PoliticsNation, Thursday, June 18th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: June 18, 2015
Guest: Paul Butler; Candice Delong; David Mack; Todd Rutherford, Matthew
Fogg, Nelson Rivers, Marlon Kimpson
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m live in
Charleston, South Carolina where tonight our hearts are broken.
Right now this plane is on the tarmac in North Carolina. It`s about to fly
Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old suspected of killing nine people in Charleston
last night, to fly him back here to South Carolina.
The nine innocent people were praying at mother Emanuel, one of the oldest
black churches here in North Carolina. Six women and three men were simply
gathering for bible study last night when they were shot and killed. Among
the victims, the pastor of mother Emanuel, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, a
leader in the community. It is chilling to me that just over two months
ago I marched with him against senseless violence. Now he has fallen
victim to senseless violence. It`s hard for me and the community to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just unbelievable this has happened in the holy city.
Streets were blocked off and I said it can`t be. I don`t believe it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shock. I`m kind of numb. It`s like I`m really not
happening here. This is our town square. You know, it`s just
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Today we are seeing the community come together and mourn.
Police are calling the massacre that it was a hate crime. What has our
society come to when people are gunned done in a prayer meeting in the
sacred halls of a church?
As I stood in prayer with local community leaders and met with the mayor of
Charleston, everyone has the same question. Where can you go if you can`t
go to a church or a mosque or synagogue and have bible study or prayer and
not be safe? This senseless, horrific act is something of a wake-up call
at many levels.
Let me bring in Craig Melvin. Craig, give us the latest. You have been
here, what is the latest on the investigation?
CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: As you indicated at the top here, the
21-year-old suspect on his way back to South Carolina. He waived
extradition. We can also tell you that a short time ago there was a search
in Columbia where he lived. There was a search conducted at his father`s
home. They were looking for any evidence, they are looking for any sign,
any indication into what may have driven him to do something like this.
We`re told that investigators have completed the search, although the crime
scene tape is still up. He was also arrested earlier this year. There are
two offense, the first was a drug offense, the second was a trespassing
offense at a mall in South Carolina. He has a record.
He was taken into custody this morning, Reverend Sharpton. As you can see
there, without incident. We are told that they pulled over in Shelby,
North Carolina, officials pulled over his Hyundai Elantra and they pulled
it over because they were suspicious. That`s all we got in terms of what
drove them to that suspicion. But they pulled him over, asked him a few
questions and the video that you`re seeing now is what happened next.
Reverend Pinckney, you knew him, I knew him as well.
SHARPTON: Very well respected community leader.
SHARPTON: And one of the things that I`m told that I didn`t know until I
was in the leaders` meeting with the mayor, is that they say this young man
sat in the church for part of what was going on.
MELVIN: An hour.
SHARPTON: For 45 minutes to an hour. And then got up, let one lady go and
started shooting. So this was a deliberate kind of thought of thing that
obviously raises questions all over the place, from hate to whether he`s
deranged. It`s just unthinkable.
MELVIN: As fed for the pastor by name, reloaded five times, and at the end
of it apparently before he started shooting or perhaps during the shooting
shouted out several racist things.
This was a crime, Reverend, as you indicated, this was premeditated, this
was planned. It`s going to be very interesting to see over the next few
days what investigators are able to find out. They think he acted alone
but was he part of some sort of underground group? Did he spend time in
one of these chat rooms, on these blogs? These are the kind of questions
investigators are going to be asking.
SHARPTON: The mood is very tense, angry, sorrow, some people are more
expressive than others. No real threats of violence. We have people that
are understandably outraged, as all of us that knew any of the people were,
people that I know here in the chapel Mass Action Network had relatives
that were killed. But I think that people are still in a state of shock,
as I am.
MELVIN: This is -- and here`s the thing. You know there`s a lot of folks
watching and listening to this. This a community that was still reeling
from the Walter Scott shooting.
SHARPTON: Yes. They`re waiting on the trial.
MELVIN: Right. I mean, that`s three, you know, four miles from where we
stand right now. This is a small city that has had to deal with a great
deal of tragedy in the past.
SHARPTON: But I was glad to see people of all races come together and show
Craig Melvin, thank you very much for your reporting.
