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PoliticsNation, Monday, August 18th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Monday show

August 18, 2014

Guest: Leslie McSpadden; Charlie Dooley; Anthony Cook; Jamilah Nasheed,
Paul Henderson, Jim Cavanaugh, Courtney Allen Curtis

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. Thanks to you for
tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, a defining moment for our country. How do we as a nation
look at nations around the world? How do we determine whether they are
police states or whether they are fair to their citizens? We judge them by
how they hold those that are the officers of the state accountable.
Whether citizens are allowed to question and seek redress and find out if
they are valid or if they are not.

What the Michael Brown case has brought it home to America. How do we deal
with policing? In the last three weeks we have seen a woman pummeled
unarmed on a freeway in Los Angeles. We saw a man killed with an illegal
choke hold by police in Staten Island, now Michael Brown.

The world is watching us to see how we handle holding our police
accountable. Are we now in a country where you can`t question police
without being called names? We can`t give up our right to raise questions.

Now to tonight`s lead, Michael Brown`s family is finally getting some
answers about the young man`s final moments. The family released the
results of a private autopsy they commissioned today. Just a short time
ago President Obama weighed in on the situation in Ferguson, calling on the
community to find some understanding.


us to seek some understanding, rather than simply holler at each other.
Let`s seek to heal rather than to wound each other. As Americans we`ve got
to use this moment to seek out our shared humanity laid bare by this
moment. The potential of a young man and the sorrows of parents, the
frustrations of a community, the ideals that we hold is one united American


SHARPTON: The nation needs to heal. But as we Missouri forward there is
still so much more we need to find out about the shooting of Michael Brown.
Today, we heard from Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner
for New York City who conducted the autopsy on behalf of Michael Brown`s
family. Here`s what he found.


struck him. Six bullets struck. Two may have reentered. And three
bullets were recovered at the first autopsy.


SHARPTON: Police officer Darren Wilson shot this young man at least six
times, including to the very top of his head. And Dr. Baden said the
autopsy showed the shots were fired some distance away.


BADEN: In this instance there is no gunshot residue on the skin surface.
So that the muscle have gone was at least one could be away, the muscle at
the time of the discharge. It could have been 30 feet away. It would have
been the same thing.


SHARPTON: We still have so many questions about what led to the shooting.
But today, a few more things became clear. And the family believes this
could lead to this officer`s arrest or he should be arrested, the family
feels. They are not calling for a conviction. They are calling for an
arrest based on probable cause.

Joining me now is Leslie McSpadden, Michael Brown`s grandfather. Thanks
for being with us tonight.

Always a pleasure.

SHARPTON: You know, Leslie, this is obviously such an emotional day with
the release of the results of the autopsy. How does it feel to you as the
grandfather getting that information?

MCSPADDEN: With me, it`s vital. Because somewhere downs the road we can
find peace knowing that my grandson was shot six times, twice in the head
and can the world, the country imagine that he screamed. And I wish I
could have been there to take some for him.

SHARPTON: What do you think of the fact that there hasn`t been an arrest
yet after the autopsy has come out?

MCSPADDEN: You know, it`s 1,000 percent wrong. So, if you take the
scenarios and turn them around, if I were to go out there and brutally
murder somebody and shoot them six times, just think would I be
incarcerated? The answer is yes.

SHARPTON: Do you have a message for those who are investigating this case?

MCSPADDEN: Yes, I do. Anyone of the investigators that`s actually doing
this case, there is one thing you need to remember. There is one thing you
need to remember. And that`s that this you`re a grandfather. You may be a
grandfather. And if you do the right thing then justice will be coming for
my grandson.

SHARPTON: You know, I want to play for you more of what the president said
about his role here. Here he was earlier today.


OBAMA: It`s hard for me to address a specific case. Beyond making sure
that it`s conducted in a way that`s transparent, where there is
accountability, where people can trust the process, hoping that as a
consequence of a fair and just process you end up with a fair and just


MCSPADDEN: Is it any comfort to you as the grandfather that the president
of the United States is watching this case himself?

SHARPTON: Yes, it is. It`s very important. My president is the president
of the whole free world. You know, America is built on people coming
together at times like this and now is the time for my president to step
forward. Also, Reverend Al, I want to say this to my president. I voted
for you so you have been able to vent with me.

