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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

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Date: April 28, 2015
Guest: Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Larry Hogan, Catherin Pugh, Steve
Hershey, Westley West, Marq Claxton

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: I`m live tonight from Washington, D.C.
with our breaking news coverage of the situation in Baltimore. Police and
crowds Have been gathering in the street all day. I was in Baltimore
earlier today meeting with mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at city hall, and
moments ago the mayor talked about today`s peaceful crowds.

Last night was a very rough period for our city, but today I think we saw a
lot more of what Baltimore is about. We saw people coming together to
reclaim our city, to clean our city and to help heal our city. I think
this can be our defining moment.

A citywide curfew starts in four hours. Over 1,000 National Guardsmen are
in the street as officials try to prevent further looting, riots and fires
and help the city pick up the pieces. Local kids today taking out brooms
this morning and cleaning up the area, but tensions are still high. The
orioles have postponed tonight`s baseball game for the second straight
night. They will play tomorrow afternoon instead with no fans allowed in
the stands. Earlier today president Obama spoke out about the violence for
the first time.


kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive. The
violence that happened yesterday distracted from the fact that you had seen
multiple days of peaceful protests that were focused on entirely legitimate
concerns of these communities in Baltimore.


SHARPTON: It is counterproductive. And as I and other civil rights
activists met with the mayor we stressed that we understand the
frustration, the underlying problem of police and community relations and
inequality in the criminal justice system, but nothing justifies violence
and recklessness. Nothing justifies our seeing what we saw last night.
Joining me now is the mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. First
of all, madam mayor, thank you for being here.

thank you for the opportunity to talk to you earlier.

SHARPTON: Mayor, what do you expect when the curfew begins in just a few

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Yes. Our goal is to get Baltimore back to normal. This
is not the Baltimore that I know and love, the rioting and the looting and
the damage that was done. and we`re working very hard, using all of the
resources that we, have including the tool of the curfew, to get things
back to normal.

SHARPTON: Well, what are the biggest challenges to maintaining stability
in the city?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Well, we want to make sure that we don`t have these
pockets of individuals that are -- that are running around and causing
damage. You know, I got a chance to talk to young people today, and what
they said is they were so in pain from seeing what was going on, and they
were not just in pain but they were concerned because they know that a lot
of the young people that were out there doing these things, they are going
to regret it later, but you can`t take it back after you burned a CVS or
after you`ve looted a store. That damage is done, and the community is
going to take a while to rebuild.

SHARPTON: Now, one of the things that came up in the meeting you had with
myself and other local activists of the networks chapter is that the police
investigation into Freddie Gray`s death that will be turned over on Friday,
clear up the timing on that and what exactly will the police deliver on
Friday and what will come out?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Right. So what is happening on Friday is the police is --
the police department chose Friday as their goal, their deadline, to be
able to give their information over to the state`s attorney understanding
that she is conducting her own investigation right now, and she will use
the information that the police give her to further her investigation, so
there won`t be -- she certainly won`t be able to in the same day that she
gets that information to supplement what she`s doing in the investigation
make a determination about whether or not they are going to be charges, and
we want to make sure that people understand the process.

You know, we want to do more than just seek justice for Freddie Gray. We
want to have justice, and in order to do that we have to respect the
process and we have to work very hard to make sure that this investigation
is protected.

SHARPTON: So there`s no big announcement Friday. It`s the police turning
over their investigation to the state prosecutor.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Absolutely, and the police commissioner was trying to be
clear so people could understand his time line, you know, what he was
charging his department to do as far as the investigation and pushing them
to be able to give the information, but it`s certainly -- we certainly --
he didn`t want to and I certainly don`t want to give people the impression
that the -- that our state`s attorney will have made a decision by Friday.

SHARPTON: Now, another thing that came up in our conversation today is
some have criticized your handling of the events and questioned whether you
should have done more sooner. And Larry young who heads our local chapter
and the big morning show host there laid out how you have a background of
fighting for police reform, and ironically some of the people that have
been critical have been people that have not stood up on these issues prior
to this incident that we`re dealing with Mr. Gray.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Absolutely. I fought to get the community policing office
through DOJ into Baltimore to have collaborative reform.. I`m not afraid
to confront these issues. I want to confront them in a way that`s
meaningful and has long-lasting impact. I was down during the legislative
session this year in Annapolis fighting for reform for the officers bill of
rights. It was a pretty lonely fight. There weren`t a lot of people
standing with me to try to make that happen, you know. You know how it is.
There`s always a lot of armchair quarterbacks and critics after the fact
but hopefully the next year when the session comes around they will be
standing with me, saying that we need to put these reforms in place.

You know, I`m a criminal defense attorney, you know, by profession, before
I was mayor. That`s what I did. I understand the issues of police
brutality. I understand the issue of police misconduct, and we are making
steady progress. Is this a tremendous setback what is happening with our
city? Absolutely it is, but it`s not going to stop me from confronting
these issues and making sure that we get it right for our communities.

SHARPTON: We are looking at live pictures of a peaceful standoff of
protesters peacefully marching that are now standing in Baltimore. We`re
talking with the mayor.

Mayor, one of the things I said in the press conference after meeting with
you is that you informed us you reached out to other police departments to
help restore order. I felt, my term, not yours, that the governor took a
veiled cheap shot at you saying you had finally called. But you had called
people in that could restore order and had arrest powers before calling for
resources of the state. Is that correct?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Absolutely. And, you know, it`s unfortunate. I`m
determined not to turn this into a political issue. We have to get this
right and bring peace and order and healing in our city. I`m not going to
play politics with it.

You know, I know and everybody knows that the -- the track record, the
evidence is very clear. We have engaged with jurisdictions with police
resources from outside of our jurisdiction for a solid week, bringing them
in. One county at a time, supplementing what we`re able to do with the
police department. We have been negotiating with jurisdictions outside of
our state to bring in those resources.

You know, it is a very -- you have to -- the decision to bring in the
National Guard ask a de decision that has to be very carefully weighed and
when we knew that after all of the resources we brought to this effort were
insufficient, then I called in the national guard. And you know, I stand
by that.

