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All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, December 12th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Friday show

Date: December 12, 2014

Guest: Charles Ramsey, David Dayen, Anna Galland


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on "All In."

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): I hope you are not going to fall for Elizabeth
Warren`s nonsense.

HAYES: All eyes on the Senate where they will now decide the fate of the
Wall Street give away.

ELIZABETH WARREN: The American people didn`t elect us to stand up for
Citigroup. They elected us to stand up for all the people.

HAYES: Tonight, the latest on the Cromnibus revolt and the growing
movement to draft Elizabeth Warren.

Then, what conservatives get wrong about drones and torture.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama simply kills them with drones. So,
is that more humane than waterboarding?

HAYES: Plus, major news on the new log that will force police to actually
count the people they shoot. In all America, inside America`s most active
death chamber.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think you`ve ever watched someone innocent to --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s some people I have doubts about.

HAYES: "ALL IN" starts right now.


HAYES: Well, good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. And tonight,
all eyes are focused on the United States Senate. And a last gasp effort
to turn back a brazen push by Wall Street lobbyists to weaken regulations
designed to prevent another financial crisis. Last night you recall the
clock ticking toward the government shutdown. The House narrowly passed
$1.1 trillion spending bill known as the Cromnibus, which funds the
government for nine months. Cromnibus was negotiated by lawmakers from
both parties and embraced by the White House.

But many Democrats revolted. After Senator Elizabeth Warren and others
spotlighted a provision buried in the bill to roll back a key piece of the
Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The provision, which passed the House
last year as the stand-alone bill, whenever got a Senate vote, was
literally written by lobbyists for a Citigroup. This graphic from Mother
Jones shows this Citi draft on the left and the final House bill on the
right, with the identical language highlighted.

With passage of the Cromnibus in doubt last night, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jimmy
Dimon himself personally called lawmakers to pressure them to vote for the
bill. Despite the reservations about a provision to deregulate the banks
that no one in Washington was willing to actually defend on the record as
far as we can tell, our provision that frankly reflects just about
everything that`s wrong with Washington.

Citigroup is a lobbying leviathan spending $4 million in the first three
quarters of this year alone, and giving more than $2.1 million to federal
politicians in the midterm election cycle according to the Center for
Responsive Politics.

So it`s no surprise that Citigroup would literally write the legislation it
wanted and get the House to vote it into law. Democrats voted against the
Cromnibus last night by more than a two to one margin, and according to
"The Washington Post" on average, the Democrats who voted yes have received
twice as much money from the finance industry as the ones who voted no."

Now, the action on the Cromnibus turns to the Senate where less than an
hour ago, made debate on the bill, Warren made the case to finally bring in
Wall Street.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Enough is enough. With Citigroup
passing 11th hour deregulatory provisions that nobody takes ownership over,
but everybody will come to regret. Enough is enough.


HAYES: The Senate has until Wednesday to get passed some procedural
hurdles past the Cromnibus shutdown. President Obama today urged Senate
lawmakers to get that done saying there`s enough good in the massive
spending bill to outweigh the bad.


to draft my own legislation, and get it passed without any Republican vote
I suspect it would be slightly different. That is not the circumstance we
find ourselves in. And I think what the American people very much are
looking for is some practical governance and the willing just to compromise
and that`s what this bill reflects.


HAYES: Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell`s spent a day trying to
work out a plan to move forward, an effort complicated by a push from
conservatives for a vote to defund President Obama`s executive action on
immigration. As well as an amendment from Senators Elizabeth Warren and
David Vitter, a Republican, to strip out that provision. The one weakening
Wall Street regulation from the Cromnibus. Harry Reid has not indicated
whether or not he will allow a vote on the amendment, which if passed,
would require the House to reconsider the bill.


SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D) OHIO: I`m going to vote no. I - when my staff
person last week discovered this provision, slipped into the appropriations
bill, it looked like we`ve been there before. I mean this is - this is
kind of the way the House Republicans do things. They take language
written by Wall Street. They know that language wouldn`t stand the light
of day if it were a bill and debate it on the floor and voted on. So they
slip it in something like this omnibus. It`s shameful. Republicans than
pass the omnibus, leave town, if we were to strip the - strip out of the
Omnibus, we can tell them we had to fly back and pass a real appropriations
bill that doesn`t do that. That`s what I`m hoping we can do.

HAYES: Right, so there is right now, there`s a fight of whether it can be
an up or down vote on the amendment to just basically - just pass it, but
strip that provision out. Do you think we can get a vote on that?