SHARPTON: All right. Leslie McSpadden, and thank you for being with us
tonight. And our prayers continue to be with you and the family as we have
talked to you and been there with you, just seeking justice.

Now let me bring in Charlie Dooley, the St. Louis county executive. I want
the thank you again for being here tonight.

CHARLIE DOOLEY, ST. LOUIS COUNTY EXECUTIVE: Pleasure to be here, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Now, being the executive of the county, we just heard from
Michael Brown`s grandfather. This family wants to know why hasn`t there
been an arrest. What can you tell them?

DOOLEY: Well, again, I`m hopeful that the criminal investigation, that the
FBI is doing at this time, and Eric Holder coming in Wednesday, that will
bring this to some kind of conclusion, that`s my hope. I can`t express the
sadness about this situation, where we are as a country. This doesn`t
represent the St. Louis metropolitan area. This is one area that impacts
this entire country.

SHARPTON: Now, Dr. Baden who did the autopsy for the family talked today
about how important it is to get information to the family. Listen to


BADEN: The chief medical examiner of New York City for some 25 years. We
had a number of these encounters. And what we found in New York City was
that the sooner the information goes out, the sooner the family is talked
to, the family has a right to know how their loved one died. This calms
community and family concerns over cover-up or not getting told the truth.


SHARPTON: Would the family have more confidence in the investigation if
more information had been forthcoming?

DOOLEY: I agree. That`s one of the missteps that we had in the
investigation. That enough information was not provided to the family or
to the public in an expeditious way. That`s what we called transparency.
It`s not been forthcoming. So that is one of the major problems. As soon
as we know something, we should make that available to the family and to
the public. They have a right to know that.

SHARPTON: They have a medical examination, an autopsy from the medical
examiner. Should that be released? Why hasn`t that been put out to the

DOOLEY: I agree it should be released. If there are private individuals
saying something from an official point of view, we should be saying
something as well, as much as we can. At least give what you know and what
you don`t know, say what you don`t know.

SHARPTON: Now, there`s been a lot of talk today about the National Guard
coming in. Could you explain to us what their role exactly is going to be
now that they have been brought in to Ferguson?

DOOLEY: It`s my understanding the National Guard has nothing to do with
the security of the Ferguson area. They only have respect for the command
post itself where the command individual and the media are. They are just
there to secure that activity. That`s all they are here for.

SHARPTON: So they are only there for the command post area, not the
general community. And you, again --

DOOLEY: That`s correct.

SHARPTON: You again as county executive do agree the county should release
to the family their medical examination. The family has its own private
one and the federal government is doing one. Can you understand why the
family and a lot of people in the community -- I heard it everywhere I
went, I have been there twice this week. Why they are so skeptical when
you don`t have autopsies released from the medical examiner. You don`t
have anything official, but you release a tape of Michael Brown
shoplifting, allegedly, that had nothing to do with the killing but the
things you have that have something to do with the killing you haven`t
released. I mean, don`t you understand how suspect that looks to a lot of

DOOLEY: Reverend, I do understand. I agree with that terminology. The
more information we can provide the public the better off we will be. Why
that information wasn`t provided to the public I cannot answer. Has
nothing to do with my office. If it was up to me we would have provided
that information.

Again, one of the issues in the community is Bob McCulloch. We have, the
African-American community have no confidence in his commitment to justice
in this community and this event. His past history has indicated he`s not
trustworthy going forward.


DOOLEY: I believe he needs to step aside and let a special prosecutor
either from the state or federal government but not his office should not
be in charge of this prosecution.

SHARPTON: So you`re saying, as the St. Louis County executive that you
agree that Mr. McCulloch, the St. Louis county prosecutor should not handle
this case.

DOOLEY: That`s correct. I believe he should step aside and let a special
prosecutor come in to review this case. I think some of his comments have
been inappropriate. And his past history has shown us that the African-
American community do not trust his judgment for these types of cases.

SHARPTON: That`s powerful. Thank you, Charlie Dooley. We will certainly
be talking throughout the case.

DOOLEY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Thank you for your time tonight.

Coming up, should there be an arrest? Now that the autopsy is out, the key
question is, is there probable cause to arrest the officer that killed
Michael Brown?

Plus, big news tonight. Attorney general Eric Holder is going to Ferguson.
What will happen next with the investigation?

And we will look at the evidence. What we know and how much more we don`t
know. It`s all ahead. Please stay with us.