SHARPTON: Now, the -- a lot of publicity around the fact that there`s been
a history of police community problems, even lawsuits over $5 million
spent, but these lawsuits are settled for situations and claims that
happened before you were mayor. Am I correct?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Yes. A lot of these stories that have been in the news
are, you know, almost all about cases that happened before I was mayor.
The story isn`t being told about the fact that since I`ve been mayor the
lawsuits against the city -- the lawsuits against the police department
have gone down dramatically. Misconduct complaints have gone down
dramatically. Excessive force complaints have gone down and at the same
time we`re holding officers who are accused of wrongdoing accountable. Our
-- our ability, our track record for holding those officers and finding
them guilty when we -- when they have been accused of wrongdoing is going
up at the same time.

You know, we -- we`ve made a lot of progress in Baltimore. And what you`re
seeing is how much farther we have to go because the pain is real, and the
work that we have to do is real as well, and I believe that Baltimore is up
to the challenge.

SHARPTON: One of the things that came across to me, and I`ve met with a
lot of officials down through the years, is you seem very passionate about
not losing sight of the pain of the Gray family wanting answers as well as
the pain of the community wanting to see change. and you made the case to
us that this violence, this recklessness in many ways obscures what we
really ought to be focused on.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: You know, the -- the rioting, the looting, all that`s
doing is diverting resources away from a vulnerable community that needs
better. This is one of the communities that can least afford the damage
that was done. That CVS, I spoke to a woman this morning who was in tears
because she knows how hard they fought to get the CVS in a community that
national retailers weren`t coming, to so after working so hard to get it,
to see it destroyed is heartbreaking. You know, we have a lot of healing
to do, and I hope, I hope that we`ll continue to work. You know, yes, we
can be robust in our protests but we have to be respectful of the

SHARPTON: How difficult will it be to keep businesses in Baltimore and get
new businesses to continue to come in which is something that a lot of
community people and you have really championed?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: You know, it is a challenge because we know -- I`ve talked
to people from Ferguson. We`ve seen that some of those properties that
were damaged, those stores aren`t coming back, and I don`t want to see that
happen in my city. The communities in west Baltimore that were impacted by
a lot of the looting yesterday, those communities are just starting to come
back from the riots in `68, and to be dealt this blow at this time is
devastating and people are hurting, and one thing I can say is what I saw
today, where community members stepping up and talking about what they can
do and how they can help clean, how they can clean up the community and how
they can work together to rebuild, because we are better than this and we
will be better than this.

SHARPTON: Do you feel that out of these ashes that a Phoenix can rise that
didn`t rise 47 years later, some of those communities still blighted and
now you`re trying to deal with those same communities?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Look, you know, they say you rise like a Phoenix, but
Baltimore, I say we`re going to soar like a raven. You know, we`re not
going to be -- don`t count us out. That`s all I have to say. Never count
Baltimore out.

SHARPTON: Soar like a raven. I`ll leave it with that. Thank you today
for coming on and thank you for the meeting today. Baltimore Mayor
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, thank you again for your time this evening.


SHARPTON: Let`s go to Thomas Roberts who has been on the ground all day.

Thomas, describe the scene where you are.

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC REPORTER: So, Reverend, the mayor had brought up the
CVS pharmacy and what it took to get that shop in this city. We`re in
front of the CVS pharmacy. It is right behind me where it is burned down.
But this is the area at the intersection of north avenue and Pennsylvania
avenue where we`ve been reporting. And it`s a pretty party-like atmosphere
for the protesters that have come out tonight, and it`s multi-cultural,
multi-aged and I happened to pull aside some young ladies, I got permission
from their mom to speak to them. But are you in the fourth grade at this
school, the William Pender Hughes school, right? Why did you want to make
this sign this year and be out here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because -- because a lot of schools have more than
our schools, yes, and a lot of schools have more than our school and that`s
not --

ROBERTS: So you wanted to bring attention to that.


ROBERTS: And Fantasia, this is your sign. I mean, you have a big message
here about rebuilding the culture and city. The rebuild with positive and
encouraging education. Why do you think it`s important for you to be out
here? You`re in eighth grade so why do you think it`s important to be here
with your mom tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, most of the kids in Baltimore aren`t really
what they displayed to be. Most of them are good kids. They just didn`t
have the right role models to do what they are supposed to do.

ROBERTS: So, do you agree with that, about having role models in Baltimore
city, that the city needs better role models for women like yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do, but then I don`t.

ROBERTS: So when you see what happened last night, and this is your local
CVS because y`all live down the street, how does that make you feel about
the neighborhood and what happened here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I feel as though it was wrongful what they did
because like they are messing up their own neighborhood, and -- and really
to me it felt like it was just opening I was taking my brother`s
prescription and just to see it burned down and stuff like that, that was

ROBERTS: Has your mom taken you aside and tried to explain to you,
Fantasia, why all this happened? How did she explain what you had to

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, she didn`t really explain it to me. I just see
it when Martin Luther King died, I see it as like another one of those

SHARPTON: In 1968 --

I`m going to have to break in, Thomas.

ROBERTS: In 1968 is when we had the riots here.

SHARPTON: Thomas, I`ll have to break in, those three lovely young ladies.
I want to go live to a press conference from Maryland officials, governor
Larry Hogan who is speaking in Baltimore right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Logistical dealing with protesters that you`ve
had since the National Guard has been on the guard and I know police have
made arrests. Have you run into any trouble, again, logistically or with
anyone on the ground?

Not to my knowledge. Maybe if anybody has something and they want to talk
about. I think so far, and I preface it by saying so far because we`ve got
a long night ahead of us, but so far I think we`ve not run into any major
issues and any major glitches. We`ve got things a little bit better under
control than they were last night and more manpower on the streets and
we`re communicating better. And so far, although there have been some
arrests, we haven`t had the kind of situations that we had yesterday

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: And if I could ask one more follow-up. What`s
the plan heading into tonight, and how would you make sure that there isn`t
any unrest like there was last night?