BROWN: Well, I hope we do. That`s what -- that`s the goal if we can get,
I think, a majority of members would vote to strip it. I mean these -
these provisions to take us back to the days of bailouts. These provisions
to create more loopholes for Wall Street, these provisions that put the
bankers, the traders, that`s with a D, traders in a position where they
take risks, they make risky bets. And it`s - ahead - until she lose. If
they either make a lot of money from it or if the bets go wrong, taxpayers
pick it up. This stuff could never pass, if it were straight up or down
vote and the public can see it. That`s why they play these games, that`s
why it`s so important to expose them.

HAYES: You talked about House Republicans slipping this in. But part of
the problem here is, is that, you know, there`s a bipartisan negotiation
team to come together to covel (ph) this Cronobus together. Barb Mikulski,
your colleague from Maryland. I mean are you - are you angry at her? Do
you have questions about how the leadership team from the Democrats appear
to go along with this before you and Senator Warren and others started
blowing the whistle?

BROWN: Well, I know what happened. I know what Republicans do and what
Wall Street does. They submit, they pass 10 or 15 really bad provisions.
They`ve done it with environmental riders, they`ve done it with Wall Street
riders and then negotiators in good faith try to get rid of as many of them
as possible and you end up with one or two bad ones. It`s happened in the
environment. It`s happened here. That`s the problem. That`s why once
Republicans are in control, the public is going to know whose side are you
on. Who`s doing this? It will be much clearer and I think we`ll have a
better chance of stopping it because it`s so much clearer.

HAYES: If this stays in, if you don`t get the up or down vote to strip the
amendment, which it`s unclear whether that will happen, my sense is you
will still vote against it, should the president veto it?

BROWN: I don`t know. I don`t know if the president should veto it.
Because then the government shuts down immediately. And you call us back
into session to do something. I don`t know what kind of a crisis that
brings. I think the issue, it is, is a bit of a punt on that question is,
you know, how shameful it is to govern this way. To insist on really bad
provisions and to leave town and - and put the sort of responsibility
elsewhere. But, I mean, again, it shows like this, Chris, in putting the -
- in putting the spotlight on this kind of behavior. That`s what I want to
do next year as the lead Democrat of the banking committee. Put the spot
light where it belongs on these kinds of issues.

HAYES: Let me ask you that question. I mean is this a signal? And you`re
going to be the ranking member of the banking committee in the next
Congress. Is this a signal of where there`s going to be a lot of energy
from the new committee chair and the Republican side and from House
Republicans on the other side of the Capitol Hill.

BROWN: I guess we`ll have to see. I`ll give them the benefit of the doubt
that they want to work on positive things and moving the country forward
affordable housing. On transportation and other things that banking
committee does on credit card reform, on helping with making credit
available, all of the things that we could be doing for low income people
to get them in the banking system. I`m hopeful that`s what we can do to
gather bipartisanly.

Unfortunately, this last episode shows how "Wall Street" lobbyists and
lawyers are always willing, eager and able and willing to write language,
to try to insert in bills to get weaker in regulation on Wall Street. And
the shamefulness of this that less than a decade ago, these people drove
our economy almost over the cliff and that they are coming back again
asking for weaker rules and peeling back regulations is just an amazing
thing to me.

HAYES: Senator Sherrod Brown has his work cut out for him on the Senate
banking committee. Thank you very much.

BROWN: Thank you, Chris.


HAYES: I spoke to Senator Brown early this evening, about an hour ago.
We`ve just gotten word that Harry Reid has nixed the possibility of a vote
on memo to strip out that provision tonight. Although that`s unclear
whether it`s off the table for good, or how the rest of night is going to
unfold. You see Barb Mikulski, one of the negotiators of (INAUDIBLE). She
is now speaking life on the Senate floor.

Now, the provision to weaken Wall Street regulations is not the only
problem with the Cronobus. The entire bill is kind of a lobbyist`s
paradise. Because in the Congress, it doesn`t have earmarks anymore. A
big spending bill is the place for lawmakers to shove their pet projects
and gifts to big donors. And here to catalogs from - the bill is David
Dayen. He is contributor to, columnist of "The Fiscal Times."
Dave, you have a great piece today about everything else that`s in there,
not including the swaps pushout this sort of Citigroup written provision.
What else is in there?

really, you know, they call these kind of bills a Christmas Tree where
there`s all kinds of ornaments adorned on top of the bill. And most of
them, as you said, are really gifts to lobbyists. I mean for example, you
have the change of 40 year rule that pension benefits to not be cut for
current retirees. And, now, with a provision rider in this bill, you can
cut pension benefits for current retirees and multiemployer plans. It`s -
these are people who earned these retirement benefits, worked their entire
lives and now they can see them cut after the fact. It`s just an example
of the kind of the thing that`s in this bill.

