PoliticsNation, Friday, March 20th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Friday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: March 20, 2015
Guest: John Burris, Ken Padowitz, Marq Claxton, E.J. Dionne, Liz Plank,
Angela Rye, Noah Michaelson, Susan Milligan
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: That is "The Ed Show." I`m Ed
Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.
Good evening, Rev.
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
Breaking news tonight. Explosive details about racism within the Ft.
Lauderdale, Florida, police department. An investigation found four
officers sent racist text messages and one created an offensive video.
That video uses the "n" word repeatedly, shows images of KKK hoods, police
dogs and a derogatory image of President Obama.
Here`s a short clip from that video. A warning now, it includes offensive
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
SHARPTON: The officers` text messages are expected to be released soon.
Three of the officers involved were fired from the department. The fourth
who created the racist video resigned in bad standing during the course of
the investigation. If he hadn`t, the police chief said he would have been
In a press conference today, the Ft. Lauderdale police chief said the
behavior was inexcusable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF FRANK ADDERLEY, FORT LAUDERDALE POLICE DEPARTMENT: All four
officers` conduct involved racist text messages exchanged among themselves
and former police officer Alex Alvarez created a video that was racially
biased. The four officers` conduct was inexcusable and there is zero
tolerance for this type of behavior within the Ft. Lauderdale police
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The four officers behind this offensive behavior are out, but
how were they allowed to become officers in first place? And how do we
make sure something like this does not happen again?
Joining me now are Marq Claxton, former New York`s police officer and
director of black law enforcement alliance, and criminal defense attorneys
John Burris and Ken Padowitz.
Thank you all for being here.
Marq, you know, this video is really shocking. I mean, can you think of
anything similar to this we`ve seen in the past?
MARQ CLAXTON, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICER: You know, there have
been several -- at least now we`re learning of several different instances
in law enforcement agencies across the nation where you have this racially
insensitive, this ignorant rhetoric, this ignorant video, ignorant and
And I think what`s happening now is that, as more comes out, more will come
out. But it`s really, you know, reprehensible. And I think the chief
acted appropriately in this case in dealing with this. But the larger
question is how deeply embedded was this hatred and ignorance and bigotry
in that particular department.
SHARPTON: Well, John, not only how deeply embedded -- and that`s clearly,
I agree, that`s a real glaring question, but also if you had these kinds of
people doing law enforcement, how many people did they in fact impact their
lives that may have been out of their bias and had nothing to do with them
breaking the law? You`ve got to now look at everything that they served a
summons, everyone they served a summons all the way to who they arrested.
You`re a defense attorney.
JOHN BURRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. I think that it`s very
important because these are the kinds of people with this kind of mindset
that would engage in racial profiling, stopping people without just cause,
the kind of people arrest them for crimes that are marginal and should not
have taken place. These are people who abused folks on the street by
calling them names or treating them in a derogatory way.
And so, you do as a prosecutor should go back and look at these conviction
that have taken place with these officers` names are associated with them
and pull those records to see whether or not these people have been
convicted for crimes they hadn`t really committed or a function police
officer`s mental state or racial bias.
And so, I think you`re absolutely correct. It`s a huge issue. Nobody
really wants to do it, but it should happen. We did a similar kind of
thing in Oakland when we found these officers -- we went back and looked at
over a hundred cases. So, it should be done.
SHARPTON: But Ken, you know, you are there in the Ft. Lauderdale area.
You`re there tonight. I mean, this is stunning. And let me say this by no
means means all police are bad.
KEN PADOWIZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely.
SHARPTON: Or even most police are bad. But this gives you an idea of the
fear a lot of people have in dealing with law enforcement. This is
blatant. I mean, the good news is law enforcement did an investigation and
uncovered it, but do you understand what signal this sends to a people that
have already operated under this kind of fear?
PADOWITZ: Absolutely. And most people in Ft. Lauderdale and in Broward
County, Florida, support their police departments. But when you see this
type of behavior, if true, it`s absolutely disgusting and undermines the
very bedrock of trust that the community has with their police department.
