Skip navigation

'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: April 29, 2015
Guest: Elijah Cummings, Eric Kowalczyk, Catherine Pugh


JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And other local leaders with the
pastor -- some people who were chanting, go home, and groups of people who
were saying essentially no.

And Congressman Cummings is still out here, he`s just walking around with
his bullhorn, and a member of his staff and another local leader with the
pastor.

I don`t know what`s going on over there. Now, we have people kind of --
kind of moving quickly.

Now, I mean issues still here, Rachel, is that you know when you reported
earlier, there were issues with being able to process the very few people
who were detained yesterday.

Was just a lot more people. So we`re just sort of taking a wait-and-see
attitude to see what happens, as this crowd, I mean a lot of this is press,
but there are a lot of people here too that are just not dispersing.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Joy Reid, you`re doing great work, stay where you
are as best as you can, obviously, stay safe. And we`re going to be going
back to you through the night as we see this curfew go into effect.

Great work Joy, well done. And that curfew is now in effect in Baltimore.
You see Joy Reid, we`ve got other reporters out there in the middle of it
in Baltimore right now, our coverage continues now with Lawrence O`Donnell.

Good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening Rachel, thank you.

MADDOW: Of course --

O`DONNELL: We`re continuing our live coverage of what is now the second
consecutive night of curfew in Baltimore. That curfew has just began
within the last minute.

Went into effect at 10:00 p.m. last night, and the curfew worked smoothly
after police cleared disturbance of the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue,
North Ave, the -- got about 20 minutes into the curfew last night.

And by the end of the first hour of last night`s first curfew, Baltimore
was calm and remained calm throughout the night and today.

Tonight`s curfew follows another day of peaceful protests and now
rebuilding in Baltimore. It was a day filled with positive images of a
city repairing and rebuilding itself.

We will be showing you those images throughout this program. Let`s go now
to Msnbc`s Toure who is there in Baltimore. Toure, where are you located
and what is happening there now as the curfew begins again?

TOURE NEBLETT, MSNBC: Lawrence, I`m right at the corner of North and
Pennsylvania where we were last night. At this moment, there`s a lot of
people still out here.

There`s a lot of cops arrayed out here, things have calmed down right now,
but within the last ten minutes, there was something -- a sort of tense
altercation.

We had Elijah Cummings was out here with a bullhorn telling people, go
home, go home, and there were some guys from the street who seemed to live
around here or near here, started a scuffle and it became very large fairly
quickly, and there were about 20-25 people, pushing, arguing, yelling.

You know, it seemed like the moment might blow up any second, we couldn`t
tell, Elijah Cummings was yelling, no violence, no violence, it was in the
middle of the intersection.

And the police were restrained throughout this. They didn`t really respond
to it until the scuffle seems to sort of dissipate almost on its own.

The folks in the scuffle ended it themselves, pulling out the folks who
were the most angry. And at that point, the police on one end of North
made a wall and on the other end of North, they made a sort of long filed
line, such that the security consulted with us.

Had not really ever seen before, but they just stayed there and after a few
minutes, they ended that line.

They`re still in a sort of filed line on one side, but again, they saw a --

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Let`s go home!

NEBLETT: Skirmish beginning and --

CUMMINGS: Let`s go home!

NEBLETT: They did not respond. Elijah Cummings is here --

CUMMINGS: Let`s --

NEBLETT: As you can see with the bullhorn asking people --

CUMMINGS: Let`s go home!

NEBLETT: To go home. There are people here, telling people, go home --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes --

NEBLETT: And there`s people here who are sort of standing around, there`s
also a lot of media out here as well, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Toure, how does the police presence compare to last night at
that location?

NEBLETT: It`s a -- look, I think there is a less intense police presence
at this moment. Last night, along north here, on this side of north, if we
can pan over this side, there was a wall, it seemed very intense, although
they were restrained.

Tonight, again, they`re in a file line, they are further back, they are
less intense, less aggressive-seeming, again, last night they were
restrained, tonight, so far, they are very restrained.

They`re not doing -- they`re not having an aggressive formation at all. So
again, it seems that they`re giving folks a chance to blow off some steam.

O`DONNELL: Toure, is the National Guard present?

NEBLETT: I have not seen the National Guard here at this corner at all.
In my personal travels around Baltimore through these last couple of days,
I have not seen the National Guard at all.

I have seen -- well, I have seen the National Guard over at City Hall, but
I have not seen them at this location.

O`DONNELL: And Toure, what is -- what is the effect that seems to be a
police helicopter above that`s shining that spotlight down there, that`s a
checkmate they were not using last night in that location.

Is that helping at this point?

NEBLETT: I do see several police helicopters in the air there. Over
there, they`re at a higher altitude than they were last night.

Last night, they were lower. If people were on roof tops, they really
disliked that and they were booming at people, get off the roofs.

And those people that I saw on the roofs were not being violent or
aggressive, but they really disliked that and they were really intent on
getting people off of roofs.

Tonight, they`re flying higher. They`re just sort of flying around, you
know, it creates an intense atmosphere, but they`re not really doing
anything right now.

It seems that they`re allowing folks to be in this area. Although, I can -
- it`s a lot of media in this area. There are some citizens here, but it`s
a lot of media.

I see Elijah Cummings -- around quite a bit, trying to get folks to go
home. You know, but there`s a lot of media out here right now, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thanks Toure, we`re joined now by Captain Eric Kowalczyk of the
Baltimore Police Department.

Captain Kowalczyk, did you learn lessons last night that are informing how
you are beginning the curfew tonight?

ERIC KOWALCZYK, POLICE CAPTAIN, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Good evening.

You know, what we`ve said consistently is that we`re going to evaluate our
deployments on a case by case, hour by hour, incident by incident basis and
try to make the best informed decisions that we can.

