Date: April 30, 2015
Guest: Jayne Miller, Carl Stokes, Sonja Sohn, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Michael
Nutter, Ruth Marcus
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: What killed Freddie Gray?
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
What happened in that Baltimore police van three Sundays ago? What
caused 25-year-old Freddie Gray to suffer a catastrophic injury, one which
led to his death, while traveling to the police station? This is the
question fueling the protests, the anger, the bursts of violence in this
major American city.
The police report, overseen by the deputy police commissioner, which
many expected to be released publicly late this week, remains in the hands
of Baltimore prosecutors.
That said, a narrative is beginning to emerge. ABC`s Washington,
D.C., affiliate is reporting that Gray`s mortal head wound is consistent
with a metal object on the van`s wall, that it could have been sustained
during the ride to the police station while the prisoner was handcuffed,
his feet shackled, and actually unrestrained in terms of movement in the
The station`s report, citing anonymous law enforcement sources, is
that Freddie Gray`s catastrophic injuries were caused when he slammed into
the back of the police transport van, apparently breaking his neck. Well,
the report says that a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back
of the van.
According to NBC`s WBAL reporting, the autopsy appears consistent with
that description of events, as it shows Gray suffered one single
Meanwhile, WBAL also has fresh testimony tonight from a fellow
prisoner in that police van that there was a knocking sound during the ride
that might be consistent with a seizure Mr. Gray may have experienced
following the horrific injury to his head.
We`re joined right now by WBAL reporter who broke that story Jayne
Miller. Jayne, tell us about what you`ve been reporting today, and I`ll
ask you about the rest later.
JAYNE MILLER, WBAL-TV: Well, Chris, first of all, we have been
reporting for about -- for two weeks, since this incident happened and Mr.
Gray died, that -- that all of the focus in this case and all of the focus
in the investigation has been on what happened inside the wagon and not
during that highly publicized videotaped initial arrest.
And yes, what we have reported from the autopsy is that Mr. Gray
suffered this very severe spinal and neck injury because of hitting
something inside the van. There is no other injury to suggest that he did
it on his own, that he was banging his head against the van wall, because
the injury is so catastrophic. It is really the kind of injury that is
suffered in a car accident.
In addition to that, we have reported that at the time that Mr. -- the
second prisoner was loaded into the wagon, Mr. Gray was unresponsive. That
is according to sources familiar with the investigation.
We -- today, we spoke to that second prisoner, and he did say he heard
some banging in the back of the van in that four or five minutes that he
was in the van. But he could not see Gray. And he did say that when they
got to the police district finally, at the end of the that prison -- or
that police wagon ride, that Mr. Gray was unresponsive.
MATTHEWS: Let`s watch that for a second. We have the advantage of
television. Let`s watch that comment by that fellow prisoner in the van.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANTE ALLEN, ROD IN VAN WITH FREDDIE GRAY: When I got in the van, I
didn`t hear nothing. It was a smooth ride. We went straight to the police
station. All I heard was, like, a little banging for about four seconds.
You know what I mean? I just heard little banging, you know, just this --
just little -- you know what I mean? Boom, boom -- just little banging,
just little banging.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there it is, Jayne. And it would be -- you know, I`m
-- It`s all a bit speculative here, obviously, but the idea of a seizure --
but do you give any credibility to his testimony right there, that person
you had on the show today, on your program?
MILLER: Dante Allen is his name. And his account shows up in the
search warrant that "The Washington Post" reported about last night, which
became this story that Gray was banging his head against the wall of the
MILLER: ... and may have injured himself on his own.
What Mr. Alan is reporting is -- he`s filling in the blanks. He
really has to speculate about what may have caused the banging that he
heard or the noise that he heard because he can`t see the other prisoner.
MATTHEWS: Got you.
MILLER: In fact, he didn`t even know there was a prisoner back there.
So I think what you have to rely on are other elements of this
investigation, that, as we reported, according to sources, that Gray was
unresponsive at that time, just the stop before. The van driver stopped
because he obviously suspected something was wrong and wanted other police
to come and check on the prisoner.
Chris, this case boils down to a couple of really key questions. And
will that rise then to criminal negligence? Did the van driver do
something to cause that, to cause Mr. Gray to get slamming into the side of
the wall? Did he do it intentionally? The mere fact that he wasn`t
secured with a seatbelt, as required by policy, makes him vulnerable
(INAUDIBLE) and raises all kinds of questions about what police should have
And then by policy, they`re supposed to call for a medic if they
either see that it`s necessary or that the prisoner asks for it, and police
commanders have admitted publicly that that did not happen in this case.
So this case is really going to center on, was there criminal
negligence in the death of Freddie Gray? Was there criminal negligence on
the part of the officers that had responsibility to ensure his safety?
MATTHEWS: Is there any precedent -- I`ve heard whispers that this was
something of a practice in some cases, where the police would give this
person the ride of their life on the way to the police station, that there
would be that possibility of serious injury, a rough and ready ride?
MILLER: Yes. They call it a lot of different things, but yes, that
has been you know, kind of the story of what happens. That really doesn`t
have to happen in this case, Chris, because if you`re -- if you are in that
wagon and you`re handcuffed and you`re shackled, you are not going to be
able to balance yourself...
MILLER: ... with movements, sudden movement, sudden stopping, sharp
turn around the bend. You know, the van`s going to go one way, you`re
going to go with it, and then what happens is, if the van stops, is you
And in this case, the speculation is, and the theory -- I should call
it the theory is that he slammed his head back, hit either the back
partition, something in the back of the van because of the way he was -- he
was in the -- he was in the right side of the van, so he would have been in
this position. And so the van moves forward and he kind of gets slammed
The injuries -- according to the information that we have, the
injuries are on the -- towards the left side of the head, as if the head
hit first and then snapped the neck.