Right now we are waiting for a plane to fly the suspect back to South
Carolina. Earlier today President Obama spoke about the tragedy and the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is something
particularly heartbreaking about a death happening in a place in which we
seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship. Mother Emanuel is in
fact more than a church. This is a sacred place in the history of
Charleston and in the history of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Right now I want to bring in Todd Rutherford, South Carolina`s
house minority leader and South Carolina state representative David Mack.
They both knew Reverend Pinckney very well. First of all, I`m sorry for
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.
SHARPTON: Let me start with you, Representative Rutherford. How are you
in the community doing tonight?
STATE REP. TODD RUTHERFORD (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: We`re not doing well, I
can tell you the outpouring of emotion from not only Democrats but
Republicans, not only friend with people who didn`t even know him at all
are in tears over the fact that he could be gunned down while pastoring
people seeking place, seeking God. We are not doing well.
SHARPTON: You know, Representative Mack, we have seen a lot of battles
together. And I can`t remember anything as horrific as this.
STATE REP. DAVID MACK (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: The only thing I could go back
to was the three little girls in Birmingham, Alabama. You know, the
innocence in church, in worship, a place that we all should be safe. We
tell our young kids not to go in joints in some of the more dangerous
areas, but to be in church and this happens. So, we`re going to have to
really as a community (INAUDIBLE) collectively, go back to the drawing
board and work across the board to really heal our community.
SHARPTON: Now, tell us about Reverend Pinckney, representative. He served
with you, he served with representative Mack. And from what I, the
encounters I had down through the years, which were not nearly as many as
you all, he seemed to be a quiet man. When he had something to say,
everybody kind of I noticed would get silent because usually he didn`t
RUTHERFORD: He didn`t talk a lot but when he did, he had a booming voice,
reminded you of Barry White. So that when he did -- But you could always
tell when something came up, it was a heated issue.
He was just a nice guy. He cared about everything. And so truly just a
MACK: You know, you`re hearing all type of accolades. But I think we said
a very, very good person. He drew a parallel between being a pastor and
being an elected official in that he cared for people, serving people.
That will go down as I think the number one thing that makes him so great
in our eyes and everybody that he touched.
SHARPTON: Now, there were five other members of the clergy among the nine
that were dead. One, they were meeting with preparing the ordination. And
I understand there was going to be what we call, what is call in the AME
church, a district meeting. Some of those officials could have been harmed
had they been there a little earlier. I mean, it`s just an absolute
horrific thought that has so many different levels of just getting to you.
RUTHERFORD: What would lead this young man to believe that it OK to go
into a church, to pray with people right before you gun them down? But
most of it, I would call him down, the whole time we have been looking at
their eyes, with him, it only seemed to encourage him to take nine lives,
to leave blood in a church, to leave bullets in the church. It`s certainly
a message that we need to change in South Carolina.
SHARPTON: And this is an historic church, we`ve been talking all day, a
church founded in the 18th century, a church that was one of the places
investigated for planning slave rebellion in Denmark V.C. And you almost
never came to Charleston without invited if you weren`t like I was
privilege to go in and speaker doing thing. And this church, do you think
the desecrating of this church, I mean, the killing here, was also part of
a hate message?
MACK: It has to be. Referred to as mother Emanuel in Charleston, in the
low country, very special, Denmark, V.C., all the country involved in terms
of our freedom. And we`re going to have to use that, I think, as a
rallying cry with all of us. Where do we go from here? There`s so much to
do. And there`s so many layers, Reverend Al, to this that we need to have
discussions on. Racism, weapons, mental health services. So many things
we need to be able to deal with.
SHARPTON: And these are issues, Representative Rutherford, you and some of
your colleagues have been wrestling with. I think this brings home not on
to Charleston but to the nation the issues of race, of mental health, of
issues of gun accessibility.
RUTHERFORD: South Carolina is one of the few flags that doesn`t have hate
flag regulation. We are the only state that (INAUDIBLE) in front of our
building. What message are we saying as a government body (INAUDIBLE). So
what we got to look at ourselves first before we can lead this nation and
SHARPTON: We`re seeing live scenes at the airport in North Carolina where
the suspect is being brought back to South Carolina. He`s waived
extradition and is being brought back here to be charged and face trial.
So many questions, Representative Rutherford and Representative Mack, was
he acting alone? It appears that way, but you don`t know. Was he a member
of a hate group? What was his affiliation? None of this can be answered
tonight less than 24 hours since this happened.