HAYES: You`ve also got - you`ve got cuts to the budgets of the IRS, big
cuts to the budgets of the IRS, cuts to the budgets of the EPA. You`ve
also got this campaign finance provision. I thought John McCain, obviously
who`s been very out spoken in favor of (INAUDIBLE) fines regulations has
seen part of his life`s work undone by fellow Republicans in the Supreme
Court. This is what he had to say on Andrew Mitchell show about that
provision today.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R) ARIZONA: The sponsors of that are so proud of this,
again, loosening that no one will claim credit for it. I guess it was one
of these Immaculate Conception deals. But Andrea, there will be scandals
in America because there is just too much money washing around. And there
will be scandals and then we will do reform. You can go all the way back
to Teddy Roosevelt where there have been cycles of reform, corruption,
reform, corruption. We will do that.


HAYES: I thought that was pretty a propos, but also, it`s sort of like-
well, this is the scandal right here. What you are documenting in this
bill including the fact that in a kind of perfect circularity, it`s
giveaways to big donors and also increases on the amounts those donors can

DAYEN: Yes, exactly. So you can ensure that there will be more giveaways
to big donors upcoming. Because there`s the incentive is there, and they
can give even more money to the donors. And, you know, John McCain can
talk all he wants about it, but I wonder how he`s going to vote on the
final bill?

HAYES: Right, well, I think he probably will vote for it. There`s also
some interesting nutritional special interest provisions in there. There
was a white potato provision.


HAYES: Which cracked me up, which is - I guess white potatoes were taken
out of approved food for in WIC, which is for wait a minute, women, infants
and children. That`s now back in.

DAYEN: Yeah, that`s back in. And in the school lunch program, certain
grains are now back in and can be used. It`s just an example. I mean this
is - even if you took out the derivatives piece of this bill, this would
still be a pretty terrible product.

HAYES: Yeah.

DAYEN: And I`m so old that I remember that President Obama and members of
the Democrats and the Senate saying that we don`t want any policy riders in
these bills.

HAYES: Right.

DAYEN: That was the --


DAYEN: They are in there now.

HAYES: That was the old policy, no policy riders. David Dayen, thank you
very much.

All right. Another senator flouted the convention that Democratic leaders
followed the party line by saying something about the Cromnibus that was
shockingly reasonable.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D) MASSACHUSETTS: If big Wall Street banks want to
gamble with their own money, so be it. Let them take their risks with
their own money and let them live with the consequences of those risks.
That`s how markets are supposed to work. But they shouldn`t get to gamble
with government-insured money.


HAYES: It is because of well, good common sense like that that one
organization announced they will be spending a million dollars just to try
to get Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016. And that`s


HAYES: So, one occupational hazard of being a member of Congress or really
any politician is as a defensive measure, you have to buy all sorts of
domain names. So, you can control what`s posted on both sides to protect
your image. For example, if I were running for office, I would purchase, and Spoiler
alert - I`m not running for office. But my producers did do a little
online shopping today.

And you know who else whose staff appears to have been busy buying domain
names? This guy. Congressman Blake Farenthold, Republican from Texas. It
appears his staff really threw themselves into it, outdid themselves and
now Congressman Farenthold appears to be the proud owner of
Why? We have no idea. And why not Or .net?

Again, we have no idea. Unless, of course, the purchase is all an
elaborate prank. And Congressman Farenthold isn`t alone. The law firm
that represents former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg bought more
than 400 Web sites last months, including, and at a cost of somewhere
between 10 and 16,000. According to "New York Post," which also quotes the
spokeswoman for Bloomberg is saying this appears to be overly aggressive
legal due diligence. We`re only keeping the straight forward addresses.
You know what I say? You can never be too careful.


HAYES: Whatever happens with the Cromnibus vote in the Senate, this has
been an amazing political moment for Senator Elizabeth Warren, who just a
month ago was named to the Democratic leadership, which typically sings in
tune. Instead, Warren has waged a very public, very passionate rebellion
against a deal negotiated by her fellow Senate Democratic leadership
members and pushed by the White House.


WARREN: Democrats don`t like Wall Street bailouts. Republicans don`t like
Wall Street bailouts. The American people are disgusted by Wall Street
bailouts. And yet here we are five years after Dodd-Frank with Congress on
the verge of ramming through a provision that would do nothing for the
middle class, do nothing for community banks, do nothing but raise the risk
that taxpayers will have to bailout the biggest banks once again. So let
me say this to anyone who is listening at Citi. I agree with you. Dodd-
Frank isn`t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces.