This undermines the very scope of the justice system. If the community
cannot trust police officers in doing their job and using their discretion
in an unbiased and fair manner, you know, it could be your mother or your
daughter that is inappropriately taken into custody and deprived of their
liberty by an officer that has a bias or prejudice.
Most officers I`d like to hope and think do not have that. But this, in
fact, is very, very disappointing and disgusting behavior on the part of
law enforcement when they carry so much power out on the street as
SHARPTON: Now, Marq, we just got some of these texts in and they`re
incredibly offensive. One text an officer says, we are coming and drinking
all your beer and killing ins.
In another text, officers say, quote, "what would big dad do with that "n"?
Get that "n" out from under that wagon."
I mean, how can public officers are trusted with serving the public talk
this way, Marq?
CLAXTON: They shouldn`t be talking that way. And these individuals are in
essence renegades, if you will. So, what you have to do, I mean, the
discussion now has to be towards a continued discussion on reform. And I
think there`s no way to really significantly and have significant impact
and regulate this type of bad behavior, this type of criminality, if it is
that, unless you have some federal standard for police agencies across the
nation. Not calling for federal police but some regulatory authority, some
oversight authority, increased documentation and accountability and the
standardized training and practice.
Rev., we have police departments big and small all throughout the nation,
and you`ll find that all these departments operate differently, train
differently, select officers differently. There needs to be some kind of
standardized selection and training and accreditation process throughout
SHARPTON: There has to be.
CLAXTON: Because absent that we really don`t know what`s going on in the
SHARPTON: And accountability.
But John, let`s go back to what you and I were discussing about people
being subjected to arrest unfairly by one of these officers. What recourse
can they take? If you`re one of the people that have been arrested by one
of these officers and felt it was unfounded, that it might have been based
on bias, what can happen?
BURRIS: Well, first off, you can always go back to the lawyer who
represented you at the time. But I think more significantly this case then
becomes rife for civil rights violations against these individual officer
and against the department alleging this racial bias in law enforcement.
And that might ultimately result in having some of these convictions set
aside which is very, very important as well as some kind of damages. But
more importantly, equally important, you can use the lawsuit as a basis for
reform to put in certain kind of best practices that go to the hiring of
I think you need to have diversity in the hiring process. But you try to
weed out psychologically these officers that may have these hidden biases.
I know that`s a challenge. But that`s where we`re going now because people
can have these personal statements and opinions, but the question is do
they -- can you uncover them at the early enough stage. And if you don`t,
do you have the process to limit their ability to engage in this kind of
conduct. And if they do engage in it, there`s a quick process for their
SHARPTON: Which is why you need the overall kind of supervision and
process that Marq was talking about so you can see signs of this if you see
people operating outside of what should be the accepted procedure of law
SHARPTON: And the Ft. Lauderdale chief also said they reported the
incident to state authorities. Let me play that, and I want your reaction
to that, Ken.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADDERLEY: After the conclusion of our investigation, we forwarded that to
the Florida department of law enforcement, and they`re the ones that set
the standards and they govern police officers in their certification. If
they review this investigation, they have the authority to revoke their
certificates as sworn law enforcement officers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So they might lose their certificates statewide. Is it possible
they could work in another department, Ken?
PADOWITZ: Well, that is definitely a concern. And they`re going to have
to do their investigation and make that determination as to whether or not
to revoke their certification. I for one, though, want to mention that the
department of justice in Washington can investigate. And, in fact if
there`s a violation of the civil rights act of 11964 or there is a
violation under 42 United States code, they can look into it further if
there`s a pattern of discrimination even if no one has actually been
prejudiced by the conduct of these officers.
So there may be an investigation beyond the state of Florida. It may go to
the federal level. It will have to be looked at and a determination made
how far they want to look into this misconduct to see if it, in fact, goes
SHARPTON: Well, this is extremely troubling for those of us that are
trying to deal with better police/community relations and accountability.
And I`ll tell you, gentlemen, what troubles me is we`ve learned that the
way they found out about this is a former fiancee of one of the officers
came forward and said she saw the video and saw some of the racist text
messages. Had she not come forward, those officers may be out there this
BURRIS: It does happen that way often.
