The Ed Show for Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
Read the transcript to the Tuesday show
Show: THE ED SHOW
Date: May 12, 2015
Guest: Zerlina Maxwell, Ruth Conniff, Kelly, John Nichols, Bob Casey, Opal
Tometi, Sage Rosenfels
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening, Americans.
Welcome to "The Ed Show," live from Washington, D.C. I am Michael Eric
Dyson in for Ed Schultz. We begin tonight with breaking news from Madison,
Wisconsin. The Dayton County DA decided not to press charges against
Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny.
Kenny shot unarmed 19-year-old Tony Robinson on March 6th.
ISMAEL OZANNE, DANE COUNTRY, WI DISTRICT ATTORNEY: A lawful use of deadly
police force, and then no charges should be brought against Officer Kenny
in the death of Tony Robinson Jr.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Officer Kenny was responding to calls that the 19-year-old had
assaulted two people and was running in traffic. Police say Robinson was
unarmed but attack Officer Kenny.
The family of Tony Robinson is expected to give a news conference on a
short time from now. We`ll bring that to you as soon as it happens.
Joining me now is Zerlina Maxwell, Contributor to ESSENCE Magazine and John
Kelly, Defense Attorney, also Joy Reid, MSNBC National Reported, on the
phone is Ruth Conniff, Editor-in-chief of the Progressive Magazine based in
Ms. Maxwell, let me start with you. What`s your reaction to no charges
filed in this case?
ZERLINA MAXWELL, CONTRIBUTOR, ESSENCE: Well, I think that -- well, it`s
very true that each of these cases as fact specific and in this particular
case it does seem that the independent investigator found that there was no
probably cause to move forward with charges.
I did deep sigh when I first heard the announcement because I think like so
many other people who feel ally shift with Black Lives Matter movement, and
really the call to push for substantive and serious performs in this
process. You know, each time there is an announcement of no indictment or
no charges, and really no accountability when someone life is lost, I think
that that`s a tragedy.
And so, well, I think that each of these cases, like I said, facts
specific, the tendency is diminish the tragedy and the sadness that I was
sure everyone is feeling on all sides.
DYSON: So, John, no only was -- as Zerlina said, fact specific but it was
fact dense. There was the out pouring of multiple facts because one feels
that this D.A. felt that he have to present these effect in order to
justify his ruling especially in like of the (inaudible) reclaimant.
So the D.A. kept pointing to evidence from colors who were interviewed
about the information reported in the 911 calls. What your reaction to all
JOHN KELLY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: One I think was the model of sort of, you
know, the sensibilities in this particular case. I think the city itself
was very reserved, they demonstrate peacefully. I think the Police
Department are in the outside investigator who investigate the police form
We`re very thorough in 800-page investigation. They roll the forensic
evidence, (inaudible) eye witness testimony. They had to toxicology
reports. And it just seems in this particular case as what said before,
it`s tragic. But I think the result was appropriate. And I think that the
city, and that the family will understand that. They will have hard time
living with it, that`s the lost of tragical (inaudible) for them but I
think it was the right decision under this particular set of facts.
DYSON: Ruth, since journalism is the first take on history, what do you
think the journalistic assessment of this will be. Will Madison turn into
another Baltimore like situation where there`s a huge outpouring of grift
(ph) in the face and then the wake of what has been decided here?
RUTH CONNIFF, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE: Well, you know,
I think that Madison is going to remain calm compared with Baltimore,
because the community has been working really hard on that leading up to
this announcement. There had been weekly meetings with civil rights group
and community members trying to make sure that there`s a plan in place, so
that was really ultimately kind of the expected outcome here.
So I don`t think that you`re going to see, you know, a huge sudden shock or
a giant backlash, and in fact from, you know, my direct observation
downtown and on Williamson Street where people are gathered outside the
home where Tony Robinson lost its way. There is a lot of quite
conversation going on.
That said, you know, we are in the midst of come into grips with how
racially divided our state and our city really are, and because this is
such a little liberal enclave here on Madison, Wisconsin and through the
(barley) of the mid west. There is a real. There is a real frustration on
the part of African-American use here that a liberal community has not face
after the fact that we have massive racial disparity, the word semination,
in terms of academic achievement, in terms of poverty, in terms of black
And so, this incident really aggravates some deep wounds and some really
pain and anguish. And I think there`s going to be a very intense effort
here in Madison for to see this moment and really talk about what is so
terribly wrong here.
DYSON: Right. So Joy, in line with Ruth has just indicated to us, given
us the kind of autopsy if you will and what`s happening there socially in
the wake of, the death of Mr. Robinson, draw back a bit for us and help us
understand what the D.A. did. He start with the kind of racial bona fides
(ph), the kind of card (ph), "I am biracial. My mother is a black woman.
She is concern about me and my safety to this day".
So he in once sense establishes the parameters of his legitimacy by
justifying he as remarks, predicated upon his own personal racial identity
to establish the fact that he can therefore be fair and just here. Tell us
about why that move is either necessary or he put that forth at this
particular point in the midst of what we see going on in Baltimore and
before that in Ferguson.
