was struck and blood was on his chest. And blood - I
saw that he was struck. He had on a white shirt and blood ran down his
shirt. This`s how I knew that he was hit.
HAYES: And what does Mike do?
JOHNSON: We ran. That`s when we ran.
HAYES: And you start running in this direction down the street, right?
HAYES: You are running down this. The car is still parked here?
JOHNSON: The car was parked, and there was another car parked here.
JOHNSON: It was other - At this time, while we are running, there`s other
cars parked because they couldn`t get passed.
HAYES: I see. So there`s been a little bit of a traffic stop.
JOHNSON: Right, right.
HAYES: Because these cars, the officer`s car just pulled in right here.
JOHNSON: Yes. And now there`s other cars in line. So that they can`t get
passed, but we`re running. We`re running passed them.
HAYES: When does Mike Brown stop and turn around?
JOHNSON: Not until a second shot was fired.
HAYES: OK. Second shot is fired. Mike Brown turns around. Officer
Wilson testifies that he saw Mike Brown do a hop, as if like an Olympian
about to do a long jump. Did you see that?
HAYES: What was the look on Mike`s face? What was his demeanor in that
moment when he`s now turned around to face Officer Wilson?
JOHNSON: Pain and anger. He had already been shot, for sure, once, at the
car. I witnessed him being shot. The second time was iffy, but it stopped
him. And I know for a fact he was shot. So I know he was hurting at that
time. And so angry that he`s been fired upon and we don`t have a weapon.
No one is shooting at this officer. We`re not threatening his life at all,
but he`s firing a gun at us.
HAYES: The Officer Wilson testified that his hand was in his waist as he
came towards Officer Wilson --
WILLIAMS: Michael Brown`s?
HAYES: Michael Brown`s hand was in his waist as if there might be a gun in
there. He testified that before the grand jury. Do you recall seeing his
hand in his waist?
at his waist: His hands were never at his waist. He had on basketball
shorts. He couldn`t -- he couldn`t hold anything in his waist. His hands
was up, he didn`t have a belt on. So, it wouldn`t stay at his waist, and
even if he did have anything at his waist, it wouldn`t stay at his waist.
His hands were up. He never plunged at the officer in no type of manner.
He was merely trying to explain to the officer that he did not have a
weapon and why are you shooting me.
HAYES: He was saying that?
JOHNSON: He was about to say it and finish it, but he was struck down by a
ripple of shots.
HAYES: How far - Officer Wilson testified that Mike Brown was 8-10 feet
from him when he fired his final shot through the sight that killed Mike
Brown? Does that sound like the right distance?
JOHNSON: In the moment of fearing for my life and, you know, just watching
a traumatic, you know, tragic incident, I wasn`t aware of the exact feet
and measurements that they were apart. All I can see is my friend being
brutally murdered and he couldn`t do anything about it.
HAYES: Do you think -- you were there. And this sounds like -- it sounds
like this entire thing went from nothing to death just so fast. And that`s
consistent in the testimony of Darren Wilson. It seemed consistent in your
testimony. How did this - How did this happen?
JOHNSON: I don`t know how it happened. You know, I wish it could have
went a different way. You know, it did not have to result in deadly use of
force. He did not have to kill him at all. He was never threatened that
much. Like I said, I never did anything that made him think that I was
going to help. He never told me, hey, Dorian, I`m not shooting at you.
I`m only shooting at Mike Brown. He was shooting and we`re running away.
Like, we`re trying to get away from you, so we`re not trying to attack you.
We are not .
HAYES: So Mike Brown does not rush him at any point?
JOHNSON: He does not rush him at any time.
WILLIAMS: And important to note, no one is saying this, Officer Wilson is
shooting at them as they`re running away from him. And there has been no
mention of that by Mr. McCulloch when he gave his long soliloquy. He
didn`t mention that thing, which certainly, certainly points to the fact
that that level of force was not justified. You want to know what happened
here and how this happened so quickly. It`s because Darren Wilson came
upon two young men who he didn`t value as human beings. And that`s how
this happened so quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Early this morning, police found the body of a man inside a parked
car near the Canfield apartments where Mike Brown was shot and killed. And
not too far from where I talked to Dorian Johnson. Although St. Louis
County police said the death is being investigated as a homicide, they
wouldn`t say how the man died nor will they identify him at this point.