I think what you`ve seen from our officers at the beginning of this
unfortunate incident is an incredible degree of restraint and
professionalism as we`ve moved forward.

We have an obligation to protect life, that is our highest concern, and we
are going to move carefully, so that we`re doing just that.

O`DONNELL: Captain, I have to ask you about a report that`s just breaking
in "The Washington Post". Which says -- and this is reading directly from
"The Washington Post".

"A prisoner sharing a police transport van with Freddie Gray told
investigators that he could hear Gray banging against the walls of the
vehicle and believed that he was intentionally trying to injure himself
according to a police document obtained by "The Washington Post."

That statement is contained in an application for a search warrant, which
is sealed by the court." Captain, what do you know about how a document
like that would have leaked at this time?

KOWALCZYK: You know, it`s very difficult to speculate about that. What we
know is that we have a very dedicated team that`s been working incredibly
hard to get to the truth of what happened here.

We have that obligation to the Gray family, we have that obligation to the
city of Baltimore to find the truth.

And we had -- we talked earlier this afternoon about the fact that
throughout the day they have been doing an overwhelmingly comprehensive
review of the information that they have.

Trying to make this investigation as tight, accurate and timely as we can.

O`DONNELL: What is the first point at which you would expect the Police
Department would be able to release more information about what happened,
information in any form?

KOWALCZYK: You know, what we have tried to do since the beginning of this
unfortunate incident, is put out as much information as we can.

And a lot of the experts that have talked about this particular case have
mentioned the fact that we are putting out more information than we should
have maybe put out.

For us, it was very important from the onset to keep the public as informed
as possible, to make sure that they knew that we understood the seriousness
of the situation, the concern and angst in the community and moved to
address that.

At the same time, this is a criminal investigation and there is evidence
that has to be preserved. We do that in all of our criminal cases.

And so we have tried to find the balance of releasing as much information
as we can as we are able to throughout the course of this investigation and
we`ve been doing that consistently, even uploading almost 26 hours of
footage on to our YouTube site.

O`DONNELL: And what about written police reports in this case? Have all of
the officers who participated in the arrest of Freddie Gray, have they all
filed written reports?

KOWALCZYK: You know, I wish that I could get into the particulars of the
investigation. I know the concern that not only Baltimore has, but that
the rest of the country has surrounding this investigation.

But again, the evidence, the details of this investigation will come out as
they are able to come out.

But for us right now, it`s about conducting an accurate, timely
investigation, making sure that we do it with a sense of urgency, and then
ensuring that the findings, the evidence that is gathered is saved for any
sort of prosecution that may or may not take place.

O`DONNELL: Captain Kowalczyk, "The Washington Post" reports that the other
arrestee who was in that van with Freddie Gray says that he could only hear
what was happening on the other side of the van, that he couldn`t see.

Is that the way it is inside those vans that there`s a partition from one
side to the other. And one arrestee cannot see what the other one is
doing?

KOWALCZYK: You know, what we have tried to do from the onset is actually
not talk about the interior of the van. What we don`t want to do is create
conjecture.

We don`t want the politics to have misinformation or to begin to theorize,
we need to be able to allow the investigative team to look at all the
evidence, to interview witnesses, to be able to talk to people and be able
to verify and validate the information that they`re getting.

I know that, that doesn`t answer the question and I know that that doesn`t
address the concerns that people have right now. We hear that, that is why
we have moved to release as much information as we could.

More than we have in any other case before this one, so that we could try
to meet the public`s expectations of what they want to hear.

Knowing that everyone from the officers in the police department all the
way through people across the country want answers in this case.

We want answers in this case, but we want to make sure that it`s done
correctly.

O`DONNELL: Captain Kowalczyk, are all of the vans that you used to
transport arrestees, the Ford, I believe this is a Ford van, are they all
outfitted the same way inside?

KOWALCZYK: Yes, our fleet is pretty much the same throughout, there are
minor variations depending on age, but by and large, they`re pretty much
the same.

O`DONNELL: I`m just struggling with what it could possibly compromise to
simply reveal whether one arrestee can see the other on one side of that
partition. I mean is that partition something you can see through or not?

KOWALCZYK: Well -- and I understand that. And what happens is as we go
down and look at every piece of information and we try to figure out, does
this compromise the investigation or does it not?

And at the end of the day, that`s a decision that`s left to the people that
are actually investigating the case; the people that are conducting the
interviews, putting together the fact, both pairing all of their evidence
into the totality of the circumstances.

And so for me to make that decision to talk to you about what anything
looks like, what any of the evidence is without giving the investigators
that opportunity to weigh in would be me potentially compromising that
case.

And I understand the frustration. I get it. I`m a person who spends my
day trying to share information with the public.

And so, for me not to be able to provide as much information as possible, I
understand the frustrations that`s there.

And we`re talking about a community, a city, a family that is dealing with
the loss of a life, and there is no more -- there is no situation that we
take more seriously than life.

That has been the mission and the mantra of this police department for the
last two and a half years, is to have a reverence for life.

And I and this police department, we don`t want to do anything that could
potentially compromise this case.

O`DONNELL: Captain Kowalczyk, what would you say to people, observers who
are already interpreting this as a leak designed to, in effect, help the
police officers who are involved with this case.

It is a leak that in effect seems to be saying Freddie Gray did it to
himself?

KOWALCZYK: I think that what I would say is that we promised from the
outset, from what you have seen consistently from this organization, is
that, we would follow the facts wherever they were.

It`s been the history under Commissioner Batts that, that is what we do, we
are not afraid to expose ourselves to outside review.

We have already said that at the beginning of this incident, we would bring
in outside experts to look at not only the situation that led up to, and
during Mr. Gray`s tragic passing.

But also our investigation and how we conducted ourselves during the course
of that investigation and we expect that to be done by outside experts. We
also know that the Department of Justices have been looking at this case as
well.