So you can imagine, if you can`t hold yourself and if you don`t have
anything to hold on to and you`re not belted in, you`re kind of helpless in
the van. You are at the mercy of the movement of the van.
MILLER: And that`s what this all centers on, is -- is -- had they
belted him in, we wouldn`t be talking about this.
MATTHEWS: Well, one last question...
MILLER: Had they called for a medic, we probably wouldn`t be talking
MATTHEWS: Well, one last question. You know, Baltimore`s got this
renowned shock trauma unit. In fact, my wife years ago reported on this
almost 40 years ago when it was first established. I remember it was a big
deal. You guys had the first in the country, shock trauma unit.
And the whole idea of a shock trauma unit -- I went back and looked it
up, and I remembered this -- the golden hour. You got to get that person
there as fast as possible. You don`t take them to some other hospital, you
take them there.
MATTHEWS: Now, is there a question as to whether the police were --
the police were negligent in simply not racing him to the shock trauma unit
the minute they saw him in dire straits?
MILLER: Chris, there is -- according to the information that I`ve
gathered, the leading speculation -- and this has to be speculation -- is
that the -- whatever happened in the van to cause him to incur this injury
probably happened within the first 10 minutes, 10 to 12 minutes of the
Now, he`s in the van for another, you know, 20 minutes or whatever.
What medical experts tell me -- and this is probably going to come out as
this case proceeds in a more authoritative way, in particular to this case
-- is that with this type of injury, you slowly deteriorate. The breath
starts to come out of you.
So obviously, this is the Christopher Reeve`s injury. It`s that same
injury. The difference -- he survived, at least for a number of -- you
know, for a while. He survived because he got care so quickly.
That is not the case here. The reporting that we have done, and the
other prisoner in the van told us today, that when they got to the
district, he was -- he was unresponsive. And he heard police officers say,
He has no pulse.
MATTHEWS: Great reporting, WBAL`s Jayne Miller. Thank you, Jayne,
for joining us.
NBC`s Peter Alexander reports us now from Baltimore. Peter, have you
been listening to this very powerful reporting by Jayne Miller? And is it
squaring with what people are thinking in the crowds there? I`m sensing a
delay, a serious delay in getting information to the crowds as to where
this narrative seems to be emerging and taking us toward.
PETER ALEXANDER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: You know, Chris, you`re exactly
right. Jayne and I spent a lot of this day together as she was going over
much of her reporting over the course of this week.
But let`s be clear. Very little of that information has made it to
west Baltimore. While many of the people who live in Freddie Gray`s
community in west Baltimore, among those who came here, they weren`t
deterred by the rain. The information hasn`t moved nearly that quickly to
We were there again at points yesterday and today, and the individuals
we spoke to made it very clear to us that they were anticipating Friday,
that Friday was a day circled on their calendars.
This is such an issue that earlier today, we spoke to one of the
pastors in this community, and he spent some of his morning going to the
high schools with other community leaders, speaking in classrooms. He said
he didn`t think it would be a good idea to have a full assembly right now,
given the intensity of the feelings in this community -- but speaking to
individual classrooms and trying to make sure people were aware of the
situation right now so there wouldn`t be some level of disappointment.
In his words, he said people, for whatever reason, were anticipating
a, quote, "verdict." They thought this thing would be resolved in some way
on Friday, and there`s real concern about what could happen. He described
it like putting a metal plate in the microwave. He says the sparks will
start to fly, and we`re concerned about what happens next.
MATTHEWS: Well, what`s the buzz? Do people think this was a case of
perhaps criminal negligence? Do they think the guy, Freddie Gray, was beat
up? That`s happened in the past by police, in paddy wagons. But what is
the sense, the visual notion that people at their worst think happened?
ALEXANDER: Well, they haven`t been using words like "criminal
negligence" when we`ve been speaking to them. They refer to this in terms
like murder. One guy said manslaughter, but most of them say this is
murder by officers. That`s the language that they`re using here.
MATTHEWS: That`s what I`m afraid of.
ALEXANDER: And I think one of the challenges is going to be in a
community like this, to try to describe any of this stuff in the legal
jargon that the prosecutor`s office and others speak with right now. They
want answers. They want accountability...
ALEXANDER: ... and the type of language...
MATTHEWS: Yes, Peter...
ALEXANDER: ... this requires.
MATTHEWS: It`s not a matter of lingo. Either you beat the hell out
of a guy or the guy gets hurt by a car driving too fast, are two different
matters, I think, in terms of even basic street...
ALEXANDER: ... so that`s a good point.
MATTHEWS: That`s different. Those are different points.
ALEXANDER: So to answer the -- so to be fair, they think -- to be
fair, they don`t believe the reporting that we`re now getting from this
MATTHEWS: I understand that.
ALEXANDER: ... that the catastrophic injury occurred inside. They
think he was badly beaten outside. They believe that`s where the
significant extent of his injuries took place. And the reason they think
that is because they say they`ve seen it happen, that it`s happened to them
or to others.
There are so many arrests. I think Jayne knows the number better,
something like 50,000 arrests over the course of a year in Baltimore --
50,000 arrests! So this is not something that these folks haven`t seen
many times before.
MATTHEWS: Well, the disconnect is going to continue, especially, as
you pointed out, Peter, everybody in the news business thought we were
going to sent out a public report on Friday, and now we`re not going to get
one. So it`s not just the people out there in civilian land, if you will.
Anyway, thank you so much, Peter Alexander of NBC.