But family members say the man was 20 year old DeAndre Joshua. And he
turns out he was a good friend of Dorian Johnson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You found out about Bob McCulloch last night. And then a few hours
later, your friend was killed and you found out about that this morning?
JOHNSON: Yes, I found out about that this morning. This is tragic. He
was a good kid, man. He was real good. He never did no wrong to nobody.
It`s just - it`s a tragedy what happened to him. And given the situation,
we got to stay on topic. I just want to get this opportunity to say, you
know, thank you for letting me talk about him. All up here again, DeAndre
and I love you. Everybody else has to support him, to support all of black
youth that`s dying out her for no reason. We`ve got to stand up for
HAYES: Dorian, thank you very much and I`m sorry about your friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right, something Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor
said yesterday really stuck with me. I wanted to talk to someone who has
experience in the courtroom that Bob McCulloch appears in regularly. So,
criminal defense attorney who has been working in St. Louis for 25 years
will join me ahead.
HAYES: One of the attorneys for Michael Brown`s family tore into Bob
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN CRUMP: A first-year law student would have did a better job of
cross-examining a killer of an unarmed person than the prosecutor`s office
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Alas, someone who spent years going up against the prosecutor`s
office in court if that`s true, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MCCULLOCH, ST. LOUIS COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Fully aware of the
unfounded but growing concern in some parts of our community, that the
investigation and review of this tragic death might not be full and fair.
I decided immediately that all of the physical evidence gathered, all
people claiming to have witnessed any part or all of the shooting and any
and all other related matters would be presented to the grand jury.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: When St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch says as he
repeatedly did last night, the grand jury was presented with all of the
evidence, it might sound to the untrained ear like a transparent process
that was bending over backwards to be fair. But it is very important to
remember the way that Bob McCulloch handled that grand jury in the Darren
Wilson case was truly unusual in the opinion of some, unprecedented
compared to how grand juries usually operate. The norm in grand jury
proceedings is for the prosecutor to present just the evidence that
supports a prosecution. A prosecutor has zero legal obligation in a grand
jury proceeding to present evidence that makes a defendant look innocent.
A prosecutor is free to line up all of the evidence that makes the
defendant look culpable, that`s why it is so incredibly easy for a
prosecutor to obtain an indictment against a defendant in a typical grand
According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, U.S. attorneys, these are
federal prosecutors, prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most
recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an
indictment in 11 of them. Again, out of 162,000 cases, in all but 11,
grand juries chose to indict. That is a 99.99 percent rate of indictment.
As 538 points out, Officer Darren Wilson`s case was heard in state court,
not federal court, but legal experts agree that whether it be a state or
federal court, if a prosecutor wants an indictment he or she almost always
gets one. We have repeatedly reached out to Bob McCulloch to appear on the
program. He has thus far declined. But McCulloch has suggested the way he
handled this case was routine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCULLOHAYES: I don`t know how anyone can say it was, you know, we`re
passing the buck by gathering all of this information and evidence and
meeting with the grand jury. It`s something we do on a weekly basis. We
do it day in, day out, week in and week out. So, it`s certainly not
passing the buck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I want to talk to someone who has some experience in the courtroom
on the other side of Bob McCulloch, and find out if this process was, in
fact, something McCulloch`s office does day in and day out. And joining me
now, Paul D`Agrosa, he is a St. Louis criminal defense attorney.
Paul, thank you for joining me. You represent clients who are being
prosecuted by Bob McCulloch`s office. Is it true that the kind of grand
jury process that was laid out is something that this office does "day in
and day out?