OBAMA: So a community in Ferguson that`s rightly hurting, looking for
answers. Let me call once again for us to seek some understanding rather
than simply holler at each other. Let`s seek to heal rather than wound
each other.



SHARPTON: The Michael Brown investigation has been lighting up the social
media community all weekend.

Darryl says regarding this tragedy, I have decided to ignore the negativity
of the sick few and only embrace the positivity of the enlightened many.

I like that, Darryl.

Linda says simply, the truth will come out.

Coming up, should there be an arrest? The calls are growing for some

But first we want to know what you think. Please join in the conversation
on our facebook page or tweet us @politics nation.



OBAMA: The attorney general himself will be traveling to Ferguson to meet
with the FBI and DOJ personnel conducting the federal criminal
investigation. And he will receive an update from them on their progress.
He will also be meeting with other leaders in the community whose support
is critical to bringing about peace and calm in Ferguson.


SHARPTON: Big news tonight from President Obama. Attorney general Eric
Holder is headed to Ferguson Wednesday. This after the department of
justice stepped up its investigation into Michael Brown`s death over the
weekend ordering their own autopsy and sending some 40 FBI agents to
Ferguson to investigate the shooting.

The attorney general`s visit is good news for Michael Brown`s family and
those who have called for transparency in the investigation and have
demanded to know is there enough evidence for probable cause to arrest
Officer Darren Wilson.

For now that question is in the hands of the man at the center of the
investigation, St Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch. As the Associated
Press reports there is mounting pressure for many him to step aside from
some local residents and black St. Louis area officials who believe he
cannot be impartial.

The Associated Press reports McCulloch could present evidence to a grand
jury beginning Wednesday. Is there enough evidence for an arrest? And
where does the investigation go from here?

Joining me now is Missouri state senator Jamilah Nasheed who wrote the
prosecutor asking him to step down from the case last week. And Anthony
Cook, a professor at Georgetown law school. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: State senator Nasheed, let me go to you first. You don`t have
confidence in the local prosecutor, Mr. McCulloch, to do a fair
investigation into Michael Brown`s killing. I was just talking with the
county executive who surprised me saying he doesn`t have confidence. Tell
us why not.

NASHEED: The community doesn`t have confidence. I called on Bob McCulloch
to recuse himself, not because I don`t like Bob McCulloch. But we have a
history here in the St. Louis area with Bob McCulloch not being a friend to
the accuser, the murder. We had a situation that occurred ten years ago
where you had two African-American men that was shot down 20 times -- shot
20 times while sitting in their car. And Bob McCulloch came with a verdict
that basically stated it was a justifiable homicide. Now, those two guys
were unarmed.

So we have a history with Bob McCulloch. And we know he cannot be fair and
impartial. We know at the end of the day that he cannot be unbiased. His
father was a police officer. His father was gunned down by an African-
American man. And he also just has a serious history of siding with police
officers. He said that one day he said that, if he wouldn`t be a police
officer he would be an attorney.

And so, the relationship that he has with the police association is a
strained relationship with the community. And the community just can`t the
trust him. And that`s why we are calling for him to take the high road.
Allow for the people to gain confidence in this investigation. Because
right now the people, they just don`t have confidence that Bob McCulloch
will do the right hinge with the investigation.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, I think I have heard a lot of that including
Dooley saying what you are saying.

But let me ask you another question. Let me go to you on this, Mr. Cook.
Today, the autopsy was released at a press conference by the independent
pathologist and the attorneys for the family. And we heard people in the
community based on that question why Officer Wilson hasn`t been arrested
yet. Listen to this.


BADEN: All of these gunshot wounds were survivable, except for the one on
the top of the head that went through the brain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With that being said, and all of us here know what
happened to Michael, why hasn`t the officer Wilson been arrested?



SHARPTON: The outrage in the community is growing, Anthony Cook. Is there
enough evidence to arrest the officer on probable cause?

COOK: Well, I believe the outrage is justified. Mike Brown was shot not
one, not two, not four times, but six times, two times in the head. That`s
a fact. We also know that he was unarmed at the time. That`s a fact. And
we also know that there was no evidence that`s been presented yet of any
kind of struggle or altercation.