MSNBC`s Joy Reid has been talking with protesters who`ve gathered at
the city hall in Baltimore. Joy, it`s great to have you on. You`ve
probably been listening to this conversation about what`s leaking from the
police report, and I think it`s starting to emerge there as sort of like an
old Polaroid. We`re starting to get a picture here, but I`m not sure
that`s the picture people have outside the police department. Your
thoughts or your information.
JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely. I think if you can
sum up people`s feelings here, it`s, Here we go again. You know, people
are extremely cynical about this Baltimore police department.
And to the conversation you were just having with Peter, I would agree
that when we talk to people about what happened to Freddie Gray, nobody
talks about what happened in the van. What people talk about is the idea
of police officers putting their knees down on Freddie Gray`s neck.
They talk about him being lifted up, limp and obviously injured, and
thrown into that van. And people talk about that not just for Freddie
Gray, but as something that the Baltimore police -- that that`s how they
treat black people in this city, quite frankly.
REID: And there`s a definite sense that the police department,
according to the people that we`re talking to, is not being honest, they`re
not telling the truth.
And I`ll tell you, Chris, leaks to "The Washington Post" -- that
doesn`t help because the more things that leak that seem to be trying to
clear the officers -- people here don`t seem to have any expectation those
officers are going to be held to account. They believe those leaks are
providing the alibi that`s going to get these officers to walk away.
REID: And in their mind, that`s just...
REID: ... one more time that this is happening.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Let me tell you something. My view is that reporters
that are good reporters know how to interview cops as well as interview
anybody else, and they can tell when they`re being BS`d, and they`re trying
to figure out by talking to multiple sources a story that adds up or
doesn`t add up.
And so the reporter for the -- for -- Brad Bell from JLA in
Washington, the ABC affiliate, he mentioned multiple sources -- and he`s a
serious reporter who has a background working in Baltimore. So I think
he`s -- and he also worked in public television before that. I don`t think
he`s some guy that just scribbled down some notes from some cop. So I`m a
little more believing of this. But I understand why other people are not.
REID: Well, Chris, I`ll tell you, you know, now that we`ve done,
unfortunately, so many stories like this, the way this tends to go, at
least in my experience, is that you get a leak from the police department
or multiple leaks from the police department that tell the story that winds
up being the story, and that these leaks tend to be what the defense is
going to be. And it tends to work.
And I think that, you know, for African-Americans, this is not a new
thing. And I don`t think people necessarily disbelieve (ph) that that is
the story police are telling, but I think that this is the preview to what
is going to exculpate the officers, and that`s what is making people
cynical, the fact that...
MATTHEWS: It could also be the truth.
REID: ... whatever the leak is, that`s what`s going to be the
MATTHEWS: It could also be the truth!
REID: ... and that that story (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: Joy, it could also be the exact truth, objective truth. We
don`t know yet.
REID: Yes, well, people here -- people here are not -- are not
believing that right now. I`ll tell you, Chris, there`s a fair amount of
anger here, and not even a fair amount, people are cynical. They`re angry.
REID: And it isn`t just about this one case. It`s not about just
Freddie Gray. It`s about the day-to-day experiences...
MATTHEWS: I know.
REID: ... that people have with the police.
MATTHEWS: I understand.
REID: And they`re not good, quite frankly. The relationship --
people describe it as not a bad relationship, no relationship, and a sense
that the police are sort of an alien occupying force, rather than part of
the community. So there`s a lot that needs to get fixed.
But it`s not just here. I just talking was to a guy earlier, said,
This isn`t just a Baltimore thing, this is the whole country. There needs
to be a broad...
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know.
REID: ... conversation about policing...
MATTHEWS: And -- and...
REID: ... because you know what? This is -- every new case, Chris,
just makes it worse.
MATTHEWS: And everything you say can be true, and everything the
community up there in Baltimore and around the country thinks, the African-
American community, and their experience has led to their knowledge, and
that can all be true and this case could still be uniquely true in itself.
And that`s the problem we have, is to find out what happened here, uniquely
here, not just a general application of the way things are.
Anyway, thank you so much, MSNBC`s Joy Reid.
Let me bring in right now Baltimore city councilman Carl Stokes.
Councilman, thank you for this because Joy gave us a good description of
the mood, and then we have to find the search for the absolute truth, or
the objective truth, if there`s such a thing.
CARL STOKES, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Sure.
MATTHEWS: And I think there is. The question -- we got six police
officers involved in this. Usually, somebody breaks. Omerta doesn`t
always hold. Eventually, you get to something close to a human truth here.
Do you think we`ll get it?
STOKES: Right. I think we will. I think we really will get it. As
you said, we got six officers here. But you know, as the pressure comes
down from one place or another, I think there is going to be a break. I
think someone is going to say something that either can be corroborated or
Sometimes, often, the fact that it can`t be allows the investigators
to then ask the questions, the right questions, of the others to get to
what should be the truth.
MATTHEWS: Councilman, you have a famous name, sir, by the way. I am
already inclined toward you, even though you may not be. Are you related
to the Carl Stokes, Lori Stokes`s (ph) father.
STOKES: I am not.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s too bad.
STOKES: I am not. I...
MATTHEWS: That`s too bad because...
STOKES: It is!
MATTHEWS: ... it`s a great thing. Let me ask you about...
STOKES: It is a great thing.
MATTHEWS: And Lou Stokes, of course, the former congressman from
Cleveland, the former -- his brother was mayor of Cleveland, a famous
mayor, and his beautiful daughter is a newscaster, as we all know. Used to
work with my wife, too, at channel 7.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this...
MATTHEWS: OK, you have some power. You`re a councilman, all right?
I feel like...