HOGAN: Well, you can`t ensure that there`s not going to be any unrest.
I`m not a magician, but what I can assure you is that we will put all the
resources that we have at our disposal to make sure that the disturbances
don`t get out of hand and we don`t get overwhelmed. A lot of manpower on
the street. You can you see looking around this room there`s a lot of
people focused on this problem. And we`re in management of the situation
now. And we`re going to put whatever resources are necessary to make sure
we keep the people of Baltimore safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Could you talk a little bit about your
experience with the people of Baltimore on your watch.

HOGAN: Well, thank you, Pat. It was -- I was really touched by the fact
that when -- you know, we got up there when the sun was rising this
morning, and we walked through ground zero. All the neighborhoods that got
hit the worst. And what I saw, there were neighbors helping neighbors at
5:00 a.m., helping sweep up the trash, boarding up the windows and clearing
the trash out of the streets.
And you know, we tend on all the problems. We`ve got to focus on the
violence and there`s a lot of good going on in the city, too. And I found
people that love their cit city, love their neighborhood and angry about
what happened last night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Were they happy to see you?

HOGAN: They very happy to see us. I mean, we have been hugging us and
happy to see us. As the general said they were happy to see the National
Guard. They were happy to see the state police. They were saying thank
you for being here. People are concerned. They want us to restore law and
order. We`ve been very restrained. There`s been a pretty good, in spite
of the tension out there in the community, we`ve got a lot of people
thanking us for being here and we didn`t have any major incidents yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you have any idea how long the extra police
and the National Guard will be necessary?

HOGAN: We`re going to keep them here as long as is necessary, and we don`t
know at this point how long that`s going to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How will you judge that though? What has to
happen so you can finally say it`s time to get things back to normal?

HOGAN: You know, I`m going to have to make that call myself. And I guess
I`ll know when I see it. But we`re going to get the best information to
make that situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Governor, any thoughts on the investigation or
what will happen --

HOGAN: Well, it gives us an opportunity to clear the street and if people
are in violation of the curfew, if we feel it makes sense, we can start
arresting people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Governor, do you think the mayor made a
mistake by not asking to bring the National Guard in earlier?

HOGAN: Look, you know, I don`t want to point fingers at anyone. I`m not
here to place blame. I`m here to try to solve the problem. I don`t want
to second guess the mayor`s decisions. I know that she was trying the best
she could. This was a difficult situation. The Baltimore city police and
fire were doing the best they could, and when she asked us for help, we
immediately responded. I know that it typically takes eight hours to
mobilize the guard. We did it in three because we were already ready and
we were prepared.

We set up this emergency operation center last Saturday. We prepared the
executive order last Saturday. Our team has been in constant community and
set up our command center and we`ve been working all week. We have been in
communication with the city all week.

Earlier yesterday I talked with general Singh and told her to prepare the
guard and get them ready to be activated so she took a lot of steps to get
everybody teed up, kind of on the starting line, ready to act. When the
mayor called I signed an executive order 30 seconds later. The guard was
already on the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You said that you started getting ready last

HOGAN: Well, we opened up the emergency operations center here in
preparation in case there was violence that broke out.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: And in spite of that -- was there a point
where you actually --

HOGAN: Look, you know, I don`t want to get into what happened before.
Let`s talk about what we`ll focus on in the future. Right now we`re trying
to keep Baltimore city safe and, you know, we`re trying to work the best we
can with the city and provide as much support as we can. Anybody else?
Well, thank you all so much for being here, and let`s all hope that
tonight`s a little safer night. Thank you.

SHARPTON: That was -- that was Maryland Governor Hogan in a press
conference. He said the National Guard was mobilized in three hours. It
normally takes eight hours. He responded. He said he was prepared when he
got the call from the mayor of Baltimore. He continually refrained from
making any assessment of the mayor. And there was no statements that
inferred any blame or any attacks as he has been questioned by people in
the community and in the media, including me, for statements in the past.
He was clearly staying away from any references to that tonight.

Let me bring in NBC`s Reheema Ellis who is live at the senior center that
was burned down. Raheema, what are you seeing on the ground tonight?

REEHEMA ELLIS, MSNBC REPORTER: What we`re seeing here, Reverend Al, is
that it is very quiet. There was a lot of activity earlier. People coming
out, actually some residents coming out and praying at this site, calling
for calm and also praying that they do not see anything like this happen
tonight, but it is very quiet here.

There`s other areas of the city that we traveled to earlier where we saw
large pockets of people but they were very peaceful. There was one
incident where people said there were some agitators in the crowd. They
say that police did spray what they thought was pepper spray, and it
scattered the crowd a little bit so people walked away, but for the most
part as the governor was pointing out there have been no signs of any kind
of major incidents and people for the most part have been focused on trying
to clean up their community tonight, and it really has been neighbor
helping neighbor. We did find that people say that they were glad, as you
heard the governor say, they were glad to see the National Guard.

I have to tell you one thing that I heard, though, when I came into
Baltimore early this morning and stopped and talked with people on the
street, there was some criticism, us a pointed out. Some were even
critical of the mayor who they said had used the word thugs and referring
to those who were engaged in the looting, and as one woman said, she said
we have to remember that even those who are engaged in looting are
someone`s children and the kind of activity that they were engaged in
because, to her words, they are lost and that they were hopeless. And that
it`s up to the rest of the people in the city of Baltimore to help find a
way for those people to feel more hopeful and not engage in this kind of
behavior again because, as you`ve been pointing out, and they said to me,
this is their community, and when it burns down, they hurt.

SHARPTON: Now, we`re watching live pictures of people very peaceful at a
standoff, but peacefully protesting, no incidents.

And Raheema, also, as I talked to people in Baltimore today, I had a sense
of real community and bonding and people feeling that this was their
neighborhood. This is their town. They do not like a lot of what they
have seen in terms of policing, but they do not want to see violence. That
is clear.

