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All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, December 15th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Monday show

Date: December 15, 2014

Guest: Morris Davis, Tasha Thomas, Jeffrey Follmer, Michael Steele,
Michael Eric Dyson, Anthony Vannoy


ARI MELBER, MSNBC GUEST HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --


MELBER: Sydney police and a 16-hour hostage siege with a hail of
gunfire. Tonight, what we know about the man behind it all.

Then --

label their report torture, but we worked hard to stay short of that

CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS: Well, what is that definition?

MELBER: Former Guantanamo prosecutor, Colonel Morris Davis, on Dick
Cheney`s definition of torture.

Plus --

SAMUEL L. JACKSON, ACTOR (singing): We ain`t going to stop till
people are free.

MELBER: The Black Lives Matter protest continues online in the
streets and at sporting events.

The Cleveland police union calls this player`s protest, quote, "pretty
pathetic", and that spokesperson joins me live when ALL IN starts right


MELBER: Good evening, from Washington. I`m Ari Melber, in for Chris

The 16-hour siege of a cafe in downtown Sydney, Australia, came to a
dramatic conclusion today. Police commandos storming the cafe in the early
morning, just after 2:00 a.m. local time.


MELBER: You see the scene there. Police saying they decided to make
that risky entrance to the building after gunshots were heard coming from
inside the cafe. Now, moments before the raid, several hostages were also
seen fleeing the scene, armed raised and in a panic.

After it was over, three people were dead, including two of the 17
hostages -- a 34-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman, and the gunman. Six
other people, including a police officer, were injured.

The gunman has been identified as 50-year-old Man Haron Monis. He`s a
self-declared sheikh from Iran. Australia actually granted him political
asylum back in 1996. And this was not his first encounter with law
enforcement. Monis was facing multiple accusations of sexual assault and
was charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife. Also, he was
convicted of sending offensive letters to the families of Australian
soldiers who were slain during the war in Afghanistan. His former lawyer
describing Monis to the Australian broadcasting company.


so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and

Knowing that he was on bail for serious offenses, knowing that while
he was in custody, some terrible things happened to him, I thought that he
might consider that he`s got nothing to lose. Hence participating in
something as desperate and outrageous as this.


MELBER: Monis seized the Lindt chocolate cafe. That`s a shop in the
financial district in central Sydney, right after rush hour on Monday

During the siege, hostages were forced to help display a black Islamic
flag in the cafe window. Now, that is the kind of flag often raised by
violent Islamist groups, though it is not the same as the black flag of
ISIS, seen in those grisly videos from Iraq and Syria.

Still, some initially feared there was a link to formal terrorist
groups. Here`s Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.


TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: He sought to cloak his action
with the symbolism of the ISIL death cult. Tragically, there are people in
our community ready to engage in politically motivated violence.


MELBER: Defense officials tell NBC News there`s no evidence the
gunman had any connection to ISIS, and Australian officials have so far
declined to even characterize any part of this siege as an act of terror.

Joining me now on the phone from Sydney, NBC News correspondent Hallie

Thanks for joining us. And when you looked at the scene today you had
some hostages escaping while it was still underway, and that dramatic
footage. What was going on there? What can you tell us about that?

HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS (via telephone): We`re about a block or two
blocks away from where all of this happened, Ari. The street has been shut
down. It`s two city blocks where it`s closed off to the public. There`s
still a police presence near front of the cafe.

People are walking by where they`re able to walk by, watching,
looking, taking this in, and we`re learning more about what exactly went on
inside the cafe. We know that it was about seven hours into the crisis,
five hostages managed to escape. A few hours later, the cafe lights went
out and police put on their night vision goggles and at 2:00 the morning,
the hostages run for their lives.

We understand from Australian officials that they acted because they
heard gunfire in the cafe and that is why they moved in. In the shooting
after police stormed the building, the gunman is killed, so are two
hostages, a man and a woman, both of them in their 30s, Ari.

MELBER: And, Hallie, we know one of the big differences between
murder and terrorism is the motive and the political goals involved, when
it is terror.


MELBER: What do you know about these reports of some social media
posts by this individual?

JACKSON: Yes. So, reportedly, the hostages were being forced to use
Facebook and YouTube to pass on some of the demands from the gunman, like,
for example, to talk to the Australian prime minister. This was not a
surprise to Australian officials. They said, quote, "There`s no place on
earth that doesn`t have access to social media, adding their plans are
built around that."

So, that is something that officials here are trying to unravel and
pinpoint what may have been the motive for this and that`s something that
will take a little time to figure out.

MELBER: Briefly, what is the mood there now?