MATTHEWS: ... like I`m Howard Cosell here. What can you do, sir, to
make things better next year than this year. Next April comes around,
how`s it going to be different if you can do what you can do? What would
STOKES: I think that -- I`ve got to get a majority of my council
members to -- you know, we`ve got to get a majority of the council members
to say -- not to talk about it, we`ve got to put more money in the budget
this year, this budget year. It starts July 1st. And we`re going to pass
a budget in the next four weeks.
We`ve got to determine, sitting with young people and mentors and ask
them, what are the projects that would make the most impact, the most
difference immediately? And I think we`ve got to put together a budget so
that on July 1, we start to fund full summer employment for our young
MATTHEWS: Yes. Thank you.
STOKES: We`ve got to do that.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much. That is music. Marion Barry was mayor
of this city in D.C., and he had many personal problems, as we all know.
He was a mixed bag, but he was so right about summer jobs for kids here.
He did that, and it worked.
STOKES: It absolutely works. And the mayor of the city, Marion
Barry, said every kid, every kid who wants a job will get one. He didn`t
put a limit on it.
MATTHEWS: Well, good luck in the council getting that majority.
Thank you much, Councilman Carl Stokes...
STOKES: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: ... of the famous name-...
STOKES: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: ... in Charm City.
Much more from Baltimore when we return.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Maryland U.S. Congresswoman Donna Edwards represents the district just
south of Baltimore City. U.S. Congressman Edwards is also a mother. In a
passionate editorial, an op-ed piece in today`s "Washington Post," she
described her frank talk with her own teenage son about the relationship
between the police and the African-American young people. She wrote, "As
black mothers, we know our sons` vulnerability is measured by the
exceptions that feel like the rule. This must change."
Joining me right now is U.S. Congresswoman Donna Edwards, who`s also a
candidate for the United States Senate in Maryland.
Congresswoman, you`ve been on the show many times before. You`ll be
on many times again. But today, I would love you to just talk for TV what
you wrote in the paper today.
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Well, you know, Chris, I`ve been
feeling this a lot and it`s the pain that I have felt as a mom when
starting very early on, when my son was just in middle school, I began to
have conversations with him about what to do if he had an encounter with
And it`s not that all officers are bad, we know that there are an
awful lot of good law enforcement officers out there. But as black
mothers, I know as a mom I worried about my son in those encounters. I
worry about him every single time he left the home or he was on his own and
hanging out with friends.
And even today, he`s a young adult male and I still worry about him.
And I worry that he might have an encounter and I would tell him, don`t
mouth off, you know, keep your hands above the steering wheel. I just want
you to get home safely.
And I think that this is the pain that a lot of moms are feeling. And
that hasn`t been expressed in this. And when I saw what happened in
Baltimore over these last several days, I thought about the pain of black
mothers and that our voices really need to be heard and how we can fix our
And it isn`t just about Baltimore, it`s about communities all across
the country that have been disinvested in, where there are not jobs, where
young people feel a sense of hopelessness and despair. And we have to get
this right. This is our calling to get this right, for all of our sons and
our daughters, too.
MATTHEWS: Do you believe there`s a real charge of truth behind the
comment of driving while black, that people are stopped and pulled over
because they`re African-American. Is that something you believe happens in
EDWARDS: I do believe that when stopped, that there is a circumstance
that I know for my son, what I want him to do is to have an engagement, if
he gets stopped, that doesn`t result in him losing his life or being
incarcerated. And I think that that is just a reality check.
Now, the fact is, is that my son actually comes from a relatively
privileged background, and so, I think about the young people in
communities whose only encounter with government is with law enforcement.
And to me, as a parent, that is the back end of what we need to be doing
for all of our communities.
The fact that we`re talking about bad policing practices or body
cameras, we need to have that conversation, but we need to have a
conversation about 20th century schools, when we have to prepare children
for a 21st century education, about the lack of jobs, about jobs that long
since left, where people can`t even work for a decent wage that allows them
to take care of themselves and their children.
And until this country has that conversation, we`ll just continue to
deal with policing practices and the response that comes afterwards.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk jobs, because I think it`s a part of this,
especially for young men, about having the kind of job that the young men
is looking to have in life, besides the drug trade, of course, which is the
worst possible direction. You know, we have this trade bill and will it
pass or not is a separate question from tonight`s question, but if it
passes, once again, we`re going to be left with people, left on the
sidelines, economically. The market will not provide opportunities for
What can the U.S. government, and you running for the Senate, what can
the U.S. government do to create training for 21st century jobs, so young
kids -- "C" students, not the "A" students, they take care of themselves,
but the "C" students, "C" plus who were clean, they kept their nose clean -
- where are they going to go when they`re 18 and 19, (INAUDIBLE) for
EDWARDS: Well, I think this is a huge problem for us in the United
States. Look, we have to be able to have a system where if you want to go
to college, you go to college, but you know what? You should be able to go
to a trade school or a community college and get the skills that are going
to allow you to participate actively in the economy.
We need to be rebuilding our roads, our bridges, all of our
EDWARDS: -- that`s crumbling, that would create jobs all across this
This is not rocket science and if we don`t do this, it shouldn`t be a
surprise to us that our cities, our communities are falling apart.
MATTHEWS: Is it going to happen?
EDWARDS: Well, you know what? If it were up to me, and I had my
magic wand, of course I would make it happen.
It`s going to take Republicans and Democrats saying, we`re going to
create jobs in this economy. We`re not going to trade them all overseas,
and then we`re going to make sure that people can earn a decent wage, at a
decent job. We used to have those kind of jobs in our economy. We can
have them again.
EDWARDS: But it`s going to take all of us committed to doing that.