SHARPTON: But that`s not the system that I think we need. We need to be
able to be able to deal with these kinds of things and to be able to
recognize these kinds of persons before we just get lucky with someone`s
Marq Claxton, John Burris and Ken Padowitz, thank you for your time
BURRIS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: We`re following breaking news in Mississippi. The mystery of a
black man found hanging from a tree. How did it happen, and what are
investigators looking for? The FBI spoke moments ago. We`ll talk live to
the Claiborne County sheriff ahead.
And tonight attorney general Eric Holder is blasting Republicans for
delaying Loretta Lynch`s vote.
And Monica Lewinsky`s candid and courageous speech on cyber bullying. Is
there a growing movement to change the online culture? Please stay with
SHARPTON: We`re back with breaking news tonight on that disturbing story
from Mississippi. Moments ago authorities confirming the identity of the
African-American man found hanging from a tree as Otis Byrd, a preliminary
report on the cause of death is expected later next week. The FBI and
local police are going door to door interviewing neighbors, following every
54-year-old Byrd was reported missing earlier this month. He was found
hanging by a bed sheet just a few hundred yards from his home. Authorities
say his hands were not tied and it does not appear he stepped off of
anything before he died.
Attorney general Eric Holder weighed in on the case today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The FBI, the civil rights division,
the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Mississippi are looking into
the matter to determine if there are any federal violations of law that
occurred. If it`s a potential hate crime -- we simply don`t know enough
facts at this point. We`re in the process of trying to gather those facts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: As investigators work to uncover those facts, bird`s family
remains shocked by these events.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, bam. We don`t do stuff like this.
Not these days. When he became missing, we was like, no, not him, no, not
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Authorities have not determined if there was any criminal
activity involved in the death, but the case is obviously raising a lot of
Joining me now is sheriff Marvin Lucas of Claiborne county, Mississippi.
He is leading the investigation for the local police.
Thank you for being here, sheriff.
SHERIFF MARVIN LUCAS, CLAIBORNE COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI: Good evening,
SHARPTON: Now Sheriff Lucas, what`s the latest on your investigation?
LUCAS: As of yesterday, we were able to get Mr. Byrd out of those woods
and cut down from that tree. And this morning we took him to the state
autopsy so they can try to do an autopsy on it so we can get to the bottom
of this and find out what happened out there over the past couple weeks.
SHARPTON: What can you tell us about how the body was found?
LUCAS: Well, it was all the way out in a local tree, he was in a local
tree. We got out there and he was hanging there. It was one of the most
shocking thing is ever seen in my life. I heard about those things in
Mississippi and southern states, but I was shocked myself. We was able to
get him down. We need to get an autopsy to try to find out what happened.
SHARPTON: What`s the next step with your police department, getting the
LUCAS: Yes, sir. Once we get a report back from the autopsy to see if he
died from that hanging or what was the cause of his death or was there any
wounds to the body, we need to find out what happened to make sure there
was no crime committed from there we`ll proceed. Right now we`re still
under investigation with the Claiborne County sheriff`s department
investigation and also the federal bureau of investigation.
SHARPTON: Now, I understand Mr. Byrd served a quarter of a century in
prison for murder. He was paroled in 2006. And I understand you knew him
from his check-ins at your department. What can you tell us about him as a
person that you came to know?
LUCAS: Well, prior to me becoming sheriff, I had seen him at church at a
church called Mt. Vernon. I used to see him at church. And after I got to
be sheriff I seen him, he had often come in to check in with his parole
officer. I knew him. He never gave me any problem since I`ve been
SHARPTON: And he did go to church?
LUCAS: Yes, sir. I`ve seen him at church, at Mt. Vernon church services
when I`ve been there. So I never had any problem out of him, though.
SHARPTON: All right. Sheriff Lucas, thank you for your time. We`re going
to be watching this case very closely. Thank you for your time.
LUCAS: Thank you for your time, Reverend Sharpton. Thank you.
SHARPTON: Now, I want to bring in MSNBC law enforcement analyst and former
ATF special agent Jim Cavanaugh.
Thank you for being here, Jim.
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Where does this investigation go from here? I mean, what are
authorities looking for?