PAUL D`AGROSA, ST. LOUIS CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, not really. I
think he`s twisting a little bit there. Routinely, cases are presented to
a grand jury when the prosecutor wants to get an indictment, when they want
to protect the privacy of witnesses or the integrity of the investigation,
they want to protect undercover police officers or child victims of sex
crimes. So, they present it to the grand jury. That doesn`t give me as a
defense attorney the opportunity to cross examine those witnesses, build
the defense or discover evidence prior to an indictment. So while a grand
jury is convened almost every week in St Louis County, and does return
indictments on the routine basis, having all of the evidence and the Grand
Jury is instructed on what the law, and told what the defense is, and that
they can find that there`s no evidence to support an indictment, that is
HAYES: When you talk about instructed on what the defense is, what do you
mean by that?
D`AGROSA: Well, it is unusual for a prosecutor to present the statutes to
the grand jurors other than the indictment itself, which is usually already
drawn up and presented to them with the elements of the crime, and, of
course, the evidence is presented by the prosecution without the defense
there. It`s not an adversarial proceeding. So the grand jurors say OK,
there`s enough evidence there, the elements had been met. This person
should be brought to trial. And in this case, the prosecutors presented
the statutes on self-defense on how a police officer can be justified in
the use of deadly force in making an arrest, for example. And they were
presented with multiple options of what homicide can be and of course, when
a person should not be charged with a homicide offense. That doesn`t
happen every day. They are not presented with the options to say if you`ve
heard testimony before you during these months that says Darren Wilson was
justified in his use of force, you don`t have to indict him. That`s not
what a prosecutor routinely does.
HAYES: Are you anticipating that when you next based - have a client who`s
been prosecuted by McCulloch`s office, that this is now going to be some
new kind of procedure in which the office will - present all the evidence
or - and notify the grand jury they don`t have to return an indictment?
D`AGROSA: No, I wish that were so. But that`s not the role of the grand
jury. I`ve heard some people say this was a special grand jury. That it
was an investigation of a grand jury, meaning not just the routine grand
jury, here`s evidence, return indictments. Well, grand juries are
sometimes convened to investigate corruption or investigate perhaps
overcrowding in a jail or civil rights violations that may occur. But
they`re not used in this way. So I don`t expect any time soon that my
clients, if they`re arrested and charged and their case presented are going
the be given the opportunity to present all of the defense, testify in
their own defense and present defense witnesses. We don`t have that power.
We can`t insist on that. And any time we want to present something in the
grand jury, we have to be invited to do so by the prosecutor`s office.
That doesn`t happen very often.
HAYES: Is Bob McCulloch a good prosecutor? Does he - does he reliably get
indictments and get convictions?
D`AGROSA: Yes, he`s a good prosecutor. Yes, he`s a very good prosecutor.
He can get convictions. He can try cases. This is a different case,
though. This was a police shooting. It was handled differently. Even
though lots of people want to say including Mr. McCulloch that the case was
handled the same e as any other case, why not just be honest about it and
say when there`s a police shooting, it`s handled differently than other
shootings because it was handled differently.
HAYES: Paul D`Agrosa, thank you so much for your time.
All right. For the first time since Michael Brown`s death, we`re hearing
from the man who killed him, Officer Darren Wilson speaks next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARREN WILSON, FERGUSON POLICE OFFICER: At that time, I gave myself
another mental check, can I shoot this guy? You know, can -- legally can
I? And the question that I answered myself was I have to have to. If I
don`t, he will kill me if he gets to me.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR; Even though he`s what 35, 40 feet
WILSON: Once he`s coming in that direction, if he hasn`t stopped yet, when
is he going to stop?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We now have Officer Darren Wilson`s explanation for how and why he
shot and killed Michael Brown. In an interview today with ABC News and in
the grand jury testimony released last night, Wilson cast Brown as so
irrationally aggressive, he had no choice but to open fire on the unarmed
Wilson testified that the confrontation started when he drove up to Brown
and his friend Dorian Johnson because they were walking in the middle of
the street. Wilson said that when he told them to move to the side, Brown
responded, quote, "F what you have to say."