MATTHEWS: A HARDBALL question for you: Do you believe the Black
Caucus has been forceful enough in demanding this kind of action, because
it`s the people that you oftentimes, most of the time, represent in big
cities that are getting hurt by this lack of opportunity? Do you believe
the Black Caucus in the U.S. Congress is strong enough of will to insist,
to use its leverage for the Democratic Party, especially, to insist that
the Democratic Party stand for summer jobs, for job training, for young
people, especially young men? Are they doing it? Are they delivering?
EDWARDS: You know what? I`m going to tell you something. When I
look at the legislation that members of the Black Caucus have proposed, to
make sure that people can get jobs and have opportunity -- I mean, there
are pages of legislation. Where are the Republicans in the Congress joined
with Democrats in the Congress to make these things a reality for all of
This is not a problem of the Black Caucus not having ideas. It`s a
problem of all of us, as members of Congress, not supporting those ideas,
so that they become a reality.
MATTHEWS: Right. Has the caucus, as we call it, has the caucus used
its leverage and its power to get this stuff done?
EDWARDS: I think that what we`ve done is we`ve called -- we have
called on our colleagues in the Congress to pay attention to our
communities. And you know what? Today, in Baltimore and all of the other
Baltimores all across this country, this is a clarion call for us to get it
right now. So, whether we`ve gotten it right before in the past, it`s time
for us to get it right today.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much. It`s great to have you on, as always, U.S.
Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland. Thank you for that beautiful
article today for everybody.
EDWARDS: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And now, you`ve probably seen the video showing Toya
Graham, the mom in Baltimore who, look at this, forcefully encouraged --
that`s a good word -- encouraged her son to move away from a riot. The so-
called "mom of the year", that`s what people are calling her, says her
actions were motivated by downright fear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOYA GRAHAM, BALTIMORE MOM: That`s my only day, and at the end of the
day, I don`t want him to be a Freddie Gray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Joining me right now is Toya Graham`s pastor, the Reverend
John Lunn of the Berean Baptist Church.
Reverend, thank you for joining us tonight.
REV. JOHN LUNN, BEREAN BAPTIST CHURCH PASTOR: You`re welcome.
MATTHEWS: You know, sometimes we see heroes in the worst possible
situations, and I think we just saw one, Toya, Toya Graham. And your
thoughts about her as a member of your congregation and what you know about
her situation and her?
LUNN: Toya is a wonderful mom. She`s always bringing her children to
church. They participate in different programs in church. They sing on
the choir, some are in the dance ministry. They`re involved in the youth
So, she keeps them pretty active and she`s a great mom, because she`s
always staying on their case. And she`s always with them.
MATTHEWS: How do you see this story affecting you? You have a sermon
this Sunday, I`m sure, Pastor, and it will probably be about this, if I`m
not presuming. And what are you going to say?
LUNN: I`m going to talk about -- last week, we talked about parents
being responsible for their children, and telling them the story and
everything that we have been through as a people, and we had a blurb on
that last Sunday, we shared, and evidently, she was listening very well.
And I was explaining to the congregation, make sure we take of our
children and our grandchildren, because we are all they have. And on
Monday, that`s exactly what she did. She came in to take care of her son,
to make sure everything was going to be all right with him.
MATTHEWS: Reverend, it`s great to have you on tonight. Thank you so
much for joining us.
Anyway, the son of Toya Graham, Michael Singleton, says his mom --
well, that would have held if they kept that up there anyway -- says his
mom, keep going, was trying to do more to just keep him out of trouble.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: That`s my only son. And at the end of the day, I don`t want
him to be a Freddie Gray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Boy, isn`t that something, Michael Steele?
MATTHEWS: Ruth Marcus, and Jonathan Capehart? Isn`t that something
that a mother -- it isn`t about right and wrong, it`s basic survival skills
we`re talking here.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It is. Moms are -- they`re
the front line between their children and the rest of the world. And when
they feel threatened, when they see the world coming at them in a way that
is not consistent with their values and how they`re raising their kids, you
see moments like that, and when the kids sort of break the line and want to
get out into the world the wrong way, moms are there to stop it.
And I think, you know, she really reflect, I think, a lot of mothers,
as you spoke with the congresswoman, about the piece she wrote. That is so
What I would like to hear and see are the fathers. And I don`t care
what shape they`re in, I don`t care what their condition is. If they have
a child, if they have a son, especially, their voices are equally important
at times like this.
MATTHEWS: How do you speak to a son in this, anybody hear, speak to a
son when you have to tell them, look out for the law, because you`re black,
and you`re going to get a different situation than somebody else when you
confront a police officer?
RUTH MARCUS, THE WASHINGTON POST: It`s the sheer reality of life.
And I have not had the experience of speaking to my black son, but as the
only mom on the panel, my heart goes out to Donna Edwards, having to have
that conversation with her kids. To the mom of the year, whose name I`m
MATTHEWS: Toya Graham.
MARCUS: Toya Graham.
You know, I understand, there has been some criticism, we`re not
supposed to hit our kids, that`s not the way we teach them things. I`m
sorry, if I saw my child in that situation, the mama grizzly --
MATTHEWS: She was cuffing him.
MARCUS: The mama grizzly would have come out.
And I have to say, I have two white daughters, and when they go out at
night in their cars, I worry about them every single time, but I do not
worry. I tell them, if they`re stopped by the police, to be polite. I
don`t worry about them being injured by the hands of police. And if they
were African-American, I would.
MATTHEWS: I had lunch the other day with a former Republican
congressman, African-American guy, and he went through all the stories,
stopped by police, stopped by department stores. Guys you never expect.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: As the only black kid who`s
gone through that conversation with his mother, you know, decades ago, it
was very painful --
MARCUS: It wasn`t decades. You`re too young.