CAVANAUGH: Well, they`re looking specifically for was it a homicide or was
it a suicide. You know, I would commend the sheriff in that he did
everything right here. He noticed the scene looked suspicious, that there
was nothing that Mr. Byrd had stepped off of. It looked kind of funny to
him. He immediately called the Mississippi bureau of investigation and the
FBI Jackson division, but he`s got the forensic help with the medical
examiner. So, he has done the right thing. He`s not dismissed the
history, the ugly history of Mississippi. And you know, I used to be agent
in charge of Mississippi, I did a lot of church fires and bombings down
there. I`m very familiar with the area. And so, I commend the sheriff for
So the next step is what happened, was it murder or was it suicide? That`s
what they got to find out.
SHARPTON: Now, let`s go through the timeline here, Jim. On March 2nd,
Otis Byrd was last seen by a friend who dropped him off at a casino in
Vicksburg. On March 8th Mr. Byrd`s family reported him missing. On March
19th, the body believed to be Otis Byrd was found hanging from a tree.
Now, what can this timeline tell authorities, Jim?
CAVANAUGH: Well, they`ve got to go back to see everything about Mr. Byrd
including that immediate aftermath that you just described, Reverend Al.
The casino, you know, did somebody try to rob him? Did they follow him
home? You know, were they trying to make it look like a suicide? Or did
they try to rob money that he won at the casino? Did he lose money and was
You know, they`ve got to talk to people in his life, his friends, his
relatives. The did he say anything about wanting to harm himself, for
himself, did he want to escape some situation? Was someone after him for
revenge? And look, where did the sheet come from? Is it from Mr. Byrd`s
home or is it from the grand wizard of the local clan?
You know, they`ve got the find out those answers. But one thing in
suicide, remember, persons can kill themselves in a lot of strange ways.
And you know, you got to be prepared that that could be a suicide. But
it`s a very suspicious death at the moment.
SHARPTON: Now, the special agent in charge was asked about reports Mr.
Byrd was found with his face covered. Here`s what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The specifics of how the body was at the time are
singular in nature and waiting to get a full idea of what happened before
we come to any kind of conclusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Jim, what does that answer tell us about what authorities may be
CAVANAUGH: Well, what they`re thinking, Reverend Al, is how the body was
found and especially how the hood cover was over his face and the sheet was
over his neck, what does that tell them. They want to analyze that as an
important fact. You know, was there assailant there who might have
assaulted him and tied him in a certain way or was it possible that he
could have done it by himself as a suicide?
So that`s what they`re going to be looking at. Special agent in charge
says singular in nature, he means an important fact that they have to
closely analyze to see if they can determine or help determine what might
have happened at that point in time.
So they`re going to be looking for, you know, evidence of what is at the
scene, cigarettes, footprints, tire tracks and of course, Mr. Byrd`s
background, was he despondent, could it be suicide or was he the victim of
a vicious murder?
SHARPTON: Jim Cavanaugh, thank you for your time tonight.
CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Coming up, what do Monica Lewinsky and Hollywood star Ashley
Judd have in common? They could be changing the future of social media.
We`ll tell you how.
And the newest Dallas cowboy has a history of domestic abuse. The mayor of
Dallas isn`t happy about the hire. Was it the right decision to put him on
the roster? That`s ahead.
SHARPTON: It wasn`t enough for Republicans to tell foreign leaders to
ignore president Obama. Now they want to convince governors to ignore him,
"The New York Times" reports senator Mitch McConnell is urging states to
help thwart Obama`s war on coal sending a detailed letter to every governor
in the U.S. laying out a carefully researched legal argument as to why
states should not comply with Mr. Obama`s regulations.
Since Senator McConnell doesn`t like these rules, he`s telling states not
to follow them. And his buddy in the house? First Speaker Boehner snubbed
the president inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address
Congress behind his back. He wanted Netanyahu to argue against
negotiations with Iran. Now Boehner`s visiting Netanyahu on the deadline
for those negotiations, traveling overseas to criticize the president.
Joining me now is E.J. Dionne of "the Washington Post." Thank you for
E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: E.J., has Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell forgotten who`s
DIONNE: Well, I just think they`re operating with new math and 53 percent
of the vote and 51 percent of the vote isn`t a majority any more, at least
that`s what it seems like.
