PoliticsNation, Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: April 29, 2015
Guest: Larry Hogan; Brandon Scott, Nick Mosby, Jonathan Capehart, Celia
Neustadt, Diamond Sampson
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
We`re on the breaking news from Baltimore where it`s halfway between the
end of school and the beginning of the curfew. Late today a group of
students and activists gathered at Baltimore`s Penn station with plans to
head to city hall. And any minute now, we`re expecting an update from
Throughout the day, the city trying to regroup at Baltimore`s Camden yards,
one of the strangest sights. The first ever major league baseball game
played without anyone in the stands. Fans watched from outside as their
hometown Orioles got a win.
Today President Obama said he`ll travel to Baltimore once things have
settled down. Let`s go to the governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s obviously important to
me. The communities in Baltimore that are having these problems now are no
different than the communities in Chicago where I first started working
when I moved there as a community organizer. So I`ve seen this movie too
many times before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That was President Obama earlier today. Let`s go live to
Governor Hogan`s press statement.
GOV. LARRY HOGAN, (R), MARYLAND: Maryland state police. It`s been less
than 48 hours since we declared this state of emergency. And things are
looking a lot different than they did Monday night. In just a moment,
we`re going let General Singh and Colonel Palazzi provide you with an
update on police and National Guard operations around the city.
But first, let me just say that we`re very encouraged by what we have seen
over the past 24 hours. I started the day at state police command center
where we met with police from the Maryland state police, from the city,
from all across our state, and even folks from all around the country. And
these men and women are working incredibly hard along with the National
Guard. I want to thank them, including those from out of state.
After we hear from -- after we left this morning from the command center,
we went to Sandtown, which is the neighborhood where Freddie Gray was from.
We met with residents. We walked the neighborhoods. We met with
neighborhood leaders and leaders of the NAACP at their new headquarters,
which had just opened yesterday. We got a chance to talk with some people
who were among the worst affected by the civil unrest. I can tell you,
they were very thankful for the efforts of the National Guard and the
Maryland state police. They were happy that they were there protecting
them and keeping the city safe.
But I was also encouraged by the optimism that I saw there. And by the
number of people that were out helping in the community. We then went to
Maryland emergency management agency. We held a cabinet meeting to ensure
that every single state agency was trying to provide as much assistance and
as many resources as they possibly could to the situation here in Baltimore
and to helping people who were most in need. Every single state agency is
fully focused on this crisis and they`re providing a number of necessary
services. And a lot of help that is very much needed in the city.
Let me just also say that the Maryland emergency management agency is doing
a fantastic job of helping to coordinate all of our critical resources.
State, city, and allied police along with the National Guard are working
effectively together to ensure that Baltimore`s streets are safe. Today
children were back in school in Baltimore. People were back at work, and
city residents were cleaning up after Monday night`s disturbances.
But we`re not out of the woods yet. The state continues to utilize law
enforcement assets from every corner of the state and from other states,
including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia who have
all dedicated law enforcement officers to our efforts. I want to thank
Colonel Palazzi for all of his efforts to leading this combined force.
We have in place approximately 2,000 members of the Maryland National Guard
and over a thousand state troopers and other allied law enforcement
officers, including officers from Montgomery Anne Arundel, Howard, Prince
Georges, Harford County as well as many others. This combined force will
not tolerate the violence or looting which is led to the destruction of
property and put innocent Marylanders at risk.
There are some peaceful protests happening tonight, and we want to make
sure that individuals can exercise their first amendment rights and express
their legitimate concerns. But we also want to stress and remind everyone
that there is a 10:00 p.m. curfew in place in the city, and I urge everyone
in Baltimore to get off the streets tonight at 10:00.
When the streets are clear, police and the National Guard can do their
jobs. And the vast majority of people in the city are being extremely
helpful and cooperative. People are picking up bags and brooms and
cleaning up. Parents are keeping kids at home and off the streets, and
community leaders who have been so helpful to us in keeping the peace and
urging people to protest in a peaceful nonviolent way have been urging
people to head home before the curfew.
Across Maryland, we`re seeing the work of people who are urging another
quiet night like we had last night. The governor`s office of community
initiatives and the governor`s office of service and volunteerism organized
2600 volunteers, people from all across Maryland who love the city of
Baltimore and wanted to pitch in and help.
We`ve launched Marylandunites.com where people can get information on state
services and on how they can volunteer and contribute and donate to various
charities that are helping in the effort.
We`re all working together, and we will continue to be here until the
threat of violence ends. Our primary mission is to maintain order and to
begin to repair the damage inflicted by the violence and looting from
earlier in the week.
Baltimore families deserve peace and safety in their community, and we are
working together very hard to ensure that. At this point, I`m going to
turn the podium over to General Singh, and then Colonel Palazzi who will
provide some further details on the specific actions of today, and then
we`d be happy to take your questions. Thank you -- General?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Governor. So first I would like to say
I`m just getting back in from --
SHARPTON: That was Governor Hogan of Maryland giving an update to people
on what has happened today and what is expected tonight. We`re going to
hear -- he`s going have others that are from the National Guard and others
in the briefing.