Then Wilson claims Brown cursed at him again. And when Wilson tried to
exit his car, slammed the door closed.
While this was happening, Wilson testified Brown was, quote, starring at me
almost like to intimidate me or to overpower me.
And Wilson said that when he tried to open his car door again, Brown
slammed it shut and started punching the uniformed police officer in the
face through an open window for no apparent reason.
Wilson, who is 6`4 and weighs 210 pounds, testified that when he grabbed
Brown, he, quote, felt like a 5-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan.
Wilson also said that when he pulled his gun on Brown, Brown immediately
grabbed the gun and said you are too much of an expletive to shoot me.
In Wilson`s telling, the two struggled for the gun with Brown trying to
shoot Wilson, and then Wilson fired a shot in Brown`s direction, something
he said enraged the teenager further.
Brown had, quote, the most intensive, aggressive face after the gunshot,
Wilson testified. He added that Brown looked like, quote, "a demon."
Wilson claims that after the gunshot brown punched him again. Wilson fired
another shot and Brown took off running with Wilson in pursuit.
Eventually, Wilson testified Brown stopped, turned back towards the officer
and did a stutter step back in his direction. Wilson maintained in the
interview today that Brown did not put his hands up in the air, his left
hand goes into a fist and goes to his side, Wilson testified. His right
one goes under his shirt in his waistband and he starts running at me.
Then, Wilson says, he started shooting. He testified that he saw Brown get
hit, but that the shot didn`t slow Brown down. It looked like he was
almost bulking up to run through the shots, Wilson testified, like it was
making him mad that I am shooting him.
It was only when Brown was within 10 feet of Wilson, according to the
officer, that he fired the shot that ended Mike Brown`s life.
There are specific reasons to question Wilson`s story, including a
discrepancies between how far the officer says Brown ran from the car and
where brown`s Body was found. There are also major differences between
testimony and Dorian Johnson`s that I interviewed earlier today.
And then there`s a larger question why Mike Brown, 18-year-old on his way
to college, his whole life ahead of him, would act in such an aggressive
matter, one almost guaranteed, it would appear, to get him shot in dealing
with a police officer.
Because he only testified before a grand jury, Officer Darren Wilson`s
account was never directly challenged on the stand. The person who pointed
this out earlier today in a series of tweets is Lisa Bloom. She joins me
now. She`s a legal analyst for NBC News and for Avvo.com
Lisa, you had a series of tweets today about Darren Wilson`s testimony.
What struck you about it and about the way that it was admitted to evidence
in the grand jury proceeding?
LISA BLOOM, AVVO.COM: Well, overall, there was not a single tough question
asked of him. And as a trial lawyer, so much jumped out at me as fertile
ground for crossexamination.
For example, he says that Mike Brown socked him hard in the face twice, he
said using the full force that Mike Brown had. Mike Brown being a pretty
big, strong guy and yet when you look at those photos, you really have to
look carefully. This is probably the best photo where you can see a little
bit of pinkness and a little bit of redness, but that is not consistent
with being punched hard in the face a couple of times.
It also doesn`t make sense that he would be punch on the right side of his
face when he is sitting in the driver`s seat and Mike Brown is punching him
You know, the bigger picture is that Darren Wilson was not crossedexamined
by these prosectuors. Her they had their golden moment. They had the
defendant who voluntarily came in and was testifying. They could have
asked him, for example, about how he told a police investigator that Mike
Brown had struck him ten times. And here, in the grand jury room, he said
Mike Brown struck him twice. Explain that discrepancy. Explain the
discrepencies in the distance. Stand up and demonstrate how physically
some of this stuff can work when frankly it just doesn`t work as a matter
But they didn`t do any of that. They let him come in. They let me
testify, let talk about what he wanted to talk about and then he was done.
HAYES: Bob McCulloch pointed out yesterday -- he said, look, you guys in
the media have gotten this all wrong from the jump. You have been
listening to social media. You have been listening to eyewitness accounts.