RUTHERFORD: Right. What we do know is that he, in South Carolina, he
would have committed capital murder. So he would eligible for the death
penalty. He committed , he killed more than one person, which in South
Carolina makes him eligible. There also, I`m talking to the U.S. attorney,
I spoke to President Obama this morning and told him that I talked to the
U.S. attorney, it would possibly face federal (INAUDIBLE) legislation.
In South Carolina, our justice system is relatively quickly. So they would
probably try him on a capital murder case prior to any federal criminal
SHARPTON: These are live pictures of the suspect being brought on to the
plane in North Carolina. He is now being put on the plane to be
transported back here to South Carolina to stand and be charged and face
all of the things you, Representative Rutherford, was outlining are
possible for him to be charged with.
But as we watch this again, we still have to ask is it more than him? What
could have led an individual to do it? Is it more than an individual? I
mean, there`s so many unanswered questions here.
MACK: I think one of the things we have to look at ourselves with regards
to since having an African-American president, there`s been so much hatred.
There`s been so much disrespect for the office . There are so many
personal things thrown at the direction of the first lady and the children.
And we`re better than that. So I think all of those things we have to work
on in order to move us forward.
SHARPTON: And I think that how we respond in a substantive way will show
how good we are. We say we`re better and I believe we`re better and we
have to show we`re better.
MACK: And we owe it to Senator Pinckney to show that we`re better. He
dedicated his life to. He died at 40. We need to make sure that we carry
SHARPTON: And I think when I was meeting with the mayor, I know they`re
setting up a fund, people around the country are participating. But I
think all of us need to really look in the collective mirror and say are we
doing all we can to deal with these issues.
MACK: And remember those other families, too. When we were out here last
night, there was a young lady and her grandmother was one of the ones that
was gunned down. And you know, no one should have to wait in the dark of
night knowing that their grandmother got gunned down in a church in a
SHARPTON: The suspect has just boarded the plane and is being brought back
from North Carolina to South Carolina. You are looking at that live as
they have now put him on the plane to bring him back here to face charges
and to continue this investigation into what other factors may have been
involved in this horrific massacre that he apparently executed here last
night at more Emanuel AME church.
I mean, it`s just, again, unbelievable. You see them beginning to --
Representative Mack, this is something again that I hope will make the
whole nation pause and say are we really going to deal with these issues or
are we just going to keep going from one incident to the next and one that
gets worse than the last one?
MACK: What I`m hopeful, what I`m prayerful of is that I think back to
during the civil rights movement and the visuals of Beau Connor, the dogs,
the water hoses, the visuals of the blasted church with three little girls
and the country looked at that and felt ashamed and we made some movement.
That`s how I feel we have to use that, to use that. And as Representative
Rutherford said, and I agree, we owe it to the legacy of Senator Pinckney
and the other members.
SHARPTON: Well, Representative Rutherford and representative Mack, thank
you so much both of you for being with us tonight.
We are watching live pictures of the suspect being brought back. We`ll
take a break and we`ll be right back with more breaking news.
SHARPTON: We are live here in Charleston, South Carolina. You are
watching live shot as the suspect has now boarded on that plane and brought
back to South Carolina where he will be charged in the massacre of nine
people here at the mother Emanuel church, historic church. We`re watching
as the plane now prepares to take off and bring this suspect back to
Charleston where he will face charges and further investigation.
We`ll take a break. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The department of justice has opened
a hate crime investigation into the shooting incident. Acts like this one
had no place in our country and no place in a civilized society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The 21-year-old suspected of killing nine people last night at
Charleston church is on a plane heading back to South Carolina from North
Carolina. Earlier today, attorney general Loretta Lynch announcing the
justice department will open a hate crime investigation into the tragic
shooting at Charleston mother Emanuel church.
Tonight there are many questions about the suspect, Dylann Roof, and his
possible interests in white supremacy. This photo f Roof posted to
Facebook last month shows him wearing a jacket with patches linked to white
supremacy groups. The top one in a partied airsoft African flag. The
bottom, the flag of the former white controlled company of Rhodesia.
Today, a former classmate of Roof`s told "The Daily Beast" quote "he had
that kind of sudden pride I guess some would say. Strong conservative
beliefs. He made a lot of racist jokes but you don`t really take them
seriously like that."
Joining me now are Candice Delong, a former FBI criminal profiler and Paul
Butler, a former federal prosecutor.