JACKSON: You know, quiet contemplation, I might say, Ari. You know,
we got on ground here a few hours ago after flying in from the West Coast,
and people are milling about, going about their business, because Martin
Place is incredibly busy. It`s the Strand of London, a very active place.

So, people are around, civilians. There`s also a very heavy police
presence, heavy media presence as well. So, it seems as though Australians
are coming to grips with what happened, and starting to begin the process
of grieving the lives lost, trying to unravel this.

MELBER: Yes. Certainly, a very tough scene there.

Hallie Jackson, thanks for your reporting in Sydney.

In October, a gunman stormed Canada`s parliament building and fatally
shot a soldier guarding the National War Memorial, and then the next day
there would -- there was hatchet attack on New York City police officers,
seemingly random act of violence that the FBI actually formally designated
an act of terror. Now we see the scenes in Australia, the hostage siege
carried out by man with delusions of grandeur, and clearly a long rap
sheet. All of these deadly incidents bear the marks of lone-wolf attacks,
maybe inspired by Islamist ideology, but without any direct links to
particular organizing by jihadist groups.

Now, ISIS has directly encouraged sympathizers around the world to
take action. We know that. The group`s chief spokesman recently calling
on supporters in the West to initiate attacks inside these Western nations.


don`t need to travel to Syria to be effective, to be a warrior for us. You
can take the fight to the citizens in your own country. Specifically, they
did put the order out to carry out attacks and say, the civilian population
is in play, so do whatever you can do, basically energizing these lone-wolf
wannabes to take action.


MELBER: Joining us now for more on this, NBC News foreign
correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin.

Good evening to you.

Oh, good evening, Ari. Sorry.

MELBER: I want to start with the idea there, you know, "inspire" is a
fuzzy word when you`re doing this kind of terrorist security inquiry. And
yet it is part of, as we`ve been reporting, what ISIS is about, in some
cases, inspiring people who may have no direct link. What can you tell us
of your reporting about where this fits in on that spectrum?

MOHYELDIN: Well, I think this is an individual who falls on the
spectrum, on the end of the spectrum that is very loose, if not absolute
zero affiliation with the organization, to he has a criminal background, a
lot of mental instability according to the prime minister.

I think this is an individual who falls on the spectrum of least
likely, if you will, to be associated with these types of organizations.
What we do see, in exactly to quote the words of the Australian prime
minister, he is an individual with a troubled past who has cloaked himself
in the ISIS ideology and as a result of that is giving this a very
different flavor.

MELBER: Right.

MOHYELDIN: But at the core of this, it is a person who seems to be
mentally deranged and has not only a criminal past but also involved in the
suspected killing of his ex-wife. I think the real question here, and I
think this is something that Australian journalists will be posing to
officials there, why was this individual out on bail? An individual
suspected of murder --


MOHYELDIN: -- allowed to roam freely and create this kind of havoc.

MELBER: And Ayman, on the U.S. side, everyone remembers the era post-
9/11 of red and orange terror alerts. Very different mood here coming from
the Obama administration security apparatus today, saying they`re not on
elevated risk or threat here, taking obviously scenes that are terrible for
folks in Australia, and anybody around the world watching, but giving a
more stable reaction, stateside.

What`s the point of that?

MOHYELDIN: Well, the bottom line of that is that they know this is an
individual who probably has zero affiliation to anything on their terrorism
watch list. They probably did a very thorough background check, check his
name and realized he poses no threat, has no affiliation, that could then
be reflected in some way or capacity in a threat way, or in a threat
capacity to the United States.

So, the bottom line is, they`re looking at it from the perspective of,
this is a lone wolf, lone deranged individual, acting in Australia, no
reason for us here at home to take it into kind of a -- to make us change
our security postures at any of the facilities around our country.

MELBER: Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from New York, thank you very

While all eyes were on Sydney today, we want to turn to something that
is also Stateside in Pennsylvania tonight. A massive manhunt still
underway after a gunman shot and killed six people overnight.

NBC`s Rehema Ellis joins us live now from Harleysville, Pennsylvania
with the latest.

What he can you tell us?

REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Ari, I can tell you that this
tragedy unfolded in three communities outside of Philadelphia, about 30
miles outside of Philadelphia. And the victims, authorities tell us, were
all known to this suspect.

We have video we want to share with you of dramatic scene as SWAT
teams surrounded a house earlier today that they thought that the suspect
was inside. The man they consider armed and extremely dangerous. But in
the search for the suspect, 35-year-old Bradley William Stone, authorities
say, they came up empty-handed.


RISA VETRI FERMAN, DA, MONTGOMERY CO., PA: As we stand here right now
we do not know where he is. We are -- do not have vehicle information. We
actually recovered his vehicle and his personal cell phone. So, we do not
have any information about how he might be traveling.