I mean, look, I expect Senator McConnell to give a speech any day now on
nullification and interposition. I mean, if they want to change the rules,
let them pass a bill, but the notion of going around the country and
telling states, no, no, you don`t have to follow these rules, I don`t know
what kind of lawyers he has, but I might want to use them to justify
something that`s pretty unjustifiable myself.
And as for John Boehner, I just don`t know why he is compounding his act
first inviting Mr. Netanyahu in his talk to Congress without any
consultation from the White House, now he`s going to go over there perhaps
right at the moment when these talks with Iran are reaching a conclusion.
I don`t think it`s good for Israel to make Israel a partisan issue, and I
think Speaker Boehner is doing everything he can to do just that.
SHARPTON: You know, it seems funny that Senator McConnell is telling
states to ignore new regulations because he`s always complaining, E.J.,
that the president isn`t following the law. You know, back in September he
said the president is required to take care that the laws faithfully
executed, not -- as he was admitted -- make them up as he sees fit. But
Senator McConnell can make up laws. What`s going on here?
DIONNE: You`re making the mistake of looking for consistency, Reverend. I
mean, you know, I think there`s always been this inconsistency among
conservatives on states` rights, which is they say they`re all for states`
rights except when states say they want to regulate on the environment
harder than the federal government or regulate on consumer stuff, then they
say, no, no, no, they can`t do that, that`s the federal government`s power.
But when the federal government is standing on the side of the environment
or consumers, they want to tell states ignore this. So it`s a consistent
form of inconsistency that we`ve seen on a whole lot of issues from a lot
SHARPTON: And that`s a great point. The hypocrisy they show with states`
rights and they seem to be about states` rights in many areas, but you
know, even republicans are slamming this latest move. Christine Todd
Whitman, the former republican governor and head of the EPA wrote an op-ed
entitled McConnell can`t pick, choose which laws to follow. Quote, "I was
brought up to believe that following the law isn`t optional. Senator
McConnell can rail against EPA, cut his budget, do all that he has the
power to do within the law if he must, but he cannot and should not call on
others to ignore a law." This is Whitman saying this, a republican. How
serious is this, E.J.?
DIONNE: Well, I think what it shows is how far to the right republicans
have moved on the environment. She was and environmentalist. George H.W.
Bush was a pretty good environmentalist as president, had some pretty good
people at the EPA. And now, if you don`t say on an issue like climate
change, take the side of oil companies, coal companies, then you`re not a
legitimate republican any more. So I`m not at all surprised that she is
unhappy, but the republicans have forgotten that Teddy Roosevelt was a
republican, too, and he cared quite a lot about the environment.
SHARPTON: Yes. E.J. Dionne, thank you for your time tonight. Have a
DIONNE: Good to be with you.
SHARPTON: Straight ahead, Monica Lewinsky speaks candidly about cyber-
bullying. Could this week be a turning point on the growing problem in our
SHARPTON: Now, to the issue of cyber bullying in the spotlight this week.
In a most public appearance to date, Monica Lewinsky gave a speech last
night on cyber-bullying and being attacked in public.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA LEWINSKY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE INTERN: Anyone who is suffering from
shame and public humiliation needs to know one thing. You can survive it.
I know it`s hard. It may not be painless, quick or easy, but you can
insist on a different ending to your story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But now people are starting to take action. Today actress and
activist Ashley Judd is out with a scathing op-ed on Mic.com addressing
gender-based violence and misogyny. That`s become the norm on social
media. It comes days after she said this to my colleague Thomas Roberts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: Everyone needs to take personal responsibility.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Sure.
JUDD: For what they write and not allowing this misinterpretation and
shaming culture on social media to persist. And by the way, I`m pressing
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s the digital age and new media require new solutions. So
how do we address cyber-bullying and stop it in its tracks?
Joining me now is senior editor of Mic.com, Liz Plank. Thanks for being
here tonight, Liz.
LIZ PLANK, MIC.COM: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: At a time when cyber-bullying was in the headlines, it was
fitting to hear from Monica Lewinsky last night. What`s your reaction
though of her candid talk?