We have made an absolute commitment to the people of Baltimore, to the
people of Maryland, to the Freddie Gray family, that we would do this
investigation as openly and transparently and have as much accountability
to the people as we could.

And that`s what we`re committed to doing.

O`DONNELL: Captain, what can you say tonight about a possible timetable
for the release of more information?

Do you see something on the horizon where you could -- you could suggest at
that point, there might be a release of more information?

KOWALCZYK: No, and I know that`s the question on everybody`s mind right
now. I`m not in a position to make that determination.

We let our investigators who have been looking and going through all the
evidence that they have all day long, they make that determination.

It`s their responsibility to investigate this case thoroughly, accurately,
to have accountability for their investigation, we let them make those
decisions.

O`DONNELL: And captain, last week, they developed the notion that by May
1st, since this is what Commissioner Batts ineffectively promised that by
May 1st, the police investigation would be essentially complete.

There was an expectation building that they would therefore on Friday, this
week, be a release of information. Could you clarify for us now, what to
expect on Friday if that investigation is completed?

KOWALCZYK: What I can tell you is that the May 1st deadline was the
commissioner stating that we are going to move with a sense of urgency.

That we are going to devote an unprecedented number of resources to this
investigation, to make sure that it was done not only accurately, not only
that we got to the -- as close to the truth and as close to the answers as
we can get.

But that we did so with a sense of urgency. And I understand the -- that
we`ve gotten closer to that date. The concern and the questions have begun
to build about what kind of information is going to be released.

It would be very premature of me to comment until that comprehensive review
is done about any sort of evidence that might be able to be released.

It`s just the integrity of the investigation is the most important thing
that we have right now. When we`re talking about the loss of a human life,
when we`re talking about a family that`s in mourning, we have to get this
right.

O`DONNELL: Captain Kowalczyk, on our screen right now, Congressman Elijah
Cummings is out there at the corner of Pennsylvania and North addressing
the crowd who remain at this point 16 minutes into violation of the curfew.

Similar to last night at this stage, probably more people --

KOWALCZYK: Right --

O`DONNELL: Would you stay with us for just a minute while we listen to
Congressman Cummings, because I want to ask you how helpful Congressman
Cummings and others have been to the police on this.

We`re going to come back to you within the minute.

CUMMINGS: Is it --

KOWALCZYK: Sure --

CUMMINGS: Criminals last civil rights investigation. We feel very
confident in what she is doing. She made it very clear that it is a top
priority for her.

But we also want you to know -- we also want you to know that we feel the
pain of our constituents and we want to make things better and we will.

This is Senator Catherine Pugh who represents this area, Cathy.

SEN. CATHERINE PUGH (D), MARYLAND: Right, I just want to first thank all
the folks who stood out here all day with us, the gentleman who is standing
behind me who have been with me from day one, who stood here and made sure
that the crowd here dispersed quietly --

O`DONNELL: Captain Kowalczyk, the police did do, obviously a very
effective job with the curfew last night, but you did not do it alone.

There was a tremendous amount of help from the 300 men who came out
yesterday afternoon, yesterday during the day. A tremendous amount of
community cooperation that we saw all day.

And help from people like Congressman Cummings out there talking directly
to people. And by the way, not talking to cameras, we couldn`t get him on
our camera last night because he was talking directly to constituents
trying to send them home.

How helpful has it felt to you in the Baltimore Police Department to have
that kind of real community support as your front line, in effect,
protecting in the last 24 hours your officers from people who might want to
confront them?

KOWALCZYK: You know, I`m so very glad that you asked me that question.
What very often happens in cases like this is the community gets lost
behind the questions and the theories that take place.

Right now, there is a -- a civil rights champion that is trying to convey
the message from -- that this is being done as appropriately as it can be.

We saw people standing in between protesters and police officers so that
the violence and the destruction wouldn`t spread.

We`ve had members of the community bringing officers food and water as
they`ve deployed to various areas that were impacted by violence.

The community support is overwhelming and incredibly welcome. What we have
tried to tell the nation is that Baltimore is a city that has had 40 years
of peaceful protests.

This is a city that is not afraid to come out and share how it feels about
issues. This is a city that is not unaccustomed to seeing groups of people
gather to let -- to voice their frustrations and their concerns.

The violence is not Baltimore, is not who we are as a city, is not what we
represent, it`s not the image that we want to show to the world.

So what you`re seeing with our community coming out and not only supporting
the officers that are out on the street, protecting their communities, but
supporting each other and standing there for each other is invaluable and
it speaks to what it truly means to be from Baltimore.

O`DONNELL: Captain Eric Kowalczyk of the Boston -- of the Baltimore Police
Department, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate
it.

KOWALCZYK: Thank you sir.

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by phone by Jayne Miller, investigative
reporter for -- and the "Nbc" affiliate "Wbal" in Baltimore. She`s
covering the investigation of the death of Freddie Gray.

Jayne, your reaction to tonight`s report in "The Washington Post" which in
effect is a leaked document of a police detective`s account, which in
effect says Freddie Gray did it to himself.

I`m going to read it again to the audience here. The lead of "The
Washington Post" article breaking within the hour is, "a prisoner sharing a
police transport van with Freddie Gray told investigators that he could
hear Gray banging against the walls of the vehicle.

And believed that he was intentionally trying to injure himself according
to a police document obtained by "The Washington Post"."

Jayne, your reaction?

JAYNE MILLER, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, WBAL-TV: We reported previously,
long before this, that by the time that stop is made to pick up that
prisoner, that according to our sources, Freddie Gray was unresponsive.

On April 23rd --

O`DONNELL: And Jayne -- and Jayne, just a -- just a --

MILLER: This was out --

O`DONNELL: Jayne, just to --

MILLER: Ten days ago --

O`DONNELL: Just to stop there for a second --

MILLER: OK --

O`DONNELL: What you`re saying is, Freddie Gray was first alone in the van,
there was no second arrestee --

MILLER: Oh, no, the second prisoner is only in the van, Lawrence, for the
last five minutes of the ride.

