October 8, 2014
Guest: Seema Yasmin; Lizz Brown, Susan Milligan, Joan Walsh, Abby
Huntsman, Chris Witherspoon, Carmen St. George
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
We`re following big developments on Ebola in America including the death of
the first patient diagnosed on U.S. soil, Thomas Eric Duncan. And late
this afternoon, the head of the CDC announcing new screening procedures at
airports for people arriving from West Africa. We`re going to get to all
But we start with tonight`s lead. His starring proposal on policing in
America today. A major announcement from attorney general Eric Holder on
police tactics in the United States. The announcement coming at an event
in Arkansas with former president Bill Clinton. Lessons to be learned from
Today, after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, after the chokehold death
of Eric Garner, after the highway beating of Marlene Penick (ph), after the
shooting of John Crawford III in Walmart, it is time for a change.
And today Attorney General Holder called for a sweeping review of police
tactics on a scale not seen since President Lyndon Johnson`s commission on
law enforcement nearly half a century ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The events in Ferguson reminded us
that we cannot and we must not allow tensions which our present in so many
neighborhoods across America. And when I travel to Ferguson in the days
after that incident, my pledge to the people of that community was that our
nation`s department of justice would remain challenges that they face.
Long after the national headlines had faded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The attorney general showing these issues have not faded from
his view. Former president Clinton took the stage and said the events in
Ferguson affect everybody no matter our race, religion, or political
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The thing that struck
me reading these heartbreaking stories day after day after day after day
about Ferguson, right down to the day where a lot of the white residents in
the city were interviewed and story today until they were just stunned by
this. They had no idea there was this alienation.
You know, we cannot afford not to know our neighbors. It doesn`t matter if
they don`t vote the way we do. It doesn`t matter they don`t worship the
way we do. It doesn`t matter if they don`t look the way we. We cannot
afford not to listen to and know our neighbors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The shooting of Michael Brown shined the light on the
relationships between police and the communities they`re sworn to protect.
Why would an officer smash in a window during a traffic stop? Or tackle a
man to the ground for selling loose cigarettes? Today the attorney general
said this country will do all it can to get answers.
Joining me now is Lizz Brown, attorney and columnist for "the St. Louis
American" and Jonathan Capehart of "the Washington Post." Thank you for
your time tonight.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks, Rev.
LIZZ BROWN, COLUMNIST, ST. LOUIS AMERICAN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Lizz, what does it may not for the community of Ferguson to see
the attorney general and the former president address police tactics in
BROWN: It`s the same thing as what happened when Attorney General Holder
came to Ferguson. The same thing that happened when President Obama talked
specifically about Michael Brown. It is a powerful statement and a
commentary that this issue is being taken seriously.
When the attorney general decides to do what he is planning on doing on the
scale of what president Johnson did, what he is effectively doing is
putting the pause button to it. Putting the pause button to all the thing
happening now and telling us where we are going to go and where we must go.
It is a powerful, powerful thing.
SHARPTON: Jonathan, when you see the former president talking about police
tactics, is that a sign of the impact made by the events in Ferguson and
Staten Island and L.A.?
CAPEHART: Certainly. And you showed the litany of people we`ve been
talking about just since the summer who have had run-ins with the police or
killed by the police. The one person you left off that list is Lavar
Jones, the young man in South Carolina last month who was asked by a police
officer to, you know, show me your license. All did he was turn to get
into his car to get the license and he was shot by the police officer.
SHARPTON: Or the one just now in Indiana.
CAPEHART: Right. Correct. So I think it is significant that president
Clinton is talking about this. One, I mean, they were there together to
celebrate the, I believe it is the 20th anniversary of the cops program.
One of president Clinton`s signature achievements. But also, to basically
tell the country, look, we see what is happening. And that`s the other
thing here, we know about all of these situations because there`s video
where we can see with our own eyes what`s happening. And it is not just
African Americans and people of color who are upset by what is happening.
It is everyone who is upset by what`s happening.
And one other thing, rev., one of the things President Clinton said, we
cannot afford to not know our neighbors. And I would sort of add to that,
a (INAUDIBLE) that the police cannot afford not to know their communities.
Not to know the communities that they are sworn to serve and protect. And
if they were to get out of their cars and walk the beats and knock on the
doors and say, hey, I`m here. What are your issues? What do you need and
get to know the people they`re policing, that would be true community
policing. And I think we would see less of these situations.