CAPEHART: Well, it was. It`s a painful conversation to hear as a
young, idealistic person who thinks the world is perfect and everything`s
going to be all right.
My mother, still, when I talk to her on the phone and tell her I`m
going somewhere -- be careful, be careful. And I know that`s something
that all mothers say, but when it`s my mother, I know what that be careful
MATTHEWS: So, she knows that even though you present yourself
carefully, and you`re such -- let me blunt about it -- you`re a gentleman,
you still face that crap (ph) --
CAPEHART: Yes, and one of the reasons why, when the Trayvon Martin
situation happened, and I wrote so personally, and even outside the Michael
Brown situation, I wrote so personally, every time an African-American,
particularly a male, was killed by police or someone, especially unarmed --
I wrote about it personally, because I know that despite the way I look,
despite the way I dress, despite the way I present myself, one day, I could
There`s nothing that separates me from Walter Scott, from Freddie
Gray, from even Michael Brown, because when someone who is perhaps biased
or subconsciously biased, they don`t see me, they don`t see the person that
folks on MSNBC all the time, they see a brown face. They see a black face,
and impute all sorts of nefarious motives.
MATTHEWS: They throw the stats at you.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go right now to MSNBC`s Toure out in Baltimore. He`s
with a group of protesters right now and they`re moving fast -- Toure.
TOURE, MSNBC: Chris, I`m at North and Penn, where hundreds of
protesters marched from city hall, to here, it`s a little more strident
march than we saw yesterday. They`ve been chanting, "All night, all day,
we`ll work for Freddie Gray". "No justice, no peace."
At city hall, when some of the protesters said, we need to be patient,
some of the folks on the lawn chanted back at them and yelled back at them,
they don`t want patience, they want justice now, they said. Look, people
in this community said they didn`t expect justice to come, they didn`t
expect a reckoning to come or a report to come on Friday. They`re too
cynical for that.
So, Chris, there`s something larger going on here. At the march, when
the rain started coming down, they said from the crowd, they said, that`s
not the only storm coming. This is a peaceful crowd, but it`s a little
more edgy than we`ve seen before.
MATTHEWS: It`s great to have you on again, see you later, Toure.
MSNBC`s Thomas Roberts is among other protesters right now -- Thomas.
THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Chris, thank you.
Yeah, I`m here with Karima (ph) and Tammy (ph), they`re part of this
large group you can see behind us at the intersection of Pennsylvania and
Karima, you live if Bolton Hill. Why did you want to be a part of
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just because, you know, why not? I mean, it`s
time for a change. We need to do something. We can`t just sit at the
sidelines and, you know, just continue to let this stuff happen.
ROBERTS: Tammy, how do you feel about the transparency issues from
the police department, from the incidents that they`re saying now through
these reports that the police officers were not involved in any injuries
during the arrest of Freddie Gray?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, police brutality has been going on for
quite a while and this has just become a very big and bad thing. There
needs to be justice served and there is a lot of charges that hasn`t been
put forth towards a lot of police, that`s still working and getting paid,
like the ones that`s having paid for Freddie Gray. And they`re just
sitting home, getting paid, while this investigation is going on. Freddie
Gray is deceased.
And we`re out here fighting and hoping that everything goes well. We
want a very peaceful protest. I do hope that all of the violence and the
black-on-black killing stops, because that`s not going to help or solve any
It`s just time for a change. And a lot of the kids, they just need to
wake up and think positive and do positive things.
ROBERTS: But what if charges are not going to come from this
investigation. If the investigation clears the police, how is that going
to make you feel? Will you be satisfied that everything was done to the
investigation and that you trust in it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I will not be satisfied, at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because there needs to be an independent
investigation. There needs to be other investigations, not just from the
I think that`s a very biased -- you know, we need more than that,
because there are certain things that just don`t make sense. There`s no
way that you can sustain the injuries that he did, just riding in the back
of a police car. It just makes no sense, you know?
So, there needs to be, you know -- it just needs -- there needs to be
more independent investigations and something done, more.
ROBERTS: Last question, about the curfew, are you both OK with the
curfew that`s been imposed by Mayor Blake?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, we understand and we certainly obey it.
So, it`s not a problem, you know, it`s for our own safety.
ROBERTS: Tammy, same thing for you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, same thing.
ROBERTS: OK, so will you be home tonight, not with the protesters?
You`re going to be home by 10:00?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I`m usually to bed around 8:00.
ROBERTS: OK, all right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it`s not hurting me at all.
ROBERTS: Chris, I`m going to send it back to you. Just like us,
we`re usually in bed by 9:00, typically.
But they are out here now, making their voices heard. They`ve marched
from city hall down here. This again is the intersection of Pennsylvania
and North. The burned out CVS is just over here on my right-hand side.
But we know that there is frustration, as there has been issues with a
lack of transparency, or they feel a lack of transparency calling with the
police department, as we know that the driver of that police van has yet to
give an official statement of what happened that day on April the 12th.
MATTHEWS: Well, I think that`s going to be -- I love what the woman
there just said. The lady was very -- I even thought of that, outside
investigations probably is going to come from the United States Department
of Justice. It looks like they`re going into this case as a civil rights -
- whenever you have local officials possibly abusing their authority,
that`s the perfect opportunity for the justice department to go in and look
and see if people`s civil liberties were abused there.
Also, of course, the district attorney isn`t automatically on the side
of the police, although you have to suspect that.
Anyway, thank you so much, MSNBC`s Thomas Roberts.