ROY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTED: Yeah. I mean and I think it`s a really
great point, Michael. And I think what we`re seeing in this and you really
sort of captured it, we`re seeing in the way that these cases are being
presented to the public. A real evolution, a really dramatic evolution
from let`s say going back to the days of Amadou Diallo when these kinds of
incidence would be accompany by a press conference that was all about a
mayor showing absolute support for the police department.
And now, we`ve evolve to a point where people are very, very careful in the
way that they present this cases. We have to remember that it is
exceptionally rare for police officers to be indicted charge, let alone
convicted in cases where they use deadly force, extremely rare. The IKEA
girl (ph), the case in Brooklyn is a rarity, the case in Baltimore, the six
officers being charge not yet indicted, extremely rare.
But I think that when you go from just Bob McCulloch, presentation of the
Darren Wilson outcome, the outcome that everyone believed he desire from
that grand jury and the sort of presentation that was about (inaudible) in
the officer all the way to now. You`re seeing that cities and these
officials, this D.A.s have learned a lesson.
They`ve learned that you have to start with empathy both for obviously the
officer and their family but also for that community. And they have to
start from this point of empathy with the African-American community, with
the agreed community and with the family.
Just in my lifetime, that ended up itself as a change where the family and
grieving publicly and communally for the family is actually part of the
conversation. And I think that and then of itself is a huge victory for
the Black Lives Matter movement, the fact that this D.A. feels that he has
a self-identified with the people he is disappointing is "Dr. King" and
layout (inaudible) bona fides (ph) is a victory for the Black Lives Matter
movement. They`ve made the family, the dead young black man actually
DYSON: Well, let me -- before I go to John, let me followup very quickly
with you, Joy. But does it turnout to be a strategy that is deploy simply
to mollify the tensions and to keep calm the people as opposed to
delivering a substantive shift from its one thing to existentially and
emotionally identify with the person, but can we also move that forward in
terms of policy or at least the kind of filing the charges that might means
substantive justice. Is that for show? Is that for, you know, which is
progress but, you know, are we still wanting something or something still
REID: No. I absolutely believe that it is -- I won`t say, you know, it`s
for show it is about managing the public reaction. Bob McCulloch showed to
the absolute worse way to manage a public outcome of a case like this where
you are, you know, disappointing the public in a way that I think Bob
McCulloch would do.
What, you know, essentially the outcome, he wanted he got, and he did it in
a way that appeared very (inaudible). I think that now as people see the
unrest rolling across the country, the fear of their city becoming "the
next Ferguson", "the next Baltimore" has caused public policy to look very
carefully at how to manage the public`s reaction. They don`t want there to
be valuable violent angry reaction.
And so, you have I think these D.A.s trying to present the obvious, which
is that officer`s don`t tend to get indicted for this in the way they think
will make the public react in the calmness way and the way they think will
bring this community together.
Now, on the issue of substantive justice, I think we have a whole other
conversation there. Because this country has made an affirmative decision
in the laws that we passed to give police at incredibly wide amount of
latitude to use force against us. And the public needs to have a real
conversation about weather we there to be that level of impunity when
deadly force is use. Because right now, all the way up to Supreme Court
cases, that latitude is broad. It`s very difficult to achieve an
indictment let alone a trial and conviction with police officer in the
death a citizen, very hard.
REID: But that is what citizen needs to address with our elected
officials, whether we believe that that latitude is spare. And that is
really I think important question.
DYSON: Yeah. That`s a great point. So, John, preliminary autopsy report
shows that Robinson was shot in the head, in the torso and the right arm.
Somewhat say just on the face of it, right, without being forensic
pathologists that this is excessive use of force, can you shoot the guy in
the leg, can you put him in the -- put a shot in the thigh to wound him.
Tell us why this wasn`t the excessive use of force?
KELLY: Well, the assumption might be that the first shot fired was one in
the head but we don`t know that. The first shot fired maybe the one in the
leg, the second in the torso, the third in the head. There was an ongoing
struggle there where the officer went down at the plate of stair. He was
banged against the officer wall. And his fear as he state and to open his
testimony was the fear that Tony Robinson was going to get hold of his gun
and Tony by the (inaudible) was high in marijuana, he`d taken Xanax, he`d
taken a hallucinatory mushrooms and was acting very erratically and very
violently. And I think, this police officer in closed quarters with the
violent young man would already been struck once and totally might lose
consciousness, and acted in self-defense.
And I don`t think we can make an assumption on - in the manner of the
series of the shots were prior just said, he feared for his safety and he
feared for losing his gun, and other safeties. And he took what was seen
as, you know, a very restrain but acceptable use of force at that time.
DYSON: Well, look. We got a minute left before we take a break. But
isn`t it to (inaudible) of the public and, of course, to the police forces
across the nation that when there are exaggerated statements about fearful
life where we see some cases where people clearly...
DYSON: ... weren`t (ph). That it begins to solely the legitimate claims
that in this case might truly exist. Isn`t it that a warning to police
officers as well as the rest of us?
KELLY: Well, yeah. And there might not be so much wrong with that either.
You know, the additional scrutiny, the initial empathy, the restraint were
showing and look at all the facts before we get the appropriate reaction, I
think is proper and you learn by your mistakes.
You know, in something like, you know, you look at rape cases or something
and there are legitimate ones and then, its one woman who fabricate
something that puts a damper on the whole thing.