PLANK: Look, I think her commitment to take a very, very negative
experience and turn it into a good cause, turn into, you know, having a
good message and putting it out there is extremely admirable. Her talk
about empathy I think is especially important. You know, she`s not the
perfect victim. You know, she had sexual relations with the President at
the time. She definitely made a mistake, but it`s still important to have
empathy for people who have death threats and rape threats and no one
deserves that kind of treatment.
SHARPTON: She also spoke about the need for change. Listen to this. Let
me read it to you. She says, "What we need is a cultural revolution. It`s
time for an intervention on the internet and in our culture." Now, every
state in this country has laws against cyber-bullying, but it`s still
happening. How do we address it, Liz?
PLANK: I think we address it by recognizing who it`s affecting in a more
severe way. I mean, Ashley Judd, Monica Lewinsky, countless female
actresses, they`re all women and they deal with it in a much more severe
way. I mean, there`s Pew Survey data that backs this up. Men and women
experience harassment but women experience it in much more severe ways.
And in my opinion, you know, this is going to be fighting online
harassment, especially the online harassment of women, is going to be a
defining portion of the next feminist wave.
SHARPTON: A defining portion of the next feminist wave.
PLANK: I truly believe that because we`re spending more time online. So,
the digital safety gap is just as important as the physical safety gap.
And a lot of activism is happening online. You know, lots of women are
being discouraged from doing that kind of activism, for fighting for equal
rights because of being, you know, subjected to abuse online.
SHARPTON: In line with that Liz, Ashley Judd put that op-ed on your site.
She addressed the comments she received on her account saying, quote, "As I
began on Twitter to identify and push back against the toxicity and abuse,
I faced the standard bashing anyone, girl or boy, woman or man, experiences
when objecting to and taking action against misogyny." The tweet she`s
referring to are violent and explicit. How can we have -- how can we have
this become the standard in online culture? How did this happen?
PLANK: The reason she published her article on Mic is because Mic, you
know, reaches so many young people. And that`s a key factor in this.
Young people are native to this kind of technology. They`re native to
social media. It`s a part of their identity. And they actually live on
these spaces. So I think we actually need to talk to people to figure out
way of getting out of this culture where we are shaming each other. I
mean, what Monica Lewinsky is talking about, what Ashley Judd is talking
about. I mean, the CEO of Twitter is out there saying, we have to do
better but what steps are they taking to implement that and who are they
talking to? That`s what I want to know.
SHARPTON: Liz Plank, thank you for your time tonight. Have a great
PLANK: Thank you. You too.
SHARPTON: Straight ahead. It`s been 132 days since Loretta Lynch`s
nomination. What is the issue? President Obama just addressed the delay.
"Conversation Nation" is next. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight
political strategist Angela Rye, The Huffington Post`s Noah Michaelson and
"U.S. News & World Report" Susan Milligan. Thank you all for being here
ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.
NOAH MICHAELSON, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Attorney General Eric Holder is slamming republicans for
delaying Loretta Lynch`s confirmation vote. It`s now 132 days since
President Obama nominated Lynch to replace Holder. Today he had strong
words to share with MSNBC`S Trymaine Lee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The notion that we would be here where
we are deadlocked about a woman who is unbelievably qualified, who received
really glowing reviews about her performance during her confirmation
hearing, is almost inconceivable to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Attorney General Holder says it`s inconceivable. What`s your
RYE: Rev, it is inconceivable. The fact that all five of her predecessors
were confirmed -- like she`s now at the point where she has -- her -- I`m
sorry, I`m tripping over this. But her confirmation process is longer than
her five predecessors combined. The fact that the President has even said
that her nomination process is now being held hostage by the fact that
there`s a Hyde amendment poison pill in another piece of legislation is
absolutely ludicrous. There should be something on the Senate floor that
mandates that another not nomination process cannot be held hostage by
something that`s non-germane to the process.
SHARPTON: Well, let`s listen to what the President said about this because
President Obama just weighed in on Loretta Lynch`s confirmation and it
being held up. And he did this in an interview with "The Huffington Post"
Noah. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: You don`t hold Attorney General
nominees hostage for other issues. This is our top law enforcement office.