O`DONNELL: OK, so how long was he alone in the van before the second
prisoner gets in the van?

MILLER: He was alone in the van about 8:42 on the morning of April 12th
until sometime around, I want to say 9:18, I don`t have the exact timeline
here in front of me.

We did -- we just did a story today on that fourth stop, which is where
that prisoner gets on board.

And you can see several Baltimore City police officers looking into Freddie
Gray`s side of the van with the van door open really looking -- I mean
looking inside the van.

And the Police Department has acknowledged that there were at least two
stops -- well, actually three, if you count the first one, but the third
and fourth stops at which point, the Baltimore police officers probably
should have called the medic.

So we have reported that at that stop where the fourth -- where the other
prisoner gets on board, which is the fourth stop, that Freddie Gray was
unresponsive.

O`DONNELL: And Jayne, what do you make of this report in "The Washington
Post" which says --

MILLER: I am aware of where that information comes from, I am aware of the
report, I`ve been aware of that information for some time, but the timeline
and the evidence and the information that we have developed in this story
does not match.

O`DONNELL: And it sounds like to me, Jayne, based on the timeline you`ve
developed, it makes the information a lot less interesting than it appears
in "The Washington Post" article.

In that, what this article does not seem to say is that Freddie Gray was
alone in that van for most of the time he was in that van.

MILLER: If you look at the video that has been made -- now made public by
the city of Baltimore, this -- it comes from their -- they have an
expensive system of cameras, you can see the -- you can see where that
prisoner is loaded and you can see the timeline.

And after it finish loading a full 30 minutes after Freddie Gray is in that
van. So, he`s only in the van for four or five minutes -- four or five-six
minutes.

I also on April 23rd was told by the Baltimore Police Department and I
believe the "Associated Press" was told the same account that, that
prisoner`s account was that for the short amount of time that he was in the
van, it was relatively quiet from the other side of the van and the ride
was smooth.

O`DONNELL: Well, this is reported to be an affidavit apparently --

MILLER: Correct, for a search warrant --

O`DONNELL: But -- so it`s actually not an affidavit from the prisoner,
it`s an affidavit from a police detective who is summarizing what a -- what
this prisoner has told him.

MILLER: Correct --

O`DONNELL: But that in your read is in conflict what you -- with what you
have discovered this prisoner was reported to have said prior to this
affidavit.

MILLER: That is correct, it is inconsistent with what -- with what we have
reported in the past, that is correct.

And it is -- it is also inconsistent in some ways with the -- look, if you
are -- if you have a prisoner in the back of a police van who is banging
his head against the wall and who is disruptive in that regard when you see
him or when you open the door.


First of all, but to open the door, the interior door of a police van is to
diminish your security, so that`s not something you do.

But in the video, you can clearly see that these officers open the door,
the interior door of his side of the van.

And they`re peering in to look at him. Now, if you`ve got a disruptive
prisoner banging themselves around, you think they`re going to look to
nonchalant.

I think that the evidence on the video corroborate that he was in probably
deteriorating shape.

O`DONNELL: And Jayne, you can confirm for us that it is impossible for one
prisoner to see another prisoner on the other side of the van?

MILLER: I believe that the van is a solid metal. There is -- you can --
it`s like a metal grate between the driver`s portion and the rest of the
van.

But the -- but the -- but the two sides in the van are separated by metal
so that you can allow mixed gender prisoners in the van, that`s what --
that`s why they went with that system.

And you can seat about four people in the van at one time.

O`DONNELL: OK, Jayne --

MILLER: But I`m reading my -- I`m reading what I tweeted on the night of
April 23rd, a couple of days, you know, into this after Freddie Gray died.

And he -- that`s what the police commissioner reported to us, was that the
account of the second prisoner is that he heard very little from the other
side of the van.

And at that portion of the ride, the driver was not erratic.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and so Jayne, the second prisoner being the most important
non-police witness in the case, his --

MILLER: Correct --

O`DONNELL: That second prisoner`s position is characterized publicly by
the Police --

MILLER: Correct --

O`DONNELL: Commissioner six days ago in a way --

MILLER: Correct --

O`DONNELL: That is in complete contradiction to an -- a police affidavit -
-

MILLER: Correct --

O`DONNELL: Reported in "The Washington Post" as breaking news tonight.

MILLER: Yes, if I seem a little terse --

(LAUGHTER)

Because this case has been muddied by a tremendous amount of
misinformation. I mean, overwhelming amount of misinformation. Not
depriving.

And I spend half my day trying to -- I get calls from a lot of people
saying, is this true? Is this true? Is this true? And we stand by our
reporting, no question --

O`DONNELL: Jayne --

MILLER: And we have been reporting consistently that by the time that
prisoner is loaded, Freddie Gray is not responding.

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Jayne, did you -- did you -- could you characterize the
misinformation in terms of, is it fair to say that a lot of the
misinformation that`s floating around is coming out in an attempt of
defense of police officers?

MILLER: Well, and I -- I mean, I`m not going to characterize it as one
thing or another. There is certainly an effort to diminish the severity of
this case.

And what -- this is what we know and this is what we reported. This is one
of these cases where it may turn out that the video that`s available is
actually not helpful.

It`s helpful, but it`s not complete. And therefore, it`s somewhat harmful.
Because everybody thinks that when they see him being dragged into the van,
he`s got a broken leg, he`s got injury before he gets into the van.

But that`s not what the medical evidence shows in this case. The medical
evidence in this case, according to the autopsy that we know of at this
point, is that he suffered a severe neck injury, very similar to what you
suffer in a car accident.