I think, it`s likewise here, you have one, you know police officer
shooting. That`s a bad one and it makes everything suspect then so.
DYSON: All right. Zerlina Maxwell, John Kelly, Joy Reid and Ruth Conniff,
stay with us.
We`re waiting a pressing conference from the family of Tony Robinson.
We`ll bring it to you live. Democrats block fast-track. We`ll look at
what`s next for the TPP.
DYSON: We`re still awaiting a press conference from the family of Tony
Robinson. When it starts, we`ll bring it to you live. But first, major
news on trade deals in Congress.
DYSON: And to our viewers, TPP suffered a major setback today.
Late this afternoon, the Senate held a procedural vote on Fast-track Trade
Authority for the President. They voted 52 to 45 to block fast-track.
Democrats blocked the measure. They needed 60 votes to advance. This is a
huge victory for opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Moments after the votes, Senator Mitch McConnell addressed fast-tracks
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY) MAJORITY LEADER: What we`ve just witnessed
here is the Democratic Senate shutdown the opportunity to debate the top
economic priority of the Democratic President of the United States. I
suspect some maybe parking their vote rather than actually buying the
outlandish rhetoric we`ve heard from the left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: After the Senate -- after the vote, Senate Democrats gave a press
conference themselves. They blamed Senator McConnell for compromising the
deal at the last minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: The Senate Democrats vote those who are
for TPA and those who are against it banded together to block a move by a
Republican colleagues to press forward with the trade deal while leaving
critical worker protections behind. Under the plans, Senator McConnell put
forward at the last minute. We didn`t know about it `till 12:30.
The Senate would have passed TPA and TAA but failed to pass enforcement
provisions that would combat currency manipulation and other very important
child labor and other enforcement provisions. All of which has robbed the
U.S. of thousands and thousands of jobs.
SENATOR SHERROD BROWN, (D) OHIO: Just simply can`t do trade promotion
without trade enforcement. Even the most enthusiastic supporters of fast-
track in the most enthusiastic supporters of TPP and free trade
acknowledged there will be winners and there will be losers from trade
agreements. It could be a tragedy if we didn`t help those American
companies and American workers and American communities who will inevitably
be hurt by actions in Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Today, mark the victory for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
and has been slamming fast-track and the TPP from the very beginning.
Earlier today, Elizabeth Warren spoke about faulty trade deals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASACHUSETTS: The game is rigged and we are
running out of time. We cannot continue to run this country for the top 10
percent. We can`t keep pushing through trade deals that benefit
multinational companies at the expense of workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: The two big winners today are Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie
Sanders, Democrats in the Senate shows the side with them over President
Obama`s questionable trade deal.
At this show, we have talked about it constantly. We`ve noted that there
are major problems with this deal. It`s been conducted in secret. The
details are not available to the public. Fast-track authority would be
granted for six years.
The investor state dispute mechanism could circumvent American law. And
when it comes down to it, fast trade deals like NAFTA have cost the
American jobs to be outsourced.
For more, let me bring in John Nichols Washington Correspondent for The
Nation Magazine who`s at the United -- Steelworkers Union Hall in Lorain,
John, I mean, how big a deal is this?
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: This is a big deal. Presidents usually get
fast-track at some point and they usually get their trade deals. We`ve had
an awful lot of them come in the last quarter of century. They`ve almost
all ended up costing jobs in the U.S. and fitting into bigger trade
So when I talked to steelworkers here in Lorain today as they heard the
news from the Senate, they were excited. They were happy. They said, "You
know, look, this is going to help us keep our jobs here."
But they also said, and I think they`re right that this fight isn`t done.
It`s very, very likely that there will be more congressional votes on fast-
track and perhaps, TPP.
DYSON: Right. So what are you hearing in Ohio about the trade deal
itself? You know, the President has been saying and lambasting Warren and
others are saying, "Look, they`re simply wrong on this". But how are the
people in -- Ohio themselves feeling?
NICHOLS: Well, the fact to the matter is that people in this part of the
country are very skeptical about what they hear as a trade deal is being
negotiated. The people in Toledo, in Lorain, in Cleveland, they`ve gone
through fights over NAFTA and most favorite nation trading status for China
and the Korean free trade deal, after deal, after deal.
And as Bernie Sanders said, every time they get promised a lot and then,
every time they end up with plant closings and fewer jobs. We`ve had
60,000 American factories closed since 2000. And (inaudible) lot of them
have been in this part of the country, in the industrial mid-west.
So the fact to the matter is, there`s huge skepticism and I know there`s a
lot of talk about Elizabeth Warren and her sincere and important concerns
regarding investor state. But in these parts of the country, the core
concern is simply about whether American jobs will be lost to another trade
DYSON: Well, you know, speaking of Elizabeth Warren, she`s going to stay -
- she stands to really gain from this because it varnishes her reputation
as known nonsense populous for the people. Senator but she`s not running
for president unless she claims she`s not but Bernie Sanders is, does this
any in way enhance his prospects and make him a serious pointer (ph)?
NICHOLS: I think it does as this issue continues to be in focus, it gives
Bernie Sanders a chance to distinguish himself and to stand very, very
strong. Remember Hillary Clinton has said some important things on trade
and she`s move toward a more worker friendly stands.