Now, when I look at those facts, I think there is probable cause to issue a
warrant for arrest because it is reasonable to think that this individual
has acted in a way that violates law. There are some possibilities here.
You could arrest him for reckless endangerment to life. You could arrest
him for voluntary manslaughter. You could arrest him for murder in the
second degree. I think all of those are reasonable based on the facts
before us now are reasonable.

SHARPTON: Now Senator, hearing that and hearing what`s going on in the
community including constituents in your district, is not that one of the
underlying factors of a lot of remaining questions, tension, and distrust
that there has not been on any grounds a move to arrest and prosecute this
officer when clearly you have a man who`s been killed. Clearly he`s the
one who did it. And clearly he was unarmed. And there seems to be no
reason that he`s not facing a judge or someone to answer to. You don`t
need a conviction in order to make an arrest. You just need probable
cause. Then he has the right to a trial to defend himself and be innocent
until proven guilty.

NASHEED: That`s absolutely correct. The community, they are outraged
because of the lack of transparency and the secrecy. They don`t know why
he was gunned down in the middle of the street? I mean, we are talking
about a murder of a young innocent man who did nothing, who was unarmed.

The only thing that he was accused of was walking in the middle of the
streets, wanting to go visit with his grandmother. And he was shot down by
the hands of one person that was supposed to protect and serve him. That`s
why people are angry. People are angry because they know that justice
cannot be served with Bob McCulloch taking the lead. So that`s why we have
a petition and the petition is the petition for justice. And we are asking
people to sign that petition. We are looking to have 50,000 signatures so
that we can take those signatures to Bob McCulloch and let him know that
the public opinion is not in his favor when it comes to a fair
investigation on behalf of the murder of Michael Brown.

SHARPTON: State senator Jamilah Nasheed and Anthony Cook, thank you for
your time.

COOK: Thank you.

NASHEED: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Let me go to Chris Hayes, my colleague who is on the phone from
Ferguson -- Chris.

looking down west Florissant. We have seen the street -- police have set
up checkpoints north and south of us. We are right by the Q.T.

Just a few minutes ago, a big march came down Ferguson Street. And it got
to what`s been the perimeter the last few nights. A place believed to be
right by the McDonald`s. And it looks about 15 cop cars went tearing
towards it. A bunch of police got out of the cars. And there were a bunch
of protesters there. And it looked like, you know, there might be a very
tense confrontation.

Police have now left those marchers. I think we can see the shot we have
now. They let those marchers come down on the west source (ph). And now
the rules here today since this morning are basically you can walk on West
Florissant, you can march on West Florissant. You cannot stop on West
Florissant, you cannot congregate.

So there is now a march of people walking on the sidewalk. There is a fair
amount of police presence and someone on a bullhorn instructing everyone
they have to keep moving in order to stay there. It might be hard actually
to keep them moving because people are kind of stopping and looking now,
but a very tense situation right here.

SHARPTON: So they are actually preventing people from protesting there in

HAYES: They are preventing people from stationary protesting. They are
essentially allowing mobile protesting. They are allowing you to walk.
But they have been discouraging and outright banning people from just
standing. You`re seeing people -- you know, that`s the police telling
people to move. And now you are seeing marchers under urging from their
leaders to keep moving. They are walking. They have announced the marches
down to the Q.T. and back. And under the rules by the police on the scene
here, it seems to be a combination of St. Louis County and Ferguson police
and state highway patrol. The situation that you can walk on west
Florissant, you can`t stop on it.

And I should say there are a lot, lot fewer people here tonight. That it`s
almost an eerie feeling. In fact, until this march came, it was
essentially just a ghost town.

SHARPTON: Now, what are the mood of the people because it seems there is
no anger, no threat there what I am looking at?

HAYES: No. It`s pretty chill what you are seeing. If you look down, this
is not, you know, this is not people that as far as one can tell, at least
from judging from the outside looking to start trouble. There are young
children. There is a family I`m seeing right now walking with two kids
including a young kid on dad`s shoulder. There are people of all ages.
This is sort of a family theme, you know. There are elders and young
people as well. This is not folks who appear to be trying to provoke any
confrontation there. They are walking down the street now.

They have been kind of disbursed in a way. I mean, there was a tight
orderly line of them as they approached that kind of perimeter area right
there at the McDonald`s, West Florissant, Ferguson intersect. As you can
see it is a more (INAUDIBLE) situation but people are walking. They are
moving along which is the direction they have been given by local law

SHARPTON: So they can walk. They just can`t stand still and protest.
This is very different in a democratic state.