ELLIS: Authorities say Stone went on a deadly shooting spree this
morning, killing six family members, including his ex-wife, as well as her
-- his ex-wife`s sister, her husband, their 14-year-old daughter, a 75-
year-old grandmother, and the couple`s 17-year-old son was injured.

At this point, authorities tell us that Stone is an Iraq war veteran.
He was discharged in 2011. And tonight, Ari, he is search -- authorities
are searching for him in connection with these six murders.

MELBER: Undoubtedly, a tough story there. Rehema Ellis, thank you
for your reporting in Marysville, Pennsylvania. We do appreciate it.

Turning to the rest of our broadcast and some interesting news in
policy and politics. You may have seen some of this. Dick Cheney was on
"Meet the Press" yesterday with a defense of torture that you have to see
to believe. That is next.


MELBER: You don`t find Al Franken on national television much these
days. But coming fresh off his re-election, Franken did just sit down with
me in his Washington office to talk about his battle with Silicon Valley
over consumer privacy, his views on that Senate torture report, the agenda
for the new Senate, and his thoughts on the incoming majority leader, Mitch


MELBER: Looking towards the next Congress, you have -- Senator
McConnell is going to take the helm. How is your relationship with him?
What do you do to try to get him to hold votes on your legislation or try
to make --

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: Well, he -- what`s interesting is he
has promised a more open process, he says, and votes on amendments and et
cetera. So, we`ll see. A lot of people have asked me about this, what
it`s going to be like, and I don`t know. I don`t know anyone who knows. I
don`t know if he knows. And I don`t know if --

MELBER: Would you call him a good friend or best friend?

FRANKEN: More a -- it`s kind of thing where, you know, we will argue
on the floor but then go out to dinner and just laugh.


FRANKEN: No. That doesn`t happen.



MELBER: That doesn`t happen.

Franken had more to say about McConnell, the Democrats relationship
with Wall Street and the next election. You can see the entire interview
when it airs for the first time. That`s tomorrow, 3:00 p.m. Eastern, on


MELBER: Dick Cheney is not lawyer and as he told NBC`s Chuck Todd
when defending inhumane treatment of detainees, he is not a doctor. He
insists that the CIA`s enhanced interrogation program, including practices
that do meet the standard of illegal torture, were all legal, because his
lawyers told him so.


CHENEY: You can look for various definitions. We did what was in
fact required to make certain that going forward, we were not violating the
law, and the law as interpreted by the Justice Department, the Office of
Legal Counsel, is very clear.


MELBER: Not quite. Cheney is referring to a special wing of the
Justice Department that tells the president what is legal, and it`s true
that the Bush administration got some of those lawyers to authorize a few
techniques that were once illegal.

But as the Senate report documents, there was a revolt over those
authorizations, some were withdrawn early in the Bush administration,
others canceled when Eric Holder took over DOJ. So, the best defense
Cheney has today relies on invalid, discredit editor tour memos from a long
time ago, and faced with CIA documentation that many detainees were wrongly
held -- Cheney`s answer was: who cares?


CHENEY: I`m more concerned with bad guys who got out and released
than I am with a few that in fact were innocent.

TODD: Twenty-five percent of the detainees, though, 25 percent turned
out not have -- turned tout to be innocent.

CHENEY: Where are you going to draw the line, Chuck?

TODD: Well, I`m asking you.

CHENEY: I`m saying --

TODD: Is that too high? You`re OK with that margin of error.

CHENEY: I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.


MELBER: Joining me now, a public servant, a little closer to the
action, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Morris Davis, former chief
prosecutor for Military Commissions at Guantanamo.

Really an honor to have you here. Thank you.


MELBER: First, your thoughts of Cheney`s defense there?

DAVIS: It wasn`t much of a defense. I certainly if I was him and had
this report came out that documented war crimes that I was responsible for,
I would try to dissemble the way that he did, but it`s clearly I think for
Republicans, it`s choice. Do you side with Dick Cheney or Ronald Reagan?
Ronald Reagan presented the Convention Against Torture to the Senate and
said that this is a practice that has to end.

MELBER: Right. And that`s why torture was illegal under the law.

Jack Goldsmith who served in that Bush Justice Department, in the wing
we were talking about, didn`t agree with this whole thing. Let me play
some of that sound right now.


JACK GOLDSMITH, LAW PROFESSOR: These opinions came to my attention.
I thought they had a lot of legal errors in them, both in statutory
interpretation and interpretation of the Constitution. So, it`s a
combination of the errors and the really excessively broad claims in the
opinions that led me to take steps to withdraw them.


MELBER: What should our brave folks, whether at CIA, military or
otherwise, do when they get that kind of pseudo authorization?