SHARPTON: That is certainly part of the national conversation.
But Lizz, when you see Attorney General Holder talking about his own
experience. I mean, this was to me compelling. He talked about his own
experience as a judge on the D.C. superior court back in the 90s. Listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: I spent roughly five years watching as lines of defendants, more
often than not, young men of color, stream through my courtroom. And I had
seen with my own eyes that mistrust between residents and law enforcement
was in some areas, both corrosive and widespread.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s the perspective he brings to this conversation, Lizz,
that I think is different.
BROWN: It is absolutely different. And as you said, it is just
extraordinarily compelling. It is like when he also came to Ferguson and
he talk about as an African-American man, he knew what it was like to be
pulled over and identified solely because of the color of your skin.
No other attorney general has ever acknowledged that. No other president
has ever acknowledged that. This is a very powerful and compelling
statement that he is that connect people to this issue in a way that no one
has been able to do beforehand.
SHARPTON: And it is something that a lot of us, certainly I`ve been out
front calling for this kind of stuff and calling for this to continue,
Jonathan. And I want to see people in the communities, in Ferguson, in
Staten Island, people underground, in the civil rights community included
in these conversations. It can`t be just police chiefs and mayors talking
to each other. You can`t have a patient with the surgeon left out of the
CAPEHART: Right. And you know, the story that President Clinton was
referencing about white residents in Ferguson being surprised by the racial
divide was a story in the "Washington Post" today by Robert Samuels. And
one of the things -- one of the nuggets of information that is in there is
that since the shooting of Michael Ferguson -- I`m sorry, Michael Brown,
there have been town hall meetings in Ferguson. No press allowed to
provide, you know, a secure place for people can air their concerns and
feelings and talk about these things. That`s what is needed. They`re
community people, black and white coming together to talk about these
issues that are now confronting their communities.
SHARPTON: And they must be involved in this commission.
Jonathan, when you referred to what the president, the former president
said, I think it was interesting that he brought that up. And the question
is, will this be an issue in the next presidential election? If I have
something to say about it, it will be. But is that a signal that the
former President Clinton is saying? That he acknowledges that this must be
an issue in the next election?
CAPEHART: Certainly, it will be an issue in the next election. And you
just called it. If you`re going to make it an issue in the next election,
it will be an issue in the next election.
But seriously, Reverend Al, we`ve been through a summer where we`ve seen
things that have shocked the national consciousness. That Wednesday night
in August when we watched teargas being used on American citizens
exercising their constitutional right to civil disobedience. Members of
the media being arrested and tear gassed. Equipment being taken down.
We`ve seen a lot of things that won`t go away after one year, after one
SHARPTON: Lizz, but we also see this continuing protest. A lot of people
are still out there on a daily basis, certainly, people that I know and
worked with in Mass Action Network out there.
But we`ve seen in the 60 days since the shooting, some movement.
Congressional hearings on the need to demilitarize police. White House
publicly throwing a supporting body cameras on officers. Now call from the
attorney general. But we`re not seeing anything on the ground in Ferguson
in terms of the case.
BROWN: No, we`re not. There`s no movement on the case. In fact, I think
that people are even more entrenched. And if I can just go to the point
that you were just talking about, about the Clintons being involved in this
issue, I think it remains to be seen given the fact that Hillary Clinton
took a long time. And it was almost forced to make a comment about what
was going on in Ferguson. And her comment was around the line of
demilitarizing the police.
So we still don`t have, I don`t believe we have everybody on board and
ready to talk about this and to embrace this. And as a result of that
hesitancy, we have on the ground in Ferguson, people still saying that
there is no movement. There is no action. In fact, people are sticking to
their guns about, we are not going to talk about this case. We`re going to
charge you $2,000 to get any information that the city of Ferguson is
requiring organizations to do that. So the ground is pretty consistent.
SHARPTON: Well, the fight goes on. And you`re right. Some are just
sticking their toe in the water. Not really committing themselves. But
you know what I say as an old activist. If they won`t get in the bathtub,
I`ll just turn on the shower, but they`re going to get wet.
BROWN: Turn on the shower.
SHARPTON: Lizz Brown and Jonathan Capehart, thank you for your time.
BROWN: Thank you, Rev.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Ahead, breaking news out of Dallas tonight. The Ebola patient
there died this morning. A sad story and a national health alert.