ELLIS: They really don`t. This is a city of 622,000 people, 63 percent of
them are African-American, and 8.1 percent of them are unemployed in the
city of Baltimore compared to a 5.4 percent statewide average of

And people will tell you here that there`s been chronic unemployment, and
that`s one of the issues that they are facing. It`s one of the things
that`s created a lot of frustration, and when the governor said earlier
today, as people have talked about these problems, that they are -- that he
is going to try to bring more jobs to the city of Baltimore. Some people
pointed out that we have to make certain that the children are educated in
order to be ready for those jobs.


ELLIS: They also were looking for them to be some sort of legislative
changes so that people who have had prison sentences will not be denied
jobs just because they made a mistake in the past, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: And we`re watching, and it seems as if this is a live march
going on in the streets, and it looks like little children participating,
very peaceful way it appears at this -- from this vantage point.

Reheema Ellis, thank you for joining me.

Now is the Gray family attorney -- joining me now is Gray family attorney
Mary Kuch. Mary is in Baltimore.

Mary, thank you for joining us. Tell us what is the family saying today?

MARY KUCH, GRAY`S FAMILY ATTORNEY: The family is saying today what the
family has been saying all along, that they are just tremendously grieving
the loss of their son. They want the violence to stop. They want the
peaceful protests to continue because they want an answer to the question
of what happened to their son, to their brother and they want not only that
but they want answers to why these things happen, and they want, you know,
Freddie`s legacy to be that we find a solution to these problems. So no
family suffers in the way in which they have suffered and the way that
Freddie suffered the day he was taken into police custody.

SHARPTON: Mary, you and your colleagues, I`ve been talking with your
colleagues that represent the family, what information do you want from
police right now?

KUCH: I want all of the -- I want all of the information, if I could have
all of the information that the police had, that`s ideally what I would
want. I want to see any videos that they have gathered up to this point.
I want to hear their transmissions between the police officers. I want to
see a copy of the paramedics` reports for what it was that they found and
what they responded to and what Freddie`s condition was when they got to
the western district.

I want to see the statements of the police officers who made statements,
you know, after this event occurred. I want to see any officer report that
was written because up to this point I`ve only seen and application for
statement of charges. I want to see the medical records. I want to see
the notes of the medical examiner and I want to see the photographs that
the medical examiner took.

Those are all of the things that at this point that are available that we
want to see, and any other information that the police department has
gathered that they think is relevant to go to the office of the state`s
attorney for purposes of their investigation, we believe is relevant to go
to the family for purposes of their understanding of what happened to their

SHARPTON: Now, attorney Billy Murphy, one of your colleagues has stressed
that we still don`t understand why Fred Gray was even taken into custody.
Is that still the case? Any clarification on what he was being arrested

KUCH: Absolutely not. If you read the application of statement of charges
that was written at the time. And really what that is, is that`s a
statement of the probable cause that the police officer believes that he
has at the time.

The application for statement of charges simply states that they made eye
contact, that Freddie ran, that the police officers followed him and
apprehended him and then once they had apprehended him, apprehending
meaning laid hands on him and had custody, they say that they found a knife
that they say is saying a switchblade.

We`ve never seen that knife. So you can add that to the list of things
that we would like to see in this case. Where is that knife that allegedly
Freddie had? And so that`s the allegation of why they arrested Freddie
Gray, and that is not probable cause. That is not reasonable articulable
suspicion. It does not even meet the, you know, the level of a terrorist
stop. And so, I think that there`s absolutely no probable cause.

SHARPTON: Mary Kuch, thank you so much for your time tonight.

KUCH: Thank you so much for having us.

Let me go now to MSNBC`s Toure. Toure, what are you hearing?

TOURE, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Reverend, I`m at the corner of pens opinions
and north in front of the CVS that was looted, with two state senators
Catherine Pugh who is the majority leader and Steve Hershey, who is the
minority whip.

Catherine, this is your district.


TOURE: And right now there feels like a block party going on out here.
There is a drum circle. There is dancing. Po and people are trying to
take the tension down.

PUGH: I think it feels like more of a festive atmosphere here. I think
people are releasing some of their tension and I`m glad to see them release
it this way than how we saw last night. Of course, these are not the
people involved in yesterday evening.

And, you know, we`ve said consistently we understand the frustration of the
people in our community, but more importantly it is important for us to
remember that we can do things peacefully, and I think that`s what you see
out here today.

But you know, the reality is that America does have a problem, you know.
It has a race problem, and it`s a problem that needs to be discussed and
also the president of the National Black Caucus of state legislators, one
of the things I`m going to do is elevate that conversation to the national
level because in part of this discussion, and as I said yesterday, this is
not just about Freddie Gray.

This is about a number of black men who have come under attack by policemen
for decades, and I think with the advent of social media you see a
different kind of response, and so because of social media you now see
people being exposed that have never been exposed before, and we pay police
to serve and to protect, not to sever and attack, and that`s not every
officer. But at the same time America needs to understand that the
African-American community is not monolithic, that we want the same things
that everybody else does, economic development, job opportunities, the
sharing of the wealth, health care, education. We want the same things,
but we also -- when people walk out of their neighborhoods and they see
boarded-up houses that have been around for decades they are concerned.

And I understand their frustration, but, again, it`s about peaceful
demonstrations like you see out here today. People are sharing stories,
excited about being here, and, you know, participating in what they feel is
a way to express what needs to be done in this city in a very positive way.
So I really appreciate this kind of gathering, and as I said yesterday to
the mothers and the fathers when I was standing on the corner of Mondawmin
Mall, come get your children because, you know, you should be concerned
that they are out here doing things that they should not be. And when I
saw that mother come out yesterday and grab hold of her son and smack him
across the head and said, you know, this is not what you should be doing,
that`s indicative of what Baltimore is all about, people working together,
understanding the frustrations that people have but understanding that if
we do things in a peaceful manner that we can change the city. You know,
we were out here earlier today with voter registration cards, and I said
any time a crowd like this is gathered, the NAACP and everybody ought to
have voter registration, you know, get them registered to vote.

TOURE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Steve, you know, at this corner, at this
moment people are trying to diffuse, to relax and to bring their feelings
back to equilibrium but the cops are right there. People are worried about
what will happen tonight. Take the temperature of the city. What do you
think will happen this evening?