HAYES: And this comes at a moment where there`s a growing desire on the
part of a certain segment for the Democratic base for Warren to run for
president largely because of rhetoric exactly like that. In fact, the
former campaign aide to President Obama Christopher Hass has circulated an
e-mail to other former Obama campaign staffers asking them to jump on the
band wagon of a growing list of former staffers urging Warner run for
president. Hass writes, "We helped elect Barack Obama and now we`re
calling on Elizabeth Warren to run in 2016.

We know that the improbable is from impossible. The letter boasts more
than 300 signatories now. Earlier this week, the leaders of MoveOn
announced it will spend at least a million dollars trying to draft Warren.
And part of what makes Warren such a thrilling candidate for some, is that
she also has all the right enemies. Enemies like GOP Senator Pat Toomey
who seems to be suggesting that her latest charge against big banks is a


SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R) PENNSYLVANIA: I hope you`re not going to fall for
Elizabeth Warren`s nonsense. This is Elizabeth Warren ginning up the left
wing of the Democratic Party who are, you know, professional haters of, you
know, of business. This is absolute nonsense.


HAYES: Joining me now, Anna Galland. She is executive director of Civic Action, and they launched a million dollar campaign this
week, to commend Senator Warren run for president. All right, Anna. If
you have to spend a million dollars to convince someone to run for
president, it seems like you`re already kind of behind the eight ball.


Warren needs to see and feel and understand the intensity of the call from
the broad American public, not just MoveOn`s 8 million members. Not just
the left as Pat Toomey seems to think. But really, the American public.
Left, right and center. People are sick and tired of provisions being
written by Wall Street lobbyists. And they want someone in the debate, in
the presidential debate who will stand up and speak the truth. Speak
common sense. You know, earlier this week, MoveOn members voted 80 percent
of our members, an overwhelming majority, voted to encourage Senator Warren
to run for president. They did so already just knowing what they knew
about her. And then on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, she stood up and
really lit up the entire country with this, you know, calling out, calling
the alarm saying no, we are not going to accept this, this kind of nonsense
from Wall Street lobbyists being started at the last minute. It`s just
been an incredible week. It`s really an electric moment.

HAYES: So here is, I mean, look, I`m sympathetic to this for I think
obvious reasons. And I, you know, I`m substantively in agreement with
Elizabeth Warren on this provision, but I`ve got to say like, the polling
of Democrats is shocking. In the unanimity there appears to be behind
Hillary Clinton. I mean it just doesn`t seem a ton of space right now.

And obviously, that can change, but what do you say to people who say this
desire for Elizabeth Warren is kind of like a boutique desire. There`s a
small group of what we call the Democratic base who aren`t actually the
rank and file Democratic base that want her to run. But they`re not
broadly representative of where Democrats are.

GALLAND: I think if you look at what people want, what they want as an
economy that works for everyone, I think everyone recognizes right now that
the middle class is being squeezed from all sides, right? The wages have
been stagnant. Costs are going up. People are not getting by in the way
that they can and should. Our economy can be stronger, better faired than
it is now. And Senator Warren has given voice to that. And so, I actually
- I think that there`s been a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts in the
media that wants to sort of say this is all over, but everyone also
overwhelmingly really wants a genuinely contested --

HAYES: Yeah.

GALLAND: Presidential primary. And I think what we are seeing right now,
is that the hunger for Senator Warren`s vision and track record is real.
And it`s only going to grow after weeks like this.

HAYES: Anna Galland to move on. Thanks very much.

GALLAND: Thanks so much.

HAYES: Over the past few months, American criminal justice and in
particular, American policing has been subjected to more scrutiny than at
any other time I can remember in the last 20 years. Coming up, my
conversation with the man the president put in charge of reforming how
police enforced the law. Police commissioner of Philadelphia as well. As
an "ALL IN" America exclusive about two people in Texas who carried out the
laws mandate in very different way. That`s ahead.


HAYES: There`s a term coined sometime in the last century called
whataboutism. And it describes how the Soviet Union back in a day would
respond to Western criticism of the communist system. The American
president, for instance, would condemn the Soviets for imprisoning
political dissidents in remote Gulags and forcing them into slave labor and
Soviet leaders would say yeah, well, what about Jim Crowe? Or what about
your illegal war in Vietnam? It was a useful rhetorical tactic to
effectively change the subject from one offense to another. And the
obvious response to Soviet whataboutism was the following. Yeah, Jim Crowe
is terrible.

Indefensible. Vietnam War is a debacle. Those things are true. It is
also true you`re putting political dissidents in prison and that it is also
wrong. These things aren`t mutually exclusive. The moral universe is not
zero some. Well, this week, after the release of the Senate report on the
CIA`s torture program, we`re being treated to a 21st century version of
whataboutism from, of all people, conservatives and the Republican Party.
When you say the torture carried out by the U.S. government is repugnant,
they say what about drones?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In some sort of liberal, I don`t know, confused world,
droning is more humane than torturing someone or interrogating them
aggressively. It`s bizarre.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, it seems completely insensible. That slapping
KSM is bad. But sending the fire missile into a family`s picnic and
killing all the children and, you know, killing granny and killing everyone
is OK.