DAVIS: Well, I blame the -- accountability ought to be at the top.
So, we should start with the White House and percolate down from there.
But there were others in the administration, in the Pentagon, in the State
Department, that pushed back and said that John Yoo and Jay Bybee had been
wrong in their legal assessments, but the White House set those people
aside and they cherry-picked the opinions they wanted, and they marched
forward with that, and they`re trying to use it now as cover to cover up
war crimes.

MELBER: Yes. And I thought the report was devastating to the idea
that if you get a permission slip from your lawyer, that automatically
covers you. The report shows how there was so misdirection and deceit
towards those lawyers. You know, if you tell your lawyer, I want to build
a deck on my house, and then you build a skyscraper, your authorization for
the deck doesn`t keep you out of court.

The other piece, though, very important, was this entire back and
forth at the time, with the CIA getting mad that Bush was saying that they
were treating people humanely. Let me play that.


KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH ADVISOR: Take, for example, waterboarding. In
waterboarding, unlike World War II where the Japanese attempted to drown
people by basically pouring water in their mouths, here, the feet were
elevated so there`s little or no chance of any fluid get into the lungs and
very careful standard set in place so that these would help break the
resistance of the detainee without placing their life in danger.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I want to be absolutely clear with
our people and the world, the United States does not torture. It`s against
our laws and it`s against our values. I have not authorized it and I will
not authorize it.

Last year, my administration worked with Senator John McCain and I
signed into law the Detainee Treatment Act, which established the legal
standards for treatment of detainees wherever they are held. I support
this act.


MELBER: The book in there is Karl Rove this weekend, but Bush in
2006. The report shows -- what did you make of this -- that the CIA didn`t
want Bush saying those things, didn`t want him saying we don`t torture.

DAVIS: Yes, I think they were very uncomfortable about it. And
again, I think it`s important to remember that the CIA largely contracted
this effort out. It was primarily civilians that carried out the program.
Many people became millionaires off of this program.

And now, you got this circular -- I saw an interview with John Yoo
where he says I was just a lawyer. I didn`t make decisions, and yet,
President Bush saying, hey, I`m no lawyer, I just did what the lawyers
said. So, no one is accountable for making the decision to go down the
road to torture.

MELBER: You say accountable. Should the president fire the CIA
Director Brennan?

DAVIS: That`s a tough one. I admire Brennan for, the other day, when
he said -- he admitted that there was no connection between waterboarding
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2002, and then finding Osama bin Laden a decade
later. But certainly, there ought to be accountability. The president
can`t stick with this. I`m going to look forward and not back.

We have an obligation to investigate and prosecute allegations of
torture and you can`t just pretend it didn`t happen.

MELBER: Colonel Morris Davis, thank you very much.

DAVIS: My pleasure.

MELBER: Appreciate you being here. Appreciate learning a bit about
it from you.

Next up, we`re going to talk Bill Cosby. His wife going on the record
to defend her husband in the wake of more than two dozen women accusing him
of sexual assault.

Stay with us.


MELBER: In another news story tonight, a woman at the center of the
Bill Cosby firestorm is breaking her silence, his wife of 50 years.
Camille Cosby is addressing the allegations against her husband. More than
two dozen women have come forward now, accusing the actor and comedian of
sexual assault and dragging. But now, Camille is assuring the public he
is, quote, "He is the man you thought you knew."

For more on this developing story, here`s NBC`s Anne Thompson.


Camille Cosby has sat silently as her husband was asked if the allegations
he drugged and sexually assaulted women were true.

BILL COSBY, COMEDIAN: There is no comment about that.

THOMPSON: Today, she defended Bill Cosby in a statement saying, "The
man I met and fell in love with, whom I continue to love, is the man you
all knew through his work."

That man appeared to be the ideal husband on TV.

But more than two dozen women have come forward to tell a much
different story. Most recently, supermodel Beverly Johnson.

BEVERLY JOHNSON, SUPERMODEL: I most certainly didn`t think of my
legacy as being the first African-American model to grace the cover of
"Vogue" and drugged by Bill Cosby.

THOMPSON: Camille Cosby says that portrait is of a man she does not
know, painted, she says, "by individuals and organizations whom many the
media have given a pass."

She compares the scandal to the now discredited "Rolling Stone"
article about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia. "None of
us," she says, "ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim but
the question should be asked -- who is the victim?"

Bill Cosby`s lawyer has consistently denied the allegations and the
comedian has never been charged with a crime, but two women are now suing

Anne Thompson, NBC News, New York.


MELBER: And we will be right back.


MELBER: Back in August, a 22-year-old black man named John Crawford
III entered a Walmart near Dayton, Ohio. He was with his girlfriend and he
picked up a realistic air rifle, you see it there, an MK177 ,which was
readily available on the store shelving. As this surveillance footage
shows, Crawford then walked around the Walmart with that unloaded air rifle
in his hand. A shopper called the police saying a black man was walking
around with a gun in the store adding he`s, like, pointing it at people.