STATE SEN. STEVE HERSHEY (D), MARYLAND: We`re praying that nothing happens
this evening. We`re praying that the governor and the mayor have been able
to work together. The National Guard is here. The Baltimore city police
is here. We have police from all different counties that are close by. We
hope that that presence is going to prevent anything from happening
tonight. That`s the last thing that we want to see is what happened last
night, and I think that the leadership is going to put us in the position
that we`re not going to see anything near what happened last night.

PUGH: Let me just say something.

TOURE: Rev, I`m sorry, we`ve got to go. Reverend, everybody here hopes
that nothing happens tonight, but I just want to point out something right
now if we can turn around, that people are able to just walk in and out of
this burned-out CVS as they wish. We don`t know what chemicals are in the
air. We don`t know what`s going on in there. That doesn`t seem safe. I`m
not sure why that`s being allowed but it is. Back to you, Rev.

back to Thomas Roberts on the scene in Baltimore -- Thomas.

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Reverend, earlier we had the opportunity to
speak with some elementary-aged schoolgirls here in Baltimore City and now
I`ve found some college freshman who go to Notre Dame of Maryland
University. Said that correctly, used to be Notre Dame College back in the
day when I lived here and it`s right on Charles Street and it`s a beautiful
school. We`ve got Alexis Walters, we`ve got right here, Ashley Pascar (ph)
and Cin Ogaro (ph). Okay, ladies, let`s talk -- Alexis, why was it
important for you to come down here and be part of the protests?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because people are -- like people says are turning
his hashtag, and that shouldn`t be a thing. And it`s not just in
Baltimore. And right now this is in Baltimore, so I can do something about
it and this is an issue nationwide and if I could take action right here
then I can have an impact.

ROBERTS: Ashley, you`re down here, you`re on the scene, you`re seeing this
and you`re seeing a CVS burned down and also seeing a community spirit.
Are you a little worried tonight about with the curfew starting at 10:00
that we may see something like we have last night?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m definitely worried because I feel like people are
going to retaliate and try to go against the curfew and I don`t know how
the police are going to act. So, I`m definitely concerned about my people.
But I just hope that we listen I guess because this is the only way we`re
going to be able to get something done, if we just try to abide by their
rules and try to work with them. We need some type of communication going
on that`s just going to work.

ROBERTS: Cin, you said there were other classmates that were coming down
to join you from the college.


ROBERTS: What is temperature on campus us you watch what`s happening on
TV? Are you worried that this type of activity is going to head north up
Charles Street which is a main artery in and out of the city?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reason we`re here is not because we`re worried.
The reason we`re here is because is we`re just concerned about the lives of
our individuals that are being treated. We`re here because of police
brutality. We don`t want individuals to be treated like their animals.
You know, I`m saying like police should be able to like have some authority
but this is not Afghanistan. This is Baltimore. Like, we`re all citizens.
We should not be treated like this. This is wrong and I feel like the way
that they are feeling, it`s not being communicated, you know what I`m
saying, so it`s wrong and like no one should like -- we need justice,
that`s what I`m trying to say.

ROBERTS: When you want justice, how does it feel to see the military-style
presence that`s out now with the National Guard and the police?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s scary, and like it should not be like this.
Like somebody shouldn`t have to wake up and this is what they see. It`s
wrong, it`s scary, it`s wrong. And this is not helping anything. It`s not
helping anything. What we want is for them to tell us what`s going on.
What`s going on with the case? Like tell us that. Like stop telling us
what`s going on in the streets because we know because we live it. So,
tell us, like give us more insight about the case. Like we want to know
how justice has been served.



ROBERTS: We need answers. They`re supposed to demonstrate answers on
Friday, May the 1st. Ashley, do you think that you`ll going to get proper
answers about what happened to Freddie Gray?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Proper answers is just, I think it`s -- the
definition of proper.


ROBERTS: The definition of proper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like so hard. Like the words are just so hard
to flow it`s just like because we see this. I`ve seen this in my
textbooks. I`ve seen this on television but now I`m here and I`m living it
and it`s something totally different. Like I never in my life would have
thought like this -- look as this building. Like I cannot even fathom,
it`s just terrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Third world countries where there is no structure,
here we have structure.

ROBERTS: Yes, Reverend. There`s a lot of frustration and these young
ladies are just a small microcosm of those that have come out. Diverse
faces, a lot of different age groups that have come out to be supportive
here on the streets and, again, the curfew was going to start in about
three and a half hours, 10 p.m., mandatory here in Baltimore City.

SHARPTON: Yes. We`re hearing that frustration all over the country. We
do need communication. Thank you, Thomas.

Now, let me bring in NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez. Gabe, what`s the scene there
tonight where you are?

evening. We`re across and just down the street, rather, from that CVS
Pharmacy that was burned and looted. Right now, hundreds of people have
been gathering here throughout the day. This crowd is swelling but it is
peaceful. Behind me there is police in full riot gear. They have shut
this street down, but it`s been a strong show of force. But there is not
been any major clashes between police and protesters. Now, the senior
section saw riots and looting here last night. Community members here say
that they do not want to see that again and they want to shift the focus
here to the death of Freddie Gray. Volunteers have spent the day clearing
up this area and tonight as these guys been recording, the curfew takes
effect at 10:00 and police and residents here hope that it is peaceful and
police hope that this crowd, however peaceful, clears out by 10:00. Al,
back to you.

SHARPTON: Thank you, but let me ask you this, Gabe. Where at 10:00 the
community leaders and those that are out there peaceful also have to
respect the curfew. What happens then when you don`t have community people
there to interface and encourage people to be peaceful?

GUTIERREZ: Reverend, I didn`t catch the last part of that question, but
what I heard you ask is what happens at 10:00.