Airports begin screening and fear is growing. We will go live to Texas.
And do you know this jihadist? The FBI is asking for help in identifying
him. And they think he might be from north America.
And a terminally ill woman picks her day to die. It is a courageous
decision. Should it be legal?
And Raven Simone responds to critics today after a comment on not wanting
to be labeled after African-American. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Our social media community has been talking about the death of
Thomas Duncan this morning. The first U.S. patient with Ebola.
Joyce said rest in peace, Mr. Duncan, and condolences to his family and
Denise wrote, so very sad. Peace to all of those who love and will miss
Coming up, more on this. New airport screenings and someone who is in
Duncan`s apartment is now being evaluated for signs of Ebola. Let us know
what you think about the crisis. We are live from Dallas next.
SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight, the first patient to be diagnosed with
Ebola in the United States has died. Thomas Eric Duncan died in a hospital
in Dallas. He arrived in the U.S. 18 days ago, traveling from Liberia
where he is believed to have contracted Ebola from a neighbor.
Moments ago, CDC director Thomas Frieden outlined new screening procedures
for people arriving in the U.S. from West Africa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOCTOR TOM FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: We`re stepping up protection for people
coming into this country and for Americans. What we`re doing is putting in
additional protection. We`ve been very clear that as long as Ebola
continues to spread in Africa, we can`t make the risk zero here. We wish
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We`re stepping up protections. But the risk is real. Today,
health officials are monitoring 48 people who had contact with Duncan for
signs of the disease. Ten of them are considered high risk. Four of those
people lived in the apartment where Duncan was staying and six are
healthcare workers. So far, officials say none of them have developed
symptoms of Ebola.
But a Dallas sheriff`s deputy who claims he was in Thomas Eric Duncan`s
apartment was transported to a hospital today. He is being evaluated for
signs of Ebola, even though director Frieden says he did not have definite
contact with Duncan or definite signs of the disease.
Joining me now, Dr. Seema Yasmin, public health professor at UT Dallas and
staff writer for the Dallas morning news.
Doctor, thanks for being here.
DOCTOR SEEMA YASMIN, PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSOR, UT DALLAS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Give me your reaction. What are your concerns about this new
YASMIN: First, let me say it is a sad day in Dallas. We`re mourning the
loss of this patient. In terms of the sheriff`s deputy, we`ve been told by
officials here, he is actually very low risk and they`re taking these
precautions out of an abundance of caution (INAUDIBLE). Not because he did
not have direct contact with the patient and he did not come in to direct
contact with any infected bodily fluids. He did feel unwell this morning
that they are telling us that they are doing this out of an abundance of
caution just in case.
SHARPTON: Now, you are an expert at tracing. What are officials doing to
monitor the ten high risk people in contact with him?
YASMIN: So I`ve been speaking to find out exactly what they`re doing. And
they are telling me that what they do is every morning they make a phone
call to all 48 people, in fact, who are potentially at risk of Ebola. They
find out from them how they`re feeling. They check their temperature. And
then later in the day, they make an in-home visit themselves and they take
their temperature again and check on them again to make sure they don`t
have any signs. And so far, Reverend, all 48 people are healthy. They`re
not showing any signs at all of Ebola.
SHARPTON: So they`re not only tracing or checking the ten at hey risk but
all 48 they call in the morning and then do an in-person visit later in the
YASMIN: That`s correct. They`re on all 48 people.
SHARPTON: That`s a good sign. New screenings at airports. How effective
would those be?
YASMIN: So the idea here is that people leaving Liberia, Guinea and Sierra
Leone already have a screening before they exit the airport. What Dr.
Frieden proposed today is that five airports in the U.S. where people are
originating from those countries would have their temperature checked with
a thermometer that does not touch the skin. And they are also be asked
What Doctor Frieden said during the press conference a few hours ago was
that will mean about 150 additional people will be screened in America
every day. And really, Reverend, even if that captures one or two
potential Ebola patients, it could make the screening process really
SHARPTON: Let me ask you, what do you know about this new patient, Dr.
Yasmin, if anything? Give us an idea about the new patient.