The HBO crime drama, "The Wire," is based on the police department in
Baltimore itself, while it`s a work of fiction, many this week are pointing
out that the series reveals a lot about the city`s problems today. The
real problems, in his piece, "Why `The Wire` should be must-see TV for
Baltimore Pundits", "Variety`s" TV columnist Brian Lowry writes that,
quote, "`The Wire` played as a tragedy, where cycles of poverty and
inaction weren`t broken because, with few exceptions, nobody had the
combination of will and resources to do so. The depressing nature of that
vision no doubt helps explain why the series generated more rave reviews
than viewers, striking a little too close to home."
Anyway, today the White House hosted a call with celebrities and
athletes with strong ties to the city of Baltimore, to encourage them to do
what they can do for the city. Among the participants was New York Knicks`
star, Carmelo Anthony, as well as Rayman (ph) Lewis of the Baltimore
But actor Sonja Sohn and Gbenga Akinnagbe, I know him, of "The Wire",
have already been speaking out and join us.
Gbenga, thank you so much for joining us, and Sonja.
Gbenga, what can you do?
GBENGA AKINNAGBE, ACTOR, "THE WIRE": Well, I just spent the last two,
three days down in Baltimore and it`s been an intense scene. I think it`s
important not to depict the city as a tragic scene, though. There`s a lot
of beautiful things that "The Wire" showed that was native to Baltimore.
There`s a spirit there, a unique culture there.
But the article in "Variety" was true, that there`s a tragedy there
that is systematic, and there`s a failure to address it. I think there`s a
lot of political will to keep things exactly the same way. There`s a lot
of economic will to keep things exactly the same way. And it`s not unique
to Baltimore. This is true in cities all around the world, people with
power and people without.
MATTHEWS: Well, what do you think of local politicians in a black
community. Do you think they put the pressure on the majority in the
country? Do they use their clout? There`s an awful lot of members of the
African-American and Black Caucus in the D.C. and federal government.
And I just wonder, do they crack the whip enough? Do they make sure
that people listen to them, you know, as a deal, if you want to be part of
the majority that wins elections, you`ve got to help us?
AKINNAGBE: I have to say, it`s difficult. These are people who have
dedicated their lives, you know, for the most part, for serving the
community and public service, but it`s also, within a system that is
inherently flawed and inherently does not serve the public and the masses.
So, to play along, to get along, you`ve got to play along. And I`m
not accusing anyone from the Black Caucus or any black official of power of
that, but it`s almost a systemic inevitability, that there are compromises
that -- to the cost of the people.
MATTHEWS: You think it`s an attitude of go along to get along or get
along to go long, rather than push?
AKINNAGBE: It`s both. It`s both. I don`t think the system is set
up. And when I say, the system, I mean on a state level, I mean on a
national level. I don`t really think it`s set up to benefit the people in
a way that maximizes what we can do as a people.
I mean, I`m sure you`ve been to Baltimore. These are row homes,
blocks of abandoned row homes for no reason, that have been there for
decades. It`s hard to grow happy and healthy in a situation like that.
People aren`t heating or eating well, and this is the life they`re
Like I said, I was just down there and interviewing people, left and
right, who grew up, who grow up with police violence. And this is normal
to them. They don`t expect anything else. They just don`t want to be
killed for it. That`s it. They expect to be beaten by the police.
That`s the normal relationship. And we know this, but it hasn`t
MATTHEWS: Sonia, your views?
SONJA SOHN, ACTOR, "THE WIRE": Yes, I mean, I agree with everything
that Gbenga says, but having lived in Baltimore and worked in Baltimore,
both with "The Wire", and with the nonprofit that I started and led for
five years. I have a slightly different take on the leadership there.
And I think that those row homes are empty, but I think they`re empty
for a reason. The row homes are not empty for no reason. I think there`s
an economic reason behind it. I think there is -- the will of the
politicians is to built a tax base there, and I think that there has been a
slow gentrification, and maybe sometimes not so low of these communities
where marginalized citizens live.
And I think that -- you know, I`m not -- I have to refrain from
making, you know, direct statements around, direct accusations, but I got
to say that everyone who lives in underserved communities in Baltimore, who
are activists on the ground, who work with that population knows that the
will of the leadership there isn`t necessarily to support thriving
communities. We know that leadership there tends to cater to business.
And I think that`s what we`re seeing right now. The root cause of
what we`re seeing right now are years and years of neglect of the people`s
needs, especially young people.
I`m going to stop right there. There are a few more things I would
like to say, but I do believe that the police and this culture of non-
transparency and abuse, physical abuse of men, men and boys of color on the
streets, is at a -- has brought the people to a place of no tolerance.
And I have to tell you, Chris, if there is no indictment, if there is
no officer held accountable for what`s happening there in Baltimore,
Baltimore is -- I`m really afraid that Baltimore will burn. That there
will be, you know, an escalation of violence, you know, much worse than we
saw on Monday, because folks are sick and tired. And I was there.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Sonja, for joining us. Strong words,
but I heard them. Gbenga Akinnagbe, thank you very much, gentleman and
AKINNAGBE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Coming up next, manufacturing used to be a huge part of
Baltimore. People could get good jobs right out of high school. Now,
those jobs are gone and we`re seeing how hard that is for places like
By the way, those row houses, when people working for a living, it was
OK living there. If you had a job, it was a totally different environment,
I would argue.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We continue to watch protests in the streets of many cities, Baltimore
included. We`ve also been watching hundreds of people gathering in city
hall in Philadelphia, looking at right now a protest in solidarity with the
people of Baltimore to the south.
I`m joined right now by Michael Steele, Ruth Marcus, and Jonathan
But also joining me right now is the mayor of Philadelphia, Michael
Mayor, thank you for thank you for joining us. I bumped into you the
MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER (D), PHILADELPHIA: Sure, Chris. Yes.