Joining me now is MSNBC`s Thomas Roberts. He is in Baltimore.
Thomas, what are the plans for this evening?
THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: So, Rev., we remain on the corner at
the intersection of Pennsylvania and North Avenues. There has been a
peaceful rally going on all day with this street preacher hundred me and
his loudspeaker. And people have been slowly but surely refilling this
There is a march that is taking place from Penn Station, that`s Baltimore`s
train station, and I believe headed down Charles Street, which they would
end up toward city hall or the state`s attorney`s office. I think it is a
little more organized tonight. Again, we are just less than four hours away
from the mandatory curfew that will go into effect at 10:00 tonight.
But Rev., I thought you would find this really interesting. I had an 83-
year-old gentleman, a long-time resident of Baltimore city walk up to me
and hand me this clipping from the news America. The news American is an
old daily here in Baltimore that went out of publication decades ago. It`s
actually a paper I used to deliver as a kid here in Baltimore. But he
wrote -- or he wanted me to see what was written about him in 1962. He was
a 29-year-old U.S. army air force vet. His name is Clarence Logan. And he
was then a young civics leader here, a civil rights leader in the city of
ROBERTS: And they were dealing then with problems of the long-standing
issues of racial barriers. And that was in 1962, the problem that remained
then of unemployment, housing and public accommodations. And it just goes
on. And it almost is an article that you could write today, Rev.
SHARPTON: It is something that has been going on for decades, which is why
I think you have such a pent up amount of emotions and passions in the
people in that community. As long as I`ve been active, and I`ve been
active since I was a teenager, Baltimore has been a notorious town for
having inequities that were overlooked.
ROBERTS: There has certainly been an issue with the have and the have-
SHARPTON: Brandon Scott. Councilman, first of all, thank you for being
BRANDON SCOTT, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCILMAN: Thank you for having me,
SHARPTON: What is the mood on the streets tonight, councilman?
SCOTT: So it`s a much more peaceful mood and in the streets is a mood of
activism and hope. We know that Baltimore, we saw the charm city. I spent
today and members talking to students, talking to young people what is
going on. They`re angry at some of the rioting and looting. But they are
also angry about some of the situations their friends live in. They
eventually want to see change, but they want to see change in a positive
way. And that`s what we`re seeing with those protesters. That`s what
we`re seeing with the folks, the young folks that are leading the marches
and things like that. And that`s what we want to see. We want to see them
now and until we get change. We know they will work with all of us to make
SHARPTON: Councilman, one of the things I heard yesterday when I was in
Baltimore, and I`ll be back tomorrow for the leadership summit is that
people want to stress the conditions as well as keep focus on the Gray
case, and not just on the violence. They abhor the violence, but they also
abhor being pictured in that way and ignoring the real problems there. You
represent of your elective. Is that a fair assessment of a lot of the
SCOTT: It is, overwhelmingly the young people that have been out --
overwhelming the young people in the city, the ones that were in school on
Monday. There are 85,000 kids in the school system and a few hundred were
mischief. And now the nation is painting all about young people like that.
That is not what our young people are. Our young people do great things
every day. I love interacting with them. But also this, for me, this
highlights the importance of something I`ve been saying for a long time.
Every able-bodied person that loves Baltimore, that lives in Baltimore,
that works in Baltimore should every day be doing something to work in a
positive way for the lives of these young people. Because we know the
conditions that we`re living in. As you stated, these conditions have been
there for a long time. They result in many systematic failures from
government to actually family and community responsibility. Myself as
African-American man who grew up in Baltimore that was a lot worse than the
one I live in today, that`s why I work and do what I do. So I can make
Baltimore better for these young people so we do not go back to the `90s.
And we know we have these problems. We have to address them together as a
city united, and all front students, all egos aside. We`re all going to
have to make uncomfortable changes moving forward, everyone to make
Baltimore the best Baltimore it can be.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, do you feel that this will continue, this
drive for a real move to change the structural inequality in Baltimore
going forward? And do you feel that we can ultimately see some justice in
this case around Fred Gray when we`ve seen so many cases in Baltimore that
did not end up in ways that the people that made the accusations and said
they were victimized feel they received justice?
SCOTT: Well, I`ll start with the last one first. I have the utmost
respect and faith in our newly elected states attorney. This young woman
is ready for the job. And I think as a city we have to understand that she
is not going to rush to a decision. She is not going to get the
information from the police department Friday and make a decision. She is
going to do her due diligence. And if she can rightfully charge someone,
she will. And she can give some justice and relief to this family and our
city and community, she will. But we have to a lot her the space and time
SHARPTON: Well, let me push you there. You`re saying, because I had the
mayor on last night. And she said something similar. That Friday, when
they hand over the evidence, we should not expect an immediate announcement
SHARPTON: She is just receiving the evidence.
SCOTT: She is just receiving it. And she actually has to conduct her own
investigation with her own people and see and go through and comb and be
talking to people. And that takes time. And that`s what this family
wants. This family wants this handled correctly in taking the time,
crossing the T`s, dotting the I`s and moving forward.