YASMIN: So in terms of the patient here in Dallas, that`s just a potential
case that they are monitoring very closely because he is considered low
risk. The sheriff`s deputy went into the home where Thomas Eric Duncan
stayed. And he did not have any contact with Thomas Eric Duncan. Did not
even have any contact with any infected bodily fluids in there. He just
went in to that apartment, spoke to the family and left. So they`re acting
out of an abundance of caution. He is feeling unwell today but the chances
of having an Ebola, we are told, are very low.
SHARPTON: All right, Dr. Seema Yasmin, thank you for that information as
well as your time tonight.
YASMIN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Turning now to a developing story on this ISIS jihadist, the FBI
asking for public health, for the public`s help in identifying the man in
this ISIS propaganda video. The FBI made the unusual move of posting a
clip of the video on their Web site. The agency believes the man is
speaking is either American or Canadian. And officials hope someone
recognizes either his face or his voice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re here in the 17th division military base just
outside the city of Raqqa and we`re here with the soldiers of Bashar (ph).
You can see them digging their own graves in the very place where they were
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now, NBC News terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann. Thank
you for your time tonight.
EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: Thank you.
SHARPTON: What is the FBI hoping to do by asking for the public`s help
KOHLMANN: Well, look, this is the same approach that the FBI has seen has
been very successful in terms of stopping actual terrorist cells here. The
most effective way, arguably the most effective is having people who have
intimate knowledge of this. Friends and family who see things before the
bureau does, report this to authorities. In another words, if you see
something, say something. People have particular mannerisms. They have
particular styles of speech. Even if they employ a voice modulator, even
if they try to alter the voice, if you know someone well enough, these
kinds of mannerism seen how high someone, it seems just their eyes, if you
know them well enough, that might be enough for to you identify someone
even if the FBI can`t. And that`s what they`re trying to do here.
SHARPTON: How do you think, let me ask you. What do you think the FBI
knows about this man?
KOHLMANN: Well, obviously, not very much. I mean, look, we think he might
be Canadian or American based on what his accent is, based on his
mannerisms, his gestures. He doesn`t look like he`s from the U.K. or
Australia, but we really know.
SHARPTON: But you really can`t see that much of the man in the video. So
will people really be able to recognize him?
KOHLMANN: Well, can the bureau recognize him? Probably not. The only
people who might recognize him would be someone who have enough, has enough
intimate knowledge of this person. Who has spent enough time with this
person that even despite the voice modulation, even despite the mask, if
this was your mother or your brother or your stepson, yes, you might still
recognize this person.
And unfortunately, that also gives you an indication of how much importance
the FBI puts on finding this person and it is a little disturbing that the
FBI at this point is so urgent upon finding that that they`re making this
public that they don`t really know who this person is and they need to find
out who he is.
SHARPTON: Now, they think the accent is north American. Can they
determine more specifically where he`s from?
KOHLMANN: No. And look, the voice has been altered here. And let`s be
very clear that there have been Canadians as well as Americans that have
been featured in these videos. Canadians who have been identified by name
so it is clear they are Canadians. Whether or not this person is Canadian
or American ultimately makes very little difference. Someone with a
Canadian passport can easily cross into this country with almost no check.
So you know, unfortunately, Canadian, American, there are still an equal
threat here to this country.
SHARPTON: Lot of concern about ISIS. We`ll certainly be following this
one. Evan Kohlmann, thank you for your time tonight.
KOHLMANN: Thank you very much.
SHARPTON: Coming up, it was political fight night in America. With less
than a month to go until the midterm elections, we saw Republicans running
from their positions.
And voting in space. I`m serious. That`s coming up.
SHARPTON: Coming up, Raven Simone`s speaks out against her critics after
saying she is not an African-American. It`s a hot one.
And federal authorities are now involved in a case of a botched drug raid
that injured a toddler. That story is coming up. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: It was fight night in America. Four debates and four key
states. North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado and Virginia. Just a month away
from the mid-term elections and the fireworks were on full display at the
Georgia Senate debate. Where a ruckus broke out when democrat Michelle
Nunn challenged republican David Purdue on his pride for outsourcing jobs
through his career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE NUNN (D), SENATE CANDIDATE: He would be the only senator that
from his own words has built a career around outsourcing American jobs that
is not the experience that we need in Washington.
DAVID PURDUE (R), SENATE CANDIDATE: This is another attempt by my
desperate opposition to use one line out of 186 page document -- out of a
186-page document to define a career.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Just this week, he said he was proud of his outsourcing record.