Now, later, the caller admitted that Crawford did not point the rifle
at anyone. In fact, you can see Crawford holding it while talking on the
phone with mostly people going about their business nearby and no pointing.

The footage you will see next is disturbing, armed police officers
apparently prompted by mainly that information in the 911 call, they enter
searching for him and when they found him, Crawford appears to drop the air
rifle and take cover. And, according to the special prosecutor in this
case, police had shot him before he dropped it.

Crawford then runs back into the aisle and collapses. The police shot
him twice, wounds that resulted in his death.

Now, police say he ignored commands to put down the air rifle and a
grand jury declined to indict the officers in September.

Like so many other cases around the nation right now, however, it is
not only the outcome here that`s concerning to many people, it`s many of
the basic steps in
our criminal justice process that are now subject to a little bit of extra

Now, after this shooting, police questioned Crawford`s girlfriend,
Tasha Thomas, who had been elsewhere in the store during the incident.

"The Guardian" newspaper has now obtained footage of some of the
interrogation of Ms. Thomas thanks to a public records request, and
published a portion for the first time this weekend. It shows Detective
Rodney Curd, not the officer who shot Crawford, aggressively questioning

According to The Guardian, the interrogation went on for more than an
hour and a half. And it wasn`t until the end that Curd even told Thomas
that Crawford had died that day.

As a result of his actions, he`s gone, said the detective, as she
slumped in her chair and cried.

The video shows Curd pushing Thomas where her boyfriend got this rifle
and suggesting she`s not telling the truth when she says she doesn`t know.


DETECTIVE CURD: Tell me where he got the gun from.

TASHA THOMAS, CRAWFORD`S GIRLFRIEND: Sir, I don`t know. I honestly
don`t know.

CURD: And the truth is, you knew at some point he did carry a guy,
isn`t it. Isn`t it true?

THOMAS: No, sir. No, sir. I didn`t know. I swear I didn`t know.

CURD: Tasha, I`m having trouble with this.

THOMAS: Please, give me a lie detector test. Anything. I`m being

CURD: That might come in the future, but I...

THOMAS: Please just listen to me.


MELBER: Detective Curd also presses on whether intoxication was at


CURD: Are you under the influence of anything?


CURD: Have you been drinking?


CURD: Drugs?


CURD: See, I know your eyes are kind of messed up looking and you
seem a little lethargic at times, but I don`t know if it`s because you`re
upset or not.


MELBER: Joining me tonight is Tasha Thomas and her attorney, Anthony
Vannoy. Good evening to you both.

And, Tasha, this is incredibly difficult to even watch. I can only
imagine what it was like to live through. So, thank you for being here.

When you look back at the video, and when you think about what you
went through, what was your view of the way the officer there treated you?

THOMAS: Very unexplanatory. It was really uncalled for. I stated
several times that I had nothing to do with it.

MELBER: Did you feel that they were keeping you informed about what
happened to your boyfriend there? Did you feel like you were being treated
as a family member of a victim, or like a suspect?

THOMAS: More or less like a suspect. From the time the incident
happened, I`m still to this day, I`m still being treated like a victim. I
was shoved into a cruiser, leaving Walmart and questioned inside the
cruiser and took to the Beaver Creek police station. There I sat for hours
and hours not knowing what happened or where he was at or what was wrong or
if I would ever see him again.

MELBER: And why did they tell you they were being detained?

THOMAS: They said because he had got the gun out of my vehicle and he
was trying to rob the pharmacy inside a Walmart.

THOMAS: And if I could ask you, and if you don`t want to answer, you
don`t have to at all, but what was your reaction when after all of this and
this interrogation and then they told you for the first time that he was
killed that day.

THOMAS: It kind of took a toll on me. I mean, I relive every minute
second-by-second as it comes. I no longer make plans for anything. You
don`t know if it`s going to be here today or gone tomorrow.

MELBER: Anthony, give us your perspective here. Based on your
knowledge of the case and the law, what was wrong with the police approach
here in your view?

ANTHONY VANNOY, ATTORNEY: I think there`s multiple things here, Ari,
with respected to Tasha and John were just shopping. They were just in the
store. She was going to pick up ingredients to make s`mores that day for a
party. And so from the time that law enforcement got ahold of her until
the very end, she was treated as if she was a suspect, a second-degree or a
less citizen. She wasn`t treated with any kind of respect.

They had made a decision that John Crawford had done something wrong,
that there was either some plan or some conspiracy to commit some type of
crime. They were accusatory from the very beginning. There`s no thought
for her, no consideration for her at all.