And as far as your other point, Reverend, yes, I think we`re going to
continue to see that movement forward. When the dust settles, I`m going to
be here to see who is still here, who is still willing to work. Changes
that will be needed on multiple levels and multiple lanes. Not everyone is
going to be able to do everything. Folks are going to have to pick a lane,
work in that lane. If your lane is education, work in education. If your
lane is economic development, work in economic development. If it`s youth
development, work in that if it`s changing laws and legislation, work in
that. And that`s what we`re truly going to have to do to see change in
But again, everybody here is going to have to make uncomfortable changes to
their lives. Sacrifices are going to have to be made just like sacrifices
have made to get our country. And that is not a Baltimore issue either.
Changes have to be made throughout our country in every city. So everyone
should be listening, understanding that this is not just in Baltimore or
Ferguson issue. This is not just a Cleveland issue. This is an American
issue. And we have to solve this problem in Baltimore and throughout our
SHARPTON: And I think that`s where real leadership and activism is,
whether you can make the sacrifices and adjustments that are necessary,
maybe even outside your comfort zone that will lead to lasting change.
Otherwise what it is all for?
SCOTT: Yes, sir, exactly. Outside your comfort zone. I always say to the
young people all the time you should do something every day that makes you
uncomfortable. That`s what truly builds you into the true person you can
SHARPTON: There are large crowds in New York City and other places as
well, people gathering around the country that are really showing support
for justice for Freddie Gray. And I think that students are marching
through Baltimore, and they`re headed down towards city hall. And it`s a
very peaceful gathering, a very peaceful crowd as they march through the
streets of Baltimore to city hall.
SCOTT: Yes. And that`s what we want to see. We want to see them
marching. We know they`ve been marching peacefully for so long. And we
know these students want to be seen, they want to be heard. And we
appreciate the folks that have been supporting this family and city across
the country. I want to say thank you and I love you to everyone who loves
in this city that has been helping, that came to the city that is helping,
or coming to the city that is helping. And we also want justice for this
family. We want justice. But also I just want to say that I also want
folks to know that we also want justice for the 12 people that have been
murdered in Baltimore since Freddie Gray as well. We want justice for
every family in our city that has been a victim of violence.
SHARPTON: All right. Let me thank you so much, councilman. Let me go now
to MSNBC`s Trymaine Lee.
Trymaine, describe the scene where you are.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: How you doing, Rev. I`m here in St.
Paul Street. There are several hundred people are marching towards city
hall. It is a very exuberant move. As you can see, people are holding
signs, black lives matter. No justice, no peace, no racist police.
Now one thing that is different about this crowd, there are two things.
One, the sheer diversity of the crowd here. It was billed as a march for
high school students, college students to gather. And it`s reflective.
But also as of yet, we haven`t seen any police along the route.
We`re at Penn Station, you saw police cars ling up, some police with their
shields and there are SWAT regalia heading the opposite direction. But so
far it`s been quiet, peaceful, no police. But the crowd is exuberant.
Now, once we round this corner and we`re closer to city hall, we`ll see if
what will meet the protester there. Yesterday a perimeter set up in front
of city hall that had been a place where protesters had been gathering
intermittently throughout the day. So again, as we turn this corner, we`re
just blocks away from city hall. And as you can see, folks are getting
SHARPTON: What do you think the strategy is that the police are not
visible at this point, Trymaine?
LEE: I`ll tell you what. We`ve seen what you describe as a cat and mouse
game between protesters and police. Police -- aware of this march hours
earlier. You know, in the middle of the day, they were aware that this
would be happening. So perhaps they`re just waiting to be strategic.
But, again, there is not much you can do. It hasn`t been a residential
area. It`s kind of a long corridor of businesses and other buildings. And
so perhaps they`re waiting for us at city hall, which you have to assume.
Because the sheer size of this crowd, Rev., there are several hundred
people here. Again, peaceful, but exuberant. So as of yet, no police.
But we`ll see what awaits us ahead.
SHARPTON: Now, last night there was some question of how they were going
to get people to leave the street at curfew time. Do you think that is
going to be more orderly tonight because these marchers are starting early
and may disperse early and not be a challenge with the curfew time.
LEE: And I`ll tell you what. Even last night over by the CVS that had
been, you know, burned out, there were a number of people there, maybe a
couple hundred. But the police never actually gave any directive to
disperse the area, to actually leave. And they didn`t kind of force
marchers one direction or the other. They kind of pressed forward a little
bit and then fell back.
But about an hour after the curfew, an hour and a half, everyone pretty
much dispersed. Now, that was after some pepper spray and some smoke bomb,
granted. But there was never any real raucous, rocks, you know, besides a
few a little skirmish, that was it.
But tonight will be the true tale. I have always thought that after a
really fiery night like we saw on Monday, you know, everyone is so
exhausted, the police, the protesters, those who have been, you know,
burning buildings, everyone is mentally and emotionally drained.
Tonight will be a test. The second night of the curfew. Will the police
show up and how will they enforce this curfew? Will the protesters show
up? Will it be this crowd or so many others of those disaffected young
people who quite frankly are bursting at the seams with anger and emotion?