Chris Hayes, thank you for your reporting. And please let us though if
there are updates.

We will be right back.


SHARPTON: What really happened? Today, new details from a key eyewitness
who`s been a major source of information along with the new autopsy, we are
learning much more about the tragic events that led to the death of an
unarmed teenager. More on the investigation, next.


SHARPTON: Nine days after the deadly shooting of Michael Brown, it comes
down to the evidence. Today, attorneys for Brown`s family said the private
autopsy that the Brown family commissioned is in line with eyewitness
accounts of multiple shots. And hands in the air. It`s what witness
Tiffany Mitchell said on this network.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After his body jerked he turned, faced him and put
his hands up. That`s when the police continued to shoot until he went


SHARPTON: Hands up and the police continued to shoot. It`s the same thing
that eyewitness Perjay Crenshaw (ph) said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He put his arms up to let them know he was compliant
and that he was unarmed. And they shot him twice more. And he fell to the
ground and died.


SHARPTON: And here is what Dorian Johnson, a friend of Michael Brown`s who
was with him during the shooting, here`s what he told me on POLITICS NATION
last week.


DORIAN JOHNSON, FRIEND OF MICHAEL BROWN: Stopped to turn around with his
hands in the air. And started to tell the officer that he was unarmed and
he was not -- and before he could get his last words out the officer fired
several more shots and my friend went down in the fatal position.


SHARPTON: Turn around with his hands in the air. We still don`t have a
complete picture of what happened that tragic day. Two more autopsies are
being conducted. And the police reports haven`t been released. But new
information is starting to fill in the blanks.

Joining me now are prosecutor and legal analyst Paul Henderson and Jim
Cavanaugh, MSNBC analyst and retired ATF agent. Thank you both for joining

JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC ANALYST: Thanks for having us.


SHARPTON: Paul, how critical is the autopsy being released today?

HENDERSON: Well, the autopsy that`s here today is helpful but not
conclusive. Obviously any good prosecutor wants all of the evidence from
the full investigation. But what`s important to note from this autopsy is
that it corroborates the narrative and doesn`t rule out the stories that
have been heard right here on this show. And that`s important. That`s
what people are paying attention to. So it`s actually helpful.

SHARPTON: Now, Jim, how striking do you find the new autopsy report? I
mean, do you find it in line with the witness`s accounts as Paul just said?

CAVANAUGH: Reverend Al, in every regard, I think when you go through the
witnesses step by step and you look at Dr. Baden analysis. And I have met
Dr. Baden and, you know, been around him. I have been at his homicide
seminars. And I know him. And you know, it`s very good. It`s consistent
with the three witnesses you just showed. There is nothing really
inconsistent. One of the shots could have been from the back. One at the
police cruiser. Those would be in the arm. And then as Ms. Crenshaw said
and Dorian said and Tiffany said, you know, when he turned with his hands
up as compliant, nobody said he turned and charged the officer.

He turned and crouched. He turned and ran toward the officer which some
people are alleging. They all said he turned with his hands up and he was
compliant. And then he`s wounded at least two more times in the arm. And
a shot to the top of the head or probably the shot to the eye first just
above the eyebrow. And then to the top of the apex of the head. So, that
would drop you in your tracks. Those are fatal wounds. This is clearly,
clearly excessive force. And a warrant could be obtained and should be
obtained in my view in just within hours. I think the delay is

SHARPTON: So, you`re saying, Jim, that a warrant could be gotten on this.
Do you agree with that, Paul?

HENDERSON: Well, I think he probably could get a warrant for the arrest.
But it`s the ultimate prosecution that really matters. And you know,
really as a prosecutor I know any good prosecutor is going to want to have
all of the evidence before they make a decision. You don`t want to rush
and make an arrest before you have all of the information although the
information that`s coming out and, you know, as we were just talking about
before, the order of those shots is going to be very helpful to know. And
we don`t yet have the full autopsy that may answer some of those questions
as to what order those shots may have come in in this case.

SHARPTON: So, is that what you would want to know as a prosecutor -- the
order of the shots? I mean, tell me what you would want to know as a
prosecutor to proceed.