But Bernie Sanders has come out as 100 presenter. He is where the unions
are and a I`ll note that in some recent polls he has moved up I think in
part because people really are starting to focus on this trade issues and
various deep, deep passionate concern.
Remember, this is the number one public education small P, small E
education issue on economics in America. There`s an awful lot of people
who had first hand experience as regards trade policy. And they`re very
skeptical, they`re very concern. I think that if TPP remains on the agenda
if it remains an issue it is likely to have an impact on the 2016 race.
DYSON: All right. John Nichols, thank you so much for your time tonight.
NICHOLS: It`s a pleasure to be with you.
DYSON: Let me bring in Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Senator, your
reaction to today`s fit a (ph) Fast-track.
SEN. BOB CASEY, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: Well, Michael, I think it was a good day
for workers when you have folks like Democrats in our caucus as a united
effort to make sure that those who`ve lost their jobs because their job are
shipped overseas that they`re getting protections, and to make sure that
they were taking steps to end currency cheating by countries like China in
other countries who have engage in manipulating their currency to help
their workers and to help their industry. So that`s a good day for workers
but we`ve got along way to go and this could be a long battle.
This is but one vote on one day but, but it was the right vote and I think
Democrats indicated that we`re going to stand up and fight for workers.
DYSON: Well, Senator, the Republicans is going to let you vote on currency
manipulation, the fact is that, the perception has been that the Senate has
been such a stalwart (ph) against President Obama that it would seem that
the Democrats would then rally around him. But on the flip side of it,
given that you cast a vote that now favors so many of their members, are
they`re going to have a reciprocate in terms of permitting that to go
CASEY: Well, we`ll see. I`m not -- I can predict to what the Republican
leadership will do. But I will say this, if you notice when we had a
debate in the finance committee a couple of weeks ago on the question of
currency. You had Republicans who will likely vote in favor of a trade
agreement a contrary to my position who still believe that we should do
something substantial in this process, the so called promotion authority,
this part of the debate on currency.
So you have people that are that don`t necessarily agree with me on the
issue of trade that are still saying, currency is a problem, or currency
manipulation, or cheating on it is a problem because it cause American
jobs. In fact, the one study about the Economic Policy Institute as
relates to Japan`s cheating on currency over many years and they are in
this agreement by the way that Japan`s currency cheating causes a trade
deficit which causes in this case 40,000 jobs that we lost just in
Pennsylvania not to mention...
CASEY: ... hundreds of thousands across the country.
DYSON: Is there anything the President can say because, you know, he`s
pretty tickled (ph) with Senator Elizabeth Warren and his pretty irritated
by, you know, her persistence in this issue now with his vote, he certainly
is to be expected to be even more irritated but is there anything he can
say that will change your mind?
CASEY: Oh no, I don`t think so. But it`s still important to have this
debate because, Michael, I think in the end, this isn`t just a trade
debate. This is a debate about jobs and wages, it`s a very important
debate and might divide parts of the Democratic Party. But that`s fine, we
can have a big debate and get through it and see what happens at the end.
But along the way, we can come together to protect workers, even folks of
might disagree on how the vote on trade agreement. We all ought to make
sure that if workers are displaced that they get some help and we should
also make sure that we take very specific steps against currency cheating
which gives China and other countries real advantages over our companies
and our workers.
DYSON: All right. Senator Bob Casey thanks so much for your time tonight.
CASEY: Thank you.
DYSON: The family of Tony Robinson is set to speak about the Madison
County D.A.`s decision not to press charges in their son`s death. We`ll
bring you that press conference live.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OZANNE: A lawful use of deadly police force and then no charges should be
brought against Officer Kenny and the death of Tony Robinson Jr.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Welcome back. We are waiting a press conference from the family of
The district attorney of Dane County, Wisconsin will not press charges
against Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny. Kenny shot and killed 19-year-
old Tony Robinson in March.
Robinson had allegedly assaulted two people and was running in traffic.
According to the report, Kenny force himself into an apartment that
Robinson had run into. Attorney said, Robinson and Kenny got into an
altercation inside the apartment were Kenny shot and killed Robinson.
The ACLU released a statement on today`s decision that recent part.
"The ACLU of Wisconsin regrets district attorney Ozanne`s decision because
it leaves a cloud of uncertainty over the circumstance of and the
responsibility for Tony Robinson`s death. If Officer Kenny did not violate
the law then is anyone legally responsible for Mr. Robinson`s death? Does
the criminal law protect individuals like Mr. Robinson from deadly force
exercise by police officers? Are police officers above the law?"
Joining me now is Zerlina Maxwell Contributor to ESSENCE magazine, MSNBC
National Correspondent Joy Reid and John Kelly, Defense Attorney.
You know, Joy, what do you think about the reaction from the ACLU here
because what they`re making an argument for is that we`ve got this
establish a baseline of culpability for the police department. You`ve
already indicated it earlier in the show that is very rare as we know for
police officers to be charge.
So what the ACLU is asking for here is some kind of public evidence to
substantiate a claim of innocence here or at least of not being guilty, so
how do we then take them to task and hold the police responsible?