What will we see? So far we started early. So far it`s peaceful. I think
we all hope it stays that way.
SHARPTON: Let`s go to MSNBC`s Toure on the ground with those marchers.
Toure, what is the scene like?
TOURE, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Reverend, I think you can see people as far
as the eye can see. It`s peaceful. It`s exuberant. It`s a joyful march.
People are chanting and having a good time mostly. I found Imani (ph) in
the crowd, a young sister. Tell them why you`re here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m here because, I mean, obviously as you can see,
Toure, I represent a lot of injustices that are here in America. I`m black
African American. I`m a woman, and a Muslim. So a lot of things that go
on in this country are very close to my heart, especially injustices that
are killing our black men and women across the country. I have siblings.
And so to see a grand situation or parents color (ph) situation or a
Freddie Gray situation that we are seeing is very close to me because
(INAUDIBLE), I look at it as family, and being from this area, this is home
TOURE: Indeed. And Rev., it`s not just sisters like Imani (ph) out here,
there is parents with small children. There is college students from
Gauche and Towson and John Hopkins. There is grandparent here among.
There is all sorts of folks. So it`s a beautiful scene out here, Rev.
Back to you.
SHARPTON: And it also appears like it`s very diverse. One of the things
that has impressed me about the gatherings that I`ve seen is that they`re
representing a diversity of people standing up staying it`s wrong, no
matter who they may be in terms of their own personal background, it`s
wrong, the targeting of what people feel, our young black men and what is
reflected in the data from what has happened in the past in Baltimore in
terms of police department.
TOURE: Yes, indeed. This group out here, a lot of white people, Asian
people, I mean obviously black people. I`m seeing the entire world
represented here. And people are feeling very allied and wanting to be
part of the community and wanting to support and understanding that these
issues are global. They affect everybody. This is not just a black
problem. This is an American problem. And they all want to be a part of
it. It`s a really beautiful scene, Reverend. I wish you could be here.
SHARPTON: Well, I`ll be back tomorrow.
Now, let me ask you. The schools were open today. We had no reports of
any incidents in the schools, is that right? Have you heard anything?
TOURE: That`s exactly what I heard, no incidents. Some folks said they
were a little bit nervous. Another one of those emails went around that
maybe something will happen. Maybe that purge sort of thing or coming
together at some mall. But as far as I`ve heard, there has been nothing in
general. Baltimore seems to be calming down a little bit and sort of the
energy just sort of de-escalating.
Folks have a lot on their minds in terms of what is going on. But folks
are de-escalating, decompressing. We were at north and Penn today here
that CVS. The energy was much lower in terms of the tension that we`ve
been feeling. So the city seems to be letting some of the energy out a
little bit slowly. But, you know, that remains to be seen what will happen
when the police report finally comes out.
SHARPTON: All right. Thank you, Toure.
We`re seeing the peaceful demonstrations tonight in Baltimore just a few
hours before the 10:00 p.m. curfew.
But I think we need to remember what started these protests. It was this
cell phone video. Freddie Gray was arrested on April 12th. He sustained
fatal injuries in police custody. But why was he even arrested? And how
did he die? We don`t have the answers.
Today attorney general Loretta Lynch said the federal investigation into
Freddie Gray`s death would be, quote, "full and independent." Baltimore
police are expecting to turn over their findings to prosecutors on Friday.
The police spokesman said this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC KOWALCZYK, BALTIMORE POLICE SPOKESMAN: A conversation about the
report that is supposed to be issued there is not a report. We want to be
clear there is not a report that is going to be issued. What we are going
to do which is unique is turn over all of our findings, all of our
investigative efforts to state`s attorneys` office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And last night, I asked the Baltimore mayor about the timing and
what will come out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, BALTIMORE: What is happening on Friday is
the police is -- the police department chose Friday as their goal, their
deadline to be able to give the 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 any -- she certainly won`t be able to in
the same day that she gets that information to supplement what she is doing
in the investigation make a determination about whether or not there is
going to be charges. We want to make sure people understand the process.
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
SHARPTON: So there is 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 timeline, 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 certainly -- we certainly -- he didn`t want
to and I certainly don`t want to give people the impression that our
state`s attorney will have made a decision by Friday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Baltimore city councilman Nick Mosby who
represents Freddie Gray`s neighborhood. Thank you for being here.
NICK MOSBY, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCILMAN: Thank you for having me on, Al.
SHARPTON: Councilman, in full disclosure, you actually are married to the
MOSBY: Yes, sir.
SHARPTON: What do you expect after the police turn over their findings on
Friday? I`m not infringing on your private talk at home. But I just had
to give disclosure. But what do you as a councilman expect to happen on
MOSBY: Well, what I would hope as a councilman, you know, at the end of
the day, it`s my job to represent my constituents, their voices, their
concerns here at city hall. I think that at the end of the day, they want
some more transparency. Nothing to hurt or damage a potential case. But
what they want to know is to know basic information.
You know, from day one, they wanted to know why was he chased. Why was he
an original suspect? Why was he detained? Why was he ultimately arrested?