Nobody denies that she`s well qualified. We need to go ahead and get her
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAELSON: Yes. I mean, even Rudy Giuliani is saying that we need to
approve her. At that point it`s just getting ridiculous. And you know, if
the republicans hate Holder so much why don`t they get him out of there and
get her in there?
SUSAN MILLIGAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Yes. You know, I don`t even
think that has that much to do with Loretta Lynch, per se, I think that the
Senate majority feels really bruised by what happened over the Department
of Homeland Security funding bill where they had to get in even though
they`re in the majority. And so, they wanted to push the envelope again
and put the democrats in a position where they would have to approve this
human trafficking bill, which by the way, everybody wants as it is, but
with this abortion language in it. And they`re holding the Loretta Lynch
nomination as, you know, as a hostage, for want of a better expression to
do that. But I really think they`ve overplayed their hand if for no other
reason, as Noah just said, they don`t like Eric Holder. So if they don`t
confirm Loretta Lynch, they`re not leaving that agency without somebody to
run it, they`re leaving it run by someone they really dislike. So, I think
they`re going to end up losing on this just to say --
SHARPTON: But when you see the problems of terrorism, the problems of
police community relations, the problems of criminal justice and the need
for investigations all over the country, don`t they make a mockery of what
is needed in the Justice Department using the chief, the head of the
Justice Department nomination being held hostage at this time? What do you
say to the American people, Angela?
RYE: They`re not saying much, Rev. They`re saying the same thing as Susan
just pointed out that they were saying a couple weeks ago about DHS
funding, that it doesn`t matter. That more than anything, what matters is
a political football that they continue to play with people`s lives, with
national security. And Rev, you talked about criminal justice or police
and community relations, but also there`s a whole voting rights issue that
continues to happen.
SHARPTON: Absolutely. That the Justice Department is engaged in.
SHARPTON: Let`s move on, though. Should fraternities be abolished is my
second point tonight? The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at North Carolina State
has been placed on interim suspension after a pledge book reportedly
belonging to frat members filled with racial and sexual threats were found
near campus. Among the quotes in the book, "Man, that tree is so perfect
for lynching. And dude, if she`s hot enough, she doesn`t need a pulse."
It comes a week after this video of members of SAE fraternity in Oklahoma
went viral. And days after Penn State fraternity members were caught with
what law enforcement say is a secret Facebook page with lewd photos of
unconscious women. Susan, there seems to be an epidemic of bad behavior at
fraternities around the country. Should frats be abolished altogether?
MILLIGAN: Well, I`d hate to see that because I think fraternities and
sororities can be places where, you know, people can find a community,
where they can do charity work, where they can have parties. There`s
nothing inherently wrong with that. It`s just that they`ve let them get
out of control. And, you know, we`ve seen this on a lot of campuses
especially with sexual assault and that Facebook page thing was just
appalling to me that they could get away with doing that. I think one of
the things that`s happened now is, because of social media, we`re finding
out about some of these things that maybe we didn`t know about, you know,
20 years ago.
SHARPTON: But how do we Noah, regulate fraternities. I mean, don`t you
either have to make a unilateral move or find a way to monitor and regulate
behavior and how do you do that?
MICHAELSON: You know, I think beyond that we have to look at our culture
and we have to look at a culture that says that it`s okay for men to act
like this and beyond that in order to succeed and be accepted as part of
the group you need to act like that. So I think we need to look really big
picture and say what is our culture valuing, and then we have to, yes, look
at the ways that we`re going to deal with that.
SHARPTON: But Angela, when you deal with the kind of misogyny and the kind
of racism that we`re seeing now in different fraternities in different
parts of the country, how do we deal with this toxicity? I mean, I know
people thought I know the word but I tried to --
How do we deal with this?
RYE: We`re on to the next point. I think the reality of this is, this is
not just a problem that plagues fraternities or sororities or any other
type of social organization. This is a problem that is pervasive
throughout this country and, frankly, throughout the world. So until we`re
really ready to talk about race relations, it can`t just be black folks, it
can`t just be happening on POLITICS NATION. It also has to happen on that
Starbucks cup. Everybody wanted to make fun of race together but there`s
something to that.