REID: Yeah, absolutely. And, Michael, gone are the days when it simply
enough for the police to assert that the officer acted lawfully and there`s
no questions ask. Because in the intervening years particularly after
(inaudible) to Michael Brown case, we know that in cases like the Walter
Scott case in South Carolina, in cases like we`ve just seen in Baltimore,
you can`t just take police at their word and the police words are always
The person reach in their waistband, I thought he had a gun. I feared for
my life. This is the narrative that attends almost every police, you can
go all the way back (inaudible) go to any of these cases, police are going
to use the narrative because it works.
But the question is, and I think it`s also question for the media as well,
do you simply take that at face value? Do you take the officer`s story at
face value, because up to now, the vast majority of grand juries, the best
majority of juries simply do and that`s been enough.
And so that is meant by the families of people who`ve been killed by police
are left with nothing that they can call closure, let along with they would
consider to be justice.
So I think that we need to as a country take a step back and ask ourselves
whether we have give him through our statute way too much latitude for
police to feel comfortable that narrative is going to work, that there`s
not going to be accountability.
Because to be honest with you, the only thing that changes behaviors of
institutions is the sense of this going to accountability, what changes
behavior is the fear of losing an election. I think in the case of police,
what would change the overall behavior and attitude towards communities, is
the sense that there could accountability. And I think right now, most of
the public and promptly many police in their unions, they know that they`re
probably won`t be. And so, I think we have a fundamental problem that
statutory in nature.
DYSON: Zerlina, given what joy has indicated here and given us a powerful
analysis of, how do you generate a counter narrative that suggested there
are some responsibility of all participant here, we know that police people
are there to protect and serve and yet, the strength that they`ve been able
to accrue as a result of strong unions and the presumption of innocence
that should be applied to all of course, but then hardily ever brings
police to account legally speaking, how can you generate us sufficient and
powerful counter narrative that will protect the people who need to be
MAXWELL: Well, I think part of the narrative that needs to be created is
when in which world we`re acting and I think that in this case, this is
true, as part of an increase in the transparency.
So when police are coming out and saying that these are the circumstances
that led up to the use of deadly force when a citizen is involve. The
public is required or excuse me, the public demand answers and full
accountability of exactly what led up to the desk.
And that is because we need to restore or maybe even create actual faith in
the criminal justice system, and right now we just do not have that. So
when there is any of the shootings all across the country, you see the
public responding and saying, "We don`t believe the police department. And
that needs to change because that is something that cannot be sustainable.
I think that we`re at, actually, come to Jesus (ph) moment in this regard.
And like Joy said, so eloquently before, we`re no longer at a point where,
we`re just going to take the police line as the default, factual,
narrative, without questioning it. We demand answers as a public and I
think that we should get those answers and transparency is important in
DYSON: We`re waiting a press conference from the family of Tony Robinson
accompanied by lawyers. When that is going on, we`ll bring that to you
live and direct.
In the mean time, John, looking at the details of this case, is there any
possible scenario for us to understand that charges might actually have
KELLY: I guess there is a scenario, it could have happened but I don`t
think it would have been appropriate in this particular set of
circumstances. And, you know, in my view, the right decision for me.
A couple of things, when we talk about...
DYSON: Well, let me ask you a question.
KELLY: Yeah. Sure.
DYSON: So because the overwhelming majority of the cases have not resulted
in police people being charge...
DYSON: ... what kind of case would exist where you think if would be
reasonable for police person to be charge?
KELLY: That I can`t think of the names of the young men right now, that
have lost their lives but I`ve looked at several other cases where I think
it would have been appropriate for officers to have been charge with what
one, a former manslaughter...
DYSON: The Freddie Gray case, right.
KELLY: Yup. Yup. But in this particular case, I just don`t think the
factor there. We got to remember that there were three 911 calls made from
people who, you know, felt it was a dangerous situation that Tony Robinson
was presenting. And the Police Officer Kenny responded to that situation
called there by citizen calling for help.
And that, you know, he went in to the apartment building and this was a
young man that assaulted him and the evidence indicated, he had to protect
himself and his weapon. I mean, there was no reaching for the waistband
play in here, there was no claim they thought what they say what they
thought was a gun in his hand.
You know, it`s a physical assault and he acted accordingly and this was
very eradicate behavior by a six foot five young men that assaulted other
people of the street and assaulted this police officer.
You know what really bothered me also was the ACLU statement saying, where
does responsibility lay? The implication being that for every death, there
has to be a responsibility or acceptance or responsibility or something was
I mean, this case, I think the police officer acted appropriately, maybe
responsible but he is appropriately responsible. And. you know, I`d hate
to say, it`ll be very unpopular but perhaps Tony Robinson under the
influence, all the drugs active erratically in the, you know, getting
physical, can we lay responsibility on his feet a little too is just...
KELLY: ... (inaudible) suggestions out.
DYSON: Yeah. Let me bring Joy in. Joy, let`s look at that, argument that
John is laying out here that perhaps, his death was warranted as a result
of his erratic behavior, but then, can we juxtapose this too in sharp
manner. Many other non African-American or Latino people who act equally
erratic but the outcome is not nearly as fatal or lethal as in this case.
Is there any possibility that there is some (inaudible) room even when
erratic behavior as events?