MELBER: And let me ask on that point -- let me ask Tasha, has anyone
affiliated with the police department apologized to you or explained their
perspective on this?

THOMAS: No. It`s just gotten worse since the incident.

MELBER: And the other question I want to ask in terms of the
allegations here from the police side is that they thought they were
responding to sort of a live shooter, highly dangerous scenario. From what
you know of what happened that day, did they have reason to believe that
Mr. Crawford was a threat there? Do you think they took enough time to
figure that out?


VANNOY: You know, Ari, they did not give him any time to respond.
There were no shots being fired, none of the store personnel alerted law
enforcement that
shots were being fired. There was nothing to suggest this is an active

We continue to hear that police respond to active shooting situations.
There was no shots being fired. There was no active shooter. There was no
individuals standing close to Mr. Crawford when law enforcement walked in.
And clearly they could have responded in a different fashion -- take cover,
ask him to put the weapon down. Give it a second. If their lives were in
jeopardy, we would understand it. But, clearly, that`s not what happened

MELBER: Anthony Vannoy, thank you for your expertise. And Tasha
Thomas, I am sorry for your loss and I appreciate you telling us part of
your story tonight.

Cleveland Brown`s receiver Andrew Hawkins wore this shirt yesterday
during pre-game introductions. And now the head of the Cleveland Police
Patrolman`s Association is demanding an apology. We will have that police
perspective, that straight ahead.


MELBER: After the Cleveland Brown`s home game on Sunday, the
president of the city`s police union called the NFL player Andrew Hawkins,
quote, "pathetic" for wearing a t-shirt protesting two police killings
earlier in the year.

Hawkins, a Cleveland Brown`s wide receiver, however, is not
apologizing for wearing a shirt that, read, quote, "Justice for Tamir Rice,
John Crawford, during warm-ups." Rice, a 12-year-old, was shot and killed
last month by a Cleveland police offers while carrying a pellet gun.
Crawford, 22, was fatally shot in that Ohio Walmart, as we mentioned, while
holding an air rifle he got within the store.

The Cleveland Police Union head who is about to join me here tonight,
not only disagreed with Hawkins` statement, but argued that athletes have
no business weighing in at all saying, quote, "it`s pretty pathetic when
athletes think they know the law. They should stick to what they know best
on the field, the Cleveland police protect and serve the Brown`s stadium
and the Brown`s organization owes us an apology."

He continued in another statement, quote, "he`s an athlete. He`s
someone with no facts of the case whatsoever, he should stick to playing
football and let us worry about law enforcement."

Earlier today, Hawkins, himself, defended his decision.


ANDREW HAWKINS, CLEVELAND BROWNS: My mom taught me my entire life to
respect law enforcement. I have family, close friends who are incredible
police officers. And I tell them all of the time how they are much braver
than me for it.

Unfortunately, my mom also taught me that just as there are good
police officers, there are some not so good police officers that would
assume the worst of me without knowing anything about me for reasons I
can`t control.

As you all know, and it`s well documented, I have a two-year-old
little boy. That little boy is my entire world. And the number one reason
for me wearing the t-shirt was the thought of what happened to Tamir Rice
happening to my little Austin scares the living hell out of me. And my
heart was broken for the parents of Tamir and John Crawford, knowing they
had to live that nightmare of a reality.


MELBER: And, as Hawkins talked about his respect for law enforcement,
he did not back down from that original statement.


HAWKINS: To me, justice means that the innocent should be found
innocent, it means that those who do wrong should get their due punishment.
Ultimately, it means fair treatment. So, a call for justice shouldn`t
offend or disrespect anybody. A call for justice shouldn`t warrant an


MELBER: Joining me now is Detective Jeffrey Follmer, president of the
Cleveland Police Patrolman`s Association.

Good evening to you. You see the statement right there. Why should
he or anyone have to apologize for stating their sincere views on police

Well, first off, he doesn`t have the clear view of the police conduct.
He`s calling for justice on two officers that were called to do their job
with a man that had a gun inside a park that they had to defend themselves
and use deadly force on him.

So, it`s not a call for justice, they were justified. And Cleveland
police officers worked with the Cleveland Browns hand in hand and when he
disrespects two of our officers, he`s disrespecting everybody else.

MELBER: But, OK, you guys disagree on that. Why should he apologize
to you? Why shouldn`t you apologize to him? You have a disagreement about
the facts of the case and how to proceed?

FOLLMER: Well, we`re not apologizing t anybody. I mean, justice --
calling for justice on two of our officers, you know, they need to it to us
because their disrespecting our officers on a job we do hard every day and
a job that two officers were put in a position due to a male`s actions.