Let me go to you first. Let me ask you your reactions first you as a
profiler and as one that have studied these kinds of situations, I don`t
know if anything this horrific. What are you looking for in the profile?
CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, one of the things that
struck me - one of the first things that struck me when I heard about this
and looked into it was his age. He`s rather young, much younger than we
usually see people doing this kind of thing. And that led me to believe a
possibility that based on things his uncle said to his sister --
SHARPTON: That`s the plane taking off -- you can continue. I just wanted
to let our viewers know that was the plane that has now taken off from
North Carolina headed back here, bring bringing the suspect. Go ahead, I`m
sorry for interrupting.
DELONG: OK. That`s all right. A possibility exists in my mind for sure
of mental illness having emerged recently. There a couple of very serious
mental illnesses that emerge in the late teens, early 20s. And the
behaviors that he was engaging in, not counting the shooting, but staying
in his room all the time, being very introverted, his own uncle told the
boy`s mother there`s something wrong with him, very well could be a serious
We saw this with Jared Loughner (ph), the shooter in Tucson, Arizona who
shot Gabby Giffords and killed six other people and we saw it in Boulder,
Colorado with James Holmes who was in fine shape when he started his grad
program and mental illness emerged and we know what he`s on trial for.
SHARPTON: Paul, we`re hearing the possibility of also a hate crime case
here when the attorney general made her statement. How do they build a
hate crime case in this?
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So, it`s a sentencing enhancement.
It is important to understand, there`s not a separate crime called a hate
crime. But if you commit another crime and there`s evidence that your
intent was based on ill will towards specific groups like African-
Americans, then you get more time. You get a tougher sentence if you`re
The other federal possibility, Reverend, is terrorism. That`s what the
Boston marathon shooter was charged with. I looked up the definition of
domestic terrorism. It`s when you commit a crime with the intent to
intimidate a civilian population. Actually, the first domestic terrorism
law in this country was based on cases like this. It was designed to get
the Ku Klux Klan when they were violent against African-Americans.
So I think if we think of this incident as a terrorist attack, rather than
a garden variety crime, even murder, I think that will send an important
message to the country.
SHARPTON: Let me follow up on that. So if you could deal with terrorism
as well as the murders and the hate crime, how do you put those pieces
together, clearly the prosecutors have to be methodical, despite all of the
passion and outrage many of us are feeling. What are they going to have to
do with the case?
BUTLER: So the federal charges would be brought by the attorney general
and of course there would be an historical resonance with the first
African-American female attorney general, someone who was raised in the
civil rights movement being in-charge of this prosecution. The federal
prosecution would take precedence over the state prosecution.
What they`re doing now is two things. They`re interrogating the shooter,
the alleged shooter, first of all to see if there`s a plot or conspiracy,
if other people are in danger. The other thing they`re doing is try to
make a criminal case. So if they can get him to talk, if he says that he
doesn`t need a lawyer, if he`s willing to talk, then they are building
evidence. Either way, Reverend, if it state or federal, we`re almost
certainly looking at a capital case, a death penalty case.
SHARPTON: Candice, how do we know from his profile whether it is likely he
was operating with other people, whether he was a member of a group? I
cited some of what we`ve already heard about some of his Facebook postings.
Does that tell us anything on whether or not there was any connection here
or are we dealing with a lone man, a young man, who was deranged?
DELONG: It looks to me like we`re probably dealing with a young man who
was -- is deranged, may have at one time or possibly still a member of a
group, possibly, you know, on the fringe of that group. Sometimes these
hate groups and domestic terrorism groups, they kick people out who are too
crazy. And this has happened before. One of the things I wondered, Al,
the picture that you were referring to of him standing in front of a swamp
and looking very sullen and with apartheid patches on his jacket, my
question is who took that picture? Was it someone in a group that he was
with? Why didn`t people see what was wrong? And we may find out some
people did see what was wrong but didn`t act properly.
BUTLER: Reverend, if I may, I think we need to push back against this
narrative that this man is deranged. That`s true but everyone who kills is
deranged. Often if it`s a white shooter, we tend to think, well, they must
have a mental illness. Whereas if it`s an African-American, he`s a thug.
If it`s a Muslim or Arab, he`s a terrorist. Again, this man clearly is
deranged, but that does not mean that he deserve a special kind of
solitude. He is a mass murderer and a terrorist.