REID: Yes, absolutely. And here is what I would say to that. And then, I
have, you know, a family member who was a retired NYPD officer, our friends
in South (inaudible) police officers.
Policing is a profession. It is a profession in which a fundamental part
of your job is dealing with those people who are erratic, those people who
are behaving outside the norms of proper social behavior. It is a
profession because you are trained to confront those people and hopefully
in a peaceful way that does not result in the lost of life, meaning your
life, a member of the public`s life. Or that person`s life, you bring
chaotic situations to a close, that`s a policing is.
It isn`t a war between and armed police force and an armed public or scary
public. The police are supposed to confront somebody whatever their
internal feelings of fears, then I suppose to confront them the way I
would. I might be terrified if somebody was behaving erratically toward me
and seem to reaching toward in the way that was frightening to me.
I`m not a trained police officer. I think we need to start asking
ourselves, whether we are training our police officers to react to people
who are in erratic situations in a way that preserves life. And we`ve seen
situations, there were the bath salt (ph) situations in Florida where you
literally had a man you could see from a helicopter literally, and
viciously attacking another man on the ground, someone who was obviously
dangerous. That person could be apprehended.
We`ve seen this video all over YouTube. There was a case in England where
a man was wielding a sword, and police took a longtime, seems like 20 to 25
minutes using non-lethal force to very carefully subdue this person who was
obviously either inebriated or mentally ill.
We are asking police to almost do social services in our country, to deal
with the mentally ill, to deal with people who are addicted to drugs, we`re
asking them to do a tremendous amount and maybe some of that isn`t fair.
But we also want to treat them as professionals and we don`t want to
presume that the only choice when somebody is erratic or somebody is
aggressive is to shoot and kill them.
And I think that that is untenable situation going forward because if
that`s what we`re saying, that they only choice that professional police
have when someone is erratic is to shoot and kill them, then we really do
need to have a conversation.
DYSON: Go ahead, John.
KELLY: Yeah. I just want to response to that, (inaudible) point well
taken and I`m taking step back here to a couple of things. When Zerlina
and I, we`re talking here a break about how you will have the same
situation, Tony Robinson situation in Europe but they just don`t carry
guns, the police, so you`re not going to have a -- the desk here when the
police are called in a situation. So...
DYSON: Yeah. Well, maybe we should take a line from the Bobbies there.
We`re awaiting a press conference from the family of Tony Robinson. We`ll
bring it to you live when it happens.
DYSON: Welcome back to the Ed Show.
We`re still awaiting a press conference from the family of Tony Robinson.
When the family comes out, we`ll bring you their remarks live.
Joining me again now, is Zerlina Maxwell, Contributor to ESSENCE Magazine,
MSNBC National Correspondent Joy Reid and John Kelly, Defense Attorney.
Zerlina, give us a sense of what you think is how we perceive here because
on the one hand, obviously, we have legitimate concerns about the public
safety of American citizens regardless of color, race, sex orientation and
the like who deserve to be protected from what they presume to be a menace.
But that has been the problem.
The construction of menace has been racially tinged and also infused with
genders. So how do we talk about making distinctions between perceptions
of menace that are real and virulent in our face and the kind of collective
angst (ph) that the culture feels when they`re confronted with an erratic
person who happens to be African-American or Latino?
MAXWELL: Well, I think that we actually have to honestly confront the fact
that implicit bias exist in all human beings including police officers.
And I think to push back on that presumption is where we go wrong often in
this case is in I think, you know, look -- even going back to Trayvon
Martin, if you make him anything other than a black young man, I think most
of the public would not default to "Oh, well, George Zimmerman must have
been in fear for his life".
And then, so many of these cases, police officers simply assert that they
were in a fear for their life and the general public where at large says,
"Oh, well. It was an African-American or Latino gentlemen, so, that is a
justified fear and so therefore, the force was justified."
And I just think that that presumption needs to be critically examined
because that is implicit bias. If you`re assuming then that, "Oh, well, it
was justified or it must have been more justified in that case because a
black or Latino man is more frightening than a white woman or a black
woman", well, honestly, black woman are also victims of police brutality
and violence but I think that the presumption that the black body is
therefore a menacing dangerous is where we actually have to have that hard
conversation because until we do that, there is going to be no faith in the
criminal justice system on any level.
And I think that that is what is now spilling into the streets with the
Black Lives Matter because, you know, this is black people and brown people
for so many years and decades have faced this problem and yet now, it`s
spilling into the streets.
MAXWELLL: And everyone is paying attention but it`s not a new problem but
it`s one that we actually -- honestly confront, we skipped over the actual
DYSON: John, what about that argument of Zerlina Maxwell`s about implicit
bias and the way in which implicit bias infiltrates all segments of the
culture including police people, how do we account for that even as we go
about the necessary duty of policing communities that are ravage by certain
forms of crime?
KELLY: Well, I think prior of that answer I give you right now. Well, I
could solve a lot of problems across the cities in the U.S. but there is no
question. There is that inherent bias here.