MATTHEWS: What is the message from Metropolis USA, not just
NUTTER: Well, we have some demonstrations going on here in the city
of Philadelphia. They`ve been peaceful. They were at city hall and then
walked around city hall and have dispersed to a couple of other place. But
demonstrators are still walking at this point.
But what`s really also going on is we`re currently hosting the Cities
United convening, second convening where we`re talking about with other
elected officials and folks across the United States of America --
obviously, this was planned a long time ago but timely, talking about
issues related to violence affecting African-American men and boys, the
need to listen to our young people, engage with them about issues related
to jobs and education opportunity and how their lives can be improved, but
also how they can be much more involved in what`s going on in our cities
all across America.
So, these are the topics that we`re talking about.
NUTTER: Seventy-four mayors across the United States -- over 70 mayors
have signed on to the Cities United agenda because these mayors and elected
officials black and white, Democrats and Republicans, care about what`s
going on in our cities all across America. And we need to get the issues
of justice. We need criminal justice reform in our system.
We need to look at as we are here in Philadelphia, look at and examine
ourselves about use of force, officer involved shootings. We called in the
Justice Department into Philadelphia under the leadership of police
commissioner Ramsey. They gave us a report, collaborative reform, giving
us recommendations which we`re going to implement.
MATTHEWS: Mayor, I got to ask you about this, police clashes I`m
getting in my ear, reports that sound like real clashes. Rahm Emanuel, one
of your fellow mayors, says never let an opportunity go unexploited.
How are the good people of big cities and those who care about cities,
and most Americans love the city they come from. How do you save the
cities, the kids who will be the future of the big cities, coming out of
this crisis? How can you say to the Republican side of the aisle, OK, you
guys and women, you saw what happened here, let`s not let this happen the
rest of our lives, this summer in this city thing?
NUTTER: Well --
MATTHEWS: Let`s do something about these kids. What will you do to
exploit this tragedy so far?
NUTTER: Well, one, we need to continue doing the advocacy that we`ve
been doing about summer job, for instance. I know we have to tail end,
obviously, last day in April, but we need to be focused on summer jobs,
full year-round jobs, how do we make more investments as, Chris, you know,
we`re trying to do here in Philadelphia in our education system, job
training programs, the cuts that have come unfortunately out of Washington.
Many members of Congress not understanding the devastating impact of
cutting grant programs for jobs for our young people in the summer and job
training programs for older adults.
These are the consequences of the actions by some in Washington, D.C.
and the partisan bickering, the fighting -- constant fighting by the
Congress with President Obama. As he said the other day, if they would
pass many of his agenda items, we could actually investing in our young
people, revitalize our communities, and deal with issues in Philadelphia,
in Baltimore, in Chicago and cities all across the United States of
It is time for all elected officials, local, state, federal, to wake
up, stand up, make the investments, do your job so other people can get a
MATTHEWS: Michael Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia, thank you, sir, for
coming on as always.
The mayor isn`t just talking this back when he was first elected, we
had dinner one night. He said, what I want to do in this city is teach
young men, especially young men, job training that will make them proud to
be young men, you know, real and advance technology and jobs, not just a
place, not just a pliers and a screwdriver but teach kids how to fix cars
that would make them lots of money and be proud when they come home at
night, guys job. I know this doesn`t sound like the women, but you know
exactly what I mean.
RUTH MARCUS: Women can do guys` jobs, too.
MATTHEWS: You come home, you`re sweaty. Your fingers are dirty, but
you`ve done a real guys` job that day, and those jobs, my generation`s --
my grandpa, my uncle, they grew up like that as a birth right. There was
always a job like that a couple subway stops away. It was there.
John, it isn`t there anymore.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: No, it`s not there anymore.
MATTHEWS: The training was there.
CAPEHART: Mayor Nutter is trying to do the best he can.
MATTHEWS: He wanted to do there.
CAPEHART: Right. Mayors around the country are trying to do the best
they can. You`re asking questions about where is the Black Caucus and --
MATTHEWS: Let`s use the opportunity.
CAPEHART: Right. But I want to ask Speaker Boehner, you`re the
speaker of the United States House of Representatives, you are a leader in
this country. Where are you in this conversation?
It`s fine to look to the president, whoever the president is, but we
happen to have President Obama now. Yes, the president should be mindful.
But I have not heard anybody ask --
CAPEHART: -- where`s the speaker of the House on this?
Congress needs to be involved. It`s not just the Black Caucus, it`s
MATTHEWS: So who is the speaker of the house worried about you? You
or the Tea Party? He`s worried about the guys that play hard ball. He`s
worried about the Tea Party.
CAPEHART: If he doesn`t worry about what`s happening in Baltimore and
Philadelphia and Los Angeles --
MATTHEWS: He isn`t. They`re not his people. His party doesn`t
represent those cities. That`s why we have to figure out how to leverage
MATTHEWS: Michael, how do you leverage this?
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I agree, the attitude has to
change but we`re living in a time --
MATTHEWS: It isn`t going to change. The power`s going to change.
STEELE: That`s where it is. The power is in how those constituencies
leverage this opportunity, how the black community aligns itself in such a
way that it leverages not just the Speaker Boehners of the world but the
Mayor Nutters and the city councilmen. I mean, this is not just one --
MATTHEWS: Nobody works harder than Nutter. I wish there was a way to
make this work.
We`re going to talk about this a little later than just the latest
street protests. We ought to be doing this professionally and pushing it
forward. I hate to give sermons.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Didn`t spend enough time with these brilliant people.
Michael Steele, Ruth Marcus, and Jonathan Capehart, great group to hang out
with. Anyway, when you weren`t watching.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
I meant during the breaks.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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