GUTIERREZ: When, you know, some people may not want to leave. And that is
a big question. Police here, as we`ve been seeing, have been in full riot
gear. There`s a strong show of force. They have been saying that they
want to allow protesters to protest peacefully and to demonstrate
peacefully, but right now there is that 10:00 curfew. The mood that we`ve
seen here has been in a way, I don`t even want to call it celebratory, of
course, but it`s been a very upbeat mood and the terms that they want to
get their voice heard that they want to shift this focus again back to the
death of Freddie Gray and away from that violence that we saw yesterday.

Some people here are upset that a curfew has been imposed because they feel
it is their right to protest, and residents here feel that if there is no
violence they should be allowed to be here throughout the night. But right
now the question is, what happens at 10:00 when this crowd is here, when
police are in riot gear, and if -- if some instigators do, you know, do
something that -- to incite this crowd, what happens then and that`s the
question that we`re all waiting to see right now that residents here hope
they -- they hope that this night does not end in violence, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Now, Gabe, one of the things I`ve picked up when I was in
Baltimore today, these seems a lot of these gatherings are not organized,
they are spontaneous displays of really wanting to rebuild as well as
continue to protest.

GUTIERREZ: Yes, it`s really been a lot of word of mouth. The people that
we`ve seen shown up throughout the day. Have either seen this on the
television and it`s been widely reported in the local media and many of
them say, they have heard about it through social media, they have shown up
with signs. Again, a lot of them wanting to discuss the issue of the
mysterious death of Freddie Gray and they -- they -- they don`t like the
media repeating these images, of the violence that we saw yesterday. At
the same time there are residents that are very concerned about what
happened here. We had -- we saw earlier in the day, there were volunteers
that came here to the CVS and were cleaning up the debris here and they
really wanted to focus on the positive that the community is trying to do
to -- to get this -- to move past the violence, Reverend.

And yes, a lot of these demonstrations have been spontaneous. We`ve seen
music here. We`ve seen speakers here. Earlier in the day there were a few
instances where protesters got up and threw some water bottles at police,
nothing major. There was a brief little, you know, dustup there where some
people ran away from police officers, but then what you had, Reverend, is
that you had other community members push the crowd back separating from
police and trying to de-escalate the situation so, so far today we`ve
definitely not seen anything close to what happened here yesterday and the
hope is, from police and from the residents here that it stays that way,
even past that 10:00 curfew, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Gabe Gutierrez, thank you so much. I want to go back to Thomas
Roberts. Thomas, you went into the looted store earlier today. Tell us
what you saw.

ROBERTS: I did, Rev. I had the opportunity to go into the store in sand
town. Sand town is the area that Freddie Gray lived in, it`s an
impoverished neighborhood here in Baltimore City and there`s only one store
that everybody pretty much frequents, it`s called jolly`s, it`s down on
the corner. It`s a former 7-Eleven. It`s been a lot of things through its
lifetime. But I took the camera that I had with me inside, I did it on my
own walking through. So, I could see what was done to this store. It`s a
staple of the community where most people in sand town go to shop and pick
up bags of chips and things like that, but it was completely destroyed.
There was fire damage in one area. There was water damage all throughout
because of the fire that had started in there and the Fire Department had
to put that out, but just ravaged completely with broken glass everywhere.

And even the ATM had been totally ripped apart and ripped to shreds, but to
the community members that I spoke to that live in sand town, the people
that have grown up in this neighborhood, they talked about what a
devastating loss this is because this is pretty much their corner shop
where they go for everything at their last-minute convenience and they are
just devastated that this is gone. For now, they are were boarding it up,
while we were there, we witnessed that as well. But this is a group of
people that had organized a volunteer and get out and clean. So the folks
that -- I had the opportunity to meet and be with today. They were trying
to change the narrative.

They wanted America and the world to see that they had rakes in their hands
and shovels, not bricks, and they wanted the world to know that they were
taking control of their own communities with the cleanup and that there was
a prayer circle that we had in the middle of the jolly`s parking lot and it
was interfaith and it was multi-cultural and, again, age diverse, with
people that had brought their kids out with shovels and little brooms to
make sure that all hands were on deck, so to speak, to try to clean up the
neighborhood, but it was amazing to see that this one store, it`s pretty
much the primary shop in sand town, is completely gone now at least for the
foreseeable future.

SHARPTON: Stay with me, Thomas, I want to go back though to Toure who is
moving around the crowd. Toure, what are you seeing?

TOURE: Reverend, right now I`m standing with Easy Jackson (ph), he`s a
rapper, activist, but today cleaning up with the community. And we`re
right in front of the band that Gabe Gutierrez was talking about earlier.
I don`t know if you could see there`s five or six-piece brass band, a lot
of saxophone and trumpet going on. Easy, what is going on in this corner
right here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now it`s just the community coming together to
show love, to show Baltimore in a positive light. This is a city that
we`re used to. This is the crowd that you see at summer gatherings, at
shows, black parties.

TOURE: Okay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, this is what we`re really about. The world
is seeing a very small part of what happened here and right now, you know,
we`re just out here showing love just trying to spread love throughout the
community. We are all kinds of people out here, black, white, Hispanic,
Christian, Muslim, Bloods, Crips, BJFs, you know what I mean.

TOURE: People are trying to have a good time and diffuse even though the
cops are right there in phalanx and military gear. Thank you, Easy. I
want to walk down the street for a second and show you another protest
that`s going on.

SHARPTON: But Toure, before you leave Easy, Toure, does Easy feel that a
lot of the artists that kids listen to could also help influence like he`s

TOURE: Does Easy feel that a lot of the rappers that he listens to are
part of the problem?


SHARPTON: -- that the young artists can also help?

TOURE: I don`t think that he would say that some of those rappers are part
of the problem, especially when you have people like Kendrick Lamar who is
very conscious and positive. I think he would say those, the current
generation is not part of the problem that we`re seeing, but over here
we`re seeing a 300-man march trying to talk about, let`s be peaceful
tonight, let`s be anti-violent tonight. Sir, what`s going on here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can`t talk to you, sir.

TOURE: Can you talk to me, sir? Tell me what`s going on here, sir.

They are not doing interviews right now but they are trying to be anti-
violent, fully respect that. Rev, let`s toss it back to you.