It`s kind of fun watching him tap dance around the issues. And he wasn`t
the only one dancing last night. Why? Because it is very close. And
they`re running scared. From their own positions.
Joining me now are Susan Milligan and Joan Walsh. She is writing about the
GOP candidates running scared in the weeks leading up to the election.
Thank you both for being here tonight.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Thank you.
SUSAN MILLIGAN, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: Joan, David Perdue and others dancing around the issues. How
can democrats attack this strategy?
WALSH: Well, I think Michelle Nunn is doing a really good job. I mean,
she has made clear that David Purdue who has been running on his business
record, who`s been running on the fact that he is not a politician, he has
really gotten a lot of mileage out of that, Rev. But he has a Mitt Romney
WALSH: That he is somebody who has bragged about his outsourcing in the
SHARPTON: He said he`s proud of it.
WALSH: He`s proud of it. He said, he`s proud of it. There`s also, "The
New York Times" just revealed more from that bankruptcy proceeding where
the original stuff came from, where he is, his former company is saying he
is a money grabber. Because as the company is going down, he`s trying to
make sure, he`s not trying to save jobs, he`s trying to make sure that
they`re covering his tax payments and giving them bonus he was entitled to.
So this guy, you know, I really admire the Nunn campaign for not shying
away from this stuff because it is really quite relevant. We have a jobs
crisis in this country and we don`t want those same old republican pro-
business anti-worker approach to solving it. Not in Georgia or anywhere
SHARPTON: Now, the Georgia election is too close to call, Susan. But as
"The New York Times" reports today, the demographics of Georgia`s
electorate might help democrats win. Quote. "No other plausibly
competitive state has seen a more favorable shift for democrats in racial
composition of eligible voters over the last decade. The pace of
demographic change might even be fast enough to outpace the polls. Recent
polls are most likely underestimating the share of voters who are black,
along with Ms. Nunn`s share of the vote." Now Susan, this race and many
others hands on issues of families. If there is a larger black electorate,
then that`s good news for democrats. Don`t you think?
MILLIGAN: Absolutely. Well, first of all, Georgia is a very interesting
state. It is on track to become the next North Carolina, which is on track
to become the next Virginia in terms of presidential campaigns. I don`t
know how quickly that will happen. But a great majority of the new
residents in Georgia over the last couple decades are actually from outside
the south. Not just from outside Georgia but outside the south. So, it`s
the racial composition. But just even other demographics as well. And you
bring up an interesting point because you see a lot of the republican
candidates tying the democrats President Obama who is unpopular in a lot of
these states which could be a drag on them. But the President may also
have left them this great legacy in the turnout operation that his campaign
build in 2008 and 2012. And I think a lot of these --
SHARPTON: That`s a very good point. That`s a very good point.
You know, another group, Joan, that could decide these tight races is
SHARPTON: You know, a new poll shows democrats are winning big in key
states with unmarried women. In North Carolina, Kay Hagan leads Tom Tiller
among unmarried women by 34 points in Iowa. Democratic candidate Bruce
Riley has a 43-point edge over Joni Ernst with single women. Just in that
area. In Colorado, democrat Mark Udall has a 33-point lead with single
women over Cory Gardner. And Georgia, of course, Michelle Nunn leads David
Purdue by 34 points with unmarried women. All over the country, tight
races overwhelmingly single women are going for the democrat.
WALSH: They are. One issue though, Rev is that they tend not to vote as
much as married women do. And so, you see a lot of democratic campaigns
putting a lot of -- on getting them out. On the flip side, you see a lot
of republicans trying to run away from their own stands like in Colorado,
Cory Gardner and also in North Carolina, Thom Tillis are trying to say that
they now favor over the counter contraception.
WALSH: Which is really an incredible dodge. Because contraception is
actually kind of complicated. You often need to go to a doctor. There are
24 or more different types of pills. This is not going to solve access.
It`s not going to solve price. Because some of it is very expensive. They
support hobby lobby and they oppose the contraception mandate in the
Affordable Care Act. But they`re trying to make it look as though they are
like pro-contraception. Cory Gardner last night even bragged that he goes
and picks up his wife`s prescription for her.