DENNIS MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: All right, death by drone or
waterboarding. Which would you prefer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you explain how the president believes that it`s
un-American to use these techniques, but it was OK to ramp up the drone
policy and basically thousands of people around the world, innocent
civilians killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re not picking up prisoners anymore. What they do
is when they identify a high value target, the target is droned. There`s
no terrorists left to interrogate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s the moral equivalency there? How do you have
moral authority when innocent civilians are killed by drones?


HAYES: Now, the appropriate response two this new whataboutism is twofold.
First, as a basic matter of both moral law and of both law and moral
principle, killing enemies in combat is sometimes permissible. Torturing
them, however, never is. The prohibition on torture is categorical. In
the American criminal justice system, for example, we can sentence someone
to death, even though I obviously oppose that. We cannot sentence them to
be tortured. Because torture occupies a special category of moral taboo.
The second response to this latter-day whataboutism, is more or less the
same one I would suggest we give the Soviets. It`s true.

Many aspects of this government target killing program, maybe the entire
thing are morally odious and constitutionally suspect. They deserve
criticism, heck, they even deserve outrage, though I would note the people
who devote outrage toward them tend to be the same people that devote
outrage towards torture. Like ACLU and Amnesty International and not,
well, Fox News.
But that has no bearing whatsoever on whether it`s okay to pour water down
someone`s nose until they foam at the mouth, to threaten to sexually abuse
someone`s mother, or to anally rape someone with a feeding tube. And only
a moral idiot would fail to see that.


HAYES: The death of Tamir Rice, 12-year-old Cleveland boy shot and killed
by police last month, has now been ruled a homicide. In a report released
today, medical examiner concluded the cause of death was a, quote, "gunshot
wound of torso with injuries of major vessel, intestines and pelvis," that
the manner of death was a homicide.

As we`ve learned through the unfolding of the Eric Garner case, homicide is
this case is a medical determination as opposed to a legal one. Meaning
all this proves is that Rice died as a result of someone else, it does not
necessarily mean the man who killed him is guilty of a crime.

And of course we already knew that someone killed Tamir Rice, because we
have video of the horrible incident.

Now, the question becomes what happens to the officers who killed Tamir
Rice, as a grand jury is set to hear evidence in the case. And this news
about Tamir Rice comes ahead of a big march tomorrow in Washington against
police violence.

According to Reverend Al Sharpton`s National Action Network, joining that
march will be family members of Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, the
28 year old unarmed man shot dead last month by a police officer in
Brooklyn, John Crawford who was killed over the summer by police inside a
Walmart while carrying a pellet
gun he picked up in the store aisle, as well as Lavar Jones. Lavar Jones
is the unarmed man who survived being shot by a South Carolina state
trooper in September, a story we covered at length here.

And since Mike Brown`s death in August in Ferguson, as all of these other
stories about unarmed black men being shot by police punctuated the news
cycle. Washington has started to take notice. While a lot of attention
yesterday was focused on whether the massive crominbus spending bill would
pass the House, congress quietly reauthorized a bill that expired in 2006
requiring states to report the number of people killed during arrest or
while in police custody.

It almost seems crazy a law like that was lapsed considered that without it
we really don`t even have the most basic beginning of a count of how many
people die at the hands of police each year.

Attorney General Eric Holder was in Chicago earlier today speaking about
bridging one of the most difficult gaps in policing today, the fact that
communities that need police protection the most tend to be communities
that trust police officers the least.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have to ask ourselves I think some
fundamental questions about the lack of tust that exists between some
communities and the law enforcement officers who serve those communities.

And I think we have to try to come up with ways in which we deal with that


HAYES: There`s now talk the president`s task force on police reform is
considering some kind of uniform monitoring system for tracking civilian
deaths at the hands of police. I got a chance to talk to the co-chair of
that task force yesterday, Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey.
And I started by asking him if he thought there was a crisis in American


problem and a challenge that we have to meet. I think one of problems I
have with what`s going on right now is that it tends to be generalized to a
point where it
seems as if every police officer is engaging in inappropriate behavior and
that`s simply not the case.

But I would say that it certainly is a point in time where change -- some
change is needed. We certainly need to take a hard look inside and make
necessary adjustments we need to make.