SHARPTON: All right. Candice Delong and Paul Butler, thank you both for
your time tonight.
DELONG: He`s a mass murderer but he also is deranged.
BUTLER: Thank you for having me.
DELONG: You are welcome.
SHARPTON: A plane carrying the suspect is on the way back to South
Carolina leaving moments ago. So what happens next for the suspect? We`ll
talk about that next.
SHARPTON: President Obama earlier today spoke about the tragedy here in
Charleston and delivered powerful remarks about gun violence in this
country. It was at least his 14th times speaking about a shooting attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I`ve had to make statements like
this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies
like this too many times. We don`t have all the facts but we do know that
once again innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted
to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. We as a
country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence
does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn`t happen in other
places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something
about it. And at some point it`s going to be important for the American
people to come to grips with. And for us to be able to shift how we think
about the issue of gun violence collectively.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Yes, it is time to shift how we think about the issue of gun
violence, collectively and in America. More on that ahead.
SHARPTON: Moments ago, the suspect of this Charleston massacre boarded a
plane en route to South Carolina.
Joining me now is NBC`s Jay Gray. Jay, what can you tell us about the next
step for this suspect?
JAY GRAY, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Reverend, good evening. We know that he`s
being flown back here to Charleston, likely will not appear in court this
evening but at some point will face charges in this case. And likely
murder charges to start things off. Look, this is the beginning of what`s
going to be a very long and very detailed investigation. And that`s what
we`re hearing from those on the ground here. Understand that we`re just
starting this process. Yes. Do we think we have a lot to work with?
Obviously we have some surveillance video here, there is evidence we know
that`s been pulled from the car. And so, yes, we`ve got a lot to work with
but we`re going to make sure we do this the right way and make sure that we
carry this through to its fruition. So, that`s the next step here. We`ll
likely see him in court tomorrow where for the first time he will
officially hear the charges, again the beginning of what`s going to be a
long and very important process -- Reverend.
SHARPTON: NBC`s Jay Gray, thank you for your reporting. So what happens
now? When will the alleged shooter face justice?
Today Charleston Police chief talked about the arrest and what happens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He was arrested in Shelby, North Carolina, during a
traffic stop. He was stopped because a citizen alerted law enforcement to
suspicious activity. He was cooperative with the officer who stopped him.
We don`t have no reason to believe there was anybody else involved. Right
now he`s in Shelby, North Carolina. There will be a process that we have
to go through to get him back here. So, we`ll be working that very
diligently with not only SLED, with the FBI, along with our detectives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, I want to bring in Matthew Fogg, retired chief deputy U.S.
Marshal. Matthew, Roof was arrested less than 14 hours after the shooting.
What does that tell you about his plan?
MATTHEW FOGG, RETIRED CHIEF DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL: Well, it tells me that
his plans, if he had any, went awry. Certainly what it tells me a police
did great, police work by pulling this monster over and stopping him and
certainly bringing him into custody. Obviously, it seemed like to me, the
shooting that he planned or when he went into that church, he clearly had
plans to kill the folks he did, to do what he did but thank God he got
captured and police did great work in pulling him over.
SHARPTON: Now, one thing I noted, he had a gun in the car.
SHARPTON: Are you surprised the arrest happened without incident?
FOGG: Yes, I am. Quite surprised Reverend because normally somebody like
that, they don`t have anything else to loose. He knows what he did. You
know, again, but he got his point across, his point was to bring home
racial terror, to particularly make a point that, you know, this country is
not the way that he thinks it should be and probably a lot of other people
are thinking the same way. But I`m just glad that he got caught and
hopefully that he`ll understand the full brunt of the law.
SHARPTON: What else are the police looking at right now?
FOGG: Well, they`re looking at right now, anybody this man has talked to,
anybody he`s what association with, especially when you talk about hate
groups and there are a lot of them popping up, Reverend. I mean, they`re
popping up around the country. We even have people associated with some of
these hate groups that to my understanding might even be in law
enforcement. So, we have to really contrast -- really look at any type of
communication that this man has had, who he talked to and what made him
actually carry out his plans to come into that church and just to
completely -- and my condolences go out to the families, to the state
senators, into all of those folks that were involved, you know, our
condolences go out to them. But law enforcement came through and got this
SHARPTON: Matthew Fogg, thank you for your time tonight.
FOGG: Thank you, I appreciate it.