SHARPTON: You know, when you said that, it brought back to mind Susan, an
exchange in last night`s Georgia debate. Where, you know, we heard people
trying to win the women vote. And listen to this exchange between, North
Carolina is a bad example. Let`s show this exchange last night with Thom
Tillis and Senator Kay Hagan how he tried to play to get the woman`s vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. THOM TILLIS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Men and women, my mother who
worked hard and helped us actually make ends meet. My wife, my daughter
and a number of other people have worked, women, deserve the same pay as
men. Let`s enforce the laws that are on the books. Versus some of the
campaign gimmicks that are going to put more regulations on businesses and
make it even more difficult.
SEN. KAY HAGAN (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Mr. Tillis, I think you need to read
reports. Women in North Carolina earn 82 cents on the dollar. I didn`t
raise my two daughters to think that they were worth 82 cents on the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Susan, I mean, that was a bad example in Georgia. That`s why I
thought about it. Because he is saying he wants equal pay but he won`t
change the law. I mean, will voters be able to see through this?
MILLIGAN: Well, I think that that is an issue, particularly for single
women and for young women pay equity is. And you know, we can hear men
tell us that it`s because women want more flexibility. But that`s simply
not the case. Most of the single women I know are also paid less on
average than the men where they work. But I think what is interesting here
too, is that for decades, the democrats are the ones on the defensive in
these so-called cultural wars. You know, whether it was abortion or gay
rights. And now, you know, the shoe is on the other foot. And it`s part
because the argument over reproductive rights has shifted from abortion to
birth control. And almost every woman at some point in her life will use
birth control and I think that republicans are really on the defense when I
think it is actually more powerful issue even than pay equity.
SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Susan Milligan and Joan
Walsh, thank you both for your time tonight.
MILLIGAN: Thank you.
WALSH: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up, the emotional and courageous story of a terminally
ill 29-year-old who picked her day to die.
Plus, should the FBI be allowed to use your personal information to create
a fake Facebook page?
And Raven Simone fights against her critics on her race comments. Do you
agree? "Conversation Nation" is next.
SHARPTON: We`re back now with "Conversation Nation."
Joining us tonight, MSNBC`s Abby Huntsman, The Grio`s Chris Witherspoon and
trial Attorney Carmen St. George. Thank you all for being here tonight.
CARMEN ST. GEORGE, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Thank you.
ABBY HUNTSMAN, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thank you.
CHRIS WITHERSPOON, HOST, THE GRIO: Thank you.
SHARPTON: We start with a heart breaking but courageous story out of
Oregon. At the age of 29, Brittany Maynard learned she had an aggressive
brain cancer and only had six months to live. Rather than have her family
watch her dying in pain, she moved from her home state of California to
Oregon to take advantage of the state`s death with dignity law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRITTANY MAYNARD, DIAGNOSED WITH MALIGNANT BRAIN TUMOR: I will die
upstairs in my bedroom that I share with my husband. With my mother and my
husband by my side and pass peacefully with some music that I like in the
back ground. I can`t even tell you the amount of relief that it provides
me to know that I don`t have to die the way that it has been described to
me that my brain tumor would take me on its own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Only five states in America currently allow terminally ill
patients to end their lives. Carmen is courageous. But is America ready
for a law that allows you to end your own life?
GEORGE: I think they should be, Rev. This is America. This is the
country that we are free to live by whichever means we are. I do cancer
cases for a living. I mean, those clients that I have are constantly
taking chemotherapy. These drugs are essentially ending your life and I
believe that we should be at a place where somebody can make this choice
for themselves. And you`re talking about a woman who has the support of
her husband who doesn`t have children yet. And has the support of her
family. In order to do this. And I think it should be fair for her to
move to a state to be able to accomplish that.
WITHERSPOON: You know, I think a right to refuse treatment is one thing.
But a right to actually kill yourself in your home, and that`s
quote/unquote what she`s basically doing. Now, let`s think about it, she
actually has to go a drugstore to get this prescription. She`s had it in
her home, these pills in her home for a few weeks. That to me is the most
shocking part about this. Someone who is not a physician with kind of a
layman sense of medicine has pills in their possession that could kill
someone. Whether it is themselves or someone in their home.
HUNTSMAN: You know, everyone that has read this story today sympathizes
with her and they hear her speak and they hear her tell her story. And you
think how can you not let her do that, given her specific case? Her family
supports her. And then it makes you think more broadly about this. And
I`m just not sure I`m comfortable with medical professionals being in
charge of helping people essentially commit suicide. Because her case is
But all cases are different.