HAYES: How much do you honestly think, basically, these problems have
existed and they`re getting a lot of attention now and how much do you
think things are particularly bad right now?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, listen, we`ve always had challenges and always had
some issues. I`ve been in policing 45 years. Now I`ve seen an awful lot
of progress, but that doesn`t mean that there isn`t a lot more that needs
to be made. We`ve been involved in community policing for the last couple
of decades, but, clearly, there are some communities that we have not
established trust, we have not
established relationships and we`ve got to fix that and that`s really what
the president`s task force is charged with doing.

What is it that we need to do to reassure people that they will receive
fair and impartial policing services. So we`ve got our work cut out for
us, because clearly there is a problem.

HAYES: When you talk about community policing, how much of the issue here
is about the methods of policing and how much of the issue is the broadest
system of laws -- the war on drugs, particularly, that just require a
tremendous amount of police effort and attention to be given to nonviolent
offenses, to be given to drug sales and the like, that create a level of
police presence and ubiquity in neighborhoods that then leads to some of
the tensions you`re describing.

RAMSEY: I would say both are obviously a part of it. But I would also add
that there is a reality that we have to come to grips with, and that is
that there`s a disproportionate amount of crime occurring in some
neighborhoods versus other neighborhoods, which is why you have heavy
police presence to begin with.

So, we`ve got to look at the entire picture, not just bits and pieces of it
if we really want to come up with long-term solutions to fix it.

HAYES: My read of the president`s task force is that a lot of it
concentrates on training. One of the critiques you`re hearing from
protesters is less about training on the frontend and more about
accountability on the back end. You said yourself that, you know, it`s
unfair to paint with a broad brush that all police officers are engaging in
misconduct. But the issue seems to be for many that the small number that
are engaging in misconduct aren`t being adequately punished. How important
is that?

RAMSEY: Well, I think it`s important. I mean, accountability is certainly
a part of it, it`s not just about training and education. There are a
variety of areas that we`re going to be looking at. But accountability
cuts both ways. Everybody has to be held accountable -- community, police,
everybody has to be held accountable throughout the system if we really
want fundamental change.

And that`s really what we need is fundamental change in this country that
will lead us to a better relationship between police, community in part,
but, also, the entire criminal justice system being viewed as being fair
and impartial.

HAYES: Does the U.S. put too many people in jail?

RAMSEY: Well, I don`t know how to answer that question. I think that we
need to reserve jail for people who are really harmful to the community.
And I think that we need to look at alternatives to incarceration, more
diversion programs. There are a lot of different things we need to do.
The educational system certainly plays a part in this, job training and the

So, it`s not as simple just looking at numbers saying there`s too many.
The question is what do we need to do to keep people from going down a path
that will land them in jail to begin with?

HAYES: I want to ask a personal question. It occurs to me that part of
the difficulty here is that policing is not only hard work, but it can take
a psychological toll. I mean, as a rule, you`re basically just seeing
people at their worst moments day in, day out, right? In crisis, in pain,
doing terrible things to each other. Have you found in your years of law
enforcement it`s changed something fundamental about the way you view
people and human nature?

RAMSEY: Well, you have to be resilient and you also have to keep things in
perspective. I mean, one of the things that we do in Philadelphia, for an
example, all new recruits start off on foot patrol in some of our most
challenged neighborhoods. And the reason for that is, they get to really
from the ground, literally, from the ground, be able to understand the
dynamics of that community,
know the people that are decent, law-abiding just want the things in life
that you want as a police officer and also know the people who are actually
out there causing harm. So you`re not stereotyping people, you`re really
getting to know people. And you`re touching them, you`re talking to them,
you`re developing relationships and from that, comes trust.

So, you really have to guard against it. Is it easy to kind of allow
yourself to become jaded over time? It is easy. And that`s why we have to
constantly reinforce that, expose police officers to more than just the 911
calls and running from point A to point B where there`s always something
negative going on.

HAYES: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Ramsey, thank you for your time
tonight, sir.

RAMSEY: Thank you.


HAYES: All In America is back tonight. You don`t want to miss what we`ve
been working on. Stay with us.


HAYES: At this hour the Senate is still in session. They appear to be
trying to figure out just what to do after the House passed the cromnibus
yesterday and skipped town.

They`ve got a few days to figure it out since the House passed a continuing
resolution that takes them through Wednesday. And the question now is
whether they`re going to vote it out tonight, argue it out tonight, or
maybe just take a voice vote as indications are now, take a voice vote,
pack it in for the evening and come back on Monday and pass a cromnibus.

We still don`t know for sure, but it`s starting to look like it might be
heading that way. We will keep you updated.