SHARPTON: Coming up, the incredible history of Mother Emanuel Church, what
it means to South Carolina and why it may have been targeted.
And a plane carrying the suspect has taken off en route to South Carolina.
We`re following that breaking news ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Mother Emanuel is in fact more than a church. This is a place of
worship that was founded by African-Americans seeking liberty. This was a
church that was burned to the ground because its worshippers worked to end
slavery. When there were laws banning all black church gatherings, they
conducted services in secret.
SHARPTON: President Obama sharing the pivotal role Mother Emanuel Church
has played in the history of South Carolina and our nation. The founders
of this church first met almost 200 years ago. It is the oldest AME
Congregation in the South. It was the heart of a slave rebellion in 1892.
Booker T. Washington spoked to a large audience here in 1909. And in 1962,
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke here about voting rights. Reverend
Clementa Pinckney had been pastor of the church for five years. In 2013th,
he talked proudly about the churches past and his vision for its future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REVEREND CLEMENTA PINCKNEY, EMANUEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH:
Where you are is a very special place in Charleston. And it`s a very
special place because this church and this site, this area, has been tied
to the history of life of African-Americans since about the early 1800s.
It really is about freedom, quality and the pursuit of happiness, and
that`s what church is all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now are Reverend Nelson Rivers from Charity
Missionary Baptist Church in Charleston and South Carolina State Senator
Marlon Kimpson. Thank you both for being here.
REVEREND NELSON RIVERS, CHARITY MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH: Thank you.
STATE SEN. MARLON KIMPSON, SOUTH CAROLINA: Thank you for having us.
SHARPTON: Senator Kimpson, it was just about two months ago I was here
with you around this case that still has this community and a nation
looking in this direction, about violence, this time a policeman with a
video, this got case. And Reverend Pinckney stood with us at that time.
You`ve served with him. You knew him. He made an eloquent statement
around a bill -- and tell us you respond to all of this?
KIMPSON: Well, I appreciate the question because he was a giant of a man.
When we were almost at an impasse on the Senate floor for the body camera
legislation, he took to the Senate floor and told us about doubting Thomas.
And many people would not have believed that a police officer in Charleston
County in 2015 would shoot an officer -- would shoot a citizen in the back.
And it was that speech that crystallized a critical moment for this
monumental legislation that we passed and, as you know, the body camera was
signed into law.
KIMPSON: And me and Reverend Rivers stood next to Senator Pinckney at the
SHARPTON: And Reverend Rivers, you stood with the vigil and your work and
charity or work with nun and others in the NAACP in civil rights, give
people around the country, though, the significance of the church. The
President spoke about it today. Mother Emanuel is an historic landmark in
terms of America, black America in particular.
RIVERS: Absolutely, Reverend. Mother Emanuel is that, Mother Emanuel.
Those of us who grew up in Charleston know about -- Mother Emanuel, they
knew about the great preachers that came through Mother Emanuel, how
central it was to the movement and for me personally, I got married at
Mother Emanuel. My wife`s family is at Mother Emanuel. In fact, last
night when we got the word, one of our first concerns was whether my
sister-in-law, she goes to bible group every week.
And to think about Mother Emanuel being a target of an attack of hate and
violence and killing nine people, almost all of whom I know is startling,
it just took us back because if you`re not safe at Mother Emanuel, where
are you safe? I think that`s the issue that -- too many people than
Reverend Pinckney was such a tremendous guy. Not many politicians are
called good guys. But when we hear about Reverend Pinckney, the consensus
is he was a good guy and he was, he was a tremendous brother.
SHARPTON: How do you the elective leadership now give people a sense that
they can be safe when they see something like this in bible class, in
KIMPSON: Well, we have to as the ceremony today underscored, we have to
galvanize to make sure that in spite of the tragedy, something positive
comes out of this. What we will do is continue to have the doors of the
church open to all. We should not change the way we welcome people to
Christ, we certainly should be more vigilant. But if we change our ways,
then the shooter wins. And we will not let him win.
SHARPTON: In our meeting with the mayor, you have a vigil again tomorrow,
you will be speaking and representing all of our civil rights organizations
and others, where do we go forward in terms of trying to make sure this is
a moment that leads to some real change in how this country deals with race
and mental health and gun violence?