You know, on different levels, to me, just being of the young black men or
the black women or you know, different cultures. But I think it`s a
question of training, a question of sort of taking a harder look at these
things. Putting a lot eyes on each of these situations that are become so
prominent now, in saying what went wrong, how could we have handled it
better and what can we do to prevent this in the future. And I think those
are three steps that are being put in place across at least larger police
forces right down across the country.
You`ve got the cameras in all the most of the patrol cars and on the police
officers themselves to watch sort of built-in restraint right there.
They`re screening, there are police officers seeing other police officers
indicted and locked up for their actions. And they`re seeing police
officers that are seeing their brothers humiliated on YouTube and things
like that where they claim they were assaulted and then, you see them shoot
a black man in the back.
So it sort of like, there are eyes everywhere now. There is a process now.
The changes needed now. It`s got to be instituted on the street level and
the legislatures and then, the headquarters of the police departments
across the country. And I think, it`s getting the scrutiny and it`s
getting the attention and this is -- one more of these cases.
DYSON: Zerlina, Joy and John, thanks so much for your time.
We`re still awaiting the press conference from Tony Robinson`s family.
We`ll bring it to you when it happens.
DYSON: Welcome back to the Ed Show.
The followup continues over penalties against the Patriots over
Tom Brady will be suspended for four games without pay for conduct
detrimental to the integrity of the NFL.
Today, Tom Brady`s agent said he will appeal the decision. He released a
statement that read impart, "The discipline is ridiculous and has no
The Wells report founded more probable than not that Brady was generally
aware of the footballs being deflated.
The NFL is punishing the Patriots franchise for violating rules and failure
to comply with the subsequent investigation. The Patriots will be fine $1
million and lose their first round draft pick in 2016 and fourth round pick
in 2017. These penalties really ain`t no joke.
Robert Kraft has indefinitely suspended, both the locker room workers
accused of deflating footballs. Kraft released the statements saying the
punishment far exceeded in a reasonable expectation. It was based
completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence.
Reaction from players has been pouring in. Patriots Running Back
LeGarrette Blount tweeted, "This is absolutely ridiculous, Patsnation stand
Giants` Quarterback Eli Manning is taking a different tone. He told
reporters, "I don`t like to see anybody get suspended. I don`t like to see
anybody get in trouble, so in no way am I glad to see this happen."
Eli went on to say however, "I think it is about integrity and you have to
follow the rules. So if someone`s breaking rules, I understand they`re
going to get punished."
For more, let me bring in former NFL Quarterback Sage Rosenfels and Steve
Kornacki, Host of "Up" on MSNBC.
So -- I`m sorry. We`ll have to cut here.
The family of Tony Robinson, the 19-year old Wisconsin man killed by police
is giving a press conference following today`s decision by the Dane County
District Attorney not to press charges against the Officer. Let`s listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LOEVY, ROBINSON`S FAMILY ATTORNEY: And it is a tragedy for the family
and a tragedy for this community. The lost that this family has
experienced, that this 19-year-old whom am I grow up is almost impossible
to put in the words.
And today, the reason we`re late we were handed a pile paper by the
district attorney`s office, we had hope to be able to review that paper
before we address the media but we have not have time to review what they
provided to us.
But from what we can gather, there are a number of questions. First of
all, the evidence suggests that the police officer was told not to go into
the house at all, and he went into the building and created a confrontation
that lead to unnecessary death even though he was instructed to wait for
backup and to not create a dangerous situation.
But more troublingly, there are a lot of unanswered questions about this
shooting. The police officers account has change over time, it continues
to evolve where he said inconsistent things and as I -- as we understood
the D.A.`s explanation of what that video shows, it shows the police
officer outside the building firing for a 7th time, the 7th shot into the
building, a bullet that hit Tony Robinson at a downward trajectory and
killed him. And that makes no sense why the police officer would be
shooting from outside the building into the building killing an unarmed
young man. And the police officers account which we heard describe today,
describe to something that bares almost no relationship to that about an
argument and a fight on a stairwell. Apparently, the police officer
suffered some kind of amnesia, he didn`t remember being outside the
building and shooting into the building.
So those are unanswered questions, we continue to investigate we`ve only
just now been provided the documentation.
We`re going to ask that you respect that we`re not going to answer your
questions because we have more questions than you do, and we don`t have
So at this time we`re not going to answer questions but the various members
of family would like to speak.
We`ll start with Turin Carter maybe you can spell your name sir.
TURIN CARTER, TONY ROBINSON`S UNCLE: That`s T-U-R-I-N, Carter spelled as
it sounds. Thank you all for coming. Obviously, this is a very difficult
moment. I wanted to speak about Terrell, Tony Terrell he was a little
brother to me, he will be missed terribly and there are few words that I
can put in to describe my feeling as to how he is being demonize. I would
just like everybody to keep in mind that this was a 19-year-old kid whose
life was cut short before he was able to fully realize his potential.
That being said, I want to make it clear so that we all understand that
this decision was not an admission of guilt or innocence as it pertains to
Matt Kenny rather this decision decided whether or not that this there was
sufficient enough evidence to go to trial and that option has been taken
away from us, at least for the time being so.
LOEVY: All right.
CARTER: Yeah. And that`s all I would like to say thank you.