Those eyewitness accounts contradict each other. They contradict some of
the forensic evidence. And so we have all of these disputes and then we
have this testimony from Darren Wilson that appears to show this as a
justified shooting. What`s your response to that?
BLOOM: Yeah, you know, he`s so right, Chris. It`s our fault in the media
for talking about this for some transparency. And, of course, if there are
conflicting witness statements, you can never have a prosecution. And on
that theory, I guess we should just open up all of our jails and let
everybody go free.
You know, I`ve been practicing law for 28 years. I`ve never had a case
there wasn`t conflicting witness testimony. That`s why you have a trial.
But, instead, he chose to have this sort of secretive trial where very
clearly he did not want charges to be a trial. And so he set up a whole
system. He didn`t give them an indictment forum, he didn`t give them any
recommended charges. And he got exactly what he wanted.
And by the way, to the point of your last segment where he said this was
just routine, in fact, on the record, on the transcripts in that grand jury
room, Bob McCulloch started this proceeding by saying this is going to be
very different, ladies and gentlemen of the grand jury, from the other
cases that you heard.
And his two assistants continued that theme throughout telling them this
was very different.
HAYES: One thing that strikes me when you put together all of Darren
Wilson`s acount is that a, it`s a kind of posthumous trial for Mike Brown -
- what kind of person was he? Was he capable of the set of very aggressive
were alleged by Darren Wilson. But also what was the motive? I mean, what
-- you know, when you string it all together, someone starts by cursing a
police officer, slamming the door against them, punching them twice in the
face, reaching for the gun, daring them to shoot them, then when they get
shot, runs away, stops, turns
around with the officer holding a gun at them and then decides to do a
little stutter step to run and bulk themselves up into a hail of gunfire.
It is possible, of course, that that`s what happened. But when you put all
of that together, that is -- if it did happen that way, it is a highly,
highly unusual way for a person to act.
BLOOM: Yeah, you`re touching on something that`s so important again as a
matter of trial strategy. I might be a little bit of a wild eyed radical
in real life, but when I`m on trial, I want occupy the center. I want to
be the reasonable one. I want to have a theory that just makes sense that
comports with everyone`s common sense.
So I`m not going to have a theory of Mike Brown is walking down the street
only a sunny Sunday afternoon with his friend. And, all of the sudden, in
a snap, turns into a homicidal, suicidal maniac reaching for a police
officer`s gun which
everybody knows is suicidal, pulling away, running away, then stopping,
turning back around, charging at a police officer who has already shot him
twice. It just doesn`t make a lot of sense.
And, again, Darren Wilson in that grand jury room was not pressed on this
HAYES: Lisa Bloom, thanks very much.
Last night, we were in the thick of it here in Ferguson. 61 arrests, 21
fires, looting, gunshots and today the governor of Missouri announced he
was sending in thousands of national guard troops. Tensions are high.
What will happen tonight? We`ll talk about that next.
HAYES: It was a very different scene last night here in West Florissant.
It was Bedlam. There were 61 arrests throughout the night, 21 fires set,
12 buildings were burned, one of them the burned out husk it right behind
us here at the Public Storage.
There was a lot of widespread anger directed at officials from Ferguson
residents and others who felt that the police response last night was
inadequate. Governor Jay Nixon faced some harsh questions said today he
announced that 2,200 National Guard, triple the amount that were there --
were deployed last night, will be deployed in the area.
Just earlier, we saw some National Guard posted right outside this burned
out building. While he was giving that press conference today, the man
sitting next to him you see there was Daniel Isom. He`s a former St. Louis
police chief and current director of public safety here in Missouri. It`s
good to have you here, sir.
DANIEL ISOM, DR. MISSOURI DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Thank you.
HAYES: Last night -- what happened last night?
ISOM: Well, we had officers deployed to the Ferguson area. We also had
National Guard troops that were deployed to fixed assets across the
community, not just in Ferguson. But clearly we were overwhelmed by the
number of people, anger
and violence that happened last night. We had over 500 officers in this
area. And clearly, that was not enough.