So the question is, so what did they -- what happened in that van that
caused him to suffer that injury? I have been told by medical experts that
it`s virtually impossible to do that kind of injury on your own.

This is slamming your head against the wall on the side of the van which is
metal, and would have to have additional injury, first of all, they would
show it, which is does not exist to my knowledge in this case.

And also an awful lot of energy, and energy is the key word in this kind of
energy -- in this kind of injury.

Because energy is what the speed of a vehicle -- and I don`t mean that the
vehicle was going 80 miles an hour, I just mean, the momentum of the
vehicle (INAUDIBLE) in an -- in an injury like this.

O`DONNELL: Yes, when that --

MILLER: So --

O`DONNELL: When that vehicle is --

(CROSSTALK)

Suddenly it comes to a stop, yes.

MILLER: Correct --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

MILLER: To suggest that he somehow was able to inflict this kind of
harmful injury on his own is a stretch --

O`DONNELL: OK --

MILLER: According to the medical experts that have spoken.

O`DONNELL: Jayne Miller, investigative reporter for "Nbc`s" affiliate
"Wbal" in Baltimore.

Jayne Miller, thank you once again for invaluable reporting here tonight on
the LAST WORD. Really appreciate it.

MILLER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Mary Koch. She is an attorney for the Gray
family.

Mary Koch, have you been able to read this account in "The Washington Post"
tonight that is being presented as breaking news which as I`ve
characterized and I think the article all but characterizes as Freddie Gray
did it to himself. I`m going to just read that first line of the article
one more time in the "Washington Post" tonight.

"A prisoner sharing a police transport van with Freddie Gray told
investigators that he could hear Gray banging against the walls of the
vehicle and believed that he was intentionally trying to injure himself,
according to a police document obtained by the `Washington Post.`"

Mary Koch, your reaction?

MARY KOCH, FREDDIE GRAY FAMILY ATTORNEY: My reaction is that, as
attorneys, we don`t have the luxury of speculating on bits and pieces of
evidence and things that are reported third and fourth hand. And we have
unfortunately been fed pieces of information and those pieces of
information are enough to create conversations, but not give answers. And
so we are in the position where we cannot speculate on things that are
rumor, we cannot speculate on things that may be couched as -- as probable
cause in the affidavit for a warrant.

We need to see the evidence and when we see all of the evidence and we have
an opportunity to review it, then we can come to some conclusions. But
right now, it rang speculation at this point.

O`DONNELL: And according to the article, this is a -- this document has
been search warranted. It`s in an application for a search warrant and
that search warrant is for the uniform that one of the officers was wearing
and that indicates they`re interested in what DNA evidence might be on that
uniform.

In your experience, does it take a search want to get a police officer to
simply hand over his uniform?

KOCH: Well, at this point, I would say this is a criminal investigation
and anything which he has a privacy interest in, you have to obtain a
search and seizure warrant. I would say that if you are going to be, you
know, (INAUDIBLE) and be careful, you`re going to obtain a search and
seizure so that there`s no question later on that if, indeed, there was
evidence there that was obtained in the course of the investigation, that
that evidence can be used.

And so I would suspect in a high profile case like this, where you`re doing
an investigation, prudence would dictate that you would get a search and
seizure warrant if there was any question at all about any implication of
Fourth Amendment rights.

O`DONNELL: Mary Koch, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We
really appreciate it.

KOCH: Thank you for having me. Have a good night.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to go back to the streets of Baltimore where
MSNBC`s Joy Reid is standing by.

Joy, what is the situation there now?

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lawrence, you can hear fire truck
going past us. Basically, the sounds of tonight has been a lot of sirens,
a lot of drones overheard. But earlier we`re broadcasting the announcement
that the curfew had begun and that anyone caught on the street will be
arrest.

What we now see remaining on the street here at North and Pennsylvania in
West Baltimore are mainly us, mainly media at this point. Just a few
people who are still out here either being interviewed or just sort of
straggling past the curfew.

A few tense moments earlier this evening when a protest that was
essentially across the street from me went on very close to the curfew.
And Congressman Elijah Cummings who live in this neighborhood, he lives
just a few blocks away from here, came out with a couple of members of his
staff and some other community leaders with a bull horn to try to urge
people to disperse. He was actually just behind me wrapping up.

And one of the interesting things, Lawrence, that happened tonight is that
you really did see the power of somebody with authority but also
authenticity who`s local because the first thing that Congressman Cummings
did when he got here was to meet with the police commander here and talk to
him about the tactics that were going to be used with the people who are
remaining out. It was so packed here it was hard to believe that they were
going to be cleared by 10:00.

But he was able to talk with the commander and there was a show of force by
police officers who were wearing their full armor and the shield. They
lined themselves up over here on North, they made sort of a line and they
did move in. There were a couple sort of minor skirmishes. But
ultimately, very calm reaction by the police here. And for the most part,
people dispersed.

There were a few protesters left out here, but for the most part, things
are starting to wind down. But the drones are still going.

O`DONNELL: And, Joy, no reports of arrests so far by the police
department. They haven`t released any in the -- and last night on Twitter
they were pretty active about that and keeping us posted. So it looks like
tonight, the curfew has begun. We`re 35 minutes into it and things are
even calmer than they were last night.

At this point last night, Joy, it looked like this thing could tip. That
intersection there was filled with smoke. It looked like there could be a
confrontation that was going to get worse. And by 11:00 p.m., it had
completely cleared out and everything remained peaceful. Basically right
to this point.

REID: Yes. And I can tell you that there was a few minutes here where
this kind of felt like because there was a group particularly of young men,
they were part of the protests and some weren`t. They were sort of milling
around what had been an earlier, very vocal protest with music going and
kind of almost a festive atmosphere to the protests. But as it lingered on
and on and on, the protest organizers left and what was left here were a
lot of particularly young men who are simply I think just showing a sense
of defiance at this idea that they weren`t allowed to be out on the streets
in their neighborhood.