SHARPTON: All right. Let`s go to Chris Hayes and get his perspective.
Chris Hayes is on the ground in Baltimore.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Rev, how you doing?

SHARPTON: Chris, what do you see?

HAYES: Well, it was interesting. We got here right around noon. The
scene at the corner of Northern Pennsylvania which was the site of some of
the looting and rioting last night with the burnt out CVS was actually
pretty tense. Like Toure was saying, there`s been police in riot gear kind
of quartering off different parts of the area. There was a man up on a
p.a. system giving a pretty heated sermon about discipline, about
nonviolence and also about sort of self-respect, and that was actually
drawing some dissent. There were some yays and nays coming from the crowd.
There was a few teams when people that were perceivably provocateurs had
gone up towards the line kind of getting in a -- face.

There`s this one guy who was drunk and was pulled out but there was
throughout that whole period, a very, very kind of active management of the
line. A lot of discipline. As Toure noted the 300-man march are out here
in full force, they have t-shirts and nation of Islam is out here. A lot
of folks, I`ve talked to two gentlemen who are a college students locally
here who had come out to try to just kind of keep things orderly. It has
stayed orderly. Right now it has kind of a feeling of an impromptu street
festival here. There are, however, more police coming in as we get closer
to nightfall and as we get closer to the curfew.

Coming down Northern Pennsylvania as I approached here, you can see police
vehicles, tactical vehicles unloading more and more officers who are in
riot gear. The question will become, and this happened in Ferguson when
the curfew was imposed, the curfew can become its own kind of point of
conflict or tension in which there`s a kind of staring contest over who is
going to leave the streets and who is going to chase them off. And I think
the question for this evening is just what happens at 10:00 p.m.

SHARPTON: Now, you`ve covered a lot of these situations, Chris. From what
you`re feeling now, do you feel there will be a peaceful interaction when
the curfew comes on, or do you think that there`s a tension there that
could get out of hand at the point of 10:00?

HAYES: You know, the situations are very fluid, and obviously Baltimore is
a big city. Right here right now there`s actually a pretty good vibe in
the air and that`s a credit to the kind of, A, restraint of police who have
been very quiet and composed all day and all the people that have been out
here organizing in a million different ways, handing out flyers, there a
bunch of events that were set up today for community members, particularly
schoolchildren who, of course, as you recall didn`t have school today.
There was a town hall for them to go to where they could speak their mind,
there were free lunches that were offered. Libraries have been opened for
them. So there was a lot of effort put in by everybody in this
neighborhood, all through West Baltimore, all through Baltimore to try to
create conditions today that we`re going to lead to something more peaceful
and more orderly.

SHARPTON: All right, Chris. Stay with me. I want to go back to Toure who
is still moving around the crowd. Toure, what are you seeing now? Toure?

TOURE: Hi, I`m standing here in front of a line of -- I`m standing here
live in front of a line of folks who are standing in front of the cops.
What are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m -- I`m protecting the police officers, but I`m
also trying to protect the citizens of Baltimore City as well.

TOURE: So why are you protecting the police officers when they are
supposed to be protecting us?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because everybody needs protection. They need
protection just like we do. I`m standing here with my daughter, and I`m a
Baltimore City educator and I`m school librarian. I believe everybody
needs to be protected. They are people, too, they are citizens of
Baltimore, too. We all need to be protected.

TOURE: And there`s a whole line of folks here standing in front of the
police protecting them, and if you guys are here then people will not want
to engage with them and not want to taunt them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely, absolutely. They see us. They see us
being a line of unity to say it`s okay. Just back off. Everything will be
peaceful. Just leave it that way. We`re protecting them. I may not be
able to do much. I`m a woman, but I`m here, standing here. I`ve been here
for two hours standing here protecting them, you know. They are scared
just like we are. So, I`m just here doing my part. I don`t fall for
something, I fall for anything. I`m trying to show that to my daughter.

TOURE: Wow! Thank you so much for your time.


TOURE: I don`t think I`ve seen anything quite like this, a line of
citizens, Rev.

SHARPTON: Thank you, Toure. Let me go now to Reverend Westley West who is
an outstanding youth organizer. He was with us today in the private
meeting with the mayor. Reverend West, what is the temperature that you`re
feeling now on the street? You`ve been from day one out leading peaceful
protests and have been diligent in the trenches. What feel do you get

I`m getting tonight is -- is more -- is more warming, more heartfelt
tonight. Something has changed overnight. What, I don`t know, but the
love I am getting from the -- from the people and the brotherly love from
the communities and here in different events that have taken place tonight,
I`m kind of shocked.

SHARPTON: Now, one of the things that I noted in the meeting with the
mayor is that there seems to be intergenerational leadership and certainly
you have stood out as among the young leaders that have said that the fight
is about trying to rebuild and provide jobs and training for these young
people. After all of the cameras are gone, do you feel that you will have
the kind of assistance and backing you need to help to continue to rebuild
and restore and help these young people that have looked to you for

WEST: Yes, sir, Rev. I believe if I, you know, remain strong in this
particular fight, even after the cameras are gone, I receive, you know, and
carry a message from various young people that say, hey, we`re standing
behind you and we`re looking forward to have you as our voice. So, I do
believe that after the cameras are gone away that the people -- that the
young people will still, you know, come to me as -- as a young black male
that understands and is relatable.

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you so much, Reverend Westley West.

WEST: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: I believe we`ll be hearing a lot from you as we go into the
future. Let me go back to Toure. Toure, I`m sorry, let me go to Chris
Hayes. Chris Hayes has an interesting guest, a bishop from Philadelphia.

HAYES: Rev, how are you doing? I`m here with the Bishop Terrence Frazier
(ph) came down from Philadelphia today. Where do you preach in
(INAUDIBLE). And you came down here, we see behind us there`s a youth
march, and a huge youth march coming down of folks saying, we want peace!

(Crowds protesting): We want peace! We want peace! We want peace!