HAYES: So I talked to a few residents today. And they -- this is how some
of them feel. And I don`t -- I`m not saying this is true, but I want you
to respond to it. They said basically, you guys just let Ferguson burn
last night. And I can say, I was down here, there was no police officers.
It seems there`s some posture of policing that`s inbetween no one and cops
SWAT gear, right. And there was no one here as these buildings burned.
ISOM: Right, so we have officers along West Florissant. We also had them
But when the gunfire happened, and some of the mayhem that was out here, it
required officers to be moved to different locations and so clearly, it was
not our best effort last night. There were some things that went wrong.
And that`s why we decided to deploy National Guard troops directly to this
HAYES: It struck me last night as I was out in the streets and comparing
it to August that in August you had all different kinds of people out on
the streets. You had moms and dads, you even had kids in strollers at one
point, a wide range of people. Last night, there were far fewer people in
aggregate, and it struck me that maybe in all of these warnings about
violence, the hour at which things were announced, meant that you basically
distilled down the kinds of people who were going to come out who were the
angriest, frankly, as opposed to all of those other folks who had been out
in the streets back in August.
Do you feel that it was handled well the way that whole announcement was
ISOM: Well, we didn`t control the way the announcement was rolled out.
HAYES: That`s not an answer to my question.
ISOM: The only thing we had control over is our presence here. And we
take responsibility for that, that we wish we had more people. We had 500
officers here. Clearly, we needed more. And, tonight, that`s what we`re
doing. We`re bringing more troops to this area to make sure that we have
no more violence, no more businesses are burned.
But, clearly, there was a different tone here. I mean, there were fewer
peaceful protesters and more people who were intent on violence. And...
HAYES: Last night -- you used to be chief of police of St. Louis. You`re
not at public safety. Last night, there was one incident I saw very -- a
number of eyewitness accounts in which St. Louis police fired tear gas at a
cafe, Mocave (ph), I believe it`s called, that had been declared a safe
space. People felt like that that was a real violation of some of the
rules of engagement that played out. Do you have comment on that?
ISOM: Well, I wasn`t aware of that.
All I can say is that last night, there were police vehicles being burned,
there were numerous, numerous shots being fired. And the officers had to
take action that moved and tried to disperse the crowd.
And if people who -- other people got caught up in that, we certainly
apologize for that, but we felt that what we did was necessary.
HAYES: What are we seeing tonight, so far?
ISOM: Tonight, we have officers out in this area. But we also have
National Guard troops that are in the area. We had to block off access to
West Florissant because of course there are fire investigations that are
going on here, but we have
troops deployed in all areas in Ferguson and so far, we have had no
HAYES: Daniel Isom, office of public safety, thank you very much, sir.
ISOM: Thank you.
HAYES: Appreciate your time.
All right, we`ll be right back.
HAYES: All right, joining me now, Reverend Osaga from Ferguson Action and
MSNBC national reporter Trymaine Lee.
Reverend, let me start with you. How are you. You`ve been here for months
engaged in nonviolent direction action, training out doing actions today.
I saw you in the streets last night. How are you thinking about protest --
the shape of these protests after what happened last night?
REV. OSAGYEFO SEKOU, FERGUSON ACTION: Last night, what we saw is a broken
and beleaguered community that has been abused by every level of
government. Martin Luther King often noted in March of 1968 that a riot is
the language of the unheard. And what we saw last night was not only
buildings burning, but we saw democracy on fire because it has betrayed the
promise that it has given to these young people.
HAYES: Reverend, is there some part of you -- we were talking today about
getting footage of some of the non-violent direct actions? There are some
protesters congregating outside Ferguson Police Department right now.