HENDERSON: I would want to know that. I would want the narratives from
any eyewitnesses that we have. And I also would want to have the full
forensics, the full toxicology report, all of the information before I made
a decision because remember, there is a different standard between an
arrest and prosecution. But as a prosecutor I would want to evaluate all
of that information. And that would be different from the standard that
could be used to make an arrest of this officer if, in fact, that`s what`s
going to happen coming soon. I mean, it doesn`t necessarily relieve him of
the liability, the information that`s coming out. And in fact, it actually
is more consistent with what the witnesses have told you right here on this
show over the past few weeks.

SHARPTON: Jim, as a law enforcement person, what would you want to know?
What would you be looking for answers to?

CAVANAUGH: Well, you know, I don`t disagree that you want as much evidence
as you can get. And you have to present proof beyond a reasonable doubt
before a jury to get a conviction. You know, I have worked with
prosecutors, state and federal, for almost four decades. And I know what
they need. And they know what they need. And we all want it all. But
often times we make arrests based on probable cause. This far exceeds the
standard for that. Far exceeds the standard for probable cause. And an
arrest could be made. The investigation doesn`t end. It still goes to a
grand jury. There is still a process, there`s an investigative process.

Interviews don`t have to end. Investigative grand jury subpoenas in the --
system end in indictment. But this isn`t a case that requires massive
investigative subpoenas. There are not computer records, and phone records
and all that to be obtained. So, just like, yes, you want to examine those
witness statements. They should have the witness statements. The
Department of Justice has them. The prosecutor has them. This is a matter
of making a decision and doing the right thing at the right moment.

This is a critical time. This is the time leadership needs to come in.
And Reverend Al, I go back to the `60s. I mean, I call it the Bobby
Kennedy moment. This is a time when Bobby Kennedy, you know, called Floyd
Mann, the colonel of the highway patrol in Alabama and said, will you
protect the freedom riders? We need somebody to make the step. And if a
warrant is obtained that doesn`t preclude any of the things that our guest
is saying. I agree with them. I mean, I think he understands what I`m
saying as well.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, Paul, as a prosecutor.


SHARPTON: A lot of what I have heard around Ferguson and around St. Louis
County is the distrust is because there is so much secrecy. Nothing that
has been put out in front of the public, not even to the family. How do
you feel about that as a prosecutor, that it seems like transparency is not
there at all?

HENDERSON: Well, I feel like there are a number of issues that buy into
the lack of transparency. Because there aren`t these conversations that
are coming from law enforcement. One of the things that actually makes me
more optimistic and hopeful about this situation is that the federal
government has stepped in and is conducting their own investigation as to
what they think should happen in this case and they are reviewing all of
the facts and evidence in this case. It certainly doesn`t help that in
light of all of these process going through we have this whole process
where people who are peacefully protesting are being met with a militarized
police force that`s making them very are uncomfortable.

That does not help in these conversations where a legal standard is being
reviewed and they are interpreting whether or not to both make an arrest
and then whether or not a subsequent prosecution is going to take place
with this officer, although it`s look and more likely, as we hear more and
more evidence. People are really concerned about that. That the story and
the narrative that`s being put out there is making this officer not look
like he conducted himself very fairly with Michael Brown. That`s a

SHARPTON: We have to leave it there, Paul. Thank you, Paul Henderson,
thank you Jim Cavanaugh, thank you both for your time tonight.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for having us.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the anger in Ferguson, Missouri, didn`t happen
overnight. How can the healing begin? And President Obama gets personal
talking about young black men and the justice system. Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I feel every day for my son. I have a son that`s 27.
And I have to talk to him every day. When you are stop by the police,
don`t say a word. We should not have to do that. We are citizens of the
United States of America.



SHARPTON: So how did we get here? How did Michael Brown go from walking
in the street to lying dead on the ground? The anger we are seeing isn`t a
new thing. This didn`t just happen overnight. To understand where it`s
coming from, you just have to look at some numbers. Sixty three percent of
Ferguson`s population is black. And yet blacks are disproportionately
targeted by police. They account for 86 percent of police stops, 92
percent of police searches and nearly 93 percent of arrests. But Ferguson
is far from the only American City where we are seeing this kind of

In New York City, police placed a man in a chokehold, killing him for
peddling loose cigarettes. Last month in California, a highway patrol
officer repeatedly punched an unarmed and homeless woman in the face. This
isn`t just about one case of questionable behavior by a single officer.
This is about a systemic and common problem in the American justice system.
This is about how the state interacts with the citizens.