MELBER: In the statement, you talk about providing -- surveying and
providing security for the stadium. How is that relevant?

FOLLMER: Well, a lot of police officers work there. We are with the
Brown`s organization. When you talk about two of our officers, you know,
doing a justified shooting, you`re talking about all of us. Any one of us
could have been in that circumstance.

MELBER: Sure, but I mean, are you implying that it`s relevant
somehow? Are you implying that that security would change because of this

FOLLMER: No, we wouldn`t change. We`re here for the community.
We`re here for the people that go to the Brown`s games. We`re here for the

MELBER: And when you say that he, as we read your statement, doesn`t
know the facts or the law, how do you apply that logic? Wouldn`t that
apply to any citizen who may not be a police expert but who has some
legitimate view of police conduct? I mean, don`t you think at a certain
point this kind of reaction risks feeding the perception that some of these
police unions or some folks here don`t think they`re accountable to public

FOLLMER: You know, there`s a video of this and everything speaks for
itself. Their action, the male`s action spoke for itself. I mean, the
video clearly showed, and by the officer`s statement, that they were
justified in the deadly force.

MELBER: You`re saying the video shows that the 12-year-old boy was an
imminent lethal threat to the officers?

FOLLMER: Oh, absolutely. I don`t know if you didn`t see it, but

MELBER: Yeah, we have some of it up on the screen. We`re showing it.
I mean, there`s tremendous disagreement about that. In a lot of cases that
would cause probable cause for a crime unless there was lethal threat to
the officers. But, ultimately, that isn`t your call, is it? And it`s not
the athlete`s call, that`s a call that has to go through the criminal
justice system.

I guess what I`m trying to get at here from your statements, and the
reason why they`ve upset some people, is that your statements seem to
presuppose that the police union or the police officers have the final word
on the facts here. You know that`s not true. You know we have a system
here of criminal justice that leaves that decision up to grand juries and
the criminal justice process, right, and people are free to talk about it?

FOLLMER: They`re free to talk about it, but it shouldn`t be talked on
a football field where we are supporting the Browns by doing security.
Every day when we support the Browns.

MELBER: Are you saying -- this is what I`m trying to understand. You
just said before of course it wouldn`t change your approach. Why does your
security that you provide and police bravely provide security for entire
cities, stadiums or not, why would that affect his free speech rights to
voice an opinion here. I mean, you`re really not answering that question?

FOLLMER: He can voice his opinion and that`s fine, but I`m just
saying that calling for justice for his opinion on what happened that day,
he`s wrong. That`s what I`m clearly stating.

And it was cleared by a city -- these two were cleared by a city
prosecutor already. This shooting was justified. And like I said, it`s a
tragedy that it was a 12-year-old, but it was justified.

MELBER: So, to be clear, if you`re saying that he can state it, are
you withdrawing the request for an apology for him to state the view, or he
can state it but he has to also apologize?

FOLLMER: I`m not saying -- I`m not withdrawing anything. You know,
he disrespected police officers who are out there doing our job. He`s
surrounded by police officers and when you`re talking about two of us, that
were put in a situation like these two where you`re talking about all of

MELBER: And what do you think on just a more human level, if I can
you, you heard his statement talking about his child and these fears and a
lot of people talking about that conversation around the country. Does
your heart go out to people who are worried about their children, unarmed,
losing their lives in these kind of incidents.

FOLLMER: Well, it depends what you`re saying what`s unarmed.

I mean, this male is obviously not -- he wasn`t unarmed. He had what
they thought to be a gun and they also thought him to be 20-years-old. If
he`s 20 years old, we`re not sitting here today.


But you`re well aware of many of other cases -- I know it`s outside of
your city, but the Eric Garner case, there are other cases, what do you
think about the concern people have that folks are being killed in some
cases by officers when there`s less than a lethal threat posed?

FOLLMER: How about this, listen to police officers commands, listen
to what we tell us -- tell you, and just stop. I think that eliminates a
lot of problem.

I have kids, too. They know how to respect the law. They know what
to do when a police officer comes up to them. I think the nation needs to
realize that when we tell you to do something, do it. And if you`re wrong,
you`re wrong. If you`re right, then the courts will figure it out.

MELBER: All right, Jeffrey Follmer, we wanted to have you on to get
your perspective. I appreciate you joining me tonight.

FOLLMER: Thank you.

MELBER: Over the weekend, more protests over those killings of
unarmed black men by police officers. We`ll have another update on that
issue next.


MELBER: We are back in All in. And joining me now here in
Washington, Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University sociology professor
and MSNBC analyst, and former chairman of the RNC and MSNBC analyst Michael

Good evening to you both.

MICHAEL STEELE, FRM. RNC CHAIRMAN: Good to be with your, Ari.