HAYES: Over the past decade, there have been 509 people executed in this
country and more than 200 of those executions took place in one state,
Texas. It`s home to the most active death chamber in the nation. And in
the latest installment of our All In America series, I traveled to Texas
and I spoke to two people who witnessed the executions of hundreds of
inmates. It was part of their job.


HAYES: So you essentially become the public face for the entire prison
system in Texas?

been called the public face of executions in Texas, yes.

HAYES: And that`s because every time there`s an execution in Texas,
there`s a certain kind of ritual to it and you are the person giving the
information about what happened.


We allow five people, five media members, to come in -- we did, five media
members to come in to witness the execution. So when the execution was
over, I would go forward and tell the media that didn`t come in so and so
is pronounced dead, such and such and here`s the final statement.

public information officer, you see the inmate in the hours before the
execution. And you talk to them in those hours before the execution and
you see their emotion much more clearly than you do a couple of weeks out.
I mean, you see that they`re scared or they`re nervous or they`re, in some
cases, angry.


HAYES: The rest of my interview with Michelle Lyons and Larry Fitzgerald


HAYES: What would it do to you to watch people die for a living? Michelle
Lyons was a 23-year-old reporter in Huntsville, Texas when she witnessed
her first execution. Through her work, she met Larry Fitzgerald, a
spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. It was his job
to watch the state execute
the men and women it sent to the death chamber and give the details to the

Michelle eventually left her reporting job to work alongside Larry and over
the years Michelle and Larry watched the executions of hundreds of people.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with both of them in Texas and
they share with me what they witnessed.


LYONS: There`s one execution that I see very vividly and honestly, I do
not remember the man`s name. I can picture his face very clearly and why
it`s really stuck with me is that there were no witnesses. There were no
witnesses for the victim`s family, there were no witnesses for the inmates
family. He was there completely alone.

And when the warden came in and said do you have a last statement, he never
looked to the side just kept looking at the ceiling and he shook his head,
no. And as the chemicals began to take effect, you just saw this one tear
run down his cheek and it really stuck with me because it was such a sad,
lonely scene.

HAYES: This is the death chamber in Huntssville, Texas, the headquarters
of the state`s prison system. Death row inmates are brought to this unit
where they spend their final hours.

And, for years, Michelle Lyons and Larry Fitzgerald watched the final
moments of though inmates` lives, both were featured in a report in Texas
Monthly magazine, "The Witness." In total, Larry Fitzgerald witnessed 219
executions, Michelle Lyons says she witnessed about 280 executions.

Michelle saw her first as a reporter for the local newspaper, the
Huntsville Item.

HAYES: How old were you?

LYONS: At that time if it was in 1998, I was about 23.

HAYES: That`s pretty young.

LYONS: It was. It was young.

HAYES: At the same time, Larry Fitzgerald was working as a public
information officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

HAYES: So you essentially become the public face for the entire prison
system in Texas.

FITZGERALD: I`ve been called the public face of executions in Texas, yes.

HAYES: And that`s because every time there`s an execution in Texas,
there`s a certain kind of ritual to it and you are the person giving the
information about what happened.

FITZGERALD: Certainly.

We allow five people, five media members, to come in -- we did, five media
members to come in to witness the execution. So when the execution was
over, I would go forward and tell the media that didn`t come in so and so
is pronounced dead, such and such and here`s the final statement.

HAYES: By 2000, Texas Governor George W. Bush had his sights set on the
White House. That put the Texas death chamber, by far the most active in
the nation, under intense scrutiny

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is growing debate in this country over capital
punishment and with the Texas governor running for president, the issue is
even more complicated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running for president as a compassionate conservative,
Bush has made it clear he`s not ashamed of his record on the death penalty.

penalty because I believe it saves lives.

HAYES: By the end of the year, the state of Texas had reached a grim
milestone: 40 executions, the highest number in the country, almost four
times more than Oklahoma, the state with the second highest number of
executions that same year.

LYONS: In 2000, that was the most executions that have ever been carried
out in Texas.

HAYES: What was your experience of it.

LYONS: Back then, especially when I was just starting and covering those
40 during that year, I did not feel any conflict at all. I mean, to me,
this was my job, my job was to be an unbiased reporter and be down the
middle and I didn`t let it impact me whatsoever.

HAYES: One of the inmates executed that year was Gary Graham, a man who
maintained his innocence until the end and who fought officers on the way
to the gurney.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Texas Governor George W. Bush called it justice,
convicted killer Gary Graham called it a lynching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Graham was convicted of a murder where there was no
physical evidence, no murder weapon and only one eyewitness.

LYONS: He was restrained with additional restraints. Most inmates are not
bound at the head and do not have additional restraints around their arm,
and that was simply because he had struggled with the officers.