Joining me now is Missouri State Representative Courtney Allen Curtis. His
district includes about 60 percent of the town of Ferguson. Representative
Curtis, first of all, thank you for being here.


SHARPTON: This isn`t a new problem. There is a frustration in Ferguson,
isn`t there?

CURTIS: There is. It`s actually county wide frustration.

SHARPTON: Tell us what the root of the frustration is and why it has been
allowed to linger so long.

CURTIS: Outside of this situation, there is possibly a general over
policing or aggressive arrest and ticketing within the county in general
because we have been hit hard by the recession and such. And counties or
cities are turning to aggressive ticketing and speed cameras and whatnot to
boost revenues. So, that`s a general frustration of many people outside of
the unaddressed issues of the minority community as a whole, even when you
look at things such as the school system. So, there is a real frustration
out there. And this is just a culmination of all of it.

SHARPTON: I want to play some sound from people of Ferguson. Talking
about the police in their community. Listen to this, state rep.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police stop to degrade and humiliate. That`s what the
charge is. It`s not to help, protect and serve. To degrade and humiliate.
My grandson has been a victim of the Ferguson police.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t drive down the street without them this close
to my -- in all situation. They feel like they can get away with it. To
me they are getting away with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the longest time the community has been over
policed. The statistics don`t lie. But you`re doing is targeting a
population of people who don`t have anything to hide. We are regular
working citizens like everybody else.


SHARPTON: This isn`t just about numbers state rep. This is about real
people facing real injustices every day.

CURTIS: That`s true. I mean, we do face a number of injustices. I myself
was stopped two weeks ago because of a possible taillight not working. And
then I was told the taillight was on and I was let go. So, these types of
practices take place. You know, I mean, it only leads to situations like
this. Outside of this we just had a pretty divisive race which Mr.
McCulloch supported someone against the incumbent county executive and that
only, you know, further raised the tensions within the area.

SHARPTON: Now talking about the recent race, you know, part of the problem
this small community is not accurately reflected by the city government.
Not only is the man, the police chief white, the city council is just 16
percent African-American. The police department just six percent. The
school board, 0 percent -- not a single person on the school board is
black. Yet 80 percent of the students are black. How can this city claim
to represent its citizens with these kinds of numbers?

CURTIS: There are other efforts that are going on. It`s just been, you
know, a challenge for other individuals in Ferguson to reach out to the
people that don`t feel connected. There are efforts under way right now to
make more of an effort. But, you know, that`s a little bit too late. But
it is progress, because we haven`t had that, you know, particularly. But
these are issues that county-wide because we have such a large county. And
then it encompasses a lot of individuals. So, the minority percentage of
that is pretty low. And the voter participation is low as well.

SHARPTON: Missouri State Rep Courtney Allen Curtis, thank you for your
time tonight.

CURTIS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, from President Obama to the protest around the
country, why the shooting of Michael Brown is a defining moment for

Today President Obama spoke about the tragedy in Ferguson and on
communities that may feel left behind. In Ferguson and beyond.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: In too many communities around the
country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law
enforcement. In too many communities, too many young men of color are left
behind and seen only as objects of fear.


SHARPTON: More on that and how we can come together to change that next.



OBAMA: That requires that we build and not tear down. That requires we
listen and not just shout. That`s how we`re going to move forward together
by trying to unite each other, and understand each other and not simply
divide ourselves from one another.


SHARPTON: He`s right. And we must listen and not just shout. At the same
time, as I said this weekend, we must learn the difference between seeking
peace and keeping quiet.


SHARPTON: We are not anti-police. We don`t think all police are bad. We
are not anti-sitting down and solving the problem but there is a difference
between calling for peace and calling for quiet. Peace means that we have
equal protection under the law. Quiet means just shut up in silence. We
are not going to shut up. We`re going to come together and have a real
peace in this country.


SHARPTON: Just silencing voices that raise questions is not going to lead
to peace. We`ll only be here again. We need to really deal with the
excesses on both sides. We need to really deal with transparency. Yes,
the looting is wrong. Inexcusable. But so is it inexcusable. The data
says we don`t have equal protection under the law. And so is it
inexcusable if some police -- not all, not even most -- feel they are above
being questioned. We must really have peace and come together and show the
world who we are.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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