And what was he charged with? I think that basic information was never
provided at the onset. And I think it was a catalyst to a lot of the
You know, right now our community has a huge distrust for the criminal
justice. And to have a case like this and have basic information not
provided immediately, you know, it just exacerbated that distrust.
SHARPTON: Now, there are a lot of investigations and parts of
investigations going on here. The "Baltimore Sun" lays it out this way.
The police are giving their findings to the state`s attorney on Friday.
Freddie Gray`s autopsy has been expedited, that`s in quotes. The state`s
attorney is investigating and will determine charges. The justice
department is having investigators from the civil rights division and FBI
look into the case and police are also doing an internal investigation into
possible misconduct. What can the public expect to find out and when in
your opinion, Councilman?
MOSBY: I mean, we want those investigations to be as thorough as possible.
I know that folks are very angry and frustrated and rightfully so. But we
also have to make sure that we do it right. We don`t want to rush to
judgment or rush information. That`s why I think the initial communication
has unfortunately provided so much skepticism in the overall process. For
instance, there was a camera I think that was right there where Freddie
Gray was arrested. Unfortunately, the citizens didn`t get a chance to see
the footage until maybe seven or eight days later. It was nothing on the
tape. So why not show it right away? It`s that type of lack of
communication and lack of partnerships that further exacerbate the
distrust. And I think that that`s the problem that we currently have.
SHARPTON: The students marching is almost at the city hall where the
Councilman, I mentioned attorney general Loretta Lynch spoke about the case
today. I want to play that. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have been in direct contact with
the officials in Maryland, including the governor. And have I directed
this department to provide any assistance that might be help informal
restoring calm and resolving the unrest that broke out across the city. As
you know, the civil rights division and the FBI are already conducting a
full and independent investigation into the tragic death of Mr. Gray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: What do you want to see from the justice department, councilman?
MOSBY: I mean, the justice department, they come with amazing resources.
You know, they are subject matter experts at doing some of these
investigations, these civil rights investigations. I think the Baltimore
sun did an excellent job a couple of months ago of highlighting some of the
past complaints over the past six years, an $11 million payout that the
city has done.
You know, unfortunately, Reverend, the issue is we have a small amount of
our police force that has created the perception of complete distrust of
the police force. And you`ve got the same repeat offenders on that force
that haven`t been punished. And the community knows it. These young folks
out here know it. And unfortunately, with the department of justice coming
in doing a civil rights investigation, some of that can be exposed, and we
continue to clean it soup we can develop a way of moving in a new direction
in the city of Baltimore.
I mean, that`s what people want. They want justice. They want it to be
applied equally and fairly, and they want the folks who do not have any
interest of caring about our communities to remove from the Baltimore City
SHARPTON: Councilman Nick Mosby, thank you for your time tonight.
MOSBY: Thank you so much, sir.
SHARPTON: Let`s go back to MSNBC`s Trymaine Lee. Trymaine, the marchers
have arrived at City Hall now, is that right?
LEE: That`s right. Here we are. We finally arrived at City Hall. Again,
several hundred protesters. The juxtaposition is kind of interesting. You
have hundreds of mostly college students and young people. And then along
the side you have the military Humvees. Above us you kind of hear the word
helicopters, both police helicopters and news helicopters. Intermittently,
the crowd will get excited there is someone on the microphone saying
something. I can barely hear it now. But again, several hundred young
people have arrived, again, no justice, no peace.
(Crowd): No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace!
LEE: Now again, still no police presence from where we can see. But
again, the Humvees are driving by. There are people on this side, several
hundred people are here and we`ve arrived at City Hall, Rev.
SHARPTON: Now, as they are there chanting and you say you can barely hear
the speakers, what do you think they`re going to do at City Hall, just
rally and stand and chant and make their very presence the statement?
LEE: I think I would expect, again, this is a very diverse crowd. And
everyone has different agenda. What we have seen in recent days is
breakoff groups. Some will say let`s march this way or that way. It`s
unclear what this group will do. But a crowd of this size, who knows what
they`ll do. But again, it`s so diverse. People are here with different
agendas and different motivations. So at this point it`s unclear. You
might have a breakoff of a number of people going one direction or another.
But also what will law enforcement do? Will they set up barricades so that
people will be forced one way or the other? What will they do? And that`s
what we don`t know yet. But in a matter of minutes or in a matter of --
I`m going to have to assume another hour or so, we`ll know, Rev.
SHARPTON: So there is no visible presence of barricades, of their cutting
off access to any of the areas downtown since you`re at city hall and
you`re around where the municipal offices are. There is no visible
barricades of blockage by law enforcement at this point.
LEE: Not yet. And we came around this and down St. Paul. So ahead of us
is Gay Street. And then go back further into downtown if you make this
left. So far from where I`m standing, I can`t see anything. But again,
I`m here in the thick of the crowd. And so further up towards Gay Street
and perhaps over you might have a better vanity on my side. But as of
right now the crowd has gathered right here outside of city hall. And here
we are perhaps.
SHARPTON: Now the students are chanting a slogan I know of too well. And
they seem passionate. But they also seem peaceful and nonviolent.