And I think it was more that than anything else. You just saw a group of
young men. It was a pretty big group of people and also some protesters
who were at, you know, they were staying out here and being consistent,
saying they wanted to be out here.

So it was a little tense at one point. There was sort of a scuffle that
you couldn`t really tell what happened. But I`ll tell you, on the arrest
front, Lawrence, you know, there was that small number of people who were
arrested yesterday. Police have had to let people go early because they
were having trouble processing paperwork. It was really not going to
happen that they were going to be able to take in large amount of people
here if they`re intake process is that slow. But so far, right now, things
are looking pretty good here.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, thank you very much for that report.

We`re joined now by MSNBC`s Trymaine Lee. Trymaine, what`s the situation
where you are tonight?

TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I`ll tell you, much like Joy
is -- where Joy is located now, it`s relatively quiet out here, which is
much different than what it was about three hours ago, if not less, when
hundreds of protesters of a very diverse group, perhaps the largest and
most diverse group of protesters that we`ve been seen so far marched from
Penn Station to city hall, gathered here for a while, chanted and then
actually marched back to Penn Station.

And so since then, though, the crowd has largely dissipated. There are few
people out here. Behind me there are members of the National Guard and
police officers here. But one person that I did notice here was Thomas
Battle. He is with the DOJ`s Community Relations Service. Now they
dropped in communities where there`s turmoil. Stanford, Florida after
Trayvon Martin`s death, Ferguson after Michael Brown, North Charleston, he
was here.

And I also spoke to a DOJ spokesman earlier asking if AG Lynch would be
showing up. That hasn`t been determined yet. But so clearly she`s
stepping into office kind of knee deep in this situation and, you know, as
everyone waits to see how this thing plays out.

O`DONNELL: Trymaine, we are seeing some movement of police officers but
they -- there`s nothing urge going on, they just seem to be re-assembling
and re-deploying and certain positions and certain street corners.

The protests today, I saw an awful lot of Johns Hopkins T-shirts on those
students. It was a multi-racial protest, for sure. It was not something
that seemed to come out of the neighborhood where all of this began.

LEE: No, that`s for certain. And it was billed as such. High school
students and college students. And that was very much the tone. It was
kind of a -- almost like a unity march. There are people from different
aspects, different walks of life. Clearly all those young people were not
from West Baltimore where this went down and where we`ve seen the rioting,
and where we`re seeing the police amassing.

Just by -- purely by the demographics, again white and black joined
together. So that seems to be an indication of a couple of things. One,
that it was just very well organized, very well planned. But also it could
mean that organizers here on the ground are forming coalitions that
hopefully kind of go beyond the original kind of organic organization of
people who are angry in the streets over the ongoing concerns about police
and the Freddie Gray case, but perhaps moving forward.

And the big thing, also, leading into tonight, was how would people come
out and how would law enforcement respond? Tonight, they`re all going it`s
all clear.

O`DONNELL: Trymaine Lee, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

LEE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: The city of Baltimore, the unemployment picture is not as good
as the national unemployment picture. The unemployment rate is currently
8.7 percent. The median household income in the city of Baltimore is
$41,000. But in the area where Freddie Gray lived, the unemployment rate
is at 21 percent. The median household income is $24,000.

A 55 percent there live below the poverty line. One in three buildings are
vacant or abandoned in that neighborhood. And nearly two-thirds of the
residents there have something less than a high school diploma. The
"Baltimore Sun" described that neighborhood as a "neighborhood where
generations of crushing poverty and the war on drugs, combined to rob
countless young people like Freddie Gray of meaningful opportunities.

The neighborhood is home to more inmates in the Maryland correctional
system than any other. That report from the "Baltimore Sun."

Joining us now is D. Watkins, an author and lifelong resident of Baltimore.
He wrote an op-ed for today`s "New York Times" titled, "Baltimore, We`re
All Freddie Gray." Also joining us Michael Fletcher, reporter for "The
Washington Post." He has lived in Baltimore for more than 30 years and
wrote about living in that city for "The Washington Post."

I just want to get both of your reactions to the positive turn that
Baltimore took today. I have promised the audience at the beginning of the
program that I was going to show a lot of that imagery. That was in the
expectation that we wouldn`t be rolling through this -- all of this live
coverage necessarily of what`s going on. We`re going to get to that
certainly by the end of the program. But each of you, please, your
reactions to how this city has turned the corner today.

MICHAEL FLETCHER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, to me, really since yesterday
it`s been the Baltimore I know and the city that I`ve chosen to live in,
you know, if I choose to live elsewhere. What we saw on Monday I think was
-- it was something that sort of spun out of control. But the Baltimore
I`m seeing now is kind of the city, you know, the more positive city of
neighborhoods, a place where, you know, people come together.

But that said, I don`t know that we`re out of the woods. I think there`s a
lot of concern about where this investigation is going to go, what the
police and the state`s attorney end up doing. And so I worry about that
because I think if people don`t feel like justice is served, we could find
ourselves slipping back.

D. WATKINS, LIFE-LONG RESIDENT OF BALTIMORE: The protests today were
beautiful. I`m very, very inspired by them. Like you guys said earlier in
the program, it was a diverse mix of people. If you walked out of here,
you wouldn`t think out of these crazy things were going on right now.
Hopefully we can keep the peace and, you know, celebrate the life of
Freddie and hope that he gets justice.

O`DONNELL: D. Watkins, you talk today in your op-ed piece in "The Times"
about the very first violent situation that developed in all of this, which
was Saturday night, and it was down near where the Red Sox and the Orioles
were playing. Tell us about that. Tell us about how that started, how
that developed. You were there.