LOEVY: I forgot to spell my name. I`m John Loevy L-O-E-V-Y. I`m a lawyer
the law firm`s called Loevy and Loevy. In just an echo what Turin was
saying, you know, the family had hopes that the process would play out with
a public hearing of the evidence and have 12 members of the community
decide if the shooting was justified or unjustified.
Unfortunately, based on the decision made by district attorney`s office
today that won`t happen and there`s going to be no further review. I`m
going to introduce now Sharon Irwin who`s going to say a few words as well.
SHARON IRWIN, TONY ROBINSON`S GRANDMOTHER: Hi. Look, I just want to tell
you about my grandson because he`s been slandered from beginning and he was
setup. I wear a sweater because this is the only comfort that I have left.
I don`t have a ups and (ph) holding anymore. And I want you to know that I
missed him and really love him, great kid. And you -- haven`t had the
opportunity to know the kid I know. You only had the opportunity to know
the kid that the channel (ph) 3,000 put out for you guys. And that was not
inappropriate or even an accurate look at who he is.
And one day, I hope you have the opportunity to know who he was because I
will missed him the rest of my life when you guys go home and you won`t do
this anymore. This is forever thing with him and I just want to say this
is politics and not justice.
LOEVY: And just more thing we`ll add is this, as the spokesman for the
family they asked me to convey this, that is we fully support the community
to express frustration. If there`s frustration, you express anger. If
there`s anger, it`s a free country and we understand there`s going to be
people marching and making their opinions heard, that they disagree with
But the family feels strongly that, that protest should be non-violent
should be calm. This is not a situation where people should get hurt or
that the community should tear itself apart that makes no sense.
And we`re confident that this community at Madison is not about that
because that`s not what Tony`s about either. So thank you very much.
We`re going to go back in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: You just heard from the family of Tony Robinson, following the
district attorney`s decision not to press charges in his death.
I`m joined again by MSNBC National Correspondent Joy Reid and Opal Tometi
Executive Director at Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Co-Creator of
the Black Lives Matter.
Opal let me turn directly to you. You heard from the grandmother there
which was a specially affecting because she said, you don`t know the young
man I knew, you hear what has been presented to you from the media and from
the people who`s interested is to protect the police but you don`t this man
and part of the war we wage here is a war of perception. Talk to us about
the ways in which the perceptions of young black people play or biracial
people as well people of color playing to how we meet out justice or what
we think is justifiable or not.
OPAL TOMETI, BLACK ALLIANCE FOR JUST IMMIGRATION: Yeah. Unfortunately,
what we`re seeing in this time period is that implicit biases that people
have it every aspect of our society so be it in the education system, be
with the medical healthcare system, be at. And with the law enforcement
system, we see these biases against black people being played out time and
And quite frankly, the reason we made the Black Lives Matter political
project and national network was to confront this. The reality is that
anti-black racism is literally killing our people and we can`t seat ideally
by (ph). And so what we`re seeing right now across the country is black
people and their allies from all walks of life arising up and what we`re
calling black spring.
People are fighting for their lives. They`re fighting for their love ones.
And what we`re seeing time in time again is this assault on low income
black communities is playing out in a very real way and the reality is that
people are fed up...
TOMETTI: ... and it`s really hard to hear, you know, countless story after
story just like this young grandmother was sharing her story about her
grandson. We`re tired and so we stand with the communities in Madison,
Wisconsin specifically we`re in our really uplifting the demands that the
young gifted black coalition in Madison, Wisconsin are promoting right now.
They`re calling for beyond just a federal investigation but they`re calling
for the United Nations to step in.
We`re not seeing the types of justice come out to our current system. We
know that this system wasn`t setup for people like us. it isn`t setup to
deal with it and so we`re calling...
TOMETTI: ... for investigations that look far beyond just the United
States of America we`re calling for...
TOMETTI: ... international communities to step in here.
DYSON: Joy, in light of what Opal has just indicated, talk to us about
when we talk about a black spring similar to an Arab spring. To think
about the Arab spring is that the police forces we`re seen as in a
stigmatize like, they were the ones who are being held to account because
they were running over the people is the exact opposite here that the
people of color are themselves being police and in some senses surveilled
by a police force that has the legitimacy of the states, speak to us about
the significant difference there.
REID: Yeah. No, absolutely. And your absolutely right there but
fundamentally it was still in the case of the Arab spring. It was about a
challenge to existing power where people felt that they were being robbed
that there just their human dignity and I think that is very similar to
what your saying in this movement. I think very briefly we talk about the
implicit biases and sort of the way that African-Americans are being
perceived in the moment when they`re confronting police. But there`s also
the explicit issue, Michael, where with that grandmother was grieving and
was bringing, nearly the tears when she said, you don`t know my grandson
you don`t know Tony, is because is also the explicit sort of running down
of the dead.
That goes all the way back to Patrick Dorismond with Rudy Giuliani and what
he was no choirboy (ph) releasing his juvenile record and the case of Tony
Robinson talking about his criminal record which is a relevant...
DYSON: All right.
REID: ... to his death. That have...
DYSON: All right.
REID: . to stop and that`s us on the media.
DYSON: All right. Joy Reid and Opal Tometi, thank you so much for your
That`s the Ed show, I`m Michael Eric Dyson, in for Ed Schultz.
PoliticsNation with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.
Good evening Rev.
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