LEE: That`s right. It`s overwhelmingly a peaceful crowd, Rev. Everyone
is kind of in unison. This was a very organized march. Enough so that the
police and law enforcement already knew it was going to happen before it
happened. But as always is the case, Rev, and you remember from Ferguson,
and you kind of know that once night falls, things tend to change. Whether
by law enforcement tactic or different groups of people coming out into the
street. Now I would be surprised if I saw a crowd of this size, this
diverse down on further into the Westside where we`ve seen much of the
problem and much of the police presence. Again, if they all show up, that
might be a different story. But as of right now, this is a very peaceful,
very organized, very unified group of protesters.
SHARPTON: All right, thanks a lot, Trymaine. Amid the protests and
demonstrations, Baltimore`s baseball team made history. The Orioles played
the first major league baseball game ever with no fans. The ballpark was
empty. But the world was watching. The Orioles won the game in front of
an empty stadium, in front of empty seats. And in the middle of a city
struggling to heal.
Joining me now is MSNBC`s political correspondent Kasie Hunt. Kasie, what
was it like to watch the game in an empty ballpark today?
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC NEWS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Reverend, I have to
tell you, it was pretty surreal to be down on the field just minutes before
the game started and have absolutely no fans around. They kept the in-park
experience as they call it here exactly the same as they would have as if
the park had been full. They played music. They played the national
anthem. They did the seventh inning stretch. Only there was no one there
to do it. So it really was a collision of the reality that has been going
on in Baltimore of all of these very difficult times with some very
significant symbolism here, especially for a city that has prided itself so
much on its baseball team for so many years. And for whom Camden Yards was
really supposed to be a symbol of the city coming back and having a
They of course moved out of their memorial stadium in the early 1990s. I
think the good news here is that they accomplished what they set out to
accomplish. Because there was no large crowd here, law enforcement didn`t
have to come here. There were no incidents. There were some die-hard fans
who we saw cheering, looking through the gates that are behind me now,
trying to catch a glimpse of their Orioles that they were otherwise going
to watch. I also talked to several fans who were here at the Box Office
here behind me, trying to change their tickets either for this game or two
of the other games that were postponed. And for the most part, none of
them felt like they needed to hold a grudge against the ballpark or the
team itself. They all felt like they were trying to do what was right for
the city. But I do have to tell you. It was an experience unlike any
other. It is the first time in major league history that this has ever
happened. And I think we can only hope that there is never unrest like
this that causes it to happen again -- Reverend.
SHARPTON: All right, thank you so much. I want to bring back MSNBC`s
Toure. Toure, what does it look like where you are now?
TOURE: Reverend, there is people near --
Reverend, there is folks near City Hall chanting about Freddie Gray. This
the multiracial. This is joyful and peaceful, though it is serious. Folks
do have a lot on their minds. I`m here with Dr. Katrina Bell McDonald from
Johns Hopkins University who says this started at Johns Hopkins and picked
up all these folks and it was some of your students who started this.
DR. KATRINA BELL MCDONALD, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Well, I`m actually
the faculty adviser to the Black Student Union at Hopkins. And they worked
together with a number of other student groups including groups at other
colleges. And we began at Hopkins and collected people as we went down St.
TOURE: And what was the -- what was the motivation? What was the vibe?
Obviously we know the motivation. But what was the intent for this
MCDONALD: The students wanted to have their own say, you know. We`ve had
lots of different events this weekend and, you know, beyond. But the
students really felt like they wanted their voices to be heard above, that
they feel they`re in that age group. They feel the brunt of a lot of these
problems. So they insisted that today be their day. They wanted to do it
yesterday, but we were on lockdown. But today we were released. So they
got out here.
TOURE: And I feel a particular sort of passion out here and enthusiasm and
engagement because there are so many students --
MCDONALD: Oh, yes.
TOURE: And as I said, there are parents who brought small children. And
there is grandparents. But to have so many college students from Goucher
and Towson and Johns Hopkins. Here are some of your students here with
you. We start to see why this seems so powerful, right? And so much
enthusiasm out here.
MCDONALD: There is high school students too. We picked up some high
schoolers. So it`s a wonderful array of students.
TOURE: Indeed. Thank you. I mean, you can see, there are so many folks
out here of all races and all creeds, all sorts of people. And they`re not
just talking about what happened with Freddie gray. There is references as
you see to what happened with Trayvon, references you see to what happened
with Michael Brown. This is sort of a culmination of how people have been
feeling about a lot of different problems that have been going on. So
obviously, people are not going to feel like this just when one thing
They keep telling me there is a lot of things that have happened in
Baltimore that make people feel like this. Several killings that have sort
of culminated together. And obviously several killings that have happened
throughout the nation that have made people feel frustrated. But, again,
this rally is peaceful. I don`t see any cops near us. There is a group of
cops way down the block. They`re not letting us go on the square there.
But they`re letting us pretty much do what we want to do out here.
SHARPTON: All right. Thank you, Toure. Let`s take a break. We`ll be
right back with more after this.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our breaking news coverage from Baltimore.
Let`s go back to MSNBC`s Trymaine Lee, who has arrived with marchers at
City Hall. Trymaine, what is happening there?