WATKINS: Yes, it was a group of peaceful protesters. We were right here
at city hall and we marched down to Camden Yards where the Orioles play and
a lot of people who were attending the baseball games just started chanting
racial slurs. And a lot of us were already mixed up with the emotions and
everything that happened to Freddie and, you know, the way the case is
being handled that it just -- it caused a clash and, you know, some people
got hurt.

O`DONNELL: And Michael Fletcher, you -- it`s a choice for you to live in
Baltimore, it`s some distance from "The Washington Post." Why do you --
why have you made that choice and continue to make that choice?

FLETCHER: Well, it`s sort of a family thing. Formerly I was a reporter at
the "Baltimore Sun" for 13 years. And that`s what brought me to Baltimore
initially. I got married in Baltimore. My wife is not from here but she
ended up working in the school system. My children were born here. They
like the city, they were in school. So when I changed jobs, I didn`t want
to uproot my family. That was the initial choice.

But even as the years have gone by, that`s been 20 years now that I`ve been
at "The Post." The feeling has been that I enjoy this city. In some ways
it`s anti-Washington, it`s a very unpretentious city. A city of
neighborhoods. I grew up in New York City and I kind of like a city that
has a working class and Baltimore has that.

O`DONNELL: We`re looking right now at live pictures of a crowd in New York
City. There have been protests throughout the country today. New York
City, Minneapolis, Boston, several other locations.

This is a shot in New York City where there may be a little bit of
difficulty going on. We can`t quite make out what it is. There seem to be
some police officers involved, a little bit of shoving. But we really
don`t have an image where we can or I can give you any better information
than your eyes can about what you`re seeing there in the dark partially
illuminated. But that is New York City.

That is not happening in Baltimore where the curfew seems to be in effect.
We`re 44 minutes into that curfew in Baltimore. The curfew is holding.
That is the corner of North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue where there was
some stress at this point last night, to put it mildly. And it was pretty
much resolved by 44 minutes into the curfew last night and tonight there
really hasn`t been any struggle securing the peace in that area tonight at
all.

It seems to be that the community has taken to this curfew in a way that
they are now conforming with it without any real problems starting shortly
after 10:00 as always. There`s been two nights in a row, there`s been a
little buffer zone that the police have certainly allowed for people who
have not left immediately.

We`re going to go to this New York City protest that`s going on right now
in Manhattan. This is Amanda Sakuma, an MSNBC reporter who`s joining us
there.

Amanda, what`s happening there?

AMANDA SAKUMA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Lawrence. There`s a
large (INAUDIBLE) that`s been marching on 10th Avenue here in Manhattan.
They met with other groups that were in -- excuse me, Times Square, which -
- the iconic Times Square of New York City. Now we are stuck here on 36th
Street. There have been some folks that tried going into a vacant parking
lot where police chased after them. There are now several people being
taken into custody by police.

Basically, the protesters have been confined to the sidewalk whenever they
try to (INAUDIBLE) to the roadway. That`s usually when the police come in.
They`ve been arresting people, taking them off one by one. We`ve seen some
members of the press appear to be taken into custody. We have seen several
skirmishes with the police when we are in Times Square. Many of the
protesters would link arms to make it difficult for the police officers to
single out people for arrest.

And in that bit was pushback on the people. There is a point where I see
people and my feet weren`t even on the ground. There were so many people
within this crowd. We saw a police officer throw punches at a protester
that`s been caught on our cameras. So it`s been a very tense evening that
started out of various people protests. It began at 6:00 p.m. tonight at
Union Square where there were several members of families who have had
loved killed in those. Five police officers, they spoke of peace, but they
also were trying to raise and rally the crowd.

It`s not shy marching on the street and only made it about half a block
before the (INAUDIBLE) that police and since them, it`s just been a very
tense standoff.

O`DONNELL: Amanda, do you have an estimate of the total number of people
who`ve been involved in this protest since it began?

SAKUMA: It`s most definitely within the hundreds by some estimates. For
an organizer, they put it high at about 1500. I would say it was closer to
about 700. They did have to disperse into several groups after the early
skirmishes after the police blocked the roadways. And it did kind of
dissipate the crowd and it definitely split them up. They`ve been able to
reunite and they got this strength in number since but it`s still a very
tight crowd here, people, a very diverse crowd, young and old. But it`s
primarily young.

They are -- they`re changing, "From Baltimore to New York, New York is
Baltimore. " And so they`re really taking this as an act of solidarity
with everything that`s been going on this week.

O`DONNELL: Amanda, both of our shots of this right show the people
walking. Are they walking away? Are they walking in the direction that
the police want them to? Are they walking away from confrontation
basically?

SAKUMA: It`s been a mixture. They have basically tried to go wherever the
police are not. They`ve been trying to take over the streets. They`ve
been saying, whose streets, our streets, whose streets, our streets. And
that`s their chant and they`re really trying to really follow to it. It`s
been very difficult, I think. The police have done a pretty tight -- kept
it very tight and kept them in close as soon as those sidewalks. So far it
doesn`t like the protesters are actively trying to instigate any type of
violence towards the police.

They kind of seem as if they want to have free reign of the streets to
block the traffic and to really take over. But so far the police have been
able to (INAUDIBLE) pretty much every effort.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Amanda Sakuma. We`re going to come back to this as
needed but it seems to be a situation in New York City involving a small
group of protesters. As you can see there on the screen, there`s something
breaking out. But that`s not among police. That`s just people on the
streets in New York. Now it has been dragged toward the police. There`s
now a police officer involved. That white shirt that you can see there.
There`s -- it looks like there`s an arrest happening right there.

Amanda, stay with us because we do have a little action developing here on
this. The crowd seems to be a crowd of a hundred or more, 150 people
maximum at that corner right now. Well, at least one person seems to be
under arrest, being arrested at this moment. That doesn`t seem to be
sparking any big negative reaction from that crowd at this moment. There`s
no -- there`s no surge toward the police in any way because of that.