RYE: We have a huge issue. And at some point white folks have to talk
about this, too, and they have to be willing to hear the conversation.
It`s a huge issue. We`re seeing it in law enforcement, we`re seeing it in
courts throughout this country, we saw it at the Supreme Court last year.
It`s overwhelmingly pervasive and it`s time to deal with it one step at the
time, people have to be open to the conversation.
SHARPTON: All right, everyone. Stay with me. When we come back, the
Dallas Cowboys under fire for a player they just signed. That`s next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Angela, Noah and Susan are here. Now
to the growing outrage over the Dallas Cowboys signing Greg Hardy. Last
July a judge found Hardy guilty of assaulting and threatening to kill his
ex-girlfriend. He was convicted but appealed and charges were dropped when
his ex-girlfriend wouldn`t cooperate. He was accused of choking her,
dragging her by her hair and throwing her on to a couch covered with
assault rifles. Now, the mayor of Dallas is now blasting the team for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MIKE RAWLINGS, CITY OF DALLAS: I`m a big cowboys fan. I love them
to death and want them to beat the Eagles every time they play. But at
some point being a sports fan gets trumped by being a father, husband,
wanting to do what`s right for women. So this is not a good thing. And as
a Cowboys fan, this was a shot in the gut.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This signing comes in the wake of Ray Rice caught on tape
striking his then-fiancee in a casino elevator. He`s still waiting for a
team. Noah, if Greg Hardy was on video, would he be playing in the NFL?
MICHAELSON: I don`t think he would be. I think they`re starting to really
amp up how they`re handling these things. As a gold star homosexual, I
don`t care about football at all but I do care about women. And I think
the kind of message that it sends when you keep someone like this on a
team, we need the start talking about that. And the same thing goes for
Hollywood, too, Chris Brown, someone like that. You know, I don`t think
you should be rewarded when you attack a woman.
MILLIGAN: Well, I am a big football fan, of course, I`m from Buffalo. And
every woman there is a football fan. And I think sometimes what the NFL
forgets is that 45 percent of NFL fans are female. And that`s actually the
biggest market for them to tap because that`s the market that can grow.
And when they just look the other way when it`s an issue of domestic -- I
hate that expression, domestic violence, as somehow it`s okay because she
was his girlfriend or, you know, Ray Rice`s girlfriend now wife, that
somehow that`s okay. They`re going to lose a lot of Female fans. I mean,
you know, the Patriots cut Aaron Hernandez loose even before he`d even been
arraigned. And, you know, Michael Vick went to federal prison and granted
now is still playing but there was some contrition when he came out, but
that was for torturing dogs. But the fact that you could threaten your
girlfriend with killing her and throw her and threw her on a bed of
firearms and still get signed is just stunning to me.
SHARPTON: Yes. I`m going to have to leave it there, Angela, Noah and
Susan, thank you all for your time tonight. Have a great weekend.
MICHAELSON: Thanks, Rev.
RYE: Thank you, Rev. You too.
SHARPTON: And we`ll be right back with a good-bye to the mother of the
modern civil rights movement in the north.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, remembering a dear friend of mine. Reverend
Willie T. Barrow. For her entire life, Barrow fought for the civil rights
of minorities, women and gays. Barrow helped found operation breadbasket
with Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Calvin Morris and later worked with
him on the Rainbow Push Coalition. She was a mentor to generations of
community organizers including President Obama. Reverend Barrow was
nicknamed the little warrior for her energy and passion. At age 12, Barrow
organized her first civil rights demonstration demanding to be allowed to
ride an all-white bus in Texas.
She went on to join Dr. King in the march on Washington in 1963 and in
Selma in 1965. Barrow passed away at 90 after being hospitalized last week
with a blood clot. She and Reverend Morris, Reverend Jackson and others
that raised my generation, a generation behind them or a half a generation
after including our chief strategist Dwight McKee in my generation. We
learn from Reverend Barrow. Service was what we would be judged by. Not
accolades, not title, but service. She would say, Sharpton, it doesn`t
matter what you achieve in life if you`re not serving somebody. In memory
to her, I`m going to keep serving. Serve somebody. Willie Barrow taught
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. Have a great weekend. "HARDBALL"
starts right now.
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