What brought you down here today? How did you make the decision? You
came down with a few fellow clergy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we realized that there were some communications
problems here in Philadelphia and that people were hurting, and where there
are hurting people, that`s where you`ll find myself and my staff. So we
came down and there will be a voice for people in the community as well as
for the government.

HAYES: Were there a bunch of clergy, was there sort of a lot of
communication among clergy from the surrounding area to come down here and
try to create a situation of what`s going to lead to a repeat of last

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s correct. There are a number of different
denominations that have come together in order to become a buffer zone
between the police and the community. We have that meeting happening in
about an hour so we can actually get an organization going here in the city
so that we can create that dialogue and continue the dialogue that we
created earlier today.

HAYES: So you`re going to meet with the police in an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to meet with the police and as well with
the city officials and our pastors.

HAYES: I mean, the people of I`ve been talking to today say look, Freddie
Gray died. If he hadn`t died, no one wouldn`t said anything because it`s
so common in this neighborhood that people get arrested by the police and
get hurt in police custody. It was just the fact that he died and then the
length of time it`s taken for any explanation. I mean, where does -- where
does your role come and other folks coming down here to kind of keep order
which is obviously important in also pushing the police for some kind of
answers 17 days in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, communication is going to be vital.
Communication and respect on both sides, mutual assurance that this is
going to be resolved and people are going to be heard. What we have is a
melting pot of people who have been generationally ignored, both when it
comes to their rights being trampled and also with the -- the economic
issues, so if we can create that dialogue and begin to speak and keep the
community together on a page of, hey, express yourself but do it in a
peaceful manner so that we can actually begin to make change happen through
that dialogue.

HAYES: All right. Thank you, bishop.


HAYES: Throw it back to you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Thank you, Chris. Let me go to Toure who is actually marching
with those young people we heard chanting we want peace. Toure, what`s
going on?

TOURE: Yes. People are marching up the street chanting, "We want peace,"
but it is peaceful, and just to show you that this is a multi-racial,
multi-generational situation out here, I`m here with Laura Herman (ph).
Laura, why are you here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to support my city, man. Like honestly it
breaks my heart everything that transpired in these past couple of nights
and like for real, like it really brings me to tears. Like, I`m a coach,
so I coach a lot of these inner city kids and to drop them off somewhere
where I don`t feel that they are safe or not to be able to have the right
reask and facilities to be able to keep these kids off the streets. Like
come on now, man, like what are you all really doing? Like it`s gotten to
a point of ridiculousness and I just hope that this is a small piece of
what`s about to change, the need to change and it needs to change now.

TOURE: Thank you, Laura. Rev, back to you.

SHARPTON: Thank you. Let me go to Marq Claxton. Mark, you were an NYPD
officer for years, and how do you think the police have handled the
situation today? They seem to be getting a lot of praise on the streets
when I was there earlier today and you`re hearing it tonight. It seems, so
far, and clearly with three hours and five minutes before the curfew, but
so far it seems like they are getting some praise from various corridors of
the community.

MARQ CLAXTON, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: Well, they are really handling the
situation with a lot of restraint, but, I mean, today, it`s not necessarily
the same challenge as it would have been yesterday with all the violence
and crimes going on around them, so they are doing as they should do which
is to provide whatever service they can to the public and today they are
showing a tremendous amount of restraint. We`ll see after 10:00 just if
they can withstand that and sustain that type of professional demeanor and

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you, Mark. Let me go to Joy Reid who is
standing by a vigil that is going on live. Joy?

JOY REID, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hey, Rev. So, I`m here at the empowerment temple
which as you know is Reverend Jamal Bryant`s church here in West Baltimore.
There`s a meeting of clergy going on right now. Earlier in the day they
housed kids who needed somewhere to go on this day when kids were mandated
to be out of school and there was also a training that was done for high
school-aged students to teach them nonviolent civil disobedience and that
was led by former NAACP President Ben Jealous and Embassy International.
And then in about five minutes, Rev, there`s going to be a town hall that`s
getting started. The parking lot is packed to capacity. Community members
are going to be here that are going to have a town hall meeting about
policing, addressing just those very issues you`ve been talking about
today in the show -- Rev.

SHARPTON: What do you think about tonight? What is your forecast of what
will happen when the curfew begins at 10:00?

REID: Well, you know, I did talk to a lot of young people at the CVS where
you were talking earlier to Toure and Chris Hayes, and people were
essentially saying they don`t expect there to be anything that happens
unless they are provoked somehow by authorities. People don`t buy the
narrative that it is the citizens that are provoking any violence. They
said there are some people who are taking advantage of the situation just
to cause mayhem that essentially are separate from the movement and just
out to cause trouble because they are just trouble-makers, so the people
who are part of the movement here want nothing to do with those people.
Don`t claim responsibility for them. They are just saying for themselves,
a lot of people are going to have their kids at home, but they are going to
be here tonight at this meeting that starts at 7:00 so we`ll see what
happens when this meeting let`s out.

SHARPTON: Now, have you seen a large police presence today as you have
moved around, Joy?

REID: You know what`s interesting, Rev, is that we started out downtown by
the area that sort of by the water, where all the big hotels are, where the
four seasons is, where the nice hotels are. And there were just endless
amounts of authorities, endless amounts of National Guard and police. Then
as we moved here to West Baltimore, the area that`s not far from where the
uprisings happened the other night, we saw no one, not one National Guard`s
person. Then we moved over to the area by the CVS and we did we see some
National Guard fanned out, they`re turning their backs on them, et cetera.
But I think the police presence is much, much bigger downtown and by City

SHARPTON: All right. I want to thank you, Joy. Thank all of my guests
who helped me report this story tonight. Let me say that yes, we do not
gain anything with violence. Nothing justifies violence. Nothing
justifies further pain, but we also can`t lose sight of the fact that there
are problems that anything can be a spark to leading to this kind of
recklessness and this kind of behavior. Though it is unjustified, neither
do we ignore the problems of poverty, the problems of unemployment and the
problems of policing. We must not only end the violence, we must pick up
our -- our mutual responsibilities and fight for change so these kinds of
issues will be things of the past.

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


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