LEE: How you doing, Rev? There are still several hundred people here
gathered right out in front of City Hall. And I want to speak to a few
people. What brought you out here today and what you feeling?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think we`re just out here to show solidarity with the
people of Baltimore and, you know, Freddie Gray`s family and let them know
that we all know what went down. And what happened was injustice. Just to
let everybody know that that`s not going to go by, we`re not going to sweep
it under the rug, that type of thing.
LEE: A lot of people have been making a lot about the burning and the
rioting. This has been overwhelmingly peaceful. How does it feel to be
among this largely peaceful exuberant crowd?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think I`m used to it. I think oftentimes if you look
on TV, they show the rioters. But that`s not the case. Not everybody that
comes out into the streets are rioters. That`s only a small minority. And
the majority shouldn`t be held responsible for what those few people are
LEE: That`s right. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: All right. Thank you, Trymaine. I want to move on because that
young man referred to something that I want to focus on. Baltimore`s anger
didn`t come out of nowhere. It`s been building for decades with poverty
and criminal justice policies trapping people in cycles of despair. Twenty
one percent of the people who live in Freddie Gray`s neighborhood are
unemployed. Twenty one percent. Fifty five percent of the families in
that neighborhood live on less than $25,000 a year. That`s below the
poverty line. And in both 2011 and 2012, city police arrested 20,000
people on drug-related charges. Tough on crime policies like stop and
frisk, and broken windows haven`t worked in these neighborhoods. Today
President Obama talked about the tensions between police and communities
like West Baltimore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We put them into communities and
situations where because of neglect in some cases because of a history of
racism or discrimination you`ve got people who don`t have opportunity.
You`ve got young people who think it`s much more likely they`re going to
prison or getting killed than going to college. You`ve got communities
that have been disinvested for years. If you send police officers into
those situations where, you know, the drug trade is the primary economy and
you say to them your job is basically to contain that, then it`s not
surprising that you end up with a situation of enormous tension between
those communities and those police officers. We`re not going to change
this overnight. But we can make progress. But it requires all of us
taking responsibility, not just some.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Let`s bring in MSNBC`s Joy Reid on the ground in Baltimore and
"The Washington Post`s" Jonathan Capehart. Jonathan, how can cities like
Baltimore make the progress that the President was speaking about?
JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, maybe one of the first
steps cities like Baltimore can do is listen to those young voices that are
marching today and that have been marching since Freddie Gray`s death on
April 19th, and to not be distracted by what happened on Monday by those
people who took advantage of the situation to do -- to do damage. Not only
to the community there, but to the cause that those folks who are marching
for, you know, political leaders not just in Baltimore but in Ferguson, in
Cleveland, in North Charleston, South Carolina, Staten Island, New York
City, people have been coming out since we`ve been watching these, you
know, videos of African-American men getting into what turns into fatal
encounters with police. And this has done something to the American
people. And not just African-Americans, but Americans in general who are
taking to the streets once again in an American City to demand not only
justice for the people who have been killed, but also for a change so that
this doesn`t happen again.
SHARPTON: Now, Joy, we`ve seen since Trayvon and going forward a lot of
activism, but a lot of focus has not been on the real systemic problems.
And I know people have been saying to me, and I know they`ve probably said
to you the media ought to also talk about the conditions that a lot of this
anger and a lot of this come from because these incidents are not happening
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST, "THE REID REPORT": No, absolutely, Reverend. That
is precisely what people have been telling us all day. We focused on
talking particularly to a lot of young African-American men. I`m standing
at Pennsylvania and north, which is the heart of kind of the West Baltimore
area. And we walked about a long couple of blocks down one of the streets
here, down north, and there is a whole row of buildings with the windows
broken out or boarded up. There is blight as far as the eye can see.
There is drug activity there is all sorts of systemic problems, none of
which were created by any riot. No riot knocked out the windows in those
buildings. They were already knocked out. And so I think what a lot of
people were saying, there was one gentleman named Kenneth, Kenneth Anderson
who was really articulate.
And he said to me that by the time you get to the point where a few kids
are deciding to break in and take stuff that they can sell essentially,
stuff they can turn some short-term money for them, sneakers or something
from the drug store aisle that they can take and sell, by the time you get
to that or to people throwing rocks at police, you`ve had decades and
decades of problems and systemic problems and poverty and want and
desperation that have produced this kind of chaos. And another thing that
Kenneth said that I thought was really smart. And he said you know, you
have people saying, why are you burning down your own communities.
And he said but for a lot of these people, this isn`t theirs. They don`t
own. These are people who are not owning, whether it`s the businesses or
whether it`s the homes. They`re just here. And it`s interesting, Rev.
Because right around this area where it`s very, very busy, this is a really
busy intersection there is a subway stop here. So it`s a really busy
place. We`ve seen tanks essentially, a Humvees, armored Humvees rolling
through the streets. There were phalanxes of guards in full body armor,
local police officers in full body armor and National Guard. It has a
feeling of forced calm. And it is eerie. And I think that`s one of the
things that this community is reeling from, even though it is quiet.