MELBER: We just had a discussion with Jeffrey Folmer who made a lot
of waves as the head of the Cleveland Police Union, the president here.
And I just spoke to him, and he stayed firm on his view that these athletes
owe us -- owe him, he would say, and his members an apology for talking
about justice in these cases, Tamir Rice.

What did you make of what you heard from him tonight?

STEELE: Look. A, I can appreciate where the police union and the
police may be coming from on this. But, B, and this is the important part,
the athletes do not owe anyone an apology. Number one, they have the
freedom to express themselves. We have seen in the past in our country`s
athletic sports history of athletes demonstrating publicly their views on
very important topics to the American people. Why should this be any
different? Particularly given that these
are young, black men who, themselves, have come through environments and
cultures and systems that they`ve been challenged in.

So they know what this 12-year-old or, you know, an 18-year-old in the
case of a Michael Brown, has gone through and that`s resulted in tragedy.

So they`ve seen this. And so for him to express it publicly, I think
is something for those of us who sort of benignly go through a sporting
event and think about oh, you know, how much touchdowns the athletes will
get. Sort of get clued in that these guys are more than that and they`re
raising an important issue that we`re thinking about.

Yeah, we`re hear to enjoy the game, but there`s something else to
think about.

MELBER: Professor Dyson, what did you think?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GEORGETOWN: No, absolutely right. I thought that
if this is representative of the police perspective, and this guy
obviously, as a human being, we can say, I don`t know him, he this seems
like a decent human being. But you`re so dangerous and problematic.

Because you hide behind a shield of innocence and then you project a
kind of
invincibility that is good when you`re in the heat of battle, but horrible
when it comes to admitting that you need to be self-reflecting and consider
the opposite view. You pressed him hard.

MELBER: Let`s pause on that.

You talk about being reflective. And Detective Follmer sounded like
someone who felt on these cases, that they knew all of the facts, that they
had done their fact finding and that anyone who disagreed was not only
wrong, which is how public debates work, people think each other is wrong.
But that anyone who disagrees with them owes them an apology.

A big question is he speaks for the union. He doesn`t speak for, of
course, the actual government police wing, but they work together.

I want to play it especially for folks just joining us, this was,
moments ago, Jeffrey Follmer, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen
Association. Let`s take a listen.


FOLLMER: How about this, listen to police officers commands, listen
to what we tell us -- tell you, and just stop. I think that eliminates a
lot of problem.

I have kids, too. They know how to respect the law. They know what
to do when a police officer comes up to them. I think the nation needs to
realize that when we tell you to do something, do it. And if you`re wrong,
you`re wrong. If you`re right, then the courts will figure it out.


DYSON: Wow, you know, the lord said it, I believe it, that settles
it. I mean, that`s probably pretty absolutist that our authority. Look,
this is what -- by the way, what he just said, is what many millions of
black people tell their kids. Let`s not get it twisted. Many of us say
look, be wronged later. Defer to this man`s authority. But that`s part of
our irritation here. We do everything police people tell us, we still end
up murdered.

If we run, we get shot. If we stand still we get shot. If we do what
the policeman tells us by going into our car to retrieve our wallet, we get

So, the point is there is no reasonable expectation that following the
letter of the law will secure our lives and keep us safe.

STEELE: And then there is the element of fear, that what the officer
fails to recognize and take into context, particularly with a 12-year-old
black youth, is the fear that growing up in an environment where the police
are feared and not, you know, okay, I`ll do what you say, officer. That
isn`t also a very important element that we need to drill down on.

So, you know, just because you say do as we tell you doesn`t
necessarily mean, as Michael pointed out, that the result is going to be
any better than it would be if you ran.

DYSON: Right.

MELBER: And I just want to say, there`s cases and then there`s
trends. We are talking about Cleveland, where, of course, many officers do
work hard and fairly, but we also know about a pattern and practice found
by the Justice
Department`s federal investigation that these officers have shot at people
did not pose an imminent threat, that is the standard, and hit people in
the head with their guns in situations where that was unjustified.

These are findings, chairman, from an exhaustive report. Did you feel
that Detective Follmer there was in touch with those facts?

STEELE: No, and, again, and I think Michael set it out correctly at
the beginning, you know, there`s almost a sort of defensive nature that
these guys are bringing to this argument. And this is not about being
defensive. We`re not trying to attack police, we`re trying to get police
and the community together on the same page.

But you have to understand where we`re coming from. You can`t just
say that we`re one thing and we`re not.

MELBER: Exactly.

Well, I appreciate you both joining me for some reaction to that on an
important story. And, again, I want to thank Detective Follmer for sharing
his perspective tonight. Michael Steele and Michael Eric Dyson, thank you
very much.

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


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