HUNTSMAN: Exactly. And all cases are quite different. They`re
complicated. I`ve actually been through something similar with my family.
It is a very personal decision.
HUNTSMAN: It ultimately comes down to the family and that person. It is
SHARPTON: Let`s change gears now to our next topic. Should federal law
enforcement be allowed to use your name, your personal information and your
family photos to create a Facebook page to catch criminals? That`s what
happened to Sondra Prince who was arrested on allegations that she was part
of a drug ring while she was awaiting trial, a drug enforcement agent set
up an account in her name. The agents posted pictures from her cell phone
and communicated with at least one wanted fugitive. All without her
knowledge. She is now using the DEA for violating her constitutional
rights. Abby, what do you think? Is this even legal?
HUNTSMAN: I think this story is crazy. I mean, I don`t even think it is
debatable. Because what is going on here, they`re essentially taking away
her freedom, right? Taking away her identity. We don`t live in China. We
live in the United States of American. It is one thing for the FBI to get
on social media and to try to find cases that, you know, could cause
harmful but in this case, they are essentially stealing her identity, using
her pictures without her knowing about it. And trying to find other
people. I don`t think it is debatable.
SHARPTON: But they`re saying she hand it over her social media stuff so
therefore they had possession of it.
WITHERSPOON: I think for the FBI to access her photos and kind of piece
together the crime via these photos, that`s one thing. But to go online to
impersonate her, to open up old wounds in this sense, you know, she might
have relatives that are seeing her on Facebook, kind of like, isn`t she in
prison? She might have a kid even.
GEORGE: This could get her in trouble.
WITHERSPOON: This could get her in trouble I guess.
SHARPTON: Well, let me go to the lawyer, because isn`t it also entrapment?
GEORGE: It is putting her at risk, it`s entrapment, it`s impersonating,
she may have given over her phone but unless they have a warrant --
SHARPTON: Or they confiscated her phone. Right?
SHARPTON: But she said here --
GEORGE: Of course not. And, you know, the FBI and the state police do
have an ability to take a partial photo. As it stands now and use that to
create a Facebook account. But in this case they have no authority.
What`s the difference from getting into a house which is now drug house
where they need arrests, and then the FBI sitting in that house and
pretending it is their house to catch the future drug dealers that are
going to come to that home. We don`t operate that way.
SHARPTON: All right. And now to Raven Symone hitting back against her
critics. She took a lot of heat from this comment she made to Oprah about
labels and race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAVEN SYMONE, ACTRESS: I`m tired of being labeled. I`m an American. I`m
not an African-American. I`m an American.
OPRAH WINFREY, TELEVISION HOST: Oh, girl. You`re going to set twitter on
SYMONE: I`m sorry, I mean --
WINFREY: What? Oh, lord! What did you just say? Stop, stop, stop the
tape right now. OK.
SYMONE: I will say this.
SYMONE: I mean -- I don`t know where my roots go to. I don`t know how far
back they go. I can`t go on, you know, I don`t know how far back and I
don`t know what country in Africa I`m from. But I do know that my roots
are in Louisiana. I`m an American. And that`s a colorless person.
Because we are all people. I have lots of things running through my veins.
WINFREY: I mean, you`re going to get a lot of flak for saying you`re not
African-American, you know that, right?
SYMONE: I don`t label myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: She was called rich and entitled on twitter. And criticized
for, quote, "dising her roots." Today she says, "I never said I wasn`t
black. I want to make that very clear. I said I am not an African-
American. I never expected my personal beliefs and comments to spark such
emotion in people. I think it is only positive when we can openly discuss
race and being labeled in America."
Chris, you`ve been covering this story. Was she just misunderstood? Does
this explanation clear up the controversy surrounding her comments?
WITHERSPOON: I think the explanation does. When she spoke to Oprah, she
never clarified that she actually does believe she`s black. She said I`m
not African-American. I don`t like being classified as that. But she
never said I`m not black.
SHARPTON: She said America is colorless.
WITHERSPOON: Yes. Yes. But I think for her to give me the statement.
What she gave me that I am black. I just don`t feel that I am African-
American. That I want to check that box. I think it is a bold move.
Oprah said it. You`re going to set that twitter on fire. She did.
HUNTSMAN: And Oprah warned her as well.