SHARPTON: Jonathan, let me get a little political with you. Today Hillary
Clinton talked about how the nation`s criminal justice system has to be
changed. Listen to this. Listen as --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we have seen in
Baltimore should indeed I think does tear at our soul. There is something
profoundly wrong when African-American men are still far more likely to be
stop and searched by police, charged with crimes and sentenced to longer
prison terms than are meted out to their white counterparts. There is
something wrong when a third of all black men face the prospect of prison
during their lifetimes. We have allowed our criminal justice system to get
out of balance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Jonathan, her husband, President Bill Clinton was an architect
of the crime policies that contributed to the issues we`re seeing now.
They both acknowledge those policies overshot the mark. But what can be
done to reverse the course is the problem and is the issue, really.
CAPEHART: Well, right. And I think one of the first things that is being
done is that she is talking about it. She is putting a finger on what the
issues are, what the problems are, what comes next is okay, how do you turn
that rhetoric into solutions, into action that changes things. The great
thing that is happening now is that you have a major democrat running for
the presidential nomination who is talking about this. On the republican
side, you have Senator Rand Paul who is running for president, who is
working with democratic Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey on criminal
And so now what should have always been a bipartisan issue that was long
thought of as some, you know, goo-goo liberal progressive agenda is now a
bipartisan conversation where possibly the people in the building behind me
can get together to ameliorate the conditions that are happening not only
in Baltimore, but as a Department of Justice report on the Ferguson Police
Department points out, it`s happening in Ferguson and most likely in other
communities around the country where policing has gone from, you know,
protecting and serving to being almost predatory on the people that they`re
supposed to be working with.
SHARPTON: All right. Joy Reid and Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for
your time tonight.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: We`ve got much more live from Baltimore where protesters have
arrived at City Hall. And you`re looking at rally in Minneapolis where
protesters are also gathering tonight. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: We`re back with live pictures of a peaceful protest from a group
of students in Baltimore as we are just over three hours from a mandatory
curfew for Baltimore. Last night as the curfew went into effect, a brief
moment of unrest. But the police commissioner said the curfew is working.
This is in stark contrast to what we saw on Monday night. Clearly
community leaders deserve a lot of credit for helping keep the peace,
linking arms as they marched through the scene. And again today as they
called for peace and demanded justice in front of the state attorney`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. DELMAN COATES, MT. ENNON BAPTIST CHURCH: Our message to those in this
city who are frustrated is to, you know, to show your frustration in a
peaceful manner. None of us can condone and endorse violence, looting, and
rioting. This is unacceptable. But we want people of good will to let
their voices be heard. That`s how we`re going to get answers.
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Celia Neustadt, founder and executive director
of the Inner Harbor Project, which works to help keep the peace between
Baltimore, teenagers and police and Diamond Sampson, who is one of the
Inner Harbor Project`s youth leaders. Thank you for joining me.
CELIA NEUSTADT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INNER HARBOR PROJECT: Thank you.
DIAMOND SAMPSON, INNER HARBOR PROJECT YOUTH LEADER: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Celia, how is your organization addressing issues between teens
NEUSTADT: Yes, so one of our major programs is a police training that was
actually designed by teenagers to address the issues of miscommunication
between teenagers and police. We have nine trainings currently scheduled
for the month of May to train the Inner Harbor Unit and the Lexington
Market Unit. We were also approved to teach this training at the academy.
So we`ll be teaching it citywide.
SHARPTON: Well, when you say designed by the teenagers, what do you mean
they designed it?
NEUSTADT: Yes. Maybe Diamond can tell you a little bit more about it.
SHARPTON: All right. Diamond, tell me how the teenagers, how you and
other young people designed these programs.
SAMPSON: We basically used research tactics to just look into how the
current police training program actually works, and then we had some help
from new links to come over and help was the step to work out our three-
pronged workshops with the Police Department.
SHARPTON: So you would look at how they are presently doing things and
compare it, and I guess knowing life as you know it as a young person, you
would know what works and what doesn`t work. And I`m saying you as well as
other teenagers that are in the program.
SAMPSON: Yes, sir.
SHARPTON: Is there back and forward around something Celia that police
have found helpful?
NEUSTADT: I`m sorry, can you ask that question again?
SHARPTON: The communication, as you build these bridges or attempt to,
have the police said they have found it helpful?
NEUSTADT: Absolutely. It`s been pretty interesting to get such a positive
response. Lieutenant Olson, we worked very closely with him. And he has
actually asked us to come in. We had a meeting about a month ago with 50
police officers who actually graduated from Baltimore City Public High
School who will be co-teaching the training with us at the academy.
Because they support what we do so strongly.
SHARPTON: All right. Well, let me thank both of you for being here. And
keep up the good work.
NEUSTADT: Thank you.
SAMPSON: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Breaking news out of New York where protesters are now gathered
at Union Square. You can see a large crowd already forming. It appears to
be peaceful. We are expecting to see rallies in several cities tonight.
Including Chicago and Minneapolis. With organizers saying they`re
supporting the protests in Baltimore. And peaceful protests and
consistency will make the nation deal with issues that many of us have
wanted to see dealt with for a long time. Let`s keep it peaceful and
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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