RIVERS: Well, today Bishop Brian, our friend, spoke at the vigil here,
overnight by the church and other religious leaders and it ended by talking
about the elephant in the room and everybody been to light and nobody
wanted to see. He called that out. He said, how can we talk about having
guns and liquor in the same place and expect things not to go bad? How can
you ask people to be allowed to bring guns to church and think that`s a
solution? We have to talk about this issue, about guns and gun violence in
our state, in our nation. And we have that, this will continue. That`s
the part of it. Also, as he said, the enemy can`t win. If the devil can
attack the church with guns, and we couldn`t have a service, the enemy got
what he wants, we can`t let them have it.
SHARPTON: One of our concerns are the families as we deal with the trauma,
God only knows what they`re dealing with. How are the families and
obviously that is an almost question that`s expected when you know how
could they be and what is going to be done to support them going forward?
KIMPSON: Well, the families gathered at the embassy suites last night
where the city and the county set up a victims emergency assistance center.
There is also money being raised to make sure -- we`re going to have nine
KIMPSON: And we want to make sure that the families have ample resources
so that they can bury their loved ones without the financial hardships.
This city is a resilient city and just as we responded in the aftermath of
the Walter Scott shooting, we will respond again in a positive way.
SHARPTON: How will the faith community be able to deal with the spiritual
needs of people? Because you`re not just dealing with young people here.
In fact, many of them were full grown that were killed. So everyone seems
traumatized, shaken, that I talked with today, people stopping me in the
street just talking. How will the faith community deal with the spiritual
needs of a community that has been shaken to its core?
RIVERS: They started right away last night, Reverend. When I was
traveling trying to get back, many minister already came, I talked to them
on the phone while they were in front of the church, at the embassy suites,
talking to the family. They`ve enveloped them, they`ve embraced them. But
you really want us to let them know, we`re encourage, we`re not going to be
here for the short haul but for the long haul. When the cameras go away
and everybody leaves, the families are still here and the grieving
continues, they expect us to be and we will be here.
Personally I knew almost all of them. And when they had to stand outside
and wait to get the news on their loved one, the young man waiting for word
about my grandmother, the husband waiting on the word about his wife. All
of us waiting to find out where the (INAUDIBLE) even on the church. And to
find out that all of the worst fierce that become real. That was
terrorizing for the families. And we have to understand that we cannot
leave them alone at the hour of need and we will not leave them alone.
SHARPTON: I must mention again that one of the things I saw there was an
outpouring from all communities, all races, even when I arrived at the
church and when I went to see the mayor. I think that there is in this
case, as in the Scott case, currently those that have said this kind of
hate and this kind of behavior is something that is despicable.
KIMPSON: I would agree, Reverend. And in fact, today`s service, there was
the young, there was the old, there were people of all colors. We are
starting to see donations come in from businesses, governmental
institutions. The nation is yearning for us to fully embrace race
relations as a simple issue like the President said and get tough on guns.
And that`s what we will be attempting to do when we get back to the
legislature in January. Take a serious look at our state`s gun laws.
SHARPTON: Well, thank you, both of you, for being with us. I`m going to
take a break and we will be right back.
SHARPTON: That was the church services earlier today here in Charleston
singing "We Shall Overcome."
When we come back, the families of those that have been so, in many ways,
demoralized and touched by this massacre in Charleston.
SHARPTON: We close tonight by thinking about the victims. They ranged in
ages from 26 to 87, all killed while in bible study, engaged in worship at
bible study. Reverend Clementa Pinckney was pastor of the church. He left
behind a wife and two children. Two years ago in the very same church
where he was killed, he talked about his role as pastor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINCKNEY: Our calling is not just within the walls of the congregation,
but we are part of the life and community in which our congregation
resides. And so many have made great strides and we`ve encouraged others
to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Another victim, Library Manager Cynthia Hurd, she worked at the
County Public Library for 31 years. Another victim Tawanza Sanders, he
graduated from college just last year. As I came today to join fellow
civil rights workers and people that we`ve worked with in this area, I was
stunned because I knew some and I was just as stunned with those I didn`t
know. Because what I know too well is that this nation cannot sit by and
keep going from incident to incident, massacre to massacre. We must not
only react, we must act. We must act on the issues that we see in this
particular circumstance, in this particular crisis, race, guns, mental
health. Let`s quit talking at them and do something about it. Until then
we`ll just stay tuned until the next incident.
I`m Al Sharpton. Thanks for watching. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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