Can you -- can you see any of this from where you are, Amanda?

SAKUMA: Yes, yes. But I would say that that is the typical tactic here.
I think people have been openly defying the police orders. They`ve been
told not to go into the roadways. That if they are, there will be subject
to arrest. Many have been kind of openly crowding that in a sense. But I
wouldn`t say that they have ever taken an aggressive -- trying to taunt or
become arrested. They have been trying to kind of take over the street and
the police have been there to stop them and they`ve been them to press them
back up against the barricades.

So far the people have been able to pick off folks one by one and kind of
target those that they think are aggressively defying the orders to stay on
the streets. Earlier today, they handed out flyers to the people who
gathered in Union Square, basically giving them a warning in paper that if
they were to be in the roadways, if they were to defy these orders, they
would be subject for arrest.

O`DONNELL: OK. Amanda Sakuma, thank you for that report. I just want to
clarify that the video there that you showed that is in brighter light,
that`s obviously in daylight. That occurred earlier today with police
making some arrests on this protest earlier today.

We`re going to take a break here. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: More good things happened in Baltimore today than we could
possibly catch on camera beginning with a free concert by the Baltimore
Symphony Orchestra.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: We love Baltimore. We love Baltimore. We love
Baltimore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is beautiful. This is Baltimore. This is the way
you want the city represented.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to right. Come out on the left.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve lived here my whole life. 32 years old. Just
here to help. Just here to do whatever I can, whatever I can to help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You go out and vote. You come and volunteer in your
neighborhood. You give back, not just project your anger in a violent way,
but do it intelligently.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw a need for change. And the first step is step
out here and do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes.

Councilman Stokes, this --

CARL STOKES, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCILMAN: Hi, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: This seems to be the day where we can hope history will record
Baltimore turned a corner on this.

STOKES: Yes. I think so, Lawrence. But let`s understand and remember.
By the way, the Orioles won 8-2. That`s a big deal in Baltimore, also.
Nobody saw it, but we did win. So I think so. Again, let`s remember that
for eight of the 10 days, we`ve had nothing but great peace, harmony in
this town. Thousands of people have been turning out for demonstrations.
We`ve had -- it feels like community festivals.

It`s a very diverse crowd. Maybe 50-50, 60-40 black white. Bands are
playing, the symphony orchestra is out, giving free concerts. It`s a great
time in the city. We`ve got this issue of Freddie Gray`s death which is
huge and we`re trying to figure it out and we want to bring justice to
bare. But I think that the citizens of this city are dealing with this in
a very appropriate light.

O`DONNELL: And Councilman Stokes, what are your concerns as the week
progresses? We know there had been a big build-up of anticipation for the
possibility of some kind of police report on Friday.

STOKES: Right.

O`DONNELL: We`re now being told it is very unlikely we will learn anything
more than we already know about Freddie Gray`s death on Friday.

STOKES: Yes. That is worrisome because the expectations have been built
up that there would be a report, there would be a judgment day sort of. We
know that that`s not going to happen. We know that the police report
probably won`t be made public, but that it will go straight to the
prosecutor`s hands.

However, I think many people are hopeful that the police do say that we
have enough evidence to show this or that. In other words, in a case
against an average citizen, the police would say we`re handing this over to
prosecute -- to the prosecutor. We think we have enough evidence to indict
or to charge someone with homicide or negligence or murder. And then it`s
up to the prosecutor to decide whether or not they will indict.

So I think that people hoped to hear the police say they would put the
charges up. I don`t know if we`re going to get that. And I think it`s
going to be disappointing to people.

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Joy Reid who`s been on the streets of
Baltimore for two days.

Joy, in talking to people today, did you feel that they felt like they got
a pretty good day behind them yesterday and today was the day where they
could really move -- start to move forward?

REID: Well, I mean, yes and no, Lawrence. I think that you definitely had
a sense of positivity. I think that the Councilman is definitely right.
People love Baltimore who live here. And you really got a sense of that.
But there`s still this -- you know, people were aggravated by the idea of
having to have a curfew. There were people who told me, you know, we feel
like things are under control. Why do we still have to have this?

But for the most part, they were going to abide by it. But I do think we
definitely turned a corner in terms of the police response. There was much
more calm. There was a lot more equanimity. We passed one (INAUDIBLE),
you know, it was all smiles and hugs. You know, it was very quiet. So I
think that definitely the city has turned a corner, but there are still
armed police on the streets and tanks and things rolling down and drones
flying overhead. That`s not normalcy, but it`s closer. Getting closer.

O`DONNELL: Carl Stokes, what does city government have to do in the next
couple of weeks?

STOKES: I think that we have to show people that we really are willing to
turn our depressed neighborhoods around. What that means, it means that we
have to show that we`re not just going to spend all of our investment
dollars in the Harbor of our city, which is a great place, which is a
lovely place. But I think people are concerned not just in black
communities, but in white communities across the city that we must start to
invest.

We have 16,000 or more vacant structures that were formerly homes but we
lost 100,000 people in terms of population. I think the city has to show
people that we have a plan, not just talk, but that we have a plan and that
the budget that we`re going to pass for the next six weeks has to show that
we`re putting money into education, more money into recreation, into
neighborhoods is in development. I think we have to show that.

O`DONNELL: Carl Stokes, we`re out of time.

City council member, Carl Stokes, in Baltimore, thank you very much for
joining us.

STOKES: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, thank you for joining us.

I want to give the LAST WORD tonight to a little boy who (INAUDIBLE) Ellis
interviewed yesterday near that CVS where they were cleaning up. Let`s
listen to him getting tonight`s LAST WORD.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t want all of this to look a mess and I`m like
this doesn`t like it never burned down, and I want them to rebuild.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

END

<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2015 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>





Watch The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET


Sponsored links

Resource guide