There`s been some arrests, but there`s also been marches across the
country. There`s been in L.A., in New York, in Oakland. Is there some
part of you that wonders whether burning buildings are always going to
attract more cameras than folks peacefully exercising their first amendment
SEKOU: I mean, there`s the sensationalist part of that. But there`s
something more at stake. For over a hundred days, these young people who
are engaging in the second longest nonviolent civil disobedience engagement
since the Montgomery Bus Boycott, they have opened up the space. They have
set a precedent for folks to be marching all over the country.
Right now, folks from our own beloved congregation, the First Baptist
Church In Jamaica Plains, are shutting down I-93.
And so these young people have inspired in a great and mighty way. They`ve
been largely nonviolent. And the images we saw last night is a response to
the grand jury -- the grand jury did deliver an indictment last night and
it was an indictment on American democracy and an indictment on our
criminal justice system.
And so they`re going to stay in the streets. And that is ultimately going
to be for the long haul. The infrastructure that they`re building and the
organization that they are creating.
HAYES: Trymaine, you`re out reporting today. You were talking to folks.
What were you hearing? How are people kind of processing the culmination of
last night`s announcements and then the night that followed?
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: You know, it`s just a lot to deal with,
a lot of weight. And everyone is kind of sorting through the pieces.
One, there is the physical debris and detritus of last night to sift
through. The buildings being burned down, all the hurt feelings. There
was still tear gas and pepper spray used, so people were trying to sort
through all of that.
But, then, as we talked last night, how does the movement pivot? So you
had last night, you had a very organic, spontaneous eruption of anger for
many of the disaffected youth that had been the big wild card. Will they
come out the way they did in August and spark things you know the way they
And so now, many of the traditional organizations, those that formed
in the wake of Michael Brown`s death, are going to hold -- they`re holding
back for a couple days. I talked to organizers and said, you know, we need
to kind of figure out how we`re going to do this moving forward, as we`re
still going to dealing with a lot of those still angry young folks who are
out on the streets now.
But as Reverend Sekou mentioned, there were still organized acts of civil
disobedience. And so, again, how will this, you know, take shape moving
forward. And one thing is interesting, just to kind of piggyback on what
Mr. Daniel Isom mentioned earlier where it`s kind of this all-or-nothing
kind of thing. And folks are talking about, you know, we`re upset that you
brought the National Guard in, but then you bring them in to protect the
property and they didn`t protect the property.
Now, there were other places, but down on Florissant Avenue, as the
buildings were burning, there didn`t seem to be any law enforcement
present. And then after everyone kind of cleared out, then they`re
marching down the street.
And so folks are still trying to process not just the weight of the non-
indictment by the grand jury and figure out what that means about black
life and about interaction in the system, but now, on the ground with this
actual movement they`re building upon, where do they go from here with this
narrative shifting the way it is.
HAYES: Reverend, do you agree with that?
SEKOU: Well, I think the reality is that while some organizations are
trying to make some sense of what`s happening, today, over a thousand
people marched on the Department of Justice. They occupied the Martin
Luther King bridge here in St. Louis. I went to city hall and so there is
still a culmination of folks who are still trying to push forward and
continuing to organize.
And then the -- and then when you look at the question of what has happened
with folks with the policing last night and the tear gas and the images
saw last night, it is still that we should be celebrating young people who
have been largely nonviolent for some hundred odd days. And we want to
keep track of
that, lift that up, because those angry, young people will be the salvation
HAYES: Reverend Osagyefo Sekou and Trymaine Lee, thank you, gentlemen,
LEE: Thank you.
SEKOU: Thank you.
HAYES: It is a crystal clear, frigid night here in Ferguson, Missouri.
We`ll be right back.
HAYES: A very different scene tonight here in Ferguson, Missouri at this
hour. The street has been block off by police. There are some protesters
assembling outside the Ferguson Police Department, but on the whole just an
absolute difference from 24 hours ago when the streets felt very unsteady,
very charged, very angry. And there was Bedlam in the air.
Tonight, very cold. The National Guard has been deployed. Triple the
number of last night. We will obviously continue to monitor the
That is ALL IN for tonight.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts tonight. Good evening Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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