WITHERSPOON: She doesn`t really know where she is from in Africa. She
said that. And she said that to be black, American is enough. I saw some
feds, some comments in our Facebook fed. And they were saying, some people
that are here, that are in America, that are from Germany, are from France,
the UK, they don`t say I`m British-American, I`m French-American, I`m white
SHARPTON: I think the controversy though Abby, is if she had said, I`m not
African-American, I`m black, or I don`t know where I am from in Africa, to
say that I`m not African-American, I`m American and that is colorless.
SHARPTON: You kind of define more what you`re saying.
HUNTSMAN: Right. So, I read this article earlier. And my initial
reaction was like, this is great. I think what she`s saying is I don`t
want to be define by anything. I don`t want to be, you know, define by
being gay or by being African-American. When I watched it just there, it
is how she said it.
HUNTSMAN: Right. If she says, you know, I`m an American. But almost sort
of like, she was pushing off people. And so I think it`s how people read
that. I think it`s sort of the emotions that she gave off.
GEORGE: I believe you should not to have fit into a box. I am Greek and
Puerto Rican. My husband is Jamaican and Italian. Do my kids have to fit
into a box and check it off? We are American. I don`t feel that she has
to be identified by anything in particular. She`s not saying she is not
black. I wouldn`t be saying I`m not European if I don`t check off the
right box. I feel like, that`s why we live in this country.
HUNTSMAN: Are we too sensitive today though?
SHARPTON: Well, I think the reason there`s a lot of sense activity and
from what I got from a lot of people that I talk. Is that you can`t act
like we created the boxes. A lot of us have been boxed. I mean, still
are. Look at Ferguson. And to kind of push off on that is like you`re
blaming people that have been boxed on the box that they`ve been put in.
Not that they chose to be different. But it`s a good conversation.
WITHERSPOON: It`s a good conversation she started, yes.
SHARPTON: Abby Huntsman, Chris Witherspoon and Carmen St. George, thank
you all for your time tonight.
HUNTSMAN: Thanks, Rev.
GEORGE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, voting from outer space. It`s real and very cool.
But what about voting rights right here on earth?
But first, new details on a drug raid that injured a toddler. Now federal
authorities are getting involve in the investigation. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Developing news on a botched drug raid on a private home outside
Atlanta that seriously injured a 20-month-old baby. On May 28th, baby Boo
Boo Phonesavah and his parents were asleep in a relative`s house. When
police carried out a no knock arrest warrant. Searching for a suspected
drug dealer who it turned out was not there. Police launched a flash bang
grenade into the house. And that explosive landed in baby Boo Boo`s crib.
The baby was left with severe injuries to his face, his body and his brain.
Boo Boo`s mother came on POLITICS NATION to say what she saw at the
hospital that night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALECIA PHONESAVAH, INJURED TODDLER`S MOTHER: His face was blown up, his
nose was not even attached to his face, his mouth was split in so many
spots, I couldn`t even recognize my son.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Four months later, he is making great progress. But serious
questions remain. The county is refusing to pay the Phonesavah`s family
medical bills. Which already is more than $800,000. And this week, the
grand jury declined to indict the officers involved in the raid. This is
really wrong. The police busted into a private home and badly injured a
child but that`s OK? We`re just supposed to forget about it now? Boo
Boo`s mother isn`t, saying quote, "this is not over." And now the U.S.
attorney is stepping in. Quote, "Now that the state grand jury has decline
to return an indictment, we will review the matter for possible federal
charges." The county did apologize to the family but how can it be that
these officers aren`t being held accountable for their actions, however
unintended. We owe it to this child. We`ll be watching what happens in
this one very closely.
SHARPTON: Early this morning millions from around the world saw an amazing
site, a blood moon. The moon, sun and earth aligned turning the moon to a
reddish color. But the blood moon got me thinking about another space
story. Voting from outer space. It`s no joke. A recent National Journal
article chronicled how astronaut Clayton Anderson cast his ballot in local
elections while going 17,000 miles per hour, 200 miles above the earth.
Astronauts vote via e-mail, a clerk gets their electronic vote, copies it
to a standard ballot. Then it is official. It`s that simple. But for
many Americans here on planet earth, it isn`t as easy right now. Voting
rights on earth are under attack from republican voting laws. It`s not
right and we need to have the same right to vote on land in this country as
Americans do in outer space.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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