FITZGERALD: It took him about 30 seconds to remove him from the cell and
maybe an additional 60 seconds to actually strap him to the gurney.

HAYES: Michelle Lyons shared what she had seen as a reporter with a
national audience.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was this hard for you to witness?

LYONS: It really isn`t. It really is like watching a clinical procedure.
I`ve never been in a hospital room while anyone was being operated or
worked on, but that is very much how I would imagine it to be.

HAYES: But Michelle`s reporter instincts were, at times, challenged.
While witnessing the execution of Ricky McGinn, what stuck with her was not
image of a man strapped to a gurney who had been convicted of raping and
murdering his 12-year-old stepdaughter, but the image of a woman on the
other side of the glass: McGinn`s mother.

LYONS: She was very elderly at the time and was in a wheelchair. And she
was wearing this floral dress and her pearls and it just tore me up,
because she insisted that she be standing up so that he could see her
through the glass. And, you know, I just -- that`s one of the executions I
can so vidly picture, it`s not him that I picture, it`s her. I picture her
hands and how wrinkled and they were against the glass so she could make
sure that her son could see her.

HAYES: In 2001, Larry Fitzgerald recruited Michelle to come work with him
as a spokesperson for the Texas prison system.

Michelle told me the transition gave her a new perspective, which evolved
when she became a mother in 2005.

LYONS: Up until that point, I had always really sympathized with the
victim`s family, because here they`ve had something they loved taken from
them. They`re witnessing this execution. After having a child of my own,
I really started to empathize with the inmate`s family as well and realize,
you know, that they`re watching their loved one die, you know, you have a
mother who is watching her son go to sleep forever. And I started to have
a much harder time with it.

HAYES: For Larry Fitzgerald, witnessing the execution of 219 people still
weighs on him to this day.

FITZGERALD: Some of the executions I still think about. I have some
dreams about them.

HAYES: Which ones?

FITZGERALD: Carla Faye Tucker for one.

UNIDENTIFEID MALE: These are the facts. In 1983, 23-year-old Carla Faye
Tucker and her boyfriend killed two people in a Houston apartment, the
weapon a pickaxe.

TOM BROKAW, FRM. NBC NIGHTLY NEWS ANCHOR: She would be the first woman put
to death in Texas since the Civil War.

FITZGERALD: She was a born again christian and I have no doubt about her

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So far, the Texas governor`s office has received 2,400
letters in the Tucker case. By a margin of more than five to one the
letter writers pleading for clemency for Tucker.

CARLA FAYE TUCKER: There were times, and I shared this before, that I see
Jesus coming and just literally taking me by the arm and escorting me home
from that table.

FITZGERALD: When they swung the cell door open of the holding cell to
gurney she literally skipped down the aisle, climbed up on the gurney as if
she was co vinced she`s going to a better place.

HAYES: And you still think about that?

FITZGERALD: Yeah. Absolutely.

We became friends. That`s the thing about the job that I had is that
you`re on death row at least once a week, sometimes twice a week depending
on if you`re going to female death row and male death row. And you
approach the offenders to come out to talk to the media.

So you get to know the offender. You become familiar with them. There`s
one offender that, when I walked in, he was in a holding cell, he looked at
me and he said well, Larry, he said, you knew it was going to come down to
this sooner or later, you know. And he made a special request and he said,
you know what I really really?

And I said what?

And he said, I want some cherries, some Bing cherries. I went to the
grocery store, bought two pounds of Bing cherries and we sat there and ate
Bing cherries before he got executed.

HAYES: Today, Larry and Michelle no longer work for the Texas prison

Both told me they still support the death penalty, but doubts remain about
the process.

What did watching that much ritualized death do to you?

FITZGERALD: It made me think very seriously about the death penalty. And,
again, I`ll say I`m not against it, but -- and I started questionings how
this person was convicted? How did this person get convicted?

HAYES: Do you think you ever watched someone innocent be killed?

FITZGERALD: There are some people I had some doubts about.

HAYES: What would that mean if there was someone innocent?

FITZGERALD: It would be horrible. It would be absolutely horrible.

HAYES: The key, Larry Fitzgerald says, is a system that is transparent.

FITZGERALD: I would always want the media to be involved in every
execution. They have to be there. I mean, that is the public`s eye into
what is going on. And the ultimate bureaucratic solution.

HAYES: The ultimate bureaucratic solution, is that how you think about the
death penalty? The highest stake`s bureaucracy there is?



HAYES: Go to to watch exclusive All In web extras
featuring Michelle Lyons reading from her personal journal and a letter
sent to her by a death row inmate.

You can also find a link to Texas Monthly`s fantastic reporting on Larry
Michelle, which inspired us to go down there to learn more about their

That is "All In" for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right


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